AOMA Blog

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

What to expect your first term at AOMA

Posted by Kate Donelon on Wed, Jan 29, 2020 @ 12:00 PM

Kate Donelon

If you’ve found your way to this blog post, you’re likely interested in attending AOMA or—even more exciting—you’re already enrolled as an incoming student. Either way, welcome and congratulations on choosing this path since it’s a big step, no matter if you’re jumping right into another round of studies from your undergraduate degree, starting a new “second life” from a well-established career, or somewhere in between! Unlike undergraduate studies and many traditional graduate programs, there are not as many resources to research, select, and prepare for an advanced degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture, and you might be left wondering what to expect. To help provide some perspective on what your first term at AOMA might look like, here are some personal insights I gained during my first few months that hopefully will assist on the first step of this journey.

Here’s a quick overview of all the areas covered if you would like to scan ahead to a particular area:

—What can I expect the first week of class?

—What are the classes themselves like?

—What do students wear to class?

—What kind of schedule can I expect?

—What supplies are helpful?

—What are studies like outside the classroom?

—What about needling?

—How can I best prepare myself for this program?

What can I expect the first week of class?

Your first official day at AOMA will be a new student orientation the week before classes begin. Similar to any orientation, it’s a lot of information that will provide a general familiarization with the school, staff and faculty, available resources, and the road ahead to your degree. You will also spend some time covering administrative items such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and you’ll have an opportunity to continue to check in with this type of information regularly in homeroom meetings that are held each term. Orientation is also a great opportunity to get to know the members of your cohort, exchange emails, and start to create group text messages.

Once classes begin, significant time that first day of each course will be dedicated to providing an administrative overview, to include the course roadmap, assignments, exams, participation, attendance, and any other expectations. All of this information will be provided through AOMA’s Student Portal, which has a section dedicated to each class where the instructor uploads pertinent information, such as the syllabus, readings, and homework assignments. Each instructor is available through email, and many also offer weekly office hours.

Recommendation: Check your student portal in the days leading up to the first week of class to familiarize yourself with the course and review the syllabus. Most instructors do not provide the syllabus in class, so be sure to bring an electric or printed copy if you’d like to reference it (there is free WiFi on campus).

What are the classes themselves like?

Each class lasts about three hours, with most instructors providing a break every hour. Individual class schedules often run 9:30am-12:30am or 2-5pm, but this may vary. In Fall, Winter, and Spring terms, these classes meet once a week; in the Summer, they meet more frequently. Students take notes either electronically or hand written. It’s always a good idea to have some paper available for many of the diagrams you’ll want to draw, especially if you’re enrolled in Anatomy and Physiology. Your mind body class will meet once a week and run for an hour. Be prepared for a quick pace and lots of notes, along with plenty of opportunities to ask questions.

What do students wear to class?

Attire is very casual and students wear whatever is comfortable. Many classes involve palpation, so you’ll often be wearing tank tops and shorts or pants that can be rolled up. For the mind body classes, you’ll want to dress to be able to move around. If you’re attending any type of clinic or class in which you’ll be using needles, closed toe shoes are expected, along with attire appropriate for that setting.

Recommendation: If you’re like me and left a career of suits and business clothes to come to AOMA, you might get excited about cleaning out your closet. Jeans are not worn when you start working in the clinic, so keep that in mind as you’re deciding what clothing to bring along on the journey.

What kind of schedule can I expect?

This will vary based on the pace at which you’re approaching the program —fast-track, full-time, or part-time—and what prerequisites you might already have. Within your first term(s), you might expect a Foundations course, Anatomy and Physiology (A&P), and Point Locations, all of which run in a series of three courses over three terms (ex. A&P 1-3). You also have the opportunity for a mind body course in Qigong or Taiji, Clinic Theater, Acupuncture Techniques, Palpation, and Biomedical Terminology. It’s possible you may find yourself with one weekday off a week, and weekends are generally free. You might only have one class one day, and two another that are coupled with clinic or your mind body class. You’ll spend a lot of time studying outside of class, especially for finals, but many students still manage to juggle part-time work hours successfully. Classes will run about 12 weeks, with the exception of the Summer term, with one-week breaks around the sixth week and at the end of the term; in the Fall term, that break falls around the eighth or ninth week, and you get a two week break before Winter term. Before each term, you’ll work on-one-one with an advisor on the AOMA team to help chart out the road ahead and provide advice on your schedule. You may also schedule time with any of the advisors whenever you might like.

