AOMA Blog

Musculoskeletal Assessment & Pain Management Q&A with Dr. Yongxin Fan

Posted by Nicole Fillion-Robin on Wed, Aug 14, 2019 @ 09:02 AM

Dr. Yongxin Fan is an accomplished instructor of traditional Chinese tuina. He practiced and taught as an attending medical doctor and instructor at the Acupuncture Institute at the Chinese National Academy of TCM and at the Beijing International Acupuncture Training Center. A member of AOBTA, Yongxin Fan has lectured and worked as a visiting professor in Holland, Germany, and Japan. He has more than 16 years of clinical experience and his research has been published in the National Journal of TCM.

He specializes in applying an integrated therapy consisting of acupuncture, herbs, and tuina to treat various pain syndromes, including acute and chronic articulation and muscle injury lumbago, recovery from fractures, and headaches. Such integrative treatment is a hallmark of his approach to common ailments such as stress, allergies, insomnia, and gastrointestinal disorders. Fan has been on the faculty at AOMA since 2002.

Faculty_Headshot_HiR__Fan_1

Tell us a little about your time practicing TCM before you were at AOMA.

In Beijing, I worked at China Academy of TCM's hospital, the top Chinese TCM research academy (now Academy of Chinese Medicine Science). I also worked in the Acupuncture Institute and Beijing International Training Center.

After 1970, the World Health Organization asked China to provide training for outside professionals, as there was more international demand for TCM. The Acupuncture Institute and Beijing International Training Center was one of the first three international training centers in China to train non-national acupuncturists.

In 2001, I met Dr. Wu in Beijing, and I arrived to Austin 17 years ago to teach at AOMA.

How did you first become interested in becoming a TCM practitioner?

In China, Chinese Medicine is really popular and widely used. When I was about 2 years old, I fell off a bike and hurt my arm. Chinese Medicine helped me recover. When I was 6 or 7, I got the mumps and doctors prescribed topical herbs. I remember them being smelly, but they reduced the swelling in 2 days! Even today, I remember the color and texture of the paste. It was so effective, and provided quick relief, and so I knew I wanted to learn more.

In China, we use the traditional ways first to prevent or treat small things like a common cold or sore throat, stomach aches. My kids even ask for me to pinch their throats for sore throats now.  I’m open to Western medicine of course and always work collaboratively when it is called for.

 

How have you seen TCM change in China?

TCM right now in China is completely modernized. They use modern techniques with traditional herbs and acupuncture while using information from modern research. There’s a lot of new research about acupuncture and pain, especially with new knowledge and imaging of anatomy. In class, I try to explain physiologically why the 5 shu points can treat pain and proximal issues. We have a chance to use traditional techniques to treat modern diseases.

 

What are your specialties?

As TCM practitioners, we are all trained to be general practitioners, even though I treat mostly pain. I also treat many sleep issues, GI issues, and stress related problems. Another common issues I see is infertility due to stress.

 

What kind of soft tissue problems do you see most in clinic?

Most of the time I treat pain, but you have to do a thorough examination. We learn muscular examinations in tuina class. Here in the seminar we’ll learn how to differentiate 5 tissues pain. Joint pain is very complex.

Low back pain presents with lipomas. Fascia - people have started to understand it, but it’s still a mystery to most people. We know when we work on it it works.  

Finger joint pain. Factors that cause the pain are really important to know. Muscular, facia, nerve, bursa, ligaments.

 

Do you use herbs topically? What are your favorite ones we carry in the herb store?

I use the foot soak herbal combination we sell at White Crane for soft tissue damage and joint pain. It's a classical formula and patients find it to be very effective. We even have an AOMA alumna who has made it as a tincture/spray and has had some great results. 

I use jin gu shui, white flower oil, and other tinctures often as well. 

 

You are known as an effective but intense practitioner! What size needles do you usually use for soft tissue injuries? 

Most of the time I use 0.18 x 30 or 0.18 x 40. I used to be more aggressive in my treatments but have mellowed out in the 17 years since I arrived.

 

How do you prepare patients if you know they will be sensitive to the treatment or if it is their first time getting acupuncture?

I try to only use 6-10 needles for people who are nervous. If you have a diversity of tools you can use to treat, you don’t have to use as many needles.

