Below are some comments on our acupuncture service from patients and their relatives.

It is wonderful to have feeling return in my toe, sides of feet and heels. I began noticing a “difference” in the numbness after my second acupuncture treatment… Dr. Zhao also treated a numbness in the left side of my face (caused by a fall) and tendonitis at the base of my right thumb. My face is responding well and my thumb feels much better – less pain.

—SD, June 18, 2008

My husband and I recently moved to Des Moines, WA from Southern California. One of the first things we needed to do was to find our doctors. I have had peripheral neuropathy for the past ten years and it has gotten progressively more debilitating. In California our family dentist had been practicing acupuncture for 30 years. He had been after me to let him help me. I skeptically gave in. I was blessed that it worked and the numbness up to my knee went down. I had begun to find that I couldn’t get up out of a chair without help because the knee wouldn’t bend.

When we moved and made a list of the types of doctors we needed, I mentioned neurologist (my husband has memory problems). I was overjoyed to be told that a neurologist in our medical plan also practiced acupuncture. Thus began our treatments under Dr. Zhao’s care. I had seven treatments and by the third one we knew it was working as feeling was coming back to my lower legs and feet. I knew it also worked on my circulation as my feet, formerly always frozen, were now almost normal. I am so happy to know that Dr. Joy is there. She completely wants to help her patients and makes each patient feel cared for and understood.

I am dismayed that our health system does not recognize the benefits so many of us have received from this treatment. It does not put a chemical in our bodies but works on the cells in our brains which control our bodies. I feel blessed that we found Dr. Joy Zhao whose training and experience in the field of neurology gives her the medical knowledge. Her curiosity for finding additional help for patients who weren’t helped with drugs led her to study the field of acupuncture. She combines both and it makes perfect sense. For those of us who have had first-hand experience with the positive results, we are very, very grateful Dr. Zhao is there!

—MLL, June 2018

I am excited to be able to tell you after the treatments by Dr. Z I have not had any dizzy or balance problems. After a lengthy illness and numerous visits to an ENT doctor I was told to “get used to it”. My only option going forward was medication and even the best medication choice would make me into a minimal functioning person. It would be a life of sedation … I would be a medicated vegetable, but yesterday I was not afraid to drive (checking the blind spot & watching for other traffic used to make me dizzy). I got on a ladder without incident and that to me says success.

—SB, August 4, 2008

I am a patient of Dr. Joy Zhao. She was waiting for me in the emergency department at Valley Hospital when I had my stroke on May 27th, 2007. She has been my neurologist since then. I have been through inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab. I thought I had progressed as much as I was going to. But in the last six weeks I have been receiving acupuncture treatments from Dr. Zhao and I have seen a marked increase in several areas. My speech is much clearer and improved and I also have a lot more movement in my affected side both in my gait and in my grip. I would like to continue treatments to get the optimum benefits. There is a sense of security and confidence knowing the treatments are being given by an accomplished neurologist who performs her job with such care and passion.

—JP, August 12, 2008

I was struck by a 6½ pound metal object that fell over 60 feet from a high rise building under construction. I suffered a concussion and damage to my right shoulder. I was lucky not to have been killed. The effects from the concussion persisted over several months and included memory lapses, persistent ringing in the right ear, balance problems and difficulty thinking clearly. I eventually found my way to Dr. Zhao’s offices at the Washington Neuroscience Institute. Dr. Zhao’s unique combination of knowledge, skills and abilities as both a neurologist and acupuncturist resulted in a much more effective treatment for my condition than other more traditional western methods I previously tried. I highly recommend Dr. Zhao to anyone suffering from injuries similar to mine.

—JDR, August 14, 2008

… Prior to meeting Dr. Zhao, I had tried other forms of medicine. Not only did the other professional not treat what I had, they could not even identify it! … Dr. Zhao, thankfully, has been able to spend time putting needles in my head, neck, and back. This is a time consuming task and I’m indebted to her attention to detail and commitment to excellence. With her help, my pain has completely disappeared. It is such a relief to know that, when school starts in a week, I will be able to teach my 5th grade orchestra students again without pain and without the fear of nodding off. Equally important is the knowledge that if the pain creeps back in (as there is no cure for myofascial pain), Dr. Zhao has the experience to make it go away. … After two years of trying to find relief from my ever–worsening pain, Dr. Joy Zhao is the end of this journey. She has made me feel like myself again.

