AOMA Blog

Back to Acupuncture! AOMA's Clinic Reopening and Response to COVID-19

Posted by Stephanee Owenby on Tue, Jul 21, 2020 @ 05:42 PM

At AOMA, we continue to be committed to the health and wellbeing of our patients and staff during this unprecedented time. We want to thank you for bearing with us during the COVID-19 crisis as we were required to close our clinics to in-person services.

Effective Wednesday July 15, 2020, we will reopen our North professional clinic to in-person appointments. On Monday July 27th, our North and South Student Intern Clinics will reopen to in-person appointments. Telehealth herbal consults are still being offered for patients who do not need or want acupuncture.

AOMA 3-2019We want you to know that we are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of our patients and staff, so you can feel safe, secure, and confident receiving acupuncture care in our office.

PLEASE PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO YOUR APPOINTMENT REMINDERS FOR FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS!

The AOMA Acupuncture Clinics have established the following processes and protocols in response to COVID-19:

Infection Prevention - We will be sanitizing acupuncture tables, treatment room surfaces, and all equipment after every patient, according to the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In-office infection control measures are readily available, such as alcohol-based hand sanitizers, tissues, hand soap, and waste receptacles. We have taken extra steps by removing shared items like magazines, pens, business cards, etc.

Social Distancing - All clinic staff, patients, and visitors will adhere to social distancing guidelines. To limit the overall traffic in the clinic, we are asking patients to not bring any visitors, unless absolutely necessary.

Because of social distancing requirements and the extra time it takes to clean between patients, it is particularly important that you are on time to your appointment. If you are going to be more that 5 minutes late, please call to reschedule.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – Our acupuncturists and staff will be wearing masks the entirety of the time that they are in AOMA’s buildings. Acupuncturists may also wear gloves, face shields, goggles, isolation gowns, and/or other PPE items at their discretion.

Masks - If you have a mask, we ask that you please wear it as well, for the entirety of the time that you are in AOMA’s buildings.

Mandatory Screenings - We are screening all patients and visitors for symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, fever, and other symptoms TWICE. You will receive one screening during your reminder call 24 hours before your appointment, and a second, shorter screening before you enter the clinics. Individuals with a fever of 99.5F or higher and/or who do not pass the screening will not be permitted to enter the clinic. You may be asked to reschedule your appointment.

No Waiting Rooms - When you get to the office, we ask that you please wait in your car. Call the clinic to let us know you have arrived and to pay for your appointment. Our water dispenser will not be available, so please bring water with you if you might need it.

Contactless Payment - Payment will be taken over the phone whenever possible to limit face-to-face time and pass-between contact with clinic staff. Please remain in your car until your acupuncturist comes out to check your temperature.

Temperature Check – Please continue to wait in your car until your acupuncturist comes out to take your temperature. If at all possible, please leave your AC running to keep your body temperature regulated. Individuals with a fever of 99.5F or higher and/or who do not pass the screening will not be permitted to enter the clinic. You may be asked to reschedule your appointment.

Restroom – Upon entering the clinic, please do not touch anything and follow your acupuncturist directly to the treatment room. If you need to use the restroom, please let your acupuncturist know and they will escort you. We are asking each patient to please use a sanitizing wipe (provided) to clean restroom surfaces after use.

After your treatment, your acupuncturist will walk you to the door, but if you need to use the restroom just let your acupuncturist know and they will escort you.

Rescheduling - Please call the clinic or email AOMA-ClinicStaff@aoma.edu to reschedule your appointment. We love talking to our patients, but right now this limits face-to face time and allows for ample time to clean between treatments.

Herbal Prescriptions – Both AOMA Herbal Medicine (AHM) locations are open for purchases and to fill and refill herbal prescriptions; however, the stores are closed to in-person customers. Payments can be made over the phone and purchases can be delivered via contactless curbside delivery or USPS shipping. Call 512-323-6720 for the AHM-North and 512-693-4372 for AHM-South.

 

AOMA continues to closely follow the recommendations of the CDC, Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), and the World Health Organization with regard to COVID-19.

Your health and safety are of the utmost importance and we are glad to be able to care for you during this trying time. We have missed all of our patients and look forward to seeing you soon!

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine, AOMA clinic, clinics, licensed acupuncture, aoma

Final Reflection

Posted by Rhonda Coleman on Thu, May 14, 2020 @ 01:04 PM

Rhonda-2020Joyce Carol Oates said, “The great enemy of writing is interruption.” I have lived this truth for the past eight years trying to complete consecutive degrees while raising a large family. It has not been more apparent than in these past four months trying to complete my portfolio, and the past two weeks is a perfect example. I thought my reflection would be the easiest task of all the portfolio items to complete, however constant and frequent interruptions have disrupted my thinking to the point that some days I could not write more than one or two sentences in one sitting. I hope that in sharing my thoughts, I am able to convey the joy, enlightenment, frustrations, limits, and love that was all equally part of my overall experience in this program. 

Completing the DAOM program at AOMA Graduate school of Integrative Medicine (AOMA) has completely changed my life. This program is designed to develop strong leaders who apply critical thinking skills and who are dedicated lifelong learners and contributors to education and research in the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Upon reflection, my experience at AOMA was not at all what I anticipated. My journey began as a quest for mentorship and support as a new Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner. I had just completed the Masters of Science in TCM (MSTCM) degree program at Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Denver and did not feel prepared to be on my own yet. It was my hope that I would polish my skills, get additional training in mental/emotional support through TCM, and have greater access to seasoned professionals who could guide me in my practice. What I actually gained from my participation in the program was a level of confidence that grew me from a timid practitioner to a polished public speaker affecting change in my community through education and leadership in health.  

