Rob Davidson

Recent Posts

An Interview with AOMA CEO, Dr. Mary Faria

Posted by Rob Davidson on Wed, Feb 28, 2018 @ 08:57 PM

MaryFaria.jpgHave you ever worked with AOMA before?

I have! I had a relationship with AOMA for many years before working here. I knew AOMA through my position at Seton Southwest Hospital. When we held community health fairs, we always invited AOMA to educate patients about acupuncture. 

Have you tried acupuncture?

Yes! I’ve been a long time patient of Dr. Zheng Zeng at AOMA acupuncture clinics. I  had trouble with hip pain from running and other inflammation problems that she helped with immensely. 

Wow! So you’re a runner?

I’m a big marathon runner! I’m in a group that races competitively. I just finished the 3M half marathon and won the division for my age group. I run or cross train  everyday except for Fridays.

Are you married? Does your partner run?

Yes! My husband and I actually celebrated our 41st anniversary this past December. He got me started with running and I joke that he’s created a monster! He can’t run anymore because of knee issues, but he travels all over the country and world  to support me at my races.

What’s something surprising about you?

I only learned to swim 10 years ago - it terrified me before! I was so determined to race in Ironman events that I finally sought the help of a recommended fitness trainer to start. I love it now! It is such a gift. I now teach others afraid of water how to swim. So if anyone out there thinks they can’t swim I’d love to help. If I can swim, anyone can!

What was your work life like before AOMA?

I first got into healthcare as a respiratory therapist. I started as an ICU therapist and was moved into supervisory and management roles. I was following my husband’s career at that time and that took us away from Austin for a while. When we returned, I got my Master’s in Healthcare Administration and immediately started working in hospital administration after that. I spent 30 years as a healthcare executive;  21 of those years with the Seton Healthcare System here in Austin, 17 of those 21 as the VP/Administrator/COO at Seton Southwest Hospital. 

So I see that also you have a PhD! Tell me about that!

Yes! In 2000 I received my PhD from UT Austin. I have a dual one in Business Administration and Educational Administration. My dissertation research was in the area of organizational change. I serve as an adjunct professor at Texas State and Concordia University in their Healthcare Administration and Business Schools.

Wow. That’s incredible, we’re really lucky to have you. What’s your best piece of advice to students, as someone who’s done a lot of school?

What I have found is sometimes people don’t recognize the value and gift of education, when you are sometimes struggling to get through it. It’s such a gift. We’re so blessed to have so many opportunities in schooling available to us, especially here in Austin. I’m a believer in lifelong learning.

What are your goals here in your position as CEO?

My biggest goal is to help AOMA achieve it’s established Strategic goals. One of the most important is the desire to find an academic partner so that we can grow in a lot of different ways. We had hoped the Bastyr partnership would be a good fit, but as you know it wasn’t. The good news is that there are plenty of wonderful organizations out there  who would make very good partners.

Another very important goal is to heighten awareness in the community about AOMA and all the great work we do in education, in direct care, and in our community. We’ve already started work with some publications I have connections with. AOMA has been around for 25 years and it’s still a hidden, secret jewel. It should be top of mind when anyone thinks about holistic care in Austin.

If you had a superpower what would it be?

Wow that’s a great one. If I had a superpower, it would be to instill compassion in all relationships. I think compassion builds empathy and empathy helps us work together much more effectively and peacefully. I think that would be a great superpower!

Well… I was going to ask you what do you do when you’re not helping AOMA run… and it sounds like you’re literally running! Do you have time for anything else?

*Laughs* so true! Running is one of my passions. I’m also very passionate about making a difference in Community Health and making the City of Austin a healthier community. I am on the Mayor’s Health and Fitness Council and Board Chair for the 2nd year, in a 3 year term. We’re doing this wonderful work with schools, neighborhoods and faith based groups, giving them the skills and incentives to eat well, exercise and take care of themselves. We’re trying to address these kinds of issues. I think it’s really important to look at the whole person.

I also serve on several advisory councils and am involved in research on human resilience. We presented  on human resilience at SXSW and the Healthier Texas Summit. We haven’t published anything yet, but we’re working on it and hoping to continue broaden our research in this field.

Is there anything else you’d like students to know about you?

My door is always open  - I’d love to know what’s on their minds, what they love about AOMA and what we can do to support them better. If you have anything you would like to share with me, you can make an appointment, send me an email, or leave a voicemail. We’re working on setting up a town hall meeting on a regular basis, so I am hoping to meet more of you then!

Read more about Mary here

Topics: Mary Faria, CEO, AOMA leadership

11 Best TCM Accounts to Follow Right Now

Posted by Rob Davidson on Fri, Jan 12, 2018 @ 02:54 PM

AOMA Instagram TCM accounts to follow

Ever wondered how the ancient principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine translate into the modern world of social media? As acupuncture and Chinese medicine continue to grow in popularity in America, many practitioners are turning to social networks like Instagram. Instagram can be used as a powerful tool to promote one’s practice as well as educate the public on this ancient form of healing.

