AOMA Blog

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

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

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

Alumni Spotlight: Rachelle Lambert, LAc, 2009 AOMA Graduate

Posted by Nicole Fillion-Robin on Sat, May 18, 2019 @ 01:02 AM

Rachelle Lambert, LAc is the owner and founder of RA Harmony Asian Medicine.  She is also the Unit Coordinator and Research Team Lead for the Colorado Acupuncture Medical Reserve Corps.

What was your education and experience prior to AOMA?Rachelle 2-1

I joined the 4 year MAOM program at AOMA in 2005. Pursuing acupuncture and Chinese herbs is the first career path in my life. I completed my graduation requirements for high school on the memorable date of September 11th, 2001. After high school I attended Austin Community College to receive the perquisites needed to join AOMA.

Tell us about your journey to AOMA, what led you to Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine?

I was born and raised in Austin, TX. My entire life I wanted to be an archaeologist, but one day I had some friends talk about acupuncture treatments at a local acupuncture college (AOMA) and it dawned on me that was the career path I was meant to pursue. Of course, once I started internship during the program it was super rewarding to use ancient medicine to help people feel better. Even though I never became an archaeologist, becoming an acupuncturist allowed me plenty of opportunities to enjoy archaeology!

What did you learn at AOMA that you use everyday in The Real World?

The training I received at AOMA is invaluable. Patients in Colorado tell me all the time how unique and comprehensive my training is. Working in the field I find it valuable to have skills in various styles of acupuncture, pulse diagnosis, and having knowledge of scalp and auricular acupuncture.

In everyday life, I forget to practice my qi gong and tai chi on a regular basis, but when I am in the field of emergency management I use it everyday. It helps me stay my best for the people I am supporting. When I am at FEMA training at the Emergency Management Institute in Maryland, often times the class has had me guide the class in tai chi warm-ups and qi gong meditation exercises. Everyone wants to learn it when they see me doing it, and I find it hysterical that I am teaching mind-body techniques to groups of emergency managers at FEMA. It helps to remind them to take time for self-care. And during my deployment to Puerto Rico this was a great tool to teach the community to support their resilience.

Your work in emergency response is outstanding, how did you get involved in this work?

I have always dreamed of offering acupuncture to global communities did not have the opportunity to experience acupuncture. I feel my love of emergency management started during my time working on cruise ships as an acupuncturist where I learned extensively about the US Coast Guard laws and regulations. They are thorough and very strict the procedures intended to save lives. No matter your position, as a ship crew member you are required to train and drill weekly so all hands-on deck would be available during an emergency. As an acupuncturist, I learned how to fight fires with a fire hose, close water tight doors, stabilize frantic passengers, lower life boats and jump down a chute into a life boat, and help pull others from the sea into a lifeboat, to ensure survival. It was incredible to me that regardless of your background anyone can be trained to make a difference and save lives. In addition, I learned the valuable skill of speaking/communicating in a way that even non-English speakers can understand.

What would you like everyone to know about you, your interests, passions, hobbies, etc?

Since I was 3 years old, I have practiced origami and it became a valuable skill during deployment to support both Hurricane Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico in 2017. Knowing qi gong and tai chi also became valuable. These tools have saved my body and mind during all of my emergency deployments both domestic and international. They stabilize me as an emergency responder and allow me the chance to re-boot and remain 100% so I can be my best for the communities I support. They also are skills easily taught to others, providing them the ability to cope with extremely stressful situations.


Rachelle 2

Please share anything else you would like about yourself and your work.

I moved to Colorado in 2014 during the first year of creation of the Colorado Acupuncture Medical Reserve Corps. Today if you want to be integrated into a disaster response in a professional way, a responder must be trained in Incident Command System (ICS) and National Incident Management System(NIMS) to speak a common language and offer a structure for response that is evidence based.

Captain Rob Tossato created the Medical Response Corps (MRC) program to vet and train volunteers before a disaster occurs. This includes; verifying credentials, background checks, and ensuring a smooth system to organize volunteers and ensure safety for everyone involved. This reduces the chaos that comes with disaster situations. With the Medical Reserve Corps, program volunteers have the opportunity to train and drill with a team, are included in networking opportunities and exercises with many agencies involved in emergency response, practice skills ahead of time, establish critical relationships, allow for official request for deployment, and participate in healthcare coalitions.

I became the volunteer leader of the Colorado Acupuncture MRC in 2016 and have worked hard with my team to create buy-in from the leaders of all national MRC teams. We have led by example, and our work recognized and published. We authored the Acupuncture Mission Ready Package, and created the first pilot research study exploring the feasibility and acceptability of acupuncture in emergency management (funded by a grant I authored with the National Association of City and County Health Officials).

