Surgical Artistry is run by Dr. Tammy Wu and Dr. Calvin Lee.  Located in Modesto, California, we offer services in Plastic Surgery, Botox, Acupuncture, and Veins (facial veins and leg veins)

FaceBook for Surgical Artistry, Plastic Surgery in Modesto, CA - we would love for you to "like us"  BD = Brilliant Distinctions offered by the makers of Botox and Juvederm.  Discounts for Botox, Juvederm, and Latisse are available.  We can also sign you up at our office.

Tammy Wu, MD  |  Calvin Lee, MD  |  (209) 551-1888 

Mon-Fri 8am -5pm    2336 Sylvan Ave. C, Modesto, CA 95355
(next to the post office)

Plastic Surgery  |  Botox  |  Acupuncture  |  Veins


Acupuncture with Dr. Calvin Lee

Dr. Calvin Lee, Surgeon & Acupuncturist
Please feel free to call our office (209) 551-1888 to get details about appointments and treatments

Acupuncture Services Include:

  • Back Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Stress / Anxiety
  • Insomnia: Trouble falling asleep
  • Insomnia: Trouble staying asleep
  • Fertility/Infertility Acupuncture
  • Allergies - pollen
  • Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture
  • Feeling of sadness / Depression
  • General Wellness Acupuncture
  • Weight Loss Acupuncture
  • Smoking Cessation Acupuncture
  • Tension Headaches
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Trigger point issues
  • IT band pain (side of thigh/knee)
  • Knee Pain
  • Pyriformis Syndrome/Gluteal
  • Nausea, ie with pregnancy
  • Supportive of chemotherapy
  • Supportive of post op recovery
  • Nerve issues, tingling, etc.


Dr. Calvin Lee's recent article
about Acupuncture

Link for November/December 2012 (Inaugural) issue of Contentment Health

You could either read the magazine article above, or the original text which is shown below.

Below is the original text of the article


Calvin Lee, MD

What is Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine, originating about 5000 years ago, which involves the insertion of very thin needles into the body to create a healing response.  There are theories regarding manipulation of the flow of energy as the main acupuncture mechanism of action.  This energy is called Qi (sometimes spelled Chi).  Disruption in the flow of energy is believed to be responsible for ailments.  According to acupuncture theory, Qi flows through 12 main meridians associated with solid and hollow organs. The solid organs are considered Yin and the hollow organs are consider Yang forms of energy.  The balance of Yin and Yang is integral to the theory of acupuncture.  There are 8 other meridians that are also involved which do not involve organ systems.  Acupucture needles can be thought of as keys which can unlock barriers to the free flow of qi.

Acupuncture points, which can be considered the "locks", are found along these meridians and in the ear, hand, and scalp.  These areas are called microsystems where the entire body is represented as a map.  This is much like in the brain where there are certain sections mapped to assist the body with sensation and motor activity in predictable locations.  In western neuroscience this is called a "homunculus."  Meridian and microsystem acupuncture points are often correlated with areas of lowered electrical resistance when using measuring devices.  These acupuncture points can also be areas of slight tenderness.  There are about 2000 specific acupuncture points described. 


Does acupuncture hurt?

For most patients, even ones who say they hate needles, acupuncture doesn't hurt.  Most will say the opposite, that acupuncture is very relaxing.  If there is any discomfort, it is at the moment of needle placement which is a fraction of a second, and much of the sensation depends on speed and technique of needle insertion.  There is a form of acupuncture known as "Ah-Shi" which may be slightly more uncomfortable.  This style is most surgical-like in which the needle is used to lightly break up knotted connective tissue - such as the ones we find on our back muscles.  Even with the slight discomfort - it only lasts a few seconds.  Many patients tell me that they look forward to their sessions because of the relief that they can get afterwards.  Furthermore, during the acupuncture needle insertion, patients are usually talking to me the whole time.

There are different styles of acupuncture with different opinions on depth of needle insertion.  The Japanese style in general is more superficial than the Chinese style.  Patients usually don't feel much difference between the styles since most of the pain receptors are located at the skin level.


The acupuncture session

Most of the needles are placed in easily accessible areas below the knee, below the elbow, on the ears, and near the areas of pain.  One can wear regular street clothes.  Several components of acupuncture can be used for point selection.    For example, if one has pain, the meridian component of acupuncture places needles to move energy away from the pain and these needles are distant to the problem area.  Then there are needles placed in the regional and local points which are located close to and at the area of pain.  Then there is the microsystem component where acupunture needles are placed in a mapped out area of the ear (or hand or scalp).  Each component of acupuncture can be effective in itself.  In my practice, I like to combine all three components of Meridian, Local/Regional, and microsystem acupuncture.  Patients will usually have anywhere from 6 to 30 needles placed.  After insertion of the needles, the patients are usually resting comfortably in the room for another 15-30 minutes.  Patients usually come for 4-16 sessions of acupuncture to get maximal resolution of their problems.  The acupuncture sessions can be spaced as close as every day to as far as once a month.  Most of my patients come once to twice per week.  Much of the frequency of visits also depends on the presenting problems.


