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What Acupuncturists Should Know about Ebola

  
  
  

Many questions have emerged pertaining to how acupuncturists should deal with the threat of Ebola. Your state association wants you to be aware of late breaking news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and one of its epidemiologists with special CDC Ebola training. The epidemiologist states that the CDC has only published official guidelines for acute care facilities. However, as of late, the CDC addressed outpatient facilities that include acupuncture practices. We wanted to provide you with the following information and key resources to assist you in educating patients as well as your professionals.

Among the most important points made are the following:

  • Ancillary services, such as acupuncture clinics, should have a plan of action.
  • Before treating clients, ask if they have been in areas affected by Ebola during the past 21 days
  • Ask if they have been in contact with anyone else who has been in areas affected by Ebola in the past 21 days and has been sick or experiencing any fever
  • If the answer is yes, ask the patient to step into a private area, after which a trained medical professional should complete further screening (call either a Health Department official or other contracted service)
  • Patients are not contagious until they have a fever and do not feel well
  • Even at the first signs of fever they are not contagious in general
  • If you screen patients and rule out any with risks of Ebola, staff should be able to practice safely

Given this vital information, it would be wise for acupuncturists to develop a plan as soon as possible.  Access a checklist that you could use for patients with suspected Ebola Virus Disease in the United States.

Be aware of the wonderful posters pertaining to Ebola developed by the CDC which can be hung in your clinic. Click on this link to access.

We recommend checking the CDC homepage for late-breaking information.

3 Ways Essential Oils Helped Me Grow My Acupuncture Practice

  
  
  
With all the powerful benefits acupuncture and Chinese herbs have to offer my patients, you may be wondering why I chose to add an additional modality to my practice. For years, I was a closet essential oil user. I used them at home in my own personal wellness routine but feared sharing this information with my patients would somehow dilute my focus on Traditional Chinese Medicine. However, once I began to study essential oils through the lens of TCM taking into account the temperature of the oils, their indications, and their affinity toward particular organs and meridians, my confidence level grew and so did my practice. In particular, three keys areas of my practice expanded: patient empowerment, complementary treatment options, and patient education.

Patient Empowerment

On a good day, my patients leave my office (or report back later) feeling relief from whatever brought them to my practice. On a great day, they’ve left not only feeling better but have learned some sort of valuable skill that helps keep them well and enhances their ability to handle future challenges. Along with proper diet, exercise, and acupressure, essential oils are a wonderful way for patients to extend the healing benefits of our time together as well as handle some common health challenges when they arise.

Complementary Treatment Options

I have also found essential oils to be beneficial when my patients are taking a large number of prescription medications and the uncertainty of adding an herbal formula would be too great (either due to possible herb/drug interactions or due to the uncertainty of how well their liver and kidneys are functioning under the additional stress). For them, essential oil inhalation or topical application can provide much needed stress relief, mental clarity, and soothe overworked muscles.

Patient Education

Since essential oils can be used to make natural household cleaners and as part of a healthier skin care routine, the addition of essential oils into my practice has opened up a broader discussion of how to eliminate unnecessary exposure to chemicals and toxins in our environment and replace these products with ones that support and boost our immune system.

Over the years, essential oils have become a fantastic way for me to connect with my patients and teach them additional tools to enhance their health and well-being. I hope you will give it a try!

 

diane lowryAOMA alumna, Diane Lowry happily resides in Glen Allen, VA where she is the owner and Licensed Acupuncturist of HealthFocus Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She holds Diplomate status in both Oriental Medicine and Asian Bodywork Therapy from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and is an American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA)-Certified Practitioner. www.HealthFocusAcupuncture.com

7 TCM Tips for Staying in Harmony with the Fall Season

  
  
  

by Lauren St. Pierre-Mehrens

Open your windows, everyone... fall is here! As the Autumnal Equinox just happened, we look forward to dusting off our sweaters for cooler days, apple- and pumpkin-picking, and digging into nourishing comfort foods. We are transitioning out of the active, highly social energy of summer. Fall is ruled by the metal element and is a season for letting go. It ushers in a time for wrapping up projects from the previous months and looking more toward introspection and stillness, and it’s a wonderful time to reflect and spend quality time with loved ones.

In TCM, during fall we are most susceptible to dryness which can affect the lungs, skin, and digestion. Common signs of disharmony in the fall are thirst, dry nose and skin, itching, and sore throat. There are a number of things we can do to combat dryness and fortify our bodies for the coming winter months.

1. Drink waterDollarphotoclub water w

So simple, yet often overlooked. It’s always beneficial to be hydrating with teas and water, and it’s an especially good idea during the fall when dry skin and constipation are a bigger issue.

