AOMA Blog

Fat is Flavor!

Posted by Joel Cone, DC on Mon, May 23, 2022 @ 01:43 PM

By Dr. Joel Cone

Gordon Ramsey said it best when he said, “Fat is flavor.” And it’s true. Some of the best things are entirely made of fat or supremely enhanced by it. Think of truffle-buttered eggs, olive oil-rich tapenade, the Brazilian fish moqueca with its rich coconut flavor, or the ever-classic beverage: Hollandaise Sauce! But fats don’t only add a richness and flavor to our foods, they also pack in powerful metabolic regulation, for better or worse. You all know the adage you are what you eat, and a lot of who you are is fat: your brain, your stored energy reserves, your cell membranes and myelin. The type of fat you eat is important, as the regulatory cascade that it sets up can determine whether an injury resolves quickly without pain, or becomes chronic and unresolving and debilitatingly painful. Remember most pain-relieving medications, NSAIDs and corticosteroids, are drugs that influence the manufacture of eicosanoid particles. These molecules are directly pulled from fat in your cell membranes and the type of fat available can influence these molecules.Fat Is Flavor Images (2)

So how do we assess inflammation? We can get a thorough history and look for inflammatory indicators: smoking, sedentary lifestyles, poor food quality in a diet diary, and symptoms of pain, repetitive injury, allergies, etc. These can all be important clues to gather and assess. We can also look to blood tests. Frankly, some patients won’t trust you until they see a test in hand. You may have told them what they need, but they had to go spend the $100 on the lab tests to adopt your ideas. Such is human nature. So, what lab tests could you get? C-reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate often come to mind, though I very rarely see these elevated on blood tests, even with other signs of inflammation in the history or physical exam, so they aren’t very usefully in the general ambulatory population, in my opinion. They are still an option. I do think the Omega 3-to-Omega 6 ratio is a good test, and available through Quest Diagnostics, CPL, or other blood diagnostic labs. It gets to the dietary roots of what your patients look like internally. It looks at the roots of the inflammatory cascade and how the person is relatively set with regards to fats, and thus inflammatory processes.

Fat Is Flavor Images (1)The typical Western diet contains a considerably increased ω-6 fatty acid relative to the ω-3 fatty acids (FA). Essential fatty acids (EFAs), taken in via diet or supplements, are essential components of cell membrane phospholipids, and appropriate membrane fatty acid content is pivotal for optimal membrane fluidity, receptor activity and cellular metabolism. The same FAs eventually give rise to hormone-like substances (eicosanoids) that are involved in the regulation of blood pressure and coagulation, lipid levels, immune response, allergy and asthma, tumor growth and inhibition (1), the inflammatory response to injury and infection, and they may play a role in seizure disorders, depression, and dementias such as Alzheimer's disease (2). Increased blood flow to the brain is seen with persons with improved ω-3 FA levels. Talk about an important group of molecules!

Historically, evidence is indicative that early hunter-gatherer diets had ω-6 to ω-3 fatty acids ratiosclose to 2:1. Estimates of modern ratios are now 10:1(3) to 18:1 to 50:1(2) by some estimations! And throw in the novel trans fatty acid isomers and we have a disaster on our hands (4).

Needless to say, we (...most persons anyway) need considerably more ω-3 fatty acids and considerably less ω-6 fatty acids than we currently are getting. It’s probably safe to assume the patient has a ratio greater than 2:1. High levels of ω-6 fatty acids are found in refined grains and vegetable oils, such as safflower, soy, corn, peanut, and canola oils… think fried foods, chips, crackers, cookies, chain restaurant type-foods. The ω-6 fatty acids are found in green leafy vegetables and ocean fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, or krill and other sources from plankton.Fat Is Flavor Images (3)

There are other ω-6 fatty acids, such as flax seed oil, that can convert to essential fatty acids like EPA and DHA. However, flax seed conversion can be as low as 2%! This is a hard-to-rely on source for EPA and DHA.

Another category of fat is arachidonic acid. Small amounts are needed, but elevated levels can be unhealthy, if not balanced with other fats. High concentrations of arachidonic acid are found in dairy, eggs, meats and shellfish.

The trouble with ω-6 fatty acids is when they are elevated, they convert to arachidonic acid, which drives up the arachidonic levels, and the unhealthy and proinflammatory effects can be quite high. Vegetarians and vegans, in some studies, have been shown to have higher levels of arachidonic acid than omnivores, due to elevated consumption of ω-6 fatty acids coupled with lower levels of ω-3 fatty acids and elevated insulin levels due to higher consumption of carbohydrates! Crazy, right? Conversion of ω-6 fatty acids to arachidonic acid is slowed by the presence of eicosapentanoic acid (in fish oils) and sesame seed oil (raw).

