AOMA Blog

ROUNDUP: an excuse to watch Netflix and more 💃

Posted by Nicole Fillion-Robin on Fri, Apr 19, 2019 @ 01:46 PM

ROUNDUP

Hi There!

If you're in Austin, we hope you're enjoying this beautiful spring weather 🌱🌸. Allergies got you down? It might be time to take care of them by booking an acupuncture appointment

Today's Roundup: 

  • What we're watching: Have you checked out the Netflix series Chef’s Table? Sean Brock talks about his autoimmune diagnosis, sobriety, and how stress and overwork almost killed him. Also, a very cool scene of him receiving tuina and acupuncture as part of his wellness routine 💆(season 6, episode 4). 
  • CNN featuring acupuncture: Watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta try out acupuncture with a practitioner who happens to be blind.
  • Touching story from this year's Special Olympics: "I realized that so many things had happened while I was locked away.  And while some things die, other things are being created.
  • What we're reading: new research results for acupuncture's effect on menopause symptoms.
  • Wise advice: “Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities crept in. Forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you should begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
  • Solid TCM content to regram: baby with yintang, thinking deep baby thoughts & Master Tung points, Michelangelo style (PS: you can still register for Fordyce's seminar).
  • What we're listening to: Spotify Cosmic Playlists (!!!).   
DxJL45KWkAALMml

 

Stay Healthy Out There,

 

Your AOMA News Crew 


PS: the only thing better than 30 Rock = comments! Love something, hate something, or have anything to say about what you read today? Comment here to keep the discussion alive 💪👻. 

Topics: menopause, Austin acupuncture, acupunture, social media, acunews, Tuina

Introducing ROUNDUP (the blog version)

Posted by Nicole Fillion-Robin on Wed, Mar 27, 2019 @ 01:01 AM

ROUNDUP

Welcome to AOMA’s ROUNDUP - a collection of stories and links about acupuncture In Real Life, small business stuff, ATX events and other oddities we think you may enjoy.

Have an article or story you think we may be interested in? Email ce@aoma.edu (we take feedback, too). 

Today's Roundup: 

spaceman

 

Stay Healthy Out There,

 

Your AOMA News Crew 


PS: the only thing better than 30 Rock = comments! Love something, hate something, or have anything to say about what you read today? Comment here to keep the discussion alive 💪👻. 

Topics: Austin acupuncture, acupunture, social media, acunews

Reagan Taylor, AOMA Master's Graduate and DAOM Student

Posted by Brian Becker on Thu, Mar 14, 2019 @ 11:59 AM

 

Please introduce yourself! Where are you from? Where did you go to undergraduate?  What did you study?

My name is Reagan Taylor, and I am from Austin, TX. I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up until I was actually grown up, but once I discovered how intriguing acupuncture and Chinese medicine I never turned back. In my research to find a good school, I didn’t need to look any farther than my hometown…I heard that AOMA had a great program with higher educational standards than other schools throughout the country.  I familiarized myself with the requirements for admission and studied AOMA’s curriculum. From there, I focused my studies at Austin Community College in biology, health sciences, sociology, and psychology to prepare me for patient care.

What were you doing before you came to AOMA?

I lived in Oregon for several years learning how to blow soft glass; making vases, sculptures, paper weights.  While I was having fun, I didn’t feel like I was really serving a purpReagan Taylorose. I moved back to Austin and began work at a wonderful organization, The Marbridge Foundation, which is a residential care facility for adults with intellectual disabilities.  I worked there full-time before starting AOMA master’s program.  I stayed on as a part-time employee all throughout my time at AOMA, and left Marbridge all together about a year ago. It was a wonderful place to work and my experiences there instilled in me patience, communication skills, and stress management skills for myself as well as for patients.

What are some of your favorite classes and/or teachers at AOMA?

What kind of trick question is this?!?  There is no way I can really choose a favorite instructor from AOMA because they are all wonderful in their own way.  As a current doctoral student, I recently took the Neurology class with Dr. Amy Moll because I have a special interest in neurological systems and disorders. Dr. Moll is an exceptional educator with incredible knowledge of functional neurology and ways to treat disorders with acupuncture and Chinese herbs.

How would you describe the Student Culture at AOMA?

Personally, I have found the student culture at AOMA to be very welcoming and warm.  During my time as a master’s student, and now as a doctoral candidate, I have found a lot of support amongst my cohorts.  Friends I made as a master’s student are still some of my closest friends and biggest supporters.  Students always seem to be finding ways to lift each other up, whether it’s forming a study group or carving out much needed time for fun or relaxation.  The students here all have very diverse backgrounds, and everyone is here for their own reason so we learn from each other.

What is your favorite thing about AOMA and why? Describe your experiences at AOMA.

I have really appreciated the high standard of education I’ve received at AOMA.  I’ve also always felt very supported and heard by the faculty and staff here.  After graduation, I maintained a relationship with AOMA and worked as a part-time clinical teaching assistant, which then blossomed into my current position as the full-time clinical resident.  It’s been interesting to go from being a student, to faculty member, and now a hybrid of doctoral student and faculty member. I get to see and experience all sides of AOMA, which has only added to my appreciation for this institution.

What benefits do you feel earning your Doctorate will afford you, and how did you decide which one was the best choice for your career?

