AOMA Blog

Chinese Medicine for Stress Relief

Posted by Yongxin Fan on Mon, Apr 19, 2021 @ 01:16 PM

 

Chinese Medicine for Stress Relief

How Stress Affects the Body

Our bodies are hardwired to handle stress, but over time too much stress takes a toll on the body.  When we feel threatened the sympathetic nervous system is activated causing the heart rate to increase, the pupils to dilate, and blood to be directed towards the extremities. Digestion can temporarily shut down. This is also known as the "fight or flight" response and is why when we are stressed, we may feel agitated or want to run away from our problems. Cortisol, sometimes called “the stress hormone”, is also released, causing increases in both blood pressure and inflammation while suppressing the immune system. If our bodies continue to experience high amounts of cortisol, symptoms can evolve into anxiety, depression, fatigue, digestive issues and tension headaches.

Stress is defined as an organism's total response to environmental demands or pressures. In a medical or biological context stress  is a physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Stresses can be external (from the environment, psychological, or social situations) or internal (illness, or from a medical procedure).

Chinese Medicine for Stress Relief

acupuncture for stress

In Chinese medical theory, strong emotions like stress interrupt the body’s energy flowing smoothly. When these strong emotions are present for long periods of time they create a blockage in the body’s “road” system creating an energetic “traffic jam.” Acupuncture increases the circulation of blood and oxygenates the tissues throughout the body while cycling out cortisol and releasing natural pain-killers called endorphins. Other benefits of acupuncture include decreasing the heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and relaxing the muscles to help the body feel less stressed.

The traditional Chinese medicine approach is to focus on restoring the balance of energy in the body, such as soothing the liver Qi, tonifying the liver blood and spleen Qi, clearing the heat in the heart and liver, etc. A combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are generally applied and combined to treat stress; diet therapy and exercise is suggested as well.

Case Studies from AOMA professor, Dr.Yongxin Fan

Yongxin Fan acupuncturist

Dr. Yongxin Fan has over 20 years of clinical experience in treating muscular-skeletal disorders, pain, digestive disorders, and psycho-emotional disorders including stress.

“One patient had intense stress from her job and was having insomnia. I treated her with acupuncture and the herbal formula wen dan tang. After the first treatment she was sleeping much better and after two weeks the stress was much reduced.

A patient with more severe stress symptoms (anxiety, panic attack, insomnia, and heart palpitations) recovered in 3 weeks after receiving acupuncture and taking the herbal formulas gui pi tang & huang lain e jiao tang.

Sometimes the symptoms are less severe but still can be debilitating. I had a patient who complained that ever since childhood she cried very easily, making her uncomfortable. I gave her acupuncture and Chinese herbs (xiao yao wan & gan mai da zao tang), and after 2 months she is much better.”

Chinese Herbs for Stress

Chinese herbsThe most commonly prescribed Chinese herbal formulas for stress are xiao yao wan (also known as “Free and Easy Wanderer”), gan mai da zao tang, chai hu shu gan san, yi guan jian, yue ju wan, and gui pi tang. To find out the right herbs for you, make an appointment with a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist. The practitioner will take a full medical history and do pulse and tongue diagnosis to determine the best acupuncture plan and herbal prescription.

Exercise and Diet for Stress

Exercise should be a part of everyone’s stress management plan, as it helps the body produce more endorphins, also known as the “runner’s high”. Many types of physical activity can stimulate this response and each person must find the right type of exercise for him or herself. For some, walking is enough, but others will want to get more of a workout to get their blood pumping and break a sweat.

Taiji, qigong, and meditation are forms of mind-body exercise and have been shown to help induce the “relaxation response.” The relaxation response makes the heart beat slower, muscles relax, breathing become slower, and blood pressure decrease.

As far as dietary therapy, most vegetables and fruits that are rich in color can help the body deal with stress. For example, in Chinese nutrition, blueberries, purple cabbage, beets, tomatoes, and eggplant are believed to be stress reducing. A diet high in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins B & E is recommended, as these nutrients are easily depleted by stress.

Fruits and vegetables such as apricots, asparagus, avocados, bananas, and broccoli, brown rice, dried fruit, figs, salmon, green leafy vegetables, and most rich colored fruits are high in vitamin B. Even if you eat a healthy diet, vitamin B complex is a good supplement to consider if you suffer for chronic stress.

