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Acupuncture Student Spotlight: Blake Gordon, ND

  
  
  

Blake Gordon Acupuncture studentAOMA student Blake Gordon is known on campus for her infectious smile and her extensive knowledge of naturopathic medicine.

Although Blake’s home is in East Texas, where she attended school from high school through graduate school, she wasn’t introduced to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) until she moved to Arizona to attend Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM). It was there that she first experienced the amazing effects of TCM personally and saw firsthand how it improved the lives of patients she treated.

As Blake neared graduation from SCNM, she knew that she wanted to come back to Texas and offer Texans another approach to health and healing. However, she wanted more training in TCM, so she asked her TCM professor which schools in Arizona and Texas he thought were the best. Fortunately, he was a graduate of Chengdu University in China, and noted that many of the professors from AOMA were as well. According to him, Blake would get the best TCM education from AOMA, because he knew that the AOMA professors there had received the best training in China.  Per his suggestion, she later visited AOMA and upon touring the campus: “I knew that it was the best place for me to truly learn TCM,” Blake said. “Thankfully, his recommendation stands true!”

She certainly has a lot of experience to offer her patients and her community. Not only is she a working as a Naturopathic Doctor (ND), but with an extensive background in teaching and bachelor and master’s degrees in Biology, she also conducts multiple nutrition and health talks for the local Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center. She definitely keeps busy, also working part-time at Peoples Pharmacy in Westlake.

Blake admits her hard work is not always easy. This is now her 12th year of post-high school training as she pursues her goal of being both an ND and Licensed Acupuncturist (LAc). “It can get a little cumbersome at times,” Blake said. Blake’s intended graduation date of December 2014 is only a little over a year away, however.

Although it can be a challenge to remain steadfast in her studies, she credits her perseverance to her faith in Jesus Christ and having a group of supportive family and friends to keep her going. In her free time, she usually chooses to relax by catching up on sleep or watching a variety of shows on Hulu Plus.

One of the reasons Blake was drawn to Chinese medicine was its unique blend of simplicity with brilliance and wisdom. “I love the fact that Chinese medicine was developed centuries ago; however, it is still applicable to any person today.  TCM incorporates all parts of the person, i.e. physical and emotional aspects, as well as addressing the person’s lifestyle.”

As a naturopathic doctor, she is a big fan of how food, the environment, one’s emotional state and thoughts, lifestyle choices and numerous other factors are all major contributors to a person’s state of health within the TCM diagnostic process.

Blake’s advice to other AOMA students? “Know that God has a great plan for your life and that it’s up to you whether you chose to participate in His plan for you or to go your own way.”

  Discover the Art \u0026amp\u003B Spirit of Healing: Introduction to Acupuncture \u0026amp\u003B Chinese Herbal Medicine

 

 

 

Back to School: Maintaining Energy (Qi)

  
  
  
It is important to have plenty of energy when returning to school and in the fall season.  There are herbs and foods that can help you maintain and gain/store energy.

Choose herbs and foods that help us maintain energy.  For example, why do we eat chicken soup when we are sick?  It is very nourishing.  (Nature has provided us with foods & herbs to stay healthy and energized.)

There are herbs that I highly recommend for maintaining energy:

Da zao (Chinese date) is a herb that augments energy (Qi), weakness, and treats reduced appetite.  

Shan yao (Wild yam) treats fatigue, lack of appetite and spontaneous sweating, treats shortness of breath and dry cough.

Huang qi (Poor man’s ginseng) is another favorite that treats fatigue, weakness, excessive sweating, low appetite, blood loss recovery, cough, asthma, frequent colds, and shortness of breath. 

I have combined these herbs for my Maintaining energy formula.  It is simple to prepare: soak for 20 min, bring to boil, simmer 20 min and drink.  I HIGHLY recommend adding this formula to chicken soup with other foods that nourish your energy. 

Nourishing Energy (Qi) Foods

Fruit

Fruit should be eaten warm &/or grilled/cooked/baked – Cherry, Dates, Figs, and Grapes (these are ok – if eaten raw) and Goji berries

Vegetables

Asparagus, Sweet Potato, Potato, Carrots, Parsnips, Pumpkin, Yam, Onions, Winter Squash – acorn, butternut, spaghetti, etc., Mushrooms, Peas

Protein

Beef, Chicken/Chicken Liver, Lamb, Mutton, Almonds, Black sesame seeds, Coconut (meat), Chicken Egg,

Grains & Legumes

Oats, Rice, Quinoa

 

Adrianne OrtegaAuthor: Adrianne Ortega, LAc is a graduate of AOMA practicing in El Paso, Texas. You can contact Adrianne at 915.201.9303, almaacupuncture.ep@gmail.com, www.almaacupuncture-ep.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Nutrition

Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Help Control Diabetes

  
  
  

acupuncture for diabetes28.5 million men, women and children have diabetes in the U.S. This  dis-ease affects the function of the pancreas. Classic Chinese practitioners were writing about the symptoms of diabetes (excessive hunger and thirst, frequent urination, and rapid weight loss) over 2,500 years ago in the ancient medical text called the Nei Jing.

Food therapy can also be an effective way to control blood sugar. Acupuncturists can recommend combinations of foods that help the individual to regulate the blood sugar and the internal heat created by the dysfunction of the pancreas.

