Success Stories

In more than forty years of practice, we have amassed many stories about the positive outcomes experienced by our patients. Below is a selection of testimonials. If you’d like to give us feedback about your own treatment at Chinese Medicine Works, please email us.

Chronic arthritis

"I fell off a roof and was unable to walk without severe pain. I was told I would have chronic arthritis for the rest of my life and never return to my occupation as a roofer. After the third visit I experienced whole days without pain for the first time in six months. By the fifth visit I walked normally, without discomfort, and within a few weeks I returned to work."
- Angus, age 36

Cystic acne

"I tried monocycling antibiotics, facials, homeopathy, psychotherapy, and laser treatments for my ego-crushing cystic acne before coming for acupuncture. Along with dietary and hormonal adjustments, the weekly acupuncture that I had and the daily herbs that I took transformed my skin from being a horrific plague to looking really perfect. The anxiety I felt in my stomach finally went away, too. This all happened after a trauma and nothing had helped for two years. It took about eight months for me to recover completely and it's been truly amazing to have myself back."
- Cary, age 24

Congestive heart failure

"I was feeling tired, forgetful, spacey, and short of breath from congestive heart failure – I was wheezing after walking a few blocks. Now I'm strong again in only two months of regular acupuncture and using herbs. Whatever cognitive deficit I was having really improved – maybe it's all that increased circulation in my brain. And when my back and sciatica flared up, it only took one treatment for it to disappear. Acupuncture really worked for me."
- Ruth, age 80

Dental surgery

"The herb formula Marrow Matters truly helped my jawbone recover from a dental implant that would have been otherwise much more swollen and tender. I've done this surgery both ways. With the herbs the healing was much faster. My dentist was quite impressed."
- Tom , age 62


"For a decade I had killer migraines that lasted two to three days almost every week. It was a nightmare. It was suggested that I do weekly acupuncture, go off Premarin, and use progesterone cream along with my daily Chinese herbal extracts. I haven't had a migraine now in years."
- Sally, age 56

Urinary tract infections and swelling in the bartholin gland

"I was having chronic persistent urinary tract infections and painful swelling in my bartholin gland, both of which cleared up with acupuncture, herbs, plus the dietary changes that I made over a three-month period."
- Angie, age 28


"I was sick for two weeks, exhausted, and taking antibiotics didn't change things. I had four acupuncture treatments and felt good again. Now I use acupuncture every few months to keep up my strength and I don't get sick."
- Doug, age 32


"In a matter of months my level of energy has shifted incredibly. The treatments have worked! Your capacity to listen deeply, your caring attention to detail, skillful hands, keen intuition and delivery of acupuncture are all the things I am so grateful to have received. Thank you for the gift of health and well-being."
- Lily, age 59

Flu and vertigo

"I had a constant bout of flu that morphed into vertigo that lasted an entire month. After one acupuncture treatment the flu and vertigo disappeared. I am a school teacher in contact with sick children all of the time. Although I do catch colds occasionally, now I recover quickly and my immunity is much better than it used to be."
- Pamela, age 48

Chronic sinusitis

"I lost my sense of smell after chronic sinusitis and sinus surgery. Getting weekly acupuncture for three months, my sense of smell returned 100% and I no longer have sinus infections."
- Catherine, age 55

Depression, mood swings, itchy rash, pain in limbs

"What is really remarkable to me is how much my life has changed since I've begun acupuncture. Frankly, I don't understand my sometimes overwhelming psychological reactions to this treatment. In five years of therapy I've never been so turned inside-out. The last session left me with a wonderful sense of wholeness within myself and a rather mystical separateness from the world around me – as if I'm a genie and can appear and vanish at will. At the same time, I feel friendly and tolerant toward co-workers and am full of good intentions about eating right, working sensible hours, and offering my gifts to the world."
- Diana, age 47

Heart rhythm

"Atrial fibrillations started after I increased my dose of Prozac. The medications prescribed to fix this weren’t helping. Whenever I exercised at the gym, my heart rate would go way up. It took seven acupuncture treatments to restore safe heart rhythm and now I can exercise as much as I want."
- Chuck, age 68