Earning my doctorate will not only open up a lot of doors for me as far as my career, but it’s also providing me with a deeper clinical understanding and exposing me to some amazing, more advanced techniques.  I started out in the DAcOM program (first professional doctorate) and made the decision to switch to the DAOM, which will challenge me in ways I never knew I wanted to be challenged.  Earning my DAOM, will open up doors for me to work in academia and research and provide me with vast clinical insights.  I decided to switch programs because, as AOMA’s clinical resident, I have found I really enjoy working with students in the clinical setting, helping them learn, while also working with patients.  The DAOM arms with the knowledge I need as well as the credentials necessary for a career in education.

What, if any perceptions of Chinese medicine have changed from when you started the program to now? What vision would you like to see for the future of healthcare?

Before starting the program, I viewed Chinese medicine and its founding philosophy as mystical and magical.  After learning so much more, I no longer see it quite like that.  Now, I understand it as an extremely logical and scientifically sound medical practice…ancient physicians just had a different language and ways to describe how our bodies function and the cause of disease.

What are you plans after completing your Doctorate?

I have developed a real passion for clinical education.  Once I receive my DAOM, I hope to serve in that capacity.  I always want to be a clinician, working with and treating patients, but I would also like to be deeply involved with teaching other people how to be great practitioners.  Developing clinical curriculum, treating patients, and helping students become confident in their abilities are all things I believe are well suited to my personality, strengths, and talents and I hope to be doing exactly that in my future.

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine, DAOM, MAcOM, aoma students, chinese medicine, tcm education, acupunture

How Auricular Acupuncture Can Help with Opiate Use Disorder

Posted by Victor S. Sierpina, MD on Fri, Feb 15, 2019 @ 11:37 AM

Previously published, Galveston County Daily News, Jan 23, 2019

Opiate Use Disorder is claiming lives by the tens of thousands. The Center for Disease Control reported 47,600 deaths in the US involving opioids in 2017, concluding that the opioid overdose epidemic continues to worsen with increased in deaths involving synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. In the state of Texas, deaths attributable to opioids rose three times from 1999-2015 with increasing impact on maternal mortality and neonatal abstinence syndrome.

The UTMB Department of Family Medicine recently submitted a grant proposal to improve education and clinical practice by training and outreach to rural areas hardest hit by this growing scourge. Many of those with OUD started on prescription medications and then moved onto black market products like heroin, fentanyl, and diverted OxyContin.

Controlled substance contracts, the statewide Prescription Monitoring Program, limiting initial opiate prescriptions, automated electronic medical record notifications about the use of Naloxone, medical provider and public awareness are all part of the solution.

The use of auricular (ear) acupuncture for substance abuse, alleviating withdrawal symptoms, behavioral health, and pain management is a safe, widely researched, and long-standing adjunctive treatment modality. The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA protocol) is the best known of the methods and has been practiced widely for over 30 years. It involves application of 3 to 5 needles at specified ear points, is simple to learn and to apply, and enjoys wide patient acceptance.

The clinical application of ear acupuncture for substance use since it was first found effective in easing withdrawal symptoms from opium and heroin in Hong Kong in the 1970’s. Since then, research and practice-based evidence continues to accumulate and drive its use along with safety, ease of application, and patient acceptance.

The broad application of NADA to alcohol, opiate, nada pictobacco, methamphetamine, and cocaine abuse makes it a promising adjunct to medical and behavioral treatment methods in a very challenging patient population. Additionally, the NADA protocol has been used for stress management, including post-traumatic stress, treating addicted pregnant women, sleep disorders, and anxiety. It has been used in refugee camps, post-hurricane settings, prisons, hospitals, rehabilitation treatment centers, as well as outpatient clinics, predominantly in a group treatment context.

Practitioners emphasize that so-called “acudetox” is an adjunctive, not a standalone treatment for easing withdrawal symptoms as well as maintenance of abstinence. It is most effective when applied with standard therapy, behavioral interventions, and/or 12-step programs.

Physiological studies have shown auricular acupuncture acts on neuroendocrinological pathways include serotonin, dopamine, endorphin, dynorphin, and GABA receptors which mediate its effects on pain management. The Battlefield Acupuncture protocol using 5 tiny tacks in each ear has been increasingly used since the early 2000’s when it was first applied in military settings. It can also be highly and immediately effective in acute problems like migraine and chronic problems such as back or muscle pain.

Other non-pharmacological treatments such as mindfulness, anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements, chiropractic, massage, hypnosis, diet, exercise, physical therapy, yoga and tai chi can also be part of a rational integrative pain management plan that doesn’t involve the risk of using addicting opiates.

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

---Martin Luther King, Jr.

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine, efficacy of acupuncture, chinese medicine, tcm education, prevention, acupunture

Four Things Everyone Should Know About Acupuncture School

Posted by Brian Becker on Tue, Jan 22, 2019 @ 11:20 AM

Acupuncture (5)

In my time as an Admissions officer I have encountered a lot of commonly held misconceptions about various degrees, perhaps even more so when it comes to the field of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  So here are some basic facts about Acupuncture school that some individuals, such as perspective students, patients, other healthcare providers, as well as the public in general, may not be aware of.

1) It is a Rigorous Master’s Degree

One of the chief misconceptions about Acupuncture is the amount IMG_7927of schooling required.  People are often shocked to learn that a Master Degree is required before they may sit for the National Boards exams.  What’s more, this is not your standard two year Master’s.  AOMA’s program is 203.5 quarter credits (equal to 135.6 semester credits), typically takes four and a half years, and involves a total of 2970 instructional hours.  Of those, 161.5 of the credits, or 1962 hours are Didactic and 42 credits, 1008 hours, are clinical.