Although often women have elevated ω-6 fatty acids, estrogen from female physiology or estrogen-containing birth control pills can inhibit the formation and use of ω-6 and ω-3 fatty acids (lenolenic and linoleic) and sometimes women can benefit from additional types of ω-6 fats (such as found in Evening Primrose Oil, Black Currant Seed Oil, or Borage Oil) along with EPA (fish or krill oil). Severe cramping around the menstrual cycle can hint at this being an issue(5).

Fat Is Flavor Images

All of this sound confusing? Well, it’s not as confusing as I’m probably making it. A simple rule is to try to balance your fat categories. Here are some simple ideas that can help:

  • Increase fruit and vegetable consumption! Green and leafy vegetables are low in omega-6 fats and arachidonic acid and often contain omega-3 fats, too
  • Reduce your refined carbohydrates, total carbohydrates, and sugar, as increased insulin drives the conversion of ω-6 fatty acids to arachidonic acid.
  • Reduce take out, restaurant foods, and packaged foods (as these often contain higher levels of ω-6 fatty acids). Look at the oils used in potato chips, crackers, fried foods, shelf stable packaged foods… they all have ω-6 fatty acids in common.
  • Consider adding more salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, and herring to your diet, and/or add around 1,200mg or more Eicosapentanoic Acid (EPA) to your diet in a pill form (I like Nordic Naturals brand fish oils).
  • Low protein diets can drive up arachidonic acid levels (as protein is typically replaced with carbohydrates). Take in adequate protein for your body mass. General recommendations are 0.8gm/kg and up to 1.6 gm/kg body weight, with 1gm/kg bodyweight being a good recommendation generally. Athletes and very active persons need on the higher end of this range (4).
  • Eliminate or considerably reduce vegetables oils, and consider cooking with either coconut oil or olive oil as your first choice.
  • Arachidonic acid conversion to pro-inflammatory end products is inhibited by ginger,turmeric, bioflavinoids and boswellia, FYI.

I always try to consider what will make the biggest impact on my patient's physiology with the least cost or annoyance. Fatty acid ratios and consumption patterns are an approach that has very broad effects on a person’s physiology and can be a good place to start when inflammation may be involved.

Work Cited:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids, membrane remodeling and cancer prevention. Natividad R. Fuentes et al. Mol Aspects Med. 2018 Dec.
  • Omega Fatty Acids – Proper Ratio is Key. BrainMD Life. June 13, 2017.
  • Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. Loren Cordain, S Boyd Eaton, Anthony Sebastian, Neil Mann, Staffan Lindeberg, Bruce A Watkins, James H O’Keefe, and Janette Brand-Miller Am J Clin Nutr 2005;81:341–54. 2005 American Society for Clinical Nutrition
  • The Big Book of Health and Fitness. Phil Maffetone. 2012 Skyhorse Publishing.
  • Clinical Nutrition for Pain, Inflammation and Tissue Healing. David Seaman,1998 NutrAnalysis, Inc.

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine, nutrition, integrative medicine, holistic healing, acupuncture, aoma, tcm, ATX

Introduction of the AOMA Jingfang Institute

Posted by Jing Fan, LAc on Fri, Oct 15, 2021 @ 12:00 AM

Jingfang Partnership (2)

AOMA is proud to announce its historic partnership with Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine. AOMA founded its Jingfang institution to partner with Dr. Huang Huang and the International Jingfang institute at Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine. Professor Huang Huang has been a guest professor for AOMA Doctoral program since April 2021.

Jingfang, also known as classical formulae in traditional Chinese medicine, is an ancient herbal remedy that was formed in China around 3,000 BC. These empirical herbal formulae that were solidified through human experimentation by the Ancient Chinese were primarily recorded in a medical book named Shāng Hán Lùn 1800 years ago.

Dr Huang

Professor Huang Huang is a world-renowned physician, professor, and one of the preeminent authorities on Jing Fang and Shāng Hán Lùn. He is one of the pioneers responsible for the resurgence of Classical Chinese Medicine in China and in the West. He dedicates his lifelong study to the differential diagnosis of herbal patterns. Professor Huang is also a prolific writer and editor who has many published texts, including the much-celebrated “Ten Key Formula Families in Chinese Medicine” and “Zhang Zhongjing’s Clinical Application of 50 Herbal Medicines”, which have both been made available in many different languages. Professor Huang currently holds the position of Dean of the International Jing Fang Institute of Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine and is engaged in promoting and lecturing about Jing Fang across the world.

To promote communication and cooperation in Jingfang education, clinical internship, and academic research, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine and AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine have signed the Letter of Intent for Cooperation on September 22nd, 2021.