Acupuncture & TCM can help Diabetics

The Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine published a study recently that showed regular acupuncture treatments can help control the function of the pancreas and help regulate the blood sugar levels in diabetics. Other symptoms that acupuncture and herbs can address for diabetics are fatigue, lethargy, unexplained weight loss, excessive thirst, urination and hunger, poor wound healing, infections, irritability, blurry vision, and numbness in fingers and toes.

What is acupuncture?

The most well-known traditional Chinese medical procedure, acupuncture is the practice of inserting thin needles into the body at specific points to relieve pain or treat a disease.  Acupuncture triggers spontaneous healing reactions in the body, and scientific studies have proven its efficacy for treating inflammation, pain, depression and a host of other disorders. The World Health Organization recognizes 28 diseases, symptoms, or conditions for which acupuncture has been proven to be an effective form of treatment. The WHO also recognizes acupuncture’s therapeutic effects for over 55 diseases, symptoms, or conditions, but noted additional controlled trials are needed.

Introduction to Acupuncture \u0026amp\u003B Herbal Medicine

AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine 2013 Commencement

  
  
  

master of acupuncture and oriental medicineOn September 15th, during the annual commencement exercises of the AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, 33 scholars from the Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine program walked across the stage at the Hyatt Regency on Town Lake in Austin, Texas.  After completing a four-year graduate program in Chinese medicine, these graduates are prepared with the knowledge to transform lives through compassionate, patient-centered care.

Master’s degree program director Lesley Hamilton led the procession of graduates. Proceedings included the presentation of the Michael Garcia Prendes Herbal Excellence Award, faculty recognition, awarding of degrees, and a healer's oath led by the doctoral program director Dr. John Finnell.

acupuncture schoolThe keynote address, delivered by Rey Ximenes, MD, invited graduates to enjoy the journey and pursue life-long learning. Dr. Rey Ximenes is the owner and director of The Pain and Stress Management Center, an integrative, multi-disciplinary clinic. Dr. Ximenes began his career in medicine as an anesthesiologist working in such places as M.D. Anderson Hospital, Texas Heart Institute, St. Luke's Hospital, Hermann Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital, and The Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. Dr. Ximenes is the current President of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture and a Board Member of the Texas State Board of Acupuncture.

acupuncture college graduate“My wish is that you can persist in the face of adversity, no matter what. Take what you have learned in your classes and expand on it, learn more, fail, and learn more. Most of all persist. We need you to succeed. For you are the future of medicine. You are practitioners who understand that the true meaning of holism is to include ALL we know in an integrative model.” He ended the speech by inviting guests to participate in a qigong blessing.

In honor of the late Cal Key Wilson, a student who would have been graduating this year a new award was announced: the Cal Key Wilson Community Leadership Award. Graduating student Joe Phiakhamta announced the award, “Cal was selfless, humble and lived to serve others. His gestures and actions were never about him. He moved with a purpose, to make our days just a little bit better.”

Twenty years after the founding of AOMA, the class of 2013 carries on the tradition of embodying the art and spirit of healing, poised to transform lives and communities through acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Congratulations to all the graduates and their families!

Explore Styles of Clinical Practice for Acupuncturists

Michael Garcia Prendes Herbal Excellence Award 2013

  
  
  

herbal studies awardAt the 2013 commencement ceremony on September 15th, AOMA student Leila Plummer was recipient of the Michael Garcia Prendes Herbal Excellence Award. Since 2006 this honor has been bestowed upon a student who excels in the study of herbal medicine. The recipient is chosen by the previous year’s beneficiary, as someone who strives for superior herbal knowledge and shares the love of learning herbs with fellow students.

In 2012, the award went to Vivian Linden, who chose Leila as this year’s recipient. Vivian shares, “I believe that our most rewarding relationship with herbal medicine will be achieved through fostering a mutually beneficial relationship with our herbal allies –making them friends instead of just servants. Leila exemplifies this and it is what makes her truly excellent!”

It is clear to her fellow classmates that Leila holds a great respect for the study of herbal medicine as an academic, clinical, and extracurricular pursuit. But what is most notable about Leila is her reverence for the plants themselves.

Leila’s extracurricular herbal studies have included:

herbal studies

  • Serving and training in Nicaragua in 2012 with master herbalists providing free natural medicine to the underserved

  • Certified Community Herbalist and Herbal Apprentice from the Wildflower School of Botanical Medicine (Western herbalism)

  • Member of the American Herbalist Guild (student member) and United Plant Savers

  • Working as a wellness consultant, helping people with herbs and nutrition at herb stores and health food stores

“I am humbled and grateful to the AOMA community for thinking of me for this award. AOMA has a strong herbal program, which is why I chose this school; it is an honor to get to learn from such knowledgeable and caring faculty.  The kindness of the student body has also always impressed me -- here, learners look after each other and help each other out,” said Leila.

Michael Garcia Prendes (1964-2007)

The award is named in honor of Michael Garcia Prendes (1964-2007). Michael graduated from the University of Kentucky Phi Beta Kappa with distinction from the Honor's Program with degrees in Political Science and Sociology.