Many of the Traditional Chinese Medicine techniques are visually appealing and catch the eye, such as fire cupping or burning of moxibustion. As acupuncture practitioners continue to shed light on these often mysterious and less common practices via social networks, the curiosity and interest by patients will increase as more attention is given to alternative health therapies.

We’ve done our research and found the 10 best TCM social media accounts to follow, while highlighting what sets each of them apart. Continue reading for some of the most fascinating TCM accounts to follow and hopefully you’ll have a new perspective on acupuncture and Chinese medicine. :)

(In no particular order)

1. Bob Wong - @art_of_acupuncture

Bob Wong’s focus on social media is providing high quality photos of acupuncture and cupping, while educating the public on what TCM has to offer. Most of his photos are monochromatic, which creates unique and powerful imagery, showing the artistic side of acupuncture. He uses primarily his wife as an acupuncture model out of their home, in which he has set up a black backdrop. Bob also posts videos of various TCM treatments and has a blog interviewing TCM practitioners. His social media presence is one of a kind, and one you’re definitely going to want to follow.

2. Carolyn Barron, L.Ac. - @Botanarchy


A post shared by Carolyn Barron, L.Ac. (@botanarchy) on

Carolyn Barron is a licensed acupuncturist practicing out of Los Angeles, California. Her practice has an emphasis on herbal medicine, with her Instagram page highlighting photos of various herbs and recipes. Her images are warm and welcoming, and she showcases other treatment tools on her page such as tuning forks, mindfulness and nutritional recipes. Carolyn draws importance and attention on self care and women’s health issues with a muted color palette collection of photography and graphics.

3. TCM Herb a Day - @tcmherbaday


A post shared by TCM Herb a Day (@tcmherbaday) on

TCM Herb a Day is one of the best educational Instagram pages to follow, highlighting various Chinese single herbs everyday. The photos are bright and vibrant, showing the raw herb form used medicinally and the plant the herb is derived from. Posts are daily including explanations of the herbs and how they are used medicinally with Chinese herbal medicine. If you are still learning Chinese herbs, or want a daily review, this is the best page to follow.

4. LILYCHOINATURALHEALING.COM - @Lilychoinaturalhealing

Lily Choi is a licensed acupuncturist currently practicing in NYC. Her instagram page is educationally informative as well as visually pleasing. Her photos start health minded conversations, with each day highlighting either a health food item, natural remedies, or general health concerns. Lily uses instagram as an educational tool, highlighting how food can be used as medicine and explaining Chinese herbs and other natural remedies in layman's terms. The conversations she starts are common questions and concerns many patients have, and her opinions are holistic in nature, providing a safe place for open discussion. 

5. Anthony Guadamuz, AP - @Integrative_medicine

Anthony Guadamuz is an acupuncture physician working out of Miami, Florida. He is also an AOMA alumnus. His social media highlights the power of tai chi and meditation on overall health and wellness, as well as how Chinese medicine can treat a variety of health concerns. It is clear that Anthony practices what he preaches with his personal photos of his mind-body exercises. His images are bright with contrast and he frequently posts live videos and stories regarding health concerns via Instagram.

6. Dr. Laurie Binder - @Acupuncture_la 

Dr. Laurie Binder is a L.Ac., MS, RNCNP, and LCCE practicing in Santa Monica, California. Her page is bright and colorful highlighting mostly health recipes and motivational quotes. Dr. Binder promotes healthy eating and how easy it can be to make these healthy meals at home. Follow her page for nutritional inspiration.

7. Evolution Acupuncture - @Acuevolution

Catherine Craig, L.Ac. has a boutique acupuncture studio located in the heart of downtown Red Bank, NJ. Her page includes pictures of herbs, outdoors, yoga, acupuncture, and clinical photos. She uses bright, simplistic images overall and uses these images to highlight holistic health minded topics. 

8. Magnolia Acupuncture - @magnoliaacupuncture


2018 is starting off just the way it should: delicious and colorful!

A post shared by Magnolia Acupuncture (@magnoliaacupuncture) on

Magnolia Acupuncture is out of Costa Mesa, CA showcasing the practice through very bright, fun images of work and personal life with family. Angela Sinnett inspires others who may want to achieve an optimal work/life balance as a professional acupuncturist. You’ll also find nutrition and food images, pictures and videos of her treating clients, as well as scenic shots of the Pacific Ocean!

9. Chinese Medicine PortMacquarie - @empiricalhealth


Getting it all sorted out #chinesemedicine

A post shared by Chinese Medicine PortMacquarie (@empiricalhealth) on

Empirical Health heavily focuses on the beauty of raw Chinese herbs! Here you’ll find up close and personal shots of these colorful and beautiful Chinese herbs, teas, and capsules. Explore the multitudes of variety in the Chinese herbal spectrum!