Many of those obtain their Master’s go on to take bridge programs such as our DAcOM, becoming Doctors of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.  Indeed there is a push within the profession as a whole to require doctorates for licensure in the United States.

2) Amount of Biomedicine

More and more TCM is being taught as an integrative medicine,Classroom_Blood Pressure (1) working alongside other healthcare providers with the best interest of the patient in mind.  To this end AOMA’s program covers a wide range of biomedical topics including Medical Biochemistry, Pathophysiology, and Biomedical Pharmacology among others.

3) Hands On 

Like the training for any other healthcare profession,IMG_0031 copy acupuncture programs require a lot of clinical and hands on laboratory hours.  As mentioned earlier, 1008 of AOMA’s 2970 instructional hours are clinical, this translates to 34%, one third of the program.  This process begins with Clinic Theater I in which students are exposed to the diagnostic methods of TCM including the techniques and application of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine by observing professional treatments performed by a member of the AOMA faculty.  This culminates in a full clinical internship, in which the student, as a supervised intern, performs the intake, diagnosis, and treatment of patients.

4) Strength of Faculty

Our faculty is well versed in a wide range of clinical specializations,Dr. Wu's book academic backgrounds, and published research.  At AOMA there are 37 faculty members, including 29 Licensed Acupuncturists, 7 Medical Doctors, 2 Ph.D.’s and 6 faculty members who hold both an MD and a Ph.D.  AOMA Graduate School is also the home of the only Chinese herbal pharmacologist Ph.D. in the United States.  About two thirds of our faculty bring to the table at least a decade of tenure and many years of training and practicing TCM in China.

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture school, masters program, acupuncture students, tcm school, tcm education, acupunture

AOMA’s Holiday Gift Guide 2018

Posted by Stephanee Owenby on Fri, Dec 21, 2018 @ 11:29 AM

Are you stressing about what gifts to get for the acupuncture-lover in your life this holiday? AOMA’s staff & students are here to help! Below you’ll find our top 10 picks for acu-friendly holiday gifts, whether you’re shopping for your TCM practitioner, recent AOMA-grad, or just someone who could use the gift of acupuncture this season.

  1. Salt lamp

Made from pink salt crystals native to the Himalayas, salt lamps are said to release negative ions, helping to cleanse dust particles from the air and boost energy levels. Some salt lamp users have even reported elevated mood, reduced anxiety, improved sleep, and reduced allergy and asthma symptoms. While no major studies have supported these claims, the warm pinkish glow of a salt lamp makes a welcoming and beautiful addition to any home or clinic space.

  1. Pain-relieving TCM Topicals Zheng gu shui

Any or all of these pain-relieving traditional Chinese medicine topical oils or liniments would make amazing gifts, whether for the gym-goer or athlete in your life or someone who needs some relief from minor aches and pains. They make excellent stocking stuffers or “white elephant” gifts too!

White Flower oil is used for the temporary relief of minor aches and pains of muscles and joints due to simple backache, arthritis, strains bruises and sprains.

Zheng Gu Shui is great for external cooling pain relief and may be used for the temporary relief of aches and pains of muscles and joints associated with backache, lumbago, strains, bruises, sprains, and arthritic or rheumatic pain, pain of tendons and ligaments.

Wood Lock (Wong To Yick) oil is used for the temporary relief of pain, to soothe muscles and joints, and to relieve tightness in muscles.

Die Da Wan Hua oil is used for the temporary relief of minor aches and pains of muscles and joints associated with simple backache, arthritis, and strain.

Po Sum On oil is an all-purpose peppermint oil and balm primarily used to warm up muscles, improve circulation, and relieve pain. It can also be used to treat muscle aches, symptoms from the common cold, bites, scratches, burns, or to warm up the body prior to exercising.

  1. Jade roller & Pearl powder Jade roller_Pearl powder

Jade rollers have been used in China for thousands of years and have recently been spotlighted by the YouTube beauty community! Jade is itself a cooling and rejuvenating stone, called the “stone of heaven” in traditional Chinese medicine, and a jade roller treatment can smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, reduce redness and puffiness, and tone and brighten the facial skin.

Pearl powder is widely believed to improve the appearance of the skin, stimulate new skin growth, regenerate collagen, accelerate the healing of acne, release toxins, and eliminate sun damage and age spots. These two items would make a perfect combo gift for the beauty guru on your shopping list!

  1. Cupping set – glass, plastic, silicone Glass cups

Cupping is another traditional Chinese medical technique that has had the spotlight in popular culture lately! Glass, plastic, or silicone cups are used as suction devices and placed on the skin to loosen tight muscles and encourage blood flow. Plastic and silicone cups are cheaper and easier to use and so are typically more popular with acupuncture students and patients who want to cup themselves at home. But there are many advantages to glass cupping! Glass cups can be easily moved around the skin surface to treat larger areas, they can be used with heat for “fire cupping,” and some practitioners argue that glass cups have better suction. And best of all? When not in-use they can be beautifully and decoratively displayed in a clinician’s treatment room!

  1. Décor

Whether you’re decorating a new space or freshening up a room for the new year, it’s always fun to receive décor for the holidays! Welcome chimes, wall hangings, statues, and candles can each completely transform an existing space into something brand new. A didactic “Acu-Model” statue might be the perfect gift for an acupuncture student --  we even have Acu-Cat and Acu-Horse models! And try hanging a chime on your door this new year – it’s good feng shui, as bells are the harbingers of prosperity and good luck.

