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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.

Alumni Advice for Graduating Acupuncture Students

  
  
  

Overwhelmed trying to figure out how to start an Oriental medicine practice? Here are some tips from AOMA alumni!*

While you are in school:

Prepare early

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 

Get acupuncture

Practice mind-body techniques to handle stress

 

General advice:

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.

Careers in Acupuncture: Download free eBook!

Staying Cool in the Summer Heat

  
  
  

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. summer bbq Dollarphoto wSwimming 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.

Introduction to Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine

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:

◦     watermelonwatermelon for summer heat

◦     millet

◦     mung beans

◦     celery

◦     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

◦     chicken

◦     peanuts

◦     alcohol

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.

 

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/

 

 

 

Personal Transformation: My First Term in Acupuncture School

  
  
  

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 acupuncture studentAbout Jessica:

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.

 

 

Learn More: Download an Overview of the Master's Program

10 Tips for Eating Organic on a Student Budget

  
  
  

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:

Peaches
Apples
Sweet bell peppers
Celery
Nectarines
Strawberries
Cherries
Pears
Grapes (imported)
Spinach
Lettuce
Potatoes

The Environmental Working Group classified the following as the clean dozen, which have fewer pesticides:

Papaya
Broccoli
Cabbage
Bananas
Kiwi
Sweet peas (frozen)
Asparagus
Mango
Pineapple
Sweet corn (frozen)
Avocado
Onions

10. Research other sustainable food options in your area, from businesses to stores, at eatwellguide.com

 

Resources: 

FoodBabe.com

Deliciouslyorganic.net

Prevention.com

 

janessa benedictJanessa 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Neoclassical Pulse Diagnosis Built My Confidence and Patient Outcomes

  
  
  

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.

neoclassical pulse series, will morris, continuing acupuncture education

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, neoclassical pulse diagnosisAnne 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

 


 

 

continuing acupuncture education, integrative health CE

Why I Want to Become an Acupuncturist?

  
  
  

AOMA has a rich student body with diverse backgrounds and interests. We wanted to find out why our learners chose AOMA's Master of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (MAcOM) program  and more importantly what drew them to become an acupuncturist. Here are their stories in their own words!

acupuncture student Christina KorpikChristina Korpik, Class of 2015

Why do you want to be an acupuncturist?

I want to be an acupuncturist because I am a firm believer in the magic and supremacy of natural medicine’s capacities to treat health imbalances and disease, as well as provide preventive care. Acupuncture helped to transform my own life and health when I was suffering, whereas Western medicine only worsened my conditions. I am fascinated specifically by acupuncture’s ability to trigger homeostasis and instill positive physical change in the body and one’s state of mind, as well as instantly boost an individual’s level of peacefulness with minimal to no side effects. I wanted to become a part of this magical treatment modality and art form that effortlessly taps into the body’s energetic and physical makeup in such a profound way, all the while using the elements of nature systematically as a guide in ways which reinforce the inherent connectedness of all things.

I deeply resonate with the belief that our emotional and spiritual makeup always directly impacts our current state of health and wellbeing, or lack thereof, at any given moment. One of the powers of Chinese medicine as a healthcare modality is its synergy – its ability to combine and use a great variety of diagnostic and treatment tools and modalities in order to treat the totality of a patient’s physical, emotional, spiritual, environmental, societal, and mental health. Western medicine does not have this ability or power. I believe there is a need for “TRUE” multi-faceted healthcare providers in this country who are capable of offering patients care on these levels, all the while treating them as PEOPLE with diverse needs and circumstances, as opposed to simply another case of (fill in the blank) to toss pharmaceutical drugs or invasive procedures at.

Why did you choose AOMA?

For years leading up to my decision to become a practitioner of Chinese medicine, I had been hearing stories from trusted friends and colleagues of AOMA’s overall prestige and excellence. I had heard countless beautiful accounts of the experienced, talented, and professional staff, practitioners, and professors at AOMA, as well as the incredible and unique student body. One thing that stuck out was constantly hearing of how dedicated EVERYONE – staff and students alike – in the AOMA community was to truly being a reliable and high-quality source of compassion and healing for the greater community.