10. Acupuncture Collective - @Acupuncturecollective

Acupuncture Collective hosts a beautiful community acupuncture space where they treat clients. You’ll discover many images of patients being treated in community style acupuncture, along with some images of herbs and nature photographs. Here you’ll find a variety of TCM visual inspiration and new found appreciation for community. Interested in trying community style acupuncture but feared the open door aspect? Follow this page, and you’ll be sure to change your mind. 

11. Charlotte Alvarez - @Onemedicine

Charlotte is an acupuncturist licensed by the state of Minnesota. She has beautifully put together media with a smooth flow of images using similar themes and filters for the images. Her images typically show patients receiving treatments, with cupping and acupuncture needles. Other images show off the relaxing and clean treatment space with many plants and a basic white/clean look. She also sprinkles in shots of herbs and whole foods, to add a nicely balanced page, covering all there is to Chinese medicine.

Chinese medicine can feel foreign and because of that, it may deter you from trying it. Social media can allow us to have a better awareness of things we might not otherwise be exposed to. Take some time to check out these pages and familiarize yourself with the beauty and wonder that is Chinese medicine. If you aren’t already - also follow us on Instagram for more TCM related posts. We love hearing from our readers. Let us know what TCM accounts you follow!

Topics: acupuncture, tcm, tcm education, acupuncture social media, social media

5 (Attainable) Self-Care Resolutions for the New Year

Posted by Rob Davidson on Mon, Jan 08, 2018 @ 12:30 PM

AOMA New Year Resolutions Self Care

Everyone likes the idea of a fresh start at the dawn of a new year. From making resolutions for self improvement, to creating new healthy habits, and ending bad ones, we all have something to work on. Yet, we often set goals for ourselves that are unattainable, either because they aren’t sustainable, or they are simply unrealistic. What makes setting goals more effective is creating small goals for ourselves that we know can be 100% achieved. We can then build confidence in ourselves and become more inspired to cross off those bigger goals down the road.

Self care is an excellent place to start when it comes to bringing in the new year right. It can be as simple as making a few small changes that will have a dramatic, long term impact. Self care doesn’t have to mean a stringent new diet of deprivation or an abrupt new vigorous fitness routine. If our mind, body, and nutrition are all in order, it sets us up to have to more energy, better health and greater confidence in the new year.

Here, we have cultivated a list of 5 attainable self-care resolutions you can actually stick with. What’s best is that they will require minimal effort, and the rewards will be huge.

Regular Acupuncture Treatments 

AOMA acupuncture treatments

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is a complete and holistic healing system, taking care of both our mind and body. Acupuncture has shown to reduce stress and pain in many patients, depending on the underlying cause of the pain. Add a regularly-scheduled acupuncture session to your new year goals and let your energy be balanced. This will help you decrease that new year stress and allow your mind and body to stay healthy throughout the year.

Acupuncture sessions typically run between 30 minutes to 1.5 hours and can also be surprisingly affordable. You will find that many areas offer sliding scale prices, and many acupuncturists take insurance from patients. AOMA’s student clinic offers reduced-price treatments of only $30 for a 1.5 hour session. Remember to always see a licensed acupuncturist or a student intern who is supervised by a licensed acupuncturist, so you will know your practitioner has the proper training or oversight!!

Interested in what other modalities acupuncturists have to offer? Check our out blog on 8 chinese medicine treatments you may have never heard of.

Incorporate Outside Time

Austin TX outdoors relaxation

Weather permitting, spending more time outside in the new year will also help reduce stress levels. Talking a walk in nature for example can connect you with your natural surroundings, helping you unwind and relax. Nature walks can also act as a type of moving meditation. Being outside also means a much needed break from screen time, as constantly working with mobile devices and computers can cause eye strain.

Take a short 15-30 minute walk around your neighborhood or during your lunch break from work. This will reduce cortisol levels, the chemical responsible for stress. Other outdoor activities, such as walking, bicycling, hiking, jogging, or canoeing will also allow you to connect with the natural world.

We also recommend daily qigong, a system of body movements and breathing exercise taught as part of Chinese medicine. This practice can be done inside or outdoors.

Journaling - Goals & Gratitude 

gratitude journal new year

Gratitude is a word that gets thrown around a lot, but what does it really mean and how can you incorporate it into your life? Appreciating what you’ve been given is an excellent exercise to becoming a more fulfilled person. This can be done through starting a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal is a way to document all of the things you are thankful for each and every day. The act of journaling has been shown to help reduce mental clutter resulting in more self awareness and clarity. Using your time in nature to journal is an excellent way to unwind and connect. Journaling could also incorporate setting goals for the new year, whether they’re personal, professional or spiritual.

TCM Nutrition and Incorporating Healthy Foods

TCM nutrition

Starting a new year and trying to change your diet all together can be overwhelming, and not always beneficial. Did you know a lot of Chinese herbs are foods that can be found in local grocery stores? In addition to providing acupuncture, your Chinese medicine practitioner is also well-versed in herbology and nutrition. This is a great opportunity to work with your acupuncturist and incorporate healthier foods into your diet that will help put your body back in balance.

