AOMA Blog

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! www.aoma.edu/sws

Register Now!

Topics: continuing education, acupuncture

Rosy CE's: Continuing Education for Acupuncturists

Posted by Cara Edmond on Fri, Jul 10, 2015 @ 10:00 AM

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”
Alphonse Karr,

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There are many burdens that acupuncturists face. Not the least of which is trying to run a business on top of being a healer. Add to that maintaining a license, and continuing education units can feel like just one more burden on the back of an already stressed healer. And truthfully, from one licensed provider to another, I get it. I’ve been in courses that were supposed to be educational, supposed to be inspiring, supposed to contribute to my clinical practice—yet they felt as flat and limpid as the wilted romaine lettuce they served.

Let’s carve out a little space to talk about online continuing education courses. Have I done them? Yes. Will I do more? Yes – probably at 2 in the morning before I send in my renewal. Do I feel like they contribute to my clinical practice or inspire me? No, I don’t. I usually skip to the end and just take the quiz.

While we could rightfully argue that my bad experiences in continuing education are just that, mine—I think there are some common elements. If you, the practitioner, are going to close your clinic taking time and money AND take time from your friends and family, you want to know that you’re going to get something for your sacrifice. You want to know that the course you attend, be it online or in person, will give you clinical skills. You want to know that you’ll make business contacts, friends, and that you’ll leave renewed.

Granted, as director of Continuing Education at AOMA, I can’t promise you those things. What I can promise is that I strive for them. Each time we plan a continuing education event at AOMA I keep you, the practitioner, in mind. And our instructors want you to leave the course with concrete skills and improvements, they really and truly do.

For me, the reason I continue to plan continuing education events (sometimes I think the stress is going to short-circuit my limbic system) is because I feel strongly that acupuncturists need a community. I feel that you all need a place to come and be assured that you are going to be given high-quality education and a chance to make high-quality contacts. That is my intention.

The second piece of that goal, the high-quality contacts, rests with our community. I build the Field of Dreams each time I build a course. Seriously. I review course evaluations, review literature, and review instructors to try and find that magic mix of content that is going to be interesting to you all and fulfill your ethics, herbs and biomedicine hours. What really helps me is two things: First, tell me! Email me and tell me what you want to study. I am listening. That’s why we had Jeffery Dann and Dr. Wu at the Southwest Symposium this year. Because my community asked. That’s why I had the course credit breakdowns listed outside of the classrooms at the Southwest Symposium this year. Because y’all asked. I live to serve. Email me and point me in the right direction. Second, attend. Attend but really, ATTEND. Bring your all. Bring your questions, your passion, your enthusiasm. Show up and be ready to connect and engage. I can build the space, but you all bring the heart and enthusiasm.

As a community, both on my side and on yours, we can choose to see our continuing education requirements as a burden to be dealt with online at 2 AM, or we can see it as a chance to explore our profession and the people toiling in the trenches alongside us. I choose the latter. I choose to see your continuing education requirements as an opportunity--an opportunity not to be squandered, but rather, cherished; cherished and claimed on your taxes.

If you’re not ready financially to make the leap into attending a continuing education course, feel free to drop me a line anyways and let me know what your dream course would be. Would it be on a Saturday and Sunday? Four consecutive Thursdays from 6-8? Looking at Tunia? Looking at herbs?

In the meantime, I’m working to finalize our fall offerings. I’m looking forward to seeing y’all on the AOMA campus. Your energy always lingers and I love it.

Warmly,

Cara

Learn more about Southwest Symposium

Topics: acupuncture school, continuing education

The Spirit of Coming Together: How the 2015 Southwest Symposium Changed My Mind About CEUs

Posted by Lauren St. Pierre, LAc on Wed, Jun 03, 2015 @ 04:11 PM

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I'm both anxious and excited. It's like going back to summer camp—I'm not sure if my friends from last year will be there, if the camp counselors will be nice, if the lunch lady will be serving mystery meat.  I've been out of acupuncture school for less than a year, and while part of me is still trying to recover and adjust to working, another part of me is beginning to stir again—the student inside. It seems that in our profession, despite all different backgrounds, educations, specialties and interests, we have that in common. We love to learn! 

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine are a lifelong study. The more I learn, the more I realize how much I have yet to learn. I've had to remind myself that it will take time and I have a good solid base to build on. The beauty of this reality is that we will just keep getting better—that's the plan at least. It can be incredibly easy to find a pattern, a groove, a needle combo that does the trick. Why mess with it if it works? What I found was the Southwest Symposium in Austin, TX was more than just a way to get continuing education units, it was a way to get excited about the medicine again, to collaborate with like and different minds, to see old friends and meet face-to-face with people, who up until now, had been a tiny picture on Facebook.

