Ken Drake, LA.c

Acupuncturist / Massage Therapist / Herbalist / Owner

  • Studied in China and lived in Taiwan 4 years​

  • Board Certified Acupuncturist​

  • 4 year Traditional Chinese Medicine Degree, Five Branches University

  • BA University of Hawaii​​

  • Proud father and fisherman​

My journey into Oriental medicine began in 2004 when I moved into a house with 3 different Chinese families who barely spoke English. Living in this Kaimuki, Hawaii house was a pretty drastic change from my native Idaho town, where literally the only Chinese people I knew of worked at the Hong Kong buffet down the street. 

These families took me in as one of their own as I attended UH, and I would eat dinner with them every night and practice the Chinese I learned from school. At the time, I was in school to be a teacher, and the stress of being in the public schools began stirring latent health issues that I'd had since my mid teens. I'd gone to all kinds of doctors and specialists, and no one had been able to help me at all. When I shared this with my host families, they took me to Chinatown and my life path forever changed, along with my worries, pains, and preconceptions about what health and wellness means.

The first thing that struck me was the earthy aroma of the hundreds of herbs in stacked cabinets. The next thing that startled me was the acupuncturist (中醫), who was in her late 70s but looked like she was about 40. She read my pulse, examined my tongue, and seemed to be able to look through me and somehow see that, for whatever reason, I already knew the source of my problems but chose to cover it and act like a victim. This was tough, compassionate love, and her leading by example, pointed questions, and ultimately, acupuncture, qi gong and herbs helped me break through personal barriers that I didn't even realize I had, and my health problems vanished.

Once I graduated from the University of Hawaii I began formerly studying TCM at a 4 year school in Santa Cruz. This was one of the first schools in the US and one of the most prestigious, so I thought it would be a good fit. However, after about a year I realized that the main focus of TCM school is to prepare students for the boards, which means that we rote memorized monotonous details that have little to do with actual clinical results. Frustrated, I took 6 months off school and moved to Taiwan. This was my first time to Asia and experiencing the medicine in its purest form, where many 中醫 would practice techniques passed down from generations (as opposed to the standardized system taught in schools). Most importantly, I met Elinor (Yi-Ching), the love of my life and current office manager. She helped me stay motivated to graduate through the monotony of school. She'd remind me that I'd have to graduate if I ever wanted to be a 中醫.

As soon as I graduated, Elinor and I moved back to Taiwan, where we'd spend another 4 years enjoying the rich culture, food, medicine and lessons. Life was great in Taiwan, and we may even still be there, but we got the news that our family would soon expand. We finally decided to move to SLO, where I have family, to have the baby.

The three of us run the clinic in a quiet corner of downtown, and the number one purpose is to help you find the peace within yourself to remove whatever barriers you have to healing. I specialize in acupuncture/massage fusion treatments because I believe that proper distal needling (using points downstream from the pain, as opposed to putting needles where the pain is) combined with supporting the injured site with my hands (either active or passive massage) is the most relaxing way to recover. I aim to meet you at your threshold, whether that means using stronger or gentler techniques, and get you on your way to being your best self in body and mind.

I look forward to seeing you at SLO Chinese Medical Center!


  ​"When you touch one thing with deep awareness, you touch everything."

- Lao Tzu