Post-partum depression

"After my first child I had post-partum depression, lost a lot of weight, and was sick all of the time. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs relieved my depression, restored my appetite, and I've had a second child now without any problems."
- Valerie, age 33

Harriet and Efrem

"I love how much you care about people and walk a path of service. I love that you solve problems while keeping a strong and consistent connection with your heart. I love that you are persistent and so giving. I love that you remember your ancestors and let them guide you. I love that we are both here in this moment. I love knowing that I will see you so soon!"
- Laura, age 32

Chronic UTIs

"The work we've done together is nothing short of amazing. So much healing has taken place. This has been a year of great change for me and you have been a steady guide asking all the right questions and showing me where the path could lead if I'm brave enough to take it. I appreciate your calm and and the light of love you've shined upon me. There is magic in the needles, but you possess a special magic all your own."
- Olivia, age 28

Depression and anxiety

"I was on a seesaw of anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drugs for years until I began acupuncture to stabilize my dosage levels. It occurred to me that maybe I could use acupuncture to get off drugs altogether. I got three treatments a week for five months and I'm now free of two very addictive medicines, both of which were prescribed by psychiatrists. I'm relieved to feel back in control of my life again."
- Stephanie, age 35


"Since my childhood I'd been dependent on inhalers and anti-asthma medicines. Along with acupuncture treatments for six months, I eliminated spicy and cold foods from my diet. Now I can play basketball without needing bronchodilators and I only take medicine occasionally if I get a bad case of hay-fever."
- Robbie, age 33


"My rash was red and itchy all over both legs. In the night I'd scratch and drive myself mad. I tried regular doctors and homeopathy – I tried everything. After six visits it was pretty much clear. Then I tried to quit smoking. It's been a year-and-a-half since my last treatment, the rash hasn't come back, and I haven't smoked either."
- Helena, age 22

AIDS and Epstein-Barr viruses

"For three years I had no energy, no stamina. I had been diagnosed as having both the AIDS and Epstein-Barr viruses. With walking I got short of breath and felt pain in my chest. In the beginning, acupuncture made me feel spaced out and tired. After two months I felt more energetic, my digestion improved, and I wasn’t short of breath. After eight months of treatment combined with herbal tonics daily, I regained my strength and returned to work and a more normal life-style. It’s been six months since my last treatment but I won’t hesitate to rely on acupuncture if I start feeling sick again."
- Frank, age 31

High blood pressure

"For months my blood pressure was so high that I was dizzy all the time and couldn’t stand up. I was frightened because it was barely under control with medication. Within 48 hours after one of my acupuncture treatments, the pressure dropped so low that my doctor had to take me off medication. It remained normal and I can walk around now without feeling dizzy."
- Esther, age 88

Chronic prostatitis and urethritis

"I had been diagnosed as having chronic prostatitis and urethritis which antibiotics hadn't helped long-term. After ten acupuncture treatments my difficult urination and painful ejaculations disappeared."
- Emilio, age 51


"The sniffles, scratchy throat, and headache that I expected would blossom into a full-fledged cold never did. Herbs cleared me right up."
- Jake, age 28

Estrogen-replacement therapy

"I stopped estrogen-replacement therapy because of the side-effects – bruising and water-retention – but I was desperate for help with my irritable mood swings and hot flashes. Acupuncture plus herbs helped me tremendously. Now, three months later, I feel fantastic – much better than I did on estrogen."
- Julia, age 56

Ear and sinus infections

"Tommy missed a lot of school due to perpetual ear and sinus infections. Changes in his diet along with acupuncture and herbs has made him more resilient than his friends, and his learning disabilities also faded away."
- Tommy's Mom


"As a result of chemotherapy, I suffered mild heart failure and kidney shut-down, preventing me from qualifying for another series of chemo treatments. Three weeks after I began acupuncture and herbal therapy, I stopped being short of breath and my kidney function labs improved dramatically. My oncologists were very impressed."
- Barbara, age 34

Bone disease

"I have mean inherited bone disease that makes me prone to spontaneous fractures. The head of Stanford Metabolic Bone Disease clinic referred me for acupuncture because Western medicine can offer me no solutions. My long bones hurt less, my wrists and ankles feel stronger. Before acupuncture, I suffered at least one fracture a year. Having acupuncture every two weeks has kept me free from fractures for the last 14 years."
- Robert, age 48

Birth trauma

"Alena suffered a birth trauma that damaged her ability to learn to talk, walk, or manipulate objects with her hands. When Alena was two years old, her pediatrician referred her for acupuncture and herbs because there was nothing else to offer, and progress was not happening on its own. After six months of therapy, Alena has dramatically improved – she is now walking, talking, and has become more manually dextrous."
- Alena's Mom

Jane U.

