About Denise Cicuto, L.Ac., Dipl. OM.

Denise doing Love Cupping by Chloe Jackman

Denise doing Love Cupping by Chloe Jackman

I help people live beyond emotional and physical pain.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs helped me recover from a very painful gynecological condition. My friend Elyse Tera was in acupuncture school and suggested I come to the clinic for treatment. I got significantly better and no longer needed painkillers.

Acupuncture changed my life. I was inspired to give something back. I had been working in payroll but decided to apply to acupuncture school and focus on women’s health. I chose to study in California where herbs as well as acupuncture are required for licensure.

I obtained my Masters of Science and Traditional Chinese Medicine from Yo San University in Los Angeles. As part of my training, I interned with Dr. Daoshing Ni in his very busy acupuncture practice specializing in fertility. I relocated my acupuncture practice from Los Angeles to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2007. 

My patients say I am a good listener and have a gentle needling touch. Often people who are scared of needles come to see me. If so, I’ll start with a very small number of needles or focus on acupressure and herbs. With children, I always use shonishin (acupressure for children) and will only use needles when the child is ready.

People think acupuncture needles are going to hurt. I really do wish we had a different name for them. I tell people that the needles we use are as thin as cat whiskers. Sometimes they are curious to see the needles but sometimes they are not. I always assure patients that I have a reputation for my gentle needling technique.

I detect the root cause of pain to help you heal on a soul level. Like a detective solving mysteries, I use my skills as an acupuncturist, herbalist, and alchemist to uncover the blocks that are in the way of your healing.

Traditional Chinese Medicine makes people active participants in their journey to wellness. I enjoy meeting people who used to be skeptical about acupuncture until they try it. I enjoy the moment a fertility patient tells me she is pregnant and then later helping her with labor preparation and birth. I enjoy how quickly children respond to treatment. I am always inspired by the positive attitudes of my patients living with HIV and those with cancer.

Teaching and learning:

(Photo by Chloe Jackman Photography)

(Photo by Chloe Jackman Photography)

Kirsten Cowan of Angelica & Peony and I co-hosted TCM Talk focusing on different health issues and how Traditional Chinese Medicine can help. I write here in my own blog and have also written for AcuTake which is a great website for explaining acupuncture to people in a very down-to-earth way.

Continuing Education is required to keep my acupuncture license current and it’s also one of the things I like most about my profession. My advanced training includes:

When I’m not doing acupuncture . . . 

Denise doing yoga pose “Wizard 2”. (Photo by Chloe Jackman Photography)

Denise doing yoga pose “Wizard 2”. (Photo by Chloe Jackman Photography)

I do yoga, practice mindfulness meditation, go to dance class, and walk a lot. (You can read about my year of daily yoga here.) I dress up in Steampunk costumes like the Gryffindor Victorian dress pictured here. My personal form of meditation is taking photographs.

I try to get acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage regularly. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got from a mentor was to schedule time off. Our lives are very active and yang. It’s important to spend some time in stillness and embrace the yin.

To learn more about me and my approach to medicine, please read “Solving Your Period Problems with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine” by Kirsten Cowan.



About Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a very ancient form of healing which predates recorded history. The philosophy is rooted in the Taoist traditions, which goes back over 8000 years. According to acupuncture theory, inserting and manipulating filiform needles into acupuncture points on the body, which is meant to balance the flow of Qi (Energy or life force) to restore health and well-being. It is particularly good at treating pain.

Traditional Chinese Medicine incorporates a holistic approach to wellness, treating the “whole” human being, not just the disease or condition. With acupuncture and other Traditional Chinese treatments, such as cupping, moxibustion and gua sha, we seek to restore the natural flow of the body and return the body to harmony.


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— Claire C.