  1. Essential oils, Incense, & Burners EO burner_holiday

Incense and essential oils have been used for thousands of years to create pleasant smells, promote spiritual practice, and to help with healing. (AOMA Herbal Medicine sells all-natural incense which can be burned more safely than those containing harsh chemicals!) Scent can be a powerful influencer to mood, and incense or oil burners themselves are lovely decorative additions to a clinic or living space.

  1. E-stim machine

This would be a GREAT gift for a new AOMA student or a recent graduate starting their practice! An e-stim machine is required to perform electroacupuncture and thus is an essential piece of clinical equipment, but it can be a big investment – especially on a student budget. Electroacupuncture can help a clinician address pain, muscle spasms, nausea, and many more symptoms. It’s also required for an AOMA student’s clinic kit!

  1. Moxa box Moxa box

Moxibustion, the therapeutic burning of the herb mugwort to promote healing, is an important and frequently-performed traditional Chinese medical technique. In a moxa box, the loose moxa fiber is rolled into a ball and burned, held above the patient’s skin by a screen, with the smoke directed downward. While it is certainly not necessary, a moxa box can make moxibustion safer for the patient as well as easier for the practitioner to both perform and clean up after.

  1. Massage oils & lotions

Self-care is often at the back of our minds when it should be at the forefront, and massage oils or lotions can be an excellent aromatic and therapeutic addition to everyone’s relaxation or stress management routine. And a sampling of new oils and lotions might be just what the massage therapist or acupuncturist on your holiday shopping list needs to start the new year feeling fresh and prosperous!

  1. AOMA gift certificate AOMA_Logo_St_E_RGB-1
From acupuncture treatments to acupuncture books, there’s an AOMA gift certificate to suit all your shopping needs! Professional Clinic acupuncture gift certificates are $100, Student Clinic  gift certificates are $30, and AOMA Herbal Medicine gift certificates are available in amounts from $5-$500. You can even buy online and we’ll mail them directly to the recipient!

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine, self-care, AOMA Herbal Medicine, AOMA clinic, lifestyle, aoma, tcm, acupunture

5 Benefits of Doctoral Education in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Posted by Brian Becker on Thu, Dec 13, 2018 @ 02:39 PM

Dr. John Finnell, shares what he believes to be the top benefits of attaining a doctor of acupuncture and Oriental medicine degree. #tbt #throwbackthursday

More than ever, I believe that doctoral and post-graduate education prepare the next generation of thought leaders and clinicians to move the field of acupuncture and Oriental medicine forward.

Our role in healthcareacupuncture role in healthcare

Our healthcare landscape needs highly trained clinicians, researchers, and leaders to move the profession forward. Doctoral-level education provides parity at the policymaking table. This may operate institutionally, governmentally, or within the domain of patient care. Parity by title levels the playing field with regard to co-operative patient care.

Leadership

While a doctoral degree alone does not confer success, it does provide one with a credential to fill leadership positions within academia, act as the principle investigator on NIH-funded research, teach at the doctoral level, and oversee doctoral-level clinical education.

professional acupuncture opportunitiesProfessional opportunities

The respect brought by the doctoral title is a feature which enhances patient care and establishes parity with other doctorally prepared professions. Specifically, licensed acupuncturists with a doctorate often find better prospects for hospital employment and faculty positions, and for obtaining research grants and a seat at the table in policy-making processes.

 

Move the profession forward

Doctoral training does provide the rare opportunity for us to explore our intellectual passions and create a new body of knowledge as the fruit of our scholarship. This same scholarship is the cornerstone to the foundation upon which our profession is built. This is not a stagnant process; the evolution of acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) in North America must be actualized through participation of its members. 

Actualizing requires a few key ingredients: vision, action, perseverance, belief, and transformation. All of these ingredients may be found as you pursue your career path. AOMA's DAOM program provides the platform upon which to solidify your role in the actualization of the field of AOM in the next century.

Lifetime learningdaom students

Finally, there are those of us who truly believe in the power of this medicine and want to learn as much as we can to better serve our patients. Improving your knowledge in pain management and the psychosocial aspects associated with pain is certain to improve patient outcomes and your satisfaction as an advanced practitioner of Chinese medicine.

Author bio

Dr. John doctoral program director is an accomplished researcher and skilled health care practitioner with a rich academic and professional background. His interest in lifestyle and environmental determinants of health led him to earn a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine and a Master of Science in Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine from Bastyr University, as well as a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Washington. As a practitioner of Naturopathic and Chinese medicines, Dr. Finnell’s clinical focus is on nutrition, pharmacognosy, herb-drug interactions, mind-body medicine, disease prevention, and lifestyle education. In addition to maintaining a professional Naturopathic and Chinese medicine practice, Dr. Finnell has also completed a post-doctoral fellowship with the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), and served as the acting Director of Research for the TrueNorth Health Foundation. Dr. Finnell’s strong research background and clinical experience as a Naturopathic and Chinese medicine practitioner enable him to bring an evidence-based and integrative perspective to AOMA’s doctoral program.

Download Introduction to DAOM Apply to AOMA  

Topics: job opportunities, doctoral program, DAOM, Dr. John Finnell

Meet Katie: Registered Nurse Turned Acupuncture Student

Posted by Brian Becker on Tue, Nov 27, 2018 @ 12:10 PM

 Katie Shea

Please introduce yourself! Where are you from? Where did you go to undergraduate? What did you study? How far along/When did you start at AOMA?