In 1990, Michael moved to Austin, Texas where he eventually continued his education at AOMA. He was a loved and cherished classmate, tutor, mentor and friend. While at AOMA, Michael was instrumental in the development of the Herbal Outreach Program. Because of Michael's generosity, many patients have been able to receive necessary herbs.

One of Michael's greatest passions and loves was tennis. Michael founded the Austin Tennis Club, a local tennis organization that has grown to over 100 members and has raised thousands of dollars for local charities. Michael loved being on the tennis court as a player, teacher and coach, and he used his talents and eye for the game to teach many tennis camps.

herbal awardMichael Garcia Prendes contracted a terminal illness and died before he could graduate. AOMA framed a beautiful print that Michael painted of a tennis player (with acupuncture meridians) about to serve a ball.  Michael painted the piece for Pam Ferguson’s shiatsu class.  The print hangs in the student lounge with the sentiment that suits Michael’s character: “Be present and focus, Lift up and Serve.”

Michael's generosity, compassion, sincerity, selflessness, and kind heart will always be an inspiration to his family and friends. Michael lived his life with integrity, honesty, and courage. Michael was a true gift to all who were lucky to know him and who were blessed by his humor, love and kindness.

How Michael helped students learn Chinese herbs

One of many students who benefited from Michael’s herbal tutoring was Consuelo Gonzalez, class of 2009.

“Michael had very special teaching qualities. He would explain with patience and humor the terminology of the herbs. Michael made it easy for us to identify the herbs. He would use pneumonic words to relate the herbs with funny stories or events to get them connected all at one category. We always had a blast each time we get together with him. It is hard to find someone like him, but before he left he gave us the guidelines to imitate him.”

Classmates remember Michael

Michael has touched me deeply and will always be a part of who I am no matter if I'm playing tennis or treating a patient. I feel so lucky to have been on the receiving end of so much love and generosity which he shared with everyone, and for which he will always be remembered. - Adrienne Kam, class of 2009


I have never met a more selfless, loving, giving man than Michael Garcia Prendes.  His concern for his fellow students overrode everything else, and up to his last days, he put others welfare before his own. - Kathy Kerr, class of 2008


Michael helped so many people, including myself, to see the true potential in themselves and build confidence in their learning capabilities.  - Sarah Wilson, class of 2008

I knew Michael to be a compassionate and wise soul. He was always kind and offered me valuable comfort when I was going through a sad time.  His donations and support of Herbal Outreach were unsolicited and showed him to be thoughtful and generous with his time and efforts. I am grateful to have known him. - Jessica Fritz, class of 2005

Previous Recipients of the Herbal Excellence Award

Erin Taliaferro, 2006

Rebecca Benson, 2007

Marc Smith, 2008

Alison Beard, 2009

Cat Calhoun, 2010

Joshua Shain, 2011

Vivian Linden, 2012

Download Guide to Career in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Eye Health and Traditional Chinese Medicine, Eye Massage Video

  
  
  

Acupuncture can be effective in treating a wide range of conditions of the eye. For some conditions, such as macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, Stargardt's disease and other retinal diseases which have no treatment in Western medicine, acupuncture is the treatment of choice. For other diseases, such as cataracts (in the early stage) and chronic (open-angle) glaucoma, acupuncture can be beneficial as an adjunct therapy to Western treatment.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Diagnosis

The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic or Nei jing, the most important ancient text in Chinese medicine, teaches “the Liver opens into the eyes”. The Liver is the primary organ relating to the eyes in Chinese medicine, although in practice, all of the internal organs have some relation to the eyes. That is why diagnosis of eye disease is not just based on symptoms and signs but also on a more extensive pattern of the entire body. The causes of eye and bodily diseases are the same: the dysfunction of the internal organs leads to eye and other disorders. You cannot separate the eyes from the rest of the body.

eye healthIn traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), it is said that the spirit “shows in the eyes” and “is housed in the heart.” These sayings indicate a very direct relationship between thinking and eye function. The attitude of a person has a direct and immediate effect on the Qi in the eyes. TCM eye reading or eye diagnosis combined with pulse and tongue diagnosis is the most effective way to determine the best treatment for each patient, and can aid in early detection for preventive management. It is also helpful if patients bring their medical records from recent eye exams.

Someone who is educated in TCM ophthalmology can provide thorough treatment of eye diseases through acupuncture and Chinese herbs. As a practitioner, my main objective is to bring Qi to the eyes while treating the overall organ imbalances and the person’s unique constitution. I also usually coach my patients to assess their attitude towards life, as well.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) is the most common of a number of degenerative conditions that can affect the retina. It is also the leading cause of blindness in older adults. According to epidemiologists, there are almost 5,000 new cases diagnosed each day and by the year 2010 there will be 30 million cases of ARMD in the United States alone.[i] There are some studies that suggest that almost 25% of adults over the age of 65 show some evidence of deterioration in the macular region.[ii] Right now, there is no cure and no treatment for ARMD in conventional medicine.

Macular Degeneration Case Study

Ms. Linda came to me with the "wet" form of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in people over the age of 65. She had laser procedures 3 months prior to coming into the clinic. After reviewing the medical records from her recent eye exams, I treated her with acupuncture (body points, scalp points, ear points) and prescribed herbal medicine. Two months later she showed improvement as measured in visual acuity testing and also showed marked improvement in her scoring on color testing and overall visual fields.

