Acupuncturist finds a home in Woodfords | RecordCourier.com

Acupuncturist finds a home in Woodfords

by Lisa Gavon
R-C Alpine Bureau

He was deathly afraid of needles as a child, but Dr. Kimball Chatfield no longer harbors that fear. The needles he uses in his practice today are disposable and very tapered. These ultra-thin filaments stimulate the bundles of nerves below the skin to create a powerful physiological effect. Kimball is a doctor of oriental medicine and a board certified acupuncturist, and the insurance companies love him. Why?

"Because you get better and faster results, and can avoid costly and painful surgeries," he said.

Chatfield and his wife, Melinda, met while working at a restaurant together in Santa Barbara, Calif. It was Melinda who got him interested in alternative ways of healing. Today, after 35 years of marriage, and raising both a son and daughter, they still support and nurture the best in each other.

Having originally obtained a degree from San Diego State in natural resource management, Chatfield set his sights on being a national park biologist. Just as he was graduating, there was a federal hiring freeze. Chatfield had been trained to manage the natural resources of the environment, and it was a natural transition for him to choose to study acupuncture, which he considers a way to manage the natural resources of the human body.

Kimball and Melinda moved to Sonoma County while he attended Pacific College of Naturopathic Medicine, then returned to Santa Barbara where he went to California Acupuncture College. His doctorate dissertation studied treating pesticide poisoning with acupuncture. Chatfield had over 10 years of initial study. Over the years, he has continued to deepen his understanding and passion for his field of research. He has taught botanical medicine and medicinal plants of the Sierra at Lake Tahoe Community College. He leads illuminating plant identification walks in Tahoe, at our local Aspen Festival in the fall, and at Sorenson's Resort in July.

Although acupuncture has been documented as having been practiced over 9,000 years ago, this ancient science has changed very little as far as actual technique. The biggest difference today is that scientific inquiry can actually measure acupuncture responses. A functional MRI will document the effectiveness of an acupuncture treatment. Basically, it is the gentle and specific stimulation of the nerves of the body that pick up and react with electrical impulses. These impulses stimulate the healing responses. Depending where the needle is placed, it guides the body to pay attention to that area. Messages are sent to the brain to increase circulation, improve immune function, produce endorphins, seratonin, growth hormones, and chemicals that make us heal much faster and feel better.

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Ideas from modern physics, M-theory, and other research being done today helps illuminate acupuncture concepts about meridians in the body, the flow of energy, and energy vessels. They provide a way to take basic measure of vibrations and frequencies. The list of health problems that acupuncture has been successful in treating is quite long, and have shown that acupuncture heals injuries in one half the expected time.

Chatfield is at his Woodfords office every Wednesday. It is in the old Merrill home next to Market 88 at 250 Old Pony Express Way. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday he is available at Alpensong Healing Arts at 870 Emerald Bay Road in Lake Tahoe. His number in Alpine is 530-694-2459, and in Tahoe: 530-541-1999. He offers a senior discount, and most of his patients from Carson Valley meet with him in Woodfords.

He has authored two books. The most recent is "Astragulus: Ancient Herb for Modern Times." His excellent volume, "Medicine from the Mountains: Medicinal Plants of the Sierra Nevada" was published in 1997. Both are extensively researched, well-documented, and give us insight into alternative healing. They are available on Amazon.