2. Sleep more

As the days grow shorter, allow your body to rest. In a city like Austin, with so many fun things to do at night, it can be hard to rest. But if you feel ready for bed at 9pm, allow yourself to snuggle in with a good book and move with the energy of the season. It can be restorative for your body and mind.

3. Incorporate moistening foods and thoughtful meal preparation

The raw, cold foods that sustain us in the summer can be too harsh on the system at this time of year. Soups, steamed foods, and cooking “low and slow” are all in harmony with fall.

Ingredients that have moistening qualities:

  • Pears, Apples, Persimmons, Loquatspears are moistening
  • Lotus Root (available at many specialty stores and Asian markets), Yams, Spinach
  • Edamame, Tempeh, Tofu
  • Almonds, Pine Nuts, Peanuts, Sesame Seeds
  • Lily bulb (bai he) and Chrysanthemum (ju hua) are good herbs to use in teas or in a congee. Ask your acupuncturist about using Chinese herbs in recipes.

4. Organize what feels scattered and let go of what you don’t need

It’s a great time to transition from the outward energy of summer in preparation for the contracting energy of the coming winter.

  • Pay your bills
  • Organize your kitchen pantry
  • Check expiration dates on food, medication, and personal care products
  • Donate those shoes you haven’t worn in three years

5. Avoid processed sugar

It’s acidic and drying and in nearly every tempting treat that will come your way in the following months. Make conscious choices with food, and your immune system will thank you for it during flu season. Cravings too much to take? Drink a glass of water and eat some apple or pear lightly drizzled with honey and a bit of cinnamon.

6. Dress for the season

acupuncture austin aoma

While fall in Austin sometimes feels like summer, it’s a time when we again can be more susceptible to common colds, sore throats, and coughs. Make sure to layer your clothing in case a cold snap or an unexpected thunderstorm hits. Scarfs and cozy sweaters for everyone!

7. And of course...get acupuncture!

What better way to harmonize your body and boost your immune system than a restorative session with your acupuncturist at AOMA. The great thing about working with an acupuncturist is the opportunity to get tailored information, herbs, and food recommendations based on what your specific body constitution needs.

Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Nutrition

About the author

lauren st pierreLauren 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/

Rewards and Challenges of Starting an Acupuncture Practice

  
  
  

When you chose to become a licensed acupuncturist (LAc) you chose a fulfilling, exciting, and sometimes challenging career. To become a practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine you must complete a 4-year master’s degree, pass the national certification exams, and apply for state licensure. As many practitioners of Chinese medicine will attest, that is just the beginning of the journey. AOMA alumni share their experiences starting their acupuncture practices.

Jacob GodwinJacob Godwin, Class of 2005

Where do your practice?
Spokane, Washington | godwinacupuncture.com

What type of practice are you in?
Private

What were your biggest challenges in starting practice?
Having to realize where and how acupuncture fits into modern healthcare was a grueling lesson. Most acupuncturists are woefully unprepared to face the harsh realities of practice, and I was no exception. Learning to prioritize my understanding of biomedicine, particularly the biological approach to acupuncture, and to communicate effectively with other doctors has made an enormous difference. Those skills plus time and clinical effectiveness have helped me create a successful practice.

What has been the most rewarding part of starting practice?
Making a living by helping thousands of people simply by following my passion is the best reward for me.

What else would you like to share with prospective and current students?
Acupuncture has the potential to make huge contributions to medicine. The future of acupuncture relies on our participation in science and research. Learn your biomedical science. Indulge in the mystery and the tradition of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, but don't let them prevent you from developing acupuncture into a modern practice based on science. Accept nothing on authority or tradition alone. Press, probe, and investigate every nook and cranny of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine theory.

alison larmee, lacAlison Larmee Born, Class of 2006

Where do your practice?
Wilmington, North Carolina | capefearacupuncture.com

What type of practice are you in?
Private, Community

What were your biggest challenges in starting practice?
Educating the public on the advantages of community acupuncture (though I provide both community and private treatments). Finding the right space (physical building) to accommodate both styles as my practice grows.

What has been the most rewarding part of starting practice?
Being able to help many different walks of life by offering both private and community. Being my own boss, setting my own hours. Making a profit!

What else would you like to share with prospective and current students?
Starting your own practice is very rewarding but also extremely time consuming. There are no days off like when I was an independent contractor for another practice. Now with a 10 month old child some days running the business, attending to patients and my child seems really... well, overwhelming. It's not an undertaking to be taken lightly - it's wonderful in many ways - but oh so hard in others. Just my two cents. Feel free to contact me through my website if you'd like to talk about challenges and rewards.

