AOMA Blog

5 Things To Look for in An Acupuncture Clinic

Posted by Arden Yingling on Mon, Jun 22, 2015 @ 12:01 PM

Acupuncture_8

So you've decided to check out acupuncture? Awesome! Acupuncture is a wonderful way to treat many health conditions, from the common cold to chronic pain to insomnia (and so much more). How do you decide where to make that first appointment, though? In a city like Austin, we're fortunate to have many options for our healthcare, including acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Here are a few tips on finding an Austin acupuncture clinic that meets your needs:

1)     Choose a licensed acupuncturist: While other professions sometimes incorporate acupuncture into their practices, receiving treatment from a licensed acupuncturist is the best choice for accurate diagnosis and safe, effective treatment. Licensed acupuncturists in Texas possess master's degrees and have completed nearly 3,000 hours of education, including coursework in Western medicine and supervised clinical hours. They must also pass four national board exams before receiving licensure from the Texas Medical Board. The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, which handles national certification, is a good place to start looking for someone in your area.

2)     Look for someone who works with you as a team: Depending on your diagnosis, your acupuncturist may ask you to consider lifestyle changes such as eating differently or exercising more. Incorporating such changes can be a key part of improving your health, so you want to do so in a way that's realistic. Don't hesitate to be honest about what feels possible for your life, and find a practitioner who listens to your concerns and works with you to develop an achievable plan. 

3)     Check out areas of specialization: All acupuncturists are trained to work with a wide variety of conditions. However, some choose to focus in certain areas. There are acupuncturists who work specifically with sports injuries, with pregnancy, with autoimmune conditions, and so on. If you'd like help healing a chronic or complex health issue, see if anyone in your area has a relevant specialty. Don't hesitate to call an acupuncture clinic and ask if they have experience working with your condition! 

4)     Financial policy: If affordability is a concern, you'll find lots of options. Many private practitioners are willing to work with those in financial need. If your health insurance covers acupuncture, some Austin practitioners accept insurance. Community acupuncture clinics offer lower-cost treatments in a group setting. And of course, schools such as AOMA have a student clinic, where you can receive affordable acupuncture from interns supervised by licensed professionals. 

5)     Make sure you like your acupuncturist: Here's the the most important part! Just as there are all kinds of people in the world, there all kinds of acupuncturists too. The most effective healing comes when you feel safe and supported, so follow your instincts and work with someone who listens with compassion and takes care to make you feel comfortable and relaxed while you're in their acupuncture clinic. Enjoy your treatments!

About the Author

Arden Yingling, LAc, is a graduate of AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine. Her south Austin private practice, Songbird Acupuncture, focuses on wellness for mothers and children. She also works as a graduate teaching assistant at AOMA classes and clinics.

 

acupuncture appointments in Austin

Topics: AOMA clinic, acupuncture clinics

AOMA Student Clinic Rotation with Elizabeth Fordyce, LAc

Posted by Sarah Bentley on Wed, Sep 03, 2014 @ 02:04 PM

handsMonday and Wednesday rotations at AOMA’s north clinic with AOMA supervisor Elizabeth Fordyce are a pleasingly unique therapeutic experience. Fordyce began supervising at AOMA in 2004. With a history as an EMT before becoming an acupuncturist, she has completed extensive post-graduate studies in the Tan Balance Method and Master Tung’s points. Fordyce has practiced as a licensed acupuncturist and registered massage therapist since 1993.

Fordyce’s intern clinic rotations are full of innovative acupuncture protocols, with comprehensive techniques that treat an array of ailments. Her out-of-the-box thinking is contagious, and students flourish under her guidance. Her relaxed manner and confidence trickle down to create a healing epicenter for student-collaborated treatment plans. Of notable mention, and among many different approaches, three sub-modalities of acupuncture commonly used in this clinic are:

Dr. Tan’s Balance Method

Master Tehfu Tan embodies the Wu Bian philosophy in all areas of his practice and the legacy that he has created. Wu Bian is Mandarin for infinite possibilities, and has been fused into at least 25 years of revolutionary work that Dr. Tan has made available to practitioners across the globe. His protocols often use fewer points that are located in regions farther away from, but still related to, areas of pain. This style uses a 3-step strategy that provides “logical and precise guidance toward a minimal number of distal points which avoid aggravating local areas of pain.” It also incorporates meridian pathway and palpation diagnosis, with applicable channel theory, to promote relief within seconds.

Master Tung’s Points

With an extremely effective treatment approach, Master Tung Ching Chang is easily referred to as one of the greatest acupuncture masters who has ever lived. These points were “a treasured family secret, handed down and refined over generations,” and were used with at least 40,000 patients between 1953 and1975 alone. Similar to the Tan Method, Master Tung’s protocols use fewer needles than some of the other treatment types, and in most cases they are known for bringing instant relief upon insertion. Practitioners can treat even some of the most difficult cases with these groupings, thanks to the benevolence of Master Tung himself.