What are the risks of acupuncture?

The risks of acupuncture are very small.  Sterile and disposable needles are the standard.  The most frequent risk is bruising afterwards.  I think about 10% of the patients get a bruise.  If patients are pregnant, acupuncturists usually pick slightly different points to use because some points have the side effect of uterine contraction.  As with any form of medicine, there's the risk that acupuncture may not work.  I usually tell the patients that although 8-12 sessions of acupuncture might be needed, we should usually start to see results before the 4th session of acupuncture.

Overall, acupuncture is a very forgiving form of medicine with very few side effects.  It tries to bring balance.  Thus if a needle was inserted in a meridian that was already balanced, there wouldn't be much change exerted by that needle.  Therefore, in general, acupuncturists wouldn't set a body too far off center.  Balance is what the body needs to heal properly.


What does acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture has been described to be an entire system of medicine.  Books have been written about how to take care of every malady.  In my humble experience, acupuncture does better with certain problems than others.  The ailments with reasonably good responses are: back pain, neck pain, headache, pain from arthritis, myofascial pain, pain after surgery, post operative nausea, chemotherapy nausea, pregnancy related nausea, nerve compression related pain, gynecological pain, fertility issues, allergies, asthma, anxiety, stress, smoking addiction, and fine facial wrinkles (cosmetic acupuncture).


My views on acupuncture as a surgeon

This section is based on my own personal thoughts on acupuncture which I have been practicing since 2006.  Currently, there are very few surgeons in the world who also perform acupuncture.  My views here are may be contrary to traditional acupuncture teachings.

In my mind, there's two types of medicine - medicine that works and medicine that doesn't.  There's certain aspects of medicine that works for some and doesn't work for others - we're all familiar with this.  Thus, it's important for me to try to set deadlines to figure out if acupuncture is going to work for a patient.  And with many disease processes, it is better to treat early in the process rather than later. 

Anatomic problems such as those relating to malpositioning of bone or hernias should be addressed with traditional western surgeries.  Cancer and infections also fall into the category of anatomical problems which should be removed whenever possible with surgery and medications, and minimal time if any should be spent on acupuncture as the primary treatment for these problems.  Here, acupuncture can play a supportive/complimentary role - such as balancing the immune system or speeding up wound healing.

The top procedure that works for my patients using acupuncture is muscle related pain anywhere in the body - such as the back, neck, or even the bottom of the foot.  The procedure involved in treating some of these muscle pains involves trigger point deactivation with the "Ah-Shi" technique of acupuncture which can be considered a small surgical procedure that uses the needle to gently break up the fibrous connective tissues.  Patients are sometimes sore in the recovery phase of this procedure which usually lasts less than 24 hours - very similar to muscle soreness after an intense workout.  After getting this procedure, patients report that even their massage, physical therapy, stretching and chiropractic sessions seem to work even better.  As electricity is one of the languages of the human body, there is also a technique which applies a gentle electrical current directly into the tense muscle which can help them relax. 

It is always encouraging to me when different parts of the world come to very similar medical solutions.  Western medicine has come up with methods similar to acupuncture.  The closest equivalent to "Ah-Shi" would be called "dry-needling."  And the closest equivalent to adding electrical currents to the needles would be a western TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) unit which is applied as patches on top of the skin.  As for cosmetic acupuncture, western medicine has independently created something similar a few years ago.  It involves a small roller which has attached needle spikes coming out which automatically pierces the skin which results in more collagen production.  Cosmetic acupuncture requires specific placement of needles under the fine wrinkles of the face.  This technique was thought of thousands of years ago.  Although it is much more tedious, I think it is superior to the current plastic surgical rollers because of the improved accuracy of manual placement and the ability to leave the needles in place to create even more of a collagen building response.

For my patients with muscle related back pain, I believe that 80% would say that acupuncture is worthwhile.   In general, acupuncture has been a wonderful procedure for me to offer patients especially with the chance to cure problems with minimal side effects.


About Dr. Calvin Lee:

Dr. Calvin Lee has a degree in neuroscience from Brown University and is a board certified general surgeon who practices acupuncture in Modesto, CA.  With his plastic surgeon wife, Dr. Tammy Wu, he also practices other needle related surgical procedures:  Botox, filler, and vein injections.  He received his initial acupuncture training through a program offered to western trained medical doctors at Stanford University and has had additional training in Berkeley and Taipei, Taiwan.

Dr. Calvin Lee's office is Surgical Artistry, 2336 Sylvan Ave. Suite C, Modesto, CA 95355.  (209) 551-1888.





Dr. Lee's Credentials / Awards  |  Dr. Lee's Original Acupuncture webpage

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2336 Sylvan Ave. #C, Modesto, CA 95355,  (209) 551-1888
Surgical Artistry webpage is for information only, not medical advice.  Dr. Calvin Lee on Google+ homemade website by Calvin Lee, MD and Tzuying Tammy Wu, MD, Modesto, CA
Botox in Modesto, California  Date of edit: 02/24/2013