Prescription: healthy lifestyle |

Prescription: healthy lifestyle

Cassandra Walker
Guests are welcomed by a warm, sunny room energized by community acupuncture participants in a peaceful space.
Cassandra Walker / Sierra Sun |

Two local health and wellness experts are sharing their decades of expertise with visitors and locals in North Lake Tahoe, looking to help create healthy lifestyles.

Chiropractor Dr. Lily Kuehne (D.C.) and her husband, licensed acupuncturist, Mark Kuehne (L.Ac.) said they noticed the cultural norm in the United States conditions people to suppress their health issues rather than adjust their lifestyles.

Dr. Lily explained that people are conditioned to assume, for example, that a swollen ankle after a sprain is innately a bad thing.

“When you’re sick you go to a doctor and are prescribed a pill,” Dr. Lily said. “When you sprain your ankle you put ice on it to make the swelling go down or take something to relieve the pain; what you’re doing is stopping or delaying the healing process.”

“We focus on optimal health,” Kuehne said. “We want to get everybody up to 100 percent. Tahoe people hold their bodies to high standards.” – Mark J. Kuehne, L.Ac.

She and her husband are looking to shift the natural perspective, in this example, that would be viewing the swelled limb as a good thing instead; as it’s your body’s natural response to healing and adapting to change.

The Kuehnes own and operate the Lake Tahoe Wellness Center in Kings Beach, which offers services including chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, bodywork, infrared sauna therapy (next to a private creek outside), an indoor rock climbing wall, movement classes in Pilates, yoga and aerial yoga, tai chi, meditation, and more.

With 28 years of experience, Dr. Lily’s goal is to help people look at the “why?” in their care plan.

“We’re teaching people about creating healthy lifestyles,” said Dr. Lily. “What I’d like to see is an entire paradigm shift from the traditional medical model where patients suppress their issues.”

Practicing one of the oldest and longest standing health care systems in the world, acupuncture, Mark Kuehne said his holistic approach to healing is well-suited to the people who live around Lake Tahoe.

“We focus on optimal health,” Kuehne said. “We want to get everybody up to 100 percent. Tahoe people hold their bodies to high standards.”

Kuehne explained that people in bustling cities like San Francisco, for example, would wait until a health issue interferes with their work to address it; while people in Tahoe would wait until a health issue interferes with their fun to check it out.

The pair said people’s natural response to an issue they face is to see a doctor, be prescribed a “solution,” and continue on.

The Kuehnes’ lifestyle revolves around the practices they promote. They have dedicated themselves and their work to keeping people healthy through holistic services and encourage clients to take care of themselves before they feel pain to ensure longevity – a full, healthy and happy life.

The couple love what they do. Dr. Lily said she finds beauty in healing people.

“It makes me want to come to work to restore proper functionality to people’s bodies with my hands,” she said.

Her husband added, “well, my whole life revolves around it – keeping the self healthy. Teaching classes with my wife, making free classes accessible to the community; we are instilling healthy routines.”

Throughout the day-to-day routine people often forget about micro-stressors that add up and impact the body.

“There are physical, mental, emotional and toxic atmospheric stressors that impact you just from your surroundings. We call them micro-stressors,” Dr. Lily said.

“Our norm is that if we don’t feel it and we’re not hurting, then we don’t address it. When we take a look at top illnesses like cancer and diseases we’re looking for pain, which is the last phase of the problem to occur.”

She explained the concept of feeling versus function. Visiting a doctor to address pain or an issue typically means people are looking to not feel it, rather than looking at what is causing the problem.

The Kuehnes’ approach to healing is through gently adjusting and aligning the body to better adapt to life stressors, rather than trying to suppress the body’s response to ailments.

“We’re concerned with properly functioning bodies,” Dr. Lily said. “The nerve system controls the immune system. If you stimulate the nerve system and restore the nerve function the body can heal itself. If your spinal segments are not moving properly, we can adjust them to allow your body to better adapt from the stressors. It’s all about adapting, not forcing or suppressing the body.”

Rather than prescribing a pill or putting a metaphorical “Band-Aid” on health ailments, the Kuehnes believe in taking a proactive approach to wellness to avoid ignoring a problem and delaying its effects over time.

The center is a space bursting with positive vibrations, beautiful plants and sunshine. It is energized and accommodated by a genuinely caring and kind staff, as well as likeminded clients actively pursuing overall wellness.

One of their programs is a weekly community acupuncture event. Each Tuesday, they welcome community members to relax in their beautiful sunroom space flooded with natural light, to catch up on rest and reap benefits of acupuncture for $25, no appointment necessary.

Mark Kuehne has studied Oriental medicine including the practice of acupuncture, Chinese herbology and Asian bodywork therapy under masters, such as 30th generation acupuncturist Dr. Yitian Ni.

During community acupuncture sessions, he welcomes individuals to sit in a comfortable, reclined position while he addresses any health concerns they may be experiencing.

He begins by asking each client if they’ve noticed any particular issues in their bodies.

Kuehne is so receptive that after having heard a “general life-work stress” diagnosis, he was able to decipher the visitor had been experiencing interrupted sleep patterns simply by observing the color of the tip of their tongue.

He applies needles to various calculated areas of the body including ankles, wrists, top of the feet and the third eye. Each location promotes healing to a different area of the body and Kuehne is able to pinpoint all kinds of ailments of the body through meticulous, gentle needle placement.

One by one, he addressed ailments such as anxiety, arthritis, migraines, digestive issues, respiratory conditions and even more; putting clients into a deep meditative or sleep-like state and aiding them in overall well-being.

Clients find themselves at the Lake Tahoe Wellness Center to be part of feeling good. The Kuehnes’ goal is to provide personalized education and customized strategies to benefit the community’s health and future care – getting everyone to 100 percent.

Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.

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