Dr. Violet Song was featured on KXAN's Studio 512 to talk about how Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture can be used to treat infertility. Dr. Song spoke with Amanda Tatom about acupuncture, herbs, and nutrition for fertility.
Patients can request an appointment online or call our offices at (512) 454-1188.
AOMA Herbal Medicine is proud to announce the addition of a larger selection of supplements and western herbs in our retail stores. Since the beginning of 2014 we have been carrying select products from some of the most trusted brands in the business including Gaia Herbs, Pure Encapsulations, and Ayush Herbs, Inc. Based on requests from our customers, students, and integrative practitioners (including an MD, chiropractor, and licensed acupuncturists) we have added these supplements in order to complement our large amount of Chinese herbs, patents, tinctures, and topicals.
Gaia Black Cohosh
Gaia Kava Kava
Gaia St. John’s Wort
Gaia Ginkgo Leaf
Gaia Black Elderberry Syrup
Pure Encapsulations Buffered Ascorbic Acid
Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Citrate
Pure Encapsulations Melatonin
Pure Encapsulations CoQ10
Pure Encapsulations L-Glutamine
Pure Encapsulations Nutrient 950 ®
Ayush Herbs, Inc.
Ayush Neem Oil
Ayush Mayanarayan Oil
Klaire Vital-10 100c Probiotics
White Mountain Epsom Salt
Nordic Naturals Arctic Omega
Vital Nutrients Slipery Elm Bark
Nature’s Way Aloe Vera
AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine and Austin Fit Magazine co-sponsored the East West Forum on Integrative Sports Medicine on July 24, 2014 with prominent sports medicine specialists. Part of AOMA’s vision is building bridges. The East West Forum is one of the ways that AOMA brings together biomedical and integrative medical practitioners.
Sarah Bentley, Director of Community Relations at AOMA, facilitated the discussion of cutting-edge techniques and holistic solutions for injury recovery and prevention with guest speakers Martha Pyron, MD, Ann Mowat, LAc, and John Tuggle, DC.
Watch and share the video of the event!
About the speakers:
Martha Pyron is board certified in both family medicine as well as sports medicine and is the founder of Medicine in Motion, a Sports Medicine & Physical Rehabilitation Clinic in north Austin with an integrated care approach to injury and illness.
Dr. John Tuggle, doctor of chiropractic also known as the “Tri Doc” has an integrative practice in Cedar Park.
Ann Mowat is a licensed acupuncturist and certified Sports Medicine Acupuncture specialist. She’s the founder of 512 Wellness in central Austin.
Monday and Wednesday rotations at AOMA’s north clinic with AOMA supervisor Elizabeth Fordyce are a pleasingly unique therapeutic experience. Fordyce began supervising at AOMA in 2004. With a history as an EMT before becoming an acupuncturist, she has completed extensive post-graduate studies in the Tan Balance Method and Master Tung’s points. Fordyce has practiced as a licensed acupuncturist and registered massage therapist since 1993.
Fordyce’s intern clinic rotations are full of innovative acupuncture protocols, with comprehensive techniques that treat an array of ailments. Her out-of-the-box thinking is contagious, and students flourish under her guidance. Her relaxed manner and confidence trickle down to create a healing epicenter for student-collaborated treatment plans. Of notable mention, and among many different approaches, three sub-modalities of acupuncture commonly used in this clinic are:
Dr. Tan’s Balance Method
Master Tehfu Tan embodies the Wu Bian philosophy in all areas of his practice and the legacy that he has created. Wu Bian is Mandarin for infinite possibilities, and has been fused into at least 25 years of revolutionary work that Dr. Tan has made available to practitioners across the globe. His protocols often use fewer points that are located in regions farther away from, but still related to, areas of pain. This style uses a 3-step strategy that provides “logical and precise guidance toward a minimal number of distal points which avoid aggravating local areas of pain.” It also incorporates meridian pathway and palpation diagnosis, with applicable channel theory, to promote relief within seconds.