For the last three years, the work we have done has created buy-in with many leaders throughout the nation and allowed acupuncturists to join these teams on a nation-wide scale for the first time. My goal is to make our profession a paid deployable position with FEMA. I plan to infiltrate the system and continue extensive training to continue in my second career as an emergency manager with FEMA.

What agencies do you work with? Is it typically a paid contractor gig or volunteer work? 

The first thing I want to express with the acupuncture profession as a whole is that this is volunteer work. We need to spearhead the movement of volunteer culture in the acupuncture profession, as I see it flowing in other healthcare professions. It is hard work, but so rewarding, and someone has to do it. As far as I know there are no paid acupuncture positions in the world of emergency management... yet! We have to start somewhere and volunteering to get the resource out there in the world is the best way to educate the global population in this valuable resource.

Remember, the acupuncture profession just got an occupational code, we have just started our work in national and global recognition. So far the VA is the only organization I know of that pays acupuncturists as part of government.

In my personal opinion, we can make a huge influence by joining federal and state approved teams. Remember: infiltrate the system! These teams are the most influential during an emergency response, they are the ones who are officially requested, and they follow guidelines of preventing self-deployment (meaning you don't show up to a disaster unless you are called upon by an authority). 

Which organizations do you recommend students look into if they are thinking of doing this kind of work?

If considering this line of work in your future, please stay professional and understand the world of emergency management - never show up to an incident unless you have been officially requested (this is known as self-deploying and can be damaging to trust in the acupuncture profession). There are so many things happening in an emergency, it is not the time to start your education and networking as an acupuncturist. People coordinating the disaster have lives to save, and are going through a lot of stress themselves.

The best time to do your networking and education on the resource is when a disaster is not happening. Make your connections and build your teams ahead of time. You can make a lot of influence if you can participate in drills, have networking events such as provide treatments to fire departments, public health departments, offices of emergency management, and participate in local healthcare coalitions. If you know a person ahead of time, you trust them, and you know what they are capable of doing, you will be called into the field during a disaster and make the most influence.

Teams I have found as a good place to start would be the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), Team Rubicon, and the American Red Cross. I am currently a registered volunteer with the Colorado Acupuncture MRC, Colorado STAR MRC, MRC of Puerto Rico, Team Rubicon, and the American Red Cross.

When were you last called to serve as an acupuncturist? How long did you stay for?

First of all, I volunteer throughout the year. My work is either in deployment or non-deployment times. For example, once a month I lead a team to offer treatments at the Nederland Fire Station, and once a month I lead a team to offer treatments at the Four Mile Canyon Fire Station. I made these relationships during deployments when I was called to respond, as well as making relationships during FEMA training. I have been supporting these teams for three years now. In April I lead a team to participate during a functional exercise and drill with the Boulder County Emergency Operations Center, and that was a half-day exercise.

My last deployment was a half-day deployment during the Sunshine Canyon Fire response in 2017, but they were able to manage the disaster fairly quickly so it was a short deployment. The most memorable experience and longest time I was deployed as an acupuncturist was during the Cold Springs Fire in 2016. The response phase was 10 days long, then we transitioned into the recovery phase which lasted for several months. During the response phase I sent teams to the firefighters basecamp, the emergency operations center coordinating the boots on the ground, and the incident command post with the incident command staff.

What is your most memorable experience as an EMR Acupuncturist?

In 2017 hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria rocked our nation. The Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) requested a disaster behavioral health team to deploy to Puerto Rico. To our knowledge, this was the first time a behavioral health team was requested through this system (and does not mean this is the last).

The State of Colorado won the bid to provide this team and the request came through for volunteers with our state volunteer registry for people who spoke some level of Spanish and were trained/certified in Psychological First Aid. Due to the fact I trained ahead of time, was a registered volunteer with Colorado, and was trained in disaster response, I made the team. My travel, meals, and accommodations were all paid for, and I was paid acupuncturist wages for every hour I worked. This is the first time I have ever been paid to be part of a deployment.

The deployment was for three weeks and we supported local behavioral health teams in Puerto Rico. Our mission was psychological first aid, and we traveled to about 30 refugios (shelters) to provide assistance in healing and emotional recovery. Even though our mission was not to provide acupuncture, I was able to share my skills as an acupuncturist and provide the local community group Qi Gong exercises, Tai Ji stretching, and share different acupressure points and lifestyle choices that can support resilience and recovery. At the end of the day I provided acupuncture treatments to my team keeping them at their best, as well as several branches of the military, FEMA, and other supporting agencies we housed with.

