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Dr. Nancy Hyton

Asheville's First Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine 

I have been practicing acupuncture since 2007. As a doctor in the field, I am trained in a variety of traditional techniques. Acupuncture is the fundamental therapy upon which all of my sessions are built, but my toolbox also includes Chinese herbal medicine, 5-element nutrition, cupping, massage, acupressure, gua sha, and topical herbal formulas for pain. I find that these complementary therapies can enhance the effects of acupuncture, helping you get better faster, giving me the ability to address a wide range of diverse conditions. If your condition would benefit from any of these additional techniques, they are included at no extra charge. Please click here to learn more about my acupuncture treatments.

Private, One-on-One Acupuncture Sessions

My mission is to put the care back in healthcare. The main way I do this is by working with only one patient per hour. This ensures that all of my energy is focused on you. It also allows ample time for a thorough case history. In addition, it provides privacy for disrobing so we can access all of the acupuncture points and do complementary therapies like cupping. Furthermore, I find that private sessions make space for deeper rest and relaxation, something I believe is absolutely essential for healing. Please click here to learn more about my mission.

Acupuncture Takes a Holistic Approach to Health and Healing

In my practice, over 85% of my patients see a significant improvement. Using a holistic approach we look at your symptoms in the context of your overall health to create targeted, individualized treatments that work on multiple levels at the same time. This gives symptomatic relief while addressing deeper underlying imbalances so your condition is less likely to reoccur. Whether you are seeking something more natural, have exhausted mainstream medical options, or are interested in something that complements other types of therapies, acupuncture and Chinese medicine may be just what you are looking for. Please click here to learn more about the philosophy of holistic medicine.

Acupuncture Needles


What Acupuncture Treats

Like a family physician, I consider myself a general practitioner. I work on all sorts of conditions including pain, emotional imbalances, digestive disorders, exhaustion, auto-immune disorders, nervous system conditions, microbial infections, skin conditions, reproductive conditions, respiratory conditions, and more. Another important part of my practice is wellness, focusing on the unique ability of Chinese medicine to promote health and prevent illness. Please click here to learn more about the variety of conditions that I treat. 

How Acupuncture Works

One Western medicine explanation is that acupuncture activates the parasympathetic nervous system, the opposite of the sympathetic fight-or-flight nervous system that is triggered by stress and anxiety. In the parasympathetic state, we become deeply relaxed, heart rate and respiration slow down, the mind quiets, and the body focuses on healing and replenishing energy reserves. Other proposals include the ability of acupuncture to stimulate the release of endorphins, improve blood flow, and release trigger points. The Chinese medicine explanation is much broader. For example, needling along the acupuncture channels can improve the flow of chi, reducing pain in the local area and, by targeting the channels that pass through them, improving the functioning of the internal organs. Please click here to learn more about how acupuncture works.

Parasympathetic State


What to Expect Your First Acupuncture Appointment

Preparing for an acupuncture appointment is simple. My main recommendations are to wear loose clothing, make sure you are neither hungry nor thirsty, and generally plan to take it easy on the day of your treatment. The appointment itself is about an hour long and begins with a case history starting with your chief complaint. The acupuncture treatment takes place on a standard massage table in a private room and the needles stay in for about 25-30 minutes. Please click here to learn more about how to prepare for an acupuncture appointment.

About the Acupuncture Needles

Acupuncture needles are quite unlike the medical syringes that most of us are familiar with. They are as short and flexible as whiskers, more like a small wire, and are never used to inject or withdraw anything. The acupuncture needles I use are made of surgical-grade stainless steel, come prepackaged in sterile packets, and are used only once, then disposed of in a medical sharps container. Please click here to learn more about the acupuncture needles.

Why You Should See an Acupuncturist for Acupuncture

In short, acupuncturists have a lot more education and clinical experience. In North Carolina, physicians are not required to have any training in acupuncture in order to practice it, physical therapists only need 56 hours of class, and chiropractors only need 200. Furthermore, none of these practitioners are required to complete any clinical hours or continuing education. As a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, I have a total of 3,090 hours of training, 650 of which were clinical, passed four bar exams, and must complete 40 hours of continuing education every two years. Please click here to learn more about my qualifications versus those of MDs, DOs, PTs, and DCs.

Medicine: East and West

I believe that there is a place for every type of medicine and that each has its strengths and weaknesses. Still, there are some important fundamental philosophical differences among the various schools of medicine. When comparing Eastern and Western medicine, I find that they differ in four key ways: theory, diagnosis, treatment, and the way that they are practiced. These observations come out of my experience as both a patient of Western medicine and a practitioner of Eastern medicine. Please click here to learn more about the difference between Eastern and Western medicine.

