This is my last blog. I will be graduating next week. I have so
many emotions I really can't describe them all, but I wanted to
express my gratitude to the university, professors and my fellow
My journey does not end here. It is just the
beginning. I am very thankful that I was able to further my
education, especially with the obstacles. It is difficult to raise
a family in this day and age, especially a family of seven. I am
thankful to each of my children and my husband for the many
sacrifices the family made to see me through the past two and
one-half years in the Master of Science in Acupuncture Program.
I have been truly blessed with a great support system of
friends, family and a wonderful father-in-law, Father Michael
Pfleger. My success is true testimony to anyone that you can go
back to school AND raise a family.
I did have difficult times. I had a few trimesters where I just
wanted to throw in the towel and go back to Human Resource
Management because we desperately needed the money. There was a
point in time where we lived in hotels and the entire family was
dislocated. I had to reach out in the community to food pantries
and government supplemental assistance. I never gave up my hope or
Of course, remember that saying, "What does not
kill you makes you stronger." My experience here at National made
me a stronger person, a better mom, and a caring, compassionate
practitioner. I look forward to passing the boards and working with
a fellow graduate in Lisle, Illinois, and also continuing my
I am thankful for all the opportunities I have been given. This
would not be the case if I did not further my education. I
encourage those who are thinking about going back to school for
their master's or doctorate to pursue it now!
Remember: Juli Yelnick will be the new AOM blogger staring next
trimester. I look forward to reading her blogs and learning from
Happy Holidays! Happy Studying! Congratulations to the graduates
of the NUHS December Class of 2013. Happy New Year!
I thought this week would be best time
to introduce my fellow colleague and classmate Juli Yelnick. Juli
will be the new AOM blogger next trimester. I am graduating this
trimester on December 12 with my Master of Science in Acupuncture
with honors. I will still be around NUHS because I am also in the
doctor of naturopathic medicine program. I also will be working
with a former colleague as a licensed acupuncturist in her practice
in March after I pass the boards, of course, in January. I am
currently in process of publishing two journal articles and writing
my own book.
Juli Yelnick is a wife, mother, teacher, and student of oriental
medicine. She began the AOM master's program in Fall 2012, and she
continues to enjoy that journey today. Julie has always been
interested in natural living, and the need to reduce exposure to
unnecessary and potentially harmful chemicals becomes even more
apparent when you become a parent. Through this program at NUHS,
she is learning how to be well the natural way, and wants to share
this with others.
In addition to attending the evening AOM classes, Juli teaches
World Culture and American History classes at the college level.
Anthropology has always been my passionate research interest, so
adding ancient Chinese traditions to the mix is nothing but fun for
her! Juli loves integrating what she learns at NUHS into the
courses that she designs, and she recently had the opportunity to
co-author an Anthropology text book that explored the
interconnectedness of seemingly disparate world cultures and
values. Currently, she is gearing up to coordinate a return medical
brigade to Nicaragua through the integrative medicine non-profit
organization Natural Doctors International.
I want to personally thank everyone who has supported the AOM
blog. I have enjoyed sharing my many cases and experiences with you
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving to all. Merry Christmas and Happy
Holidays. Good Luck on Finals! Congratulation to our graduates of
This week's blog is about Tourette's Syndrome and acupuncture. I
currently have a new patient with Tourette's. I have only seen her
twice in the Lombard clinic but I find her case very
Tourette's is an inherited
neuropsychiatric disorder, believed to be organic damage to the
central nervous system, which is also associated with attention
deficit, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and
obsessive-compulsive disorder. Currently, there is no cure for
Tourette's, and no medication that works universally for all
patients. The medications prescribed have significant adverse
My patient was diagnosed with Tourette's as a young child. She
is now 22 years old. She has a dual diagnosis of OCD and anxiety.
The patient has very positive outlook. We are working on anxiety,
stress and sleep. We are also focusing on muscle jerks and
There was a very inspiring
article I read last week in Acupuncture Today, November 2013 issue,
titled "Beating Tourette's Gaining
Life." This article talked about Miss Arizona 2013 (also Miss
America pageant hopeful) Jennifer Smesthad beating Tourette's. Miss
Arizona, like my patient, was diagnosed around age 10 with
Tourette's and with the help of herbs and acupuncture controlled
the syndrome and brought awareness to Tourette's syndrome.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tourette's syndrome can be
understood as Yang excess due to deficient Yin leading to wind.