  1. Both parties will explore how we might effectively exchange professors, students, researchers, and administrative personnel. This may occur virtually or in person.
  2. NJUCM will work with AOMA to set up a branch of the International Jingfang Institute at AOMA.
  3. Both parties will explore how we may jointly implement appropriate research projects of common interest in the field of Jingfang.

We hope the AOMA Jingfang Institute will practice and pioneer Jing Fang (Classical Formulas) in North America.

Topics: acupuncture school, study in China, aoma students, china, tcm, chinese medicine, acupunture, acunews, Jingfang Institute

TCM for Travel

Posted by Stephanee Owenby on Wed, Jul 28, 2021 @ 05:32 PM

Human beings love to travel – in 2019, a total of 2.3 billion individuals took trips in the United States alone. We travel for many reasons: to experience new people, places, and cultures, to broaden our horizons, to escape our everyday lives, and to see the world through new eyes. But nothing ruins a good vacation like not feeling your best! Motion sickness, pain, and illnesses like allergies and the common cold can derail pexels-gustavo-fring-3885493even the best-laid trip plans. Throughout the 5000-year history of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), clinicians have been developing methods to preserve and restore health to the human body. Acupuncture is arguably the most well-known TCM practice; combined with traditional Chinese herbal medicine and other lesser-known modalities like cupping and gua sha, can be extremely effective at relieving the symptoms of motion sickness, reducing pain, and helping the body heal from injuries and infections.

My experiences with travel have been some of the best – and unfortunately also the worst – experiences of my life. I often say that I have the heart and soul of a traveler, but just not the constitution of one! I suffer from terrible motion sickness, whether traveling by car, air, or sea. I’ve never traveled by train, but I’m guessing that those would give me motion sickness too. And after my last cruise, I even had seasickness after getting back on land – a type of motion sickness known as disembarkment syndrome. Motion sickness, travel sickness, seasickness, or disembarkment syndrome occur when the body, the inner ear, and the eyes send conflicting signals to the brain. People may feel fine one moment and then suddenly experience various symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, cold sweats, dizziness, and headache, as well as other uncomfortable symptoms. This most often happens when people are in a car, boat, airplane, flight simulators, and amusement park rides. The good news – and I can attest to this from personal experiencepexels-spencer-davis-4353813! - is that TCM, including acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbal medicine, can help. Nausea is the result of rising stomach Qi. According to AOMA clinician and licensed acupuncturist Dr. Nelson Song Luo, normally, stomach Qi should descend rather than ascend. What happens to people with motion sickness? In traditional Chinese medicine, the Qi and blood in the inner ear are provided by the san jiao (SJ), small intestine (SI) and gallbladder (GB) channels. The eyes are nourished by the liver channel. In a moving vehicle, the Qi and blood circulation in the SJ, SI, GB, and liver channels are disturbed by abnormal movements, which will cause the stomach Qi to rise, causing symptoms of nausea or vomiting. As a result, people suffer from motion sickness. During an acupuncture treatment, acupuncture points on SJ, SI, GB and liver channels are selected to rebalance the Qi and blood circulation in the inner ear and eyes. In Dr. Luo’s practice at AOMA, some evidence-based effective acupuncture points such as SJ21, SI19, GB2 and P6 (pericardial channel 6) have been selected to treat motion sickness; as a result, patients with motion sickness are soon asymptomatic.

Aside from motion sickness, travel can often cause other symptoms of digestive distress. Ideally, we should eat mindfully and avoid overeating, but part of the joy of travel is to experience new things - and to indulge! But while enjoying the journey of indulging, the destination is often downright miserable. TCM teaches us that digestion begins with the Spleen. On a physical level, the Spleen handles the “Transformation and Transportation” of food. The stomach “governs the intake” of food, but the Spleen extracts nutrients from the food and sends that nutrition to other areas of the body. When we temporarily over-tax our digestive system with high quantities of dense, fatty, greasy, processed foods and alcohol, we shock our bodies and run the risk of developing what is referred to in traditional Chinese medicine as food stagnation. Food stagnation presents with symptoms like abdominal distention, belching, flatulence, nausea, fatigue, low appetite, and even vomiting and diarrhea. This is because the digestive system is temporarily unable to do its job of receiving, transforming, and transporting nutrients because it is overwhelmed. Acupuncture helps calm the digestive tract, and traditional Chinese herbal formulas can help transform food, break up stagnation, and get your digestive system back to optimal function.

Chances are you know someone who experiences either chronic or acute pain daily. Although acute pain is a normal sensation that is triggered by the nervous system to inform your body of a possible injury that may need more care, chronic pain is different. Chronic pain can persist because an injury never fully healed or because pain signals continue to fire in the nervous system. And either acute or chronic pain can greatly interfere with your ability to enjoy travel! Acupuncture sends signals to the brain to reevaluate an injury and turn off any pain receptors that are unnecessary, which can help to relieve chronic pain. Acupuncture also relaxes muscles, increasing blood flow and bringing relief to tight or stressed tissues, often helping with acute pain and promoting healing of a recent injury. The best part? Unlike pharmaceutical pain-relievers, acupuncture is free of cumulative side effects and is completely non-addictive.