You have to tell patients when they need to come back to feel better. You need to explain how you understand the pain and what your plan is. I try to tell them what I think. People like to know how long recovery will take. Tell patients what your past experience is treating their condition and give them a treatment window instead of a fixed amount of visits (ex: 4-6 visits). They want to know that you are confident that you can treat the pain, and that they will continue to improve. 

 

Do you work with any General Practitioners who refer patients to you regularly? 

We receive referrals from western doctors but usually just to the clinic. They come to see us because their GP told them to try. I’m glad to see that there are more and more doctors who are open to TCM. Because it works!

Recently I saw a patient with pain on his feet for 7 years - constant numbness and pain. He saw many doctors and specialists and tried many things. He had to wear a pad under the foot to relieve the pain. Acupuncture helped relieve his pain so he could sleep after the very first visit. It is patients like him that go back to their GP and advocate for acupuncture who help spread the word. 

 

How will your upcoming training help students and practitioners in clinic? 

We see a lot of soft tissue pathologies in clinic. The key to treating patients effectively is to diagnose the mechanism and where the pain originates from. It is muscular, nerve damage, or will working on the fascia or ligaments help?

My goal is to use TCM to treat soft tissue injury under the understanding of how anatomy has changed with pain. By introducing this technique to students, they will have more tools to improve their practice and patients’ outcomes.

In the class I will explain the different symptoms of these different tissues so you can diagnose effectively. We’re going to talk about how soft tissue damage affects pain and how we treat different kinds. We try to use traditional techniques and make them better and better to treat pain.

We will also go over the tools and techniques to use for each different indication (filiform needles, cupping, gua sha, bloodletting). Frozen shoulder, heel pain, or tendonitis are hard to treat with needles alone. You might help 80% of people with pain relief immediately, but for the remainder, you might need to incorporate different tools.

Although I do use them, the class won’t focus on topical herbs due to time.

 

Do you have any mentors in China or teachers you most look up to? How did they influence your career?

In China, most new practitioners, you have older doctor and senior doctors as mentors for several years until they are ready to advance themselves. They lead you and help you to practice and then you have to find your way.

For acupuncture, you always have to study on your own to make your own way. It can be from older teachers, books, lectures. It is important to keep learning.

 

What is your biggest piece of advice to students at AOMA and acupuncture practitioners who are just starting?

You need to really focus on foundations - they are so important! Most famous practitioners have a better outcome because they really understand their foundations.

When I was in school, my professors always told me that, and eventually I found that it was true. I tried to find magic techniques for a long time, but my biggest takeaway is that there is no magic technique and you can't take any shortcuts. You just have to put in the work.

 

Thank you so much for your time and thoughtfulness, Dr. Fan! We really look forward to learning more at your seminar in the fall.  

Topics: faculty spotlight, AOMA clinic, stress management, acupuncture, chinese medicine, tcm education, acupunture, pain management

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

Anne Cusick: AOMA Alum Turned Faculty

Posted by Rob Davidson on Wed, Apr 25, 2018 @ 04:26 PM

Anne Cusick AOMA Acupuncture Faculty

Anne Cusick is one of AOMA's Master's program professors, teaching Acupuncture Techniques 2In addition to maintaining her private clinical practice, she is active in the local integrative medicine community, where she works collaboratively with a family medicine doctor to deliver comprehensive patient care. Since graduating from AOMA, she specializes in pain management, stress relief, digestive health, and the treatment sleep disorders in her practice. In addition to her studies at the AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, she has also completed extensive training in Shen-Hammer Pulse Diagnosis and Traditional Japanese Acupuncture. Anne is also one of the most beloved clinic supervisors by her students!

We caught up with Anne to find out more about getting into Chinese medicine, and the transition from study, to practice, to teaching!

When did you graduate?  April 2008.

When did you start working at AOMA? January 2014.

What’s your favorite thing about AOMA? The people.

Why did you decide to teach at AOMA?

Being a student at AOMA was one of the highlights of my path thus far.  To be a part of AOMA again was a blessing.

What’s your favorite part of teaching Chinese medicine?

The history, where the tools, philosophies and techniques emerged from and how they have transcended through the years.

What is a favorite book or favorite quote of yours, and why?  

