Rick Peterson, LAc. - Acupuncturist


Rick Peterson, MSTOM, L.Ac. - Rick is a graduate of The Pacific College of - Oriental Medicine in San Diego. He brings a deep sense of compassion and understanding to his patients and their symptoms.
He enjoys treating a variety of internal and external disorders. His main focus is in the treatment of addiction, migraines, arthritis, digestive complaints, and various musculoskeletal, menstrual disorders and neurological disorders.

Rick integrates his extensive study in Traditional Chinese Medicine with orthopedic physical assessment techniques to effectively treat various acute and chronic muscular pain.

He also integrates various types of myofascial release and facilitated muscle stretching techniques into his treatments.



Acupuncture is a holistic treatment that got its beginning in traditional Chinese medicine, and is now practiced in wellness clinics around the globe. At La Costa Chiropractic & Wellness of Carlsbad, CA, our licensed experts use acupuncture to help patients overcome pain, stiffness, and many other ailments. Read on to learn more about acupuncture and how it's applied today.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a commonly used treatment that involves the insertion of final metal needles into specific points on the body that elicit different responses. Acupuncture is known to stimulate healing, relieve tension, and help with a wide variety of other symptoms. In traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the flow of energy through different pathways in the body.

Who needs Acupuncture?

Many types of people can benefit from acupuncture treatment. Some just enjoy it as a relaxing therapy that helps them relieve tension. In other cases, it has impactful medical benefits. For example, acupuncture is often used as a supplementary treatment for sciatica, arthritis, migraines, and more. To learn whether acupuncture can help with your specific condition, reach out to La Costa Chiropractic & Wellness today. Our Carlsbad, CA, practitioners are available for consultations to discuss your case.

What to Expect from Your First Acupuncture Session

Acupuncture is a relaxing and mostly painless process. Once the practitioner has identified which points will help with your specific symptoms, you'll lie down on the table. From there, your licensed acupuncturist will insert very thin needles into the points and leave them there for some time. Some variations of acupuncture combine techniques like EMS and heat therapy. A session generally takes fifteen tp 45 minutes, depending on each case. Acute issues could be resolved within a few sessions and chronic issues could take a longer period of time.  Acupuncture can release chronic patterns of tension on a neurological level and also break down trigger points and scar tissue. As the tissues heal and circulation is restored pain will subside. 

At La Costa Chiropractic & Wellness, it's our mission to ensure our Carlsbad, CA, patients receive the highest quality care. If you're interested in learning more about what our acupuncture treatments can do for you, reach out to us today. Our Acupuncturist Dr. Rick Peterson, would love to answer your questions. Just give our care team a call during business hours at (760) 438-9548. We look forward to hearing from you!



Q: What is Acupuncture?

A: Acupuncture is a complex branch of ancient Chinese Medicine, but its practical principles are easily understood.

  • There are fourteen energy channels called meridians that course through the human body including the head, arms, legs, feet, torso, and internal organs.
  • Throughout our bodies there is a vital force that keeps us living and breathing known as Qi (pronounced chee) or in ayuverdic medicine it is known as Prana. Qi is the circulating life energy that in Chinese philosophy is thought to be inherent in all things; in traditional Chinese medicine the balance of negative and positive forms in the body is believed to be essential for good health. The smooth uninhibited flow of qi in our bodies keeps us healthy. Any misdirection, blockage, or other derangement of the amount, flow, or balance of qi may result in pain, dysfunction and ill health.
  • With the use of acupuncture needles, herbs, moxa, tuina, cupping, and other techniques the acupuncturist is able to restore normal balance and flow in the meridians. This balancing of circulation allows the body to heal naturally.

Q: What should I expect on my first acupuncture visit?

A: During our first session I will get an overall sense of your current medical condition and ask several questions pertaining to your current health. I will also ask information about your past medical history and any prescriptions drugs you may be taking. This helps me determine the proper course of treatment for your individual needs.

