AOMA Blog

Heart and the Emotional Wellbeing in Chinese Medicine

Posted by Xiaotian Shen on Thu, Feb 11, 2016 @ 03:50 PM

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In modern society, an illness is no longer considered just the problems of the physical aspect of the body. Very often, the emotional state of the patient can be a contributing factor, if not the primary cause, of their illness.

Today we typically believe that the brain commands the emotions and mental activities, but in the tradition of Western culture, the true source of our emotions is deeply rooted in the heart. We say “I love you from the bottom of my heart”, “heart bursting with joy”, “heart is full”, “my heart is broken”, instead of saying “I love you with my brain” or “brain wrenching”, etc. On the surface, the heart of the issue seems to be that in the West we think with our brains, feel with our hearts, and go with our guts. But if we look deep into Western traditions, some similar philosophies to Eastern culture can be found. When people say “know by heart”, or “take it to heart”, we put the heart in charge of the conscious and subconscious awareness in the same way Chinese medicine believes; when people say “heart to heart”, “heart of steel” or “heart of gold”, it suggests people still intuitively identify their sense of self with the heart. In Chinese medicine, the Heart governs both the mind and the spirit, and therefore represents a more holistic and less isolated approach.

While there’s a recognition of biofeedback based upon heart-brain connection in both cultures, the difference in Western and Eastern medicine is that Eastern medicine takes the heart-brain connection, and furthermore the heart-body connection, more seriously. Traditional Chinese medicine in particular uses it in a more practical way within everyday diagnosis and treatment instead of treating the body with medicine, treating the mind with science, and treating the spirit with religion - as is commonly done in modern Western society.  

Heart is considered the monarchy organ in Chinese medicine, which means Heart not only dominates the blood circulation of the body, but also guides our consciousness and awareness, memory and intellect, emotions and mental activities. When the Heart is strong, we sleep soundly, think clearly and have a good memory, and we have balanced emotions and consciousness. When there are disorders in the Heart, we might experience memory and concentration deficiencies, poor sleep, moodiness and even madness in some extreme cases. In Traditional Chinese medicine we tend to look at a person as a complete system and treat both the emotions and the physical body. Consequently, when we treat, we treat the whole person and we put our hearts into it.

According to the Eastern ancient medicine, the positive energy of the Heart is essential to the good health of the entire body. In order to cultivate the energy of the Heart, one should focus on maintaining a positive outlook and worrying less, seeking peace and tranquility being driven by compassion instead of desires, keeping a regular sleep and eating schedule, and exploring nature often.

The foods that are good for the heart are usually red, because the Heart is the fire organ according to the five element theory and the color red corresponds to the fire element too. These foods include red berries, tomatoes and watermelon; some red meat also helps to nourish heart blood, but remember another important principle of Eastern medicine: everything in moderation.

Learn More: Download an Overview of the Master's Program Introduction to Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine

Topics: tcm nutrition, tcm, tcm health, chinese medicine

Acupuncture and TCM for Weight Loss

Posted by Violet Song on Wed, Jan 06, 2016 @ 11:50 AM

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When it comes to New Year's resolutions, weight loss usually takes the cake as being the most popular area of change people wish to make in their lives. From diet fads and pills to intense workout regimens like Insanity and CrossFit, the various ways to lose weight seem endless. Some even take the Western medical route to "fix" their problem areas, opting for costly and risky surgeries or procedures like Botox or Liposuction. What the average American might not realize is that options in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture are effective and much safer in comparison.

Measuring Obesity

When talking about weight loss, there are two indexes often used for measurement of weight issues:

1. Body Mass Index

In June 1997, the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Database on Body Mass Index (BMI) was developed as part of WHO's commitment to implementing the recommendations of the WHO Expert.

BMI = WEIGHT (kg) / HEIGHT (m) × HEIGHT (m)

BMI Categories:

Underweight = <18.5

Normal weight = 18.5–24.9

Overweight = 25–29.9

Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

2. Waist Size

Waist size is the simplest and most common way to measure “abdominal obesity”—the extra fat found around the middle that is an important factor in health, even independent of BMI. It is the circumference of the abdomen, measured at the natural waist (in between the lowest rib and the top of the hip bone), the umbilicus (belly button), or at the narrowest point of the midsection.