I had no idea who/what I wanted to be in my life until I was 35 years old. As a child I wanted to be a teacher. My mother would purchase sample textbooks and curriculum guides and give me the ones she didn’t like. I would use the teacher’s manual and workbooks to play “school” with my younger siblings and cousins. As I got older, I became enamored with the arts. I loved stage acting and thought I would love to become a professional actress. Then I found Traditional Chinese Medicine, and realized it was everything I wanted in my life but never knew existed. I wanted to be a healer practicing acupuncture medicine. My decision to continue on to the DAOM program was spontaneous. I had been counting down the days until I completed the three year, accelerated, MSTCM program and was looking forward to being done with school forever! I was sitting in business class, and a question came up about “finding your niche”. I began wondering what I could offer that would be different from the hundreds of acupuncturists serving the Denver Metro area. I knew that I wanted to share what I had learned with the community that raised me. But what would I offer that might attract and inspire them? I needed more time, more information, more support, and more school. I decided in that class, at the end of November, that I would apply to a Doctoral program that would begin in the summer. Seven months later, during the first residency week of the 3rd cohort to enter the DAOM program at AOMA, I found my tribe. I heard voices that echoed mine, I heard ideas I thought only I had considered, I felt validated and welcomed. From that first week and through the next 13 I slowly realized that I had demonstrated who I was since childhood, but I could not see it. I am someone who cares about others, I am helpful, I listen, and I try to solve or resolve problems that are presented. I am someone who loves to learn and who is not afraid to take the road less traveled. I like to share what I have, especially information or knowledge. I must have a purpose and I must make a meaningful contribution into my community in order to feel fulfilled. 

I had a lot of reluctance around having the term “leader” used to describe me before starting the DAOM program. I was lectured from a very early age on the importance of leading by example. I was placed in leadership roles despite my objections. My naturally inquisitive nature and willingness to try things others shied away from, put me in positions that made me “first” and by default a leader, but I was often oblivious to these instances as they occurred. I now recognize and accept both role and title, as well as the responsibility that comes with it. My community sees me as a resource not only in health but in public education. Last year I was asked to serve as Community School Coordinator for Denver’s first community school model. I was chosen because of my ability to organize people, curate resources, develop community, support families, and motivate others. I was invited to speak to university classes and high school classes as a motivational speaker. I have been asked to submit articles on holistic health and speak at health forums.  Recently with the COVID-19 crisis, there have been many panels and events held to offer support to people around self-care and emotional support. My community has reached out to me on multiple occasions to share in these areas. I’ve spoken on two radio shows and done two other panels. I credit the leadership development training I received at AOMA for nourishing whatever seed that was present within me upon my arrival, and allowing me the space to blossom into a better version of myself.

Going through the DAOM program at AOMA does not only impact the scholar, but transforms their lives in such a way that anyone the scholar builds community with will also be impacted. John F. Kennedy said: “Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone…” The benefit to everyone is a shift in perspective. This shift broadens problem solving approaches, bridges gaps between communities, and inspires new ideas and goals. Those are some of my greatest takeaways from the program. AOMA offers not only technical or clinical training in TCM, but they help grow leaders in the field of Integrative Health. Now that I’ve completed the DAOM program, I feel prepared to lead my practice, my patients, and my community. I embrace leadership and I accept the responsibility that comes along with it. I am committed to growing and learning more, and I will invite my family and friends to grow alongside me. I am grateful for this experience. Thank you AOMA.

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine, alumni, acupuncture school, doctoral program, Austin, tcm, tcm education, acupunture, ATX

David Ring, MD-PhD: why are there so many medicines?

Posted by David Ring, MD PhD on Wed, Nov 20, 2019 @ 08:31 AM

Dr. David Ring MD PhD

I’ve always been confused about why there are so many “medicines”. Why an alternative or complementary medicine? Let’s think about that.

Medicine is defined as the science and practice of the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease.

But as all of you know, relatively little of what people seek out our help for—the reasons why people come to our office—relatively few of those reasons resemble problems that are as easy to solve as PCN for strep throat.

It is estimated that more than half of all symptoms brought to the attention of a PCP are never associated with a discrete pathophysiology. They remain “idiopathic”. Cause unknown. Nonspecific.

It’s important to remain curious and open-minded here. When I was a teenager, peptic ulcers were due to stress. It was a psychosomatic illness. A hole burned in your stomach or intestines can kill you. It can erode an artery and you can bleed to death. And the accepted cause of this potentially dangerous illness was stress. Back in that time we started talking about the Type A personality.

Then some crazy Aussies isolated a bacteria, H. Pylori, and one of them swallowed it and got an ulcer. Their experiments proved that ulcers are not due to stress. Ulcers are an infection. They found the discrete pathophysiology. Now ulcers are treated with antibiotics. I don’t think anyone would have guessed that we would so drastically change how we understand and how we treat peptic ulcer disease.

If more than half of all symptoms that bring people to a clinician are nonspecific, then we’d better be ready for a lot of other surprises. We need to be curious and open. Flexible in our thinking.

There are quite a few named illnesses that have no identified pathophysiology. Illnesses for which we do not have an “H. Pylori”. Or a vitamin deficiency. Or a structural abnormality. Let’s think about one that most of you are probably aware of.

Many people have pains in several areas of their body. Pains that limit their ability to be themselves. To think about doing something and then do it. Think of a person you know who has this sort of an illness. Maybe some of you are living with this illness yourselves. It is estimated that between 3 and 6% of the world’s population lives with this illness. That would be as much as a third of a billion people.

Psychiatrists have recognized this illness for some time. They use to refer to it as somatization disorder and now as somatic symptom disorder. Soma means body. This diagnosis means that stress is being expressed physically as well as emotionally. The technical description of this disorder is “physical symptoms that suggest illness or injury, but which cannot be explained fully by a general medical condition”.

But the illness that I described to you. The one I gave numbers for. Third of a billion worldwide. That illness is not diagnosed and treated as somatic symptom disorder. It is diagnosed and treated as fibromyalgia. That technical term suggests that we know the pathophysiology and that it has something to do with fibrous tissues in the muscle. In the UK it is was traditionally called myalgic encephalomyelitis which brings the brain and inflammation into the mix. But the fact is we have yet to find the H Pylori for this illness.

