Imperial Acupuncture


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Visit our full-service health and wellness clinic in Kent and West Seattle, Washington, for professional acupuncture, facial rejuvenation, Chinese herbal medicine, massage and nutritional exam & therapy sessions. Imperial Acupuncture has two office locations for your convenience. Click on the "Driving Directions" tab for a map and driving directions to both locations.

Phavikone Sundara, East Asian Medicine Practitioner and Herbologist, speaks French, Lao and Thai and is experienced in helping people with pain therapy, weight loss, injury recovery and promoting overall health and well being.

Check back for updates and more information about Acupuncture, Herbal Medicines, Nutrition, Tuina - Chinese massage, and other services we offer.


About Phavikone Sundara, OMD, L. Ac.

Phavikone Sundara is board-certified by the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine). The NCCAOM is a private non-profit organization which develops, promotes, and administers examinations and certifications for acupuncture, Chinese herbology and Asian bodywork.

Phavikone Sundara is also licensed as an East Asian Medicine Practitioner by the Washington State Department of Health. Phavi speaks French, Lao and Thai and has studied with some of the finest masters of acupuncture and considers himself an expert. He will work with your medical doctor, chiropractor, massage therapist, naturopath or other health expert(s) you trust to help you achieve maximum health. At each appointment he will probably examine your tongue, hold your wrists and examine your complexion to determine your current state of health. You will probably also be questioned about your eating habits, sleeping pattern, stress factors and other information that will help Phavikone administer your treatment.

Phavikone Sundara, OMD, L.Ac, has completed a master's level program in Oriental Medicine approved by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. This required a minimum of 2,900 hours of supervised instruction, including 15 hours covering safety measures on needle technique, three hours on HIV/AIDS precautions, and 20 hours on Florida state statutes and rules on medical practices. Acupuncturists then receive their accreditation after passing an exam administered by the Florida Board of Acupuncture. L.Ac.'s generally receive from 2500 to 4000 hours of training in Chinese medical theory, acupuncture, and basic biosciences.

In 1992 Phavikone earned a Public Diploma in Traditional Acupuncture, Paris, France. In 2002 he was awarded a Diploma for 4 Year Medical Program in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the Florida Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine. At that time he was also prsented with a special Certificate of Achievement for graduating with the highest honors and recognized for performing the most clinic hours in his graduating class. In 2007 Phavikone received a Statement of Credit for Facial Rejuvenation with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs from Bastyr University.

Phavikone was nationally certified and designated a Diplomate in Acupuncture by The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine" and is a member of the Washington Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Association.

Cupping is a therapy in which a jar is attached to the skin surface to cause local congestion through the negative pressure created by introducing heat in the form of an ignited material. In ancient times in China, the cupping method was called the "horn method" because an animal horn was used.

Along with continual development in clinical practice, the materials for making jars and the methods have been greatly improved. The range of indications has been expanded since this method is simple and the therapeutic effect is good. This therapy has attracted great attention and is applied in large scale by the broad masses, and also used as an auxiliary method of acupuncture and moxibusiton.

There are a great variety of jars, but most commonly used in clinical practice is the bamboo jar and the glass cup. Dr. Sundara usually prefers to use glass jars because since the glass cup is transparent, the local congestion at the site for moxibustion can be seen so as to control the treatment.

The cupping method warms and promotes the free flow of qi and blood in the meridians, dispelling cold dampness, diminishing swellings and pains. In clinics, the cupping method is mainly used to treat Bi syndrome caused by wind dampness, such as pain of the low back, shoulders, and leg, gastrointestinal disorders such as stomachache, vomiting, and diarrhea, and the lung disease such as cough and asthma.

Using tweezers, an ignited cotton ball (soaked with alcohol) is placed into a glass cup to create a vacuum. Then the mouth of the cup is rapidly placed firmly against the skin on the desired location. This method is applied to the lateral side of the body, mostly on the back or another part of the body.