Chinese medicine has easy and friendly recipes such as soups and congee. Certain vegetables and herbs are excellent for supporting the immune system and creating overall balance of health. You’ll be more likely to avoid illness, and stay on top of your health goals for the new year.

Read more about TCM nutrition in our blog post "Traditional Chinese Medicine Approach to Nutrition: Eat What You Need".

Tea Time! 

Chinese herbal tea

Herbal teas can be relaxing or energizing, and they can also be used for treating various health conditions. Take some time out of your day to enjoy a hot cup of tea in a relaxing environment. Maybe substitute your coffee for green tea, or find a calming tea to drink before bed- helping your get those extra zzz’s. Traditionally, Chinese herbs are used in raw forms and steeped with boiling water, then strained for a healing tea. Depending on the type of tea you want to start drinking, you can either visit your local herb store, or see an acupuncturist to incorporate these Chinese herbs into your regular health routine.

Click below to request an appointment at one of the AOMA Acupuncture Clinics!

Request an Appointment

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine, self-care, acupunture

5 Reasons Why Austin is Different from the Rest of Texas

Posted by Rob Davidson on Fri, Aug 18, 2017 @ 02:20 PM

5 reasons why austin is different from the rest of texas.png

Those of us that live in Austin LOVE it and the ones that visit always wish they could stay. Some call Austin “weird,” or the “blue dot in a red state,” while others call it the “Live Music Capital of the World.” Regardless of what you have heard about Austin, one thing is certain - it is VERY different than the rest of Texas for a number of reasons. Austin has its own culture and is known as a tolerant, open-minded city that attracts a wide variety of people –college students, tech entrepreneurs, artisans, nature enthusiasts, alternative health practitioners, and many others. To top it off, Austin was ranked the best place to live in 2017, according to US News and World Report! Let’s be honest here, we couldn’t agree more that Austin is the best, which is why we came up with 5 reasons why Austin is strikingly different from (and arguably better) than the rest of Texas.

Environmentally Friendly

Lady Bird Lake Austin

What you’ll notice about Austin that’s different from the other concrete-jungle cities in Texas is the vast amount of parks and nature preservations located close to the city center. Austin caters to any outdoor enthusiast with prized urban nature conservations such as the Barton Creek Greenbelt. Spanning a length of 7.9 miles with gorgeous trails and swimming spots along the way, “the greenbelt” is considered one of the best hiking trails in Texas. Zilker Metropolitan Park (350 acres), one of Austin’s most used parks, is just 2 miles from downtown. Zilker connects to the Barton Springs swimming pool and Lady Bird Lake, where anyone can paddle board, kayak, or canoe. Such centrally located access to outdoor recreation is rare in most Texas cities, making Austin even more special. Oh, and did we mention how dog-friendly Austin is? People love to bring their pets most anywhere, so you’ll find many outdoor restaurants and cafes offering dog-friendly patios!


Austin TX Live Music

You’ve heard Austin is the live music capitol of the world, but have you experienced the live music here? Austin hosts large scale music events every year, such as Austin City Limits (ACL), South by Southwest (SXSW), and the Pecan Street Festival. Besides the large mainstream festivals hosted here, there is always live music being played at other smaller venues such as the Broken Spoke for country and two-stepping or the Elephant Room for an eclectic basement with live jazz. We have every kind of music you would want to hear, and more you didn’t realize you would like. With a venue at almost every corner, Austin has your entertainment covered for a night out on the town.

Tech Savvy

Austin Tech Startups

Austin is considered the technology hub of Texas spawning with growth from companies such as Dell as well as an explosion of new companies formed during the era. Today, we host a full-blown tech ecosystem that many consider 2nd best to Silicon Valley in the United States, and dubbed the “Silicon Hills”. Austin is home to some of the newest up and coming high-tech startups as well as a large presence by many national corporations like Apple, IBM, and AMD. Many of these companies also embrace alternative and renewable energy sources. In addition, Austin was also chosen as one of the first cities in the country to offer Google Fiber access for its residents.

Local Business-Minded

South Congress Austin

Austin’s economy thrives on local merchants such as coffee shops, micro-breweries, farmers markets, boutiques and local art studios. In addition, some of these local ventures have taken off and grown to national prominence such as Whole Foods Market, Kendra Scott, Tito’s Vodka, Chuy’s Restaurant, and YETI Coolers. Austin is a city where all dreams are possible, where small businesses get bigger, and where consumers are more conscious of the products they buy with the intention of keeping the economy balanced. Let’s not forget to mention that our local and organic food movement is prominent with many local farms, herbal shops and community gardens. Trust us when we say there are more than enough places to discover here and whatever it is you like, we’ll have it!

Access to Alternative Health Options

Austin acupuncture clinics

Austin’s residents tend to be healthier, fitter, and more interested in alternative health therapies. We have a plethora of yoga studios, group fitness classes, CrossFit gyms and running groups. Because of the wide variety of residents in Austin, we have even more variety of health care options for those residents, such as acupuncture and reiki practitioners, as well as meditation and nutritional classes. Our city also provides many restaurants and food trucks that cater to our growing population of vegans and vegetarians. But just so you know, we love our breakfast tacos, and no matter how healthy you are - they can be hard to resist!