5 Elements

Five Archetypes

In Chinese medicine, you are both an absolutely unique individual and a representative of one of five main archetypes. All of us have a predominant archetype that determines our basic body type and temperament, as well as our physical and emotional strengths and weaknesses. When it comes to health, knowing your archetype is essential because it can help you understand your predispositions and customize things like diet and lifestyle in a way that will prevent you from developing imbalance and disease. Please click here to learn more about the five archetypes.

The Theory Behind Acupuncture

Some of the most basic concepts in Chinese medicine include chi, yin and yang, and the five elements. In Chinese medicine, one of the most important things is to ensure that your chi is flowing smoothly. Within us, yin and yang are reflected in the balance of activity and rest and the interdependent relationship between our mind and body. As for the five elements, these are represented by the five internal organ systems of Chinese medicine. Please click here to learn more bout the basic theoretical concepts of Chinese medicine.

Causes of Disease

Chinese medicine recognizes multiple causes of disease. Some arise before we are born, including hereditary genetic conditions and conditions that may develop while we are in utero if our mother experiences a major shock, illness, or trauma. Others have more tangible sources, like injury, poor diet, or environmental toxin exposure. Then there are those that arise from emotional imbalances, especially when these imbalances are long-standing. Please click here to learn more about the causes of disease.

Making a Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine

The main goal of diagnosis in Chinese medicine is to identify what we call patterns or sets of symptoms. This is done by framing your chief complaint within the context of your overall health, looking at the ways in which different organ systems may be out of balance. This method can help identify common underlying causes of multiple symptoms and allow for a more targeted and individualized treatment plan. The main tools of diagnosis that we use in Chinese medicine include the case history interview, observation, palpation, and tongue and pulse diagnosis. Please click here to learn more about how a diagnosis is made in Chinese medicine.

Treatment Principles


Treatment Principles of Chinese Medicine

The main treatment principles of Chinese medicine are to get energy flowing (as seen in the theory of chi), restore balance (yin and yang), and optimize the functioning and coordination of the internal organ systems (the 5 elements). In practice, this means keeping the channels open so the chi can flow freely, eliminating accumulations, replenishing deficiencies, and ensuring that all of the internal organ systems are functioning optimally, supporting and working with each other in a harmonious way. Please click here to learn more about the treatment principles of Chinese medicine.

Patterns of Healing

Besides the nature of your chief complaint and how long you have had it, many factors can influence how you will respond to acupuncture including age, overall health, genetics, and compliance with taking herbs and making dietary and lifestyle changes. In general, however, the sooner you seek treatment, the more mild your condition, the better your overall health, and the more compliant you are with the treatment plan, the faster you will see improvement. Just as most conditions typically advance in phases or steps, most people improve in phases or steps as well, with the most recent symptoms usually resolving first. Please click here to learn more about the different patterns of healing.

Unexpected Benefits of Acupuncture

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have many unexpected benefits. For example, since it requires you to do nothing, it is an excellent way to get some rest, pause for a moment, and empty your mind. For those of us who care for others, either in our work or in our family life, acupuncture is a lovely way to balance this out by receiving care ourselves. As a holistic medicine, with goals like replenishing depletion and restoring function, it can help us learn to trust the transformational nature of the healing process. Please click here to learn more about the unexpected benefits of acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

The Ancient Medical Ethics of Sun Simiao

I strive to follow the example of Sun Simiao, an ancient Chinese physician who lived from 581 to 682 AD. His code of ethics is found in the thirty-volume encyclopedia he authored entitled "Prescriptions Worth a Thousand Pieces of Gold." This was the oldest comprehensive record of the practice of Chinese medicine ever written and is still studied in modern times. Sun Simiao is remembered as the "King of Medicine" and is honored in his hometown with a school of Chinese medicine that bears his name and yearly celebrations that commemorate his life. Please click here to read Sun Simiao's code of ethics.
"Nancy is so personable, attentive and truly tuned in and cares about the individual. She creates an environment that is patient centered, healing and wholistic. She is a breath of fresh air in that she takes the time to listen to your needs and not make you feel rushed. I can’t say enough about how much I would recommend her to anyone. The best!" ~Casey First
West Asheville Acupuncture
Monday to Thursday 9:30 to 6:00
Friday 9:30 to 12:00
26 Fairfax Avenue, 28806
Text or Call (828) 606-6791
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All content copyright Dr. Nancy Hyton