My name is Katie Shea and I grew up in Chicago. I went to Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) for undergrad and received a bachelor’s degree in nursing. I began attending the master’s program at AOMA Fall of 2017.

What were you doing before you came to AOMA?

Before coming to AOMA, I was practicing as a registered nurse. I spent over a year in the emergency room immediately after graduating from college then transferred departments to work in a cardiac electrophysiology lab. I am continuing to practice as a nurse and work with cardiac patients while attending AOMA.

What was your first introduction to acupuncture and what was your impression?

My first introduction to acupuncture was at AOMA with Dr. Luo. I have always been interested in alternative therapies and was curious about TCM. I learned right away how effective acupuncture and herbs could be, as it quickly alleviated multiple vague symptoms I was experiencing at the time. Eventually, I began having regular treatments for both chronic and acute issues (I was training for a marathon at the time) and felt a deep connection to the subtle yet powerful nature of this medicine.

When did you become interested in studying Chinese medicine and why? What made you choose AOMA as your school and/or shift your career focus to come to AOMA?

Many factors were involved in my decision to embark on this journey into Chinese medicine. As a nurse, I understand the importance of providing safe and effective care to patients. I was also becoming familiar that one medical paradigm is not sufficient to solve all of the health concerns that face our modern world. As a yoga instructor and practitioner, I am also aware that there is much more to health than simply not getting sick; it is about learning how to listen to your body and act in a way that promotes balance. To me, that is the exact nature of Chinese medicine - to correct the small imbalances and promote harmony in the body in a nuanced yet long-lasting and sustainable way.

 What are some of your favorite classes and/or teachers at AOMA?

My favorite class at AOMA so far is Foundations with Dr. Wu. I could take this class over and over (which I did) and continue to learn so much from a professor that has an abundance of knowledge yet presents the material in a very simple way.

 What is your favorite thing about AOMA and why? Describe your experiences at AOMA.

My favorite aspect of AOMA is that everyone is so open, generous with their own personal challenges and health journeys, and unsparing with their energy and attention. I frequently find myself in an insightful conversation with a group of intelligent people that have very diverse backgrounds. I have also noticed the willingness of AOMA students to help one another in a time of need. On multiple occasions, I have been truly touched by the acts of kindness or simple gestures to help and support a fellow colleague. I feel very lucky to be involved in this community.

 Have you started treating as a student intern yet? If so, please describe a unique experience or something that surprised you.

I have not yet started to treat as an intern but there have been many unique moments that have surprised me, particularly in the acupuncture clinic at the Kerrville Folk Festival. It was incredible to see the amount of patients that AOMA students were able to serve, free of charge, in a modest, four-bed clinic. The complaints ranged from joint pain from worn-out musicians and heat-related issues from camping outside in Texas in June to deep emotional pain from years of trauma. Each patient displayed openness and gratitude and showed a willingness to contribute to their own healing by taking what the practitioner said seriously; this was something I did not expect in such a casual setting.

 What, if any perceptions of Chinese medicine have changed from when you started the program to now? What vision would you like to see for the future of healthcare?

For the most part, my perceptions of Chinese medicine have been consistent with my expectations entering the program. As I learn more, however, I realize that TCM and conventional medicine have more in common than many people realize. The two disciplines are simply describing the same body using a different language (both literally and figuratively) and coming to very similar conclusions. My hope for the future of healthcare is that we continue in a direction toward a multidisciplinary approach to patient care. It is no coincidence that one system picks up where the other leaves off; it is because both are necessary if the healthcare team intends to both treat illness while also maintaining positive health.

 What are you plans after graduation?

Following graduation, I would like to travel and volunteer my time and skills while acquiring the experience necessary to start my own practice. Eventually, my goal is to combine both eastern and western modalities in order to provide patients with well-rounded care. This will ideally include a multidisciplinary practice that utilizes many different approaches to healthcare in a way that not only treats illness but also supports optimal functioning.


Want to learn more about the Master's Program at AOMA? Contact the AOMA admissions office! 

Request Information

Topics: student spotlight, acupuncture school, acupuncture students, aoma students, acupunture

Meet Francesca: Massage Therapist, Mother of 4, and Acupuncture Student

Posted by Rob Davidson on Wed, Sep 26, 2018 @ 02:24 PM

 Francesca Moore-2

Please Introduce yourself! 

Hi, I am Francesca Moore, from New York. I attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and received a Bachelors of Industrial Design with a concentration on Fine Art Ceramics. I also did Post-Baccalaureate study in Fine Art Ceramics at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. In 2009 I made a drastic career change, leaving the world of art and design to work in the healing arts. I received my AOS in Massage Therapy and  Advanced Personal Training Certificate from the Swedish Institute in New York. I am a Licensed Massage Therapist and a Certified Strength an Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

I started at AOMA in Winter of 2015 and will officially graduate the Master's program in Fall 2018. I started working on my Professional Doctorate degree concurrently and hope to complete that coursework in 2019.

What are some of your other interests/hobbies outside Chinese medicine?

My husband and I have 4 small kids, ages 6, 4, 2 and 1.  We moved out to the Hill Country last year and hope to be able to spend more time enjoying nature. We love to hike with the kids and some day soon I hope to get back to cycling and kayaking.

What made you want to study acupuncture and Chinese medicine?

My experiences as a young designer in a high paced firm, quickly ascending the ranks, left me feeling out of balance, sick and miserable. Finding Chinese Medicine and working with a wonderful practitioner changed my entire being and gave me the new direction of working to help people improve their health. In the State of New York, half of the massage therapy training required is Five Element Shiatsu.Most of my instructors were also acupuncturists or students of Chinese medicine.