Even minor ailments can prevent you from fully enjoying your travel experiences, whether you’re experiencing allergies, the flu, or a common cold. Your immune system is made up of special organs, cells, and chemicals that fight infection in your body. Acupuncture strengthens a weakened immune system by increasing red, white, and T-cell counts and enhancing cellular immunity. It can speed up the healing of infections and normalize the body’s immune response. Regular acupuncture boosts the immune system to prevent illness and can treat conditions such as allergies, colds, and flus.

If, like me, you have the heart and soul of a traveler but not the constitution of one, I highly recommend giving acupuncture a try! It might help relieve your discomfort and get you back to enjoying your journey. And while I hope that your next travel experience is free from any illness, digestive distress, or pain, should you experience any of these symptoms, I hope this article inspires you to think of TCM as a possible solution. Safe travels!

Consulting acupuncturist:

Luo, Nelson Song, PhD., MD (China), LAc.

https://aoma.edu/patients/professional-clinic/providers/nelson-song-luo-phd-md-lac

References:

Holmes, C. “Chew on This: The Role of the Spleen.” April 6, 2016.

https://blog.aoma.edu/blog/chew-on-this-the-role-of-the-spleen

Lattimore, T. “Thanksgiving: The Food Stagnation Holiday.” November 22, 2017.

https://blog.aoma.edu/blog/thanksgiving-the-food-stagnation-holiday

U.S. Travel and Tourism Overview (2019) – Research and Fact Sheet

https://www.ustravel.org/system/files/media_root/document/Research_Fact-Sheet_US-Travel-and-Tourism-Overview.pdf

Topics: herbal medicine, chinese herbs, lifestyle, aoma, tcm, prevention, acupunture, travel

Migraine and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Posted by Nelson Song Luo, PhD, MD on Wed, Jun 30, 2021 @ 01:48 PM

A migraine is a complex neurologic disorder characterized by significant disability due to pain and symptoms associated with attacks. According to the World Health Organization, migraines are the eighth most disabling disease worldwide, the most burdensome neurologic disease, and responsible for 5.6% of years lost to disability. The disability includes missed school or work, inability to perform household chores, and missed time with family and friends. Migraines are most common between the ages of 18 and 44, with higher rates in females, and a peak in prevalence in both men and women in their 40s. 18% of American women, 6% of men, and 10% of children experience migraines. Migraines tend to run in families, and about 90% of migraine sufferers have a family history of them.

There are several types of migraines which include migraine without aura, migraine with aura, hemiplegic migraine, etc. Migraine without aura is the most common type, defined as at least 5 attacks lasting 4 to 72 hours, with at least two defining characteristics (unilateral, pulsating, moderate or severe pain, aggravated or caused by deliberate avoidance of physical activity), at least one related symptom (nausea, vomiting, photophobia-sensitivity to light orfemaleacupuncture-017650-edited phonophobia-sensitivity to sound). Around 36% of migraines have an associated aura. Migraine with aura describes a migraine in which the person experiences some type of sensation associated with the onset of a migraine. The common aura symptoms include blind spots in the field of eyesight, colored spots, sparkles or stars, flashing lights before the eyes, tunnel vision, zig zag lines or temporary blindness.

Four main phases have been described to characterize the progression of a migraine: premonitory phase, aura phase, headache phase, and postdrome phase. In the premonitory phase, functional magnetic resonance imaging study shows evidence of hypothalamic, thalamic, and cortical activation during this phase which correlates with yawning, polyuria, irritability, photophobia, mood changes, difficulty concentrating, and neck pain. The aura phase involves disruptive changes in the sensorium in which visual auras are the most common type. The pathophysiology of migraine in the aura phase is described by the concept of cortical spreading depolarization, in which vasoactive substances, such as nitric oxide, are released, resulting in increased cerebral blood flow. The headache phase is driven by pain perception communicated from peripheral afferents to central control centers for pain, including cortical, vascular, and autonomic locations which make up the trigeminocervical complex. The postdrome phase is the resolution of the migraine driven by vasoconstriction and reduced cerebral blood flow that often presents with symptoms such as fatigue, difficulty concentrating, nausea, and irritability.

