AOMA Blog

Medicine from the Bottom of the Heart: AOMA Student and Pediatric Stroke Awareness Advocate

Posted by Diane Stanley on Thu, May 12, 2016 @ 03:42 PM

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In Mandarin, there is a character pronounced “de" 得. It's a neutral tone, and it's typically translated as "virtue". There's nothing particularly wrong with this translation, but something that people don't know is that it's part of a grammatical structure that indicates how you do something. While adverbs are optional in English, in Mandarin Chinese, you never miss a verb complement or this "de"-structure to indicate how you do what you do. This is an important aspect of our medicine we often miss. Deeply rooted in the culture behind our medicine is the emphasis on how we approach the things we do in our lives.

I became a mother in June of 2015, and leading to that point, I would rub my bump everyday, especially when I could feel where Logan was and say, "I love you, but you should know, I have no idea what I'm doing. Please, be sturdy." Everyday, "Dear baby, I love you. I have no idea what I'm doing. Please, please, please, be sturdy." Logan was born, after 25 hours of labor, in the 99th percentile for height, weight, and head size. He also had an infection, shoulder dystocia, a ring of hematomas around his crown, and required a cpap machine and pharmaceutical intervention to help his lungs absorb oxygen due to the prolonged compression of his chest.

On our fourth day in the NICU, my husband and I left to get dinner and received a call. Logan was having focal seizures localized to his right arm and leg, and they would need to do an immediate CT scan to look for the cause. We arrived as they received the results, and our neonatologist told us that our son suffered a stroke. His CT scan looked like his left sensory motor cortex hadn't develop at all. However, an MRA and MRI showed that his brain developed perfectly and, most likely, the injury occurred during my delivery. The neonatologist and the neurologist also told us that we could expect Logan to start showing symptoms as early as eight or nine months. I thought, "Thank God, I have time to research."

At four and a half months, I noticed that Logan always had his right arm forward at tummy time. I always just thought it was cute until I realized it was because he wasn't putting weight on his right arm. I thought I had time, but he already quit using his right arm, which never left a fist. I immediately took him to see Dr. Song Luo at AOMA acupuncture clinic. After one treatment, Logan slept with his hand open for the first time ever. After a few days and a follow up treatment, I was holding Logan and felt this slimy sensation on my cheeks. After the initial thought of how much drool was covering Logan's hands, I realized he was grabbing my face with both hands!

Regular, local treatments have kept Logan's development on track. Even when he started to show weakness in his right leg, just two points on the stomach channel followed by massage led to him crawling forward for the first time. I talk to parents around the country caring for children who have suffered from strokes and hemiplegia, and without acupuncture, many of these children grow up not being able to use their arm and often unable to walk unassisted. Dr. Luo tells me that Logan's experience is not uncommon. To see these children who aren't recovering and to know that acupuncture is so effective even with just three points and without needle retention is unacceptable to me.

Dr. Luo once shared a story about his great grandfather who taught him TCM. He was in his nineties and without hesitation, got up and got dressed in the middle of the night to help a patient in need. Dr. Luo said he taught him to practice medicine from the bottom of his heart, and it is this complete and utter compassion with which he approaches medicine that I feel makes him Logan's favorite doctor. His compassion and dedication combined with Logan's recovery have inspired me to dedicate myself even more in my studies in hopes of becoming a better acupuncturist when I graduate. These days, I don't generally ask the universe to keep Logan sturdy anymore. I know acupuncture has him covered. I just try to approach medicine and motherhood from the bottom of my heart.

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Topics: pediatrics, acupuncture clinics, acupuncture, acupuncture patients

From Patient to Practitioner: Two Perspectives on Chinese Medicine

Posted by Stephanie Madden on Thu, Oct 08, 2015 @ 03:00 PM

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Many acupuncture students begin their journey as patients before becoming fully invested in the academics and practice of oriental medicine. For one reason or another, this functional medicine resonates with the healing process better than others you have tried before and the interest is sparked. At some point the fascination exceeds the mystery and develops into a desire to understand how it works. Like many others before me, I was incredibly curious about this profound method of manipulating qi.

When I was having complications with my own health going to doctors became a fearful chore. In the waiting room I would work myself into a clammy sweat anticipating whichever test they would need to run next, but unfortunately, leave feeling the same as the day before and without conclusive results. There were so many follow-ups and referrals to get to a place of homoeostasis it seemed the horizon would never come.

The experience with my acupuncturist was a world of difference – the closer I was to the office the better I felt. As soon as it was my turn to be seen I could feel my muscles unlock from the base of my skull to the tips of my toes. I could release my tension onto the floor and finally take a breath. The building my acupuncturist worked in including the treatment rooms were nothing special, but there was something about the energy of the space my practitioner created for me that was more therapeutic than any other place I had known at the time. Walking into that space with her made me feel confident I would leave feeling better than I came, which I always did.

I admired her. She portrayed freedom with her personal style underneath her lab coat and by the way she was accompanied by her small child at work. I felt her mind was completely focused on me and my healing while I was in her presence. The passion and independence she had as a businesswoman was something I had only fantasized about. Seeing it right in front of me was promising for my dreams.  It was about more than the incredible healing I achieved while I was under her care that convinced me I had found my divine decree – the harmonious lifestyle she portrayed is what held a mirror to my future.

Now as a young practitioner and student of the medicine at AOMA, I aspire to create the same atmosphere my acupuncturist did for me. When I see patients I always try to meet them from wherever they are coming from. For several of them this is their last resort, a shot in the dark, because they have been in pain for so long. For others, it's an intricate part of a well thought out therapeutic plan. The essence of transitioning from patient to practitioner is that I am now the one who creates the space.

Whatever was happening before they stepped into my treatment room has lost all of its power. I open the space to allow my patients to leave whatever misfortunes they have on the floor, jump up on the table, and heal. At the end of each session I watch my patients walk away with a lighter heart as I wash their pain from my hands and, we both leave the day behind us on that floor and go home.

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

Topics: acupuncture school, acupuncture clinics, acupuncture, acupuncture patients

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