Recommendation: One great piece of advice I was given by successful acupuncturist was to hold off working during the first term if at all possible. This is tough given the financial burdens of everyday life, much less school, but it allows opportunity to start to find your stride and make the transition. You might also want to take a look at the Program at a Glance section of the latest AOMA program catalogs, which you can find here under the Program Catalogs section. On that same page, you can also find a link to the Academic Calendar to see exact dates for breaks and terms.

What supplies are helpful?

A lot of this will depend on your personal preference, but below are some items that most students found useful. You might expect to spend about $500 (give or take) on all these supplies and books, and keep in mind AOMA has a great library as well. Some students have been able to get old textbooks from other students, or from local bookstores (like Half Price Books).

—Laptop, tablet, and/or notebooks/notepaper - whatever you’d like to take notes

—Colored pens and highlighters

—Index cards

—Pencils (especially for exams)

—“Dots” - load up on these since you’ll use them when learning and practicing points (you’ll want 1/4” round stickers, such as Avery Color Coding Labels, which you can find on Amazon or at WalMart)

—Quizlet - you can get a free account, and this is a great alternative to index cards

It’s usually best to wait until the first day of any class to find out information about the required texts for class, which can be tough if you like to be prepared in advance. Based on my personal experience, you’ll most likely want to get copies of the following books for your first term (note: these are subject to change given the pace of new editions). You can usually find the best prices online, and AOMA also offers some of these in the store. While it seems like a pricy investment, my impression is that these texts will be resources for multiple classes, as well as preparations for board exams.

—A Manual of Acupuncture - Peter Deadman (ISBN: 9780951054659) - a must have!

—The Foundations of Chinese Medicine, 3rd Edition.- Giovanni Maciocia (ISBN: 9780702052163)

—Anatomy and Physiology, The Unity of Form and Function, 8th Edition - Ken Saladin (ISBN: 9781259277726

—Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 19th Printing - Cheng Xinnong (ISBN: 9787119059945)

—A Guide to Point Location - Fuyiu Yip - this soft-bound resource is available at the AOMA store

Recommendation: The Manual of Acupuncture (Deadman) app is also fantastic and will be a great resource alongside the text. The text often comes with a coupon for the app, so if you wanted to start familiarizing with some of the points, you could certainly purchase this book and app in advance of getting to AOMA.

kate and garrison

What are studies like outside the classroom?

Remember that question you likely got during your interview asking how you memorize a lot of information? There’s a reason that’s asked! This program inherently involves a great deal of memorization, which takes a lot…a lot…of time investment. You’ll be memorizing all of the acupuncture points, groups of points, needle depths/angles, muscles, information tied to the Five Elements, and the list goes on, not to mention herbs and herbal formulas once you begin those classes. Homework is class dependent, but most instructors are mindful about the homework and integrate this information in exams/exam prep, so all of the information ties together. You might have questions to answer, diagrams to draw, or some reasonable amounts of reading from one of the texts or an uploaded resource in your portal. Exams themselves might consist of multiple choice, true/false, fill in the blank, and/or essay questions, and you’ll also have practical components when it comes to Point Locations, Palpation, and Techniques, to name a few. Composing written reflections is another big part of the program, and you might begin to encounter these reflections your first term in Palpation class and clinic.