This deployment helped me create new partnerships, and I have since worked on a year-long project partnering with the Medical Reserve Corps of Puerto Rico to train their unit in ways they can use the acupuncture resource. I joined the unit as a volunteer, so next time a disaster occurs, the team not only has ways to use immediately use acupuncture through the Acupuncture Mission Ready Package Training, but now I have a chance to support the team and offer acupuncture to Puerto Ricans.

Do you qualify for any loan forgiveness benefits as a corps member (asking for a friend)?  

Since this is only volunteer work, and not a salary based position, there are no loan forgiveness benefits with the Medical Reserve Corps. In order to qualify for loan forgiveness you must have 50% or more of your salary coming from a government organization or 501c3 for 10 years. That is why we need to create a movement in the acupuncture profession to volunteer, you have to start the work somewhere.

My hopes are that we can create paid positions in emergency response. It is all about the experience you have and not your educational training. Those with real-life experience in deployments will be considered higher up for the interview process and will be the first considered for those paid positions. My biggest suggestion is to get your experience now so when paid opportunities do come around then you can have a better chance on nabbing one of those positions.

For those interested in loan forgiveness I would suggest becoming employed with a 501c3 or with the VA as an acupuncturist.

Do you have your own practice or work for another clinic? If so, how do you balance emergency response work with your regular clinic patients?

It all depends on how busy your practice is and how many hours you can volunteer. When I first moved to Colorado and was growing my practice I had the time to donate 10-25 hours a week to be in a leadership position. Now that my practice has grown and I am seeking employment as an emergency manager, I have stepped down from a leadership role and volunteer about 4 hours twice a month.

My patients know my passion to volunteer and participate in deployments so when an emergency does occur they are understanding when I call to reschedule them so I can close my practice for a day or more and help out the local community. My patients love the fact I do this work, and volunteering has even helped my practice grow. They know that supporting me financially allows me the chance to volunteer and indirectly supports the community. 

What opportunities does your upcoming training at AOMA open up for participants?

This training will provide the basics you need to join many federally and state approved teams, such as the Medical Reserve Corps and Team Rubicon. Every team is different and training requirements may differ, but with my work in creating and growing the Acupuncture Mission Ready Package every class participant will have skills on how to modify the acupuncture resource in your specific community and your unit needs.

We will also train everyone with basic FEMA required training, such as ICS 100 and 700. We will also have an introduction to psychological first aid so people can have an understanding on how to use this in the field and in their practice, and I will guide everyone on how to get their certification.

We will talk about local volunteer opportunities, such as joining the University of Texas at Austin Medical Reserve Corps and the Williamson County Medical Reserve Corps. In addition, I will be talking in detail about the pilot study in which I was the principal investigator, partnered with the University of Colorado at Boulder Psychology department, and funded by a grant with the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO). Information provided about this pilot study can be used to help you with education and networking with the the acupuncture resource as a volunteer.

Any advice to students in school right now and students about to graduate?

Start training now! Start volunteering now! The more experience you have in the world of disasters and emergency management the more it will benefit you personally, benefit your practice, and benefit your local and global community. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities available right now, and so many rewarding ways in which you can volunteer even if you don't use needles. Remember, acupuncture is just one tool in the fast world of Traditional Chinese Medicine. We have to start somewhere, help me grow the movement on volunteering in the acupuncture profession!

 

Thank you so much for your time and all the work you do, Rachelle! Here are some links for those interested in learning more about Medical Response Teams:

Medical Reserve Corps

Team Rubicon Disaster Response

The American Red Cross

FEMA training Materials

About Psychological First Aid

 

Don't forget to check out our upcoming CEU and training opportunity with Rachelle:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/acupuncture-emergency-response-and-medical-reserve-corps-volunteer-training-tickets-58664871209

 

Topics: alumni, alumni spotlight, masters program, grad school, aoma, tcm education, acupunture, disaster relief, medical volunteer

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

AOMA’s Holiday Gift Guide 2018

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

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

  1. Salt lamp

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

  1. Pain-relieving TCM Topicals Zheng gu shui

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Jade roller & Pearl powder Jade roller_Pearl powder

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

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

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

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

  1. Décor

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

  1. Essential oils, Incense, & Burners EO burner_holiday

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

  1. E-stim machine

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

  1. Moxa box Moxa box

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

  1. Massage oils & lotions

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

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

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

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