Palliative Care for End of Life

There are two things which EVERY individual experiences – birth and death. Life has a 100% risk of death, and it will happen to every single one of us. American culture fears death. We put countless amounts of energy and dollars into trying to remain “young” for as long as possible, while ignoring the realities of aging. And while many religious organizations offer support for this time, American culture has no rituals surrounding the end of life. Because of this, end of life can become a time of angst and fear. At Balboa Park Holistic Wellness Center, we help people nearing the end of life and their families make this transition more peaceful and more comfortable. We offer supportive services to both people with terminal illnesses and their caregivers through acupuncture, Chinese herbs, therapeutic bodywork, Asian foot soaks, and more.

Our unique blend of natural therapies help our patients remain comfortable, alert, and independent for as long as possible even when conventional medicine is out of ideas. We relieve symptoms including:

  • Pain
  • Anxiety
  • Fear of Dying
  • Neuropathy
  • Chronic Upset Stomach
  • Agitation
  • Mood Swings
  • Breathing Difficulties
  • Lack of Appetite


Your initial consultation is free. Come meet us in person and learn more.

Click below to learn more.

Click now to request your free consultation.

Or,  just call 619-772-4002 and we'll be happy to answer your questions.

Read more about: What We Do | Our Philosophy | Our Awesome Staff | Our Privacy Policy | Accessibility


Why complementary medicine at the end of life?

The top 9 of 10 leading causes of death in the US have the potential to have prolonged treatments associated with them. In many cases, once the hope for a “cure” is gone the medical system has little else to offer to patients. Complementary medicine shines in the context of palliative care. Acupuncture can help relieve symptoms such as pain, neuropathy, dry mouth, nausea, lack of appetite, and fatigue. Breathing exercises and acupuncture can help reduce shortness of breath and the anxiety which goes with it. Yoga, meditation, and breath work can help patients with chronic illness to manage anxiety, fear of dying, unresolved emotions, grief, and more. Craniosacral therapy can gently relieve pain and muscle tension, allowing patients to “let go” and deeply relax. Foot soaks can improve circulation and decrease pain from neuropathy. Complementary medicine typically addresses the whole patient, not just the disease which led to the need for palliative care. It offers an opportunity to relieve emotional pain as well as physical pain.

At Balboa Park Holistic Wellness Center, we offer acupuncture, craniosacral therapy, herbal foot soaks, meditation and breathing exercises, Chinese herbal medicine, nutrition counseling and supplements, and more to patients who are out of options in allopathic treatment. Our goal is to help our patients at the end of life to die peacefully, and to live fully until they die.

Here’s How it Works:

tree icon

Free Consultation

At your free initial consultation you’ll meet with your clinician to discuss your case, your medical history, any medications you’re taking, and most importantly YOUR GOALS. We want to be certain that we can meet your needs and that there is a HIGH probability of success for you – BEFORE we move forward to the next step

Intake and First Treatment

Once your free consultation is complete, and we agree to move forward, your next step is the Intake appointment. At this appointment, your clinician will do a detailed assessment of your symptom pattern, medical history, and other factors to determine the root cause of your issue and devise a personalized treatment plan.

Your first acupuncture session will be performed at this visit, and a you will be given a treatment plan with exact, easy-to-follow instructions. Your treatment plan will include dietary and lifestyle adjustments as well as key supplements and herbal medicines to help you remain comfortable and alert as much as possible.

Active Treatment and Support

You’ll return for visits once or twice each week to ensure close support. We want to make sure your treatment plan is yielding the expected results.

Each visit will be unique, based on what you present with that day. Visits may include acupuncture, craniosacral therapy, acupressure, herbal foot soaks, ear seeds, gentle guided meditation, or focused breathing exercises to relieve your symptoms and support your body’s natural healing system. Treatment will continue for as long as you and your caretakers are finding it helpful.

***Individual results vary. No guarantee of specific results is warranted or implied and your results will depend on many factors.

Your initial consultation is free. Come meet us in person and learn more.

Click below to learn more.

Click now to request your free consultation.

Or,  just call 619-772-4002 and we'll be happy to answer your questions.

Read more about: What We Do | Our Philosophy | Our Awesome Staff | Our Privacy Policy | Accessibility


Common Questions

How do I know it’s safe?

Acupuncture has been practiced safely for centuries, and in the hands of an experienced practitioner it’s virtually risk-free.

Is natural medicine REALLY powerful enough to help me?

Absolutely! Acupuncture has been demonstrated to strongly affect the sympathetic nervous system (think fight or flight) and balance it with the parasympathetic nervous system (think rest and digest). Balancing the nervous system is one of the most effective ways to reduce the pain, sleep disturbances, irritability, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, upset stomach, fatigue, and emotional challenges which are commonly experienced by people who are receiving palliative care.