We don’t know which theory is correct: is this more about stress, or is it more about needing to do that Nobel prize winning research to find the problem so that we can fix it with something as simple as a brief course of antibiotics. I suspect there’s a little of both. Actually, there is always a little of both. Humans respond to illness with emotions.

We can see our souls, our minds, as separate from our bodies. And there is a stigma associated with mental health. As if symptoms of depression only occur in flawed minds. As if stress means you’re not one of the strong ones. The shame associated with mental health is part of what leads to somatization. It’s more socially acceptable to say “I hurt” than it is to say “I’m down”. Or “I’m overwhelmed”. Or “I’m not sure I matter.”

I’m 50 now and several parts of my body hurt every day or don’t work as well as they used to. These are normal changes in the human body, and my health depends on adapting to them. If I see one or more of these as a problem needing to be fixed, that may or may not take me down a useful path. Resiliency can be a powerful way to manage the body’s changes. Resiliency is good for your health.

Now, this is a graduate school of integrative medicine. We’ve been talking about a division between the mental and physical aspects of health, which is not a part of the world’s wisdom traditions. In traditional Chinese medicine the mind is a part of the body.

Some have envisioned that in modern society the words mind, brain, and spirit will be eventually become synonyms. They will all mean the same thing. The wisdom traditions already have this in place.

And integrative medicine finds it natural to talk about healthy eating. Healthy activity. We know that a substantial and growing proportion of illness and death is related to unhealthy behaviors. So we can talk about food as medicine. And activity as medicine. And many of the world’s wisdom traditions also emphasize a healthy mindset. That just like healthy eating and healthy activity, healthy mindset requires attention, effort, training, and practice. You have to work at it. You have to tend to your mind. To your mental health. We all benefit from this.

So why is there an “integrative medicine”? Shouldn’t everything that helps people get and stay healthy be considered medicine? No divisions. Just options.

I see us working together: collective efforts to show people how much they can do for themselves, how much they depend on themselves, to help get and stay healthy. The efforts to pay as much attention to the psychological and social determinants of health as the physical and pathophysiological. I see these efforts as a sort of last mile problem. We know the right things to do, but we don’t always do them. It’s a matter of implementation science. Of figuring out how to make the healthy choice the easy choice.

They day when everyone has these skills may still be a long way off. And there will always be some form of penicillin for strep throat. But as you move forward in your studies of Traditional Chinese Medicine, I hope you’ll see in it your dedication to improving the world’s health.

 


David Ring, MD PhD is Associate Dean for Comprehensive Care and Professor of Surgery and Psychiatry at Dell Medical School and newest member of AOMA's Board of Governors. Trained as a hand and orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Ring’s extensive research, patient care, and quality and patient safety leadership contributed to an understanding of and a passion for the ways that mindset and circumstances affect human illness. Getting people interested in innovative ways to get and stay healthy depends on effective communication strategies that establish trust and make healthy habits appealing. Dr. Ring’s current work focuses on ways to use existing knowledge, diverse expertise, and innovative applications of technology to help people choose healthy options consistent with their values.

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine, Complementary Medicine, integrative medicine, AOMA leadership

Reagan Taylor, AOMA Master's Graduate and DAOM Student

Posted by Brian Becker on Thu, Mar 14, 2019 @ 11:59 AM

 

Please introduce yourself! Where are you from? Where did you go to undergraduate?  What did you study?

My name is Reagan Taylor, and I am from Austin, TX. I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up until I was actually grown up, but once I discovered how intriguing acupuncture and Chinese medicine I never turned back. In my research to find a good school, I didn’t need to look any farther than my hometown…I heard that AOMA had a great program with higher educational standards than other schools throughout the country.  I familiarized myself with the requirements for admission and studied AOMA’s curriculum. From there, I focused my studies at Austin Community College in biology, health sciences, sociology, and psychology to prepare me for patient care.

What were you doing before you came to AOMA?

I lived in Oregon for several years learning how to blow soft glass; making vases, sculptures, paper weights.  While I was having fun, I didn’t feel like I was really serving a purpReagan Taylorose. I moved back to Austin and began work at a wonderful organization, The Marbridge Foundation, which is a residential care facility for adults with intellectual disabilities.  I worked there full-time before starting AOMA master’s program.  I stayed on as a part-time employee all throughout my time at AOMA, and left Marbridge all together about a year ago. It was a wonderful place to work and my experiences there instilled in me patience, communication skills, and stress management skills for myself as well as for patients.

What are some of your favorite classes and/or teachers at AOMA?

What kind of trick question is this?!?  There is no way I can really choose a favorite instructor from AOMA because they are all wonderful in their own way.  As a current doctoral student, I recently took the Neurology class with Dr. Amy Moll because I have a special interest in neurological systems and disorders. Dr. Moll is an exceptional educator with incredible knowledge of functional neurology and ways to treat disorders with acupuncture and Chinese herbs.

How would you describe the Student Culture at AOMA?

Personally, I have found the student culture at AOMA to be very welcoming and warm.  During my time as a master’s student, and now as a doctoral candidate, I have found a lot of support amongst my cohorts.  Friends I made as a master’s student are still some of my closest friends and biggest supporters.  Students always seem to be finding ways to lift each other up, whether it’s forming a study group or carving out much needed time for fun or relaxation.  The students here all have very diverse backgrounds, and everyone is here for their own reason so we learn from each other.

What is your favorite thing about AOMA and why? Describe your experiences at AOMA.

I have really appreciated the high standard of education I’ve received at AOMA.  I’ve also always felt very supported and heard by the faculty and staff here.  After graduation, I maintained a relationship with AOMA and worked as a part-time clinical teaching assistant, which then blossomed into my current position as the full-time clinical resident.  It’s been interesting to go from being a student, to faculty member, and now a hybrid of doctoral student and faculty member. I get to see and experience all sides of AOMA, which has only added to my appreciation for this institution.