Alyson BayerAlyson Bayer, Class of 2009

Where do your practice?
Conroe, Texas | clearchoiceacupuncture.com

What type of practice are you in?
Private, Collaborative

What were your biggest challenges in starting practice?
Getting over the fear of starting my own business.      

What has been the most rewarding part of starting practice?
The most rewarding part of having my own practice is the confidence it has given me.  I also enjoy setting my own schedule to give myself plenty of time with my family and to relax and enjoy life.         

What else would you like to share with prospective and current students?
Networking is one of the best ways I have found to grow my business. This field is very much up and coming.  More and more people are seeking alternatives to allopathic, overly busy doctors with little time for them. One thing I do in my practice is to make sure to give every single one of my patients enough of my time to listen to them every time they come into see me.

Cynthia ClarkCynthia Clark, Class of 2011

Where do your practice?
Sarasota, Florida | longevitywellnessclinic.com 

What type of practice are you in?
Private

What were your biggest challenges in starting practice?
Figuring out my identity as a practitioner           

What else would you like to share with prospective and current students?
It's who you are as a person that has the greatest effect on your patients.                          

Acupuncture Career Guide

Gregory CareyGregory Carey, Class of 2011

Where do your practice?
Old Bridge, New Jersey | oldbridgeacupuncture.com

What type of practice are you in?
Private, Collaborative

What were your biggest challenges in starting practice?
Generating Patient Visits  

What has been the most rewarding part of starting practice?
The opportunity to engage in a profession that I deeply care about is the most rewarding aspect of running my own acupuncture clinic.

What else would you like to share with prospective and current students?
Follow your passion and you can create success in what you do.

Josh SaulJoshua Saul, Class of 2012

Where do your practice?
Atlanta, Georgia | SunWellATL.com

What type of practice are you in?
Private, Collaborative

What were your biggest challenges in starting practice?
I think this question should be " What ARE your biggest challenges and starting practice?"   While I am seeing a study number of patients I am still not where I'd like to be. I think some of the biggest challenges to starting a practice is getting a system in place so that each new patient who walks in the door has a consistent, rewarding experience.  

Right now, my biggest challenge is getting all the administrative things done that I should have done in school like building a fully functional website that helps people know I’m out here and able to help.  Other administrative items include getting my LLC setup, setting up my practice management software and electronic health records (using Office Ally) and getting together promotional material like a business name, logo, business cards, informational rack cards, signs and other material.  If I had done this in school, even if I didn’t know what my business name would be, the content would be in place and all name information could be easily changed. 

Part of the system should also educate new patients as to what we do, how it works and why it's valuable to them and their healthcare.   Figuring out how to do this properly has definitely been challenging and is an ongoing work in progress.        

What has been the most rewarding part of starting practice?
The most rewarding part for me has been feeling like I have started to create something out of nothing. While starting a business is extremely difficult  I feel good about saying that I have worked harder at this than anything in my life. School was challenging but starting a business was by far much more difficult.  As I start to see patients and watch them get better there is something humbling, motivating and exciting in the  realization that I am serving my purpose.

What else would you like to share with prospective and current students?
I love what I do and I knew it when I started school.  What I didn't know was how much work was in store for me after school! If you are a current student my advice is to get started now! Whatever it is that you can do to start your business do it now!  Decide in what area you want to specialize, build your website, start figuring out your business model, start saving some cash - the list is long and time in school is not the hard part. If you aren't working on school and getting your business ready a solid 40 or more hours a week you aren't working hard enough.  Start now.  It will be worth it.

Abigail KarpAbigail Karp, Class of 2013

Where do your practice?
Austin, Texas | reproductiveacupuncture.com

What type of practice are you in?
Collaborative

What were your biggest challenges in starting practice?
It's a challenge knowing where to begin when starting your own practice, and I found it to be a blessing to join a practice of experienced acupuncturists.                      

What has been the most rewarding part of starting practice?
The most rewarding party of starting practice has been getting to know a new community of patients and working closely with seasoned acupuncturists in my chosen specialty. It has been amazing having the opportunity to gain new insights from my coworkers. So much learning and growing happens outside of acupuncture school, and I've been loving having the chance to continue to grow!

What else would you like to share with prospective and current students?
Trying to keep an open mind and being flexible has been very helpful for me in finding my way. It's hard to know what sort of practice you will enjoy until you try different options post-graduation.

Careers in Acupuncture: Download free eBook!

AOMA Named 2015 Military Friendly® School for Supporting Student Veterans

  
  
  

AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine has been named a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, the leader in successfully connecting the military and civilian worlds.

military friendly schoolThe Military Friendly® Schools designation is awarded to the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students, and to dedicate resources to ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation.