Eye Massage

I also teach my patients how to do self-massage around the eyes. Eye massage is popular in China to prevent children from becoming near-sighted. For mild eye problems, these simple massage techniques can be of great benefit. In severe cases, eye massage is a useful supplement. Through the guidance of an acupuncturist who has been trained in this therapy, a patient can easily learn eye massage and do it at home for mild eye disease like dry eyes and eye strain.

Eat Right for your Eyes

There has been extensive research done on the importance of specific foods and dietary supplements for people with degenerative eye diseases. Diet, supplements and vitamins can slow the progression of macular degeneration and retinal disease[iii], and when combined with acupuncture and herbal treatment provide a course of treatment that is more effective. For example, blueberries improve night vision, affecting the production of visual purple and assisting the optic nerve.

Goji berries have been used for 6,000 years by herbalists in China to protect the liver, help goji berries eye healtheyesight, boost immune function, improve circulation, and promote longevity. Goji berries, also known as Lycium barbarum, wolfberry, gou qi zi, and Fructus lycii are usually found dried. They are shriveled red berries that look like red raisins.

Goji berries are rich in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids such as beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. One of zeaxanthin's key roles is to protect the retina of the eye by absorbing blue light and acting as an antioxidant. In fact, increased intake of foods containing zeathanthin may decrease the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).[iv]

About the author

Shengyan ‘Grace’ Tan, PhD, MD (China), OMD (China) served as an acupuncturist, herbalist, and clinical supervisor in the ENT and Ophthalmology Department of the teaching hospital of Chengdu University of TCM for four years. She has also served as a clinic interpreter, instructor, and lecturer and has published several peer reviewed papers. She is the first PhD-trained TCM practitioner specializing in ophthalmology to teach in the United States. Dr. Tan brings energy, knowledge, and clinical experience to the AOMA faculty. At AOMA Tan teaches TCM Diagnostic Skills I and II, Herbal Safety, Herbal Patents, and Clinic Theater 1, and supervises clinic rotations. She has been a faculty member, clinical supervisor, and acupuncturist at AOMA since 2011.


[i]  http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CDUQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.acupunctureworks.organicmd.com%2Fmacular%2Fwhatismd.htm&ei=xwVWUZSoD4_Y9ASkk4H4DQ&usg=AFQjCNGjg1NsJvcavH7qYQyzmlZbzx2zVw&sig2=SPgibEc92ZM1HWxgs3LzZg&bvm=bv.44442042,d.eWU

[ii]  http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&ved=0CEkQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com%2Fsymptoms_remedies%2Fmacular_degeneration%2F104-1.html&ei=FwZWUayqLJG-9gS674DQBA&usg=AFQjCNGTqpVEQ4csUXFvevxTGuopmEc4LQ&sig2=St7cLHKbnPotG7douKOkaQ&bvm=bv.44442042,d.eWU

[iii]  http://www.maculardegeneration.org/activities.html

[iv]  http://www.nhiondemand.com/hsjarticle.aspx?id=1101

Introduction to Acupuncture \u0026amp\u003B Herbal Medicine

Retrospective Reflection: An AOMA Career Observed

  
  
  

When I came to AOMA, all I really knew was that this stuff was magic and I wanted to do it.  I knew very little about traditional Chinese medicine, although I was fairly learned in general Taoism.  It was a long path, beginning in my religious studies curriculum in my undergrad program that culminated with me enrolling here ten years later.  I changed a lot in that time, but I’ve changed more since.

I started in the program having most recently worked as a sixth-grade teacher, something I knew I never wanted to do again.  But I got into that business to “help people”, or whatever I assumed would bring some personal value to my professional life.  This would be a one-on-one version of helping people, and that was something I’d never really done.  Also, I would be touching people familiarly, which I’d also never done.  I was nervous, but it was still very theoretical at that point, and clinic was still two years away.

I felt very at home in class from the outset.  I’ve been a scholastic overachiever my whole life, so reading interesting texts, listening to brilliant professors, and getting A’s on tests fit right into my established personality.  Only in Point Location did I really start to see a different side of the coin: we’d be touching each other, and we’d be taking our clothes off in front of each other to some extent.  I’m modest and wasn’t particularly excited about this second part.  But I realized immediately that this business required people taking their clothes off in front of me.  I challenged myself and volunteered to be a Point Location model anytime it could be embarrassing, and eventually got pretty comfortable with it.

I made some friends my first term, but they moved on without me when my father died during my second term and I withdrew.  I joined the next cohort and had to reestablish myself.  It took some time, but I forced myself to be open to the new class, partially because they were with me all the time and partially because it was an exercise in fighting my shyness and practicing networking, neither of which come naturally to me.

My father’s death had a profound effect on my time at AOMA.  I questioned my new path and decided his death didn’t change what I was going to do.  But depression settled into the lives of my wife and me, and I took little pleasure in anything.  But somehow, at school I didn’t feel the same.  I was working on something larger, and I was able to divorce my emotional turmoil from my sense of purpose in my education.  Still, I was always cognizant of an inescapable fact: I would never have the opportunity to put needles in my dad.