Below are the abdominal obesity measurement guidelines for different ethnic groups according to the Harvard School of Public Health:

Country/Ethnic Group

Waist Circumference Cut Points

Europids*

In the USA, the ATP III values

(102 cm male; 88 cm female)

are likely to continue to be used for

clinical purposes

Male: ≥ 94 cm

Female: ≥ 80 cm

South Asians
Based on a Chinese, Malay,

and Asian-Indian population

Male: ≥ 90 cm

Female: ≥ 80 cm

Chinese

Male: ≥ 90 cm

Female: ≥ 80 cm

Japanese**

Male: ≥ 90 cm

Female: ≥ 80 cm

Ethnic South and

Central Americans

Use the South Asian recommendations

until more specific data are available

Sub-Saharan Africans

Use European data until

more specific data are available

Eastern Mediterranean

and Middle East (Arab) populations

Use European data until

more specific data are available

*In future epidemiological studies of populations of Europid origin, prevalence should be given using both European and North American cut points to allow better comparisons.

** Originally, different values were proposed for Japanese people but new data support the use of the values shown above.

How TCM and Acupuncture Can Help 

According to China Knowledge Integrated (CNKI) database in China, there were 74 clinical research papers published between 1994 and 2002 on acupuncture application for weight loss. The effectiveness reached 85%-97%. The acupuncture is targeting both BMI and waist size.

Generally speaking, weight loss acupuncture is used to stimulate the acupoints and meridians. It can help by regulating the hypothalamic-pituitary– adrenal axis and the sympathetic-adrenal medulla systems. Therefore, it accelerates the basal metabolic rate and promotes fat metabolism. When calorie-burning increases, accumulated fat is consumed.

Using acupuncture to regulate and adjust, the human body self-balances. The approach is to stimulate the acupoints in order to strengthen the vital qi (the energetic substance). When the vital qi is strong, pathogenic factors cannot stay in the body. In other words, body fat no longer accumulates.

Benefits of Weight Loss Acupuncture

First, acupuncture can efficiently regulate lipid metabolism. Overweight patients usually have above normal lipid peroxidation. Acupuncture points are used to lower the lipid peroxidation level and accelerate lipid metabolism, thus achieving weight loss.

Second, acupuncture can help correct abnormal food cravings. Acupuncture regulates the nervous system in order to control the excessive gastric acid secretion. After acupuncture, the gastric emptying process slows and food cravings are reduced.

Third, acupuncture can effectively regulate endocrine disorders. Endocrine disorders are often accompanied by weight gain. The most typical endocrine overweight examples are postpartum and menopause related. There are two systems involved: the hypothalamic-pituitary–adrenal axis and the sympathetic-adrenal medulla. Disorders of these two systems are often found in overweight patients.

Besides acupuncture, herbal treatment, dietary regulations, meditation and, most importantly, exercise are all part of a weight loss treatment plan. There are many weight loss methods which we use during clinical practice at AOMA and which your acupuncturist can discuss with you. Acupuncture is a safe choice for weight loss without side effects. The acupuncture treatment regulates the body's internal functions and helps the body return to a normal rate of metabolism. It is not a temporary action, but one that produces long-term benefits.

Request an appointment at the AOMA clinics with Violet Song:

Request Appointment

Download our introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine Nutrition:

Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Nutrition

Topics: tcm nutrition, tcm, weight loss

AOMA hires new Director of Clinical Education

Posted by Rob Davidson on Mon, Dec 14, 2015 @ 10:00 AM

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AOMA is pleased to announce the appointment of a new faculty member and director of clinical education, Dr. Jing Fan, who is slated to begin in the middle of February. Dr. Fan received his bachelor of medicine (MD), master of clinical medicine, and PhD in orthopedics of Chinese medicine at the Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine in Nanjing, China. He completed three fellowships in orthopedics and Chinese medicine at Nanjing First Hospital, Jiangsu Province Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Shanghai No.6 People's Hospital. He has been an associate chief physician and associate professor at Jiangsu Province Hospital of TCM and Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine since 2013 and is an instructor and visiting scholar at Harvard Medical School. He has published numerous papers and has been and is still involved in several research studies. He is currently in Boston where he is finishing up two years of postdoctoral research fellowship, first at Brigham and Women's Hospital in 2014, and now at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center through 2015.