Chinese medicine concepts and Five Element theory were well integrated into my education at Swedish and I knew when I completed that training that I would become a student of Chinese Medicine some day. Ironically, one of my last design projects was a hotel in Beijing and my firm just finished a project in Chendu.

Please describe your top accomplishments since starting the program!

I passed my Herbal Board exam on the first try! My youngest son also turned 1. Keeping my children alive while being a student was definitely an accomplishment!

What did your AOMA education mean to you/prepare you for?

I have met so many wonderful people at AOMA! The connections I have made with other students and practitioners have been invaluable. I feel well prepared to provide high quality, patient centered care once I step out into the world as a licensed practitioner. AOMA has also prepared me for a lifetime of learning. I know I have only scratched the surface in my studies of Chinese Medicine and look forward to narrowing my focus and continuing my studies to specialize in TCM Pediatrics and Gynecology as well as Oncology. 

What, if any perceptions of Chinese medicine have changed from when you started the program to now?

Many of the OM practitioners I worked with in NYC were Classically trained students from a particular lineage who painted a picture of TCM as inferior to their traditions. It's clear to me now that it's all the same medicine.

What is your vision for the future of healthcare/medicine and your career moving forward?

The Bravewell Collaborative's definition of the integrative medicine approach, really resonates with me. I strongly value the partnership between patient and practitioner throughout the healing process and I trust the body’s innate response and ability to heal itself.  As medical providers, we have a responsibility to consider all factors that influence health, wellness and disease. We may not be able to affect change on them all, but when treating diseases of the body, we should consider how the mind, spirit, community and environment relate to causes of illness as well as treatment strategies. We should be aware that each of these factors is one piece of a larger puzzle for affecting change. I hope to practice in a fully integrative setting where I can collaborate with biomedical practitioners and practitioners of other CAM modalities.

What advice would you give to recent or soon-to-be graduates about to enter the field professionally?

Familiarize yourself with board exam topics and work on a study plan as early as possible. There are a few topics of study I wish I hadn't glossed over and a few other that I could have put on the back burner until after completing the licensing process...and stay on top of your portfolio! They aren't kidding!

AOMA is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2018. Please tell your fondest memory of your studies here, and also feel free to give your Anniversary wishes!

One of my most formative experiences at AOMA was as an observer in clinic with Elizabeth Fordyce.  A patient came in crying and had been dealing with excruciating nerve pain for several days. Elizabeth came in to check on her, inserted one needle and the pain STOPPED.  It was incredible to watch and showed me the power of this medicine!

Happy Anniversary AOMA!   


Want to learn more about the Master's Program at AOMA? Contact the AOMA admissions office! 

Request Information

Topics: student spotlight, acupuncture school, acupuncture students, aoma students, acupunture

8 Ways Acupuncture Can Improve Wellness in the Workplace

Posted by Stephanee Owenby on Fri, Aug 31, 2018 @ 01:52 PM

stressworkplaceacupuncture

Workplaces can be hazardous to your health! Some job-related health concerns like back pain, stress, and colds and flus are quite well-known and get lots of media attention – probably because they’re so widespread. Many employees also suffer from less-obvious job-related health concerns like tobacco addiction, repetitive strain injuries, digital eye strain, and reduced mental acuity. The ultimate result of these workplace conditions is unhealthy, unhappy workers missing work and missing paychecks, which contributes to an overall decline in company productivity. And many employees don’t realize that their job is hurting them until they’re already suffering!

While they might be ancient forms of medicine, acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbs are still highly relevant in today’s workplace and can be effective methods for treating many common and not-so-common job-related health concerns. Read on to discover 8 ways that acupuncture can improve you -- and your employees’ -- health, happiness, and overall wellness in the workplace.

1. Relieve Pain

Acupuncture is most commonly associated with pain relief – at least in the United States. Medical professionals, insurance companies, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs have extensively researched and proven the efficacy of acupuncture for pain relief, and are utilizing acupuncture for pain relief, particularly back pain. A recent study using fMRI imaging has shown that acupuncture changes the way the human brain perceives pain, reducing or modulating activity in the parts of the brain that are responsible for pain perception (Theysohn). The same study also showed that acupuncture reduces or modulates activity in the parts of the brain that are responsible for translating pain sensations into cognitive awareness, meaning a patient’s expectation of pain can be lowered by acupuncture as well.

Low back pain (LBP) is the second most common cause of disability in adults in the United States, and an estimated 149 million days of work per year are lost due to LBP (Freburger). An employee in pain is not a productive one, and neither long-term disability nor opioid addiction will make them more productive! While not as commonly-prescribed by physicians as painkillers, acupuncture is a safe and all-natural treatment for back pain that has proven to be more effective than no treatment (Brinkhaus). In addition to affecting brain activity and chemistry through the release of endorphins and serotonin, acupuncture relaxes muscles to increase blood flow and bring relief to tight or stressed tissues.

2. Reduce Stress

Our bodies are naturally hardwired to handle stress, but over time too much stress takes its toll! When we feel threatened the sympathetic nervous system is activated, causing the heart rate to increase, the pupils to dilate, and blood to be directed towards the extremities, which in turn causes digestion to temporarily shut down. Cortisol is also released, causing increases in blood pressure and inflammation while suppressing the immune system. If our bodies continue to release high amounts of cortisol, chronic symptoms such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, digestive issues, and tension headaches can develop.