If I hadn’t already been sold by the reputation of the school and the knowledge of its premier and famous herbal program, I was quickly convinced of the necessity of my attending the graduate program when I realized that the Chinese medicine practitioners who had personally salvaged my own health after many years of unsuccessful treatment from Western medicine had both graduated from AOMA.

diana slivinski acupuncture studentDiana Slivinski, Class of 2014

Why do you want to be an acupuncturist?
                           
A year in Taiwan studying Mandarin Chinese began my path of Asian studies.  My first visit to an acupuncturist, a Buddhist monk, left me feeling wonderful…..in body, mind, and spirit.  I loved the well-rounded approach to maintaining health and well-being.  The study of acupuncture and oriental medicine is proving to me that I have chosen the right path.

Why AOMA?

I chose AOMA after looking into several schools because their class schedule and offerings seemed well thought out and organized.  The teaching staff at AOMA is a talented group of scholars from China and abroad.  AOMA offered me what I needed to pursue a new career.  

jessica johnson, future acupuncturistJessica Johnson, Class of 2017

Why do you want to be an acupuncturist?

I am fully committed to what looks like will be three years of intense study, and already I can see that sometimes it is more difficult than it is fun to be a student of acupuncture. Anyone who enters the program knows that it is not always easy. But I will never stop trying to become an acupuncturist because I have seen how rewarding it is to help those who thought there was no help for them. I have been the person who thought I would always be sick, no matter how many medications I was on. Becoming an acupuncturist is not just a livelihood; it is a commitment to care, to love. Those of us who aspire to be acupuncturists realize that we can transform the lives of our patients, and we know that to be valued by those in your care is a true blessing.

Why did you choose AOMA?

Originally, I chose to enroll at AOMA because I knew they had one of the best programs to become an acupuncturist. I knew that they were committed to ensuring a quality education for their students. However, I came to find that AOMA is not just a school. The people you come to know – students, faculty, and teachers – they become your family. They encourage you to ask questions. They support you. They take care of you to the best of their ability. I have found that within AOMA there are students and faculty alike who would help you with anything if you asked. I have only been at the school for a short time but I can already name so many people who I can honestly say have changed my life. Yes, I enrolled because I believe the school and program are the best in the State of Texas, but I stayed because of the people I have come to know here.

 

loubriel sosa, acupuncture studentLoubriel Sosa, Class of 2014

Why do you want to be an acupuncturist?

We walk through life exploring ourselves; each and every situation reveals a unique expression. As we grow, we assume responsibility over our destiny. Some search and search, and never find their calling. Being an acupuncturist fulfills me and nourishes my being. I want to be an acupuncturist because it calls to me. To experience the joys of healing and to perpetuate the art of love is my destiny.

Why did you choose AOMA?

At first I chose AOMA because of its reputation, but now that I've been a student of this wonderful institution for some time, I recognize that AOMA was the only road for me. It provided me with purpose and direction.

 

Download Guide to Career in Traditional Chinese Medicine

 

abigail karp, licensed acupuncturistAbigail Karp, Class of 2013

Why do you want to be an acupuncturist?

I want to become an acupuncturist because I was inspired by the amazing acupuncturists and herbalists in my life who helped me regain my own wellness after dealing with complications from Celiac disease. After volunteering at a local community acupuncture clinic, I saw how this gentle and peaceful way of healing was making such a huge improvement in the quality of life for many different kinds of people.

Why did you choose AOMA?

I chose AOMA because I was so impressed by the enthusiasm and the sense of community the school fosters among students and faculty. Austin is such a vibrant city, and I feel that AOMA is a vibrant acupuncture school! I appreciate the ways that it is changing and evolving to meet the needs of the students and patients it serves. 

 

michael callaghan, oriental medicine studentMichael Callaghan, Class of 2017

Why do you want to be an acupuncturist?

I really don’t want to be an acupuncturist – I want to be a practitioner of Oriental medicine, which includes acupuncture. My goal of becoming a practitioner of TCM is to give back to a community of people, the Armed Forces, who need an alternative to traditional Western medicine.  As a veteran, I experienced military medicine, which is normally focused at putting the soldier, sailor, airman, or marine back to work and not effectively treating the causes of the illness or injury. I believe that TCM offers an alternative to taking medications which cover the overall symptoms; instead, TCM treats the symptoms for long-term beneficial health gains. If I can help just a small percentage of the active, reserve, or formerly active-duty community by providing comprehensive care through the principles of TCM, I will have accomplished my goal.