Topics: aoma

Meet Greg Green, AOMA Director of Admissions

Posted by Rob Davidson on Fri, Dec 11, 2015 @ 01:30 PM

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Greg is the new Director of Admissions making him the first point of contact for prospective students considering AOMA. Greg Green has over 20 years of experience working in higher education, staffing and entrepreneurial endeavors.  His background has included facilitating the launch of online graduate programs for Baylor University and Louisiana State University.  He holds a BS in Management from University of Phoenix and is currently pursuing an MBA from Texas A&M University.  His passion for helping others succeed in life and education led him to the doors of AOMA.

Away from work Greg enjoys being outdoors. He is also a certified rescue diver and has owned 5 business and invented two products which are still in commercial applications. 

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

Topics: admissions, aoma students

Will Morris: New Focus as AOMA Resident Scholar and President Emeritus

Posted by William Morris on Tue, Nov 17, 2015 @ 12:44 PM

Dear AOMA Community,

It is not without mixed feelings that I call upon the Board of Governors to begin a search for a new president. As I gaze upon the final 1/3 of my life, it has become necessary for me to release a portion of my work which has been a primary focus for the last ten years the role as president of AOMA. It is now time to refine and cultivate the teachings with which I have been gifted by family lineages and literate traditions.

Good leadership requires a timely and healthy transfer of roles and responsibilities. The transition to a new president will take place according to these values.

At this crossroad, I would like to take the opportunity to send gratitude and blessings to this community. I could not have had the success that has taken place over the last ten years without a team composed of remarkable grit and commitment. Especially, thank you to: Linda Fontaine, Jamie Wu, Anne Province, Lesley Hamilton, John Finnell, Donna Hurta and Cara Edmond. The AOMA board of governors has provided extraordinary wisdom and insight in guiding the mission of the institution; thank you for your commitment. AOMA has the finest faculty in the field and I am privileged to work at their side. AOMA students generate an extraordinary community whereby learning is extended through their passion for the work and each other. I would like to recognize especially those learners I have worked with in the clinic; that is the highlight of my week. The staff at AOMA is nothing less than amazing, pursuing institutional goals with enthusiasm and tenacity, thank you.

I am pleased that I will remain with AOMA in the role of Resident Scholar and President Emeritus. To this end, I am wishing health, wealth and happiness for every recipient of this note and to those lives which AOMA has had the opportunity to touch.

Warmly,

Will

Topics: acupuncture school, aoma students

Catching Up With Ashley Oved, Acupuncturist, Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Posted by Rob Davidson on Wed, Nov 04, 2015 @ 11:57 AM

On Thursday, October 15, AOMA Alumni Ashley Oved presented “Acupuncture in the Integrative Hospital”, a Brown Bag Lecture about her experience in the increasingly common practice of acupuncture in an integrative hospital.

We caught up with Ashley to ask her a few questions about her life at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America and how she felt her education at AOMA helped prepare her for the challenges she faces each day. 

What does a typical work day look like for you at the hospital?

There are two acupuncturists at this location and we each treat between 9-14 patients a day. It’s a fast paced environment but quite manageable. We treat most of our patients in the Outpatient Clinic but we also treat patients in the Intensive Care Unit or will visit them when they are receiving chemotherapy in the Infusion Center. Just recently, we’ve started Group Acupuncture twice a week which has been a huge success. Our patients really love acupuncture, so there is rarely a dull moment around here.

Do you feel like your training at AOMA adequately prepared you for work in an integrated environment? 

I really do! Working at Seton Topfer and Austin Recovery gave me a ton of experience. Austin Recovery intimidated me so much the first couple of weeks (shout out to Claudia Voyles for being my pillar of strength) but it was probably the best clinic I ever had at AOMA. It exposed me to a different patient population and prepared me for leading Group Acupuncture here at CTCA.  The information I learned in the Physical Assessment classes has also come in handy.  The first time I saw “No Babinski, Negative Romberg” on a patient’s chart I thought, “I know what that means! 

Any advice for current students or alum who are interested in working in an environment like CTCA?

It’s a good idea to focus in on a specialty.  Whether it’s pediatrics, oncology, or fertility it really is up to you. Get some books on what interests you, or take some online CEU’s. Having that leg up gives you an advantage when applying to jobs.  But truly my best advice is to just go out and apply. The clinical experience you gain in the student clinic has prepared you more than you know. You don’t have to be the greatest acupuncturist that has ever lived. You just have to be confident in yourself and your abilities. If you continue to learn new techniques and keep up to date on the latest studies, you will be well on your way.  There are many hospitals that already incorporate acupuncture into their model of care, and many more on the verge of it. So don’t get discouraged! There are definitely jobs out there.