In Chinese medical theory, strong emotions like stress interrupt the body’s energy from flowing smoothly. When these strong emotions are present for long periods of time they create a blockage in the body’s “road system” creating an energetic “traffic jam.”  Acupuncture increases the circulation of blood and oxygenates the tissues throughout the body while cycling out cortisol and releasing natural pain-killers called endorphins. Other benefits of acupuncture include decreasing the heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and relaxing the muscles to help the person feel less stressed.

3. Prevent Injuries & Promote Injury Recovery

Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) are extremely common workplace injuries. As the name suggests they are injuries of overuse, resulting from repeating the same movements again and again, over prolonged periods of time. Many of us have jobs that require us to perform activities that put us at risk for an RSI every single day, including but not limited to heavy lifting, driving, exposure to loud noises, constant use of a computer mouse, and vibration of the whole body. To help prevent workplace injuries, “not only muscle weakness, but chronic muscle contracture, calcification, and inflammation must be addressed” (Reller). Acupuncture works to restore function to deep stabilizing and impinging muscles, so that chronic stress is decreased on joint tissues. The healthier joint and muscle tissue are, the more resilient and resistant to injury they become.

Once an employee suffers an occupational injury, acupuncture can reduce inflammation and swelling; stimulating tissue repair and decreasing recovery time. It can also increase strength and improve range of motion to aid the body’s natural healing, as well as increase flexibility to prevent future re-injury. Both insurers and employers are beginning to explore the potential favorable impact of acupuncture on workplace injury recovery. In fact, the Washington East Asian Medicine Association(WEAMA) is currently piloting a multi-year project to research and review acupuncture’s effectiveness at treating workers’ compensation injuries, with the end goal of allowing acupuncturists in Washington to be reimbursed for treating workers’ comp claims.

4. Eliminate Tobacco Use 

Despite the abundance of evidence regarding the negative effects of tobacco, people continue to use tobacco products because of the addictive nature and stress-reducing “comfort” of nicotine. But the health risks aren’t the only reason to quit - since 2014 the Affordable Care Act has permitted employers and insurance companies to charge tobacco users up to 50% more in health insurance premiums!

Acupuncture has been shown to have great success with treating a full range of addictions and addictive behaviors, and has been proven to be especially useful and successful in helping people quit using tobacco. Acupuncture works to adjust cravings by balancing brain chemistry and helping to heal the physical damage the body undergoes from using tobacco products.

Herbal medicine is frequently combined with acupuncture to control cravings and withdrawal symptoms; taking Chinese herbs throughout the day can help support the detoxification process and reduce relapses. In addition to curbing cravings and eliminating jitters, acupuncture can treat stress, irritability and restlessness, anxiety, headaches, and dry mouth. It also helps to promote relaxation, detoxification, and tissue repair.

5. Boost Immune System

According to the CDC, the flu causes workers in the United States to lose up to 111 million workdays, at an estimated cost of $7 billion a year in sick days and lost productivity. Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to help enhance the immune system and ward off illness. Its immune-stimulating functions treat all types of cold and flu effectively, achieving a quick recovery without side effects. Several clinical studies have demonstrated that Chinese medicine reduces the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections in addition to shortening the course of illness. 

Chinese medicine views colds and flus as pathogenic invasions that can easily be expelled using specific acupuncture points and herbs. If caught in the early stages, especially within the first few hours of the onset of symptoms, acupuncture, herbal medicine, and qigongcan be very effective at eliminating pathogens before they have a chance to fully manifest. Once a cold or flu has progressed beyond the early stages, Chinese medicine can be used as symptomatic relief and adjunct therapy.

Particularly here in Austin during the fall and winter seasons, allergens like cedar pollen can cause intense and debilitating cold and flu-like symptoms. Traditional Chinese medicine views cedar fever as an overactive immune response, and acupuncture is an extremely effective method for calming down the immune system. This helps to reduce symptoms, and the overall balancing of the immune system helps to reduce the frequency and severity of future allergy reactions. A recent study by Dr. Benno Brinkhaus concluded that, in addition to being safe, acupuncture led to statistically significant improvements in the quality of life of allergy patients after just 8 weeks of treatment (Sifferlin).

6. Improve Sleep Quality

Insomnia is a serious disorder that is more than just tossing and turning to fall asleep or stay asleep. It is one of the most common sleep disorders, believed to impact almost 50% of all adults. Physical symptoms of fatigue are experienced along with feeling irritable, tense, lethargic, or even depressed. Insomniacs may also experience delayed reaction times, poor memory, focus, and concentration, increased distractions, and headaches.

Recent studies report that patients experienced a significant improvement in sleep quality, and a reduction in insomnia, fatigue and depression after receiving acupuncture (Spence). The nervous system is calmed by acupuncture, which clears obstructions in the muscle and nerve channels, creating a flow of oxygen-enriched blood to relax the nervous system and prepare for sleep. A preliminary report in 2004 found that even in patients with anxiety, acupuncture increased nighttime melatonin production and total sleep time (Spence). Using acupuncture and Chinese herbs can also help treat disturbances in the whole body that prevent restful sleep, such as chronic pain, breathing issues, and digestive distress.

