AOMA Blog

Faculty Spotlight: Nelson Song Luo, PhD, MD (China), LAc

Posted by Mary Faria, PhD, FACHE on Mon, Apr 29, 2019 @ 12:14 PM

Nelson Song LuoNelson Song Luo, PhD, MD (China), LAc is a neurologist with a focus on the treatment of
stroke and other chronic degenerative disorders. He was recognized by China as “Excellent Doctor,” an honor bestowed on only 10 of the 2,000 doctors in Provincial People’s Hospital in Chengdu, China. His international teaching circuit includes more than fifteen countries.

Please tell us about your history before joining AOMA.
I graduated from one of the most ancient Chinese medicine universities in China, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. After graduation, I served Sichuan State Hospital & Sichuan Provincial Academy of Medical Science for more than 12 years. In the hospital, I enjoyed greatly the weekly Friday afternoon case discussions in the national neurological center. I called it “Friday Afternoon Brainstorm” since there were many rare and complicated neurological cases from remote rural areas or other cities. Many experienced senior neurologists were invited to lead the case discussions. I was invited to serve patients in the neurological ICU. This was why I could successfully serve the patients in the ICU of Seton Medical Center here in Austin. While at the Sichuan hospital, I was called “stair-climber doctor” since I went upstairs and downstairs every day to serve patients throughout the hospital. No wonder I could not find enough time for lunch since there were 4000 beds in this hospital. During those 12 years, I served thousands of patients in various departments including neurological, cardiac, digestive, respiratory, endocrine, orthopedic, neurosurgical departments, ER, ICU, etc. I was awarded the title “Excellent Doctor,” an honor bestowed on only 10 of the 2000 doctors in this hospital.


I know you’ve been working on your Master’s degree in Public Health from John Hopkins, please share a bit about that experience.
Since I have a full-time job at AOMA, I have to say that earning the MPH (Master’s in Public Health) at Johns Hopkins University at the same time is very challenging. I really appreciate AOMA’s support during my study. AOMA faculty members took very good care of my classes and clinics when I needed their help last June. The program has been very intense, but the good news is that I have done well! My efforts, many sleepless nights studying, have been rewarded. I feel I’ve gained much deeper learning on clinical diseases, research methods, clinical trial design, and qualified paper requirement, etc. Moreover, as a clinic doctor, I have learned how to better interact between clinical work and research. It has been an honor to work and learn with talented clinicians and researchers from all over the world. As an instructor, I shared many related important contents from Johns Hopkins to AOMA master and doctoral students. I also tried to modify my teaching based on what I have learned so far.

I know you have a specialty in Neurology, what led you to that specialty?
When I was studying in Chengdu, I selected a neurology course out of curiosity. I was scared to do that since the lead professor was Yongyi Li, a very respected expert in neurology with a reputation of treating students rigorously. To my surprise, I was graded 98 out of 100 in the final exam which was the highest grade ever in that class. It was professor Li’s encouragement that inspired my interest in neurology. After graduation, I served at Sichuan State Hospital & Sichuan Provincial Academy of Medical Science for more than 12 years. There is a national neurological center in this hospital where I learned a lot and treated a large number of patients with neurological diseases. I knew this work would make a difference in many lives. A few years later my father had an encounter with one of my stroke patients. The man’s story and gratitude for my work brought tears to my father’s eyes as he shared the story. This was so touching and reassured me about choosing Neurology.

Please share anything else you’d like us to know about you; why you enjoy what you do, your family, your hobbies, etc.
My family: My great grandfather, aunt, and uncle are all physicians in China. When I was little, an anxious middle-aged male knocked at the door in the middle of night. He was hesitant to ask my great grandfather to help his seriously ill wife at home. In this extremely cold winter, my 90-year old great grandfather grabbed his medical equipment and followed the man without any hesitation. The image of my great grandfather, which disappeared slowly in the dark, will always linger in my mind. In my heart, I was born to save patients’ lives, and pass the love from my great grandfather to the future.

Hobbies and Leisure:
I love the outdoors. I’m very passionate about playing soccer and jogging outdoors in a natural park, along a pavilion, and near a lake. I enjoy breathing the fresh air and hearing the melody of birds. I enjoy holding parties, making dumplings and sharing stories with my neighbors, students, and friends. I still remember the time my students and I made more than 400 dumplings at one of my dumpling parties!