So I dusted off my notebook, gathered some pens and checked my expectations at the door. I was thrilled to see familiar faces and meet people I'd only know by name and reputation. What an incredible experience to be in this space that is buzzing with the collective qi of students and practitioners. In private practice I find that we can become a bit isolated. The graduate school environment is so unique—bouncing ideas off of one another, learning from each other's successes and mistakes. Then, for many, we go into practice either alone or with people of different disciplines and the collaboration shifts, for it is mainly our own successes and failures we learn from and online social networking we lean on.

Vendors lined the exhibition hall of the Symposium – wall to wall with herbs, needles and gadgets galore. People would break off into little groups, catching up with old friends and making new connections. There was a lot of talk about the need to invest in our medicine, and come together to help protect our scope of practice, safety issues with unregulated needling practices and how to get involved. And this was all outside of the lectures!

There is something so reaffirming and supportive about hearing groups of people chatting about harmonizing the Ying and Wei over coffee and mixed nuts. Or knowing exactly what someone is saying when they say they felt that the esoteric Heart Shaoyin pattern changed their practice. Where else could you say, “I really love this herbal decoction for phlegm misting the mind, it really opens the orifices” without vacant, slightly horrified stares. We're not always on the same page, but we're at least using the same book.

The speakers of course were fantastic and covered a broad range of topics and modalities. You could really choose your area of interest—needling, herbs, qi gong, tuina or some combination. So much to choose from, esoteric, Japanese or Nei Jing style for your needling curiosity, with epigenetics, hormesis and aging, with some facial diagnosis in between. Regulating cycles, treating pregnancy and pediatric tuina if that suited your practice's focus. If phlegm gets you stuck, there was an herbal course for that. There was even a way to get those ethics CEUs covered.

So while it's very convenient to sit in front of our computers and get those needed CEUs, I'm starting a personal practice of attending the Southwest Symposium as a way to stay connected. Connected to my community, to my medicine, to my inner student.

2015 Southwest Symposium speakers (in alphabetical order):

  • Paul Anderson, ND,
  • Jason Blalack, MS, LAc
  • Mary Bove, ND, AHG
  • Lillian Bridges
  • Jeffrey Dann, PhD, LAc
  • John Finnell, ND, MPH, LAc
  • Holly Guzman, LAc
  • Peter D. Lichtenstein, D.C., LAc
  • Edward Neal, MD
  • Stanley Reiser, MD, MPA, PhD
  • Mikio Sankey, PhD, LAc
  • Constance Scharff, PhD
  • David Twicken, DOM, LAc
  • Qianzhi ("Jamie") Wu, PhD, LAc
  • Janet Zand, OMD, LAc

 

Learn more about Southwest Symposium

 

About Lauren St. Pierre, MAcOM, L.Ac.

A graduate of AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, Lauren is in solo private practice with Earthspring Acupuncture, PLLC as well as Texas Center for Reproductive Acupuncture. She is also working with AOMA as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in both clinical and didactic courses while continuing to work with The American Cancer Society.  Lauren has lived in Austin since 2006 by way of Lake Tahoe, California. She counts Austin as her home with her husband and two Boston terriers.

Topics: Austin, continuing education, southwest symposium

Neoclassical Pulse Diagnosis Built My Confidence and Patient Outcomes

Posted by Sarah Bentley on Wed, May 28, 2014 @ 09:43 AM

At a recent gathering, a friend mentioned having knee pain. I quickly assessed it using neoclassical pulse diagnosis techniques and by palpating the location of the pain. Afterward, I found and applied four acupressure points with press-on seeds. As a result his knee felt much better throughout the party and the following days.

By using neoclassical pulse diagnosis in a clinical setting (meaning with further investigation and time), I am able to confidently provide my patients with efficient care for myriad health concerns, including pain, pyscho-social issues, insomnia, energy loss, hormonal imbalances, and digestive issues.

Having success in the clinic is a result of applying the techniques taught in Dr. William Morris’ neoclassical pulse series and training with him as an intern in his clinical rotations.

In Will Morris’ neoclassical pulse courses I learned how to assess a patient’s radial pulses as a diagnostic tool and immediate feedback loop. This feedback loop is invaluable in creating confidence in the practitioner, treating quickly and effectively while obtaining great clinical outcomes, and in maintaining my own health. Successfully using neoclassical-style pulse diagnostics created confidence in me as a practitioner.

neoclassical pulse series, will morris, continuing acupuncture education

During my treatments on patients I am able to monitor my patient’s pulse as it changes. As my patient’s pulse becomes more balanced and level, I know I have chosen a good course of treatment.