To learn more about the Student & Career Services’ Brown Bag Lecture Series check out our website.

Download Guide to Career in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Topics: efficacy of acupuncture, acupuncture, licensed acupuncture, cancer treatment

From Patient to Practitioner: Two Perspectives on Chinese Medicine

Posted by Stephanie Madden on Thu, Oct 08, 2015 @ 03:00 PM

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Many acupuncture students begin their journey as patients before becoming fully invested in the academics and practice of oriental medicine. For one reason or another, this functional medicine resonates with the healing process better than others you have tried before and the interest is sparked. At some point the fascination exceeds the mystery and develops into a desire to understand how it works. Like many others before me, I was incredibly curious about this profound method of manipulating qi.

When I was having complications with my own health going to doctors became a fearful chore. In the waiting room I would work myself into a clammy sweat anticipating whichever test they would need to run next, but unfortunately, leave feeling the same as the day before and without conclusive results. There were so many follow-ups and referrals to get to a place of homoeostasis it seemed the horizon would never come.

The experience with my acupuncturist was a world of difference – the closer I was to the office the better I felt. As soon as it was my turn to be seen I could feel my muscles unlock from the base of my skull to the tips of my toes. I could release my tension onto the floor and finally take a breath. The building my acupuncturist worked in including the treatment rooms were nothing special, but there was something about the energy of the space my practitioner created for me that was more therapeutic than any other place I had known at the time. Walking into that space with her made me feel confident I would leave feeling better than I came, which I always did.

I admired her. She portrayed freedom with her personal style underneath her lab coat and by the way she was accompanied by her small child at work. I felt her mind was completely focused on me and my healing while I was in her presence. The passion and independence she had as a businesswoman was something I had only fantasized about. Seeing it right in front of me was promising for my dreams.  It was about more than the incredible healing I achieved while I was under her care that convinced me I had found my divine decree – the harmonious lifestyle she portrayed is what held a mirror to my future.

Now as a young practitioner and student of the medicine at AOMA, I aspire to create the same atmosphere my acupuncturist did for me. When I see patients I always try to meet them from wherever they are coming from. For several of them this is their last resort, a shot in the dark, because they have been in pain for so long. For others, it's an intricate part of a well thought out therapeutic plan. The essence of transitioning from patient to practitioner is that I am now the one who creates the space.

Whatever was happening before they stepped into my treatment room has lost all of its power. I open the space to allow my patients to leave whatever misfortunes they have on the floor, jump up on the table, and heal. At the end of each session I watch my patients walk away with a lighter heart as I wash their pain from my hands and, we both leave the day behind us on that floor and go home.

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

Topics: acupuncture school, acupuncture clinics, acupuncture, acupuncture patients

Beyond the Yang of Acupuncture: Yin in Practice

Posted by Jessica Johnson on Fri, Sep 25, 2015 @ 11:27 AM

The reason why most people choose to go into the field of Integrative Medicine and attend school at AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine may not be what you think. More often, it is not about the money or the title. In actuality, people are choosing this field because, as acupuncturists and integrative medicine practitioners, they have a fantastic opportunity to connect with their patients on a deeper level than most medical professionals. Needling is only a very small part of what we learn in school and an even smaller part of an acupuncturist’s practice.

Needling is part of the yang portion of our studies- the part of physically doing something, of direct intervention. However, it is my opinion that the yin side of our studies here at AOMA may be the more interesting of the two. The yin nature of a practice – what goes on beyond the needles, is about nurturing; it is about presence and solidness. Yin is the substance with which yang can be utilized. Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine know that one cannot have yang without yin; there has to be a balance of both within the body and within any good medical practice. Therefore, here at AOMA we learn and practice how to bring the yin into our practice.

Every Friday morning of the summer term of 2015, Rupesh Chhagan leads his Clinic Communication class in a mind-body practice – a series of qigong movements, followed by a guided meditation. Only after the students have taken the time to check in with their own wellbeing through movement and deep inner connection can class lecture begin. But class lecture in Clinic Communication is anything but a lecture.