Recommendation: You’ll develop your own techniques for learning this information, but one option to consider is reviewing material the evening after each class and following up on a regular basis. It is a lot that might be very tough to cram in successfully the hours before an exam, so frequent review—even in small doses—might help build that foundation. Everyone at AOMA, no matter what term or year they are in, are all very willing to work together and help each other out, so you’ll likely find yourself working together with other students to practice and study (and also commiserate!). AOMA also offers great Student Services, which include mentors and tutors, as well as a whole well-thought-out website of resources with links that you’ll get just before orientation.

School-Life Balance Recommendation: Hobbies, self-care, and personal time with friends, family, and pets are all things you’ll want to incorporate in your days and weeks. While things will inevitably shift in your life as you immerse yourself in this intense program from a both schedule and financial perspectives—among many other things—it’s important to still make time for those things that make you happy and allow you to unplug.

What about needling?

You’ll have the excitement of purchasing your first needles from the AOMA store within your first couple weeks of class, and Acupuncture Techniques I will be your first foray into performing needling. You’ll begin spending a few weeks needling inanimate objects, such as a pack of tissues, a massage table, or a pillow, and your first needle in class will likely be on yourself. You’ll then work under the close care of your instructors in Techniques class, gathering in small groups to begin practicing needling on others. You’ll needle safe, fleshy spots on the arms and legs to begin. This might seem overwhelming at first as this is not a skill with which most of us are familiar in any way, but try and remember that you are only a beginning once, so enjoy the ride and ask a lot of questions. This will be an area you can practice on yourself, but likely will find more benefit working with your other students to palpate and needle.

Recommendation: Take as many opportunities as possible to work with as many other students and individuals as possible since every body is different, and skill is built on practice and experience.

How can I best prepare myself for this program?

More than likely, Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture are areas about which you’re already passionate, so you may have some general familiarity with the concepts of meridians or channels, the Five Elements, Yin and Yang, and maybe even basic human anatomy. Since the pace of each of the classes is quite intense, any baseline familiarity—even simply having seen some of these concepts before—can help provide context as you get started. You might also brush up on basic anatomy, if you’re not coming in with that background already, to assist with Anatomy and Physiology I. Some personal recommended readings that I read in the years leading up to my decision to attend AOMA include:

—Between Heaven and Earth - Harriet Beinfield and Efrem Korngold

—The Web That Has No Weaver - Ted Kaptchuk

—The Spark in the Machine - Dan Keown

—Voices of Qi - Alex Holland

You can also find a lot of videos on YouTube, or even look up Podcasts on the subject (there are some good ones out there with Dan Keown that I ran across). As mentioned earlier, the Peter Deadman book and app are great and, in hindsight, would have been great resources to browse. AOMA also has another blog article by Kate Wetzel on recommended reading—a lot of which overlaps with my list—which you can find here.

If you haven’t already had an acupuncture treatment, I highly recommend gaining that experience. You will have the opportunity to get acupuncture treatments at AOMA’s clinic, and many students come into the program without having had a treatment, but it is incredibly helpful to provide perspective. If you can get regular treatments and maybe gather insights from your acupuncturist, even better!

All this might seem like a great deal of information; however, the fascination and excitement you’ll experience as you delve into this medicine will take center stage and continue to remind you why you chose this path. Know that you not only have a bunch of resources available to you at AOMA, but that a group of fellow students who are on the same path and going through similar experiences, will be alongside you from the moment you step foot on campus your first day. If you have any other additional questions about student life, or even relocating to Austin, don’t hesitate to reach out to the AOMA admissions team. Best of luck, and welcome again to this great journey!

Topics: acupuncture students, graduate school, aoma students, tcm school, grad school, aoma

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

KXAN Interview with Mary Faria, CEO and Acting President

Posted by Nicole Fillion-Robin on Thu, Oct 31, 2019 @ 03:03 AM

KXAN interviewed with CEO & Acting President, Dr. Mary Faria to celebrate Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine day and AOMA's involvement in offering low-cost or free acupuncture to the Austin community. 