One of my favorites is The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. It has great insights on balance.

What advice would you give to new acupuncturists?  

Plant roots. Choose a community you would love to work in, and help nurture it.   

What’s your favorite thing about living in Austin?

The micro and macro communities. It is possible to find something you love in Austin and easy to find people whom share the same interests. 

Want to learn more about the Master's Program at AOMA? Schedule a campus tour and sit in on a class with us!

Schedule a Campus Tour

 

 

Topics: faculty spotlight, alumni, alumni spotlight

AOMA Student Clinic Rotation with Elizabeth Fordyce, LAc

Posted by Sarah Bentley on Wed, Sep 03, 2014 @ 02:04 PM

handsMonday and Wednesday rotations at AOMA’s north clinic with AOMA supervisor Elizabeth Fordyce are a pleasingly unique therapeutic experience. Fordyce began supervising at AOMA in 2004. With a history as an EMT before becoming an acupuncturist, she has completed extensive post-graduate studies in the Tan Balance Method and Master Tung’s points. Fordyce has practiced as a licensed acupuncturist and registered massage therapist since 1993.

Fordyce’s intern clinic rotations are full of innovative acupuncture protocols, with comprehensive techniques that treat an array of ailments. Her out-of-the-box thinking is contagious, and students flourish under her guidance. Her relaxed manner and confidence trickle down to create a healing epicenter for student-collaborated treatment plans. Of notable mention, and among many different approaches, three sub-modalities of acupuncture commonly used in this clinic are:

Dr. Tan’s Balance Method

Master Tehfu Tan embodies the Wu Bian philosophy in all areas of his practice and the legacy that he has created. Wu Bian is Mandarin for infinite possibilities, and has been fused into at least 25 years of revolutionary work that Dr. Tan has made available to practitioners across the globe. His protocols often use fewer points that are located in regions farther away from, but still related to, areas of pain. This style uses a 3-step strategy that provides “logical and precise guidance toward a minimal number of distal points which avoid aggravating local areas of pain.” It also incorporates meridian pathway and palpation diagnosis, with applicable channel theory, to promote relief within seconds.

Master Tung’s Points

With an extremely effective treatment approach, Master Tung Ching Chang is easily referred to as one of the greatest acupuncture masters who has ever lived. These points were “a treasured family secret, handed down and refined over generations,” and were used with at least 40,000 patients between 1953 and1975 alone. Similar to the Tan Method, Master Tung’s protocols use fewer needles than some of the other treatment types, and in most cases they are known for bringing instant relief upon insertion. Practitioners can treat even some of the most difficult cases with these groupings, thanks to the benevolence of Master Tung himself.

Esoteric Acupuncture

Esoteric Acupuncture (EA) was developed by Dr. Mikio Sankey to “define a way of life that emphasizes the awakening and expansion of our spiritual center” in a way that addresses the most fundamental levels of healing from the heart. It is a synthesis of ageless wisdom, and is revered as more than ‘just another style of acupuncture,’ with the ability to treat both the immune system and the physical body. It is based on theosophy, Hindu and Tibetan cultures, the Kabbalah, sacred geometry, and color therapy, all rolled into one usable format. It is said that acupuncture is a transporter for the technique, and the universe is the provider of the information. With EA, form and structure combine with acupuncture and visualization to create a subtle, yet extremely impelling healing session. Patients often report feel refreshed, renewed, and capable of sorting through underlying issues that needed a gateway for processing. Mikio Sankey will be speaking in May 2015 at the 15th Annual Southwest Symposium.

 

In summary, Elizabeth Fordyce imbues her students and clinics with effective curative strategies that get results and open up space for the body’s innate healing capacity to activate. Expect a healing experience like none other – come prepared to see changes and feel better. Patients can make appointments in the AOMA student acupuncture clinic under the supervision of Elizabeth Fordyce on Monday and Wednesday afternoons and evenings.

 

About the author:

Diana Beilman is an intern entering her final quarters at AOMA after transferring from The Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in the Fall of 2013. She received her B.S. in Kinesiology from Western Washington University in 2009 and has had an interest in health and nutrition for over a decade. With a passion for outdoor adventures, traveling and helping others, she plans on trekking through Southeast Asia to volunteer with various non-profit organizations after completing her degree in April. Some of her specialties include sports therapy, mental-emotional disorders and women's health, all of which she treats with multi-faceted protocols, including those mentioned in this article. Read about Diana's Great Acupuncture Adventure.

