“Katrina is truly a gem. In addition to being thorough and deeply knowledgeable, Katrina is a thoughtful care provider who listens and interacts with patients in a good-humored, clear, and respectful manner… I always leave appointments feeling better. She’s a wonderful provider, and approaches her work and her patients with an open, accepting, and supportive manner that only enhances her technical skills.” -S.L.
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Katrina has been in the healthcare field for nine years. She is a licensed acupuncturist and Professor at the Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences, Oakland, CA. She studied Public Health at The Evergreen State College and trained as a health educator before completing the Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College (AIMC)’s rigorous four-year Master of Science program, including an internship at UCSF Benioff’s Mission Bay Children’s Hospital and the San Francisco Homeless Prenatal Program. She specializes in LGBTQI+ wellness, surgical recovery, endometriosis and pelvic pain, sexual wellness, and hormone regulation. She consults with a variety of alternative medicine colleges on transgender medicine and creating LGBT-inclusive schools. She published First Steps Towards Making Your Clinic Trans-Inclusive in the California Journal of Oriental Medicine, Fall 2015.
I came to acupuncture through a love of herbal medicine, sparked by my botanist father who taught me a deep appreciation for plants. The women in my family taught me the value of taking care of others, and also exposed me to our culture’s gendered expectations of careteaking. This led me to study public health and gender studies for my undergrad, through which I become involved with groups on campus that led DIY herbal medicine workshops for women and LGBTQ folks. Coming out and being a part of queer community—with transgender and gender non-conforming loved ones—brought my attention to the disparities in access to safe, inclusive healthcare for LGBTQ people.
I started acupuncture school because I liked the Chinese Medicine diagnostic system, their holistic way of working with a person’s constitution and intricate balanced combinations of herbal medicines. I love being a part of a medicine that allows people not just to be taken care of or fixed by others, but to take care of themselves and listen to their bodies.
Through learning this medicine, I learned to care for and listen to my own body as well. I’d spent years suffering from endometriosis without knowing what it was. I went to so many doctors and tried to convince them that something was wrong, but none of them saw my symptoms as connected. Even worse, I had to endure homophobia and (sometimes hostile) questions about my sexuality and relationship status from these healthcare providers. When they weren’t hostile, they wanted me to help them bring in more LGBTQ patients.
Luckily for me, I was also in acupuncture school at this time. I realized that I needed to decide that I deserved to feel better before I could help others feel that themselves. I began getting weekly acupuncture sessions, taking herbs regularly, focusing on eating better, and exercising more regularly. Not only did my symptoms improve, but I was even able to work through my fear of the western medical system in order to get an endometriosis diagnosis, which helped give me more information about what I was experiencing and how to better care for myself. Best of all, once I made these changes for myself, my patients started making them too.
I started studying acupuncture and Chinese Medicine to be able to offer other LGBTQ folks a holistic alternative to the dehumanizing healthcare experiences I’d been subjected to. My personal connection to queer and lesbian communities has, and continues to be the driving focus of my private practice. I love guiding patients through times of hormonal upheaval, allowing them to stay grounded despite the emotional turmoil that often accompanies times of illness. My favorite part of my job is watching people regain ownership of their healing process, reconnect with their bodies, and make positive changes in their lives.
Prism Integrative Acupuncture Mission
To provide a cutting-edge integration of modern Western and classical Chinese diagnosis, via intuitive acupuncture and herbal treatments tailored to YOU, to help you achieve your personal wellness goals and improve your quality of life.
To create a safe, inclusive healing environment where you can access the healthcare you need and deserve, free of discrimination and judgement.
To make you an active participant in the healing process by forming a one-of-a-kind holistic care plan that supports your unique journey towards self-realization, empowerment, and wellness.
We provide effective, holistic, LGBTQI-inclusive hormone support and comprehensive wellness. We address not only your symptoms but also their underlying cause -and improve your general well-being- in a welcoming and comforting environment. We want everyone to be able to access the healthcare that they want and need without fearing judgement or misunderstanding. Women are told to put others’ needs first and not to take care of themselves; trans folks learn to avoid medical care so they won’t be judged or pathologized. We actually love working with people who are skeptical of healthcare and not used to taking care of their physical and emotional selves. Our practice is about healthcare for individuals, but it’s also about healing the system that tells women their well-being is less valued and tells trans people their identity is a pathology.