"The whole idea is we treat pain differently than we have in the past. Instead of using drugs, we use a variety of methods, including acupuncture, yoga, mindfulness, looking at nutritional aspects of pain. The program has done very well,” said Dr. Mary Faria, Chief Executive Officer and Acting President of the school."

AOMA offers free community classes throughout the year for those wanting to explore the benefits of qigong and yoga. Community Wellness Hour meets weekly, where participants are offered of free NADA treatments followed with mindful meditation led by Julia Aziz, LCSW-S. 

In addition to these on-campus programs, AOMA MAcOM students may choose to complete supervised internship hours at People's Community Clinic, Seton McCarthy, Austin Recovery Center and the Austin VA Clinic. 

To listen to the full interview check out KXAN's video below! 

Interested in community programs? The current calendar is available at  https://aoma.edu/calendar/grid. Community Wellness Hour, qigong and yoga are all free and open to the community. 

 

Topics: acupuncture clinics, musculoskeletal health, veterans, Austin acupuncture, Mary Faria, pain management, campus event

Kimberly's TCM Reading List for Fall

Posted by Nicole Fillion-Robin on Wed, Oct 23, 2019 @ 01:57 PM

Library Student Worker
 
Weather is finally cooling down here in Austin, and it's the perfect time of the year to cozy up at home with your favorite furry friend and library book!
 
We asked Kimberly Meier, 3rd year MAcOM student and Library Student Worker to pick out some of her favorites and SHE DID NOT DISAPPOINT! Both current students and alumni both have borrowing privileges, so if it's been awhile since you've used the library, go say hello and be the first to check out one of these gems.
 
1-3
Chinese Herbal Formulations: A Student's Notebook
Dongxin Ma, Ph.D. M.D.(China), L.Ac
RM 666 H33 M1 2002
 
What is it?
Literally the most needed herbal formulas.
 
Why do you love it? 
Let's talk herbs for a bit. There is, in my experience, no easy way to remember and recall all the herb stuff that is presented to us over the 12 week terms. Our very own Dr. Hamilton worked with Dr. Zhou to compile the singles herbs students notebook, which pretty much what everyone here has and makes use of in one form or another. And it's amazing!
 
 
The problem I found was when it came to formulas, I was left to my own distract-able devices when it came to studying. I was again trying to figure out the best way to not only collect but organize and highlight the most important parts.
 
Thankfully I found this gem! Why reinvent the wheel when you can make use of the tools in front of you? It has 88 pages with an Alphabetical index, making it a succinct study guide. My only complaint is that a couple of formulas covered in class that are out of order in this book, but they are easy to look up. 
 

 
2-9
Chinese Medicine for Americans
E. Douglas Kihn DOM
RA 184 K44 2011
 
Brief summary: A practical Understanding of the Language, Theory as applied to common health problems in 21 century United States
 
Why do you love it? It's a fun design, with color pops, images and questions to make sure you are paying attention instead of mindlessly reading.  Also, if you get asked about the integrative advice for patients in clinic, this book has an amazing section on health counseling that will really resonate with the everyday patient plus quizzes and answers to check your understanding.
 
 
 
 

 
tao of chaos
Katya Walter, Ph.D. 
QH 437 W64 1994
 
What is it?
Katya Walter, Ph.D. examines the new nonlinear science of Chaos theory and finds there a broad new highway to God. At the deepest level of mathematical structure, there is a union of new physics (Chaos theory), new biology (the genetic code map), and the ancient wisdom of I Ching. Like I Ching, Chaos and the genetic code are both yin and yang - interplay of opposites.
 
Why do you love it? 
UMM it has Tao and Chaos right in the title! but if you are looking for something less meta I've picked out two more clinical gems for you...


 
download
RZ 341 D18 1997
 
What is it? A professional reference text on positional release therapy
Why do you love it? I do a lot of physical work in clinic and have this in my personal collection from courses I took for continuing education I find it and excellent resource in super acute or chronic pain to assist in breaking that musculoskeletal spasm cycle.
 

