AOMA Blog

Devan Oschmann

Devan is an intern and student in the Masters program at AOMA. A Wisconsin native, she has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with focuses on pre-medicine and sociology. She is also active in the yoga and wellness community through teaching classes and privates, and writing for yoga subscriptions.

Recent Posts

5 Things You Will Learn in TCM School

Posted by Devan Oschmann on Thu, Jul 30, 2015 @ 04:38 PM

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In Traditional Chinese Medicine School, you will learn much more than you would expect. Because Chinese medicine and acupuncture has been in existence for many centuries and has manifested itself in varying cultures, the styles and theories are endless. This, among other reasons, is why I chose to go to TCM School. I wanted to be able to tailor treatments to my patient’s needs, in addition to consulting them as a holistic health care practitioner. With my education, license and degree, Not only can I give patients varying forms of treatments such as acupuncture and herbs, I can also consult them regarding lifestyle and nutritional modifications. At AOMA especially, you will be exposed to a myriad of theories and protocols. You will graduate with so many tools under your belt to chose and hone. As such, it was quite difficult to narrow it down to 5 things you will learn in TCM School. After much thought and consulting my constituents, here is what we have to say:

1) Acupuncture is an Art Form

There is no such thing as a perfect point prescription. Of course, there are certain points and combinations that are clinically effective. But whether you decide to use a certain point or not, guasha versus cupping, e-stim, or moxibustion, depends not only upon how you view your patients’ syndrome pattern (to what you attribute their symptoms) but also modalities that you resonate with the most and have had the most therapeutic success. You see, there is no “right” treatment. The only common factor that should exist from practitioner to practitioner is the patients’ differentiation (and this is sometimes up for debate, too). In TCM School you will learn various modalities from various practitioners and parts of the world. In the end, it is up to you to chose your focus and ultimately create a unique set of tools that fit you and your patients. The art form is a reminder that each patient you see, even if the complaints are identical, will need to be treated as their own unique piece of artwork. No two are the same!

2) How to Confront Ego

Along with the varying forms of acupuncture and TCM modalities, inevitably comes ego. Because there is room for a variation of methods when treating a syndrome, and varying forms of success between patients, it is common to feel confused, defensive, or disgruntled when comparing treatment strategies with other practitioners. It is fortunate that as TCM practitioners we do not slap a pill on top of a symptom, but rather view the patient holistically and treat the root cause through various methods. However, it is simultaneously unfortunate how the ego can sometimes lead one to find oneself in an uncomfortable conversation or even argument. In the end, it’s about the acupuncture. It’s about the patient, not the practitioner. TCM School teaches you how to be confident with your own mind and toolbox, while simultaneously respecting that of others.

3) The Importance of Emotions

A lot of us know that stress can make you sick. But it is one factor that is often overlooked when considering the etiology of diseases such as environmental factors, diet, lifestyle, and genetic risk. In TCM School, you will learn that individual emotions correspond with their respective organs. For example, grief correlates with the lung organ and stress or anger correlates with the liver organ. In TCM theory, when one organ becomes overactive with its respective emotion, it can become more vulnerable to external pathogens, decline in function, and even affect other organs. This also relates to western perspectives. The more stressed we are, the larger amounts of cortisol we release, and this in turn affects other hormone levels (and the brain and immune system) resulting in higher risk of developing diseases like diabetes, hypertension, allergies, and depression.

4) Western Medicine is Useful but Can Fail Your Patients

Clinically, biomedicine can often supplement TCM theories wonderfully. More importantly, it allows you to gain an even larger perspective of your patient’s health. In our graduate program at AOMA, about one-third of the courses are biomedicine. You will learn to take vitals, perform physical assessments, read labs, and become familiar with prescription drugs. All of these tools become critical when assessing your patient’s healthcare needs. This is what is incredibly useful about western/biomedicine. However, what you will inevitably encounter in clinic are patients who have been neglected by their primary care. In many settings, the conventional and current medical system has evolved into a quantity rather than quality-based model. Therefore, because we have considerably more time with our patients and the aforementioned biomedical education, we can educate our patients about their diagnosis, labs, and prescriptions so they can discuss any questions or modifications with their primary care. It is our role, as holistic healthcare providers, to educate and give patients autonomy so they can take control of their health. We are also trained to spot red-flags that need immediate referral. 

5) Inevitable Personal Transformation

When you first start as a student at AOMA, it is very exciting. You are making new friends and establishing connections, as well as learning the foundations of Chinese medicine. I only started school about two years ago and have already made large personal transformations, and so have all of my peers. This program immerses you in an environment that challenges and rewards you socially, mentally, and emotionally. Just wait until you start internship in clinic! That is when the real transformations begin. As a student at AOMA, be prepared to dig deep into yourself and find an even deeper meaning of what it means to be you, both as a person and TCM practitioner.

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

Topics: acupuncture school, graduate school, tcm school

The Essential Benefits of Holistic Healing in Modern Times

Posted by Devan Oschmann on Fri, Jun 19, 2015 @ 10:00 AM

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The term “holistic” seems like just another buzzword that is often used interchangeably with others like alternative, natural, complimentary, etc. But what does holistic really mean? And why is holistic healing so beneficial and important in this day and age?

The answer is simple. It’s because we are more than a physical body; we are sentient beings. Moreover, we are highly sentient beings living in diverse and complex social structures. Taking a holistic approach to healing means we will consider all realms of existence, not just the physical body. To many, this may sound like mind-body medicine, but that is only the foundation of holistic healing. As such, the benefits of holistic healing are conceivably vast. To condense the benefits and analyze them in correspondence to changes in physical, emotional, spiritual, and behavioral health, it becomes evident that there is only one all-encompassing benefit to holistic healing: a dramatically positive change in lifestyle. 

Holistic healing aims to identify the root cause, or causes, of an imbalance (whether it is physical pain, stress, poor sleep, etc.). As a result, a patient feels completely considered and cared for, a benefit missing from many modern medicine practices. Instead of solely seeking to resolve symptoms, practitioners will ask the patient to both discuss and consider how not only their physical body relates to this imbalance, but also how their psychosocial, spiritual, and mental states contribute. And to help the body shift towards a healthier balance, a practitioner may guide the patient in processes such as emotional recognition and release, dietary modification, spiritual connection, and more. Not only will the patient be making improvements towards their original imbalance, but also in many realms of their life.

So now it is easy to understand the benefit of holistic healing. But why is its benefit so important? In modern societies, where people are often prone to feeling without purpose, place of belonging, and direction, a holistic perspective is far more than beneficial; it is essential. As sentient beings in an individualized and competitive society, we need to find spiritual and emotional connections in order to maintain our mental and physical health.

Fortunately, some of us are beginning to recognize this. Movements can be seen at many levels: within relationships, small communities, health and wellness establishments, and even major cities like Denver, Portland, San Francisco, and our very own Austin! These holistic lifestyles (which stem from a holistic healing perspective) may include, or go beyond, opportunities for the physical body to move within and experience nature, access to whole, locally sourced foods, and chances to participate in community events—being spiritual, religious, or cultural. In reflection, holistic healing isn’t just another module in the healing arts or a buzzword, it is an evolved and expanded concept of lifestyle that is helping humans to become human, once again. 

Download Guide to Career in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Devan is an intern and student in the Masters program at AOMA. A Wisconsin native, she has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with focuses on pre-medicine and sociology. She is also active in the yoga and wellness community through teaching classes and privates, and writing for yoga subscriptions.   

Topics: holistic healing, lifestyle

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