Q: How should I prepare for my first treatment?

A: Wear loose clothing, hydrate and have a meal or snack before acupuncture sessions.

Q: How many treatments do I need?

A: This depends on the severity of your condition, the amount of time you have been suffering, and your current state of health. For example, if you have had chronic back pain for 10 years it may take 15 to 20 treatments to become pain free or have dramatically less pain. If you strained or pulled a muscle in your back and it was very recent then receiving acupuncture 1 to 4 times within a two week period should be enough to alleviate your symptoms.

Q: Will I need acupuncture forever to stay pain free?

A: When someone has pain my main goal is to set up a treatment plan that will allow for the greatest reduction in pain in the shortest amount of time. I will give my recommendation usually of 1 or 2 treatments per week. As the pain recedes the treatments become separated to 1 treatment every 2 weeks, 3 weeks, and so on. When the pain is gone there is no need for further treatment. I do recommend general maintenance sessions 4 times a year as the seasons change to keep your body balanced and healthy. Keep in mind that with chronic conditions of pain it has taken your body sometimes many years to get to the amount of pain your in today. In order for you to get rid of this pain your body has to heal itself with the assistance of acupuncture and herbal medicine. In other words don’t be discouraged if your first treatment doesn’t give you the amount of relief you had in mind. Instead keep a positive attitude and have faith in your innate healing capabilities and move forward with treatment.

Q: Does acupuncture hurt?

A: In general acupuncture is not associated with pain. When the needles have been placed in strategic acupoints the body will react in different ways. Often people will describe a feeling of dull achiness, twitching of muscles, releasing of muscles in areas of the body where needles may or may not be, vibration in various areas of the body, and warmth radiating into various areas. In Chinese medicine this is known as the arrival of De Qi and signifies that your body is responding to treatment.

Q: Is acupuncture safe?

A: Yes, acupuncture is safe and effective. The needles are not reused. They are for one time use only and are individually packaged and sterile. Most needles are made from stainless steel and vary in length and diameter. I use various types of needles based on patients needs. For extremely sensitive patients I use very thin needles coated with silicone for an extra smooth insertion.


"First came rosacea, followed some time later by the type of related blepharitis known as "ocular rosacea". Not willing to get involved long-term in the traditional, chemical medications prescribed by the doctors I visited, I started to explore options in the alternative field. First, I found a Chinese soap that resolved the rosacea skin issues. Secondly, after taking the initial dose of the ophthalmologist’s prescribed treatment of Prednisone combined with hot eye compresses to reduce the symptoms of the eye issues, I read up on the side effects of that particular medication and found them worrisome. So I abandoned the Prednisone regimen and continued to search out other possibilities for the blepharitis side of the ailment.

I tried all sorts of home remedies over the years, and did get some short term relief with various herbal treatments, but the condition always came back and got increasingly worse...to the point of having constantly red, watery eyes (one eye in particular), loss of eyelashes, inflamed eyelids, and light sensitivity. I never went anyplace without a handful of tissues to "mop" my eyes and usually got to the end of the day just worn out from having eyes that were so incessantly irritated and bothersome.

Rick Peterson joined the chiropractic/wellness clinic where I have gone for years, so I decided to see if he could help. I must admit, after the first few sessions things seemed the same and I was beginning to be discouraged, even though he advised patience – apparently the longer a chronic condition has existed, the longer it takes acupuncture to begin to turn it around. And he was so right! His treatments of acupuncture, cranial sacral therapy, Chinese herbs, cupping and items from the health food store kicked in and my eyes began to respond, turned the corner, and then got increasingly better after each appointment.

I feel like I have gotten my life back! I now can spend the day outside without having tears running down my cheeks, I can look in the mirror each morning without red eyes staring back, the gaps in my eyelashes are filling in, I can wear eye makeup again, and the tissues are relegated to my purse for other purposes".

Rosemary Crowell

San Marcos, CA
August, 2011

"Rick Peterson has used his knowledge and expertise to resolve many health issues for me.