As a practitioner of Hakomi, a form of mindfulness-centered somatic psychotherapy, Rupesh believes that the body is a gateway of the unconscious mind. The body reflects what is happening internally- emotionally, spiritually, and physically. In Clinic Communication class, Rupesh reminds his students that that their patients have individual feelings, emotions, beliefs, and thoughts, and they are not just a set of symptoms and complaints in the clinic.

Instead of being instructed on how to act in the clinic setting, students are asked to actively participate in listening exercises. Instead of formulating their next response and interjecting their ideas immediately, listening students are asked to embody the idea of “the person sitting in front of me is an inspiration to me." They practice feeling what real listening is like, what it looks like. Each of the students in the classroom teams up with another student and they each present the other with a mild problem they are experiencing in their lives while the other student listens. They are not just practicing listening, but they are learning to actually hear what the other student is saying and feeling. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, you learn to “listen with your whole body” and at AOMA you learn to embody loving presence, you learn to see your patients and those you listen to as inspirations for you.

If there is one thing to take away from the Clinic Communication course with Rupesh, it is that even when we feel that we have nothing in common with another person, we always share the human experience. Patients are people. We all have our own set of beliefs, emotions, histories, and thoughts but we are all so similar. We are all in search of balance. As acupuncturists, it is our job to find our own sense of balance so that we can help our patients find theirs. We practice listening to our patients and in turn, they inspire us. We are not just needling - we are connecting with our fellow human beings, our brothers and sisters as student interns and one day as practitioners. Through empathic listening along with mindfulness in providing treatment, yin and yang are balanced.

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

Topics: acupuncture school, yin/yang theory, acupuncture

3 Steps to any Qigong Practice

Posted by Gene Kuntz on Fri, Aug 07, 2015 @ 01:30 PM

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Qigong is an ancient practice that stems from Taoist folk mysticism, literally translating to “life energy cultivation." Similar practices can be seen around the world in traditional folk communities spanning from the shamans of Peru to the aborigine in Australia. Qigong is simply one of the many paths used by humans to connect with themselves, others, and the divine. Qigong is essentially a ritual done through breath, movement and intention. Like any ritual, it necessitates and creates focus, clarity and has a process. At the very basic level this process has these three steps: clearing, cultivating and storing.  

  1. Clear

This step is like cleaning a dish before you begin to cook or emptying old stagnant water out of your fish bowl before adding new water. You don’t want to cultivate a bunch of energy and put it in a dirty vessel. When life's rough, shake like a dog to instantly feel the calming effects of clearing. Jostling, shaking, and trembling are all ways clearing resets the nervous system. This allows the mind and body to start from center, often literally shaking off the day. Use it as a way to clear your own energy after a class, business meeting, or any other time you may feel energetically slimed. Also great for the lymph system, bones and muscles!
  1. Cultivate

In short, all cultivation practices of qi gong and many energetic practices combine the 3 regulations: unifying the breath | intention | posture. When these three are combined, you are doing qigong. Through this centering practice one becomes likened to a battery that has just been put in a remote control, the practitioner is now in the optimal position to receive and transmit energy. From this stance the practitioner can move into other positions to circulate qi, creating different sensations while balancing specific systems. This process is known for its benefits: growing confidence, lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, and building coordination are just a few of the myriad of benefits that are out there.

Cultivate

  1. Store

This can be the shortest aspect of the three part process and is essential to maintaining all of the energy that you created throughout your practice.  One master describes this concept in modern terms. He said, “doing qi gong without storing the energy is like creating a word document and forgetting to press the save button, so much work for nothing."  Always store the qi you cultivate, you worked hard for it, it only takes a few moments to do the minimum.  Storing allows you to maintain the cultivated qi, protect from leakage, and ground the body | mind | spirit. Longevity, Libido, Creativity, Healing, Creating Fire Balls with your hands? The Force is now strong with you, what will you do with it?

Store    

The principles of Qi (life energy) are innate in us all. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle, it is easy to forget our divine nature and innate connection with heaven, earth and our fellow [wo]man. Qigong gives us an understanding of how this force moves in our bodies, with others, and our environment. Qigong is about connecting.  No matter what, remember to breath and you are connected.  Live long and qigong. Keep in mind these three concepts when creating your practice: Clear | Cultivate | Store.  

"The best practice is the one you do" -Unknown

For more information on qi gong, classes, workshops and local community events please see AOMA's Community Class Calendar

Qigong classes at AOMA

 

To learn more about Gene visit http://www.3vessels.com/.
3vessels

 

Topics: qigong

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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