"Five simple words: I LOVE Chinese Medicine Works. But in truth, how I feel about CMW is far more complex than those four words, because I believe that the process of healing - true healing - is so much more than merely waiting for the doctor (the conventional Western medical doctor) to hand you the usual "one size fits all" prescription slip. It's a wholistic process, and I have experienced this process at CMW, where the approach to healing is from the inside out, rather than the outside in.

Bottom line, if you want to be healed, you need to find a true healer, not merely a "doctor." My acupuncturist at Chinese Medicine Works (who also prescribes herbs for me - herbs that are easy to take!) is Efrem Korngold, and Efrem is a healer of the highest order. Why do I say this? Many reasons. One, he treats me with respect, caring, compassion and good humor (rather than the arrogance and aloofness that I have experienced with too many mainstream doctors). Two, he listens. Three, he talks with me, answers my questions, and thus helps me learn how to be my own healer. I have become more empowered with every visit.

I look up to Efrem not only because he is deeply knowledgeable but also because he is wise. However, even though I look up to him, I also feel that he treats me as an equal. I could go on for an even longer time (can you believe it???), but I will force myself to end this now by saying that at Chinese Medicine Works, I have felt cared for on every level - physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. What a gift the universe gave me when, three years ago after a breast cancer diagnosis, I found myself steered to the corner of 25th and Noe Streets!

Oh, and one more thing: Harriet Beinfield, who is married to Efrem and also practices at CMW, is also a brilliant practitioner. She wrote a superb article about the misconceptions surrounding the use of radiation for breast cancer; reading it was a huge turning point for me, in my decision-making process regarding how I wanted to deal with my breast cancer treatment. You can find a link to that article in the Library section of their website. "
- Jane U. from Yelp

Jacqueline G.

"Efrem Korngold is a knowledgeable, caring, skilled healer and a wise and good hearted man. Western medicine is not worthless, but it's not priceless either. Efrem, licensed as Doctor of Oriental Medicine and an acupuncturist, combines his knowledge of the two world medicines to take a thoughtful approach without jumping to a diagnoses or prescriptions. Medicine is not a miracle, but Efrem is miraculous. He emphasizes preventative care as much as restorative care. He is not just a healer, he helps me live my life well. He helped me with mood and ovarian pain when dozens of other doctors could not and prevented me from needing surgery. His office is cozy, clean, with the nicest staff I have ever encountered. He has an entire pharmacy of herbs he prescribes when necessary. His website is unobtrusive and informative. I do not feel rushed when I have an appointment - they are an hour long. Some insurances reimburse you for the "alternative" care he provides. "
- Jacqueline G. from Yelp

Meagan M.

"When my doctors told me that western medicine could offer little help for an autoimmune disorder I had been diagnosed with, I turned to alternative medicine. Luckily, I was referred to Harriet Beinfield at Chinese Medicine Works and have been under her care for the past year. In addition to weekly acupuncture, herbal supplements and diet and lifestyle counseling, I have also received the great bonus of truly being listened to by my caregiver. Harriet's compassionate care and wise words have changed the course of not only my disease, (I am so much better!) but my life as well. I could not recommend her more highly."
- Meagan M. from Yelp

Becca R.

"Fantastic healthcare. The folks at Chinese Medicine Works are attentive and knowledgeable. I've been seeing Efrem for a couple of months now, and have noticed amazing improvements in my health and wellness. I've been treated at other clinics, but nobody has been quite this good. I enthusiastically recommend the practitioners here."
- Becca R. from Yelp

An Athlete's Back Injury

" How deeply I appreciated Harriet's counsel and wisdom as I navigated through this back injury. She gave me many things to contemplate beyond my injury, and was a fantastic 'doctor' and advisor, in the fullest sense of those words. I had a real test last weekend with two days of 50+ mile riding in Sonoma. Overall, my body felt great. So THANKS to Harriet for helping me get back to what I love. I promise I'm being smarter about listening to my body. "
- Martina, age 44

Chinese Medicine really does work!