—CEF, August 18, 2008

… I am taking high doses of three different anti–seizure medicines, and they are still not controlling my seizures. Three weeks ago, Dr. Zhao started me on acupuncture and I have had 5 sessions to this date. I feel it has made a huge difference. My overall well being has greatly improved and I feel so much more upbeat and less stressed out about my condition. In the last three weeks, I have not had any grand mal seizures and only one small partial seizure, which in the past I was having up to two a day at times. I also have not had any vision problems or other side effects from the drugs since starting the acupuncture …

—CM, August 29, 2008

On the morning of 7th August 2008 I woke up with facial paralysis on the left side of my face. Later that day, after other possible causes such as stroke were eliminated, I was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy. The paralysis was complete—no forehead movement, my eye did not close, no mouth movement and general drooping of the whole left side of my face. I had no sensation on that side. Dr. Joy Zhao, the doctor that was assigned to my case, prescribed traditional medications and also started me on a regimen of acupuncture. Within two weeks, anyone meeting me without knowing about my palsy did not notice anything unusual about my face. In less than three weeks, family and friends who did know about the palsy were commenting they totally forgot about it because my face is back to normal. As for sensation, I have all feeling back in my face, my eye blinks normally, I no longer need to drink through a straw, my eyebrows are even and I don’t see anything unusual about my face. I received outstanding service from Dr. Zhao and her staff, and I am quite satisfied with the results. I hope you continue this program and convince the insurance companies that this alternate treatment is effective and much needed by all patients with my condition.

—DV, September 11, 2008

I am 80 years old, a retired U.S. Army pathologist. In early 1966, while undergoing my Internal Medicine residency in New York city, I had a sudden attack of severe form of Bell’s Palsy( Ramsy-Hunt syndrome ).I was treated and managed with the available medications of the time, pain medications and compresses. Due to the severity of the facial nerve paralysis, the specialist in New York Eye, Ear Medical Center performed a Facial Nerve decompression procedure, to save the facial nerve from atrophy due to the suspected massive edema. My post-surgical course was uneventful. The left side of my face continued to have severe flaccidity and paralysis. My smile was obviously asymmetrical and face lopsided. For many months thereafter, the left side of my face remained flaccid with no visible movement, food and liquid would leak out from the left side of my mouth when I attempted to feed myself. I lived with this facial deficiency for the next 52 years of my married life, had two children and practiced pathology with the U.S. Army Medical Corps. A year and a half ago, while recounting and comparing our lives with a friend and colleague, we were informed by a classmate of my husband about the neurology-acupuncture integrated practice of Dr. Joy Zhao, here in Burien. Despite our professional hesitation, we called for an appointment and resolved to try this technique, as practiced by Dr. Zhao. After only the third session, I experienced an inexplicable and obvious improvement in the left side of my face. The wrinkles and left naso-labial fold returned and my face became more symmetrical. My husband, also a physician/radiologist, and I are very thrilled and happy with the outcome of my acupuncture treatments, thus far. I recommend Dr. Zhao’s technique and medical philosophy, when and where properly applied, without reservation.

—TMH, 5/15/2018

In early 2012 my wife and I came to Dr. Zhao with her two presenting problems: short term memory loss (later diagnosed as dementia) and a disabling lower back pain caused by two severe lower back fractures. A schedule of acupuncture treatment began, with primary focus on reducing the disabling pain. Prior to the time of this treatment she required some assistance to make a number of bodily movements (in and out of chairs, bed and cars). By the third treatment           some reduced pain and improved movement had occurred. Over extended time this improvement continued. I no longer had to hide the available pain pills. As treatment continued, her pain symptoms continued to diminish and her bodily movements became more flexible. Near the completion of the series, I observed that one evening while preparing for sleep she giggled while approaching the bed, turned her back to the bed and hopped backward onto the bed, just for the fun of it. While she still occasionally reports slight “back pain,” she no longer has the severe pain she experienced before the treatment.