Master Tung’s Points
With an extremely effective treatment approach, Master Tung Ching Chang is easily referred to as one of the greatest acupuncture masters who has ever lived. These points were “a treasured family secret, handed down and refined over generations,” and were used with at least 40,000 patients between 1953 and1975 alone. Similar to the Tan Method, Master Tung’s protocols use fewer needles than some of the other treatment types, and in most cases they are known for bringing instant relief upon insertion. Practitioners can treat even some of the most difficult cases with these groupings, thanks to the benevolence of Master Tung himself.
Esoteric Acupuncture (EA) was developed by Dr. Mikio Sankey to “define a way of life that emphasizes the awakening and expansion of our spiritual center” in a way that addresses the most fundamental levels of healing from the heart. It is a synthesis of ageless wisdom, and is revered as more than ‘just another style of acupuncture,’ with the ability to treat both the immune system and the physical body. It is based on theosophy, Hindu and Tibetan cultures, the Kabbalah, sacred geometry, and color therapy, all rolled into one usable format. It is said that acupuncture is a transporter for the technique, and the universe is the provider of the information. With EA, form and structure combine with acupuncture and visualization to create a subtle, yet extremely impelling healing session. Patients often report feel refreshed, renewed, and capable of sorting through underlying issues that needed a gateway for processing. Mikio Sankey will be speaking in May 2015 at the 15th Annual Southwest Symposium.
In summary, Elizabeth Fordyce imbues her students and clinics with effective curative strategies that get results and open up space for the body’s innate healing capacity to activate. Expect a healing experience like none other – come prepared to see changes and feel better. Patients can make appointments in the AOMA student acupuncture clinic under the supervision of Elizabeth Fordyce on Monday and Wednesday afternoons and evenings.
About the author:
Diana Beilman is an intern entering her final quarters at AOMA after transferring from The Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in the Fall of 2013. She received her B.S. in Kinesiology from Western Washington University in 2009 and has had an interest in health and nutrition for over a decade. With a passion for outdoor adventures, traveling and helping others, she plans on trekking through Southeast Asia to volunteer with various non-profit organizations after completing her degree in April. Some of her specialties include sports therapy, mental-emotional disorders and women's health, all of which she treats with multi-faceted protocols, including those mentioned in this article. Read about Diana's Great Acupuncture Adventure.
This BBC documentary features Kathy Sykes on her trip to China as she discovers incredible demonstrations of the use of acupuncture - from a woman undergoing heart surgery with acupuncture as her only anesthetic to what needle stimulation looks like in the brain using an MRI.
Overwhelmed trying to figure out how to start an Oriental medicine practice? Here are some tips from AOMA alumni!*
While you are in school:
Take your board exams before you graduate
Get licensed quickly after finishing boards
Develop a business plan during practice management class
Start developing marketing materials
Launch your website before graduation
Plan your career
Investigate different locations for your future practice (states, cities, venues) Consider specializing in something (ex. style of practice, specific patient demographic, type of condition(s), etc.)
Participate in an internship, externship, or apprenticeship (ex. AOMA’s Practice Management Fieldwork Program)
Consider a job on a cruise ship – it’s a great way to gain experience and travel!
Form relationships with your patients in the student clinic to build your future patient base
Find a successful mentor and pick their brain!
Get connected, join a networking group
Build a financial foundation
Set aside money for starting up your practice
Minimize student loan debt and understand the different repayment options
Forecast startup costs for your practice, including funding, insurance, advertising, etc.
Keep your day job as you build your practice to earn extra income
Learn Quickbooks or other basic accounting skills
Research pricing for treatments so you can charge enough for your services
After You Graduate:
Hone your business & professional skills
Buy a point of sale system to handle financial transactions
Consider selling supplements and herbs to boost your practice’s income
Consider offering adjunct techniques to patients like medical qigong, bodywork
Outline clear treatment plans so patients know what to expect
Continue to work on your bed-side manners to improve the patient experience Provide patient & community education
Volunteer in your community for extra visibility
Find a market coach if you need extra help with outreach
Practice a lot; start seeing as many patients as possible, as soon as possible
Make time for self-care
Take kidney tonics to keep your energy-level up
Practice mind-body techniques to handle stress
Start small & grow (be patient it will take time)
Take a vacation/time off after graduation – you might need the break!