Still not convinced Austin is the best? Guess you’ll just have to come see for yourself!

Download a Guide to Austin, Texas

Topics: Austin, moving to Austin, Austin acupuncture

Chinese Medicine for Men’s Health, Alumni Spotlight with Lisa Lapwing

Posted by Rob Davidson on Wed, Jul 05, 2017 @ 01:47 PM

Alumni spotlight.png

AOMA alumni Lisa Lapwing, MAcOM, LAc, practices in South East Austin, near South Park Meadows at Whole Health Acupuncture. Lisa’s practice focuses on men’s health, using Reiki and her knowledge as a personal trainer to compliment her acupuncture practice. In this blog post Lisa shares insights into her first introduction to the medicine, what led her to study Chinese medicine, how she approaches her own practice, and her vision for the future of integrative care.

What did you study before coming to AOMA?  A number of things beginning with graphic and web design, but ultimately landed on kinesiology and became a personal trainer, which I still consider myself.

What was your first introduction to acupuncture and how did you feel about it?  I have scoliosis and degenerative disk disease and was having terrible back pain around 2003. I worked at a health club where a chiropractor suggested that I try acupuncture. I had been a martial artist and a fan of cheesy martial arts movies for some time so I was familiar with what acupuncture was. I found an acupuncturist near Chicago, where I lived at the time and it changed my life! The various things I had done to try to manage my back pain never came close to providing the relief acupuncture did. I also was having menstruation problems around this time, which we attended to as well and acupuncture helped with that 100%.

When did you become interested in studying oriental medicine and why?  Around 2005 I was crawling around the floor with a personal training client while my body was screaming at me "why do you keep doing this!?” My knees hurt, my back and neck hurt! Right then I realized, I can't be doing this much longer. I was working 8-10 clients a day and that was destroying my body, on top of doing my own vigorous daily workouts. Doing acupuncture immediately came to mind as it had previously helped me so much – and I had many clients that had similar conditions that I could help only so much with just helping them on the gym room floor. I wanted to do more for them and myself! 

What made you choose AOMA as your school and/or shift your career focus to come to AOMA?  After spending about a year soul searching regarding my future, looking up numerous acupuncture schools online, I headed to Austin to check out AOMA. I loved Austin and AOMA! At the time, it was still a nice and small town with a lot of charm and it was still affordable. I'd always wanted out of the Chicago winters and the weather here had a large impact on my decision as well. I spent the next year putting my ducks in a row and enrolled in 2007.

What were some of your favorite classes and/or teachers at AOMA?  I absolutely loved Foundations of TCM, Energetics and Point Location! Later, I did fall in love with Herbal Treatment of Disease. I don't think it's fair to say I had a "favorite" teacher as everyone who gave me this gift was important and impactful in various ways. I felt I resonated deeply with Dr. Wu, Dr. Shen, Dr. Song and Dr. Cone. 

What was your first job after graduating from AOMA?   I had already been personal training at UT RecSports and continued to do that as I was opening my practice, Whole Health Acupuncture, and then for about one year after my doors opened. Once I obtained my license (3 months after I graduated) I started seeing patients immediately. In that time, I talked up my coming practice to all of my clients, friends and family. It did help me get a few people in the door right away. 

When did you realize you were interested in specializing in men’s health?  I almost immediately gravitated towards men's health. I had male patients for other issues who, after becoming comfortable with me, would mention, some of their sexual health concerns too. I then noticed that no one I knew was approaching men's health, for whatever health conditions they maybe be experiencing, sexual or not, with the male mind and body specifically in mind. A lot of practitioners work with women's health from menstruation to fertility issues but I couldn't find anyone doing the same for men.

What kind of conditions do you treat within men's health? I treat erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, BPH, prostatitis, prostate cancer symptoms, Peyronie's disease, frequent or painful urination, painful genitals, pelvic floor dysfunction, PTSD and psycho-emotional disorders, to name a few.

What is it like treating men's health? It's amazing! It's very involved and there's a lot to learn. It's extremely rewarding! Anytime a patient improves, it's a wonderful thing. Often, men are given a pill or the boot being told "there's nothing else we can do" and this is crushing for them. Especially, since there IS something that can be done for their varying issues. Of course, as with anything else, it comes with its challenges, from patients who are looking for something other than acupuncture to patients who don't see improvement "quick enough."

What is the one thing that you wish other people knew about what you do?  That I have been a personal trainer since 2002 and am able to offer patients exercise, stretching, and diet advice and programs, as well as immediate on-the-table care.

If you were to give yourself another job title, what would it be? Other than Acupuncturist, Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

When do you do your best work? I do my best work when I'm busiest with back to back patients. I'm focused with my head in the care game. I have a lot of qi flowing through me that helps me tune into, heal, and understand my patients more deeply.

