Food is medicine and ancient cultures like China and India have been implementing this knowledge for centuries. Michelle Schreiber also takes this statement seriously at her acupuncture practice Sage Acupuncture in Austin, Texas. Schreiber is a successful AOMA alumni who combines clinical counseling with traditional Chinese medicine. She utilizes theories in the Traditional Chinese Medicine models and couples it with western nutritional research to find a plan that is specific to her clients’ needs. Schreiber has always been interested in nutrition and after she graduated in 2003 from AOMA she continued to get training from the Center for Mind Body Medicine at Georgetown University Medical School and became a certified Nutritional Consultant by the American Association of Nutritional Consultants (AANC).
Recently Schreiber has been focusing her practice on treating cancer patients. She was inspired to work with cancer patients after watching her dad go through various cancer treatments for 10 years. Schreiber said, “I wish I had lived closer to him to provide consistent treatment. Additionally, I believe that many practitioners are afraid to treat cancer patients, even though Chinese medicine has a lot to offer them.”
AOMA students learn from faculty who are engaged in clinical practice as well as having expertise in their academic field. Many of AOMA’s faculty members are internationally recognized for their research, teachings, and presentations published internationally in training programs around the globe. Schreiber was encouraged by AOMA faculty member Dr. Yuxin He’s work with cancer patients. She said, “He specializes in treating cancer and to have a role model let me know that it can be done and gave me that extra confidence.”
Another inspiration for choosing to specialize in oncology is studying with, Jeffrey Yuen, a Daoist priest and acupuncturist based out of American University of Complementary Medicine ( AUCM ) who is on the frontier for bringing the spiritual roots back to Chinese medicine. Yuen reminds Schreiber that she is treating people not just diseases and that this is what makes all the difference in cancer treatments. Yuen emphasizes the importance of diet for cancer patients and gives special attention to treating the kidneys because of the fear and shock most people experience when they deal with the reality of their prognosis. Schreiber has also integrated this technique into her practice and has seen great results.
Schreiber currently sees all stages of cancer. Every day she helps her patients deal with the side effects and toxicity of long range chemotherapy treatments by helping them keep their immune systems strong. She says most oncologists have been supportive of acupuncture and some have even gone out of their way to recommend it to their patients. This may be due to a recent study published in Hamburg, Germany that showed acupuncture decreased the pain and nerve signals in cancer patients just after ten treatments.
Schreiber has not been as fortunate with medical doctors supporting herbal supplements. She has found that medical doctors need more education about herbs to feel comfortable because they fear that the herbs are going to decrease the efficacy of the chemotherapy. However, in her professional practice, Schreiber has found otherwise and observed patients who have combined herbs with their chemotherapy treatments improve faster and with fewer side effects. Schreiber says she is in the process of increasing communication and education with oncologists in hopes that more medical doctors come to know the valuable combination that herbs and acupuncture have to offer this unique population.