"Longtime intermittent back pain from injuries resulted in an acute phase. Harriet Beinfield went to work after an extraordinary diagnostic interview. Six weeks of weekly acupuncture paired with herbs. I was relatively pain free in short order and back to normal activity within weeks -- similar episodes had been acute for six months or more. And the price was quite modest compared to regular Western/allopathic interventions. Harriet and Efrem are nationally know, highly respected practitioners. I know many folks who use them as their primary care. I highly recommend them."
- Charlie G. from Yelp

First time experience

"Definitely 5 STARS, and I wish I can give more stars. So I've been coughing for 3 weeks, and I went for this place. The doctor [Gail Esh] did acupuncture to me. It was really amazing first time experience!"
- Wu J. from Yelp

Keep it local

"I decided to "keep it local" and fill a prescription at this place instead of using Amazon. I'm glad I did. These are good folks, who are very conscientious about what they do, and it turns out that the pricing was competitive with the online retail options."
- Marvin M. from Yelp

A million stars

"Can I give Dr. Korngold a million stars??? The 5 Yelp allows is not enough. I arrived in SF with excruciating pain, due to a flare up of a condition. I am an acupuncturist, but I couldn't treat myself, I was in way too much pain and needed the help of someone. I was lucky to be staying in Noe Valley and finding Dr. Korngold. Dr. Korngold, is a true holistic practitioner. Not only did my pain reduce within 24 hours, he also addressed my health holistically. I am forever grateful for his help when I was in so much pain that I couldn't function properly. If I lived in SF, I would be at Dr. Korngold's office every week. The cost for treatment is very fair, I pay a lot more in LA for a lot less. With that said, I think you should charge more. He is a true master. Humble. Brilliant at diagnoses. Hands of an angel. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."
- Shabnam P. from Yelp

Efrem and Harriet Korngold, and their staff, continue to amaze me

"I just voted for Chinese Medicine Works on the SF Gate's Best of the Bay for "healing - herbal medicine," and then I went to my Yelp page to recall and update what I wrote about my beloved acupuncturist, Efrem Korngold LAc OMD. To my surprise, I discovered that I never did post the review that I worked on, but I did save it as a Word document, so I am updating that today. I'm remiss for not having posted these words when I wrote them. Efrem, if you read this, please don't stick me too hard the next time I come in.

On the Baylist, I wrote this in the healing, herbal medicine category (here I am quoting myself!): "Efrem and Harriet Korngold, and their staff, continue to amaze me. I have been seeing Efrem for acupuncture for about 20 years. Not only are he and the other practitioners in the office outstanding acupuncturists (in my mind the best in the Bay); they also have an amazingly beautiful herb 'store' where they will help you select most anything you need for most any kind of ailment. If I could I would give them the sun and the moon and the stars, but here I will have to settle for the maximum stars allowed, five big ones."

OK, back to this post. When I first wrote about my experience with Efrem the words spilled easily onto the page. I began seeing him for depression in the early 90s, and at our first meeting we spent an hour-and-a-half talking about the forces that led me to his office. Along with the help of my fantastic [ex] therapist Sara Alexander (also yelped here), I moved through this sadness and learned how to deal with it when it fights mightily to raise its ugly head. I now win most of these battles; when I don't I talk to Efrem (and Sara). But my work with Efrem was not (and never will be) done because things come up in the body and the mind just from living. In my bi-monthly visits with Efrem, he has taken care of the colds and the allergies, the achy muscles, a back injury that almost killed me, and literally everything that is out of balance in my body and/or my mind.