Why did I choose AOMA?

While there are many choices, AOMA offers an integrative approach, which I believe is key to future success. AOMA has a great success rate academically, which it is reflected in the high percentage of its graduates who find employment immediately after completion of the program. Lastly, the staff and faculty of the school treat everyone as individuals and are supportive in assisting you to obtain your goals.

 

elizabeth arris, acupuncture studentElizabeth Arris, Class of 2015

Why do you want to be an acupunct

urist?

For so many reasons!  Being an acupuncturist is a career that offers many opportunities every day to support another person in feeling well. I enjoy holding space for patients to be mindful of their physical sensations and emotional experiences, which are so often ignored during busy lives. When patients share their pains, discomforts, and vulnerabilities with me, I feel honored to be a guardian of that information and am grateful for the chance to practice using the power of my position and education in a way that is appropriate, heart-centered, and helpful.  Perhaps most of all, I love being part of a health-conscious community of healers where my personal wellbeing is valued as much as my productivity.

Why did you choose AOMA?

I think a degree from AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine (AOMA) keeps many doors open:  AOMA is regionally accredited, meaning their credits may transfer to other non-TCM schools (which is uncommon); and

AOMA grads have the option to apply for a California license (which is also uncommon for acupuncture schools outside of California). Additionally, AOMA is committed to continued development of the clinical training and biomedical components of its curriculum, providing students the tools necessary to feel comfortable in both integrative medicine environments and TCM environments. 

Over the past three years at AOMA, I have also grown to appreciate other aspects of the school, particularly the strength of the herbal program and the warmth of the Qigong community. As a lifelong dancer, my passion for movement evolved naturally into a love for the graceful, purposeful Sheng Zhen Qigong form featured at AOMA.  Although Sheng Zhen’s Master Li was not a primary factor in my choosing AOMA, I’ve come to view him as one of AOMA’s treasures and one of my anchors within the AOMA community.

 

Download FREE Introduction to Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine

The Practice of Neoclassical Pulse Diagnosis with Will Morris

  
  
  

As a teacher and practitioner of Chinese medicine well into my second professional decade, I have felt for a long time that some of the most important areas of study in our medicine have received the least attention. This discrepancy is probably most relevant in the area of pulse diagnosis—and with good reason. Pulse reading can be an extremely subtle art, and there seem to be multiple ways of interpreting the same pulse. Add to that the fact that teaching the pulse is, at least in part, a transcription of our concrete sense of touch into an abstract verbal interpretation. The resulting confusion is nearly always daunting for the student and professional alike, and we wind up falling back on the not-so-subtle aspects of the pulse, limiting our data-gathering to a narrow number of simple distinctions like excess vs. deficiency. And though these distinctions are useful, if they were the only data we had to form our diagnoses, our treatments would be lacking.

When it comes to pulses, theory alone can never suffice. If you go to apply what you’ve learned and your finger position is a little off or if your finger pressure is too heavy or too light, you are not going to pick up the right information from the pulse. Having taught his system for many years, Dr. Will Morris understands that when teaching the art of diagnostic, lecture cannot be the only mode of teaching. There is a great deal of hands-on practice in these classes: from basic calibration of pressure, to correction of finger positions, to insights for practitioner comfort, and, of course, comparing pulses around the room. Dr. Morris and trained assistants are right there with you while you are feeling pulses in the class, available for checking your findings against theirs and offering further explanation relevant to the pulse you are feeling at the moment.

neoclassical pulse series, will morris, continuing acupuncture education

I bet most of us have a sense that if we could only improve our pulse diagnosis technique, clinical effectiveness would improve accordingly. Well, of course we are absolutely right in thinking so. But how do we improve our pulse diagnostic skills? One of the keys, I learned from Dr. Morris, is that we need to approach each pulse with the right framing tools. The pulse diagnostic we use to create an herbal prescription might be a different system than what we use for an acupuncture strategy. Furthermore, the pulse system we use to determine which channels are most affected by a soft-tissue injury may be different from the way we approach the pulse if someone comes to us with insomnia or shen disturbance. If Dr. Morris had contributed nothing else, his tools for filtering through the multilayers of informational “noise”in the pulse to help us home in on what is relevant in this context for this patient in this visit would have been a valuable contribution to our field. As it is, he has actually contributed a great deal more than that.