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Topics: Dr. Yongxin Fan, stress relief, stress management, acupuncture for stress relief

HONORING SHERRY GADDY COOMBES  (1943 – 2021)

Posted by Pam F on Mon, Apr 05, 2021 @ 06:50 PM

IMG_4626

- A tribute from Pam Ferguson (AOMA's ABT dean emerita)

      AOMA alums from our north campus days will remember Sherry Gaddy Coombes with great affection from her years (2004-2009) as student adviser/recruiter. Yes her husband (retired USAF Colonel and Vietnam Vet) Jimmie Coombes was our AOMA President at the time (1998-2009).

     Sherry – a longhorn graduate and long time campaigner against the death penalty – was also an ardent pet rescuer. She had a wit second to none. Time in her office was always informative, and loads of fun. Mutual friends and I met Jim and Sherry regularly for hilarious lunch dates – our last date in March was canceled when she told me she was in hospice care, and she passed peacefully a couple of days after our phone call.

     A few months ago I interviewed Sherry extensively for my recent column in Acupuncture Today about her decade long battle with metastatic cancer that wouldIMG_4627 have floored anyone else. I used a pseudonym for her, and marveled at her ability to survive multiple surgeries, rounds of chemo and ongoing metastases.

     Her secret? Apart from a buoyant love of life and a wonderfully caring family, Sherry worked out rigorously each day for an hour. Besides walking – she completed 30 mins of cardio on her elliptical machine, reps of bench pressing and leg lifting of fairly light weights, some hand weights, partial push ups, stretching and balance practice. Early on she also received Acupuncture from one of our wonderful AOMA deans, and excellent bodywork.

     Sherry always looked stunning throughout the last decade, and claimed workouts helped her maintain the fitness to endure.   I'll never forget her magical laughter each time I called her “the poster child of cancer survival” as she bucked all the stereotypes.

     Sherry is survived by Jim, their two children and five grandchildren. Her obit was in the Austin American Statesman 3/26/2021. A memorial service is planned at the First Unitarian Universalist church on 49th St. Time and date to be determined later. Donations in her name can be made to NOCC (ovarian.org) or Tiger Haven Sanctuary (tigerhaven.org).

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Some of the Amazing Women of AOMA who are Transforming Lives

Posted by Stephanee Owenby on Wed, Mar 31, 2021 @ 06:52 AM

Women’s History Month, first beginning as Women’s History Week in 1981, honors the contributions women have made to a variety of fields, commemorating and encouraging the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role of women throughout history.

AOMA is fortunate to have several brilliant women acupuncturists in our Professional Clinic, all of whom are also faculty members and clinic supervisors at the Student Intern Clinic. Every day they contribute to the world and to the AOMA community by transforming the lives of patients and sharing their knowledge and wisdom with the future acupuncturists of AOMA’s student body. In honor of Women’s History Month, join me in learning more about these incredible women – I know you will find them as amazing and inspiring as I do!

Qiao ‘Chelsea’ Xu, MD (China), L.Ac.

Why did you choose to become an acupuncturist?

I heard a lot of stories about traditional Chinese medicine as a child. My mother once told me a story from her own childhood, over 80 years ago where my aunt had gotten shingles. Through using a combination of moxibustion and acupuncture, my grandmother was able to help my aunt recover very effectively. As I grew up, this story really resonated with me and helped drive me towards studying acupuncture.

What qualities make a great acupuncturist?

A great acupuncturist needs to be detail oriented, but also compassionate and mindful.

What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career?

There are two components to this: educating patients to empower themselves in their own life. Whether it be through qigong, dietary adjustments, mindfulness - help

Faculty_Headshot_HiR__Xu

ing patients balance their physical and mental health preventatively, not just symptomatically has been very fulfilling. As a teacher, I'm very proud of helping my students use TCM concepts to emphasize the connection between themselves and the universe around them. That mind-body balance and applying this to their treatment style.

What has been your biggest challenge as a woman in the TCM field?

The biggest challenge has been balancing work and my family.

What woman in your past has inspired you and how?

My mother is my biggest inspiration. She is loving, strong, and hard working - and fascinated with TCM. I saw her treat conditions that my father was enduring using TCM that even MDs failed to treat properly really. She really inspired me to become the practitioner I am today.

How do you balance your career with your family life, volunteer work, hobbies, and other interests? Has that balance changed over time?

Before getting married - I worked long hours in the hospitals. Finding the right balance after starting a family meant I had to figure out how to manage my time in new ways. For me this meant finding new efficiencies throughout the day. Listening to lectures while making a meal, or simple toe raises while sitting. A balance between maintaining an active mind and body without feeling like I was forcing anything. I'm proud of the effort I put into my family and career. That balance has to come from what feels right to each person. Over time as my children leave home, I've had time for more hobbies.