What benefits do you feel earning your Doctorate will afford you, and how did you decide which one was the best choice for your career?

Earning my doctorate will not only open up a lot of doors for me as far as my career, but it’s also providing me with a deeper clinical understanding and exposing me to some amazing, more advanced techniques.  I started out in the DAcOM program (first professional doctorate) and made the decision to switch to the DAOM, which will challenge me in ways I never knew I wanted to be challenged.  Earning my DAOM, will open up doors for me to work in academia and research and provide me with vast clinical insights.  I decided to switch programs because, as AOMA’s clinical resident, I have found I really enjoy working with students in the clinical setting, helping them learn, while also working with patients.  The DAOM arms with the knowledge I need as well as the credentials necessary for a career in education.

What, if any perceptions of Chinese medicine have changed from when you started the program to now? What vision would you like to see for the future of healthcare?

Before starting the program, I viewed Chinese medicine and its founding philosophy as mystical and magical.  After learning so much more, I no longer see it quite like that.  Now, I understand it as an extremely logical and scientifically sound medical practice…ancient physicians just had a different language and ways to describe how our bodies function and the cause of disease.

What are you plans after completing your Doctorate?

I have developed a real passion for clinical education.  Once I receive my DAOM, I hope to serve in that capacity.  I always want to be a clinician, working with and treating patients, but I would also like to be deeply involved with teaching other people how to be great practitioners.  Developing clinical curriculum, treating patients, and helping students become confident in their abilities are all things I believe are well suited to my personality, strengths, and talents and I hope to be doing exactly that in my future.

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine, DAOM, MAcOM, aoma students, chinese medicine, tcm education, acupunture

How Auricular Acupuncture Can Help with Opiate Use Disorder

Posted by Victor S. Sierpina, MD on Fri, Feb 15, 2019 @ 11:37 AM

Previously published, Galveston County Daily News, Jan 23, 2019

Opiate Use Disorder is claiming lives by the tens of thousands. The Center for Disease Control reported 47,600 deaths in the US involving opioids in 2017, concluding that the opioid overdose epidemic continues to worsen with increased in deaths involving synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. In the state of Texas, deaths attributable to opioids rose three times from 1999-2015 with increasing impact on maternal mortality and neonatal abstinence syndrome.

The UTMB Department of Family Medicine recently submitted a grant proposal to improve education and clinical practice by training and outreach to rural areas hardest hit by this growing scourge. Many of those with OUD started on prescription medications and then moved onto black market products like heroin, fentanyl, and diverted OxyContin.

Controlled substance contracts, the statewide Prescription Monitoring Program, limiting initial opiate prescriptions, automated electronic medical record notifications about the use of Naloxone, medical provider and public awareness are all part of the solution.

The use of auricular (ear) acupuncture for substance abuse, alleviating withdrawal symptoms, behavioral health, and pain management is a safe, widely researched, and long-standing adjunctive treatment modality. The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA protocol) is the best known of the methods and has been practiced widely for over 30 years. It involves application of 3 to 5 needles at specified ear points, is simple to learn and to apply, and enjoys wide patient acceptance.

The clinical application of ear acupuncture for substance use since it was first found effective in easing withdrawal symptoms from opium and heroin in Hong Kong in the 1970’s. Since then, research and practice-based evidence continues to accumulate and drive its use along with safety, ease of application, and patient acceptance.

The broad application of NADA to alcohol, opiate, nada pictobacco, methamphetamine, and cocaine abuse makes it a promising adjunct to medical and behavioral treatment methods in a very challenging patient population. Additionally, the NADA protocol has been used for stress management, including post-traumatic stress, treating addicted pregnant women, sleep disorders, and anxiety. It has been used in refugee camps, post-hurricane settings, prisons, hospitals, rehabilitation treatment centers, as well as outpatient clinics, predominantly in a group treatment context.

Practitioners emphasize that so-called “acudetox” is an adjunctive, not a standalone treatment for easing withdrawal symptoms as well as maintenance of abstinence. It is most effective when applied with standard therapy, behavioral interventions, and/or 12-step programs.

Physiological studies have shown auricular acupuncture acts on neuroendocrinological pathways include serotonin, dopamine, endorphin, dynorphin, and GABA receptors which mediate its effects on pain management. The Battlefield Acupuncture protocol using 5 tiny tacks in each ear has been increasingly used since the early 2000’s when it was first applied in military settings. It can also be highly and immediately effective in acute problems like migraine and chronic problems such as back or muscle pain.

Other non-pharmacological treatments such as mindfulness, anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements, chiropractic, massage, hypnosis, diet, exercise, physical therapy, yoga and tai chi can also be part of a rational integrative pain management plan that doesn’t involve the risk of using addicting opiates.

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

---Martin Luther King, Jr.

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine, efficacy of acupuncture, chinese medicine, tcm education, prevention, acupunture

Four Things Everyone Should Know About Acupuncture School

Posted by Brian Becker on Tue, Jan 22, 2019 @ 11:20 AM

Acupuncture (5)

In my time as an Admissions officer I have encountered a lot of commonly held misconceptions about various degrees, perhaps even more so when it comes to the field of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  So here are some basic facts about Acupuncture school that some individuals, such as perspective students, patients, other healthcare providers, as well as the public in general, may not be aware of.

1) It is a Rigorous Master’s Degree

One of the chief misconceptions about Acupuncture is the amount IMG_7927of schooling required.  People are often shocked to learn that a Master Degree is required before they may sit for the National Boards exams.  What’s more, this is not your standard two year Master’s.  AOMA’s program is 203.5 quarter credits (equal to 135.6 semester credits), typically takes four and a half years, and involves a total of 2970 instructional hours.  Of those, 161.5 of the credits, or 1962 hours are Didactic and 42 credits, 1008 hours, are clinical.

Many of those obtain their Master’s go on to take bridge programs such as our DAcOM, becoming Doctors of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.  Indeed there is a push within the profession as a whole to require doctorates for licensure in the United States.