There is a varied student body at this school.  My wife and I threw a Super Bowl party every year, and one year I realized I was sitting on my couch between two doctors, one a chiropractor and one a naturopath.  I never previously saw myself as being in a social circle with doctors, but there I was.  Equally notable among students are the esoteric, energy-focused students, the kind who always know what the moon is doing, the kind who regularly speak about feeling the love in a group or about their heart energies opening.  I am not this kind of person.  I am analytical.  I majored in English because it interested me, not because it came naturally to me.  The theoretical and informational aspects of this education are right in my wheelhouse.  The energetic, esoteric aspects I’ve had to develop, and in this I am still very incomplete and must continue to progress in it.

Herbs was the first subject here that really tested me.  It was more information than I’ve ever had to learn, with more detail and various angles than I’m used to dealing with.  I actually had to study, and this was difficult.  I made myself do it, and I found that I could be successful in it.  This gave me more confidence that I was doing the right thing.

By far, the clinical education in this program has been the most transformative.  I’ve seen the power of the medicine promote healing, even when I thought I’d performed a sub-par treatment.  I’ve seen patients cry right in front of me, and I’ve learned how to maintain a professional but caring presence for them.  I’ve grown comfortable with touching patients of all genders, sizes, and ages.  I’ve seen the ravages of disease, both physical and psycho-spiritual.  I’ve learned what it means to have a level of trust put in me that I would have previously thought impossible.  I’ve feigned confidence, and then grown into it.  In my time in clinic, I’ve felt myself grow from a student into an acupuncturist, and I like the way it feels.

As I graduate and move into this profession, I must stay motivated.  Typically, I excel in formal classes, because I feel a sense of obligation to the professor and I want to get good grades.  I usually want to use my free time to read fiction and watch movies.  But now there are many aspects of my professional career that I need to study, and I must study to promote my abilities.  Initially, I will focus on subjects to support building a new business, accepting insurance, recognizing red flags.  I feel that I still need significant practice with herbal medicine to be truly effective, and I have several resources that I will begin studying, primarily from a Classical viewpoint.  I also want to continue developing my acupuncture technique, and I think I will focus first on perfecting my mirroring and imaging techniques and on Master Tong acupuncture. This is just the beginning of my life-long learning in the field of acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

Concerning the educational outcomes at AOMA, I would say I feel very confident in collecting and analyzing patient data, producing a correct diagnosis, and coming up with a solid treatment, both with acupuncture and with herbs.  I have a fair understanding of the basics of biomedical assessment.  I’m comfortable with recognizing red flags or important times for referrals, as well as in basic physical assessment for range of motion and determining involved structures.  I’ve grown more effective in including the patient in their treatment in a collaborative way, but I can continue to improve.  I want buy-in, I want their trust, I want their compliance, and collaboration is the best way to earn these.  I’m confident in my literature reviews and outcome measures of any single patient, though I must stay on top of current studies and outside literature to continue to increase my efficacy.

I’m comfortable with my professionalism at this point.  I believe that I act, behave, and perform in this medicine as professionally as I possibly can at this point.  I have a strong sense of medical and personal ethics, and I keep the good of the patient always at the forefront.  This is not to say that I cannot continue to improve.  I can, and I will.  I truly do believe in the utmost importance of true rectitude and professionalism.  I believe that what we as acupuncturists, moxibustionists, and herbalists can drastically alter the health outcomes for a wide range of people, and eventually for the Western medical landscape as a whole.

As I look back at this educational experience, the place that I have the most room for improvement is in implementing what I’ve learned in my own life.  At times, I feel like a dried-out husk of a person.  As a new father and soon-graduate, I’ve been burning the proverbial candle on both ends, as well as in the middle.  I picture my adrenals as a couple of dehydrated raisins.  Finally, in just one week, I will again have some time to devote to myself and my own health.  I know the transformative abilities of qigong, daily exercise, regular acupuncture treatments, meditation, herbal intake, and rest.  For the most effective clinical outcomes, I want my clients to grow in each of these areas.  It is now time for me to do the same.  I need to show my clients that I buy what I’m selling, and that I’m the better for it.  It’s time for me to be an example of a life well lived and enriched by Chinese Medicine.

bryan ellettBryan Ellett, MAOM, L.Ac.

Bryan was first introduced to acupuncture while studying Eastern religion at SMU.  When acupuncture successfully treated his own allergies and saved his wife from undergoing surgery, he decided to pursue this ancient science as a full-time career.  Bryan graduated from the prestigious AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine in Austin where he was recognized as a top student of acupuncture, herbology, and Asian bodywork.  He is licensed by the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners and is board certified by the NCCAOM.  Bryan has training in modern biomedicine, allowing him to work together with physicians to address varying health issues.  In his clinical practice, he has successfully treated clients for a wide variety of conditions including digestive disorders, pregnancy-related discomforts and menstrual irregularities, emotional issues, smoking cessation, chronic hepatitis, vertigo, sports injuries, and chronic pain.  Most recently, he edited a book on pediatric acupuncture with respected physician and acupuncturist Dr. Jamie Wu.  He speaks conversational and medical Spanish, and is trained in cosmetic acupuncture.