Can you tell us about a university or education experience that shaped your future career as an acupuncturist?

While a medical intern I remember an experience with a professor that was a very experienced eye acupuncturist. He was over 80 at this point, having developed many of his own techniques and practices. I'm nearsighted. My very first experience being treated by him was transformative - I could feel a lightness in my eyes. This experience really inspired me on how effective acupuncture could be.

How important is higher education to the future of women and the world?

Higher education is important not just for economic liberation and women's careers - but also to uplift and be an example for the next generations.

What message or advice would you like to share with other women acupuncturists or future acupuncturists?

Love your patients. Love your job. The community and bonds formed are just as important as the career driven aspect of this profession. Take pride in your work with passion.

 

Yaoping ‘Violet’ Song, PhD, L.Ac.

Why did you choose to become an acupuncturist?

I wanted the opportunity to be able to help people.

What qualities make a great acupuncturist?

First and foremost, caring.

What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career?Faculty_Headshot_HiR__Song_(1)

Having helped people back to health.

What has been your biggest challenge as a woman in the TCM field?

Not really challenge nowadays, but more advantages.

What woman in your past has inspired you and how?

There are a lot of them! My mom, my teachers, my coaches. They taught me to be Kind, Brave, and Smart.  

Are there any assumptions about women that you would like to change? Why?

I really don't care about assumptions.

How do you balance your career with your family life, volunteer work, hobbies, and other interests? Has that balance changed over time?

It's a dynamic balance. I'm always adjusting it.

Can you tell us about a university or education experience that shaped your future career as an acupuncturist?

I appreciate all my education experience and it's an ongoing process.

How important is higher education to the future of women and the world?

Higher education is equally important for both men and women.

What message or advice would you like to share with other women acupuncturists or future acupuncturists?

Don't give up!

Reagan Taylor, MAcOM L.Ac.

Why did you choose to become an acupuncturist?

I used to work as a direct care staff for adults with intellectual disabilities, which can be incredibly challenging and deeply rewarding. As enriching as my experiences were, I knew I didn’t want to be a direct care staff forever, nor did I want to work as an administrator for a facility. This left me wondering how my desire to work with this community wouldReaganLea_Selfie manifest…then I had my first acupuncture treatment that changed everything. My world opened up, and I set on a path to become a Chinese medicine practitioner or the specific purpose of bringing it to the special needs community.

I worked at a facility during the entirety of my undergrad, throughout my master’s degree at AOMA, and remained working there after I graduated and became licensed. At the same time, I explored opportunities to treat the residents where I worked and build a practice. Since then, my career goals have shifted more towards clinical education, but I still have a deep desire to dedicate my time and expertise to this amazing community.

Now, as a full-time faculty at AOMA, I still hope to bring this incredible medicine to the special needs community by way of developing a student clinic. I can’t imagine a better way to serve those with cognitive disabilities than train and educate future healthcare professionals to work with these individuals with compassion and competency.

What qualities make a great acupuncturist?

Generally, I would say knowledge, compassion, confidence and a deep philosophical understanding of yin and yang. Ultimately, patients decide what makes a good acupuncturist according to their world views and values.

What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career?

My career is really just getting started, but as a practitioner, I must say I’m most proud of my attentiveness to my patients and the quality treatments I offer. I genuinely love Chinese medicine and providing patient care, and I believe that comes through when I’m with my patients. This also translates into my work as an instructor at AOMA with the students I teach and mentor. I feel that I’m trusted, and that truly means a lot to me.

What has been your biggest challenge as a woman in the TCM field?

I’m a rather opinionated person who isn’t afraid to use my voice when necessary (even when it’s not). Let’s just say I’m no shrinking violet, so I wouldn’t say that I personally have felt challenged as a woman in the world of TCM…yet. Although in the field as a whole, women are sorely underrepresented. Most of the practitioners in the United States are women; however, most of the people who have the most lucrative careers are men. Most of the well-known scholars of TCM are men. Most of the highest-paid educators are men. Most of the books are written by men. In this aspect, the world of TCM is no different from other industries. Knowing how many brilliant women there are in this field, I hope that dynamic shifts in the near future. Something tells me it absolutely will.

What woman in your past has inspired you and how?

Two women immediately come to mind: one of my oldest and closest friends, Shelagh Brown, and my teacher and mentor, Lesley Hamilton.

