Can Acupuncture Up Your Game? A Pragmatic Approach to Chinese Medicine with Sarah Hammer Stevens

Now known as the “Acupuncturist for Skeptics”, Sarah Hammer Stevens wasn’t always a believer in this holistic therapy.

A longtime runner, Sarah was training for the Portland Marathon a few years ago when she sustained a knee injury that threatened to sideline her just weeks before the race.

Desperate to recover as quickly as possible, Sarah tried everything.

She consulted both her primary care doctor and an orthopedist, but she just wasn’t seeing any real improvement.

So, ready to try anything, Sarah decided to give acupuncture a shot, and she was glad she did.

After running pain-free to set a big PR, Sarah was excited to share the benefits of acupuncture with the world.

She quit her job to pursue a career in integrative health care, and she now enjoys helping runners like herself through her practice To the Point PDX in Portland, OR.

In this interview, Sarah will explain to us the intricacies of acupuncture, dispel the misconceptions that surround it, and share the reasons she believes every runner should give it a try.


Questions Sarah is asked:

4:09 Tell us about what you do and about your practice

5:13 What changed your mind about acupuncture and brought you into practicing?

8:40 How did you get into running?

10:59 How did the Hood to Coast Relays go for you?

11:51 How did the pop-up clinics go?

13:57 How often do you do these types of events?

14:52 What actually is acupuncture?

17:56 What are some of the funniest misconceptions you’ve encountered regarding acupuncture?

20:10 What’s the difference between dry needling and acupuncture?

23:32 How does acupuncture target problem areas?

25:27 How immediate are the effects of treatment?

27:44 What types of injuries are best treated with acupuncture?

29:21 Do chiropractors ever refer their patients to acupuncturists?

30:47 How has it been starting your own company?

33:01 Why do you think there haven’t been as many jobs for acupuncturists?

34:57 What’s the difference between acupuncture and Chinese medicine in general?

38:42 What exactly is cupping therapy and why do people use it?

41:08 Why is cupping so commonly done on athlete’s backs?

41:46 When do you advise people to get cupping therapy?

42:43 What does a general treatment course look like for an injured or sore runner?

44:28 How should people take the herbal supplements you recommend?

46:21 Who should use bone broth and when?

47:27 What’s next for you and your practice?

49:15 How can people outside of your location find a high quality acupuncturist in their area?

Quotes by Sarah:

“I went in, and I said, ‘I don’t believe this is gonna work. I don’t believe in holistic medicine. There’s no way that it can work, but I’m ready to try anything because I want to run this marathon.’ And lo and behold after the first treatment, my knee felt completely better.”

“You can read about [acupuncture], you can try to figure out how it works, but you have to just try it to really, really understand it.”

“People think [acupuncture] is a religion, and you have to believe in it and you have to be spiritual. And I’m like, ‘No. Absolutely not.’”
“We do mirror imaging: so we sometimes use the ankle to help the shoulder or we needle the ear to help the back.”

Take a Listen on Your Next Run

Want more awesome interviews and advice?
Subscribe to our iTunes channel

Mentioned in this podcast:

To the Point PDX
Follow Sarah on Twitter
Follow To the Point PDX on Facebook
Cupping Therapy Demonstration with Sarah
RunnersConnect 2017 Injury Summit

We really hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of Run to the Top!

The best way you can show your support for the show is to share this podcast with your family and friends on social media and leave a rating/review on iTunes.

This not only helps us reach more runners like yourself, but it also allows us to bring on more of the sport’s leading minds to make the podcast as helpful and entertaining as possible. If you have a couple minutes to do this we truly appreciate it!

Thank you to for supporting Run to the Top!

Enter to win a FREE pair of Saucony Ride 10 at


Have a running friend who would love this? Share it...

Connect with Jeff Gaudette on Google+

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Adding new comments is only available for RunnersConnect Insider members.

Already a member? Login here Want to become an Insider for free?.Register here