Katrina created Prism Integrative Acupuncture to fulfill a community need for transgender-inclusive, integrative hormone care. We focus in transgender wellness, but also in fertility, menopause, and other hormone-related issues. So, in thinking of a name, she wanted something that was at once clearly LGBTQ inclusive, but not exclusive to everyone else. We like ‘Prism’ because it not only brings up a visual of a rainbow, and thus flags queer inclusive, but it also implies multifaceted-ness. One stream of light through a prism can create an entire rainbow. We like this image both in reference to identity as a prism, but also to healing as a prism; a multifaceted, integrative process. We don’t just do acupuncture in our practice. We also prescribe herbs, discuss nutrition and lifestyle, supplements, interpret lab results, and confer with a patient’s western providers. Holistic medicine to us is not natural medicine only, it is integrative, it incorporates everything that can help a person so you can get the most well-rounded and effective care possible.
Credit: The Gender Spectrum Collection
The great thing about Chinese Medicine is that we always work from a constitutional root. We look at the person’s tongue and feel their pulse to identify the root of a person’s pattern and work on that as well as the symptoms. It feels like magic being able to instantly identify the systems that are out of balance and why! The goal is always to bring the patient into alignment with their constitution, reducing their symptoms by returning them to what is natural for their bodies.
Acupuncture is an ancient holistic system that brings patients back into balance by fixing the root of a problem rather than just the symptoms. Some acupoints trigger a release of calming hormones, some rewrite pain pathways, some awaken the immune system, have anti-inflammatory effects, or increase circulation. Together, they help the nervous systems switch from ‘fight or flight’ (stress) mode into ‘rest and digest’ (healing) mode. This helps us keep calm, sleep well, build our immune systems, repair cellular damage; and it does wonders for the overall mind-body connection.
Acupuncture works in a series of treatments. The more scientifically identifiable effects of an acupuncture treatment (including changes in nerve and pain pathways, as well as endorphins and other brain chemicals that are released) last about four days after a session. We start with more frequent treatments to allow this healing momentum to build up. You can never have acupuncture treatments too close together, but you can have them too far apart. When the effects of treatment start to last longer than four days, that tells us that something has actually shifted and begun healing at deeper levels in the body. When we stretch out the time between treatments slowly, this allows the body to adjust to the changes being made and to actually maintain the healing process.
Perhaps the best part of acupuncture is that is just leaves everyone feeling relaxed and reconnected to their bodies and their minds. It allows you space to let go of blocks, introspect, and get guidance on how to best care for yourself. There is nothing on the needles, acupuncture just resets your system so that it can continue caring for itself. Sometimes we just need a little boost to be able to do what our bodies do best: heal and thrive!
In terms of transgender medicine, generally I’m using herbs, acupuncture, and nutrition to support western medicine for their gender transition. Herbs are great at reducing side effects of prescriptions hormones, like hot flashes, acne, hair loss, vaginal dryness, blood pressure imbalance, edema and bloating, and many other effects. Acupuncture is great for reducing chest tightness and back pain from breast binding, as well as for reducing pain and swelling and speeding healing after surgeries, post-surgical numbness, and neuropathies. Acupuncture can also be used to reduce the appearance of scars, including keloid scars, improve circulation to reduce the chance of blood clots and edema, and regulate blood pressure. By increasing or decreasing estrogenic foods in the diet, as well as by eating a balanced diet aimed at encouraging detox and flushing out of excess hormones, nutrition can be an important part of a patient’s transition plan too.
Rigorous scientific studies in recent decades have confirmed the effectiveness of acupuncture on specific conditions. A 2012 meta-review of 29 studies involving 17,922 patients concluded that acupuncture is effective for treating chronic pain[i]. A 2016 study of 209 peri- and post-menopausal women found that acupuncture decreased vasomotor symptoms of menopause by 39.6% compared to an increase of 6% in the control group[ii]. A February 2018 study of 102 patients undergoing laparoscopic hysterectomy at Mount Sinai Hospital in NY saw a 26% reduction in opioid usage post-surgery compared to the control group[iii]. These are just a few of many studies showing the efficacy of acupuncture.
