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Physical Therapy

What is acupuncture?

acu.jpgAcupuncture is the practice of inserting very thin metal needles into the skin to stimulate points on the body. Sometimes electrical current is then passed through the needles.  Acupuncture has been used to treat medical conditions and to promote health for thousands of years in China and other parts of Asia. In the United States, acupuncture is a part of complementary and alternative medicine.

Hall Health Center offers acupuncture through its Physical Therapy clinic for orthopedic pain (pain associated with bones, muscles, ligaments or connective tissue) and sports injuries.

What does the research tell us about acupuncture?

Millions of Americans use acupuncture to manage chronic conditions and treat new ones, as well as to improve overall health.  However, the science behind acupuncture is controversial because it is difficult to design large, rigorous studies to test its effectiveness. When investigating whether a treatment method works, it is important to have a "control" group as a basis for comparison. In the case of acupuncture, this may entail comparing true acupuncture to "sham" treatments to see whether any observed improvement can be explained by the placebo effect.

Another aspect of the debate around acupuncture is known as the "nocebo" effect, the converse of the placebo phenomenon. There is some evidence that any skepticism or fear that acupuncture patients have about the practice negates any positive outcomes.

Chronic musculoskeletal pain

Studies have investigated whether acupuncture is effective in reducing pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow and low-back, neck and knee pain. Some of this research has found that acupuncture provides pain relief, with study participants who received actual treatment reporting less pain than those of who received simulated treatment. A 2012 study described in this New York Times article reviewed 27 studies that met standards of scientific rigor and concluded that there is strong evidence that acupuncture can help with chronic pain.

Are there side effects and risks to acupuncture treatment?

Few problems have been reported associated with acupuncture treatment. However, needles that are improperly sterilized or inserted could result in infection or organ puncture. Your acupuncture practitioner should open a new set of packaged needles at each treatment and use alcohol wipes on your skin prior to needle insertion.

Acupuncture needles are regulated by the federal government; they must be sterile, non-toxic and labeled for single use.

What to expect from a visit to an acupuncturist

Just like a provider of Western medicine, your acupuncture provider should take care to learn about your medical history and concerns. Your first visit should include questions about your health and health-related behavior. You will also be asked for the names and dosages of any medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.

Your acupuncture provider will then describe the recommended course of treatment and prepare sterilized needles for insertion. You may be asked to fully or partially disrobe. Needles are inserted quickly, and most people report feeling little to no pain. The provider will make sure you feel comfortable and then may leave to room for some time. You might feel energized or relaxed by the treatment.

Your provider may ask you to return for repeated treatments.

Insurance and acupuncture

Many health insurance plans provide coverage of acupuncture visits, including UW's Graduate Assistant Insurance Program (GAIP) and most UW employee health plans. Contact your insurance company to inquire if you have coverage and which providers are in network. If you do not have coverage and cost is a concern, you may be able to find an acupuncturist outside of the University of Washington medical system who offers services on a sliding fee scale based on income.

Additional resources


What is the ACL?

ACL stands for anterior cruciate ligament. It is one of the main ligaments of the knee, and prevents the shin bone from sliding out in front of the thigh bone.

Symptoms of ACL injury

An injury to the ACL happens when the ligament is over-stretched or torn. A tear may be partial or complete. These injuries can occur if you:

Picking the right shoe can be a daunting task for any runner.  Popular opinion about what type of footwear is best seems to change every few months.  Are neutral shoes actually better than supportive?  What about barefoot running?  What if you've been told that your feet pronate?

Not sure whether to use ice or heat after an injury?  Use these guidelines to help you decide.

woman sitting at computerFor many of us, sitting for extended periods of time glaring at a computer screen is an integral part of our daily routine. Yet little do we recognize how significantly the design and arrangement of our computer workstation equipment impacts our health. Improper computer ergonomics is a leading cause of neck and back pain, shoulder fatigue, carpal tunnel, and eye strain.

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Do you know what to do after a muscle injury?

Ice is best for acute pain and heat works on chronic injuries. Read more about when to ice and when to apply heat.