Neoclassical pulse diagnosis is also a great tool for assessing and treating on the go, because you can quickly evaluate the pulse, apply a few acupressure seeds, and still get great results. Learning to use the pulse as a feedback loop in clinical settings creates high-quality, efficient patient care.

Yet it isn’t just for patients. In fact, I find myself evaluating my pulse and applying indicated acupressure points.  This daily self-care ritual takes seconds and is a great way to stay healthy, emotionally balanced, and pain free.  

I am honored to have trained with Dr. Morris, and will continue to attend his classes and online teachings, as he provides invaluable insight into the world of patient-centered care. I highly recommend his neoclassical pulse series to all students interested in expanding their acupuncture and diagnostic repertoire.

anne cusick, neoclassical pulse diagnosisAnne Cusick LAc, MAcOM graduated from AOMA in 2008 and is in current practice with Dr. Clark-Brown at a family care integrated clinic, specializing in pain management. www.cusickacupuncture.com

 


 

 

continuing acupuncture education, integrative health CE

Topics: alumni, Dr. William Morris, continuing education, pulse diagnosis

The Practice of Neoclassical Pulse Diagnosis with Will Morris

Posted by Sarah Bentley on Wed, May 21, 2014 @ 01:40 PM

As a teacher and practitioner of Chinese medicine well into my second professional decade, I have felt for a long time that some of the most important areas of study in our medicine have received the least attention. This discrepancy is probably most relevant in the area of pulse diagnosis—and with good reason. Pulse reading can be an extremely subtle art, and there seem to be multiple ways of interpreting the same pulse. Add to that the fact that teaching the pulse is, at least in part, a transcription of our concrete sense of touch into an abstract verbal interpretation. The resulting confusion is nearly always daunting for the student and professional alike, and we wind up falling back on the not-so-subtle aspects of the pulse, limiting our data-gathering to a narrow number of simple distinctions like excess vs. deficiency. And though these distinctions are useful, if they were the only data we had to form our diagnoses, our treatments would be lacking.

When it comes to pulses, theory alone can never suffice. If you go to apply what you’ve learned and your finger position is a little off or if your finger pressure is too heavy or too light, you are not going to pick up the right information from the pulse. Having taught his system for many years, Dr. Will Morris understands that when teaching the art of diagnostic, lecture cannot be the only mode of teaching. There is a great deal of hands-on practice in these classes: from basic calibration of pressure, to correction of finger positions, to insights for practitioner comfort, and, of course, comparing pulses around the room. Dr. Morris and trained assistants are right there with you while you are feeling pulses in the class, available for checking your findings against theirs and offering further explanation relevant to the pulse you are feeling at the moment.

neoclassical pulse series, will morris, continuing acupuncture education

I bet most of us have a sense that if we could only improve our pulse diagnosis technique, clinical effectiveness would improve accordingly. Well, of course we are absolutely right in thinking so. But how do we improve our pulse diagnostic skills? One of the keys, I learned from Dr. Morris, is that we need to approach each pulse with the right framing tools. The pulse diagnostic we use to create an herbal prescription might be a different system than what we use for an acupuncture strategy. Furthermore, the pulse system we use to determine which channels are most affected by a soft-tissue injury may be different from the way we approach the pulse if someone comes to us with insomnia or shen disturbance. If Dr. Morris had contributed nothing else, his tools for filtering through the multilayers of informational “noise”in the pulse to help us home in on what is relevant in this context for this patient in this visit would have been a valuable contribution to our field. As it is, he has actually contributed a great deal more than that.

In this series of pulse classes taught by Dr. Morris, the participant learns many distinctions in the pulse that can be applied immediately in clinic; others need more time to master. One of the “extras” in the class is that Dr. Morris is liberal with sharing a multitude of clinical insights. Not only does he cover a variety of pulse techniques in depth, but he shares treatment strategies and ways to think about treatment strategies that correspond to the pulse diagnostic technique being taught at the time. Because you walk away from these classes with new, clear, diagnostic skills, new treatment strategies, and clarity for how and when to apply the new material, your practice benefits immediately. As you study and use the material from Dr. Morris’ pulse classes over time, your connection with the medicine deepens while your confidence and effectiveness as a practitioner solidify.