[i] Vickers AJ, Cronin AM, Maschino AC, Lewith G, MacPherson H, Foster NE, Sherman KJ, Witt CM, Linde K, Acupuncture Trialists’ Collaboration FT. (2012). Acupuncture for Chronic Pain Individual Patient Data Meta-analysis. Arch Intern Med, 172(19): 1444–1453. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.3654
[ii] Avis, N. E., Coeytaux, R. R., Isom, S., Prevette, K., & Morgan, T. (2016). Acupuncture in Menopause (AIM) Study: A Pragmatic, Randomized Controlled Trial. Menopause, 23(6): 626–637. doi:10.1097/GME.0000000000000597
[iii] Yoselevsky E. et. al. (2018). A prospective randomized, controlled, blinded trial of pre-operative acupuncture in the management of pain in gynecologic surgery. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 218(2): S890. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2017.12.199
We strive to create a patient-centered, body-positive healing culture for people of all identities and backgrounds. Our commitment includes but is not limited to inclusion of people of any sexual orientation, gender identity or presentation, belief system or religion, body size, relationship status, kink identity, sex worker status, racial identity, ethnicity, nationality, mental or physical ability, citizenship status, or socioeconomic status.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient holistic system that brings patients back into balance by fixing the root of a problem rather than just the symptoms. Some acupoints trigger a release of calming hormones, some rewrite pain pathways, some awaken the immune system, have anti-inflammatory effects, or increase circulation. Together, they help your nervous systems switch from ‘fight or flight’ (stress) mode into ‘rest and digest’ (healing) mode. This helps you keep calm, sleep well, build your immune system, repair cellular damage; and it does wonders for your overall mind-body connection. Most people notice their sleep and baseline energy levels steadily improving, better digestion, and an overall sense of relaxation, in addition to improvement in your main areas of concern.
How long will I need treatment?
Most acute conditions see marked improvement within just a few (4-8) visits and may need treatment 2-3 times a week initially. Chronic conditions may take longer but need less frequent sessions, usually weekly. A general guide is that for each year you have had a problem, it will take about one month of weekly treatments for that issue to resolve. As conditions improve, you can come in less often.
Does acupuncture hurt?
You may feel a tapping or slight pricking sensation on needle insertion, but most people feel nothing at all. If you have any pain or discomfort, speak up so that I can make your treatment as relaxing and comfortable as possible.
What if I don’t want a particular treatment or a particular area of my body needled?
If you have specific concerns about the treatment or if you are not comfortable with certain areas of your body being touched or needled, please let me know. If you need to remain seated rather than lying down, are more comfortable on your side, would prefer to have your hands free during treatment, or have other concerns, please let me know during the intake and I will make sure your needs are accommodated.
How long does the appointment last?
Appointments last about 50 minutes; the first appointment is a little longer. You should arrive 10-15 minutes early to your first appointment to fill out intake forms if you have not already filled them out electronically (you will receive the electronic forms in your confirmation email).
What should I wear to my appointment?
Loose fitting comfortable clothes that provide access up to your elbows and knees. You are welcome to bring a change of clothes or use the gowns we provide.
Can my partner/child/friend/caregiver come to my appointment?
Yes, as long as we can spend the valuable time we have together focusing on YOU. Please be aware that you’ll need to lay mostly still for about 30 minutes so please don’t bring a small child without another adult present to attend to them. I may ask your support person to leave the room for a brief moment during the intake in case there is any sensitive information you’d like to share without them present.
In respect for our intentions to offer high quality healthcare at affordable prices, we ask for:
- 48 hours advance notice to cancel or reschedule an appointment.
- Please cancel or reschedule online or via call or text only, not via email.
- Missed appointments will be charged the full amount of the visit. Exceptions are given for emergencies and illness. Insurance coverage may not be used for missed or late cancelled appointments. ‘Missed appointments’ includes:
- Appointments cancelled with less than 48-hour notice
- Missed appointments
- Appointments for which the patient is more than 15 minutes late
All services, gift certificates, and herbs purchased are nonrefundable. Refunds for treatment package purchases are available for the unused portion, however this will void any discount applied to the package. We are not currently participants of any insurance network except for Blue Shield of CA (in other words we are considered “Out-of-Network” providers for all other companies). You are responsible for covering any portion of services not covered by your insurance, regardless of the coverage amounts quoted during the initial verification process.