If you were a TCM organ, which one would you be and why? Heart, I'm fiery, passionate and an open, loving and compassionate person! 

What vision would you like to see for the future of healthcare?  This is a difficult question to answer. There's a lot of components of our current healthcare system that need to be changed. I do believe in the integration of all medicines. To keep my answer relatively simple, I think everyone should have easy, affordable access to every type of healthcare from Oriental medical care to massage to surgery, dental, and everything else in-between. In my personal and professional lives, I have seen and experienced that not everyone responds to various treatments equally. Some people respond incredibly to acupuncture, some just do not. I'm ok with that! But it doesn't mean I don't think they shouldn't be able to easily find what works for them. I've tried to build my referral network so that I can help my patients find other solutions to their issues, if I'm not it. I can't do that if a referral is required from an insurance company to see a specific practitioner, that bothers me. Hopefully, we can get to the point where medical care, in all of its forms, is a reality for all!

Any best-practice tips for future practitioners? I have so many! Here are a few:  Listen deeply to your patients rather than thinking right away "oh this is where I'm going to needle them for that." You'll pick up on a lot more of what's going on with them then they are telling you. Be open but don't drop your boundaries, people are quick to take advantage, even if they don't know it. If you choose to do men's health, you have to be very comfortable talking about men's genitals and sex, in which case, keep things very clinical and straightforward. If you’re not comfortable, be honest with them about it and refer them out. Referring out isn't a bad thing. Not every patient is going to mesh with you and that's ok. Remember, everyone makes mistakes; don't take it too hard if you make one as long as you learn from it. Don't spread yourself too thin, you can't care for others if you’re not taken care of. Don't forget who you are and how you got here – practice with that gratitude always in mind. 

How can we get in touch with you or follow you? Anyone can email or call me with questions, comments, or concerns! All the information is on my website and many other places on the internet, Google, Yelp, etc.

Whole Health Acupuncture:,

Contact Lisa:

Lisa Lapwing DOM (FL), LAc (TX)
Master of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine 
Chinese Herbalist
Reiki Practitioner
Personal Trainer
Download our  Alumni Career  eBook

Topics: alumni, alumni spotlight, acupuncture, men's health

Three Reasons to Attend this year’s Integrative Healthcare Symposium

Posted by Rob Davidson on Fri, Apr 28, 2017 @ 04:16 PM

Southwest Symposium Austin

As acupuncturists, we often work solo; one-on-one with patients. However, continuing to learn and expand our knowledge and our practice is a big part of our career. Many Continuing Education courses for acupuncturists can be fulfilled online, however, there’s something intangible that might be missed in those trainings. Attending an integrative healthcare conference such as the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas will not only bring you the knowledge and learning, but also the immersive experience. This includes valuable interpersonal connections with speakers, classmates, and new friends who you will be able to talk with at length if you so choose.

Here - we’ll highlight the top 3 reasons to make the trek to Austin, TX this May and attend the Southwest Symposium. This year’s theme, “the spirit and science of integrative medicine” touches on the fact that it’s not only knowledge, but spirit and connection with our patients that makes our medicine so powerful.

1. New Connections

Meet other like-minded individuals in the field and make connections for support and continued learning. Being able to lean on colleagues who share similar challenges is a priceless resource and win-win situation. Take advantage! Make new friends and discover your similarities and differences. As an acupuncturist, part of your job is to band together and build community to strengthen the field.

The Southwest Symposium is also a great chance to meet other health professionals with differing opinions or ways of treating to further knowledge of other modalities. The Symposium this year features panels from integrative practitioners, naturopathic doctors, nurses and acupuncturists. In this melting pot of ideas, there’s plenty of options to expand your horizons and explore new treatment options for your patients. You’ll have first-hand contact with our amazing lineup of speakers, so you’ll be able to pick their brain after a session or establish an opportunity to stay in touch.

Connect with our vendors! Come meet some of the world’s leading herbal and needle manufacturers, as well as many other companies that sell Chinese medicine books, accessories, and more! We’ve also got several acupuncture and oriental medicine professional associations hosting booths, so you’ll have a chance to hear about all the latest developments in the field!

2. Reconnect

Remember all those buddies you spent countless hours studying with in acupuncture school? Chances are they may be attending the Symposium. The Southwest Symposium is one of the best ways to interact, socialize, and catch up with classmates and professors outside of the classroom. Meet up between sessions to digest all the new learning. Sit in on lectures with your professors and even join them for lunch! Or best of all, attend the evening dinner and celebration at the end of the conference; complete with great food, music, and a photo booth.

3. Enjoy Austin

Lucky for you, Austin is a fun place to hang out. Austin is a thriving city that was voted best city to move to in 2016. The city is ever expanding and changing but is rich with culture and has some must-see places!

Austin nightlife is the perfect backdrop to kick back, soak in all that you learned during the day, and have some fun with your colleagues! Austin’s live music, eclectic restaurant scene and live music spots will set the stage for a unique experience you won’t find anywhere else in Texas. Be sure to check out the Pecan Street Festival downtown, or maybe grab dinner and a drink on South Congress Avenue. Whatever extracurricular activities you decide on, we hope your Symposium experience is memorable, and that you have plenty of takeaways to bring back to your practice and patients.