 
9780070331501
RZ 251 A65 H36 1999
 
What is it?
A quick reference to understand and apply the basics of muscle testing.
 
Why do you love it?
It's an in depth guide to understanding pretty much everything about each individual muscle, how to test them appropriately and what physical complaints a client may bring to you. You will be able to test which muscle is having concerns, as well as innervations, solo and combined actions.
 
 
 
 
Thank you so much for this insider's take on our resources, Kimberly!

FREE wellness event for AOM day at AOMA

Posted by Charline Liu on Wed, Oct 16, 2019 @ 09:34 AM

AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine will host a mini-wellness fair on October 24th for National Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day. The event will be free to the public and will provide complimentary acupuncture demonstrations, inform the attendees on the value of integrating western and eastern therapies for best health outcomes, perform herbal therapy demonstrations, and other traditional Chinese medicine practices. Also, movement demonstrations like Tai Chi and Qi Gong will be provided. The event is being held at AOMA’s south campus, 4701 West Gate Blvd, Austin, Texas 78745, from 5:30-7:30 pm. Registration is not required.

Sign up at the eventbrite here!

AOMA has recently been named the exclusive provider of acupuncture services for all City Of Austin employees. AOMA does encourage COA employees to attend this event so they may better understand the unique benefits of this partnership.

Acupuncture is the most well-known traditional Chinese medical procedure. Scientific studies have proven its efficacy for treating inflammation, pain, depression, and a host of other chronic and acute health conditions. AOMA has a passion for helping the general public understand the wide variety of applications for acupuncture. They also give back to the community through partnerships with nonprofit organizations and by providing free and reduced-price treatments to people who cannot afford them otherwise. AOMA has proudly been transforming lives for over 25 years!

About AOMA:

AOMA is one of the largest and most respected providers of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine in Austin. Annually AOMA treats close to 18,000 patients. Their professional clinicians are Master, and Doctorate level trained, many with over 20 years of experience and MDs and PhDs from China. All of our practitioners are generalists, but most also have a specialty, including orthopedics, neurology, oncology, women’s health, and ophthalmology. Because AOMA is a regionally accredited School of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, whether a patient chooses our professional or student clinic, the care is safe, effective, and of the highest quality. AOMA works cooperatively and has an integrative approach with many Western healthcare institutions like the Veteran’s Administration, Ascension Seton, People’s Community Clinic, Austin Recovery, and more. To learn more, visit AOMA.edu.

Topics: campus event

New Student Spotlight: Kate Donelon

Posted by Nicole Fillion-Robin on Fri, Sep 20, 2019 @ 04:19 PM

Kate Donelon
 
It's orientation week for our Fall Cohort and we'd like to introduce a new face on campus! Kate has been an analyst and manager working in the Washington, D.C. area for over fourteen years while also teaching yoga for the past six years. The stressors of her job originally led her to try and find balance (and sanity!) through yoga and meditation practices, and as that path unfolded, it eventually exposed her to Traditional Chinese Medicine and human anatomy, which quietly evolved into her passion over the past few years.
 
Kate completed her undergraduate degree in English literature, art history, and political science at Boston University, and spent her childhood in New Jersey. She is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to pursue this new adventure in Austin with AOMA, and hopes to integrate her new knowledge with her yoga studies to make this information accessible to the wider community in way that empowers others to live their best lives.
 
Why did you end up choosing AOMA?
I personally was very interested in finding a program that provided strong background in foundational knowledge, while also preparing students to work effectively alongside Western medical providers, as well as opportunities to make this medicine accessible to the surrounding community. AOMA’s mission, values, curriculum, and community involvement all matched up with my goals, and my visit to the campus late last year further solidified my initial impressions. I am looking forward to everything this curriculum offers, from acupuncture and herbs, to expanding my knowledge of mind-body work and diving into biomedical sciences. I also really enjoyed the city of Austin during my visit and felt like it would be a great place to get to call home.
 
