East-West Medicine

We offer world-class medical care for both hospitalized and ambulatory patients in several locations, blending the best of modern Western and traditional Chinese medicine, all with outstanding customer service.
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Why choose UCLA Health for East-West Medicine?

The Center for East-West Medicine (CEWM) utilizes a unique health model based upon rational thinking, modern developments, and evidence-based research to not only treat but to also educate to ensure long-term health and the prevention of illness. Motivated by the ideas of safety and cost effectiveness, practitioners at the Center utilize a systems approach to address the needs of the highly complex nature of the person and restore balance and wellbeing as a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (the World Health Organization’s current definition of health).

Our clinic is truly integrative. Our US-trained and board-certified physicians also have training and experience in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The clinical team also includes a group of non-physician expert clinical extenders trained in TCM. Working together, the clinical team applies our patient-centered approach to develop individualized treatment plans to meet each patient’s needs.

Medical conditions we treat:

  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Back pain
  • Hip pain
  • Knee pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Post-surgical chronic pain
  • Pregnancy-related back pain
  • Myofascial pain
  • Sciatica
  • Neuropathy, neuropathic pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tennis elbow
  • Migraine headaches and other headache disorders
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Women’s health (dysmenorrhea, postpartum nutrition, menopausal hot flashes)
  • Morning sickness
  • Cancer-related and chemotherapy-associated nausea and fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Post-viral syndrome
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome and other functional gastrointestinal disorders
  • Stress

Frequently Asked Questions

Center for East West Medicine team

What is the difference between the East West Consultative service and East West Primary Care?

East-West Primary Care, created in July 2013, is a subset of the larger Center for East-West Medicine which provides primary and continuity medical care. The physicians that provide primary care include: Dr. Edward Hui, Dr. Katie Hu, and Dr. Alan Chu is only at our Santa Monica location.

East-West Consultative Care is a subspecialty clinic that blends both conventional biomedicine and traditional Chinese medicine to treat a wide spectrum of clinical problems and diseases. Patients are evaluated by board-certified internists and family practitioners with varying levels of background in traditional Chinese medicine. Physician-supervised care plans that may include a combination of acupuncture, trigger point injections, myofascial release, medication adjustments, lifestyle coaching, and dietary recommendations; and delivered via team-based treatment that often will include clinical extenders (acupuncturist, manual therapist). Care is problem-solving oriented, equipped to address both chronic and complex cases. This care is available at all 3 clinical sites - Santa Monica, Westlake Village, and Torrance.

What is the overall treatment approach?

You will be evaluated by board-certified internists/family practitioners/geriatricians with varying levels of background in traditional Chinese medicine. Integrative East-West medicine treatment plans often include a mix of lifestyle coaching and diet recommendations, medication adjustments, guidance in clinical management, acupuncture, trigger point injections and bodywork. This low-tech, low-cost and high-touch approach is delivered by a team that may include dual-trained physicians and clinician extenders working in concert and backed up by dedicated and motivated administrative and clinical staff. For a quick overview of the first office visit at CEWM, view a video introduction of our clinic from our original and prior clinic location. Most importantly, you, the patient, are the most essential piece of the treatment. We strongly emphasize self-help and active participation in rehabilitation, recovery and optimization of lifestyle and diet to maintain and improve your health.

Who is in the treatment team?

You will see a physician at every visit. In many cases, a clinician extender (typically an acupuncturist or manual therapist) might also be involved in your care. In the state of California, becoming a licensed acupuncturist requires the completion of a four-year master's degree program in TCM, or graduation from a TCM school in China. An acupuncturist must also pass a stringent state board examination. All acupuncturists at the Center for East-West Medicine are board certified, and trained in both TCM and modern western medicine.

Are you just an acupuncture clinic?

No, we are not the same as an acupuncture clinic. An acupuncture clinic in your community is typically run by acupuncturists or Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners (commonly with a LAc after their name). Patients seek their care typically for acupuncture, herbs, other treatments for various symptoms, or even just for promotion of wellbeing. Patients may pay cash or use insurance to receive treatment, often on the same day.

