Laughing Tiger Acupuncture

  • Tue May 6th, 2008 12:18am
  • Life

Helen Sanders has practiced martial arts since she was a 20-year-old student at Florida State University, attaining a black belt in Cuong Nhu at age 28. She holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing/English. To expand her knowledge about the martial arts, she turned her interest toward Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Sanders moved from Tallahassee, Fla., to Seattle, Wash. to attend the Northwest Institute of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NIAOM) in Seattle in 1992. “I hoped to encounter experiences that would deepen my understanding of martial arts, oriental medicine and qi (ch’i).”

While working at Microsoft, Sanders attended NIAOM, graduating in 1996 with a Masters degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and began to work part-time as a Licensed Acupuncturist and Traditional Chinese Herbalist. “Then I got a promotion at Microsoft,” said Sanders. “And I had to cutback on my practice.”

After working on some property for a few years on Lopez Island, Sanders moved to the Island in 2003 to get out of the rat-race of Seattle. “I had a visceral feeling. I just wanted to be here,” said Sanders.

Sanders will see clients at her new business, Laughing Tiger Acupuncture, several days a week in a studio at her home beginning in May.

Oriental medicine is a multi-faceted medical system that includes acupuncture, moxibustion, Chinese herbal medicine, qi (ch’i) cultivation techniques and Asian bodywork techniques. “There are many techniques that don’t use needles,” says Sanders. “In fact, non-invasive techniques like acupressure, moxibustion, cupping, and massage are great for patients that are fearful of needles.

The needles used in acupuncture are very fine – approximately 36G – almost as fine as a human hair. They are applied along acupuncture points of the body that lie along meridians which qi (ch’i), a kind of vital energy, flows. Acupuncture is used to relieve pain and alter the course of diseases by getting at the cause rather than treating symptoms alone.

In addition to her Traditional Chinese Medicine practice, Sanders is well known for playing the bagpipes at events and parades on Lopez Island. She is a member of the 2007 State Champion Keith Highlanders pipe band and is the force behind the San Juan Highlanders. Her piping website is

For more information about Laughing Tiger Acupuncture or to schedule an appointment, call Helen Sanders at 468-3783.