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How Acupuncture Helps Lower Back Pain


Holistic Practitioner Spotlight with Bonnie McLean, Doctor of Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture Physician

We are speaking with Bonnie McLean, O.M.D and A.P.who has great success in treating lower back pain using acupuncture.

Tell Us a Story About  a Patient with Lower Back Pain and How Acupuncture Helped

I receive referrals from the Veterans Affairs (V.A.) to provide acupuncture treatments for men and women in the military. A small number of patients come in with the knowledge and positive mindset to request acupuncture, but the majority of my military patients come in very skeptical since they know very little, if anything about this ancient treatment.

One such Vietnam veteran, Paul, had lower back pain resulting from injuries he sustained when on active duty. Paul had been to several doctors who gave him injections into his back and prescribed a number of medications. Still his pain was nagging and unrelenting, limiting his enjoyment of life. Even so, he was very reluctant to be seen by an acupuncturist and made it very clear that he didn’t want to be in my office. 

When Paul came to my office, I explained this ancient system of healing and the diagnostic tools and treatment modalities that would be helpful. I went over his intake forms and discussed his current problem and his history. Now having some understanding, Paul then allowed me to use palpation and other Chinese diagnostic tools to determine the areas of his body that were energetically out of balance. After this, he agreed to an acupuncture treatment where he was able to rest for about 20 minutes on a table in a room with low lighting and soothing music while the acupuncture needles were comfortably in place. Coming in, he may not have understood how acupuncture could be helpful, but to his utter surprise, Paul’s pain level was lower when he left. He also couldn’t get over how relaxed he felt.

Over the next few visits, Paul was happy to report to me that his pain level had so significantly decreased that he was able to a large extent, taper off of his medications. He exercises and stays active, which is extremely important to him. To maintain these results, Paul comes in once a month for acupuncture. Now, from being a doubter, he is one of my best referrers. My number of referrals from the V.A. has increased as a result of his recommendations to his doctors and fellow soldiers.

Why and When Did You Choose the Holistic Path?

I had been practicing nursing since 1967. During that time, I was experiencing some health issues that I found out were lifestyle and stress related. Living in Southern California in the 1970’s, I attended Holistic Health conferences that influenced me to make changes in my lifestyle that included my diet, nutritional supplements, exercise, yoga, meditation, and counseling. From incorporating these things into my daily life, I was able to reverse the chronic fatigue I had after a bout of mononucleosis and heal my heart arrhythmia (paroxysmal atrial tachycardia) for which conventional testing could find no organic cause. In my counseling, it became evident that stress and a diet of too much sugar and caffeine were the biggest contributors of my symptoms. So with renewed health and spirit, in 1980, I made the decision to choose the holistic path and become a Natural Health Practitioner, changing my career from nursing to acupuncture.

What Lessons Have Your Work and Personal Experiences Taught You?

My indigenous teachers and healers healed me through their hearts and that touched mine. I have also learned through them the importance of our natural world. Chinese Medicine has taught me the importance of living in harmony with our environment, each other, and within our own bodies – that we need to have the amount of respect for our bodies, hearts, or spiritual life that other cultures embrace.

The main lesson I learned was that our bodies have amazing resilience and capacity to self-heal if we support them to do so. We have to be willing to change our familiar ways of living and mistreating our bodies, willing to give up unhealthy habits. My studies in hypnosis and imagery have taught me the importance of our subconscious minds in our own healing process.

So important is being part of a community – connecting with other humans. We are not islands. Love heals.

What Would You Like Your Patients to Know About Your Services that They May Not be Aware of?

In addition to my private practice,  I am also a writer.  I have written numerous articles on health and am the author   of “Integrative Medicine: The Return of the Soul to Healthcare”. At the young age of 74, I enjoy educating others from my own research and years of experience.


Bonnie McLean graduated from Duke University School of Nursing in 1967. She practiced nursing for 20 years.

In 1976, Bonnie earned her MA in Counseling from Pepperdine University.

In 1986, she received her Doctorate in Oriental Medicine from California Acupuncture College. Bonnie has practiced acupuncture for 36 years.

Bonnie McLean has also studied hypnosis, imagery, energy medicine, and shamanic healing. Her specialties include stress-related conditions, pain issues, habit control, and allergies.

“It is my belief that our bodies are capable of healing themselves. We each are our own healers. Therefore, it is my intention to support each individual patient to educate themselves in order to be self-empowered and participate in their own healing process.”

Bonnie McLean O.M.D., A.P.
Doctor of Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture Physician

Spirit Gate Medicine, Inc.
Street Address: 107 Baybridge Dr.
City: Gulf Breeze
State / Province: FL
Postal / Zip Code: 32561-7428

Visit Bonnie’e Website

Find more practitioners like Bonnie in our Holistic Health Directory

Andy & Vinny DiLorenzo

About Us

As holistic dentists, we've recommended products and services that supported our patients’ health for decades. In experiencing our own health challenges from mercury toxicity, we worked closely with many natural, alternative, and integrative health practitioners who aided our recovery as well as our patients’. We built this site to provide you with a simple-to-use, comprehensive, informational, and functional resource for your physical, emotional, and spiritual health & well-being.

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