Our clinic is a physician-lead consultative clinic within the department of medicine at UCLA. Patients are commonly referred by primary care providers and specialists, just like referring to other specialties like rheumatology, endocrinology for example. The initial evaluation involves an extensive history and physical examination performed by a board-certified physician (MD). A care plan will be created together, and may include acupuncture, trigger point injections, bodywork and/or medical management/coordination.

How effective is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an effective treatment method used by millions of people in China, Korea, Japan, and other countries. Acupuncture encompasses a host of therapeutic and healing techniques that have been practiced for more than 2000 years. Though many different techniques and styles are in used in the West, scientific evidence supporting acupuncture’s effectiveness is variable. This is partly due to the difficulty in studying a dynamic, patient-centered system with the current research methodology that is dictated by the reductionist standards of scientific inquiry. Despite these challenges, a growing body of research supports acupuncture for a variety of conditions including but not limited to, chronic headaches, knee osteoarthritis, chronic pain, dysmenorrhea (painful periods), some musculoskeletal injuries. Evidence Map of Acupuncture.

What can acupuncture treat?

Hundreds of conditions are noted in traditional and modern acupuncture texts, and acupuncture practitioners claim a great diversity of conditions respond to acupuncture. But modern clinical research has only investigated the efficacy of acupuncture in treating a limited number of conditions. Studies have shown acupuncture therapy to be effective in treating:

  • Chronic pain: low back, neck, and facial pain, headaches, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, joint pain, arthritis, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis.
  • Acute pain: dental pain, post-surgical pain.
  • Sinusitis
  • Asthma
  • Urological problems: urgent or frequent urination.
  • Gynecological problems: menstrual pain, menstrual irregularity, menopausal symptoms, pelvic pain
  • Anxiety

Will the needles hurt and what are common adverse effects? 

Generally not and typically less than one would imagine. Acupuncture needles are significantly thinner, smaller, and not hollow as compared to hypodermic needles used for blood draws and immunizations. Different sizes of needles are used depending on what acupuncture points are chosen, but the needles are all about as thick as a human hair. If there is discomfort, the degree of pain you might experience will depend on how sensitive you are to the acupuncture needles, and what acupuncture points are used for your treatment (some points are more sensitive than others). Although uncommon, an area needled may have some redness, bruising, minor bleeding, or swelling. In rare cases, individuals being treated can faint or undergo muscle spasm.

How safe are the needles? 

All needles used in the clinic are individually packaged and sterile. They are used once and then disposed. Needles are never recycled.

What is a trigger point injection? 

Another needle-based treatment that is commonly used in combination with acupuncture in our clinic is trigger point injection. Trigger point injections are a treatment technique developed since the 1920s and became popularized by Janet Travell. Travell was selected as the White House physician by John F. Kennedy to treat his chronic musculoskeletal pain. There a considerable body of basic science and clinical evidence to support its use to treat myofascial pain and many other pain and non-pain syndrome.

The procedure includes a slightly larger needle compared to acupuncture, which is used to deactivate trigger points and address muscle tension and spasm. A small amount of local anesthetic, we commonly use lidocaine, is injected. We do not inject corticosteroids. You may experience soreness, bruising, or minor inflammation in the area treated. In very rare instances, an allergic reaction might occur (to the lidocaine), which may result in inflammation, swelling, or rash. Learn more about trigger points injections.

Do you prescribe herbals and supplements or compound medications?

Recommendations for herbs, vitamins, and supplements are based on both modern medical and traditional Chinese medical approaches. We have no affiliations or financial disclosures with pharmaceutical companies or herbal/supplement companies. Herbal and supplement recommendations may vary depending on conditions or preferences as well as the East-West Medicine provider. We will never sell you products in the clinic.

As a resident, how do I apply to the East-West Medicine fellowship?

More information on the East-West medicine fellowship.