2) Amount of Biomedicine

More and more TCM is being taught as an integrative medicine,Classroom_Blood Pressure (1) working alongside other healthcare providers with the best interest of the patient in mind.  To this end AOMA’s program covers a wide range of biomedical topics including Medical Biochemistry, Pathophysiology, and Biomedical Pharmacology among others.

3) Hands On 

Like the training for any other healthcare profession,IMG_0031 copy acupuncture programs require a lot of clinical and hands on laboratory hours.  As mentioned earlier, 1008 of AOMA’s 2970 instructional hours are clinical, this translates to 34%, one third of the program.  This process begins with Clinic Theater I in which students are exposed to the diagnostic methods of TCM including the techniques and application of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine by observing professional treatments performed by a member of the AOMA faculty.  This culminates in a full clinical internship, in which the student, as a supervised intern, performs the intake, diagnosis, and treatment of patients.

4) Strength of Faculty

Our faculty is well versed in a wide range of clinical specializations,Dr. Wu's book academic backgrounds, and published research.  At AOMA there are 37 faculty members, including 29 Licensed Acupuncturists, 7 Medical Doctors, 2 Ph.D.’s and 6 faculty members who hold both an MD and a Ph.D.  AOMA Graduate School is also the home of the only Chinese herbal pharmacologist Ph.D. in the United States.  About two thirds of our faculty bring to the table at least a decade of tenure and many years of training and practicing TCM in China.

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture school, masters program, acupuncture students, tcm school, tcm education, acupunture

AOMA’s Holiday Gift Guide 2018

Posted by Stephanee Owenby on Fri, Dec 21, 2018 @ 11:29 AM

Are you stressing about what gifts to get for the acupuncture-lover in your life this holiday? AOMA’s staff & students are here to help! Below you’ll find our top 10 picks for acu-friendly holiday gifts, whether you’re shopping for your TCM practitioner, recent AOMA-grad, or just someone who could use the gift of acupuncture this season.

  1. Salt lamp

Made from pink salt crystals native to the Himalayas, salt lamps are said to release negative ions, helping to cleanse dust particles from the air and boost energy levels. Some salt lamp users have even reported elevated mood, reduced anxiety, improved sleep, and reduced allergy and asthma symptoms. While no major studies have supported these claims, the warm pinkish glow of a salt lamp makes a welcoming and beautiful addition to any home or clinic space.

  1. Pain-relieving TCM Topicals Zheng gu shui

Any or all of these pain-relieving traditional Chinese medicine topical oils or liniments would make amazing gifts, whether for the gym-goer or athlete in your life or someone who needs some relief from minor aches and pains. They make excellent stocking stuffers or “white elephant” gifts too!

White Flower oil is used for the temporary relief of minor aches and pains of muscles and joints due to simple backache, arthritis, strains bruises and sprains.

Zheng Gu Shui is great for external cooling pain relief and may be used for the temporary relief of aches and pains of muscles and joints associated with backache, lumbago, strains, bruises, sprains, and arthritic or rheumatic pain, pain of tendons and ligaments.

Wood Lock (Wong To Yick) oil is used for the temporary relief of pain, to soothe muscles and joints, and to relieve tightness in muscles.

Die Da Wan Hua oil is used for the temporary relief of minor aches and pains of muscles and joints associated with simple backache, arthritis, and strain.

Po Sum On oil is an all-purpose peppermint oil and balm primarily used to warm up muscles, improve circulation, and relieve pain. It can also be used to treat muscle aches, symptoms from the common cold, bites, scratches, burns, or to warm up the body prior to exercising.

  1. Jade roller & Pearl powder Jade roller_Pearl powder

Jade rollers have been used in China for thousands of years and have recently been spotlighted by the YouTube beauty community! Jade is itself a cooling and rejuvenating stone, called the “stone of heaven” in traditional Chinese medicine, and a jade roller treatment can smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, reduce redness and puffiness, and tone and brighten the facial skin.

Pearl powder is widely believed to improve the appearance of the skin, stimulate new skin growth, regenerate collagen, accelerate the healing of acne, release toxins, and eliminate sun damage and age spots. These two items would make a perfect combo gift for the beauty guru on your shopping list!

  1. Cupping set – glass, plastic, silicone Glass cups

Cupping is another traditional Chinese medical technique that has had the spotlight in popular culture lately! Glass, plastic, or silicone cups are used as suction devices and placed on the skin to loosen tight muscles and encourage blood flow. Plastic and silicone cups are cheaper and easier to use and so are typically more popular with acupuncture students and patients who want to cup themselves at home. But there are many advantages to glass cupping! Glass cups can be easily moved around the skin surface to treat larger areas, they can be used with heat for “fire cupping,” and some practitioners argue that glass cups have better suction. And best of all? When not in-use they can be beautifully and decoratively displayed in a clinician’s treatment room!

  1. Décor

Whether you’re decorating a new space or freshening up a room for the new year, it’s always fun to receive décor for the holidays! Welcome chimes, wall hangings, statues, and candles can each completely transform an existing space into something brand new. A didactic “Acu-Model” statue might be the perfect gift for an acupuncture student --  we even have Acu-Cat and Acu-Horse models! And try hanging a chime on your door this new year – it’s good feng shui, as bells are the harbingers of prosperity and good luck.

  1. Essential oils, Incense, & Burners EO burner_holiday

Incense and essential oils have been used for thousands of years to create pleasant smells, promote spiritual practice, and to help with healing. (AOMA Herbal Medicine sells all-natural incense which can be burned more safely than those containing harsh chemicals!) Scent can be a powerful influencer to mood, and incense or oil burners themselves are lovely decorative additions to a clinic or living space.

  1. E-stim machine

This would be a GREAT gift for a new AOMA student or a recent graduate starting their practice! An e-stim machine is required to perform electroacupuncture and thus is an essential piece of clinical equipment, but it can be a big investment – especially on a student budget. Electroacupuncture can help a clinician address pain, muscle spasms, nausea, and many more symptoms. It’s also required for an AOMA student’s clinic kit!