The induction of migraine is related to factors such as emotion, body, diet, and environment. Emotional factors include stress, anxiety, tension, shock, depression, and excitement. Physical factors include fatigue, poor sleep quality, shift work, poor posture, shoulder and neck tension, and strenuous exercise beyond daily capacity. Dietary factors include irregular diet, dehydration, drinking alcohol, intake of caffeine, certain cheeses, chocolate, foods containing tyramine, including bacon, yeast extracts, pickled herring, smoked fish, etc. It is recommended to avoid freezing or refrigerating foods that may cause tyramine content to rise. Environmental factors include bright lights, flashing screens, smoking, loud noises, environmental humidity or temperature changes, and strong odors.

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), a migraine is caused by exogenous wind-cold, wind-heat, wind-phlegm invasion, or endogenous stagnation of Liver qi, Liver fire, hyperactivity of Liver-yang or Liver-blood deficiency, leading to obstruction or malnutrition of the Liver or Gallbladder meridians on the head. In TCM, many techniques can be used to relieve migraine headache effectively, which include acupuncture, electroacupuncture, cupping, gua sha, etc. Acupoints in the Liver meridian such as Liver 2, Liver 3 and Gall bladder meridian such as GB7, GB8, and GB40 are used to treat migraine. Meanwhile, certain Chinese herbal medicines such as Yan Hu Suo Zhi Tong Pian (Yan Hu Suo Pain Relief Tablet) is widely used for migraine. In addition, massage, meditation, and Qigong can also relieve migraine headaches by reducing stress level, relieving head and neck tension and balancing yin and yang.

Topics: herbal medicine, stress relief, aoma, tcm, Austin acupuncture, acupunture, ATX, headache, Migraine

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

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

Final Reflection

Posted by Rhonda Coleman on Thu, May 14, 2020 @ 01:04 PM

Rhonda-2020Joyce Carol Oates said, “The great enemy of writing is interruption.” I have lived this truth for the past eight years trying to complete consecutive degrees while raising a large family. It has not been more apparent than in these past four months trying to complete my portfolio, and the past two weeks is a perfect example. I thought my reflection would be the easiest task of all the portfolio items to complete, however constant and frequent interruptions have disrupted my thinking to the point that some days I could not write more than one or two sentences in one sitting. I hope that in sharing my thoughts, I am able to convey the joy, enlightenment, frustrations, limits, and love that was all equally part of my overall experience in this program. 

Completing the DAOM program at AOMA Graduate school of Integrative Medicine (AOMA) has completely changed my life. This program is designed to develop strong leaders who apply critical thinking skills and who are dedicated lifelong learners and contributors to education and research in the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Upon reflection, my experience at AOMA was not at all what I anticipated. My journey began as a quest for mentorship and support as a new Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner. I had just completed the Masters of Science in TCM (MSTCM) degree program at Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Denver and did not feel prepared to be on my own yet. It was my hope that I would polish my skills, get additional training in mental/emotional support through TCM, and have greater access to seasoned professionals who could guide me in my practice. What I actually gained from my participation in the program was a level of confidence that grew me from a timid practitioner to a polished public speaker affecting change in my community through education and leadership in health.  

I had no idea who/what I wanted to be in my life until I was 35 years old. As a child I wanted to be a teacher. My mother would purchase sample textbooks and curriculum guides and give me the ones she didn’t like. I would use the teacher’s manual and workbooks to play “school” with my younger siblings and cousins. As I got older, I became enamored with the arts. I loved stage acting and thought I would love to become a professional actress. Then I found Traditional Chinese Medicine, and realized it was everything I wanted in my life but never knew existed. I wanted to be a healer practicing acupuncture medicine. My decision to continue on to the DAOM program was spontaneous. I had been counting down the days until I completed the three year, accelerated, MSTCM program and was looking forward to being done with school forever! I was sitting in business class, and a question came up about “finding your niche”. I began wondering what I could offer that would be different from the hundreds of acupuncturists serving the Denver Metro area. I knew that I wanted to share what I had learned with the community that raised me. But what would I offer that might attract and inspire them? I needed more time, more information, more support, and more school. I decided in that class, at the end of November, that I would apply to a Doctoral program that would begin in the summer. Seven months later, during the first residency week of the 3rd cohort to enter the DAOM program at AOMA, I found my tribe. I heard voices that echoed mine, I heard ideas I thought only I had considered, I felt validated and welcomed. From that first week and through the next 13 I slowly realized that I had demonstrated who I was since childhood, but I could not see it. I am someone who cares about others, I am helpful, I listen, and I try to solve or resolve problems that are presented. I am someone who loves to learn and who is not afraid to take the road less traveled. I like to share what I have, especially information or knowledge. I must have a purpose and I must make a meaningful contribution into my community in order to feel fulfilled. 