In early 2013, a second series began, with primary focus on cranial acupuncture. By the second week of treatment she began to actually listen to my comments and suggestions. The significance of this change is that she had not been able to actually hear my comments for several years because of mental distractions (heard strange voices). She soon began to evince calmness and an interest in things and people, which had been lacking for the past few years. She began to read the newspaper and discuss articles with me. Clearly, she has been discovering the world around her. Later, she began reclaiming previously lost vocabulary and continues to increase her verbal communication skills. Her entire personality presentation is currently undergoing significant change. Tasks that used to require an hour or so are now being completed in a few moments. Her level of confusion has been significantly reduced. She reads newspaper articles and readily discusses them. She now presents an almost ever-present sense of humor that has been missing for several years. In many ways, she is regaining her grasp of rational behavior. The speed with which these cognitive and emotional changes are taking place is at times simply overwhelming to her. Our hope is that she can retain and build on this new beginning.

—Husband of SF, 2013

My mom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 11 years ago at the age of 51. This was very devastating to our family. She was immediately put on medication, but throughout the years, her disease progressed and the medication dosage increased, as well as trying different medications. The progression of the disease caused her a lot of mental and physical pain. She became imbalanced and would fall, at times it would be physically hard for her to talk, her handwriting became small, she could no longer dress herself; and at this point, we were willing to try something new. It was at this time that Dr. Zhao recommended acupuncture. After my mom’s first acupuncture session with Dr. Zhao, we saw a great deal of improvement. She became more mobile and less dependent on my dad. Her neck tightness/pain had disappeared. My husband stated seeing her walk across the kitchen so fast that he couldn’t believe it was her! The side effects of dyskenesia improved to where it lasted a tolerable 5–10 minutes compared to 30–60 minutes. My dad was so happy with her improvement that he took her to California to see her family, and they too were so happy and surprised. My mom has been improving more and more every week and has had more energy. So much so, that she does almost everything on her own now. She is doing so well, that the acupuncture treatments have been tapered to once every 2 weeks compared to twice a week. We are all so happy and excited about the outcome. A BIG THANK YOU to Dr. Zhao!

—EDC, 2016

We opted for acupuncture with Dr. Joy Zhao instead of pharmaceuticals. After just 5 treatments Mom’s Parkinson’s has greatly improved. She can hold her hand out steady, take big steps and is finally sleeping through the night! Her new normal is bright eyed and aware and all without side effects! Mom’s recovery is noticeable by her ability to communicate better and to walk instead of being frozen or shaky. She can also sleep through the night and wake up refreshed to start her day by herself or with little help; much better, more alert.

—EJ, March 2017

I am a close friend of your patient. She has been having acupuncture for the past few months. I see her every other week and I am amazed at her progress with speech, motor skills, walking and overall condition.

—DF, March 2016

After about four sessions I noticed after a nap, I would wake up and my hands would not be shaking and if they should start, I could make them stop. It’s been slowly getting better since then. Slow but steady.

—RJV, September 2018

This document is to describe my diagnosis and treatment by Dr. Joy Zhao and to attest to the progress I have made thus far.

My issues with syncope (fainting) began in the summer of 2017. During one occurrence, I fell and fractured my ankle. Being stubborn, I did not listen to my physician’s advice to stay off of it. It therefore did not heal properly and an ankle fusion surgery was scheduled for January, 2018. Meanwhile, my episodes of dizziness increased along with episodes complete loss of consciousness.

After my surgery, my blood pressure in the hospital plummeted along with my cortisol levels. My one night stay turned into seven. I would become dizzy just trying to sit up in bed. A cardiologist was brought in to assess me and a litany of tests was performed. Because of the dizziness and continued fainting, it was not safe for me to return home and I was sent to an assisted living facility for over two weeks.

The cardiologist finally ruled out any heart issues. An endocrinologist determined that I had adrenal deficiencies which caused the cortisol levels to drop and prescribed both steroids and medication to raise my blood pressure. I was also sent to UW medical Center for a Tilt Table Test. Meanwhile at home now, my episodes of dizziness were occurring 5–10 times daily with total loss of consciousness happening 3–5 times per week. I was unable to work, drive or basically function. I became increasing depressed.

I had seen Dr. Zhao previously for headaches with fantastic results and wanted to see what she thought of my condition. We discussed a plan to keep my medications and their current levels and to introduce both cranial and lower lumbar acupuncture treatment.

I immediately noticed improvement after my first session. The dizziness dropped to 3–5 times per day and fainting only occurred once.  After a month of treatment, dizziness is minimal and no loss of consciousness. As I enter the maintenance phase of the plan, the ultimate goal is to alleviate the need for medication.