John Heuertz, DOM has been practicing Chinese medicine since 2001. He is nationally certified as both an acupuncturist and a Chinese herbalist practicing in New Mexico. Dr. Heuertz publishes and lectures extensively to colleagues in the Chinese medical field.

 

continuing acupuncture education, integrative health CE

Topics: Dr. William Morris, continuing education, pulse diagnosis

Don't Miss the Doctoral Program Booth at Southwest Symposium!

Posted by Justine Meccio on Mon, Jan 20, 2014 @ 10:40 AM

DAOM Booth Southwest Symposium SWSEach year, AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine sponsors the Southwest Symposium (SWS) - a premier, 3-day continuing education and integrative medicine conference. The event brings together practitioners, educators, and other health care professionals from the fields of acupuncture & Chinese medicine, massage therapy, and naturopathic medicine.

Visit Our Booth:

AOMA's admissions office staff will be on-site at SWS to provide information and answer questions about the Doctor of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (DAOM) program.

Be sure to visit us at booth # 20 to meet Dr. John Finnell, DAOM Program Director, and enter a drawing to win a free gift!

About the DAOM Program:

The Doctor of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine program is a transformative educational experience that prepares master's-level practitioners to become leaders in the care and management of patients with pain and its associated psychosocial phenomena. This rigorous program will challenge you to develop advanced clinical techniques, strong academic research skills, and to cultivate professional leadership abilities.

About the event:

Southwest Symposium 2014: The Heart of the Medicine
February 14-16, 2014
Austin, TX

 

DAOM Learn More

Topics: acupuncture school, doctoral program, DAOM, Dr. John Finnell, continuing education, southwest symposium, SWS

Nurses Expand Practice through Traditional Chinese Medicine Courses

Posted by Sarah Bentley on Tue, Mar 12, 2013 @ 03:30 PM

Many nurses have the desire to practice alternative medicine in an autonomous setting, but feel limited by traditional healthcare systems. More importantly, they want patients to have access to all treatment options possible for their condition.

Integrative medicine

Nurses are respected in their field, and have the potential to integrate eastern and western medicine in clinics and hospitals. RNs who have taken Chinese medicine courses benefit by creating new potential career paths for themselves, enriching their professional lives through the practice of Western or Chinese medicine or an integration of the two.

Casey Romero is a registered nurse and a graduate student at AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine. Romero’s original goal was to attend a graduate-level nursing program, but a visit to Austin in 2008 changed her education path.

On a visit to AOMA with her grandmother, who was receiving acupuncture in AOMA’s clinic, Romero was amazed to discover that there was actually a place to take Chinese medicine courses and at the same time apply the knowledge to her nursing practice. By the end of her grandmother’s acupuncture treatment that day, she found herself in the admissions office.

“I knew at that moment that I really wanted to be a part of the integration of Western and Chinese medicine,” said Romero.

Quality care for patients

chinese medicine coursesCombining prior nursing education with Chinese medicine courses like those in the master’s degree program at AOMA gives nurses a unique skillset that can immediately translate into better care for their patients.

Patients benefit when their nurses have taken courses in Chinese medicine because it gives nurses additional tools and understanding of physical conditions and ailments, and alternatives for treatment.

Romero says, “Having a solid knowledge base on pharmaceuticals, I believe I will have an advantage when it comes to understanding herb/drug interactions and patient safety. Physical assessments of patients are also important, and as a nurse, I have that experience already.”

Professional autonomyherbal medicine program

A career in acupuncture and Chinese medicine provides nurses the opportunity to work as independent health care providers. AOMA graduates are working in private practice, multidisciplinary clinics, hospitals, substance abuse treatment facilities, hospice, oncology centers, community acupuncture clinics, military/veterans facilities, sports teams, and corporate wellness programs.

Education

The entry-level standard to become a licensed acupuncturist is a master’s degree in acupuncture & Oriental medicine. In addition to coursework in acupuncture, herbal medicine, and extensive clinical education, the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) requires graduate programs to include biomedical science as part of the curriculum.

In general, western medical professionals like nurses, medical doctors, physical therapists, and chiropractors are often able to transfer many courses completed as part of their medical degree programs towards a master’s degree in acupuncture and Chinese medicine. While transferring in such coursework may not necessarily shorten the duration of a degree program, it can lighten a student’s overall credit hour load, allowing students to devote more study-time to their Chinese medicine courses and to work part-time while in school. Being able to transfer-in previous biomedical science courses can also potentially reduce the cost of a degree program.

Download Free Guide to a Career in  Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine

Topics: job opportunities, acupuncture school, continuing education, nurses

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