“Katrina is truly a gem. In addition to being thorough and deeply knowledgeable, Katrina is a thoughtful care provider who listens and interacts with patients in a good-humored, clear, and respectful manner… I always leave appointments feeling better. She’s a wonderful provider, and approaches her work and her patients with an open, accepting, and supportive manner that only enhances her technical skills.” -S.L.
“My scar is much less noticeable and the stress relief from the acupuncture has done wonders for my overall mind/body connection. I appreciate that she takes into account every detail of my concerns, lifestyle and diet to offer ways to improve my issues. She has a very gentle and calming approach which adds to my sense of relaxation during the treatments.” -J.S.
“I can be completely open with her when I am getting a treatment. She understands what I’m trying to tell her when I discuss my symptoms because she is passionate and informed about trans health.She has great bed side manner, great skills and calming energy. Also she has really helped create a safe space and I appreciate that more than anything.” -C.H.
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Prism Integrative Acupuncture Mission
To provide a cutting-edge integration of modern Western and classical Chinese diagnosis, via intuitive acupuncture and herbal treatments tailored to YOU, to help you achieve your personal wellness goals and improve your quality of life.
To create a safe, inclusive healing environment where you can access the healthcare you need and deserve, free of discrimination and judgement.
To make you an active participant in the healing process by forming a one-of-a-kind holistic care plan that supports your unique journey towards self-realization, empowerment, and wellness.
I provide effective, holistic, LGBTQI-inclusive hormone support and comprehensive wellness. I aim to address not only your symptoms but also their underlying cause -and improve your general well-being- in a welcoming and comforting environment. I want everyone to be able to access the healthcare that they want and need without fearing judgement or misunderstanding. Women are told to put others’ needs first and not to take care of themselves; trans folks learn to avoid medical care so they won’t be judged or pathologized. I actually love working with people who are skeptical of healthcare and not used to taking care of their physical and emotional selves. My practice is about healthcare for individuals, but it’s also about healing the system that tells women their well-being is less valued and tells trans people their identity is a pathology.
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I am a California licensed and nationally certified acupuncturist. I received my training through the Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College (AIMC)’s rigorous four-year Master of Science program, and interned at UCSF Benioff’s Mission Bay Children’s Hospital and the San Francisco Homeless Prenatal Program, as well as at AIMC’s teaching clinic.
I came to acupuncture through a love of herbal medicine, sparked by my botanist father who taught me a deep appreciation for plants. On road trips growing up, he’d suddenly pull over to the side of the road, jump out of the car, and sprint up a hill to a tiny rare flower that he somehow spotted while driving. My first word was ‘yucca’ and by the age of 9 I knew more Latin names of native Pacific Northwest plants than most of my dad’s students.
The women in my family taught me the value of taking care of others, and growing up I was often in a caretaker role due to my dad’s health issues. This led me to study public health and gender studies for my undergrad, through which I become involved with groups on campus that led DIY herbal medicine workshops for women and LGBTQ folks. I also worked as a caregiver for adults with developmental disabilities, and—after graduation—as a health educator and clinic receptionist, which gave me a taste of working in various parts of the health field. I realized that I wanted to be on the practitioner side of things, and for me this meant herbal medicine. I liked the Chinese Medicine diagnostic system, their holistic way of working with a person’s constitution and intricate balanced combinations of herbal medicines, so I started studying at the Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College, Berkeley.
I had only had acupuncture once, on a whim, before starting acupuncture school and I didn’t really know if I’d like it. I decided that if I didn’t like practicing acupuncture, I’d just study the herbs and skip the rest of the program. It turns out I love working with patients and being able to offer them not only herbal medicine, but also acupuncture, cupping, moxa, and so many other amazing modalities. It turns out I love being an acupuncturist and I’m so glad I started this journey. I love being a part of a medicine that allows people not just to be taken care of or fixed by others, but to take care of themselves and listen to their bodies.
Coming out and being a part of queer community—with transgender and gender non-conforming loved ones—brought my attention to the disparities in access to safe, inclusive healthcare for LGBTQ people and I went into the acupuncture program with the intention of focusing in LGBTQ medicine. My personal connection to queer and lesbian communities has, and continues to be the driving focus of my private practice. I love guiding patients through times of hormonal upheaval, allowing them to stay grounded despite the emotional turmoil that often accompanies times of illness. My favorite part of my job is watching people regain ownership of their healing process, reconnect with their bodies, and make positive changes in their lives.
I created Prism Integrative Acupuncture to fulfill a community need for transgender-inclusive, integrative hormone care. I focus in transgender wellness, but also in fertility, menopause, and other hormone-related issues. So, in thinking of a name, I wanted something that was at once clearly LGBTQ inclusive, but not exclusive to everyone else. I like ‘Prism’ because it not only brings up a visual of a rainbow, and thus flags queer inclusive, but it also implies multifaceted-ness. One stream of light through a prism can create an entire rainbow. I like this image both in reference to identity as a prism, but also to healing as a prism; a multifaceted, integrative process. I don’t just do acupuncture in my practice. I also prescribe herbs, discuss nutrition and lifestyle, supplements, interpret lab results, and confer with a patient’s western providers. Holistic medicine to me is not natural medicine only, it is integrative, it incorporates everything that can help a person so you can get the most well-rounded and effective care possible.