I realize that my rapid results are dramatic and may not be normal. Dr. Zhao’s unique combination of applying both Eastern and Western medicine in her practice has helped me to the point of where I am now

comfortable to return to work, to drive and to resume a “normal” life. I am eternally grateful to

both Dr. Zhao and her colleague Jonathan for giving me quality of life.

—KJB, 5/15/2018

Hi! My name is Jeff H. If you’re reading this, thanks! I was sitting in the same place you are a year and a half ago, wondering if I could figure out what was causing my dizziness, memory loss, and not being able to drive or wear my glasses, and having just a hard time standing. At first I was sent to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor at Highline Hospital. That doctor said “100% you have Meniere’s Disease.” So he put me on a powerful steroid and told me “You will              have this the rest of your life.” After all the testing they did, these steroids would cause mood changes and I felt just drugged up. So for two and a half months, I was taking this medicine and going to physical therapy twice a week and still seeing the ENT doctor. Things never got better, just worse! So my last option was where you are sitting now, to see Dr. Zhao. I had an examination with Dr. Zhao, and she said “You don’t have Meniere’s Disease, you have labyrinthitis, which is an inner ear problem.” So I said “Okay! Good news!” So I had my first acupuncture treatment with Dr. Zhao that day, and then had another one the next day. On the third day, I had my physical therapy appointment—the physical therapist wanted to know what the heck happened. My balance and my memory were a lot better, and I was even driving again and wearing glasses. I told the therapist about Dr. Zhao’s acupuncture, and she couldn’t believe it. So if I hadn’t taken that chance where you’re sitting now, I probably never would have figured out what was really wrong, and would have probably still been on those steroids without knowing the real cause of the problem. I still go see Jon once a week and have now been back at work for 12 months and haven’t had any major problems at all, even driving 6 hours a day. So all I can say is, give Dr. Zhao a chance, and go in with an open mind to learn about your problem, because her knowledge of acupuncture and also being a neurologist is a bit plus and very rare!

—JWH, 8/18/2018

I was referred to Dr. Zhao as a last resort. I had been suffering from daily, crippling migraines and the amount of medication I was taking to cope with it was putting me at extreme risk for a heart attack or stroke. Many other medications had been tried to little or no effect, except for bad side effects, and I was facing giving up my career and applying for disability. I didn’t know that Dr. Zhao used acupuncture in her practice until she brought it up as a possible                treatment. She told me my condition was severe and that it could take a year of regular treatment to see results. I agreed because her commitment to help me return to health was as strong as mine and she was the first doctor in years to not start throwing pills at me in a hit or miss fashion. It has taken a year of treatment but I now enjoy days and sometimes weeks without migraines and it has enabled me to keep my career going by working at home. My anxiety level is much lower these days and I will continue working with Dr. Zhao and her wonderful team.

—SBD, May 2018

I really wasn’t a believer in acupuncture, but my migraines were so bad that I couldn’t function; I’d throw up, miss lots of work due to my migraines. I went ahead and had a couple of treatments in December 2014 for my migraines. At first, I didn’t think the acupuncture was doing anything, then I noticed a couple of weeks after that I was waking up without a migraine. I have not missed one day of work all this year (7/9/15), which is a miracle because I was always missing work because of my migraines. The acupuncture works. Sure, I’ve had small migraines but nothing that kept me down and out. My bosses are so proud of my 7 months 9 days!

—TGH, July 2015

Dr. Zhao, I want you to know how much I appreciate everything that you do for me. You are always so good to me, I feel so fortunate to have you as my doctor! You are by leaps and bounds the best doctor that I have ever had! Although dealing with this headache is not easy, I am confident that dealing with it while in your care makes it a lot more bearable. Thank you so much for all of the special things that you do. Thank you for your expertise, your kindness and caring way; oh, and I love your stories too!


The onset of period of feeling lightheaded as well as the increased frequency of headaches prompted me to pursue acupuncture treatment for the first time. The once or twice a week treatments for six weeks helped both of these conditions. During a recent trip I did not have any treatments. I am now experiencing a return of the headaches and some lightheadedness. My plan is to resume treatments once a week.