Bryan believes that the best way to benefit the world is to enrich his corner of it, which is why he is committed to staying local and treating the people in his very own neighborhood.  When he is not curing what ails his community, Bryan can be found playing frisbee golf, strumming his guitar, or reading.  He lives in Lake Highlands with his wife Heather, young son Emerson, loud dog Capote, and ornery cat Syd Franklin.

Lake Highlands Acupuncture serves the communities of Lake Highlands, East Dallas, Garland, Mesquite, and Richardson, Texas.

Master of Acupuncture \u0026amp\u003B Oriental Medicine

Transforming Lives through Student Services

  
  
  

acupuncture school studentsStudents are the heart of any academic institution and AOMA’s students in particular are passionate, motivated, intelligent, and caring individuals.  AOMA offers a wide and diverse range of student services, including brown bag seminars, a China study trip, individualized career counseling, and more. All of our services are designed with the intention of supporting students on the personal and professional healing journeys they experience in acupuncture school.

 

Brown Bag Seminars

Studying Traditional Chinese Medicine is a deep, lifelong learning experience with a myriad of topics to be explored. Brown Bag seminars give students the opportunity to enrich their practices with free one-hour lunchtime lectures and demonstrations. Topics range from practice management tips to Five Element acupuncture to herbal quality discernment, and more.

Brown bag seminars are hosted by alumni, outside experts, current students, and staff. All brown bags are free and open to the public. They are held throughout each term on campus from 12:45-1:45 pm. View the summer schedule and see examples of past brown bags here.

 

Student Organizations

acupuncture studentsJoining an extracurricular student organization is a great way to learn new skills, share your knowledge, practice leadership, and meet other students while in acupuncture school. AOMA is home to a number of student-run organizations, including the AOMA Student Association, Ju Jutsu Club, Qigong Group, AOMA Herbs Club, Research Club, and the Chinese Culture Club.  

Students are welcome and encouraged to start new clubs at any time. To learn more about AOMA’s student clubs and their events visit the Student Organizations site.

 

China Study Tour

AOMA offers a biennial China Study Tour in collaboration with Chengdu University of Traditional Oriental Medicine in Chengdu, China. The China Study Tour combines cultural, educational, clinical, and recreational activities to provide students an enriching, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

study in chinaSpecific details of the China Study Tour change year to year. In the past, students who participated began their trip with a sightseeing trip to Beijing before flying to Chengdu, the capital and cultural center of Sichuan Province. At Chengdu University, students had the opportunity to study herbs and gained valuable hands-on clinical experience at the university, working in treatment centers under supervising professors.

The 2013 trip concluded with study at Emei Mountain, the highest of the four sacred Buddhist mountains. There, students practiced tai chi, qigong, and meditation. Students also had the option of extending their tour an extra week to visit Tibet.

Studying medicine in China is an unforgettable, life-changing experience for those who are able to participate in the trip, and one that AOMA is proud to offer. The next AOMA China Study Tour will take place in the spring of 2015.

 

Career Services

Starting an acupuncture practice or securing a job after graduation is a top priority for students and for the Student and Career Services Department here at AOMA. In order to assist students and alumni in their work after school, AOMA provides a number of career resources.acupuncture career support

Each week AOMA receives job opportunities from practitioners across the country hoping to grow their practices. Student Services also searches the web for relevant employment postings and shares these opportunities on the website and on the LinkedIn group for students and alumni. Last year, AOMA shared more than 600 job opportunities on LinkedIn!

Having trouble building a resume? AOMA offers a Resume Builder—a free online tool to assist students in creating a professional resume. The Resume Builder provides tips, templates, and helpful suggestions to make the resume writing process as smooth as possible. AOMA also offers free individual career counseling to help students and alumni apply for jobs, receive feedback on their resumes, and clarify their personal and professional goals.

More Career Resources.

 

Housing Support

Austin is consistently ranked in the list of top cities to live in the US so it’s no wonder that more and more students are moving here to attend AOMA. Student Services is able to help students with their search for housing. We maintain a housing opportunities website as well as a Student Housing Forum on LinkedIn. Long-term housing, short-term opportunities, and roommate requests are posted regularly. Students in need of housing support should visit our LinkedIn group and join the Student Housing Forum.

 

Individualized Support

student services

AOMA is happy to offer additional support to students when life presents challenges that interfere with student success. Julie Aziz, LCSW, Director of Student and Career Services, meets with students individu

ally to help them develop the support system they need, and to create a clear, intentional plan for personal and professional growth. To set up a meeting with Julie, email her at jaziz@aoma.edu

For students in need of counseling, AOMA is partnered with Sol Community Counseling in Austin. Students are able to take advantage of reduced-rate counseling services, including individual and couples sessions. Rates are currently $20 per session for individuals and $30 per session for couples. To learn more about Sol’s offerings, call Sol Community Counseling at (512) 366-0954.

We’re lucky to work with such a great student body here at AOMA and we’re always happy to hear from prospective students, students, and alumni. If you have any questions, comments, or would like to host a brown bag seminar contact Student and Career Services Director Julie Aziz.