After cupping, there may be blood stasis or bruising at the local area. Generally, it will disappear several days later.
Not only is acupuncture now being accepted as a serious treatment, but many in the medical community suggest acupuncture should take place before surgery for foot pain since it can eliminate the need for surgery. This offers hope for those who have suffered with foot pain that was considered untreatable by traditional methods. There are finally studies showing acupuncture can provide significant relief in these situations.

The foot is one of the most complex parts of the body, consisting of 38 bones connected by numerous joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Because the foot is susceptible to many stresses, feet and ankle problems are a common reason for doctor visits (over 4.5 million office visits a year, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons). Examples include pain, inflammation and limited range of motion.

The most common cause of foot pain is improper foot function or poor posture. However, other factors can cause (or lead to) foot pain. Footwear can worsen and, in some cases, produce foot problems. Shoes that are too tight, for instance, can increase pressure and stress, while shoes that are too loose can let the foot slide and rub, creating friction. Overuse and exercise-related problems can also cause foot pain.

Among the most common types of foot problems are heel spurs (an abnormal growth on the heel bone); corns (callous growths that develop on the top of toes); bunions (a protrusion of bone or tissue around a joint); neuromas (a buildup of tissue in the nerves running between the long bones of the foot); or hammertoes (condition causing the middle joint of the toe to poke out).

Nearly everyone suffers from some form of foot pain during their lifetime. Athletes who do not warm up their feet prior to exercise are especially susceptible to problems.

Many acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain syndromes have been effectively treated using medical acupuncture, including repetitive strain disorders such as plantar fasciitis and carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as myofascial pain patterns and associated disorders such as tension headaches and temporomandibular joint dysfunction.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are able to treat neuroma, bone spurs, bunions and other common foot problems and foot pain with great success. Studies have shown acupuncture to be effective in relieving many types of foot pain. Research done by experts from Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C showed acupuncture as an effective form of care for plantar fasciitis producing considerable reductions in foot pain and improvements in foot function in a relatively short amount of time.

Studies cited in journals like "Acupuncture in Medicine" and "Acupuncture Today" show acupuncture to be effective in relieving otherwise unresponsive chronic foot pain.
Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine therapy using moxa (mugwort herb), along with acupuncture. Medical historians believe moxibustion actually pre-dates acupuncture. Moxibustion is the application of heat resulting from the burning of a small bundle of tightly bound moxa to targeted acupoints. Practitioners use moxa to warm regions and acupuncture points with the intention of stimulating circulation through the points and inducing a smoother flow of blood to promote the body's ability to heal itself.

Moxibustion is especially effective in the treatment of chronic problems and gerontology. It is believed to add new energy to the body and is used to treat both excess and deficient conditions because the radiant heat produced by moxibustion penetrates deeply into the body, restoring the balance and flow of vital energy or life force (qi).

According to Chinese medicine, there are different types of qi, such as yin and yang types of qi. The yang type of qi is one of the essential materials that build up the foundation of the human body. Sufficient yang qi is essential for a healthy life. The disorder of yang qi can lead to cold, deficiency or even exhaustion of the essential qi and is so severe situation it sometimes may cause even cause a coma. In these cases, moxibustion can be applied to reinforce yang qi and stop the collapse.

Pathogenic factors such as cold and heat can cause abnormal flow of qi and blood in the body, which may lead to all kinds of diseases (including arthritis). For example, cold can cause the slow flow or even stagnation of qi, which is one of the main factors of pain. Moxibustion can help remove the stagnation of qi and the blood through warming up qi, and thus relieve pain and other ailments. Moxibustion can be used for reinforcement and reduction purposes. The reinforcement technique is a therapeutic method for patients with deficiency, such as fatigue. The reduction method is usually used for patients with excess, such as high fever.

Moxibustion can be applied at the acupuncture point at the bottom of the feet to treat disorders such as hypertension, when yang qi flows upward abnormally. On the other hand, moxibustion applied at the top of the head can help yang qi to flow upward normally, and treat disorders such as chronic diarrhea.