We look forward to seeing you in May. Be sure to register now!

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Topics: continuing education, acupuncture

AOMA to Provide Acupuncture to Central Texas Veterans

Posted by Rob Davidson on Thu, Dec 01, 2016 @ 02:48 PM


Austin, TX – AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine (AOMA) is pleased to announce a new affiliation agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Austin Outpatient Clinic (Austin OPC) to provide acupuncture and traditional Chinese medical services to veterans at the Austin OPC.  The Austin OPC is part of the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System.

Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in improving control of chronic pain in patients with and without the use of opioid medications. We are pleased to offer this adjunctive therapy to our Veterans. Acupuncture and its related methods (e.g. cupping, as made popular during the 2016 Olympics) provide low-cost, low-risk approaches to pain management that can enhance standard care, leading to improved outcomes and higher patient satisfaction. Veterans referred by their VA ambulatory care provider can make an appointment for acupuncture at the Austin OPC.

The acupuncture and traditional Chinese medical services provided by AOMA at the Austin OPC will be under the supervision of licensed acupuncturist (LAc) faculty supervisors on Fridays, beginning in December. Up to 24 Veterans can be seen each week by AOMA’s practitioners. We look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship with Central Texas Veterans Health Care System, as we work together to improve the health of our Veterans.

Topics: veteran affairs, acupuncture clinics, acupuncture, veterans

AOMA named Military Friendly® Schools for 2017

Posted by Rob Davidson on Mon, Nov 14, 2016 @ 11:35 AM


AUSTIN, Texas, November 10, 2016 — AOMA Graduate School of Integrative MFS17_Designation-1.jpgMedicine, a leading college of acupuncture & herbal medicine, announced today that it has been designated a 2017 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, the leader in successfully connecting the military and civilian worlds. 

The Military Friendly® Schools designation and list by Victory Media is the premier, trusted resource for post-military success. Military Friendly® provides service members transparent, data-driven ratings about post-military education and career opportunities. 

The Military Friendly® Schools designation is awarded to the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students, and to dedicate resources to ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation. The methodology used for making the Military Friendly® Schools list has changed the student veteran landscape to one much more transparent, and has played a significant role over the past six years in capturing and advancing best practices to support military students across the country.

AOMA is an approved institution of higher learning for Veterans and participant of the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Education Benefit program for the training of veterans and other eligible persons. In order to receive Veteran’s Benefits, the veteran must first establish his/her eligibility with the VA directly. Once eligibility has been established, AOMA certifies the veteran’s enrollment. 

In addition, AOMA has an active Student Veteran Organization whose purpose is to provide education to our peers, practitioners, and the community on the needs and challenges facing our nation's Veterans. The group provides support and resources to ensure continued success and the well-being of our student Veterans and AOMA. For more information about AOMA’s commitment to attracting and supporting military students, visit

Media contact:

Rob Davidson


About AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine                              

AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine offers regionally accredited master’s and doctoral-level degree programs in acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, preparing its students for careers as skilled, professional practitioners. AOMA is known for its internationally recognized faculty, graduate programs, and herbal medicine program. AOMA provides more than 16,000 patient visits annually in its student and professional clinics, and collaborates with healthcare institutions including the Seton Healthcare FamilyPeople’s Community Clinic, The Veterans Affairs Austin Outpatient Clinic (AOPC), and Austin Recovery. AOMA gives back to the community through nonprofit partnerships and by providing free and reduced-price treatments to people who cannot afford them. AOMA is located at 4701 West Gate Blvd. AOMA also serves patients and retail customers at its North Austin location, 2700 West Anderson Lane.

Topics: veteran affairs, veterans

AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine Announces 2016 Commencement Speaker

Posted by Rob Davidson on Thu, Aug 18, 2016 @ 04:20 PM


Sean Hanna, Director of the Veterans Mental Health Program at the Texas Veterans Commission to deliver keynote address to AOMA graduates on September 11

AUSTIN, Texas, August 5, 2016 — Mr. Sean Hanna will deliver the keynote address at the AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine (AOMA) 20th annual
commencement ceremony on September 11, 2016.

Sean Hanna, MAcOM, LAC, is a licensed acupuncturist in the State of Texasand Director of the Veterans Mental Health Program at the Texas Veterans Commission. Working with the Texas Department of State Health Services, Sean co-created and coordinates the Military Veteran Peer Network throughout the State of Texas as part of the Veterans Mental Health Program.

Sean_Hanna_Veterans_Mental_Health_Program_Dir.jpgSean spent 8 1⁄2 years (1991 to 2000) as a US Navy Hospital Corpsman. He saw tours of duty at National Naval Medical Center Bethesda, Maryland; Naval Medical Center San Diego, California; as well as 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton. While stationed at 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Sean deployed to multiple international locations and saw combat action in support of Operation United Shield, Somalia in 1995.