  1. Moxa box Moxa box

Moxibustion, the therapeutic burning of the herb mugwort to promote healing, is an important and frequently-performed traditional Chinese medical technique. In a moxa box, the loose moxa fiber is rolled into a ball and burned, held above the patient’s skin by a screen, with the smoke directed downward. While it is certainly not necessary, a moxa box can make moxibustion safer for the patient as well as easier for the practitioner to both perform and clean up after.

  1. Massage oils & lotions

Self-care is often at the back of our minds when it should be at the forefront, and massage oils or lotions can be an excellent aromatic and therapeutic addition to everyone’s relaxation or stress management routine. And a sampling of new oils and lotions might be just what the massage therapist or acupuncturist on your holiday shopping list needs to start the new year feeling fresh and prosperous!

  1. AOMA gift certificate AOMA_Logo_St_E_RGB-1
From acupuncture treatments to acupuncture books, there’s an AOMA gift certificate to suit all your shopping needs! Professional Clinic acupuncture gift certificates are $100, Student Clinic  gift certificates are $30, and AOMA Herbal Medicine gift certificates are available in amounts from $5-$500. You can even buy online and we’ll mail them directly to the recipient!

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine, self-care, AOMA Herbal Medicine, AOMA clinic, lifestyle, aoma, tcm, acupunture

5 (Attainable) Self-Care Resolutions for the New Year

Posted by Rob Davidson on Mon, Jan 08, 2018 @ 12:30 PM

AOMA New Year Resolutions Self Care

Everyone likes the idea of a fresh start at the dawn of a new year. From making resolutions for self improvement, to creating new healthy habits, and ending bad ones, we all have something to work on. Yet, we often set goals for ourselves that are unattainable, either because they aren’t sustainable, or they are simply unrealistic. What makes setting goals more effective is creating small goals for ourselves that we know can be 100% achieved. We can then build confidence in ourselves and become more inspired to cross off those bigger goals down the road.

Self care is an excellent place to start when it comes to bringing in the new year right. It can be as simple as making a few small changes that will have a dramatic, long term impact. Self care doesn’t have to mean a stringent new diet of deprivation or an abrupt new vigorous fitness routine. If our mind, body, and nutrition are all in order, it sets us up to have to more energy, better health and greater confidence in the new year.

Here, we have cultivated a list of 5 attainable self-care resolutions you can actually stick with. What’s best is that they will require minimal effort, and the rewards will be huge.

Regular Acupuncture Treatments 

AOMA acupuncture treatments

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is a complete and holistic healing system, taking care of both our mind and body. Acupuncture has shown to reduce stress and pain in many patients, depending on the underlying cause of the pain. Add a regularly-scheduled acupuncture session to your new year goals and let your energy be balanced. This will help you decrease that new year stress and allow your mind and body to stay healthy throughout the year.

Acupuncture sessions typically run between 30 minutes to 1.5 hours and can also be surprisingly affordable. You will find that many areas offer sliding scale prices, and many acupuncturists take insurance from patients. AOMA’s student clinic offers reduced-price treatments of only $30 for a 1.5 hour session. Remember to always see a licensed acupuncturist or a student intern who is supervised by a licensed acupuncturist, so you will know your practitioner has the proper training or oversight!!

Interested in what other modalities acupuncturists have to offer? Check our out blog on 8 chinese medicine treatments you may have never heard of.

Incorporate Outside Time

Austin TX outdoors relaxation

Weather permitting, spending more time outside in the new year will also help reduce stress levels. Talking a walk in nature for example can connect you with your natural surroundings, helping you unwind and relax. Nature walks can also act as a type of moving meditation. Being outside also means a much needed break from screen time, as constantly working with mobile devices and computers can cause eye strain.

Take a short 15-30 minute walk around your neighborhood or during your lunch break from work. This will reduce cortisol levels, the chemical responsible for stress. Other outdoor activities, such as walking, bicycling, hiking, jogging, or canoeing will also allow you to connect with the natural world.

We also recommend daily qigong, a system of body movements and breathing exercise taught as part of Chinese medicine. This practice can be done inside or outdoors.

Journaling - Goals & Gratitude 

gratitude journal new year

Gratitude is a word that gets thrown around a lot, but what does it really mean and how can you incorporate it into your life? Appreciating what you’ve been given is an excellent exercise to becoming a more fulfilled person. This can be done through starting a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal is a way to document all of the things you are thankful for each and every day. The act of journaling has been shown to help reduce mental clutter resulting in more self awareness and clarity. Using your time in nature to journal is an excellent way to unwind and connect. Journaling could also incorporate setting goals for the new year, whether they’re personal, professional or spiritual.

TCM Nutrition and Incorporating Healthy Foods

TCM nutrition

Starting a new year and trying to change your diet all together can be overwhelming, and not always beneficial. Did you know a lot of Chinese herbs are foods that can be found in local grocery stores? In addition to providing acupuncture, your Chinese medicine practitioner is also well-versed in herbology and nutrition. This is a great opportunity to work with your acupuncturist and incorporate healthier foods into your diet that will help put your body back in balance.

Chinese medicine has easy and friendly recipes such as soups and congee. Certain vegetables and herbs are excellent for supporting the immune system and creating overall balance of health. You’ll be more likely to avoid illness, and stay on top of your health goals for the new year.

Read more about TCM nutrition in our blog post "Traditional Chinese Medicine Approach to Nutrition: Eat What You Need".

Tea Time! 

Chinese herbal tea

Herbal teas can be relaxing or energizing, and they can also be used for treating various health conditions. Take some time out of your day to enjoy a hot cup of tea in a relaxing environment. Maybe substitute your coffee for green tea, or find a calming tea to drink before bed- helping your get those extra zzz’s. Traditionally, Chinese herbs are used in raw forms and steeped with boiling water, then strained for a healing tea. Depending on the type of tea you want to start drinking, you can either visit your local herb store, or see an acupuncturist to incorporate these Chinese herbs into your regular health routine.