Detailing the functions of moxibustion, the authors of Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion say that it is used for the following purposes:
To warm meridians and expel cold.
Abnormal flow of qi and blood usually results from cold and heat. Cold causes obstructed flow or even stagnation of qi, and heat results in rapid flow of qi. Normal heat activates blood circulation and cold impedes its smooth flow. Since stagnation of qi and blood is often relieved by warming up the qi, moxibustion is the right way to generate the smooth flow of qi with the help of the ignited moxa wool.
To induce the smooth flow of qi and blood.
Another function of moxibustion is to induce qi and blood to flow upward or downward. For example, moxibustion is used to treat disorders caused by excess in the upper part and deficiency in the lower part of the body.
To strengthen yang from collapse.
Yang qi is the foundation of the human body. If it is in a sufficient condition, a man lives a long life; if it is lost, death occurs. Yang disorder is due to excess of yin, leading to cold, deficiency, and exhaustion of the primary qi, characterized by a fatal pulse. At this moment, moxibustion applied can reinforce yang qi and prevent collapse.
To prevent diseases and maintain health.
It is often said, If one wants to be healthy, you should often have moxibustion over the point zusanli. Frequent moxibustion on zusanli can invigorate the spleen and stomach, assist in digestion, hence, strengthening the body and slowing down the process of aging.

A study in Taiwan found that mice with tumors that had been treated with moxibustion lived longer than mice with tumors that had not. In addition to Cancer, Moxibusion is believed to help treat chronic conditions such as arthritis, digestive disorders, and ulcers. For thousands of years it has been accepted by the general Chinese population as an effective curative method for a wide range of indications, because of its simple application, low-cost and safety.

Both historical and current clinical experiences have proven that moxibustion is not only a very effective, but also a convenient method in preventing diseases and improving health.
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History of Acupuncture

The earliest recorded use of acupuncture dates from 200 BC. Knowledge of acupuncture spread from China along Arab trade routes towards the West. However, up until the early 1970s, most Americans had never heard of acupuncture. Acupuncture gained attention in the United States when President Nixon visited China in 1972. Traveling with Nixon was New York Times reporter James Reston, who received acupuncture in China after undergoing an emergency appendectomy. Reston was so impressed with the post-operative pain relief he experienced from the procedure that he wrote about acupuncture upon returning to the United States.

In 1997, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) formally recognized acupuncture as a mainstream medicine healing option with a statement documenting the procedure's safety and efficacy for treating a range of health conditions. While awareness of acupuncture is growing, many conventional physicians are still unfamiliar with both the theory and practice of acupuncture.

There are now hundreds of clinical studies on the benefits of acupuncture now. Many of these clinical studies are performed in China. Acupuncture has been used successfully in the treatment of conditions ranging from musculoskeletal problems (back pain, neck pain, and others), nausea, migraine headache, anxiety, and insomnia.

How does acupuncture work?
The effects of acupuncture are complex. How it works is not entirely clear. Research suggests that the needling process, and other techniques used in acupuncture, may produce a variety of effects in the body and the brain. One theory is that stimulated nerve fibers transmit signals to the spinal cord and brain, activating the body's central nervous system. The spinal cord and brain then release hormones responsible for making us feel less pain while improving overall health. In fact, a study using images of the brain confirmed that acupuncture increases our pain threshold, which may explain why it produces long-term pain relief. Acupuncture may also increase blood circulation and body temperature, affect white blood cell activity (responsible for our immune function), reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and regulate blood sugar levels.

What does an acupuncturist do?
In addition to asking questions, the acupuncturist may want to take your pulse at several points along the wrist and look at the shape, color, and coating of your tongue. The acupuncturist may also look at the color and texture of your skin, your posture, and other physical characteristics that offer clues to your health. You will lie down on a padded examining table, and the acupuncturist will insert the needles, twirling or gently jiggling each as it goes in. You may not feel the needles at all, or you may feel a twitch or a quick twinge of pain that disappears when the needle is completely inserted. Once the needles are all in place, you rest for 15 - 60 minutes. During this time, you'll probably feel relaxed and sleepy and may even doze off. At the end of the session, the acupuncturist quickly and painlessly removes the needles.