While on vacation in Maui, I found that I got seasick just by snorkeling and swimming on the surface of the ocean. I would lay down to sleep only to feel the motion of the sea. It was ruining my vacation, but what could I do?

I called Rick the next morning and he suggested I make and drink fresh ginger root tea. Then he told me of a pressure point to stop my body’s reaction to the motion sickness. Both of his suggestions worked!

Thanks to Rick, I was able to continue my vacation and take the Kayaking and Snorkeling trip I had dreamed of. While kayaking and snorkeling I would start to feel seasick again. Then I would use the pressure point and I would feel well again. It was the miracle I needed. Rick’s expert knowledge saved my vacation and enabled me to do all the activities I had intended to do.

After the vacation, I still had bouts of motion sickness while sitting in a chair or resting. Rick was able to take care of the remaining motion sickness and it hasn’t bothered me since."


Magic Hands

A master in Cranial Sacral work. My jaw had come out of alignment enough to cause my teeth to not align. Though my jaw worked for days to realign itself it could not. Using Cranial Sacral, Rick realigned my teeth and provided pain relief from the constant shifting of my jaw to find the proper fit. My jaw muscles were able to relax and so was I.


An amazing massage therapist, Rick has been working on the stress and tension in my upper body that is caused by the stress of Asthma. Asthmatics tend to pull their shoulders up attempting to get extra air, which causes tension all over the body.

Tension in my neck pulls the skull and shoulder muscles causing discomfort. After a deep massage the muscles relax and flex better. Overall, my body feels healthier and my muscles have regained their elasticity.

Andrea Bonini

“Nearly 2 years ago I was struggling through a difficult and challenging episode in my life. As a result I became very anxious and depressed, my blood pressure rose, and I was experiencing nearly constant aching and heaviness in my chest. All of the medical testing I had done came back normal. Antidepressant and hypertension drugs helped, but the anxiety and chest discomfort continued to plague me. I began to look elsewhere for help.

Over the course of my lifetime I have turned to a wide variety of alternative healing techniques for various health issues and have had experience with several massage therapists.  For the past year and a half I have included regular massage treatments from Rick Peterson as part of my healing regimen.  I have found him to be kind, compassionate and extremely knowledgeable in a wide variety of healing modalities. As a licensed acupuncturist, he has an understanding of the human body that surpasses any of the therapists I have used in the past. His massage technique is wonderful and his cranial-sacral therapy is the best I have ever experienced.

The loving care I have received from him has been an integral part of my healing process, and I am happy to say that I have come a long way from where I was 2 years ago. My overall health and quality of life have improved enormously, and for that I cannot thank him enough.I would highly recommend Rick to anyone dealing with physical or emotional issues, and I hope to continue my relationship with him for many years to come.” –

May 2nd, 2011
Gina Solomko

“Living with spinal cord injury can be challenging, to say the least, Rick has been a dynamic and adept component in my health maintenance and recovery process. I have been a needle phobic but willing client, and he has been very compassionate in easing me into deeper and deeper treatments. His techniques have been very supportive in helping to manage pressure sores, bladder infections, and as a general aid in maintaining and building strength and vitality.” –

Kabir K.

“My pain decreased greatly after the very first treatment! After a major cervical spine discectomy and fusion surgery, I suffered from severe muscle and nerve pain. My surgeon recommended that I get a deep tissue massage. When I met Rick, he listened to what my concerns/needs were, and then used his knowledge to explain how he would proceed to relieve my pain. Rick kept me involved during the treatment process. My pain decreased greatly after the very first treatment.” 

Rene’ B.

Rick is such an amazing, healing spirit. I initially came to him on a friend’s recommendation, as I was looking for treatment of my ovarian cysts. For the past several months, Rick has shown himself to be both very knowledgeable about his craft and extremely caring about his patients. I have not had any ovarian pain in months, and much of my reproductive health is due to Rick’s acupuncture treatments. He has also shown himself skilled in cupping and CranioSacral Therapy, as he uses his wisdom and nurturing energy to help my body out of dampness and back to homeostasis. Rick is a very skilled acupuncturist, and I am so grateful for his healing presence in my life. –

Kelly L.

