About Clare Health - Tucson, AZ Practice of Oriental Medicine - Y. Clare Zhang, PhD, MAcOM, LAc



  • PhD, Physiology & Pharmacology, University of Florida

  • MAcOM, Arizona School of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine


  • Hubei Chinese Medicine Hospital, Wuhan, China


  • Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

  • Licensed Acupuncturist, State of Arizona

  • Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner (CKTP), Kinesio Taping Association International


  • 15 years in biomedical research

  • 10 years in Chinese medicine

  • 2 US patents

  • 36 scientific publications

For Dr. Zhang’s Curriculum Vitae, please click here.


I grew up in China. My first encounter with medicine came when at 3 days of age I was diagnosed with infantile septicemia, a life-threatening infection of blood. Modern medicine saved me, but the disease did not go away without taking a toll. My early memory included frequent hospital visits, countless penicillin shots and smell of Chinese herbs from a simmering pot. I had many bad days, but they always gave way to good ones. This taught me a lesson: life has setbacks, but it always moves forward. So just be playful no matter what.

In 1996, I came to the US for advanced education after a research stint at the top biochemistry institute in China. In 2000, I was the first of my graduate program to receive a PhD degree in Physiology & Pharmacology. In 2003, I became Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida. By 2006, I had built a successful career in diabetes and cardiovascular research with two US patents, twenty-seven publications and more than $2M of funding from the National Institute of Health, American Heart Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and private donations.

Then my life took an unexpected turn in 2006. Chronic stress and 24/7 work style led to insomnia, fatigue and severe headache. My health was going downhill. I went to see my family physician and had multiple tests. However, after every test showed normal results, he was ready to prescribe sleeping pills and painkillers. But I was not ready for those. I turned to the medicine familiar to me: Chinese herbs and acupuncture. As it had helped me before, it did not fail me this time. This episode led me to think hard about the strengths and weaknesses of different medicines and the power when they are combined properly. For the first time in my life, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

The path became easy once I made up my mind. I quit my academic career and went back to school. In 2010, I graduated as Valedictorian from the Arizona School of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine, and then performed an internship in China. I returned to Tucson in 2011 and started my practice of integrative Oriental medicine.

While in China, I visited a renowned herbal medicine master to ask her advice about how best to study Chinese medicine. To my great surprise, she simply replied, “Learn from your patients”. This is the best advice I have ever received. My patients have been my friends, teachers and inspirations. Their faith in medicine and yearning for health inspire me to perfect and expand my skills. They encourage me when the treatment works; they believe in me when the treatment doesn’t work and give me another chance to try harder and make it work. My clinical experience grows only because my patients allow me to learn from both success and failure. They have taught me that life may not be easy, but it is worth living with hope, grace and wonder.

That’s why I am here. I look forward to walking with you on a journey to hope, health and happiness.


About Chinese Medicine

Chinese medicine has a long history. Some say 2500, 4000 or 5000 years depending on who you talk to. To give you a better idea, the earliest preserved record of disease descriptions in Chinese medicine was found in oracle bone inscriptions from the Shang Dynasty (17th – 11th century B.C.), 3,200-3,800 years ago. The “bible” of Chinese medicine that established most of the framework we still use to date, known as Huang Di Nei Jing (translated as “Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classics”), was completed by 200 B.C. So Chinese medicine does have a long history.

What is Chinese medicine?

Chinese medicine is a unique and comprehensive way of achieving health and treating diseases through balancing our internal organs and living in harmony with nature, people and our inner selves. Its principle is balance and harmony. Its approach is natural and holistic.

It is one of the oldest medicines that has been continuously practiced and evolved over several millennia. It is a complete medical system with unique theories, treatment methods, herbal formulas and material medica. It includes five major therapeutic modalities: acupuncture, herbal medicine, Tui Na massage, food therapy and exercise.


Many people say that Chinese medicine is an empirical medicine. In a sense, it is. Chinese people have from the earliest of times been very pragmatic. From the beginning, Chinese medicine has emphasized finding effective treatments for diseases, not on understanding mechanisms. Hypothesis-driven, mechanism-oriented, dissection-based deductive reasoning that underscores modern science is a Western way of thinking with deep roots in the ancient Greek philosophy. As crucial as it is to the advancement of modern science, it has never been a major interest in Chinese culture.

Instead, the Eastern way of thinking traditionally preferred inductive reasoning. While inductive reasoning has limitations, it can be powerful when combined with careful long-term observations and associations in studying complicated objects that are difficult for deductive analysis. The human body is such a complex entity orchestrated at many levels by the intricate interplay of structures, functions and energetics.

Therefore, it is fair to say that Chinese medicine has developed on a very different philosophical and methodical foundation. In order to understand Chinese medicine, we need to understand how ancient Chinese people thought. They believed that humans were part of nature, and thus living in harmony with nature was of utmost importance to our well-being. They believed that all things were inter-connected, including everything in our body. Therefore, it was more important to study relationships than to study objects in isolation. They believed that every internal condition of the body had an external manifestation. Therefore, when the inside was not visible, it was studied from the outside through observations and associations. These concepts have had a profound influence on how Chinese medicine is theorized and practiced, and have largely determined its strengths and weaknesses.

Strength & Weakness

Because Chinese culture values nature, Chinese medicine prefers natural materials and non-invasive approaches. As a result, there has been lack of interest in inventing medical devices and surgical techniques.

Because Chinese medicine emphasizes whole-ness and inter-connectedness, it adopts a holistic approach and is very effective in treating many complex conditions. But it lacks detailed and in-depth understanding of underlying structures and mechanisms.

Because Chinese medicine places nearly equal emphasis on disease treatment and disease prevention, it has developed effective ways for restoring and maintaining health. It is a health-oriented medicine, but is less effective than Western medicine in treating many acute diseases and medical emergencies.

Comparing Western Medicine & Chinese Medicine

In a simple analogy, Western science is good at subtraction, dissecting a big object into smaller pieces and studying them separately at a deep level; Chinese are good at addition, grouping small pieces into a bigger object and ensuring the whole works in unison.

Likewise, Western and Chinese medicines have their own fortes. Western medicine is effective in treating infections, acute conditions, medical emergencies and most diseases for which clear-cut mechanisms have been identified, and subsequently drugs or procedures have been developed to resolve such causes. Chinese medicine is effective in treating complex, chronic or multi-factorial diseases, for which sensible explanations and corresponding treatments have been found in the realm of Chinese medicine, albeit appearing foreign or eccentric to a Western perspective.

Apparently, for better human health, we need both.

Our Philosophy of Integrative Medicine

To understand more about Chinese medicine and why we need both Western medicine and Chinese medicine, please read About Chinese Medicine.

Every medicine has its own strength, but no medicine is perfect by itself. The great power of medicine lies in our ability to combine the best of different medicine intelligently.

Therefore, we combine Western and Chinese medicine in order to provide a holistic and integrative approach for disease treatment and health restoration. We are committed to working with medical doctors and all healthcare professionals for the best interest of all patients.