—MAM, 1/7/2016

After falling from an eight-foot ladder, I suffered daily and day-long headaches. Medical doctors suggested taking Tylenol. The Tylenol medicine provided temporary relief. I was taking two or more each morning and up to six in the evening to assist in sleeping. I was referred to Dr. Zhao by Dr. Serrano. At the same time, I was being treated for macular degeneration in both eyes by Dr. Meyer. The disease had progressed to the point of legal blindness in the left eye. Following a lengthy diagnosis, Dr. Zhao prescribed acupuncture to seek relief from the headaches. The headaches were eliminated after a 1-hour treatment of acupuncture. After the second or third acupuncture treatment, I discovered I could see clearly out of my left and right eye. This was documented by Dr. Meyer’s office and determined that he would discontinue recommending shots in both eyes. The right eye continues to have 20/20 vision and the left eye provides enough vision to allow me to read, watch tv and drive. Following a car accident, I have returned to Dr. Zhao for treatment for the effects of a concussion (headaches and dizziness). These treatments have stabilized my eyesight.

—DEJ, 8/14/2018

My wife has been seeing Dr. Zhao since shortly after her diagnosis with MS, several years ago. She was an early patient during the beginning of the acupuncture expansion to the business. At the beginning, several areas concerned me related to the acupuncture regimen. Chief among the concerns was my wife’s aversion to needles, my skepticism of medicine not rooted in what I believed to be science, and the research I had done since the MS diagnosis that painted a grim picture of ever increasing pharmaceutical use while physically deteriorating that had no hope for correction.

Given the lack of significant options, my wife and I agreed to begin treatments using the methods recommended by Dr. Zhao. Immediately after we began, my own observations convinced me beyond any doubt that the procedures were having a real-world effect for symptom relief. My wife’s condition at the beginning of treatments had deteriorated to the point where a wheelchair was routinely used for any venture out and a significant portion of her body was numb to sensation. We often now skip the chair, with me assisting her walking for short travels. It is now common for my wife to complain about the needles, which she still hates, in areas where she had no sensations before. Her cognitive ability, vision and mental approach to her disease have all been significantly improved. Most significantly for me, we have not had to increase her intake of medicines, which I am convinced would have been necessary without symptom relief.

There is no silver bullet when it comes to MS, but our experience with these treatments have given both of us hope that the progression of deterioration has been interrupted. The restoration of feeling in areas numbed show that the nerves are active, which cannot happen by our current medical science. None of this progress happened overnight or with a single treatment. If you are reading this, I wish you well with whatever treatments you choose, and can highly recommend that you consider adding this option to your care.

—DR, 8/28/2018

In June of 2006, I was diagnosed with neurocysticercosis, which causes me to have both partial and grand mal seizures. I am taking high doses of three different anti-seizure medicines, and they are still not controlling my seizures. Three weeks ago, Dr. Zhao started me on acupuncture and I have had 5 sessions to this date. I feel it has made a huge difference. My overall wellbeing has greatly improved and I feel so much more upbeat and less stressed out about my condition. In the last three weeks, I have not had any grand mals and only one small partial seizure, whereas in the past I was having up to two a day at times. I also have not had any vision problems or other side effects from the drugs since starting the acupuncture. I am really optimistic that this treatment is working for me and very thankful that Dr. Zhao is making it possible for me to get through a very rough time in my life.

—CM, August 2008

After finding out that the lightheadedness and “brain fog” I was experiencing was caused by a concussion the neurologist recommended acupuncture. At the time I was definitely a skeptic and remarked that if it worked on the placebo effect it probably wouldn’t help me much—however after the first session the lightheadedness diminished and by sessions 2 and 3 the “brain fog” had lifted significantly.

I have to admit I was happily surprised.

—JY, August 21,2015

I’ve smoked on and off for the past 50 years. When I quit I seem in control, but something always leads me back to my old habit. My husband had a heart attack in September of 2106 (he was a smoker too). The doctor told him that his days of smoking were over or next time he may not be so lucky. He was in the hospital for two weeks and when he came home he no longer smoked or wanted a cigarette. I thought this was a great time for me to stop, so I tried cold turkey   without much success. In November of 2016 my husband had an appointment with Dr. Zhao (neurological problems) and we discussed his success with smoking. I admitted that I still smoked and knew I should stop. Dr. Zhao then suggested to try acupuncture as an effective way to quit smoking. I have tried other methods to stop and thought “let’s give it a try.” As of May of 2017 I’m still not smoking. I had the start of emphysema and a chronic cough, but these have gone away. Acupuncture is not a “magic cure,” but it has been effective in making it easier to quit and remain smoke free.

—MB, May 2017