For certain conditions, acupuncture is more effective when the needles are heated, using a technique known as "moxibustion." The acupuncturist lights a small bunch of the dried herb moxa (mugwort) and holds it above the needles. The herb, which burns slowly and gives off a little smoke and a pleasant, incense-like smell, never touches the body. Another variation is electrical acupuncture. This technique consists of hooking up electrical wires to the needles and running a weak current through them. In this procedure, you may feel a mild tingling, or nothing at all. Acupuncturists trained in Chinese herbal preparations may prescribe herbs along with acupuncture.

How many treatments do I need?
The number of acupuncture treatments you need depends on the complexity of your illness, whether it's a chronic or recent condition, and your general health. For example, you may need only one treatment for a recent wrist sprain, while a long-standing, chronic illness may require treatments once or twice a week for several months to achieve good results.

What is acupuncture helpful for?
Acupuncture is particularly effective for pain relief and for post-surgery and chemotherapy-associated nausea and vomiting. In addition, both the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health recognize that acupuncture can be a helpful part of a treatment plan for many illnesses. A partial list includes: addiction (such as alcoholism, narcortics and smoking), asthma, bronchitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, facial tics, fibromyalgia, headaches, irregular periods, low back pain, menopausal symptoms, menstrual cramps, osteoarthritis, sinusitis, spastic colon (often called irritable bowel syndrome), stroke rehabilitation, tendonitis, tennis elbow, and urinary problems such as incontinence. You can safely combine acupuncture with prescription drugs and other conventional treatments.

The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture also lists a wide range of conditions for which acupuncture is appropriate. In addition to those listed above, they recommend acupuncture for sports injuries, sprains, strains, whiplash, neck pain, sciatica, nerve pain due to compression, overuse syndromes similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, pain resulting from spinal cord injuries, allergies, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), sore throat (called pharyngitis), high blood pressure, gastroesophageal reflux (felt as heartburn or indigestion), ulcers, chronic and recurrent bladder and kidney infections, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), infertility, endometriosis, memory problems, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, sensory disturbances, depression, anxiety, and other psychological disorders.

Some health care providers may avoid treatment during pregnancy. However, if you were seeing a practitioner prior to your pregnancy it is generally safe to continue receiving treatment from them during your pregnancy. You should inform your acupuncturist about any treatments or medications you are taking and all medical conditions you have (such as pregnancy).

What should I watch out for?
Be sure your acupuncturist uses only disposable needles. If your acupuncturist prescribes herbs and would like you to take them as part of your treatment, you can inform your doctor about them.

How do I know my acupuncturist is qualified?
Most states require acupuncturists to be licensed and confer a title (LAc). The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine certifies acupuncturists (Dipl Ac) and practitioners of Chinese herbal medicine (Dipl CH) upon passing a qualifying exam.

Does my medical insurance cover acupuncture treatments?
An increasing number of insurance providers cover all or part of the cost of acupuncture treatments. Check with your insurance company to see what your policy offers.

Testimonials from our Patients

As a chronic sufferer of back pain for nearly a decade, I tried all of the "easy" ways to get rid of it; inversion, chiropractic care, massage therapy, physical therapy and fitness. None of them worked, and in time the chronic pain just got worse. I eventually got to the point where I couldn't sit down for more than 30 minutes at a time without devastating pain in my lower back. I was only in my 30's and could see the future, ad it didn't look pretty. In 2005 I began going to Phavikone Sundara, OmD, Lac from Imperial Acupuncture. From June thru August 2005 I went to 12 sessions. The result? Today I am 100% free of back pain. I went from chronic pain to zero pain with no surgery. Dr. Sundara cured me.
Antanas Lengertas, Seattle, WA