In addition to maintaining a private practice, I also teach an eight-hour series as part of AIMC’s Master of Science and Professional Doctorate curricula -instructing students on gender vocabulary and pronouns, western and eastern transgender medicine, and approaches for creating an LGBTQI-inclusive practice. I also teach an annual workshop for the faculty and staff of AIMC and a workshop for the students at ACCHS. In my spare time, you can find me hiking or camping with my partner and our dogs.
Lectures & Publications
Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences, Gender 101; May ‘18
Berkeley Community Acupuncture, Hair Brilliance and Chinese Medicine; Nov ‘17
CSOMA Northern California Conference, LGBTQ Inclusion Toolkit; Apr ‘15
California Journal of Oriental Medicine, First Steps Towards Making Your Clinic Trans-Inclusive, Fall ‘15
The great thing about Chinese Medicine is that we always work from a constitutional root. We look at the person’s tongue and feel their pulse to identify the root of a person’s pattern and work on that as well as the symptoms. It feels like magic being able to instantly identify the systems that are out of balance and why! The goal is always to bring the patient into alignment with their constitution, reducing their symptoms by returning them to what is natural for their bodies.
Acupuncture is an ancient holistic system that brings patients back into balance by fixing the root of a problem rather than just the symptoms. Some acupoints trigger a release of calming hormones, some rewrite pain pathways, some awaken the immune system, have anti-inflammatory effects, or increase circulation. Together, they help the nervous systems switch from ‘fight or flight’ (stress) mode into ‘rest and digest’ (healing) mode. This helps us keep calm, sleep well, build our immune systems, repair cellular damage; and it does wonders for the overall mind-body connection.
Acupuncture works in a series of treatments. The more scientifically identifiable effects of an acupuncture treatment (including changes in nerve and pain pathways, as well as endorphins and other brain chemicals that are released) last about four days after a session. We start with more frequent treatments to allow this healing momentum to build up. You can never have acupuncture treatments too close together, but you can have them too far apart. When the effects of treatment start to last longer than four days, that tells us that something has actually shifted and begun healing at deeper levels in the body. When we stretch out the time between treatments slowly, this allows the body to adjust to the changes being made and to actually maintain the healing process.
Perhaps the best part of acupuncture is that is just leaves everyone feeling relaxed and reconnected to their bodies and their minds. It allows you space to let go of blocks, introspect, and get guidance on how to best care for yourself. There is nothing on the needles, acupuncture just resets your system so that it can continue caring for itself. Sometimes we just need a little boost to be able to do what our bodies do best: heal and thrive!
In terms of transgender medicine, generally I’m using herbs, acupuncture, and nutrition to support western medicine for their gender transition. Herbs are great at reducing side effects of prescriptions hormones, like hot flashes, acne, hair loss, vaginal dryness, blood pressure imbalance, edema and bloating, and many other effects. Acupuncture is great for reducing chest tightness and back pain from breast binding, as well as for reducing pain and swelling and speeding healing after surgeries, post-surgical numbness, and neuropathies. Acupuncture can also be used to reduce the appearance of scars, including keloid scars, improve circulation to reduce the chance of blood clots and edema, and regulate blood pressure. By increasing or decreasing estrogenic foods in the diet, as well as by eating a balanced diet aimed at encouraging detox and flushing out of excess hormones, nutrition can be an important part of a patient’s transition plan too.
Rigorous scientific studies in recent decades have confirmed the effectiveness of acupuncture on specific conditions. A 2012 meta-review of 29 studies involving 17,922 patients concluded that acupuncture is effective for treating chronic pain[i]. A 2016 study of 209 peri- and post-menopausal women found that acupuncture decreased vasomotor symptoms of menopause by 39.6% compared to an increase of 6% in the control group[ii]. A February 2018 study of 102 patients undergoing laparoscopic hysterectomy at Mount Sinai Hospital in NY saw a 26% reduction in opioid usage post-surgery compared to the control group[iii]. These are just a few of many studies showing the efficacy of acupuncture.
[i] Vickers AJ, Cronin AM, Maschino AC, Lewith G, MacPherson H, Foster NE, Sherman KJ, Witt CM, Linde K, Acupuncture Trialists’ Collaboration FT. (2012). Acupuncture for Chronic Pain Individual Patient Data Meta-analysis. Arch Intern Med, 172(19): 1444–1453. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.3654
[ii] Avis, N. E., Coeytaux, R. R., Isom, S., Prevette, K., & Morgan, T. (2016). Acupuncture in Menopause (AIM) Study: A Pragmatic, Randomized Controlled Trial. Menopause, 23(6): 626–637. doi:10.1097/GME.0000000000000597
[iii] Yoselevsky E. et. al. (2018). A prospective randomized, controlled, blinded trial of pre-operative acupuncture in the management of pain in gynecologic surgery. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 218(2): S890. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2017.12.199