Learn More: Download an Overview of the Master\u0026#39\u003Bs Program

Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Acupuncture School

  
  
  

I did it. I spent four and a half years in Chinese medical school. I packed the contents of a ton classes, more than a thousand hours of clinics, about a hundred books, and uncountable hours of study into my brain. And when all was said and done I found I had learned far more than the facts I plugged into my head. Acupuncture school isn’t so much of a school where you learn skills as it is a hero’s journey right out of the mind of Joseph Campbell. What follows are a few things I gathered that are even more valuable and longer-lasting than the Master’s degree I earned.

Be Present.acupuncture school student

“Be here. You get one absence free. The 2nd one will cost you a full grade letter off the final grade. The 3rd one costs you 2 full letter grades. That would be bad. You’ll probably fail.” -Dr. Xiaotian Shen, Point Locations 1           

“Be present” is a phrase that gets a lot of press in some circles. I suspect we all have some concept of what it means to be present, but being aware of the concept and actually being able to do it are two very different things. Our minds are in a constant state of living in either the past or the future.

Engaging in too much preoccupation with the past or excessive worry about the future means that we miss this moment that we are physically in. And this moment is all that there truly is. Only this moment is real. How much do we miss by not experiencing it? What amazing richness walked right past us while we were texting, worrying, fretting, or just daydreaming?

Living in this moment, paying attention to all that is and doing it purposefully can bring incredible peace and insight. Setting an intention to be conscious of this moment and to fully inhabit it also has amazing implications for healers. Truly hearing and being present when your client walks into your office is a tremendous gift that not many of us receive. Who among us doesn’t want to be truly seen and heard?

Setting time aside in your life to be quiet and present with your own mind gives you the calm center and peaceful soul you need to also offer this gift to another being.

Strive for Understanding.chinese medicine school student

“Seek first to understand.” -Dr. Xiaotian Shen, Point Locations 1

I won’t lie to you: when Dr. Shen uttered this in my first acupuncture point locations class I knew it was profound, but I didn’t have the life skills to know this on a deep level. The majority of time I was in school I was driven to make A’s; anything less than perfection was unacceptable. But somehow during my quest for A’s I also knew that the concepts my amazing professors were offering to me also contained wisdom worth a thousand gold pieces and transcended the memorization of facts.

This is true of all of life. Wisdom begins when you realize that the surface facts you have been memorizing have a whole lot of depth and truth underneath them. When you understand the deeper structures you can tell which bits are important, you can see how and why the individual components fit  together, and you can use the information you have memorized to draw new conclusions. Your actions become purposeful, efficient, and confident.

This takes time, patience, and the perseverance to build your foundational knowledge. It also takes the discipline to bypass the shiny fun tidbits (for now) in favor of making sure you are on solid ground.

Self-Confidenceschool for acupuncture library

“All C’s spells Doc.” -Dr. Will Morris

I touched briefly on what I like to call The Tyranny of A’s in another point in this missive from my heart to yours. I thought I had defeated this devil, but when I started acupuncture school, there he was, sitting on my shoulder, screaming, “Not good enough!!” even when I got a low A. I drove myself mercilessly in school, which in turn caused a decline in my health and drove a wedge into my personal relationships.

It took a long time before I realized I was trying to please this unpleased-able demon that was actually my own internal critic telling me I had to be perfect and personable. I wanted my colleagues to see how brilliant I was so that they would acknowledge that I had worth and relevance. Deep down inside where I kept it good and hidden I didn’t believe I had worth or relevance and wasn’t worthy of being loved unless I was perfect.

Let me say this clearly: you matter, you have worth, you are worthy of love regardless of the grades you make, regardless of the clothes you wear, regardless of who and what you are. You deserve to love yourself fully and to feel confident about your ability and right to be on this planet. You are here for a reason.

When you can drop the baggage of living for the approval of others and approach your relationship to yourself as your primary relationship you can accomplish anything. And you’ll be doing it from your heart not from some perceived need to fit into someone else’s version of you. That’s when the grades and the outcomes stop mattering.

And this is a very good place to get to because I guarantee you that the world will not celebrate your triumphs. Never is this clearer than when you pass that first (or last!) board exam and there is no one cheering except you when you do. This is a lonely medicine in many ways. I guarantee you that no one, not even your significant other or parents, understands how difficult Chinese medical school is unless they’ve been through it.

Perspective.CognitivePerspective

“Yin and yang can also represent two related aspects of one thing…Yin and yang properties are relative, not absolute, and can be changed.” - Dr. Qianzhi Wu, Foundations of Chinese Medicine

We live in a time that is characterized by wars of various kinds – the war on terror, the war on drugs, the wars in the Middle East, and the war on women just to list a few. War might have once been a struggle for the physical survival but now it seems that most armed conflicts are a struggle for the supremacy of beliefs. This is often true not just on a global scale, but on an interpersonal scale as well.

The thing is, ideas and beliefs are largely a product of perspective. I used to work in technical support at a company whose name rhymes with “hell.” When I worked in tech support all I heard were problems and complaints. After a while I started wondering why I was working at this crappy company which produced this crappy product. This attitude evaporated about a year after I left the company and started working in the corporate world. These “hell” computers turned out to be pretty darned bullet proof on the whole, demonstrating incredible resilience, even when handled with flagrant disregard by co-workers who treated them an awful lot like the gorilla in the commercial treats Samsonite luggage. They quickly became my go-to computer of choice.