Commit to life-long learning and more Oriental medicine techniques – never stop improving
Be passionate about TCM!
*Advice compiled from 2013 alumni survey.
Taking Care: Summer
AOMA’s recommendations for staying on top of Summer Heat
by Lauren St. Pierre-Mehrens
Summer in Austin is full of many wonderful things. Swimming at Barton Springs, backyard BBQs, free concerts at Zilker Park, and the HEAT. Well, for some the heat is wonderful; for most of us, it can be a challenge both mentally and physically. Summer Heat is one of the “six pernicious evils” in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theory and is nothing to scoff at. Protecting yourself and understanding how to avoid dehydration and heatstroke are vital to making the most of your summer and protecting your body for the rest of the year.
Summer is yang in nature and a time of increased energy and expansion. It gives us long days to explore this yang nature, to be social and active. A wider variety of local seasonal food is available, and it’s a wonderful time to diversify our diets with fresh fruits and vegetables. Nature has harmony in mind when we look at the foods around us. What’s local during the summer months often is what we should be eating due to the cooling nature of the foods.
It is also a time that requires protecting our yang from damage. Nothing sounds better during a midday scorcher than an ice cream or downing a full cup of ice water, but in TCM, this damages your yang. Why does that matter? Our body is constantly trying to balance yin and yang, hot and cold, moist and dry. When we damage one, the other can become relatively too great, or unchecked. Simply put, yang is the fire in us while yin is the water. If you keep pouring ice water over a fire, eventually it will be too weak to burn. We don’t see the problem with this in the summer when all we want is to put that fire out, but as the seasons change, we will start to see digestive and circulation problems. Acupuncture, herbs, and qigong can help to restore balance, but why not prevent potential problems in the first place?
In Austin, we also have Damp mixed in with our Summer Heat. Austinites might experience more heavy sensations in the body, as well as fatigue, abdominal fullness, and digestive upset. All the more reason to get in harmony with the season.
What might Summer Heat look like?
The excessive yang nature of Summer Heat affecting the body comes in many forms. We often will see a very red face, bright red tongue with yellow or no coating, fever, insomnia, irritability, restlessness, constipation or diarrhea, elevated blood pressure, headaches, mouth sores, skin rashes, and acne.
Children and the elderly as well as those who tend toward excess yang, or heat, may find they are more susceptible to Summer Heat.
What can I do to support my body?
- Stay hydrated and avoid peak sun. In Austin that can be from 10am to 4pm, or later, given that we’re on Daylight Savings Time. Use good judgment and always carry water and a hat or umbrella with you.
- Use cool packs on your elbow creases and the back of your neck if you’re overheated.
- Increase these foods, which have cooling properties:
◦ mung beans
◦ peppermint or chrysanthemum flower tea
◦ lemon/lime and other citrus
- Moderate/avoid these foods, which can be too warming, if you’re seeing Summer Heat signs:
◦ anything spicy and/or fried
◦ red meat
◦ lobster, mussels, and prawns
Acupuncture and dietary therapy can be an effective way beat the heat, but watch for red flags of actual heat exhaustion or heatstroke and seek medical attention if they occur: fainting, dark-colored urine, rapid heartbeat, confusion, throbbing headache, and vomiting. Be safe, have fun, and come see us at AOMA for more personalized support.
About the author
Lauren has lived in Austin since 2006 by way of Lake Tahoe, California. While pursuing her MAcOM at AOMA she continues to work with The American Cancer Society as a cancer information specialist. She counts ATX as her home with her husband and two Boston terriers. http://www.earthspringacupuncture.com/
Some say that when you move to Austin you will inevitably get a tattoo, eat too many tacos, and feel completely overwhelmed by how bad the traffic is. This may be true, but when I started my first term at AOMA, I underwent a complete inner transformation instead. A lot can happen in just one term, trust me. And now that I am a second-term student, I am going to share with you five things that I experienced during my first term in acupuncture school so you might know what to expect.