I especially like the mind part. I went to Efrem as a card-carrying atheist and a Chinese medicine skeptic; and I'll admit (and I tell him this) that I still have moments when I think acupuncture won't work and that herbs cannot touch an infection in my sinuses or my throat. But Efrem knows me well, and what he does with me works ... just as in "Chinese Medicine *Works*"... with the emphasis of course on the last word. Not long after I met him he asked me to visualize what I wanted; I always I resisted this, but eventually I began to visualize the house that I was sure I could never afford and purchased in 1995, not long after I began to see Efrem.
10/14/14 update:
I have been seeing Efrem for 25 years or so and he just keeps getting better. I left Noe Valley in 1995 and I don't go every week now, but I will continue to check in once a month (and more if I need it) for ... for? ... ummm ... forever (of course)."
- M.W. from Yelp


"I didn't have any concept about how powerful acupuncture can be until I came for treatments with Efrem Korngold. I can safely call him a guru. He has made amazing, fast, quantifiable improvements to various health conditions I've come to see him about. He's helped fix things that my regular doctor and regular medication couldn't budge. He also was the first person to tell me that I was overdosing on a particular medication, simply by feeling my pulse (sure enough, the pharmacy had mis-filled the Rx and I was taking 10 times the dose I should have!!) Guru. Can seriously make miracles happen. If you're having a health concern and aren't sure what to do, just come here. You'll get treatment and guidance, and possibly have more improvement than you thought possible."
- Brooke H. from Yelp

World class doc

"When I get sick, I don't see Western Med doctors first - I see Efrem. When I am well, I use Chinese Medicine as preventive medicine - and it works. World class doc, will change your life. "
- A.P. from Yelp

Very knowledgeable

"I had a couple treatments from Efrem a long time ago. The office is really nice and has a nice touch to it. I think his wife decorated it. Efrem is a very old school doctor. He's been practicing since the 70's I believe and has a book out called "Between Heaven and Earth." Very knowledgeable about chinese medicine, acupuncture, herbs and western. You can't go wrong by coming here. Oh, and I have referred countless friends (all skeptics) who have converted as it has been enormously helpful for them as well."
- Peter Y. from Yelp

Dr.Korngold is a gem

"Dr.Korngold is a gem. I say this bc I was quasi skeptical about acupuncture for a backpain problem I had recently developed. After visiting a chiropractor for several visits with no change, I saw Dr.K on the advice of my gfriend. After 2 sessions, my back pain was nearly gone. Plus, I got a sweet post-visit relaxation high that lasted almost 2 days. Guess acupuncture does that in a lot of people. I would recommend reading some basics on chinese medicine and acupuncture before you go. He actually has a great book out as well that explains it in detail. Stylewise, he's pretty quiet on the method, so go armed with your questions in advance, if you're curious. "
- Deuce B. from Yelp

Efrem saved my life

"Several years ago I was sick and no one could figure out what was wrong with me. He made some phone calls and found a specialist who was in my insurance group who diagnosed me and sent me to another specialist and eventually I was made well. Efrem is smart and funny and knowledgeable about many aspects. I go every 3-4 weeks whether I need it or not because just being tuned up is excellent. I'm not crazy about taking herbs--but they work--so I can't complain too much. Efrem is kind and compassionate and takes excellent care of me. I couldn't ask for a better medical provider and will often see him before I will see a western doctor. I have seen Efrem for problems with my knee, my stomach, my head, my hip, and bronchitis and he has managed to help them all. What I like most is that he doesn't book a million appointments at one time and he isn't afraid to recommend you going to a western doctor."
- Jaymi Marie P. from Yelp

Mood and ovarian pain

"Efrem Korngold is a knowledgeable, caring, skilled healer and a wise and good hearted man. Western medicine is not worthless, but it's not priceless either. Efrem, licensed as Doctor of Oriental Medicine and an acupuncturist, combines his knowledge of the two world medicines to take a thoughtful approach without jumping to a diagnoses or prescriptions. Medicine is not a miracle, but Efrem is miraculous. He emphasizes preventative care as much as restorative care. He is not just a healer, he helps me live my life well. He helped me with mood and ovarian pain when dozens of other doctors could not and prevented me from needing surgery. His office is cozy, clean, with the nicest staff I have ever encountered. He has an entire pharmacy of herbs he prescribes when necessary. His website is unobtrusive and informative. I do not feel rushed when I have an appointment - they are an hour long. Some insurances reimburse you for the "alternative" care he provides."
- Jacqueline G. from Yelp