I had a lot of reluctance around having the term “leader” used to describe me before starting the DAOM program. I was lectured from a very early age on the importance of leading by example. I was placed in leadership roles despite my objections. My naturally inquisitive nature and willingness to try things others shied away from, put me in positions that made me “first” and by default a leader, but I was often oblivious to these instances as they occurred. I now recognize and accept both role and title, as well as the responsibility that comes with it. My community sees me as a resource not only in health but in public education. Last year I was asked to serve as Community School Coordinator for Denver’s first community school model. I was chosen because of my ability to organize people, curate resources, develop community, support families, and motivate others. I was invited to speak to university classes and high school classes as a motivational speaker. I have been asked to submit articles on holistic health and speak at health forums.  Recently with the COVID-19 crisis, there have been many panels and events held to offer support to people around self-care and emotional support. My community has reached out to me on multiple occasions to share in these areas. I’ve spoken on two radio shows and done two other panels. I credit the leadership development training I received at AOMA for nourishing whatever seed that was present within me upon my arrival, and allowing me the space to blossom into a better version of myself.

Going through the DAOM program at AOMA does not only impact the scholar, but transforms their lives in such a way that anyone the scholar builds community with will also be impacted. John F. Kennedy said: “Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone…” The benefit to everyone is a shift in perspective. This shift broadens problem solving approaches, bridges gaps between communities, and inspires new ideas and goals. Those are some of my greatest takeaways from the program. AOMA offers not only technical or clinical training in TCM, but they help grow leaders in the field of Integrative Health. Now that I’ve completed the DAOM program, I feel prepared to lead my practice, my patients, and my community. I embrace leadership and I accept the responsibility that comes along with it. I am committed to growing and learning more, and I will invite my family and friends to grow alongside me. I am grateful for this experience. Thank you AOMA.

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine, alumni, acupuncture school, doctoral program, Austin, tcm, tcm education, acupunture, ATX

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

11 Best TCM Accounts to Follow Right Now

Posted by Rob Davidson on Fri, Jan 12, 2018 @ 02:54 PM

AOMA Instagram TCM accounts to follow

Ever wondered how the ancient principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine translate into the modern world of social media? As acupuncture and Chinese medicine continue to grow in popularity in America, many practitioners are turning to social networks like Instagram. Instagram can be used as a powerful tool to promote one’s practice as well as educate the public on this ancient form of healing.

Many of the Traditional Chinese Medicine techniques are visually appealing and catch the eye, such as fire cupping or burning of moxibustion. As acupuncture practitioners continue to shed light on these often mysterious and less common practices via social networks, the curiosity and interest by patients will increase as more attention is given to alternative health therapies.

We’ve done our research and found the 10 best TCM social media accounts to follow, while highlighting what sets each of them apart. Continue reading for some of the most fascinating TCM accounts to follow and hopefully you’ll have a new perspective on acupuncture and Chinese medicine. :)

(In no particular order)

1. Bob Wong - @art_of_acupuncture

Bob Wong’s focus on social media is providing high quality photos of acupuncture and cupping, while educating the public on what TCM has to offer. Most of his photos are monochromatic, which creates unique and powerful imagery, showing the artistic side of acupuncture. He uses primarily his wife as an acupuncture model out of their home, in which he has set up a black backdrop. Bob also posts videos of various TCM treatments and has a blog interviewing TCM practitioners. His social media presence is one of a kind, and one you’re definitely going to want to follow.

2. Carolyn Barron, L.Ac. - @Botanarchy

 

A post shared by Carolyn Barron, L.Ac. (@botanarchy) on

Carolyn Barron is a licensed acupuncturist practicing out of Los Angeles, California. Her practice has an emphasis on herbal medicine, with her Instagram page highlighting photos of various herbs and recipes. Her images are warm and welcoming, and she showcases other treatment tools on her page such as tuning forks, mindfulness and nutritional recipes. Carolyn draws importance and attention on self care and women’s health issues with a muted color palette collection of photography and graphics.

3. TCM Herb a Day - @tcmherbaday

 

A post shared by TCM Herb a Day (@tcmherbaday) on

TCM Herb a Day is one of the best educational Instagram pages to follow, highlighting various Chinese single herbs everyday. The photos are bright and vibrant, showing the raw herb form used medicinally and the plant the herb is derived from. Posts are daily including explanations of the herbs and how they are used medicinally with Chinese herbal medicine. If you are still learning Chinese herbs, or want a daily review, this is the best page to follow.

4. LILYCHOINATURALHEALING.COM - @Lilychoinaturalhealing

Lily Choi is a licensed acupuncturist currently practicing in NYC. Her instagram page is educationally informative as well as visually pleasing. Her photos start health minded conversations, with each day highlighting either a health food item, natural remedies, or general health concerns. Lily uses instagram as an educational tool, highlighting how food can be used as medicine and explaining Chinese herbs and other natural remedies in layman's terms. The conversations she starts are common questions and concerns many patients have, and her opinions are holistic in nature, providing a safe place for open discussion. 

