Open Circle Acupuncture

Imagine that our health surrounds each of us like a circle. This circle is made up of such things as our lifestyle choices and the health care modalities that we use. These things all function together to restore and maintain our health and wellness.

The image of an open circle implies fluidity. There is space for new elements to enter as needed, and the freedom to remove others when they are no longer of use. As the key participant in your health, you are empowered by choosing the elements surrounding you.

Acupuncture, lifestyle counseling and herbal medicine are three of the elements that Open Circle Acupuncture offers to you as tools in achieving your best potential health.



Does it hurt?

Most people do not find acupuncture to be painful. The needles used are very fine, about the thickness of a human hair. There may be some very minor momentary discomfort as the needles are inserted. After the needles are inserted, the patient may feel nothing at all, or they may feel a dull, warm or tingling sensation at the site of the needle or elsewhere on the body. This is perfectly normal and most patients quickly become accustomed to these sensations. If a needle is painful or uncomfortable for any reason, it can be readjusted to immediately make the patient at ease.


What kind of training does and Acupuncturist have?

Many people are surprised to learn that acupuncturists generally have a Master’s of Science degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine or a similar field. Their training includes coursework in acupuncture, herbal medicine and biomedicine. The biomedical training for acupuncturists is extensive; they receive a thorough background in such areas as Anatomy, Physiology, Pathophysiology and Physical Exam. As part of their education, acupuncturists also spend a significant amount of time in supervised clinical settings treating patients. After graduating, students must pass rigorous board exams in order to be licensed in California (or other states) and at a National level.

How does acupuncture work?

Our bodies are amazing in that they can normally heal themselves when minor problems occur. They also prevent minor issues from becoming more serious. When we do things such as eat well, sleep soundly, get sufficient exercise, and have a balanced emotional life, our bodies function well. Unfortunately, things such as stress, injury, infections, poor sleep, and other problems affect our bodies in a negative way. These issues can cause a reduction in our energy and can also lead to blockages in the movement of our energy. This can lead to discomfort, pain and disease.

Acupuncture needles are used to access the body’s energy. They can remove blockages in the body therefore allowing our energy to move more freely, which we may experience as a reduction in pain, discomfort and stiffness. They are also used to rebalance the body, enabling it to function well and generate the energy we need, allowing us to feel more balanced, energized and healthy.

What conditions does acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture is a complete system of medicine, and so there are many conditions that can benefit from it. The World Health Organization (WHO) published a report in 2003, listing many disorders that may be effectively treated with acupuncture. Some of the disorders mentioned in this report are: allergic rhinitis (including hay fever), dysmenorrhea, headache, knee pain, low back pain, morning sickness, neck pain, rheumatoid arthritis, sciatica, sprain and tennis elbow.

Clinically, Aimee has experience treating such varied conditions as allergies, anxiety, respiratory complaints, insomnia, stress, digestive problems, common cold/flu/virus, and headaches. She has worked with many patients to provide relief from muscle and joint pain due to stress, arthritis, injury and over-use. Aimee has been able to address her female patients’ women’s health issues, such as symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, painful periods, irregular periods, morning sickness and menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. She has also used acupuncture to support patients with their goals of weight loss and smoking cessation.

What can I expect at my first treatment?

At your first appointment, Aimee will conduct a detailed health history with you and will discuss your current health concerns and goals with you. Aimee will review this information and determine an individualized treatment plan to meet your needs. After being situated comfortably in a treatment room, sterile, disposable acupuncture needles will be inserted into the appropriate points. The needles are usually retained for 10 to 30 minutes while you rest. Needles are used only once and are disposed of appropriately after removal. Additional techniques may be performed as appropriate, such as electrical stimulation of the needles, cupping, gua sha, moxa and massage.

Is it safe?

The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) regulates the needles used for acupuncture. They are sterile and only used once. After removing each needle it is disposed of properly as medical waste. Acupuncturists are required to have extensive training and pass a state and/or national board exam in order to be licensed to practice. They are also required to complete continuing education to renew their licenses.

Does acupuncture work?

Many patients see results immediately with acupuncture. Those with acute conditions tend to see a benefit quite rapidly. Conditions that are more chronic or complicated may take a series of treatments before improvement is seen. The efficacy of acupuncture has been shown both clinically and through research.



What is Acupuncture?

Have you ever been curious about acupuncture and what it could do for you?

Acupuncture originated thousands of years ago in China and is practiced today in many countries. As a complete system of medicine, it is useful in addressing a broad range of conditions from joint and muscle pain to digestive disorders to mild anxiety to insomnia. It is also often used in conjunction with conventional western medicine. Acupuncture focuses on treating each person as an individual, providing treatments customized to their specific needs.

By inserting fine needles into specific points, acupuncture regulates our systems and enables the body to function more effectively. It allows our own healing mechanism to perform its job, bringing us to better health naturally.

If you are interested in finding out how acupuncture may be useful to you, please contact us for more information.

Additional Information on Acupuncture


Dr. Aimee Holdwick, DAOM, L.Ac.

Dr. Holdwick received both her Doctorate of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and her Masters of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego, California. She is California Acupuncture Board Licensed, Nationally Certified, and designated a Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Dr. Holdwick is also a faculty member at Pacific College, teaching acupuncture, neurology and orthopedics.

Prior to becoming an acupuncturist, Dr. Holdwick had a successful career as a Software Engineer. During this time, as a pedestrian involved in a motor vehicle accident, she suffered serious injuries requiring years of recovery and personally experienced chronic pain management. Acupuncture played a pivotal role in her recovery. This experience led her to pursue a career change, based on the desire to help others as she was helped to restore their health and well-being.

Dr. Holdwick is passionate about providing customized care, approaching each person’s concerns with individualized attention. Utilizing acupuncture, lifestyle counseling, and herbal medicine, she supports and empowers her patients to experience their best potential health.


Open Circle Acupuncture is located in the offices of Shui Chiropractic at 2722 5th Avenue. We are conveniently located in the Banker’s Hill neighborhood of San Diego, just north of downtown and west of Balboa Park.

Metered parking is available directly in front of the office on the west side of 5th Avenue. Free parking can be found on the east side of 5th Avenue and also on 6th Avenue.

Please call Dr. Holdwick at 619.818.5364 if you have any questions or are interested in making an appointment. She can also be reached at

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