During your first term at AOMA graduate school you are likely to:
Try to practice your newly learned acupuncture techniques on everyone you know
My family, roommates, significant other, and whoever happened to be within needles’ length developed a love-hate relationship with my incessant practicing. Eventually, I learned that I wanted to practice needling techniques on people more often than they wanted to let me do it. I wanted to see everyone’s tongue and feel everyone’s pulse. It is important to practice constantly even if you know very little about acupuncture points or pulse and tongue diagnosis. Once you have your first acupuncture techniques class, you might go a little crazy and buy all the moxa and needles you can afford in the AOMA Herbal Medicine store. You may start carrying needles with you everywhere you go. You will become an acupuncturist-in-the-making very quickly. Just don’t get too carried away!
Attempt to diagnose every aspect of your health under the terms of Chinese medicine
Yes, you could have spleen Qi deficiency. But chances are you don’t have every disease you learn about from Dr. Qianzhi Wu in Foundations of Chinese Medicine. You will, however, become very conscious of every aspect of your health, which I would say is a good thing. And while there are probably some of you out there who have your health completely together, I sadly did not. I stopped eating both gluten and dairy in my second month of acupuncture school. And while that has made enjoying pizza almost completely impossible, I am so happy to have done it because I feel so much better! Through several acupuncture appointments, listening to my teachers’ advice, taking plenty of herbs, and using my willpower I was able to wean myself off of all of my medications. You will learn many ways to take your health into your own hands, and you will find a community at AOMA that is very supportive of self-care.
Think your brain has reached maximum occupancy
I remember studying for a particularly difficult Point Location test, and no matter how hard I tried I just could not retain all of that information at once. I thought that my career as an acupuncturist would be over in my first term. And although I did not make an A on that test, I did just fine, anyway. When preparing for an exam I have a tendency to blow things out of proportion and think my world is going to end if I don’t earn an A. Do not be like me! Those who remain calm during test time always seem to make the best grades. There will be times that you just cannot possibly remember everything, especially during exam time. Just always do your best, and don’t stress too much about it. And as one of my favorite teachers taught me — write your questions down! I would like to add that you should also write down everything you would like to remember in general. When it is crunch time, you will want some good notes to work with. Just remember, no matter how intense it gets, it is totally worth it!
Start believing that acupuncture must be magic and that it heals all ailments
At first I was pretty skeptical. I wondered just how exactly a needle in your finger could help the cough you’ve had for a week. But I kept an open mind. You will learn, as I did, that acupuncture can help almost any ailment. If you need some convincing, get a treatment at the clinic. My treatments at the student clinic completely resolved my health problems that I thought I would be stuck with for life. On top of that, it feels like every class includes an introduction to a really cool acupuncture-style party trick. For instance, if you or someone you know is having a nosebleed, you can rub a spot on their foot to make it stop. No, I am not kidding; it really works. And this is just one example. So many things you learn when studying Chinese medicine will change your life. By the time I finished my first term I felt like a completely different and healthier person.
Want to know everything all at once, because being patient is hard (for me)
Patience is not my strong suit. I want to know everything so well that studying becomes trivial and I make A’s on all my tests effortlessly. But it does not work that way. Most of the content you will learn in your courses is so foreign that at first you won’t understand what exactly it is that you are memorizing. While you will have to remember that LU6 is the “Xi-Cleft” point of that channel, it might take you a whole other term to find out what it is exactly that Xi-Cleft points do. But that is okay because patience is a virtue. Just keep swimming!
One of the biggest hurdles of becoming an acupuncturist is having the patience to learn everything and learn it right. It will happen all in due time. Do not be in a huge hurry. I have to remind myself to take it one day at a time and that soon enough I will master the fundamentals of acupuncture and Chinese medicine.