Hello. I hope this helps someone. I was initially hesitant to try acupuncture because I am shy of needles; however, I m pleasantly surprised that it was a complete form of gentle effective therapy for me. There was no pain whatsoever; instead I felt a warm feeling of relief. When I first met Dr. Sundara I did not know what to expect. His relaxed manner made me feel comfortable, and his only concern was my health and what was failing me. While my original intent was to address my low energy level and fatigue I was experiencing due to my hypo-thyroidism, I received much more. After one treatment I not only gained more energy, but after two days I also noticed to my amazement that I was relieved of back pain I have had for years (and even received physical therapy for).
I cannot tell you how much of an impact this has had on me. It was such an experience that I speak very highly of this humble man and his healing acupuncture. Truly he is a jewel in the healing community. I tell everyone about him and hope this helps someone who is a bit shy to try acupuncture as I was.
Diane Johnson, Bellevue, WA

My husband, Elwyn H. Butler, who is 92 years old, was referred to see Dr. Sundara for his left side stroke, knee pain, HBP, skin problems rash and itching he'd had since last June. My husband couldn't stand up, suffered from pain with deep breaths and found it difficult to breather when lying down. He also had sleep disorders.
Dr. Sundara has been coming to see him at our home in Alki since June 2006. My husband's condition is improving; he can stand up by himself and start doing some paces. His complexion is clearer than before and he has much less rash and itching. The fact that my husband can help himself more is amazing. Dr. Sundara has helped him a lot. We are glad to have Dr. Sundara in our community.
Mrs. Kruaval "Noy" Butler, West Settle, WA

Due to a whiplash from a car accident in 2005 that led to neck, shoulder, arms, back, hip, legs and muscle pain, my whole body experienced excruciating pain with a limited range of motion. Not only did this whiplash cause pain in my whole body, but it also caused dizziness, migraine headaches, poor sleep and other problems. I was referred to see Dr. Sundara for a total of 36 sessions from October of 2005 thru March of 2006. He used different modalities to treat me including acupuncture, Tuina-Chinese massage, heat and Chinese herbs. My pain was relieved gradually, and now I have no pain, dizziness or migraine headaches any more. I believe he is the best Chinese Physician in Seattle. He is dedicated to healing people, and I recommend him to anybody for his outstanding capacities to heal.
Kanda Khamphilom, Seattle, WA

I went to Imperial Acupuncture for two treatments while visiting with my sister in Seattle. I was skeptical I would see any tangible results so quickly. In my first visit Dr. Sundara put several needles in my abdominal area, using moxibustion to intensify the results. When I got up from the table, I was surprised to see that I had to hitch my belt up to the next notch, a difference of one whole inch! Not only that, but the result lasted throughout the duration of my trip. My stomach was noticeably flatter and firmer.
On my second visit, Phavi did "cupping" on my back, which involved creating suction in two small jars and moving them around to different locations on my back. While it felt strange, and even a little uncomfortable at times during the treatment, afterwards my back was tingling, and I felt very energetic. It is my understanding that cupping draws toxins out of your body.
If I lived in the Seattle area I'd definitely be going in to Imperial Acupuncture for regular treatments. I hope to find an acupuncturist in my state who is as skillful and experienced as Dr. Phavikone Sundara for regular treatments. Dr. Sundara was gracious and kind to recommend a college in a nearby town specializing in acupuncture as a place to start. I look forward to my next visit to Seattle so I can obtain more treatments from Dr. Sundara.
Louise M., Castle Rock, Colorado

It is my pleasure to recommend Dr. Sundara, a Physician of Traditional Chinese Medicine, to anyone. I was referred to him for my right side back pain which irradiated up to my shoulder and arm causing numbness. I also had menses problems, nausea, belching heavy body and allergy to seafood for 3 years. I tried many things, but they didn't work. I used to take painkillers. After receiving only 7 treatment sessions from Dr. Sundara all of my problems, pain and allergy went away. I couldn't imagine that I would also be able to eat seafood and have no pain.
I felt safe and confident when having treatments with Dr. Sundara at all times. He is an outstanding doctor who is loyal and dedicated to helping people. We are really glad to have him in our community.
Mrs. Seang Panyathong, Seattle, WA

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