In this series of pulse classes taught by Dr. Morris, the participant learns many distinctions in the pulse that can be applied immediately in clinic; others need more time to master. One of the “extras” in the class is that Dr. Morris is liberal with sharing a multitude of clinical insights. Not only does he cover a variety of pulse techniques in depth, but he shares treatment strategies and ways to think about treatment strategies that correspond to the pulse diagnostic technique being taught at the time. Because you walk away from these classes with new, clear, diagnostic skills, new treatment strategies, and clarity for how and when to apply the new material, your practice benefits immediately. As you study and use the material from Dr. Morris’ pulse classes over time, your connection with the medicine deepens while your confidence and effectiveness as a practitioner solidify.

John Heuertz, DOM has been practicing Chinese medicine since 2001. He is nationally certified as both an acupuncturist and a Chinese herbalist practicing in New Mexico. Dr. Heuertz publishes and lectures extensively to colleagues in the Chinese medical field.

 

continuing acupuncture education, integrative health CE

5 TCM Tips for Taking Care: Spring

  
  
  

Spring comes and goes fast in Austin. With summer just around the corner, what can we do now to strengthen our body and mind?

Here are AOMA’s traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) tips for staying healthy, happy, and in harmony with the season of spring.

1. Wear a scarf

  • Wind is one of the six pernicious evils (Wind, Cold, Heat, Damp, Dryness, and Summer Heat), and it is the external evil associated with spring.
  • Many of the points that can be easily affected by Wind are on the upper back, neck, and head.
  • Wearing a scarf or hoodie, especially when it’s windy or after an acupuncture treatment, can help prevent wind attack.
  • Common symptoms of wind attack:

◦     common cold

◦     headache

◦     nasal obstruction

◦     itching

◦     allergies and rashes, to name a few

  • When your acupuncturist tells you to stay covered up after a treatment, the wind points may be more open. So risk looking like a hipster to prevent catching a wind invasion.

2. Eat your greensgreen salad

  • Spring is charged by the energy of the Liver and the color green.
  • It is a vital time to eat foods that are sprouting, in harmony with the natural growth of the season. Eating more of the light, healthy greens like asparagus, kale, collards, watercress, and lettuce while avoiding rich foods can help to unblock the heavy energy of the previous winter months. 
  • Pungent foods like garlic, onions, peppermint, basil, dill, fennel, and rosemary all work well at supporting the upward and outward energy of spring and unblocking stuck energy.
  • Start the day with a glass of warm water with the juice of half a lemon. The sour flavor soothes the liver and helps rid the body of toxins.

3. Let go of old grudges

  • Holding on to anger constrains the Liver and its natural harmony.
  • Developing self-care for the spirit is just as important as what we do for our body.
  • Consider journaling, writing poems, or meditating on letting go. You don’t need to have confrontations to heal.
  • Forgiveness can be very therapeutic for balancing energy and is in perfect harmony with spring.

4. Move your qi to put some spring in your tai chi austin, qigong austinstep

  • Whether it’s taking a walk in the open air, starting a taiji or qigong practice, or joining a gym, spring is a wonderful time for renewal, growth, and transformation.
  • Breathing fresh air supports the Lung qi which directly balances your Liver qi.
  • Liver qi stagnation can manifest as irritability, digestive upset, PMS, depression, and poor appetite, just to name a few.
  • Ask your acupuncturist to show you some exercises for harmonizing the Liver and get that qi moving smoothly.

5. Get acupuncture

  • Nothing can support your efforts to cleanse and detox the Liver like a springtime acupuncture treatment.
  • Acupuncture stimulates the channels, clears out stagnation, and smooths the flow of qi.
  • Liver qi stagnation (irritability, depression, PMS, etc.) responds well to acupuncture.
  • While all treatments are tailored to the individual, the practitioner will be working in conjunction with the ancient principals of seasonal movement of qi and can help to harmonize your body.

 

Stay tuned for our tips to beat the heat of the upcoming summer months.

Introduction to Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine

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/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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