Westside Acupuncture Links Genetics to Treatments


Photo Credit: Westside Acupuncture

Many people are familiar with acupuncture, using it to reduce stress or even help with problems like chronic pain. At Westside Acupuncture, owner Ricardo Miranda is exploring new ways for acupuncture to further benefit your health, including reducing the likelihood of contracting chronic diseases that have been linked to heredity. In a blend of scientific research and knowledge of alternative healing, Ricardo hopes to help more patients live their lives as healthfully as possible. Through his use of specific protocols and therapy combinations, Ricardo is using his knowledge of alternative medicine to go beyond the usual acupuncture practices. Ricardo wants people to learn that acupuncture is about more than just pain; it can help with total healing, even from chronic diseases and hereditary disorders. He tells JustLuxe about the new ways that acupuncture can benefit your health.

How did you start in the field and how long have you been practicing acupuncture?

I have always been interested in Chinese philosophy through my love for Chinese martial arts. I have been practicing both Chinese Kung-Fu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since I was a child. I moved to the United States to continue my studies in martial arts with the intention of going to China. After reading about how the Kung-Fu monks would use acupuncture and herbs to heal and strengthen their bodies I became interested in Chinese medicine. Once I found out that I could study Chinese medicine in the US, I opted to stay here and study this medicine. I graduated in 1995 and have been practicing for over 20 years now.

Are there particular areas that you specialize in?

Genetics/Epigenetics and MTHFR. I really developed a passion for this growing science in medicine. What I am most excited about it is that we have learned that our DNA isn’t our destiny. Our body has a way of turning genes on and off and once you understand how to work that mechanism it is a joy to help patients decrease their chances of contracting chronic diseases that run in their families. The name of that mechanism is “methylation”. With the exception of a few conditions most chronic diseases including most cancers are controlled by multiple genes and not just one. All we have to do is to make sure the genes that have direct effect on methylation are working well, and if they are not, there are ways through nutrition, supplements and acupuncture to counter it.

What do you feel is the most common misconception about acupuncture and Oriental Medicine?

One misconception is that is only good for pain. Acupuncture can help the body in so many ways, for example; regulate hormones, digestive problems, infertility, blood sugar issues, thyroid issues, anxiety and much more. Another misconception is that it may take many treatments before patients might feel better. When treating pain for example I usually get results within seconds of the treatment. Acupuncture can be that powerful when done right.

Your approach is unique in that you incorporate genetics into your practice.  How did that come about?

I have always been interested in longevity. In the oldest Chinese medicine text books it is stated that the human body should be able to live 120 years of age without the suffering. I mean good quality of life with moderate physical activities.

I went to a lecture on epigenetics couple years ago and fell in love with it. Since then, I have been devouring every literature and research on the subject and attending as many conferences I can. This is a new science, and the medical community is still learning new things every day, so I keep researching, learning and bringing to my patents the latest in genetics/epigenetics. 

What is MTHFR and why is it important?

MTHFR is arguably the most important of all the genes in our body. The reason is MTHFR provides the most important fuel for methylation to occur. If methylation was an engine, MTHFR would be the ignition that turns that engine on. Since methylation is that process that can turn disease genes off, MTHFR becomes so important for longevity. MTHFR has also been connected with many chronic conditions including infertility.

What can patients who are not in your area learn more about genetics and MTHFR?  

The website,, is the best resource for anyone that wants to learn more about MTHFR. It also provides a list of doctors in the US that specialize in MTHFR and genetics. Patients often ask me if I know of anyone that specialize in this field outside of California, to help a friend or family member. Although I do provide long distance consultations, if they want to see someone in person, this website provides a comprehensive list of doctors. The site also has thousands of researches from virtually any health condition and MTHFR. Patients and doctors can type in a specific condition and the site brings every research that has been done with connection to MTHFR.

You use acupuncture for fertility.  How does acupuncture help couples conceive?

There has been numerous research about the efficacy of acupuncture and fertility. In fact most fertility clinics nowadays recommend acupuncture for their patients, especially if they are going through IVF (in vitro fertilization). I have helped hundreds of women get pregnant in the past 20 years, but now that I address MTHFR mutations it makes my job so much easier.

How can acupuncture help those dealing with weight issues?

Most patients handle weight issues as a problem. The reality is that weight is not the problem, weight is the symptom. That’s why most weight programs including “diet and exercise” don’t work long term. If you don’t fix the underlying cause of weight gain, the patient will lose a few pounds and get everything plus some back. In some cases patients have a good diet and good exercise routines but can’t lose weight. We have to address the following six areas: digestive health, stress, hormone balancing, metabolism, sleep and detoxification. If you miss one area, the program is not going to be complete.

Not that long ago acupuncture and herbs was considered strange and exotic.  You now work hand in hand with M.D.s and traditional medicine.  How do you feel that change came about?

M.D.s mainly look at research results. It has taken many years for research in many areas to start being published in the western world. As more and more research with positive results is surfacing, the medical community is embracing their newfound natural way of treating patients. Patients are also demanding a drug free approach more than ever.

How do you convince people who are terrified of needles to give acupuncture a try?

I usually don’t try to convince people about having acupuncture. I understand that for some people they may just not like it. I do suggest, however, that they try experiencing my technique one time at least to find out if that is for them. Nine out of ten times they look at my face and say: Is that it? Their fear goes away immediately and they start enjoying the experiencing. I do have however other methods including Chinese herbs plus nutritional and lifestyle guidance, which can help many patients, but at a slower pace.

Whether you are curious about your genetic makeup, experiencing fertility issues or have other health concerns, you can learn more about acupuncture and experience the benefits for yourself at

Carly Zinderman

Carly Zinderman is a Senior Staff Writer for JustLuxe, based just outside of Los Angeles, CA. Since graduating from Occidental College with a degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies, she has written on a variety of topics for books, magazines and online publications, but loves fashion and style best. In her spare time, when she?s not writing, Carly enjoys watching old movies, reading an...(Read More)

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