Birdsong Traditional Medicine

acupuncture and wellness clinic

148 Waterman St
Ground Level
Providence RI

(401) 743-9533

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About our clinic

Birdsong Traditional Medicine offers Acupuncture, Zen Shiatsu, and group and private Yoga.

Each practitioner works with patients/clients individually, but we share our mission and work towards it collectively-- to help people recover from illness and injuries, and find true peace, clarity and harmony in themselves.

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We are located at 148 Waterman Street on the east side of Providence.

We are currently a participating provider with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island and UnitedHealthcare for acupuncture services. UHC coverage includes Brown University's Student Resources.

For all other insurance carriers, we will be able to take the insurance only if Out-Of-Network coverage for acupuncture is verified under your policy before your appointment. Please call your insurance to verify the coverage, and feel free to call us (401-743-9533) with any questions.


Client testimonials

"James has treated me during 5 months of chemotherapy. Treatment has mitigated all the debilitating side-effects of chemo. It has helped me relax and given me peace of mind. In addition, James has greatly helped with the numerous orthopedic problems of a 75-year old, such as shoulder, wrist and back debilities. He has helped me improve digestion as well. I have seen many acupuncturists over the years. James is the best. I give him my highest recommendation." - D.D.

"Dr. Shelton provides professional medical support for a variety of ailments. He has helped balance my hormones to negate perimenopause symptoms, eased muscle pain from overuse, minimized joint pain, reduced physical impact of stress and supported overall health. I highly recommend time on his table, it is the highlight of my month. I leave refreshed and relieved." - A.B.

"James immediately set me at ease, asked questions to understand my needs and limits, listened attentively and generously, and was (and continues to be) dedicated, kind and professional. My physical therapist could always tell when I’d seen James due to my improved health. I have continued to visit Birdsong for healthcare I trust and value, and am so glad I finally found them! Highly, highly recommended. Easy to book appointments and very covid-safe. And GOOD people." - R.D.

"I had been really stressed out the last month and after my first visit with Dr Shelton, I feel much better. More relaxed and in a better mood." - Adriana Ferns

"I feel like a new person with 1 visit & looking forward to my next appt already. Feeling peace & relief from life for 1st time in over a year... Thank you from my heart James & Sakiko" - Dawn Sherman

"I always feel better when I leave. For someone like myself who lives with excruciating pain daily, you’ve given me hope that I might be myself again. Thank you Dr James" - Diane Somma

About our practitioners


Dr James Shelton, DAOM

Board Certified Licensed Acupuncturist in the state of Rhode Island, DAOM. James is a Diplomate of Acupuncture with the NCCAOM, formerly the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. He is a member of POCA, the Peoples Organization for Community Acupuncture and a proud graduate of POCA Tech, Portland, Oregon, where he currently serves on the board of directors.

image Trained in a variety of acupuncture styles, including TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and Japanese Meridian Therapy, James resonates most with the balance and mirroring techniques in the lineage of Master Tung, including Dr Richard Tan and Dr Miriam Lee. These styles closely parallel further study into Vietnamese acupuncture techniques taught by Dr Tyler Phan. James has a gentle technique, often needling along the affected meridian, far from any local pain. James also utilizes modalities including moxibustion, cupping and Gua Sha (scraping).

James was born in the traditional land of the Narragansett Nation, Providence, Rhode Island.

In 1994, while studying Anthropology at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, James began practicing Taiji, Qigong and Yoga with Inpu Ka Mut. Inpu taught the Yang style, in the tradition brought to the United States by Grand Master Da Liu. This relationship was continued through the years with visits to Los Angeles and post-Covid on-line classes of the Khemetic Aha and Sema Association.

James continued practicing Taiji, and Shaolin Kang Fu, and Taoist Qigong at the Way of the Dragon school in East Providence. This is where James first met acupuncturist Sanford Lee, who treated thousands of patients over 20 years in the space that is now Birdsong Traditional Medicine. That meeting planted a seed of inspiration for James.

Years later, after feeling the profound effects of acupuncture firsthand and seeing remarkable results in the lives of loved ones, James decided to make acupuncture his vocation.

In addition to acupuncture, James is also an artist, actor, dancer and filmmaker.

James co-created a series of images portraying the philosophical and practical forerunners called the Inspiration for Liberation Acupuncture. These works are on display in the reception area at Birdsong Traditional Medicine.

Stephanie La Peruta

Stephanie La Peruta

Registered Yoga Instructor and Mindfulness Meditation Instructor. With 20 years of experience as a student, Stephanie has studied with various different teachers in Costa Rica, Rhode Island, and Kripalu Center for Yoga in Massachusetts. Stephanie teaches with gentleness and compassion, to all ages and levels. Her main goal as a teacher is to empower others and inspire growth, on and off the yoga mat.

Sakiko Mori

Sakiko Mori

Zen Shiatsu practitioner. Sakiko is a member of the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA). She studied closely for over 7 years with respected shiatsu practitioner Shunji Morimoto in Wendell, Massachusetts. She is actively involved in Shunji’s shiatsu group, Moshi Moshi Shiatsu, and together they study and spread their love and passion for shiatsu by participating in various festivals, health fairs and peace demonstrations. Sakiko was the office manager of Dr Sanford Lee's Traditional Eastern Medicine for many years, and brings her experience and sensitivity to this new practice in Dr Lee's former location. Sakiko is also a musician and a piano technician. She is originally from Japan.