Have you visited Austin yet? And are you excited about living here?
I visited Austin twice before committing to a cross country adventure driving a 16-foot moving truck to relocate here at the end of August. I am very excited about living here, and already have found it is a much more relaxed and accessible area than my experience in the D.C. area. Despite warnings about traffic, D.C. sets a pretty high bar for traffic nightmares I have yet to see Austin match!
 
What class are you looking forward to the most when you start next week? 
I genuinely am looking forward to all the classes on my schedule since I am especially grateful to have the opportunity to immerse myself full-time in information that has previously been my hobby and “side hustle”. While some of my biggest interests going into this program include delving into the acupuncture points and herbs (which are probably going to be the most challenging!), I think Foundations I is going to be interesting this Fall.
 
What do you expect to be the most challenging part of transitioning from working full time to being in school full time? 
Seeing if my brain still works after 14+ years in the workplace! At this point, it seems like the positives far outweigh the challenges as all my work clothes are packed up in a box, days of monotonous staff meetings under fluorescent lights are behind me, and I do not have to be in charge of anyone but myself! After completing my undergraduate degree, I thought I would never again find myself back in school after the rigor of tests and memorization. Although the predictability and stability of my job provided a level of security, the challenges it brought were not the kind that allowed me to pursue my passions fully. 
 
 
Any skills or actual things that you'll be metaphorically/literally packing with you to bring with you? Anything you're leaving behind? 
My furry partner-in-crime Rustie endured the cross-country relocation to Austin and is along for the journey, fueled by more opportunities to get outside a play ball as his consolation prize. While my knowledge of Bruce Springsteen lyrics might not prove beneficial in class, I hope my exposure to acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine in my advanced yoga studies with Yoga Medicine will help provide good baseline familiarity with some of the foundational information. My time spent as a student and teacher of yoga also developed my personal studies of the human body, to include particular interests in anatomy and fascia. 
 
In pursuing this new path, I have definitely taken a leap of faith leaving everything familiar and stable over 1,500 miles away, which is as scary as it is exciting. While the regular paycheck probably is the most notable thing I will be leaving behind, I am going to miss my friends and the yoga community I had the honor of teaching for many years. Moving to Austin also meant bidding farewell to the East Coast, which has been home for my entire life, and giving up the thrill of waking up to snow days in the winter months.
 
 
Kate, we're so glad to have you here in Austin and on campus! Welcome to you and the rest of the group who will have their first day of class on Monday. 

Topics: student spotlight, masters program, acupuncture students

Celebrating Constitution Day

Posted by Charline Liu on Tue, Sep 17, 2019 @ 09:00 AM

pexels-photo-973049

On September 17th, AOMA will continue in our tradition of recognizing Constitution Day. Since the official day falls during our Term break week, we will celebrate during lunch on Thursday, September 26th.  This year will mark the 232nd anniversary of the singing of the U.S Constitution by the 37 framers on September 17, 1787. It also recognizes all who are born in the US or by naturalization, or have become citizens. The U.S Constitution is a living document that established America’s government system, laws and guaranteed citizen’s basic rights.

                Under the Articles of Confederation, America’s first governing document, the national government was fragmented and allowed the states to operate independently. There was a strong debate between the Federalists (led by Alexander Hamilton) who wanted a strong national government, and the anti-federalists who opposed a strong federal government and wanted the power to remain in the hands of the state and local governments.

                In 1939 William Hearst, a news tycoon, suggested the creation of Constitution day as a holiday to celebrate American Citizenship.  In 1940, Congress designated the third Sunday of every May to be “I am an American Day”. With Hearst’s continued support for the holiday, within 5 years governors of the existing 48 states issued state holidays. Olga T. Weber petitioned state leaders, Congress in 1952 to change the date of the holiday to the date that the Constitution was signed. In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it, and “I am an American Day” became Constitution or Citizenship Day and moved to September 17th.

 

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