Click below to request an appointment at one of the AOMA Acupuncture Clinics!

Request an Appointment

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine, self-care, acupunture

6 Things You Can Do with a Degree in Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine

Posted by Sandra Hurtubise on Fri, Nov 10, 2017 @ 04:22 PM

 

6 Things

Have you ever considered a career in Acupuncture and Chinese medicine? Many students choose this path because of a personal journey to serve others, while some have profound experiences as a patient that inspire a lifetime of study and a new career path. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine is a growing field within healthcare in the United States. Many new doors and opportunities are coming available to licensed acupuncturists, therefore boosting an overall growth of the integration of Chinese medicine into the western healthcare system. More and more healthcare providers are adding employment opportunities for acupuncturists, leaving the profession very hopeful for its future workforce. As of today, there are many different things you can do with a degree in acupuncture – including some you probably haven't heard of yet.

Currently, in the United States, to be a licensed acupuncturist, one must earn a four-year master’s degree as well as pass the national board examinations (NCCAOM). You will also need to qualify for state licensure requirements depending on your location. Doctoral degrees are also being offered in the field now, including a Professional Doctorate and Clinical Specialty Doctorate. Chinese medicine continues to grow as a field and more and more opportunities are being presented, such as hospital positions, solo practice, treating on a cruise line, or working as a professor. There are no limits to what the future may hold for acupuncturists. Here we will dive into some of the exciting opportunities that are presently available.

hospital acupuncture
Photo Credit: ELIZABETH FLORES, STAR TRIBUNE

Become a Hospital Acupuncturist

As acupuncture becomes more highly regarded in the medical field, healthcare delivery institutions are taking notice and discovering for themselves how powerful acupuncture can be. In Austin, Texas, one of the top hospitals – Baylor Scott & White, currently employs acupuncturists for their integrative medicine program. This program includes an integrative care program working with other specialties including massage therapists.

Acupuncturists have the ability to work with other healthcare providers in a dynamic setting, allowing them more hands on experience with western medical diagnosis and ways of thinking. Two AOMA graduates, Tiodoso Bustillo and Ashley Oved are working at Baylor Scott and White as acupuncturists. Some benefits acupuncture can serve specifically for the hospital setting could include anesthesia and post-surgery recovery. In addition, Adam Reinstein, an AOMA alumnus, serves as one of the first emergency room acupuncturists in Minnesota working with high trauma patients.

Work in an Integrative Healthcare Clinic

Integrative healthcare clinics are becoming a popular new model for clinics around the country. In an integrative healthcare office, an acupuncturist will work with other practitioners such as chiropractors, naturopaths, nutritionists, psychologist/psychiatrists, physical therapists, massage therapists, etc. This model is very patient-centered, that is, a patient can go to a single location to get the care they need, also while health data can be shared by all the practitioners to ensure collaborative care. This is also a good setting for acupuncturists, as they can offer their services to any patient of any other specialist in the practice.

Working cooperatively, these integrative practitioners can share practice costs, and approach patient care from a teamwork perspective. Patients are searching for more than one answer to their illness and want various options for treatment strategies, which is why integrative clinics are being sought out. One of our alumni and current faculty, as well as clinic supervisors, Anne Cusick, works at a Family Care Clinic in an integrative setting. Her environment allows her to work collaboratively with a family medicine doctor.

Clinic_Waiting (7)

Work at an Established Acupuncture Practice

Don't want the stress of opening up your own practice? Another great option is to work at an established acupuncture clinic looking to expand or rent out a room. Many have offices with more patients coming in than they can handle in their schedule and would love to have another acupuncturist to take on some of the workload. This could allow you to make a paycheck and not worry about overhead costs. Modern Acupuncture is one example of a clinic emerging in Austin with plans to expand and hire recent graduates. This model also gives you time to apprentice and learn from more advanced acupuncturists, and develop client rapport with patients that have already developed trust with the office. There are also other local acupuncture clinics in the Austin area that regularly hire recent graduates, such as Turtle Dragon and South Austin Acupuncture.

Oasis_of_the_Seas 

Sail the World as a Cruise Ship Acupuncturist

A big attraction for recent graduates in the field is to work on a cruise line. There you gain experience giving health related talks to crowds, marketing acupuncture to people on the cruise line, and seeing a variety of patients with a steady income. Plus, you have the bonus of travelling the world on a cruise line! The Onboard Spa by Steiner offers jobs to recent graduates as well as other licensed acupuncturists on their cruise lines. There is a three day training prior to the job, and each contract lasts seven months. Many graduates love this option because it gives them time to save money on living costs, while earning money to put towards their loans, and travel the world at the same time.

Classroom_HiR (2)

 

Teach Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

As the acupuncture field grows, so does the need for passionate teachers. There are more than 50 acupuncture schools in the United States, with three in Texas. This can give one the opportunity to share their passion for the field of acupuncture by teaching. While a master’s degree is currently required to seek licensure as an acupuncturist, many TCM schools such as AOMA offer doctoral degrees, designed to add advanced clinical speciality training, but also provide an avenue to achieve more prestigious teaching jobs at the nation’s top AOM schools. This environment can help you get support for research in the field. Schools such as AOMA hire esteemed acupuncturists in the field from all over, such as Elizabeth Fordyce who teaches advanced needling classes focusing on AOMA’s Dr. Tan’s Balance Method, as well as Aaron Rubinstein who teaches an advanced needling class focusing on Japanese style acupuncture.

Conduct TCM Research Projects

Acupuncturists are turning to other avenues to use their education as well, such as participating in and conducting research. With goals to help promote the awareness and education of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, research on acupuncture is growing with support from large healthcare organizations and medical research universities, funding studies such as pain management with acupuncture in response to the current opioid crisis.