Is there any risk of infection?

In compliance with California and Federal regulations, our needles are sterile, single-use, and disposable. There is no risk of getting an infection from the needles. If you have an immune or other condition we should know about, we’ll make sure to cover that with you before treatment.

Does my insurance cover it?

Every insurance plan is different. While we are not “in-network” with most insurance plans, we will provide you with the paperwork you need to submit bills for our services. Many plans have at least some acupuncture benefit, and you can also use flexible spending plans and HSA funds for your treatments.

Does it Hurt?

The needles are extremely thin, and super sharp. In fact, you can fit at least 10 of them into a typical hypodermic syringe. They’re nearly painless because they are so tiny.

Will your treatment mess with my medication?

We always review medications before making treatment recommendations to make sure that there are no unwanted interactions. Sometimes what we do actually makes your medication work better!

Are there any side effects?

The “worst” side effects are bruising and/or mild soreness where the needles were inserted, and these are extremely rare. There are many “positive” side effects include calmer mood, better sleep, improved digestion, increased relaxation, and a more positive attitude and outlook.

Can your treatment help my pain, too?

Yes! Again, acupuncture is extremely effective at changing the way the brain and the rest of the nervous system communicate, including how and when pain signals are sent. Acupuncture is great at breaking the cycle of pain, and we’ve helped hundreds of people reduce the intensity, duration, and frequency of pain.

Lisa Nicholson, L.Ac., DNBAO is a master acupuncturist, licensed in California and nationally certified. She is a skilled nutritionist and wellness coach, with a passion for helping people experiencing physical and emotional pain to reconnect with their passion for living. As a breast cancer survivor, she is uniquely aware of what breast cancer patients experience from the moment of diagnosis through the entire treatment process.

The child of a teacher and a dentist in a family chock full of physicians, psychologists, and lawyers, Lisa chose a different path. Since childhood, Lisa has been drawn to helping people overcome physical and emotional challenges to live fulfilling and rich lives. Although she was pre-med with her psychology major at SUNY Albany, she found she didn’t resonate with “conventional” medicine and instead, went on to complete a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. After 8 years of working with people struggling with mental illness and addiction, she was looking for a new challenge. As a career counselor, Lisa “tried on” nearly every medical tradition, ultimately settling on Chinese Medicine because it was the one system which fully embraced her philosophy about the interconnectedness of mind and body and offered a treatment system which simultaneously addresses both

Lisa is an endurance athlete who has participated in competitive swimming, cross-country, downhill and water skiing, backpacking, rock climbing, and cycling. At age 29, a water skiing crash left her with a major injury to her back, neck, and shoulders, and threatened to disable her. But Lisa was determined to get back into her athletic pursuits. Because all of her injuries were non-surgical soft-tissue problems, conventional medicine had nothing to offer except drugs. Lisa instead turned to chiropractic and her yoga practice to gradually heal her injuries. It was during a yoga teacher training class where she had an epiphany that much of her ongoing pain was due her fear and resistance to feeling more pain. Through a meditation with a partner, she gradually and gently unlocked the spasms which had bound her back for months, guiding herself back to the movement she needed to heal. Since then, she has continued her yoga practice and taken up first rock climbing and then cycling, training over a period of years to the ultra-cycling world. Now, 100 miles is a training ride, and Lisa has successfully finished events including Race Across the West and Paris-Brest-Paris.

As a breast cancer survivor, Lisa is particularly passionate about helping other breast cancer patients to get through their treatment and restore their health and well being. She has experienced the pain of surgery, the nausea and fatigue of chemotherapy, the fear and frustration of landing in the emergency room with sepsis following one of her treatments, and the skin irritation associated with radiation therapy.  She has successfully returned to her athletic lifestyle following treatment. As someone who has participated in multi-day timed athletic events, she is intimately familiar with the experience of being alone in the dark physically exhausted and afraid, while trying to keep enough forward movement to finish the event. This makes her uniquely suited to working with people undergoing cancer treatment.

Lisa loves to travel, and especially likes to experience other cultures through their food. She is a skilled gourmet cook, and brings her fascination with all things culinary into the clinic with nutrition recommendations, recipes, and more

When she’s not in the clinic or on her bike, you can find Lisa at home in her kitchen or reading with her husband and Percy, the cat who shares her spirit of adventure and zest for fine food

Your initial consultation is free. Come meet us in person and learn more.

Click below to learn more.

Click now to request your free consultation.

Or,  just call 619-772-4002 and we'll be happy to answer your questions.

Read more about: What We Do | Our Philosophy | Our Awesome Staff | Our Privacy Policy | Accessibility


Verified by MonsterInsights