“I have been seeing Rick Peterson since 2006 and had amazing recovery due to a head on collision in 2005. He also supported me in my labor to have a drug free natural birth with my son. After my birth I had an quick recovery and was able to be physically, mentally and emotionally available for me son. In the past I have been to several acupuncturists and alternative healers but I never get the results that do when I see Rick. He has helped me so much in managing my pain and helping me to not only relieve pain but to perservere and become stronger dispite my injuries. I also have seen him for migraines, the common cold, premenstral symptoms and to have an overall balancing treatment for preventive measures. He is very enthusiastic in helping me to heal myself and empowers me to be at my optimal health as much as possible. He is very thoughtful and listens to me on different levels to encompass an emotional and physical healing. I feel that no matter how small an issue might be he treats it as if it is very important and is completely there to support my health. I have and will continue to recommend him to all of my friends and family!” –

Lynda D.

“I never thought that I would go to an acupuncturist, “it just wasn’t for me”. I was convinced by my friends to go to see Rick about a year and a half ago when I was having trouble recovering, after I had the flu. Rick was so caring and skilled in his treatments, and I started to get better quickly. After Rick had been able to help my with my recovery, I was so impressed that I ask him treat me when I had a shoulder problem and , at the same time, tennis elbow. I do not play tennis, I am a hairstylist. I guess 24 years of holding my left arm up was taking it’s toll. So, Rick gave me some powerful treatments acupuncture, combined with TENS. It was about 3 1/2 weeks, I was out of pain completely! (even at work!!!) Kaiser wanted to give me cortisone shots for both!!! So, after that- I asked Rick to treat me for menopausal symptoms. I have pretty regular hot flashes- followed by sweats- day and night- but mostly at night. This make sit a real challenge to be rested at all. My work includes some extremely extended hours at times, so my endurance is tested. Again, when I was able to stay to a schedule of Rick’s treatments, I have had a definite reduction in frequency of the hot flashes-I timed them!!! (I get better rest, so I can have a much better day!!) I will always ask Rick to see if he can fix any problem when I need help.” –

Connie M.

“I started going to Rick, for acupuncture, about nine months ago for three main reasons: (1) pain / inflammation management for a bone and ligament issue in my ankle, (2) sleep issues, and (3) overall health. Rick first addressed the sleep issue with acupuncture and an herb regimen. I went from tossing and turning each night to actually being able to sleep soundly and comfortably. His acupuncture brought my levels of stress down so that I could actually relax.

The bone and ligament concern is from a soccer injury 25 years ago. In the accident, the ligaments were torn and a bone was cracked. Over time, the bone has worn through the cartilage and becomes inflamed and painful regularly. I have been taking cortisone shots for years- prolonging surgery for fusion. Through electro stimulation, heat and acupuncture, the pain and inflammation were kept manageable. I go longer between bouts of flare ups. I prefer this much more over cortisone shots which have begun to wear down the bone.

Being a mid 40′s guy, I am in decent health and want to remain so. Having a stroke (minor) in 2006 and having to take blood pressure pills and cholesterol pills to ensure I remain healthy is not what I prefer. Although I do still take the pills, through acupuncture and healing the body internally, I have found that I do not necessarily need to take the pills, as my blood pressure and stress have been lowered significantly. I wake up fresh in the mornings and find that I have more energy to work out and be productive.

I researched acupuncture for a few months before trying it with Rick. I find that his approach, knowledge and his patience to explain and offer new options are a big part of why I continued the therapies. Rick does not push a product or a treatment on his clients. He merely suggests and explains why he feels it would be beneficial.

I know I will continue with acupuncture and treatments with Rick.” -

Gary C.