Shelagh has always been a force. She has challenged me in ways that provoke deeper analysis and critical thinking regarding society, spirit, and myself. Shelagh’s wide breadth of knowledge from plant medicine to racial injustice to history continually amazes and inspires me. I am the woman I am today because she constantly pushed me to be better and to do better, and I owe her the world.

AOMA is where it is today because Dr. Lesley Hamilton’s hard work, and anyone who knows anything will agree with me wholeheartedly. I have no idea how she does all of the things she does while maintaining her sanity and composure. She is quite literally Wonder Woman, and I have never met a more capable woman in all my life. The example Lesley set as an educator is what altered my career path to what it is today. When she can finally retire, her constant presence on campus and in AOMA’s community will be sorely missed.

Are there any assumptions about women that you would like to change? Why?

These days, a lot of the common misconceptions and assumptions about women are being challenged and are finally changing. If I had to choose one belief about women to change, it would be one that has plagued us for literally thousands of years and can be summed up in one word…hysteria. This word originates from the word hystera, which is Greek for the uterus.

It doesn’t take a linguist or a scholar to see the blatant link between women and emotional upset. It’s time that this ridiculous view of women being so volatile in how we handle our emotions is set aside. Instead, I think it’s important to normalize everyone expressing natural emotion in healthy, productive ways. There is also value in showing compassion and understanding in the moments of emotional overwhelm, because that happens too.

How do you balance your career with your family life, volunteer work, hobbies, and other interests? Has that balance changed over time?

Everyone, regardless of their gender identity, needs to find a harmonious balance between work life and living life. In this day and age, it can be challenging to strike a true equilibrium. For myself, I’ve made it a point to focus on the aspects of life that keep my emotional cup full. While there are times I struggle with maintaining a perfect, peaceful balance, I always take time for my family, friends, and to get in some good snuggles with my dogs.

Can you tell us about a university or education experience that shaped your future career as an acupuncturist?

For myself, it goes the other way around. My desire to become an acupuncturist is what shaped my educational experiences. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up until I was 27. With only a few college-level classes under my belt, I basically had to start from the ground up and develop myself as a student with the end goal to become an acupuncturist.

AOMA was always the school I wanted to go to. I’m a local Austinite, so knowing the high quality of education that AOMA has, I didn’t see a need to go anywhere else. I studied the curriculum and built my undergrad experience with classes to best prepare me and serve my educational experience at AOMA. I focused on advanced sciences, particularly biology. I took psychology and sociology classes to expand my world views and understand different human experiences, which helps me in clinical practice, serving my patients the best way possible.

How important is higher education to the future of women and the world?

I find a lot of value in higher education, but not everyone has access to this privilege. I think women should be appreciated and respected, regardless of their educational level or career choices. We all have something to offer and things to teach one another.

With that being said, the world of higher education, and most trades, are dominated by men. This is changing rapidly, and women are now demanding recognition and respect in these spaces.

What message or advice would you like to share with other women acupuncturists or future acupuncturists?

Throughout every age of human history, women have a tradition of being healers…we shouldn’t shy away from embracing this powerful legacy. We are the backbone of this profession, and our contributions cannot and should not be understated, overlooked, or undervalued.

Topics: faculty spotlight, aoma, tcm, tcm education, acupunture

New Year Resolutions for 2021

Posted by Charline Liu on Sat, Jan 09, 2021 @ 04:20 PM

New Year Resolutions

Happy New Year! I hope that 2021 brings health, prosperity and happiness for everyone. 2020 was different in many ways and even though the new normal has settled in, there are many health related New Year resolutions to make 2021 better. Both our north and south clinics are open at this time with covid-19 safety regulations listed here. If any of these resolutions made it onto your list, consider making an appointment at our clinics! 

Weight Loss

One of the most popular new year's resolutions is weight loss. From fad diets to weightlifting at the gym, many Americans are changing their lives for the better. But did you know that Traditional Chinese Medicine are just as effective in weight loss? To read more about how Acupuncture can help weight loss, read this blog post by Dr. Violet Song, Acupuncture for Weight Loss

Stress Relief 

Stress relief is one of the most common chief complaints treated at AOMA clinics. If lowering or managing stress better is one of your new year resolutions, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can lower your stress levels, alleviate anxiety and help with your overall health. 

Alleviate Pain 

Pain is another condition that is also commonly treated at AOMA clinics. Both chronic and acute pain can keep you from living your life to the fullest, and Acupuncture has been proven to help relieve pain without the use of medications. 