Esoteric Acupuncture

Esoteric Acupuncture (EA) was developed by Dr. Mikio Sankey to “define a way of life that emphasizes the awakening and expansion of our spiritual center” in a way that addresses the most fundamental levels of healing from the heart. It is a synthesis of ageless wisdom, and is revered as more than ‘just another style of acupuncture,’ with the ability to treat both the immune system and the physical body. It is based on theosophy, Hindu and Tibetan cultures, the Kabbalah, sacred geometry, and color therapy, all rolled into one usable format. It is said that acupuncture is a transporter for the technique, and the universe is the provider of the information. With EA, form and structure combine with acupuncture and visualization to create a subtle, yet extremely impelling healing session. Patients often report feel refreshed, renewed, and capable of sorting through underlying issues that needed a gateway for processing. Mikio Sankey will be speaking in May 2015 at the 15th Annual Southwest Symposium.

 

In summary, Elizabeth Fordyce imbues her students and clinics with effective curative strategies that get results and open up space for the body’s innate healing capacity to activate. Expect a healing experience like none other – come prepared to see changes and feel better. Patients can make appointments in the AOMA student acupuncture clinic under the supervision of Elizabeth Fordyce on Monday and Wednesday afternoons and evenings.

 

About the author:

Diana Beilman is an intern entering her final quarters at AOMA after transferring from The Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in the Fall of 2013. She received her B.S. in Kinesiology from Western Washington University in 2009 and has had an interest in health and nutrition for over a decade. With a passion for outdoor adventures, traveling and helping others, she plans on trekking through Southeast Asia to volunteer with various non-profit organizations after completing her degree in April. Some of her specialties include sports therapy, mental-emotional disorders and women's health, all of which she treats with multi-faceted protocols, including those mentioned in this article. Read about Diana's Great Acupuncture Adventure.

Introduction to Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine

Topics: faculty spotlight, esoteric acupuncture, Elizabeth Fordyce, AOMA clinic

TCM & Ear, Nose, Throat Health

Posted by Sarah Bentley on Tue, Apr 16, 2013 @ 08:37 AM

TCM__Ear_Nose_Throat_Health.jpg

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Otorhinolaryngology is a clinical science that studies the disease of the ear, nose and throat under the guidance of TCM theories in combination with the clinical syndrome differentiation of modern TCM.

Holistic approach

Viscera are the material basis of the physiological functions of the human body, and meridians and collaterals are the channels where qi and blood of the human body circulate, and through which the general organs communicate with limbs. Normal function of the ear, nose and throat depends on the coordinative activities of viscera, meridians and collaterals, while the pathological changes of the ear, nose and throat result from the dysfunctions of one or more regions of viscera, meridians and collaterals as well. Therefore, the analysis of the clinical manifestations of disease of the ENT should be connected with viscera, meridians and collaterals, and should not individually consider the local pathological changes of the ENT. This also embodies the concept of TCM holism.

How TCM treats ENT

Acupuncture and herbs treat disorders of the internal organs, channels, and collaterals rather than focus on symptoms and signs. Generally speaking, from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, the ear is connected to the "kidney", which physiologically stores "essence". When the kidney essence reaches the ears, the patient has normal hearing. Sufficient essence ensures the generation of brain marrow which is closely related to the human balance function. If brain marrow is deficient, vertigo and tinnitus occur. Besides the kidney, other internal organs like liver and gallbladder, lung, heart, spleen are also related to ear disorders. TCM treatment often leads to fewer side effects compared to conventional medicine.

Case Study: Mr. Cedar

Mr. Cedar came to our clinic with an itchy nose, persistent sneezing, nasal obstruction, and clear nasal discharge. He had been experiencing allergic rhinitis symptoms for more than a year, and noted they get worse when he’s tired. We treat this patient once every week with body acupuncture (LI 20, LI 4, LU 9, Yingtang) and ear acupuncture (internal nose, lung, endocrine and kidney) and prescribed him Chinese herbal medicine (Jade-screen powder in combination with Decoction for reinforcing middle energizer and replenishing Qi). One month later Mr. Cedar is getting much better after this treatment.

Chinese Herbs for ENT

Chinese herbal medicine is very individualized for each patient and scenario. So, depending on the syndrome differentiation and current symptoms, the herbs prescribed will be unique. In general, most aromatic flavor and light texture herbs will be useful.

The herbal patent medicine “Jade Screen” (yu ping feng san), is known to strengthen the immune system when taken regularly. Cang Er Zi (xanthium) is often added to this formula when nasal passage obstruction with thick nasal discharge is present.

Diet and Exercise

Every patient is different, so it is important to consult a licensed acupuncturist. In general, cut down on dairy products and sweets, since traditional Chinese medical theory believes these suppress the spleen to retain more damp, which will worsen the allergy symptoms.

Exercises like taiji, qigong, and meditation can help the ENT diseases by increasing the immune system and supporting the defensive qi in our body. TCM believes “if the body’s healthy, qi is sufficient, no evils will make disturbance”.

 

Author:

Shengyan ‘Grace’ Tan, PhD, MD (China), OMD (China) is an Oriental medical doctor of Otorhinolaryngology. After completing her PhD, Dr. Tan worked for four years as an acupuncturist, herbalist, and clinical supervisor in the ENT and Ophthalmology Department of the teaching hospital of Chengdu University. She is the first PhD-trained TCM practitioner specializing in ophthalmology to teach in the United States.

Download Introduction to  Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine  

Download Free Guide to a Career in  Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine, Dr. Grace Tan, ENT, allergic rhinitis, AOMA clinic

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