Acupuncture: It’s Not Just For Pain

Tarah Long
Owner and licensed acupuncturist at Wide Awakened Healing and Acupuncture

Where did you receive your schooling and training?

In Austin, Texas, at Academy of Oriental Medicine, and in Chengdu, China.

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Tarah Long applies acupunture to treat back pain.

When you studied in China, how did you work around the language difference?

I went to China with a group from my acupuncture school because the owner and the doctors who taught us were from Chengdu and had good relations with the school there. Before we went, we learned a little bit of Chinese, but we also had translators in the hospitals where we were working.

How long have you been working in alternative medicine?

About 10 years. I’ve worked with other practitioners in Hawaii and opened my own practice almost two years ago.

What got you interested in this field?

I had stomach ulcers and gastritis since I was 15. I had stomach pain every time I ate. I went to doctors and was put on medication after medication. Each medication would work for a little while, but it eventually would stop working, so they’d put me on something else.

When I was 21, I was studying at University of Minnesota for my undergrad, and my doctor at the clinic there said that there was nothing else they could do for me, so they sent me to an acupuncturist. I was willing to try anything, so I went to see an acupuncturist, and from my very first session with him I experienced no more symptoms, no more pain. I had a course of treatment with him. It was life-changing, and I knew lying on that table that first time, that was what I wanted to do (go into acupuncture).

Do you have a particular area of specialization?

Ninety percent of what acupuncturists see is pain, because pain is what people know it for. But acupuncture is 4,000 years old and is a complete medical system. We treat so many conditions. I treat digestive disorders, mood disorders ― anxiety, stress, depression. Also, autoimmune disorders, chronic fatigue and many other internal issues.

How does acupuncture work?

It balances the body’s energies so that it can heal itself. We have subtle energy systems, or meridians, in our body that are all connected, and there are points on each meridian. Each point has an energetic function, so when we tap into that point with acupuncture we’re accessing the chi or energy at that point. The chi might be stagnated or stuck like a traffic jam and it can’t get through, so acupuncture will help the chi to flow again. Or there might not be enough chi in an area and acupuncture will bring the energy to that point. The beauty of acupuncture is that it guides the body to do whatever it needs in order to heal. It doesn’t tell it what to do. It’s very gentle.

Do you have a philosophy that drives your work?

I do much more than acupuncture. I do a lot of other healing and energy work as well, such as cell and organ regeneration therapy, quantum healing hypnosis, nutrition, coaching and Chinese herbs. The main theme in all of these modalities, including acupuncture, which is the majority of what I do, is that they allow the body to heal itself. I want to empower people to know that they have an inner healer and can tap into that anytime to heal themselves.

My mission is to awaken people … your body can take care of itself. It just needs the proper tools to do so, and acupuncture is one of those tools. I look at the whole person, so if someone comes in with a physical symptom, I’ll look at their mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing. I coach them on where in their life they need to make changes and listen to their higher self or guidance to make those changes, so that they can facilitate that healing on their own when they go home. We also talk about nutrition. But the root of the problem is usually an emotional imbalance.

When you say you treat people’s mental wellbeing, does that refer to psychotherapy?

We have various modalities, like hypnotherapy, which isn’t brainwashing or anything of the sort. I’m giving people mindset tools and homework to help them love themselves more. Because when you have self-love, every issue you could possibly have, physical or otherwise, dissolves because nothing problematic can exist where love is. I give them homework so they can think and engage and heal on their own at home.

For more information, call 392-1904 or visit