Quit Smoking 

Acupuncture has been proven to help patients quit smoking. Quitting smoking is another common health new year resolution that can drastically improve your health. The NADA protocol of fine needles inserted into 5 points has been especially useful. Click here to read more on Acupuncture for Nicotine Addiction

Conclusion 

Even in the unprecedented events of 2020 and 2021, your healthy new year resolutions are important to us. Make an appointment with either our South and North clinics and start 2021 off right! 



Topics: self-care, stress relief, acupuncture for stress relief, aoma

Checking in on Pam Ferguson, former Dean of Asian Bodywork Therapy at AOMA.

Posted by Brian Becker on Tue, Oct 20, 2020 @ 02:35 PM

Give us a brief synapse on your latest book, which we understand is going live on Amazon very soon

Crossing Lines

CROSSING LINES is now live on Amazon as an e-book! Later on a paperback will be available. But as the work is set during the week of Halloween/el Dia de los Muertos - I was keen to launch it before the end of October.  This is my 11th book published to date. Previous books - including textbooks that are in the AOMA library - were published on both sides of the Atlantic.  Living in Austin inspired the storyline of CROSSING LINES including a range of Border politics and what it means to be a Border state.  CROSSING LINES is a sad murder story within a family dynamic in Austin and the Border, and involving a land inheritance controversy dating back to Spanish Texas. The story also involves the heartbreaking reality of femicide.

Tell us about your journey with TCM and Asian Bodywork Therapy. 

Ah, my first career was as an investigative journalist  in the UK and USA and author of books on topics ranging from  the Middle East conflict, to political thrillers based in the Olympic Games, to works of fiction based on my investigative reporting on the tobacco and liquor industries. I came upon Asian Medicine quite by chance when I lived  next door to an Acupuncture clinic in Japantown San Francisco at the end of the 1970s and my partner gave me the classic book on Zen Shiatsu by Shizuto Masunaga. I realized this was what I had to study as I always had a knack  - instinctively - for finding acupoints that released pain while nursing my mother through endless migraines. I trained at the Ohashi  Institute in New York City and was asked to become an instructor - and they sent me to teach courses in Canada and  Switzerland. That kicked off my 3 decades of helping expand Shiatsu training in  Canada, Switzerland, Germany, and Austria -  prompting me to write textbooks on Shiatsu, and on the Five Elements. That's how my two careers became one.  In 2008 I co-edited, co-authored SAND TO SKY with Debra Duncan Persinger PhD, as the first anthology of interviews with global authors of Asian Medicine in the 21st century. We honored several AOMA instructors in this work - including Stuart Watts, AOMA's founder.

You've had a long relationship with AOMA. Share with us how you first became involved and some of the work you've done with us.

Stuart Watts first recruited me to develop AOBTA compliant training in Asian Bodywork Therapy at AOMA when I joined the fledgling school in 1996. Both Stuart and I spent years on the AOBTA board. It was a joy to create a whole new Zen Shiatsu program styled to fit in with the Acupuncture curriculum and with one semester devoted to the Five Elements.  We arranged offsite student clinics at St David's North Austin Medical Center,  at retirement centers, the Safe Place, at the School for the Blind, and at a residential  addiction rehab center. I'm deeply proud of this community outreach and how it spread AOMA's great reputation and the skills of really talented and pams_pic_in_back_garden-smallenthusiastic students.  I left AOMA about a decade ago as Dean of  Asian Bodywork Therapy, but continued to teach one of the Ethics classes until 2019, and CE workshops. I'm so proud to have been a part of the teaching foundation of AOMA, with Drs. Wu, He, Wang, Shen, Fan, Qiu,  Mandyam, helping move AOMA from Stuart’s dream and a couple of rooms on West Anderson Lane into the wonderful, expansive  Westgate campus of AOMA  today. I will always be a part of the AOMA spirit.  And I relive that spirit as the ABT columnist for Acupuncture Today.  Writing this column has also  enabled me to  weave in some biting issues of the day - like racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia,  and body shaming  - within Asian Medicine. See my  AT columns for November and December 2020.

You are one of the  former Presidents of the (former) Vermont based Breast Cancer Action Group, what are some of the things you’ve done in support of those living with Breast Cancer? 

As a survivor of metastatic breast cancer , I transformed the experience into a teaching tool and innovated new ways of working with cancer patients . I developed a range of Qi-inspired postmastectomy exercises I titled DRAWING CIRCLES, and  have taught these exercises to Acupuncturists, Shiatsu Therapists, Physical and Occupational Therapists, RNs and MDs working with cancer survivors globally. I have also taught breast cancer survivor groups how to move with Qi to prevent lymphedema and overcome the fear and hesitancy many feel. I've written extensively about these experiences in my books and articles, and also created a DVD titled Drawing Circles.