Sean earned his Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine degree from the Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin, now known as the AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine (AOMA), in 2005. He served as President of the AOMA Alumni Association in 2009, served on the Board of the Austin Veterans and Family Advocacy Council (AVFAC) from 2009 to 2011 and served on the Board of Directors for Bring Everyone in the Zone from 2010 to 2014. Sean is also a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #4443. He is a devoted husband, and a father of two boys, ages 19 and 14, and lives in Austin, Texas.

Mr. Hanna will address an expected 40 graduates of the Master and Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Degree programs who will be attending the exercises on Sunday, September 11 at the Omni Hotel Southpark in Austin, Texas.

Dr. Violet Song will lead the procession of graduates starting at 1:30pm. Proceedings will include the presentation of the Calvin Key Wilson Community Leadership Award, faculty recognition, awarding of degrees, and a healer's oath lead by Dean of Students Robert Laguna, followed by a reception in the lobby.

This year's Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine graduating class represents the second DAOM graduating class at AOMA, one of only nine schools nationally to offer the doctoral program. Masters students complete a rigorous four-year masters degree program, which includes over 900 hours of clinical internship. AOMA graduates are at the forefront of their field, integrating eastern and western medicine in clinics and hospitals. Upon graduation, these 40 professionals will work in independent private practice, multi-disciplinary clinics, substance abuse treatment facilities, hospice programs, oncology centers, community acupuncture clinics, military/veterans facilities, and corporate wellness programs.


About AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine                             

AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine offers regionally accredited masters and doctoral level degree programs in acupuncture and Oriental medicine, preparing its students for careers as skilled, professional practitioners. AOMA is known for its internationally recognized faculty, award-winning student clinical internship program, and herbal medicine program. AOMA provides for over 16,000 patient visits annually in its student and professional clinics and collaborates with healthcare institutions including the Seton Healthcare FamilyPeople’s Community Clinic, and Austin Recovery. AOMA gives back to the community through nonprofit partnerships and by providing free and reduced price treatments to people who cannot afford them. AOMA is located at 4701 West Gate Blvd. AOMA also serves patients and retail customers at its North Austin location, 2700 West Anderson Lane. For more information see or call 512-492-3034.

Topics: tcm school, tcm education

AOMA Welcomes New President, Dr. Betty Edmond

Posted by Rob Davidson on Tue, May 03, 2016 @ 09:35 AM


AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine is pleased to announce that Dr. Betty Edmond is serving as the fourth CEO and President. Dr. Edmond brings strong leadership skills and experience to the organization, with experience as a physician, senior healthcare executive and advocate for the advancement of Oriental and Integrative Medicine.

She has 19 years of experience as Medical Director of Seton’s Children’s Hospital and VP of Medical Affairs at Seton Healthcare Family in Austin, and 20 years of academic and clinical experience as a faculty member and specialist in Pediatric Infectious Diseases. As former Governing Board member at AOMA, Dr. Edmond understands the challenges faced by integrative health practitioners seeking inclusion within the greater healthcare system.

Dr. Edmond employs a variety of healthcare modalities and has a passion for empowering people with the knowledge and tools to manage their own health. She studied at Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts in Austin as an expression of her interest in natural foods as preventative, health-giving care.

Regarding the future of medicine and patient care, Dr. Edmond feels the time has come for a rapid advancement of Integrative Medicine through collaborative teams of healthcare practitioners, coordinating care around the needs of each patient. Her unique perspective and experience brings new opportunities to AOMA to build bridges with western medical systems to offer patients a more comprehensive and collaborative approach to their care.

According to Dr. Edmond, a person-centered coordinated care model best meets patient needs and enhances patient outcomes – both in disease prevention and therapy. She is inspired by the holistic healthcare approach at AOMA and is excited about the organization’s position as a strong national leader capable of enriching Oriental and Integrative Medicine study as a critical healthcare field of practice and research. 

Dr. Edmond looks forward to working with the many committed leaders, faculty, staff and students at AOMA, to include AOMA’s past president Dr. Will Morris, a nationally recognized leader in Oriental Medicine who is continuing as President Emeritus and Research Scholar at AOMA.

About AOMA:

AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine offers regionally accredited masters and doctoral level degree programs in acupuncture and Oriental medicine, preparing its students for careers as skilled, professional practitioners. AOMA is known for its internationally recognized faculty, award-winning student clinical internship program, and herbal medicine program. AOMA provides for over 16,000 patient visits annually in its student and professional clinics and collaborates with healthcare institutions including the Seton Healthcare Family, People’s Community Clinic, and Austin Recovery. AOMA gives back to the community through nonprofit partnerships and by providing free and reduced price treatments to people who cannot afford them. AOMA is located at 4701 West Gate Blvd. AOMA also serves patients and retail customers at its North Austin location, 2700 West Anderson Lane. For more information see or call 512-492-3034.

Topics: acupuncture school, aoma, aoma president

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