What changed? The computers? The design? No. Same design, same manufacturers, same company. The only thing that changed was my perspective. Human beings spend their lives looking through a tiny keyhole in life and form a whole life philosophy from this extremely partial view. That’s where our limited (and limiting) beliefs come from.

If you want to change your world, change your perspective. Try to look at a different view of your challenges and you will find that those challenges change. All you have to do is change your mind.

Balance. balance

“The course of our everyday lives requires that we balance the interior process of nurturing the self (Yin) with being engaged in the exterior work of the world (Yang)."

“Wang Dao. This is the way to treat the patient without resulting in harm. Take the body as a whole rather than focusing on the problem and forgetting about the whole person. When you write a formula, always think of Wang Dao.”

“Yin Yang philosophy should be in all formulas.  This gives the formula structure.” -Dr. Ma, Formulas 1

Acupuncture school seems to take every brain cell you have. School can become this huge thing that blocks your view of the rest of your world, even though it is only a small portion of your total life on this planet. We all know that if you ignore a plant,  it will wither and eventually die of neglect. You can think of school as the big Yang portion of your life – it’s bigger than life, takes an awful lot of energy, and will float away and out of control unless you are careful.

Watch your relationships with yourself, your family, and your friends. There’s no quick and easy way to do this. You just have to remind yourself to pay attention. This is part of walking in balance, even if it means you have to do it deliberately.

Self-caremind-body studies

“When there is qi, there is life. When there is no qi, there is no life.”

“As one experiences the opening of the heart, this allows the qi from the universe to go to the entire body, removing the negativities that rob one of a life of perfect well-being.” – Master Li Jun Feng

When you sit down on an airplane and it finally takes off the staff stands up and starts giving their show about how to buckle your seatbelt and how to use your seat cushion as a floatation device. During the spiel the announcer says that in the unlikely event of loss of cabin pressure masks will fall down from the ceiling. In this rhetoric is an instruction to put your own mask on first if you are traveling with someone who is dependent on you for his or her physical well-being. For a long time this seemed to me like the height of selfishness. At some point I realized that this is not selfish, but vital. If you are incapacitated you cannot care for those who depend on you.

The same is true for those of us who have chosen to be healers and care givers. If you cannot care for yourself, you cannot care for your patients either. It is a great irony that the demands of going to school to become a healer can really break down your own health. Though it can be difficult to be consistent about caring for yourself while you are in school it is one of the most vital things you can do for yourself as a healer and as a human being.

Open your heart. Let the qi flow in. Care for yourself. Thrive.

Follow Your Own Pathfollow your own path

“Each channel has its’ own regular pathway, which includes an internal and an external course.” - Navigating the Channels of Traditional Chinese Medicine

When I squared my shoulders, took that deep breath and committed to the path of Chinese medicine I thought I was just making a career change. I’m still laughing over that one! That was my external path. I did not know at the time that there was an internal pathway as well. As it turns out, the internal path fuels the external. Without the internal path my acupuncture practice is just a hollow shell, a façade.

The internal path I’m talking about ties back into living from the love I feel for myself, the compassion for others that spills out of a heart full of love, and the connection with and guidance I feel from the Universe. I think all of us are here for a reason, to work our way through this life outfitted with those three components. This is your journey and the journey is the whole point of being.

A word of warning: the road may not go where you think it’s going to when you begin the next leg of your journey! Plan all you want to, but don’t get too attached to the plan or the outcome. The important thing is to follow your intuition, your path through this life.

 

describe the imageAbout the author: As the owner of Calhoun Acupuncture & Wellness in Austin, TX, Catherine Calhoun maintains an active clinical practice treating patients with conditions such as pain, allergies & respiratory infections, and substance addiction, as well as chronic disorders like arthritis, diabetes, neurological disorders, endocrine disorders, and cardio/circulatory disorders. A certified Usui Reiki practitioner and trainer, she also specializes in relaxation and meditation therapies such as reiki, medical qigong, and guided meditation. Ms. Calhoun is committed to implementing affordable healthcare options using oriental medicine and manages an on-site corporate wellness practice in addition to her private clinical practice. She is the owner and creator of CatsTCMNotes.com and has instructed at AOMA since 2012.

Meet AOMA's faculty and staff: Nicole Rivera

  
  
  

Each month we will be featuring fun information about a faculty and/or staff member to introduce the wonderful community of people behind AOMA's graduate program!

 

This week, we'll introduce you to Nicole Rivera, Financial Services Administrator, who works with applicants and current students to answer their questions about financial aid.


Where are you from?

        "I'm a native of Austin!"


 List 3 hobbies/ activities you enjoy:

        "Having fun with my kids- we do a LOT! I also like to watch documentaries and to go hiking."


 What's the best thing about working at AOMA?

        "All of the interesting people with very different backgrounds we get to meet."


 What's your favorite/ most memorable 'AOMA moment'?

        "The BIG move!"


 What's your favorite thing about Austin?

        "All of the really wacky festivals that happen each year!"


To learn more about AOMA's financial aid office, please explore our website at www.aoma.edu/financial-aid/.


Remember to check-back soon to meet someone new!

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