What hobbies do you enjoy when you're not teaching or writing? 

Photography!  I created a range of studies of bicycles in every possible context in my global travels and have enjoyed exhibiting them. This  actually started as a fun project I could share with my students to encourage cycling, and evolved into an obsession. I cycle daily!! I am also passionate about gardening and created a cacti jungle in my north Austin home. My other hobbies include watching movies and reading an eclectic range of books. I also have fun writing a column  titled "Pedaling around with Pam" for our North Austin  community newsletter.

Topics: continuing education, asian bodywork therapy, acupuncture, aoma, tcm education, ATX

Alumni Spotlight: Rocio Lopez, LAc

Posted by Mary Faria, PhD, FACHE on Wed, Oct 07, 2020 @ 02:53 PM

Rocio Lopez, lac

 

Tell about your journey with TCM and Acupuncture and how your education at AOMA made a difference.

I was first exposed to TCM when I was treated for migraine headaches years ago. Back then; my intention was to obtain a graduate degree in psychology so studying alternative medicine was not in my plans. However, the experience I lived as a TCM patient was very transformative. I felt a drive to help others the same way I was helped. When I decided to pursue my career in TCM, I researched programs and AOMA stood out from the rest. It is a highly ranked school and the compact number of students in the classroom gives the opportunity for one-to-one guidance. When I visited the school, the beautiful and tranquil courtyard really gave the icing on the cake. At AOMA, I learned so much in and out of the classroom. Our professors were always willing to share their knowledge and experience with us. Today those teachings have proven to be invaluable in my everyday practice.

 

You chose to serve in South Texas where you are from. Tell me about that decision and how you are building your practice there.

When I decided to pursue my career in Chinese Medicine, one promise I made myself was to come back to the Rio Grande Valley, or RGV, a region that consists of 4 counties and 9 cities located along the Texas border with Mexico. My decision to build my practice in Brownsville was mostly influenced by the love I have for my hometown and because I wanted to bring the RGV more accessibility to this medicine. I am currently practicing in a private space with two treatment rooms in a centric part of Brownsville. I see patients who are from Brownsville and the cities surrounding it. I am very grateful for my patients who have put their trust in what I do. I hope my practice continues to grow to give more individuals an opportunity to receive TCM treatments.

 

You do some impressive missionary work at the borders of Texas and Mexico. Please share why you do this and what the experience has meant for you.

The reason why I have volunteered with Acupuncturists Without Borders is because I love to help others. The populations living in the Matamoros camp are experiencing very difficult living conditions. They are living in what it is referred to as a “tent city” therefore they are affected by climate changes, violence, poor hygiene, and abuse. We go and offer NADA treatments outdoors on lawn chairs. At first, most individuals do not believe that needles can do anything other than sting. However, we are always fortunate to have a brave and willing individual to try out our treatment. When other passerby notice how relaxed and how individuals sink into the treatment, they begin to show interest and slowly one by one sit on our chairs to receive treatment. It is a beautiful experience. Even though we as acupuncturists are not receiving the NADA treatment, we can definitely feel the relief and the peace these individuals are feeling during the treatment. It is very gratifying.

 

Please share anything you’d like us to know about you, your interests, passions, hobbies, etc.

One thing my fiancé and I love to do as a hobby is to plant. We started with a mango seed and we now have over 20 kinds of plants of which are mostly fruits. It helps that we live a very tropical and humid environment because our plant babies love it.

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Thank you so much for your time, Rocio! We miss seeing you on campus, but Brownsville is very lucky to have you!

 

 

Topics: alumni spotlight, chinese medicine, acupunture, disaster relief, medical volunteer

A Necessary Change for the Better

Posted by Brian Becker on Wed, Sep 09, 2020 @ 05:56 PM

In recent weeks you may have noticed some small yet important changes the world of Acupuncture, Acupuncture school, and AOMA. Although still the same degree our Master’s, which for years was known as a MAcOM is now called the MAc, and our Professional Doctorate has gone from DAcOM to DAc. In both cases the letters OM originally stood for Oriental Medicine, representing the herbal components of the respective degrees. In fact the name AOMA was at first an acronym, the letters standing for Academy of Oriental Medicineat Austin. The wording behind each of the letters has since been dropped, and today the name AOMA represents our institutional identity.

The removal of the word “Oriental” from our degree and even the name of our organization has been a long time coming, but why is that? To answer this question we must look into the history of the word itself. Where it originated and how it evolved over the course of two millennia.