“I was diagnosed by my medical doctors with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (with constipation). After a lot of disappointment regarding the treatment scenario from my medical doctors, my co-worker suggested that I try her acupuncturist. I have seen Rick Peterson for a little over a year now and my whole life has changed. Rick has successfully managed to treat my IBS (with constipation) to the point that it has completely disappeared; my lower abdominal pain is gone, my constipation is gone and my indigestion is gone which makes my life so much better. Rick treats me monthly to maintain my healthy digestive system.

I was also diagnosed with Cuboid Syndrome (which is a dislocated cuboid joint) in my left foot). This pain has kept me from walking normally and exercising regularly due to severe pain. Rick has successfully treated me for this dislocation pain to the point that I am walking normally and exercising regularly again.

Rick now treats me monthly to maintain my health. I truly recommend Rick to everyone.

Rick has changed my life completely and utterly for the better. As anyone knows that has chronic pain; it takes over your whole life. Now that my IBS (with constipation) is gone and my foot pain is maintained, I can focus on enjoying my life once again.”

“I feel confident in professing that the recent progress I’ve had with eliminating my neck tension is partially due to Rick’s expertise and assistance.

I’ve had nine acupuncture sessions with him so far and what keeps me committed to working with him is his intelligence and know-how. I ask a lot of questions out of natural curiosity and he always has a quick, solid answer. His confidence is comforting.

Rick is professional, considerate, and a great communicator. I continue to be impressed with his personal style.”

November 24, 2010

Top qualities: Personable, Expert

Jared Meyer

“Rick Peterson is an amazing person and fabulous at his job. I came in for water-retention, weight-loss and back pain. Within a few visits my immediate problems went away and I was on my way to a more healthier life-style. I also feel much better in general from using Rick’s suggestions regarding nutrition. Rick is very knowledgeable as well as being a very caring person. He is a great communicator, understands problems quickly and puts his patients at ease. He is genuinely concerned with the all-around health of his patients which I found impressive and very comforting. I feel very lucky to have found him.”

October 27, 2010
Top qualities: Great Results, Good Value
Mary Lou Staight

“Rick is a warm and very knowledgeable acupuncturist who is dedicated to taking the time to find out what each individual patient needs whether that be acupuncture, herbs, diet or lifestyle changes. I recommend him whole heartedly!”

October 22, 2010

Caitlin Donovan

“Up front, Rick is my brother. It makes it very easy for me to present him with questions and ask his opinions on issues I am frequently presented with as a surgeon. I have been able to refer my patients to providers who can offer a range of services that I have minimal to no knowledge about; just a few examples of patient needs have been alternative approaches to weight loss, smoking cessation, and optimization of healing after surgery. If he ever leaves San Diego and comes up to Seattle, I and my patients would be very well served by Rick his skills. Don Peterson, MD”

October 15, 2010
Donny Peterson, Surgeon MD, Cosmetic Surgical Arts Center

“I went in to receive acupuncture for having shoulder and back problems due to sitting at a computer all day, and bad posture when I play guitar. I went in for 6 sessions with Rick and after the first session I noticed a huge difference in my body and a relaxation I hadn’t felt for years. Not only was his acupuncture work phenomenal but he also helped me with recommendations of my posture, and educating me on my body and what it was going through. I’d highly recommend Rick for any of his services that he provides and I look forward to my next session with Rick!”

October 14, 2010 

Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Expert

Chris Zach

“Rick has provided me superb service on a serious condition I had. He implemented beyond the regular effort implementing various therapeutic methodologies to remedy my condition. I highly recommend Rick Peterson Therapeutic service.”

October 13, 2010
Top qualities: Great Results, Good Value, Creative
Eskinder Berhanu

“Rick’s passion about healing and helping people achieve optimal wellness is bar-none. He eloquently treats each patient with the individual care that is needed.”

October 13, 2010

Top qualities: Great Results, Expert

Derek Motsinger

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