Those show a deficiency in Kidney yin deficiency or Liver yin
deficiency leading to Liver yang rising. Acupuncture has a long and
successful history in the treatment of the tics, uncontrolled
movements, and vocal disturbances of Tourette's syndrome. I hope in
the case of my patient, acupuncture can effectively treat her
chronic disorder. In other cases, like Miss Arizona and my patient,
patients are seeking a better clinical outcome to control and
eliminate Tourette's syndrome rather than take western
I used these acupuncture points this week: Buddha triangular on
dominant hand, PC6, four gates LI4, LV3, Cv17, Cv14, Yintang, SP6,
and St36, KD3, KD6. I cannot wait to see if these points helped my
patient this week.
Thank you for your continued support of the AOM blog. Have a
This week I wanted to talk about holiday stress. It is now
November and holiday season is here. I feel like the holiday season
gets earlier and earlier each year. The holidays should be a
stress-free time for us, but usually it is the most stressful time
of the year. I feel holiday time can potentially be very taxing
between the physical demands of traveling and socializing, and the
emotional aspects of meeting with family.
Environmental factors, even on a subtle scale, can also
influence the general mood. I know that every holiday I am stressed
out completely. If it's not the stress of school and graduating
this trimester, it's the endless Christmas list my five children
have given me, or the search for the perfect toy that is usually
sold out or on back order. Did I mention also having to plan and
cook the perfect meals and not overindulge in eating? I become
pretty stressed. I know I am not alone. Right?
Ways to Cope with Holiday Stress: 5 healthy
1. Keep it simple! Don't over commit yourself to friends and
2. Live in the moment. Start off your day with an intention of
being aware and in the present all through the day. Create and
declare an affirmation that will set the tone of your whole day.
Not only will you be better equipped to cope with stress, you might
even find some new perspectives that you didn't see before. When
you start with awareness, you have the opportunity to enjoy a
healthy outlook and a good mood and health balance all through the
3. Take time out. If you are feeling tired or stressed, take
time out for yourself. I am a firm believer in naps and taking time
out for me.
4. Be thankful. Add up everything you are thankful for in your
head and see if your mood doesn't improve as well as your
5. Acupuncture once a week to help with stress, along with
mediation, massage, and exercise. This will definitely help your
stress levels not just during the holiday season but anytime.
Thank you for you continued support of the AOM Blog. Happy Week
This week, I want to tell you about an amazing foundation. It is
called the Michael DeStefano Foundation. Michael DeStefano and his
family have been such a wonderful inspiration to our AOM clinic
every Tuesday morning that I feel compelled to share their
Mike (yellow shirt) with his mother Debbie (scarf)
Michael was born and raised in Addison, Illinois, a suburb just
west of Chicago. Mike and his older brother, Nick, have developed a
strong friendship. Mike is an enthusiastic sports fan and top-notch
athlete. His parents, Pete and Debbie, are loving and devoted
parents who taught Michael the values of being loyal, caring,
family-oriented, and dedicated.
During his summer break from Illinois State University in 2009,
Michael's life tragically changed. While riding home from work with
a friend, an unexplainable auto accident occurred, which left Mike
clinging to life and suffering from traumatic brain injury.
Throughout a long and arduous process, Mike has continued to
improve and his recovery has surprised even his doctors, although
he still has a long road ahead of him.
Photos from michaeladestefanofoundation.org
After the accident, the Michael A. DeStefano Foundation was
created. The goal of the foundation is to provide advocacy for
families who have suffered many hardships as a result of a family
member who has traumatic brain injuries.
Michael's mom Debbie has spoken at many events. She spoke to our
senior acupuncture seminar class at National University of Health
Sciences last trimester.
The foundation is planning a fundraiser in 2014. If you would
like more information about the Michael DeStefano Foundation, you
can like them on Facebook or go directly to their website: michaeladestefanofoundation.org.
Thank you for your continued support of the AOM blog! Stay warm
and have a great week!
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