7. Improve Memory, Focus, & Concentration

According to traditional Chinese medicine, the spirit or Shen of the Heart plays a prominent role in memory, focus, and concentration. “Shen influences long-term memory and the ability to think clearly, contributes to wisdom and presides over activities that involve mental and creative functions” (acufinder.com). Traditional Chinese herbal medicine formulas can help calm Shenand resolve any disharmony between brain and spirit, as well as increase blood flow to the brain and/or reduce foggy headedness. Traditional Chinese nutritional recommendations can also help to boost memory and focus, particularly foods that are high in essential nutrients such as flavonoids, Omega 3 fatty acids, folate, and iron (acufinder.com).

In addition to herbal treatment for brain function, studies have shown that acupuncture has a measurable “activating” effect on the brain. Areas of the brain known to respond to painkillers were activated, but so too was the insula, which is part of the cerebral cortex (von Bubnoff). While it is not entirely clear yet what this activation of the insula fully means, the cerebral cortex is a very large area of the brain that plays a key role in memory, attention, and cognition.

8. Relieve Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

The American Optometric Association defines Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)/Digital Eye Strain as a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader, and cell phone use. Many individuals experience eye pain and vision problems when viewing digital screens for extended periods, and the level of discomfort seems to increase with the amount of digital screen use (Thorud). Viewing a computer or digital screen makes the eyes work harder; as a result, many individuals experience eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and/or neck and shoulder pain after prolonged computer use (Thorud). As more occupations require daily extended digital screen use, not to mention increased screen use during recreational hours, occurrences of eye strain, pain, and fatigue will rise. Studies have shown that acupuncture is an effective means of treating eye pain as well as ophthalmic migraine and dry eyes (Nepp).

In addition to eye pain, strain, and fatigue caused by too much screen time, acupuncture can boost overall visual acuity, reduce sensitivity to light, and reduce or eliminate eye floaters and blurred vision. 

Would you like more information? Are you interested in bringing acupuncture into your workplace? Contact the AOMA Clinics today!

Interested in scheduling an appointment with us? Request an Appointment online today!

Request an Appointment

 

References:

  1. Janet K. Freburger, PT, PhDGeorge M. Holmes, PhDRobert P. Agans, PhDAnne M. Jackman, MSWJane D. Darter, BAAndrea S. Wallace, RN, PhDLiana D. Castel, PhDWilliam D. Kalsbeek, PhDTimothy S. Carey, MD, MPH

“The Rising Prevalence of Low Back Pain”

Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(3):251-258. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2008.543

http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/414769

  1. D. Warren Spence, M.A., Leonid Kayumov, Ph.D., DABSM, Adam Chen, Ph.D., Alan Lowe, M.D., Umesh Jain, M.D., Martin A. Katzman, M.D., Jianhua Shen, M.D., Boris Perelman, Ph.D., and Colin M. Shapiro, MBBCh, Ph.D., FRCP(C)

 “Acupuncture Increases Nocturnal Melatonin Secretion and Reduces Insomnia and Anxiety: A Preliminary Report”

The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, Volume 16, Issue 1, February 2004, pp. 19-28

http://neuro.psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/jnp.16.1.19

  1. Sifferlin, Alexandra. “Is Acupuncture an Antidote for Allergies?”

Article published on Time.com on Feb. 19, 2013

http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/19/is-acupuncture-the-antidote-for-allergies/

  1. Benno Brinkhaus, MD; Claudia M. Witt, MD; Susanne Jena, MSc; et al

 “Acupuncture in Patients With Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial”

Arch Intern Med. 2006;166(4):450-457. doi:10.1001/archinte.166.4.450

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/409858

  1. Nina Theysohn, M.D., Kyung-Eun Choi, M.Sc., Elke Gizewski, M.D., Ph.D., Thomas Rampp, M.D., Gustav Dobos, M.D., Ph.D., Michael Forsting, M.D., Ph.D., and Frauke Musial, Ph.D

“Acupuncture Changes Brain's Perception and Processing of Pain:

Radiological Society of North America press release on November 30, 2010

https://press.rsna.org/timssnet/media/pressreleases/pr_target.cfm?ID=515

  1. Von Bubnoff, Andreas. “Acupuncture Activates the Brain”

Article published on BioEd Online on May 1, 2005

http://www.bioedonline.org/news/nature-news/acupuncture-activates-brain/

  1. Nepp, Johannes; Jandrasits, Kerstin; Schauersberger, Joerg; Schild, Gebtraud; Wedrich, Andreas; Sabine, Gräser Lang; Spacek, Anna

“IS ACUPUNCTURE AN USEFUL TOOL FOR PAIN-TREATMENT IN OPHTHALMOLOGY?”

Acupuncture & Electro-Therapeutics Research, Volume 27, Numbers 3-4, 2002, pp. 171-182(12)

https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/aetr/2002/00000027/F0020003/art00002

  1. Thorud, Hanne-Mari Schiøtz*; Helland, Magne†; Aarås, Arne‡; Kvikstad, Tor Martin†; Lindberg, Lars Göran; Horgen, Gunnar

“Eye-Related Pain Induced by Visually Demanding Computer Work”

Optometry and Vision Science: April 2012 - Volume 89 - Issue 4 - p E452–E464

https://journals.lww.com/optvissci/Fulltext/2012/04000/Eye_Related_Pain_Induced_by_Visually_Demanding.13.aspx

  1. Acufinder.com Editorial Staff. “Boost Your Brain Power with Acupuncture”

https://www.acufinder.com/Acupuncture+Information/Detail/Boost+Your+Brain+Power+with+Acupuncture+

Stay in touch

Get our blog in your inbox!

Subscribe below to receive instant, weekly, or monthly blog updates directly to your email inbox.

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all