Jessica Johnson is a full-time student within the Master of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine program at AOMA. Prior to beginning her studies in Chinese medicine, she completed a bachelor’s degree in Spanish at Austin College. Originally from Sherman, Texas, Jessica moved to Austin to begin her studies during the Winter 2014 term.
Eating organic is something many of us aim to do; however, doing so on a student budget can be tricky. Here are some of the top tips for affordably eating organic.
1. Look for generic organic brands made by the stores which carry them. Costco, Whole Foods, and Central Market have their own organic foods that are much more affordable.
2. Opt for frozen veggies, fruits, and meats if the fresh prices are out of your range.
3. Choose bulk over packaged foods. Many stores like Central Market, HEB, Whole Foods, and Sprouts have an excellent selection of bulk food items which can be snagged at a fraction of the price.
4. Follow what is in season because the locally grown food is usually cheaper than that which had to travel miles to the store. Here is a guide for Texas.
5. Support local farms through CSAs or Farmers Markets. Also, if you shop toward the end of the market you can likely get deals because they'd rather sell it than take it back to the farm.
6. Grow at least one thing yourself.
7. Coupons! Websites or social media sites of your favorite companies have coupons and specials. Some other sites are Mambo Sprouts, Saving Naturally, Organic Deals, My Organic Coupons, Organic Deals and Steals. Writing companies with compliments or complaints usually will result in their sending coupons.
8. Read Wildly Affordable Organic for tips on organic eating for $5 a day or less.
9. Buy at least the dirty dozen organic if you can't afford to buy everything organic. The dirty dozen are from the Environmental Working Group's research and have the most pesticides:
Sweet bell peppers
The Environmental Working Group classified the following as the clean dozen, which have fewer pesticides:
Sweet peas (frozen)
Sweet corn (frozen)
10. Research other sustainable food options in your area, from businesses to stores, at eatwellguide.com
Janessa Benedict is a senior student at AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine. She currently writes a financial aid newsletter, contributes to an Oriental medicine website, and looks forward to saving the world.
At a recent gathering, a friend mentioned having knee pain. I quickly assessed it using neoclassical pulse diagnosis techniques and by palpating the location of the pain. Afterward, I found and applied four acupressure points with press-on seeds. As a result his knee felt much better throughout the party and the following days.
By using neoclassical pulse diagnosis in a clinical setting (meaning with further investigation and time), I am able to confidently provide my patients with efficient care for myriad health concerns, including pain, pyscho-social issues, insomnia, energy loss, hormonal imbalances, and digestive issues.
Having success in the clinic is a result of applying the techniques taught in Dr. William Morris’ neoclassical pulse series and training with him as an intern in his clinical rotations.
In Will Morris’ neoclassical pulse courses I learned how to assess a patient’s radial pulses as a diagnostic tool and immediate feedback loop. This feedback loop is invaluable in creating confidence in the practitioner, treating quickly and effectively while obtaining great clinical outcomes, and in maintaining my own health. Successfully using neoclassical-style pulse diagnostics created confidence in me as a practitioner.
During my treatments on patients I am able to monitor my patient’s pulse as it changes. As my patient’s pulse becomes more balanced and level, I know I have chosen a good course of treatment.
Neoclassical pulse diagnosis is also a great tool for assessing and treating on the go, because you can quickly evaluate the pulse, apply a few acupressure seeds, and still get great results. Learning to use the pulse as a feedback loop in clinical settings creates high-quality, efficient patient care.
Yet it isn’t just for patients. In fact, I find myself evaluating my pulse and applying indicated acupressure points. This daily self-care ritual takes seconds and is a great way to stay healthy, emotionally balanced, and pain free
I am honored to have trained with Dr. Morris, and will continue to attend his classes and online teachings, as he provides invaluable insight into the world of patient-centered care. I highly recommend his neoclassical pulse series
to all students interested in expanding their acupuncture and diagnostic repertoire.Anne Cusick LAc, MAcOM
graduated from AOMA in 2008 and is in current practice with Dr. Clark-Brown at a family care integrated clinic, specializing in pain management. www.cusickacupuncture.com