‘It’s medicine, but it’s artistic’: Sage Acupuncture provides wellness services

Acupuncture and more are offered at Sage Acupuncture in Pacific Beach.

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Sage Acupuncture has been offering patients services to improve their physical and mental health for years, and owner Elaine Ataba is looking to increase the ways she can do so.

For the record:

11:47 a.m. July 28, 2020This article originally reported an incorrect street number for Sage Acupuncture. The correct address is
4469 Morrell St.

Ataba is the acupuncturist at Sage Acupuncture at 4469 Morrell St. in Pacific Beach, where she has offered services under the Chinese medicine umbrella since she graduated from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (now Pacific College of Health and Science) in 2008.

Services at Sage Acupuncture include “all the traditional things that acupuncturists employ,” Ataba said, including herbology, or prescriptions of herbs and supplements.

Sage Acupuncture also offers massage therapy and nutrition services, both through Ataba, who worked for several years as a massage therapist before becoming an acupuncturist. Sage also has another massage therapist and dietitian.

Ataba said there are many benefits to pursuing treatment through acupuncture. The majority of her patients seek relief from headaches and other pain.

Ataba specializes in two types of pain — “orthopedic issues, such as joint injuries … and jaw disorders, such as temporomandibular disorders, or TMD. I’ve taken extra schooling in both jaw disorders and the orthopedic field,” she said.

Ataba also attends to mental health. “Stress reduction is huge,” she said. “The way the needles work, it calms the nervous system down, and that just calms people down in general. You feel it when you get a treatment; people just come out so much more relaxed.”

Though Ataba is not a licensed counselor, she said “listening to the spiritual and emotional side of the patient” is an important component of her practice. “It’s not something I meant to do, but it often ends up happening. It has such an impact on [patients’] physical health.”

As she has observed the link between psychological and physical health, Ataba is pursuing further education, she said.

Elaine Ataba is owner and acupuncturist at Sage Acupuncture in Pacific Beach.

Becoming an acupuncturist was a natural step for Ataba after working in massage, she said. “Acupuncture was a really nice fit. It’s medicine, but it’s artistic and I do enjoy and follow Eastern philosophical ideas. It just made sense for me to marry those two interests.”

Ataba said she also was looking to diversify into something she could sustain for years, and she believes acupuncture is just right.

Ataba is transforming her business again, as Sage Acupuncture will become Sage Wellness San Diego in coming months.

Blending the physical and psychological aspects of health is especially important to Ataba now, as many of her patients “have been very distraught by this [pandemic],” she said.

“People are so stressed; I know people working in environments they’re not comfortable. They tell me, ‘Coming to see you for the hour I get to see you is my one break in the week,’” Ataba said.

The first visit to Sage Acupuncture takes 75 to 90 minutes to gather intake and history. Subsequent treatments are typically an hour, which might include instructions for at-home exercise or follow-up directions “for extra care,” Ataba said.

Treatments end with a few minutes of massage. “People long for that,” she said. “They really enjoy that.”

Sage accepts most major health insurance plans. The initial out-of-pocket fees are $135, and $85 for follow-up visits. Ataba also offers “package opportunities.”

Sage Acupuncture is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, visit

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