AdobeStock_133533212 

Open your Own Acupuncture Clinic

Majority of acupuncturists want to open up a solo practice upon graduation. The appeal of being an entrepreneur and creating their own flexibility with scheduling and how they want to run their business is huge. The advantages include independence and being able to work for yourself. Through this enormous challenge, you will develop the skills to establish yourself in the field and be successful. Many schools like AOMA offer practice management courses to give you the skills you need to succeed after graduation.

Whatever career path you think is best for you in the field of Chinese medicine, know there are many options and the opportunities are growing. The AOMA Career Services department can help guide and mentor you to choose the best career path. An exciting career in one of the rising fields in healthcare awaits you!

Contact Admissions today to learn more about how AOMA can prepare you for a career in the field of Chinese medicine.

Contact  Admissions

 

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture school, chinese medicine school

8 Chinese Medicine Treatments You May Have Never Heard Of

Posted by Sandra Hurtubise on Fri, Oct 20, 2017 @ 03:41 PM

acupuncture chinese medicine treatments 

Acupuncture, an ancient form of Traditional Chinese Medicine, has become very popular in the United States as a form of alternative healthcare. Many physicians are referring patients to an acupuncturist for pain, while some hospitals are incorporating acupuncture treatments into their integrative care models. While you might have heard of acupuncture - the treatment of inserting small sterile needles into special energy points called meridians, you might not have known that acupuncture is only one part of the overarching Traditional Chinese Medicine system.

Students of TCM and acupuncture spend four years of training to complete a Chinese Medicine degree, learning acupuncture in addition to a whole slew of other techniques, diagnostic principles, and herbal medicine. Do you remember seeing the circular imprints on Michael Phelp’s back at the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro? He had received cupping therapy, (explained more below) which is an example of another treatment tool commonly used by acupuncturists. In this article we will discuss eight frequently used techniques in Chinese medicine that the general public might not be aware of. 

cupping therapy Austin

Cupping

Cupping therapy can be viewed as a reverse massage by pulling up on the skin versus the pressure applied down on the skin in a traditional massage. This releases muscle tension by creating better blood flow to the area. Some acupuncturists also use cupping therapy for facial rejuvenation and lymph system drainage. Not only can cupping therapy be used for a variety of health reasons, but there are also various types of cupping sets. There are glass cups, known as “fire cupping,” silicone suction cups, plastic cupping sets and smaller cup sets used for facials and lymph drainage. Cupping therapy is often used alongside acupuncture to go deeper on certain points in the body where the pain is most severe.

 

Guasha Chinese medicine Austin

Guasha

Guasha, also known as “scraping technique,” is another tool acupuncturists use. The health functions are similar to cupping therapy; using pressure to break up fascia and muscular tension, thereby creating better blood flow to those areas. Commonly used tools for guasha include ceramic spoons, stainless steel made tools, and jade or other stone material shaped into a tool. Although this technique is used less frequently than cupping, it has tremendous healing benefits. Guasha, while being a mostly painless treatment, can often leave behind what’s called “sha”, or a redness on the skin.

Moxibustion Chinese Medicine Austin

Moxibustion

Moxibustion, also referred to as “moxa,” is made from the mugwort plant, and is used as a healing modality. Using moxibustion can be a great way to treat a disease in which one cannot use acupuncture needles. Burning moxibustion can heal tissue and allow blood to circulate better at a specific area. There are different forms of moxibustion use, such as direct or “rice” moxa, warm needling, and indirect or “stick” moxa. Some styles also use large moxa cones on slices of ginger or garlic.

 

eStim acupuncture austin

Electrical Stimulation (e-Stim)

Electrical stimulation, also referred to as “e-stim,” is a machine that creates an electrical current. This is used by attaching small clamps to the end of acupuncture needles and running a current through them. Because metal is an electrical conductor, there is a set of needles that are used, allowing the current to flow between them. Therefore, activating those acupuncture points and muscles even more. Some devices have multiple channels so that the practitioner can use multiple sets of points with the estim. Estim is used for musculoskeletal disorders, bell's palsy, paralysis, and much more. This technique is similar to the use of TENs units.

Bloodletting

Bloodletting is a way to oxygenate the blood by allowing stagnate blood to be released and newer blood to fill the vein up. This can be used to release the tension and appearance of varicose veins, as well as reduce swelling and inflammation from acute injuries. Bloodletting is used with a hypodermic or lancet needle to prick the area needed to bleed. Sometimes a practitioner will use a glass cup to place on top of the local area pricked to bleed in order to draw more blood from the area.

 

Tuinia chinese medicine bodywork

Tuina

Tuina, literally translated to mean “pinch and pull,” is a form of asian bodywork, which is similar to massage. With tuina, practitioners use acupressure points and specific techniques in order to treat musculoskeletal and digestive issues, insomnia, and aches and pains. This system uses the same theories and basis from acupuncture, just incorporating a pinch and pull bodywork method. Tuina is a great treatment style used by pediatric practitioners because it can be very gentle and effective.

Medical Qigong

Medical Qigong is an energy healing method, without the use of needles, and can have direct or indirect contact from the practitioner. It’s a way for the practitioner to manipulate the energy of the body to help things flow better, or get rid of disease. Medical Qigong treatments can also include the use of meditation and teaching the patient gentle movements to help strengthen one’s physical, mental, and spiritual self. This treatment style is very relaxing, and at the same time energizing.

Seven Star Needling

The seven star needle, also known as plum blossom needle, is made of five to seven needles which are placed together at the end of a long handle. This style of superficial tapping can be used to treat skin diseases, headaches, nervous system disorders, hair loss, paralysis, and painful joints. Plum blossom needles aren’t as commonly used, but most practitioners are trained in the style and may use it if they feel it is necessary.

Come experience the benefits of these treatments at our 2 Austin area acupuncture clinics!
Request an AppointmentWant to learn more about TCM treatments and study Chinese medicine at AOMA? Click below to get more information on becoming an acupuncturist.

Contact  Admissions

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine, cupping, acupuncture, chinese medicine, guasha, moxa

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