Introduction to Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine

Topics: faculty spotlight, esoteric acupuncture, Elizabeth Fordyce, AOMA clinic

Meet AOMA's faculty and staff: Robert Laguna, LAc

Posted by Sarah Bentley on Thu, Jun 07, 2012 @ 01:18 PM

Each month we will be featuring fun information about a faculty and/or staff member to introduce the wonderful community of people behind AOMA's graduate program!

robert laguna roundThis month, we're happy to introduce Robert Laguna, L.Ac., Dean of Students! In addition to being an academic and transfer advisor, Robert also teaches Clinic Theater, is a supervisor in the AOMA student clinic and oversees the tutoring program for students

Where are you from?

"Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico"

 List 3 hobbies/ activities you enjoy:

"Playing music, conducting the Austin Civic Wind Ensemble, and composing/ arranging music!"

 What's the best thing about teaching/working at AOMA?

 "The camraderie amongst the staff and students; it's a real family atmosphere."

 What's your favorite/most memorable 'AOMA moment'?

"When I graduated from the master's degree program here!"

 What's your favorite thing about Austin?

"The climate- I like that the winters aren't too cold."

Favorite Website?

"Austin Wonder Brass - www.austinwonderbrass.com  and the Austin Civic Wind Ensemble's site - www.acwe.org."


To learn more about Robert's background and role at AOMA,  log on to https://aoma.edu/students-alumni/academic-support/academic-advising/.


 Remember to check back soon to meet someone new!

Download FREE Introduction to Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine


Topics: faculty spotlight, alumni, acupuncture school, student services, staff spotlight

Meet AOMA's faculty and staff: Dr Ziyang Zhou, LAc, MD, MS

Posted by Sarah Bentley on Tue, May 22, 2012 @ 01:54 PM

Each month we will be featuring fun information about a faculty and/or staff member to introduce the wonderful community of people behind AOMA's graduate program!

This month, we're pleased to introduce Dr. Ziyang Zhou, LAc, MD (China), MS who teaches within the Department of Herbal Studies:

Where are you from?

"Qingdao, China"

3 Hobbies/ activities you enjoy?

"Well, teaching keeps me pretty busy but when I have time, I enjoy table tennis and traveling."

What's your favorite 'AOMA moment'?

"The Commencement ceremonies each year. Watching each group of students graduate is very moving and it's great to see students' excitement just before they begin their careers."

What's the best thing about teaching at AOMA?

"Teaching helps me to stay current as a practitioner through the regular exchange of dialogue and discussion with students."

What's your favorite thing about Austin?

"I really enjoy the whole environment and the friendly attitudes of the people here!"

To learn more about Dr. Zhou's professional background, explore the AOMA website at www.aoma.edu/academics/faculty.

Remember to check back next month to meet another member of the AOMA faculty and staff!

Take a Virtual Campus Tour

Topics: faculty spotlight

Meet AOMA's faculty and staff: Dr. Mandyam, MD

Posted by Sarah Bentley on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 @ 01:29 PM

Each month we will be featuring fun information about a faculty and/or staff member to introduce the wonderful community of people behind AOMA's graduate program!

 

This month, get to know Dr. 'Raja' Mandyam, MD, Director, Department of Biomedical Sciences:


Where are you from?

"Bangalore!"


3 Hobbies/ activities you enjoy:

"Travel, Golf, talking with people"


What’s your favorite ‘AOMA moment’?

“The AHA! Moment when old alumni call and say, 'I diagnosed a rare biomedical disease.' ”


What’s the best thing about teaching at AOMA?

"It’s an excellent environment for the exchange of ideas and learning."


What’s your favorite thing about living in Austin?

"Texas! It’s the bottom of the U.S.A!"


Favorite Website:

"My wife's website: www.tirugallery.com "


For more information about Dr. Mandyam's professional background, please check out the AOMA website at: www.aoma.edu/academics/faculty/raja-mandyam.

Take a Virtual Campus Tour


Topics: faculty spotlight, Dr. Raja Mandyam

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