The word “Orient” comes from the Latin oriens, meaning East. In fact the word literally translates as rising, and thus the Roman name for the East was a reference to the rising sun. This was common cultural phenomenon. The Chinese character  dōng is meant to represent the sun rising behind a tree, while Japan is referred to as “The Land of the Rising Sun”.Dioecesis_Orientis_400_AD

The association of the word Orient with a specific territory began in the Fourth Century AD when the Diocese of the Orient (Dioecesis Orientis) was established by Rome. The idea of the Orient as a reference to the Middle East remained cemented in place for quite some time. Even the famed Orient Express, which ran from 1883 to 2009, ended in Istanbul.

It was during the mid-1800s that the geographical meaning of the word began to shift, and the word Orient came to encompass India and to some extent China as well. By the middle of the 20th century the word was generally used as a reference to East and Southeast Asia.

What’s revealed by this is the Eurocentric nature of the word, referring to a location based on what is considered eastern by various cultures which have dominated Europe and later the Americas since the days of the Roman Empire, and by extension the people who live in the east.

While not as overt as other terms, the word took on increasingly negative connotations throughout the age of colonization, especially in the 19th century and on into the early 20th. For many the word is now forever tied to the racism of the age. In fact many western novels of the time depicted “Oriental” peoples and nations as backwards and savage in nature. “Oriental” women were often depicted as simplistic and hypersexualized while “Oriental” men were shown as meek, cunning, or downright barbaric. Pulp magazines such as Oriental Stories, published in the 1930’s, heavily reinforced these racist stereotypes. Artistic representations of the East did much the same.

The problematic nature of this was first discussed in the 1960’s, and in 1969 Karen Umemoto, director of UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center stated “Many of the stereotypes of Orientals and Orientalism was part of the project of imperialist conquest — British, and later, American — in Asia, with the exoticization of the Oriental as well as the creation of threat and fear, as evidenced in the yellow peril movement.”

From the 1970’s on the phrase “Asian-American” began to replace “Oriental” when speaking of Americans with Asiatic ancestry, and by 1980 the word “Oriental” no longer appeared on the United States Census. In 2016 President Obama signed a bill prohibiting the word “Oriental” in all federal documents.

It is with these negative stereotypes in mind, and the damage caused by them, that AOMA 3-2019AOMA along with the world of Acupuncture as a whole has moved away from the usage of the word. The medicine taught and practiced at AOMA comes not from the falsely depicted “backwards nations” of colonial fiction, but from the rich, vibrant cultures of Asia which were just as diverse and advanced (more so at times) as those of Europe. By shedding this burdened word from our lexicon we seek not to abandon the roots of Acupuncture, but rather to continue integrating this medicine into American society.

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine, AOMA Herbal Medicine, chinese herbalism, herbal medicine, herbal studies, curriculum, chinese herbs, herbal program, aoma, acupunture

6 Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Products to Help You Sleep

Posted by Stephanee Owenby on Mon, Aug 24, 2020 @ 11:48 AM

6 Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Products to Help You Sleep

 

  1. Over-the-counter herbal formulas Insomnia herbs_Mar 18 newsletter-1

There are several safe and effective over-the-counter traditional Chinese herbal formulas to help with insomnia, whether you have trouble with falling asleep, staying asleep, waking feeling unrested, or all of the above. AOMA clinician Nelson Song Luo mentioned the two formulas below in this great blog post; here's some more information!

Suan Zao Ren Tang

  • Nourishes Heart Shen and Liver Blood
  • Clears deficient heat and calms the Spirit; helps with stress, anxiety, and irritability
  • Can also help with restlessness, inability to or difficulty in falling asleep, palpitations, night sweats, dizziness, vertigo, thirst, and dry mouth and throat
  • Studies have shown its safety and effectiveness at helping patients with menopause-related insomnia

Gui Pi Wan

  • Nourishes Spleen Qi and Heart Blood
  • Tonified Blood and Qi
  • Helps with fatigue, insomnia, and poor sleep or dream disturbed sleep
  • Can also help with poor memory, heart palpitations, anxiety, phobias, low appetite, and night sweats
  1. Salt lamp Salt lamps_stock

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 will make a welcoming and beautiful addition to your bedroom. Recent studies have shown that exposure to bright lights suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep, so the dim light of a salt lamp might even make you sleepy if used in place of brighter bedroom lights.