AOMA is proud to support student veterans – and proud of our students! To celebrate the announcement, we interviewed Tony Bailes, a master’s degree alum and current doctoral student at AOMA. In addition to being a full-time student, Tony is also the president of AOMA’s Student Veteran Organization and an active member of the campus community.

Tony Bailes, MAcOM, DAOM class of 2015

Tony Bailes, doctor of acupuncture studentMilitary Branch: US Army
Years Served: 4

What prompted you to return to school?

After serving as a combat medic, I knew I had found a home in health care. The feeling of knowing that I could make a difference in people's lives, even a small one, was the greatest reward. My time in the service had given me some much needed direction. The thought of returning to school at my age was a little frightening and I wasn't sure I was making the right decision.

Why did you choose AOMA?

My decision to go to AOMA was the result of two dominating factors. I wanted to stay in healthcare, but was feeling the rigors of emergency care. Acupuncture and integrative medicine offered me an opportunity to treat patients over time and see their progression, as opposed to the "turn and burn" of emergency medicine. Another decisive factor was AOMA as a community. I began my discussion while still in Iraq and when I was able to visit in person, all those positive interactions I had were reinforced. The sense of community was overwhelming. I knew immediately that I was where I was meant to be.

What military education benefits, such as the GI Bill, did you use while attending? 

I used my Post 9/11 GI Bill and Federal Graduate Loans. I also took advantage of the Federal Work Study program.

What has your experience been like as a student or alumnus? 

As with any process, there were ups and downs. The program can be challenging, but the journey taught me so much. After finishing the master’s program, I still felt a little lost. By some random turn of events, I ended up in the first DAOM program and could not be happier. Being in the DAOM program has taught me much about myself and my capabilities. I am grateful and proud to be part of the inaugural cohort. The friendships and connections I have created have been incredibly supportive and nurturing. Seven years after my initial contact, I still feel the same level of connection and the sense of community I did that very first day I walked onto campus.

What advice do you have for veterans returning to school?

The adjustment can be a challenge. The single most important thing to remember is that the knowledge, experience, and discipline we acquired serving our country is easily applicable to our educational journey. We understand commitment and hard work, and I feel that gives us that intangible edge. The end result of the challenge holds great reward. Find your community and draw on the lessons learned from our service time. Most importantly, reach out when you need help and embrace the great things that lie ahead.

What challenges and rewards have you experienced while working with military and veteran populations in clinic?

The challenges have been mostly in the communication and boundaries. Military members and veterans are part of a very defined subculture. We have our own language and biases. The language often associated with our medicine does not always resonate with the veteran and military community. Coming up with a vocabulary that is respectful, yet informative was the biggest challenge. Another challenge exists in boundaries. By nature, veterans and military members have a tendency to be more guarded. Trust is not easily earned. The ability to gain the level of trust needed to be effective takes effort and time. Our greatest strength is our sense of community. The sense of community is something that is well reflected of the culture of AOMA and I feel that being able to extend that grace to our patients, regardless of their background, is what makes AOMA so special.

Discover the Art & Spirit of Healing: Introduction to Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine

Dr. Violet Song on KXAN Studio 512 - Chinese Medicine for Fertility

  
  
  

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.

Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Nutrition

AOMA Herbal Medicine Adds Supplements and Western Herbs

  
  
  

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 Herbskava kava tincture

Gaia Black Cohosh

Gaia Kava Kava

Gaia Valerian

Gaia St. John’s Wort

Gaia Ginkgo Leaf

Gaia Black Elderberry Syrup

 

Pure Encapsulations

Pure Encapsulations Buffered Ascorbic Acid

Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Citrate

Pure Encapsulations Melatonin

Pure Encapsulations CoQ10

Pure Encapsulations L-Glutamine

Pure Encapsulations Nutrient 950 ®carditone herb

 

Ayush Herbs, Inc.

Ayush Neem Oil

Ayush Mayanarayan Oil

Ayush Carditone

 

And More!

Klaire Vital-10 100c Probioticsaloe vera

White Mountain Epsom Salt

Nordic Naturals Arctic Omega

Vital Nutrients Slipery Elm Bark

Nature’s Way Aloe Vera

 


East West Forum: Integrative Sports Medicine Discussion [video]

  
  
  

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.

AOMA Student Clinic Rotation with Elizabeth Fordyce, LAc

  
  
  

handsMonday 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

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.

Introduction to Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine

[Video]: BBC Documentary on How Acupuncture Works, MRI

  
  
  

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.

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