Topics: faculty spotlight, AOMA clinic, graduate school, china, aoma, tcm health, tcm education

5 Things You Will Learn in TCM School

Posted by Devan Oschmann on Thu, Jul 30, 2015 @ 04:38 PM

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In Traditional Chinese Medicine School, you will learn much more than you would expect. Because Chinese medicine and acupuncture has been in existence for many centuries and has manifested itself in varying cultures, the styles and theories are endless. This, among other reasons, is why I chose to go to TCM School. I wanted to be able to tailor treatments to my patient’s needs, in addition to consulting them as a holistic health care practitioner. With my education, license and degree, Not only can I give patients varying forms of treatments such as acupuncture and herbs, I can also consult them regarding lifestyle and nutritional modifications. At AOMA especially, you will be exposed to a myriad of theories and protocols. You will graduate with so many tools under your belt to chose and hone. As such, it was quite difficult to narrow it down to 5 things you will learn in TCM School. After much thought and consulting my constituents, here is what we have to say:

1) Acupuncture is an Art Form

There is no such thing as a perfect point prescription. Of course, there are certain points and combinations that are clinically effective. But whether you decide to use a certain point or not, guasha versus cupping, e-stim, or moxibustion, depends not only upon how you view your patients’ syndrome pattern (to what you attribute their symptoms) but also modalities that you resonate with the most and have had the most therapeutic success. You see, there is no “right” treatment. The only common factor that should exist from practitioner to practitioner is the patients’ differentiation (and this is sometimes up for debate, too). In TCM School you will learn various modalities from various practitioners and parts of the world. In the end, it is up to you to chose your focus and ultimately create a unique set of tools that fit you and your patients. The art form is a reminder that each patient you see, even if the complaints are identical, will need to be treated as their own unique piece of artwork. No two are the same!

2) How to Confront Ego

Along with the varying forms of acupuncture and TCM modalities, inevitably comes ego. Because there is room for a variation of methods when treating a syndrome, and varying forms of success between patients, it is common to feel confused, defensive, or disgruntled when comparing treatment strategies with other practitioners. It is fortunate that as TCM practitioners we do not slap a pill on top of a symptom, but rather view the patient holistically and treat the root cause through various methods. However, it is simultaneously unfortunate how the ego can sometimes lead one to find oneself in an uncomfortable conversation or even argument. In the end, it’s about the acupuncture. It’s about the patient, not the practitioner. TCM School teaches you how to be confident with your own mind and toolbox, while simultaneously respecting that of others.

3) The Importance of Emotions

A lot of us know that stress can make you sick. But it is one factor that is often overlooked when considering the etiology of diseases such as environmental factors, diet, lifestyle, and genetic risk. In TCM School, you will learn that individual emotions correspond with their respective organs. For example, grief correlates with the lung organ and stress or anger correlates with the liver organ. In TCM theory, when one organ becomes overactive with its respective emotion, it can become more vulnerable to external pathogens, decline in function, and even affect other organs. This also relates to western perspectives. The more stressed we are, the larger amounts of cortisol we release, and this in turn affects other hormone levels (and the brain and immune system) resulting in higher risk of developing diseases like diabetes, hypertension, allergies, and depression.

4) Western Medicine is Useful but Can Fail Your Patients

Clinically, biomedicine can often supplement TCM theories wonderfully. More importantly, it allows you to gain an even larger perspective of your patient’s health. In our graduate program at AOMA, about one-third of the courses are biomedicine. You will learn to take vitals, perform physical assessments, read labs, and become familiar with prescription drugs. All of these tools become critical when assessing your patient’s healthcare needs. This is what is incredibly useful about western/biomedicine. However, what you will inevitably encounter in clinic are patients who have been neglected by their primary care. In many settings, the conventional and current medical system has evolved into a quantity rather than quality-based model. Therefore, because we have considerably more time with our patients and the aforementioned biomedical education, we can educate our patients about their diagnosis, labs, and prescriptions so they can discuss any questions or modifications with their primary care. It is our role, as holistic healthcare providers, to educate and give patients autonomy so they can take control of their health. We are also trained to spot red-flags that need immediate referral. 

5) Inevitable Personal Transformation

When you first start as a student at AOMA, it is very exciting. You are making new friends and establishing connections, as well as learning the foundations of Chinese medicine. I only started school about two years ago and have already made large personal transformations, and so have all of my peers. This program immerses you in an environment that challenges and rewards you socially, mentally, and emotionally. Just wait until you start internship in clinic! That is when the real transformations begin. As a student at AOMA, be prepared to dig deep into yourself and find an even deeper meaning of what it means to be you, both as a person and TCM practitioner.

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

Topics: acupuncture school, graduate school, tcm school

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