  1. Green tea Tea cup

Caffeine is a stimulant, and once consumed, it stays with you for longer than you might expect: it takes about 6 hours for just 1/2 of the caffeine you consumed to be eliminated! So the closer to bedtime you take in caffeine, the more likely you are to experience sleeplessness. Cutting out caffeine at least 6-7 hours before your bedtime would be best but may not always be possible! If you just CAN’T say no to a late-afternoon pick-me-up, try reaching for green tea instead of coffee to reduce the amount of caffeine you’re consuming. On average, one cup of green tea contains 35-70mg of caffeine as opposed to a cup of coffee, which contains 100mg of caffeine. Green tea is also high in antioxidants and polyphenols, and it contains catechin which can enhance immune system function. Green tea, or Lu Cha, is also a traditional Chinese medicine herb! It has cooling properties and works with the Heart, Lung, and Stomach meridians to reduce inflammation, regulate blood sugar, and boost the metabolism. Bonus points if you drink your tea from a beautiful cup that puts a smile on your face!

  1. Meditation candles Candle_chakra

According to a study cited on Harvard Medical School’s blog, 6 weeks of regular meditation scored higher than 6 weeks of sleep education for improving insomnia, fatigue, and depression among adults who reported trouble sleeping. But meditation can often seem too difficult or downright unapproachable, especially for beginners. Concentration meditation can be an easy way to jump into meditation, as it only requires focusing your awareness on one specific thing; for example, a candle flame. Having a point of focus can help you quiet the mind and relax fully; try starting with a few minutes before bed and work your way up to 5, 10, and then 15-20 minutes a day.

  1. Spirit-Quieting massage oil Spirit Quieting massage oil

If your mind won’t stop racing long enough to allow you to sleep, Blue Poppy’s Spirit Quieting massage oil might be just what you need! It incorporates several traditional Chinese herbs formulated together to help to resolve depression and calm stress and anxiety of the mind and the emotions. It can be used as a relaxing massage oil for your whole body or as a pre-bedtime bath oil.

Functions of Specific TCM Herbs Used in Formula:

  • He Huan Hua (Flos Albiziae): courses the Liver, quickens the Blood and quiets the Spirit.
  • Bai He (Bulbus Lilii): nourishes and enriches the Heart, clears heat from the Heart and quiets the Spirit.
  • Shi Chang Pu (Rhizoma Acori Tatarinowii): opens the orifices, dispels phlegm, and quiets the Spirit.
  • Chen Xiang (Lignum Aquilariae): courses the Liver and moves the qi, reduces counterflow.
  • Yuan Zhi (Radix Polygalae): quiets the Heart and calms the Spirit, dispels phlegm and opens the orifices.
  • Sweet Orange oil is added as a fragrance, and also moves and harmonizes the qi.

Ingredients/functions source: https://www.lhasaoms.com/blue-poppy-spirit-quieting-massage-oil

  1. Qi gong CD or DVD Qigong dvd

A recent UCLA study showed that a slow-moving meditation practice like tai chi or qi gong works just as well as talk therapy, and better than medication, at helping patients with insomnia. Qi gong is a whole-body exercise that integrates the breath with body movements. It is designed to loosen the joints, promote deep breathing, and relax the body. Body movements in tai chi and qi gong are used to aid the Qi in its journey along the acupuncture meridians, dissolve blockages that can lead to sickness and disease, and increase general energy level.

In case you’re asking yourself, “how the heck do I do qi gong?” AOMA’s amazing alumni Nicole and Jenna host a fantastic educational YouTube channel that will teach you! I highly recommend all of their content, but a good place to start would be the video series entitled… wait for it… “HOW THE HECK do I do Qigong?!” You can find Nicole and Jenna’s YouTube channel here.

AOMA Herbal Medicine also has a few great qi gong resources to support you in your practice. In Master Li’s “A Return to Oneness,” you will practice the qi gong of unconditional love to begin a journey of rediscovery, a journey back to your true home. “Where does one's true home lie? The saying 'home is where the heart is' does not mean only that one's affections lie where one's home is. Its deeper meaning is that the Heart is where the true home is.” (ShengZhen.org).

Sources:

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/caffeine-and-sleep

https://www.choiceorganicteas.com/much-caffeine-tea/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-helps-fight-insomnia-improves-sleep-201502187726

https://www.nqa.org/index.php?option=com_dailyplanetblog&view=entry&year=2017&month=06&day=25&id=12:tai-chi-and-qigong-for-insomnia

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5034925/

https://shengzhen.org/

https://www.lhasaoms.com/blue-poppy-spirit-quieting-massage-oil

Topics: stress relief, qigong, chinese herbs, insomnia, aoma, tcm

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

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