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Clinic Services

The Five Branches University Health Centers have provided Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) healthcare to Santa Cruz and Bay Area families since 1984. Offering integrative, personalized healthcare, we work closely with patients to prevent illness, preserve health, and effectively treat the majority of their healthcare needs. 

TCM is practiced in a variety of settings, servicing the healthcare needs of millions of people worldwide.  It is a comprehensive natural healthcare system that originated in China, and relies upon the modalities of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, therapeutic massage, medical qigong, and dietary therapy. 

TCM practitioners use a sophisticated and complex system of diagnostic methods to discern patterns of imbalance and determine the underlying cause of illness. Practitioners may work with M.D.’s and other healthcare practitioners to improve a patient’s quality of life.


Acupuncture is one of the primary forms of treatment in traditional Chinese medicine and is one of the oldest healing practices in the world. It involves the stimulation of points on the body using very fine needles to correct imbalances in the flow of vital energy (qi) through channels in the body called meridians. 

Acupuncture is used to treat a wide variety of health conditions, reduce pain, provide immune-enhancement, and promote overall health and well-being. Our health centers use only sterile, single-use disposable acupuncture needles.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Recognizing the profound and powerful healing nature of herbs, over a period of 5000 years, the Chinese perfected an herbal medicine system. This brilliant and accurate diagnostic system of traditional Chinese medicine allows a practitioner to diagnose the underlying cause of symptoms. 

The most common method of taking Chinese herbal medicine is as a decoction or tea. Other forms of herbal medicines include herbal pills, tinctures and powdered extracts. There are hundreds of formulas called patent remedies that are carefully crafted to address an individual’s primary symptoms as well as their pattern diagnosis.

Therapeutic Massage

Our licensed massage therapists are professionally trained in a variety of bodywork therapies. You can combine acupuncture treatments with massage for an experience of deep relaxation and healing. Please contact the clinic nearest you to determine the availability of services.

Based on the same principles as acupuncture, Tuina massage provides the benefits of traditional Chinese medicine to patients without the use of needles. Tuina massage utilizes acupressure, stretching and gentle manipulation to restore balance and harmony in the human body. 

For children, Tuina massage is the primary means of treating illness in Chinese medicine, offering a gentle, nurturing method to positively influence their health and development.

Medical Qigong

Using gentle movement, breath and focused intent, Medical Qigong practitioners correct the energetic imbalances and blockages of qi in the body. Medical Qigong can be used for a wide variety of conditions and is highly effective in treating disease. It provides numerous benefits that can be continued with prescribed qigong exercises performed at home. Medical Qigong works well as a stand-alone modality or in conjunction with other Eastern and Western medicine practices.

Dietary Therapy

Our TCM practitioners understand the vital connection between diet and health. Nutritionally balanced diets are prescribed to facilitate weight loss, detoxification, and to improve your overall health.