The art of acupuncture
Lynn Fassler, L.Ac. (Licensed Acupuncturist)
133 Argall Way No. D, Nevada City
In 1975, Lynn Fassler was visiting her parents in her hometown of Pacifica when she saw something on TV that would change the course of her life.
It was a show about horse acupuncture, a practice that was not widely known in the 1970s in the Western world.
“I was fascinated,” she said. “I thought, ‘This is real medicine.’ I found a book on acupuncture at the library and read it five times.”
Because she was married to a commercial pilot at the time, Fassler and her husband spent stints living in various parts of the world.
While based in Singapore, Fassler mustered up the courage to knock on doors in search of a reputable acupuncturist from whom she could learn.
“I got lucky,” she said. “The third doctor I approached agreed to take me on as a private student.”
Fassler studied intensely for six months with Chiang Yuk Wah, a specialist in the treatment of paraplegia. She was amazed by his patients’ progress, inspiring her to further her studies.
After relocating to the Virgin Islands, Fassler began treating patients herself — “cookbook” style — meaning her treatments were done strictly by the book.
She knew she was on the right path, she said, when she witnessed her patients getting better.
Fassler went on to earn her degree in acupuncture from the California Acupuncture College in Los Angeles.
Her studies included a year at the New England School of Acupuncture in Massachusetts.
She continues to study under Jeffrey C. Yuen, of the Swedish Institute’s School of Acupuncture and Oriental Studies in New York.
Fassler is now in her 28th year of practicing acupuncture. She moved to Nevada City in 1988, and has had an office in the same building on Argall Way for the past 15 years.
Her passion for acupuncture and enthusiasm for learning has never waned, she said.
Her patients, some of whom have been coming to her for more than two decades, are a testament to her expertise and warm demeanor.
“The biggest reward has been connecting with people and letting them see their own ability to help themselves,” said Fassler. “Everything about Chinese medicine is about relationships — with themselves, me, the world, family, etc. There is always a relational aspect. If someone comes to me with a pain in their neck, I’ll say, ‘Who did that?’ It’s never just physical. I feel called to help people who have fallen through the floor boards of Western medicine.”
Ruth Mary Harrop has been a patient of Fassler’s since 1995 and says the acupuncture was an effective complement to other treatments she had when diagnosed with cancer over 10 years ago. She is now cancer-free.
“It made a tremendous difference,” said Harrop. “Lynn is so sensitive. She can look at me and say, ‘Have you been eating chocolate?’ I can’t tell you exactly what she does, but it makes a tremendous difference.”
Barbara Dymond, who has been seeing Fassler for roughly a decade, echoes Harrop’s sentiments.
“I’m a regular because I have problems with arthritis in my feet, knees and hands,” she said. “The acupuncture and Chinese herbs keep me off medication, such as Aleve. Lynn has taught me a lot — she’s made me realize how important your diet is. You just have to put yourself in her hands and let her heal you — I really trust her. Plus she always has a good joke.”
Many people seek treatment for such things as the flu, bronchitis, sore muscles, sinus issues, or simply low energy. But others are eager for a shift in perspective.
When skeptics come through the door of her clean, warm office, Fassler says she has two smiles — one for the skeptic and one for herself, because she is confident they will be pleasantly surprised.
“When it comes to treatment, there is always a combination of the emotional, psychological, spiritual and physical,” said Fassler. “I like to help people reflect on areas they might be numb about. Sometimes all the talking in the world doesn’t bring about change. I can open certain fields of energy and get people back on their path, opening them up to new possibilities.”
Valentina Masterz was a skeptic who eventually became one of Fassler’s biggest fans.
She said at 9 months old, her daughter, Nykol, would get fevers as high as 107 degrees every three weeks for up to six days at a time.
On the very first visit with Fassler, Masterz said Nykol’s temperature — which had remained at 106 for months — dropped four degrees. At the second treatment it dropped another four degrees, she said.
While Fassler said she focused on treating Nykol’s liver function, she will not definitively take credit for Nykol’s recovery, but she admits the timing was remarkable.
In sync with regular acupuncture for the next six months, there was no doubt that Nykol improved markedly. Within a year, the fevers were gone.
“What do you say about the person who saved your daughter’s life?” said Masterz. “After all the medicine and fancy tests, no one had a clue what to do with my daughter except Lynn. She had an answer the second she felt her pulse. I had no clue about acupuncture and wasn’t sure what to expect, but deep down hoped that this would be the thing that would heal my daughter. It turned out that way.”
Over the years, Fassler says she’s evolved as a practitioner, making her life’s work and passion that much more fulfilling.
“I’m definitely a better listener — I’m more intuitive and sensitive,” she reflected. “I feel as though my practice has gone from a science to an art.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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