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Peter Shark, MS LAc

Peter Shark, MS LAc

Wood Tiger Acupuncture


About Me

I got into Acupuncture through my own personal experience.
I moved to San Francisco in December of 1997. It was right at the height of the dot com boom, and I was having a really tough time finding a job. I was twenty-two years old, pretty fit and I had a bicycle, so I went to work as a bike messenger. It was an El Nino year and rainy, but I was glad for the work.
Just a couple of months later, I was on my way to work in a rainstorm, and I got hit by a car. I was right next to it when it decided to get into my lane. It slammed into my right side, and I ended up on the ground in front of it. At that moment I thought I was fine. Little did I know that I wouldn’t be able to use my right arm for the next two-and-a-half years.
The pain started to set in over the three hours following the accident. By the time I left the hospital I couldn’t write or tie my shoes. I was sent home with pain pills. Months went by and pain pills were still the only solution I’d been offered. I was a zombie, lying around the house all day. The pain was barely reduced by the pills, but I couldn’t bare it without them.
Finally I got sick of all the drugs, and I decided to stop taking them. That’s when a friend recommended Acupuncture. I started going to a clinic once a week (if I knew what I know now, I would have gone a lot more). Immediately I started being able to sleep. I was in less pain with one Acupuncture treatment per week than I had been taking Vicoden three times a day.
My injuries were severe enough that I still needed a couple of reconstructive surgeries on my shoulder and wrist. My shoulder surgery was supposed to limit my mobility for life. I was told I’d never throw a ball or be able to do a push-up, but I can do all of that today. My surgeon was amazed at the speed of my progress, and my ability to stay on track with the incredibly painful physical therapy. After my wrist surgery, my hand swelled up. It was huge and purple and numb. It looked like a giant paw, not a hand at all. I went to my Acupuncturist, and she put some little needles in my hand and used moxa (a dried herb stick that is burned and held near acupuncture points) to warm the points. I couldn’t even feel the warmth of the moxa; I just felt a strange pulsing sensation. I fell asleep, and when she came back thirty minutes later, my hand looked totally normal. It was a normal color, it wasn’t numb anymore and the swelling was completely gone. That’s when I knew 100% for sure that Acupuncture was doing something real.
That’s when I started to consider studying Acupuncture myself. It was a big commitment for me. I would have to finish my bachelor’s degree before even beginning the four year process of earning my Chinese Medicine degree. I learned Shiatsu massage first, so I could start to understand the way Qi (pronounced chee) moves in the body. Then I practiced Shiatsu and volunteered at an Acupuncture clinic for two years, learning everything I could about the medicine, the theory and the realities of the career. The more I learned the more I wanted to know. Every step just confirmed even more that this was the right path for me.
My passion for Traditional Chinese Medicine is even greater today than when I started. I had no idea how perfect this practice would be for me. I get to participate in people’s lives getting better every day, there is always more to learn, and every patient reveals more to me about the medicine, myself and my purpose for helping ending people’s suffering.
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How I Stay Healthy

I believe that optimal health requires maintenance! I see an Acupuncturist every other week (in addition to giving my self Acupuncture regularly). I take Chinese Herbs whenever I feel the slightest bit off, and I see a Chiropractor monthly to counteract all the time I spend leaning over patients.
I also walk a minimum of 20 minutes a day, stretch a minimum of 20 minutes a day, do yoga 2-3 x a week, and meditate or do qi gong daily.
I believe community and service are also essential for health, so I make sure to make a social phone call every day and make time to connect face to face just to enjoy the people in my life. I also mentor mutiple people either in medicine, health or personal development.
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My Experience with Health Challenges

Like many healthcare practitioners, I've had a lot of health issues. The major ones are the accident I mentioned above, a hamstring tear and asthma. I've treated all with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs successfully. But I've also used other therapies such as: physical therapy, chiropractic, amino acids (neuro-nutrient therapy), and massage/bodywork. All of which have contributed to my health and well-being.
Though they are often overlooked, diet and sleep are the foundation on which a healthy life is built. You just can't counteract how you treat your body every single day! I eat anything that was once or still is alive, and I avoid foods that don't look anything like what once grew, walked or swam. And I go to bed early in order to get a minimum of 8 hrs of sleep every single night--sometimes more!
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Acupuncture 80 expertise • 4 contributions

Depression 60 expertise • 1 contribution

Hypertension 20 expertise • 1 contribution

Back Pain • 2 contributions

5-Hydroxytryptophan Prescriber • 0 contributions
I was trained in amino acid therapy by the pioneer in this field, Julia Ross. I have received extensive training in this field, and I'm currently enrolled in a course for full certification,which allows me to not only prescribe expertly but also teach amino acid therapy to other health care professionals.
5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is a precursor to Serotonin. When taken orally it converts into Serotonin in the gut and is absorbed into the blood stream. Taking 5-HTP simply gives the body the nutrition it needs to manufacture a sufficient supply of Serotonin.
Serotonin deficiency can cause symptoms such as anxiety, negative thinking, worry, obsessive thinking or activities, bulimia, anorexia, and can play a large role in addiction. Violence is closely related to deficient Serotonin. A study of incarcerated criminals showed those with the lowest Serotonin levels were most likely to have commited violent crimes.
Many people experiment with 5-HTP on their own and don't get good results. This is because proper timing and dosage are essential to obtain positive results. I've seen patients who were either self-prescribing or had already seen a healthcare practitioner whose knowledge was lacking. These patients either got no result or insufficient results because of common mistakes, such as only taking 5-HTP once a day or taking it only at night.
My advice to anyone who wants to try 5-HTP is to go to a healthcare practitioner who has trained with Julia Ross directly--or go straight to her (though she is very expensive). Often other amino acids are needed, in addition to the 5-HTP, in order to really get rid of the anxiety/depression/insomnia or other issue at hand.
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