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Warm-up program to reduce injuries

Check out FIFA 11+, an evidence-based warm-up program specially designed for soccer players to reduce injuries.

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Hours and appointments

Appointments: (206) 685-1044

8AM-6PM -- Monday-Friday
Closed:  Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays

You need a referral to see a physical therapist. The referral must be faxed to the billing department at (206) 221-0922 before you schedule an appointment. Read more about your first visit.

The Hall Health Physical Therapy Clinic is staffed by four licensed physical therapists with almost 60 years of combined experience.  We are here to help you realize your potential.  Whether you have an acute injury, a nagging chronic condition, or want to prepare for an event, we can evaluate your current condition and get you on the road to meeting your goals.  With a combination of skilled manual therapy, prescription exercises, and an emphasis on developing healthy movement, Hall Health Physical Therapy can help you feel better and get back to life's activities.

Acupuncturist, Physical Therapist, Sports Certified Specialist


Brendan has been lucky enough to treat some of the top athletes in the world which include NFL hall of fame players, PGA Tour golfers, all-american NCAA division I basketball players, and Turkish national team basketball players.  He has worked with UW division I soccer players, UW volleyball players, UW ultimate Frisbee players, and the entire University of Maryland division I men's and women's basketball teams, along with many NW IronMan triathletes, marathon runners, and rock climbers.   


Brendan trained with the UC Berkeley club basketball team as an undergrad.  Brendan’s first job after graduating from Cal was teaching and being a head coach for the Oakland Tech High School basketball team in California.

He then moved to Seattle to complete a three year Master’s Degree of Science in Acupuncture from Bastyr University. Brendan had the unique opportunity to perform acupuncture internships in China.  Brendan finished his final quarter of clinical rotations in acupuncture at Chengdu and Shanghai University Hospitals’ TCM orthopedic departments.

During Brendan’s study at Bastyr he studied Tai Chi and Medical Chi Gung exercise therapy. Brendan also completed manual therapy studies in cupping, Gua Sha and Tui Na manipulation which he uses to treat soft tissue injuries in his PT practice. In addition he completed an certification in manual lymphatic drainage for sports injuries under Seattle Super-Sonic therapist instruction. Brendan is certified in clean needle technique and has been practicing as a licensed acupuncturist for over 10 years.

In order to expand his sports injury focused practice, Brendan returned to school and finished his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Maryland. There he finished coursework and internship training in Greenman’s Osteopathic manipulation techniques. He also designed and conducted a group research study in aquatic plyometrics and looked at dynamic knee mechanics and performance changes. The study was performed with division one basketball players both male and female and demonstrated significant improvement in performance variables.

Brendan finished his final quarter of clinical doctoral internships at Villanova Sports Medicine located on campus in their athletic training room. Brendan has been certified in sports medical emergency CPR and the Functional Movement Screen for potential injury risk, which is used during the NFL combine.

Brendan has been trained in the FIBA medical and research center's dynamic warm up for soccer players. The dynamic exercises have been studied and show to reduce injury rates in NCAA soccer teams.

He has special training in corrective exercises for basketball players from the National Academy of Sports Medicine which was designed by the Phoenix Suns physical therapist and training staff.

He is the only health professional in the northwest with the combination of a U.S. accredited master’s of science in acupuncture and a doctorate in physical therapy along with being a board certified sports physical therapy specialist, through APTA's American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties.  Brendan is a member of the APTA Sports Section and University Athletics special interest group.  

Personal Interests
He enjoys spending time playing and watching hoops, running, snowboarding, and traveling the world with his wife and (soon with newborn), when they get the opportunity. Just last spring he traveled to the International Rehabilitation Conference on Football/soccer injuries at Wembley Stadium in London. Brendan has participated in the Seattle half and full marathons in addition to the ChelanMan olympic distance triathlon and the Seafair Olympic Triathlon this past summer and has volunteered at the Seattle Marathon post race sports acupuncture area.

Brendan likes working with high level athletes and helping them safely return to sports and at the same time giving them tools to remain healthy in the long run.  

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