5. Anthony Guadamuz, AP - @Integrative_medicine

Anthony Guadamuz is an acupuncture physician working out of Miami, Florida. He is also an AOMA alumnus. His social media highlights the power of tai chi and meditation on overall health and wellness, as well as how Chinese medicine can treat a variety of health concerns. It is clear that Anthony practices what he preaches with his personal photos of his mind-body exercises. His images are bright with contrast and he frequently posts live videos and stories regarding health concerns via Instagram.

6. Dr. Laurie Binder - @Acupuncture_la 

Dr. Laurie Binder is a L.Ac., MS, RNCNP, and LCCE practicing in Santa Monica, California. Her page is bright and colorful highlighting mostly health recipes and motivational quotes. Dr. Binder promotes healthy eating and how easy it can be to make these healthy meals at home. Follow her page for nutritional inspiration.

7. Evolution Acupuncture - @Acuevolution

Catherine Craig, L.Ac. has a boutique acupuncture studio located in the heart of downtown Red Bank, NJ. Her page includes pictures of herbs, outdoors, yoga, acupuncture, and clinical photos. She uses bright, simplistic images overall and uses these images to highlight holistic health minded topics. 

8. Magnolia Acupuncture - @magnoliaacupuncture

 

2018 is starting off just the way it should: delicious and colorful!

A post shared by Magnolia Acupuncture (@magnoliaacupuncture) on

Magnolia Acupuncture is out of Costa Mesa, CA showcasing the practice through very bright, fun images of work and personal life with family. Angela Sinnett inspires others who may want to achieve an optimal work/life balance as a professional acupuncturist. You’ll also find nutrition and food images, pictures and videos of her treating clients, as well as scenic shots of the Pacific Ocean!

9. Chinese Medicine PortMacquarie - @empiricalhealth

 

Getting it all sorted out #chinesemedicine

A post shared by Chinese Medicine PortMacquarie (@empiricalhealth) on

Empirical Health heavily focuses on the beauty of raw Chinese herbs! Here you’ll find up close and personal shots of these colorful and beautiful Chinese herbs, teas, and capsules. Explore the multitudes of variety in the Chinese herbal spectrum!

10. Acupuncture Collective - @Acupuncturecollective

Acupuncture Collective hosts a beautiful community acupuncture space where they treat clients. You’ll discover many images of patients being treated in community style acupuncture, along with some images of herbs and nature photographs. Here you’ll find a variety of TCM visual inspiration and new found appreciation for community. Interested in trying community style acupuncture but feared the open door aspect? Follow this page, and you’ll be sure to change your mind. 

11. Charlotte Alvarez - @Onemedicine

Charlotte is an acupuncturist licensed by the state of Minnesota. She has beautifully put together media with a smooth flow of images using similar themes and filters for the images. Her images typically show patients receiving treatments, with cupping and acupuncture needles. Other images show off the relaxing and clean treatment space with many plants and a basic white/clean look. She also sprinkles in shots of herbs and whole foods, to add a nicely balanced page, covering all there is to Chinese medicine.

Chinese medicine can feel foreign and because of that, it may deter you from trying it. Social media can allow us to have a better awareness of things we might not otherwise be exposed to. Take some time to check out these pages and familiarize yourself with the beauty and wonder that is Chinese medicine. If you aren’t already - also follow us on Instagram for more TCM related posts. We love hearing from our readers. Let us know what TCM accounts you follow!

Topics: acupuncture, tcm, tcm education, acupuncture social media, social media

ED: The Effects and Prospects of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Posted by Jing Fan, LAc on Thu, Aug 18, 2016 @ 03:54 PM

AdobeStock_101776754.jpeg

Erectile dysfunction (ED), defined as the consistent inability to attain or maintain penile erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance, has become a global health issue with a high prevalence and considerable impact on the quality of life of sufferers and their partners. In addition, ED may share a common pathologic mechanism with cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndromes, and other endocrine disorders. The cause of ED is complicated and may be divided into three categories: psychogenic causes, organic causes (including endogenous, vascular and drug causes) and mixed causes.

Currently, research focuses on the dysfunction of endothelial cells of the cavernous body of the penis and disordered release of NO. To date, several phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitors have been developed. Despite the advances in clinical and basic research which have led to several new options, the ideal treatment of ED has not been identified [12].

TCM has been used to treat sexual dysfunction such as ED in China for more than 2,000 years. Many studies show that TCM treatment could significantly improve the quality of erection and sexual activity of ED patients [13–17]. TCM achieves better regulation, especially with regard to ED patients’ anxiety, fatigability, changing hormonal levels, insomnia, and gastroparesis.

Correct syndrome differentiation (“Bian Zheng”) was the prerequisite for achieving the hoped-for efficacy of TCM for treating ED. Syndrome differentiation is one of the essential characters of TCM. It means analyzing and judging the data obtained from the four diagnostic methods (inspection, auscultation and olfaction, inquiry, and pulse-taking and palpation) so to differentiate the nature, location, and cause of disease. So pattern differentiation is the premise and foundation of treatment. 

In the past, traditional treatments based on syndrome differentiation (an overall analysis of signs and symptoms) placed importance on the kidneys and liver. Herbs and acupuncture points to invigorate qi can enhance physical fitness, and to warm the kidneys can regulate sex hormones, increase sexual drive, invigorate the spleen, regulate the stomach and improve the overall situation. Herbs and acupuncture points used for a stagnated liver provides tranquilisation and helps stabilize the mind, which can improve mental processes and emotional wellness. This treatment can not only increase the effects but also improve the patient’s overall condition and quality of life. More research also shows that using the concepts of integrative Chinese medicine, sexual dysfunction, especially ED with premature ejaculation, should be treated concurrently based on syndrome differentiation of the heart.

This approach does not conflict with the concept of TCM that the heart controls mental activities, blood circulation, and eroticism. Concurrent treatment of the heart and kidneys can coordinate these organs. Thus, the concept of integrated medicine offers a perfect, traditional treatment for erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.

According to the latest pharmacological research on TCM, many Chinese herbal medicines (e.g., ginseng, epimedium and pilose antler) function as the male sex hormone. According to domestic and international research, ginsenoside and red ginseng extracts can stimulate penis tissue to produce NO and phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitors. Additionally, ginsenoside and red ginseng extracts can also regulate the function of sex glands and increase semen volume to reinforce sexuality. Epimedium and Lycium berry can inhibit nitric oxide synthase and are helpful for improving endothelial cell function in the penis and promoting the formation of NO.[18] Research has shown that Chai Hu Shu Gan San can increase the duration of erection in the male rat and can increase NO content in penis tissue. Medicine that promotes blood circulation, such as Tao Ren Si Wu and Jin Kui Shen Qi Wan, can help to regain an erection that was lost or achieve a repeat erection. Therefore, the treatment of ED with TCM has practical effects and is supported by scientific research.

In ED, acupuncture also has shown moderate efficacy, with an early study in 1999 of 16 men with ED treated with twice weekly acupuncture for 8 weeks demonstrating an improvement in erectile function in 39 % of men [19]. The potential mechanism of acupuncture for ED is that it may modulate the nitric oxide related to the treatment of ED [20].

Overall, TCM treatment for sexual dysfunction can not only increase the effects of simultaneous treatments but also improve the patient’s overall condition and quality of life.

Dr. Jing Fan treats at the AOMA acupuncture clinics. Request an Appointment with us today! 

Request an Appointment

 

References:

[1] “Impotence: NIH consensus development panel on impotence,” The Journal of the AmericanMedical Association, vol. 270, no. 1, pp. 83–90, 1993.

[2] I.A.Aytac¸, J. B.McKinlay, and R. J.Krane, “The likely worldwide increase in erectile dysfunction between 1995 and 2025 and some possible policy consequences,” BJU International, vol. 84, no. 1, pp. 50–56, 1999.

[3] R. K. Mutagaywa, J. Lutale, A. Muhsin, and B. A. Kamala, “Prevalence of erectile dysfunction and associated factors among diabetic men attending the diabetic clinic at muhimbili national hospital in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania,” Pan African Medical Journal, vol. 17, article 227, 2014.

[4] J. F. Guest and R. das Gupta, “Health-related quality of life in a UK-based population of men with erectile dysfunction,” PharmacoEconomics, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 109–117, 2002.

[5] A. U. Idung, F. Abasiubong, S. B. Udoh, and O. S. Akinbami, “Quality of life in patients with erectile dysfunction in theNiger Delta region,Nigeria,” Journal ofMentalHealth, vol. 21,no. 3, pp. 236–243, 2012.

[6] R. E. Gerber, J. A. Vita, P. Ganz et al., “Association of peripheral microvascular dysfunction and erectile dysfunction,” The Journal of Urology, 2014.

[7] E. Vicenzini, M. Altieri, P. M. Michetti et al., “Cerebral vasomotor reactivity is reduced in patients with erectile dysfunction,” European Neurology, vol. 60, no. 2, pp. 85–88, 2008.

[8] A. Sai Ravi Shanker, B. Phanikrishna, and C. Bhaktha Vatsala Reddy, “Association between erectile dysfunction and coronary artery disease and its severity,” Indian Heart Journal, vol. 65, no.

2, pp. 180–186, 2013.

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Topics: tcm, men's health

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