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
In this week's blog I wanted to share an interesting case that I
am currently treating in the veterans' clinic in Lombard. A Vietnam
veteran came into the clinic three weeks ago for acupuncture to
help with sarcoidosis. He is a 56-year-old black male who was
diagnosed sarcoidosis two years ago.
Sarcoidosis is a disease that results from a specific type of
inflammation of tissues of the body. It can appear in almost any
body organ, but it starts most often in the lungs or lymph nodes.
The cause of sarcoidosis is unknown. The disease can appear
suddenly and disappear, or it can develop gradually and go on to
produce symptoms that come and go, sometimes for a lifetime.
As sarcoidosis progresses, microscopic lumps of a specific form
of inflammation, called granulomas, appear in the affected tissues. In
the majority of cases, these granulomas clear up, either with or
without treatment. In the few cases where the granulomas do not
heal and disappear, the tissues tend to remain inflamed and become
scarred (fibrotic). (Mayo Clinic, 2012)
My patient has sarcoidosis in both eyes and has completely lost
vision in one. He has sarcoidosis in his spinal cord and lungs. As
a result, he is hemiplegic and has suffered many complications. The
patient feels that this is result of Agent Orange he inhaled when
he served in the Marine Corps during one of his tours in
My patient's symptoms are shortness of breath, fatigue, skin
rashes, poor vision, blindness, tinnitus, weight loss, depression,
and arthritis in the joints. He also has bowel issues and a Foley
catheter, and has a history of diabetes and high blood pressure
controlled by medication. He is currently taking over 20 different
medications prescribed by the VA hospital.
Acupuncture therapy for sarcoidosis is aimed at draining excess
and especially resolving phlegm accumulation. ST-40 (fenglong) is a
well-known example of a point used to transform phlegm-damp.
Acupuncture may be especially suited to addressing individual
constitutional patterns and symptomatic manifestation of the
disease (e.g., one might add GB-23,zhejin, in cases of sarcoidosis
yielding difficult breathing), while herbal therapies can be used
to address the more general characteristics of the disease.
In addition, I have been working with my patient on dietary
counseling and Tui Na for arms, hands and shoulders. After the
first treatment, my patient has shown improvement with his posture
range of motion, and says he feels better after each treatment.
Resource sites: Mayo Clinic 2012 and Subhuti Dharmananda,
PhD, director, Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland,
Oregon, May 2000.
Thank you for your continued support of the AOM blog! Have a
Acupuncture can be used as complementary treatment for stroke,
head injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder (PTSD). I am currently treating a 29-year-old
Marine veteran who suffered a stroke and a traumatic brain injury
While there is no definite evidence that acupuncture treatments
can cure severe brain injuries, studies and clinical experience
demonstrate that victims of brain injury and stroke have a higher
chance of recovery and rehabilitation if acupuncture treatment is used soon after the
My patient case is very complex and unique. His acupuncture
treatment focus is on his brain injury, stroke and PTSD. His main
objective is to bring back feeling and function to his body, help
with vision, speech impairments due to apraxia, spasticity
(uncontrolled movements) in both his hands, and regulate stress and
His TCM DX (diagnosis) is shen disturbance with trauma bi. His
treatment strategy is to calm the shen and relieve bi pain. I use
scalp acupuncture, but I also incorporate Tui Na (Chinese massage)
and Sotai. Sotai is a systematic form of exercise using active and
passive exercises. It is similar to kinesiology, but the key to
Sotai is correct breathing and a natural balancing of one's weight
while moving. Sotai treatments are often immediately effective in
reducing the effects of the stress on one's body.
he comes in for treatment he responds well overall. His wife has
seen the improvement in his conditions over the past 9 months at
our Lombard clinic.
His progress has been slow and steady, but significant. He also
receives chiropractic treatment, speech therapy, cold laser
therapy, massage, equestrian therapy, and intense physical therapy.
His motto continues to be Semper Fi!
It is an honor and a privilege to treat him. His dedication and
determination is inspiring to me and those around him.
Q: Why did you decide to come to
National University of Health Sciences and dual enroll in both
chiropractic and acupuncture?
A: I majored in mass communication and nutrition in undergrad at
Miami, and when I graduated, I ended up working in the advertising
industry for 4.5 years. It was a great experience, but I really
wanted to be involved with health care and wanted to help people on
a day-to-day basis. My father is a chiropractor and I've seen what
a great influence he's had on his patients and their well-being
over the years. I chose NUHS because of the well-rounded curriculum
and evidence-based practice program. In my
4th trimester of the DC program, I decided to try
acupuncture in the clinic to see what I thought about it, just in
case I was going to recommend it to patients in the future. I ended
up loving it so much I decided to pursue my master's degree in
Q: What are the pros and cons of dual
A: Being dual-enrolled was great because the acupuncture classes
are at night, so I was able to do both programs full-time without
having to slow down. It was also nice when studying to be able to
approach a condition from a western and eastern medicine
standpoint. Both chiropractic and acupuncture are awesome
treatments on their own, but they are so complementary with each
other that it's very beneficial for the patients to have a
practitioner that can do both. The downside of being dual-enrolled
is that it can be exhausting and it's easy to get burned out. Since
I chose to stay full-time with both programs, there were multiple
14-hour days in there that really kicked my butt.
Q: What are the pros and cons of AOM clinic and DC
A: The pros are that you get to see a variety of patients and
get to use both eastern and western treatments. The clinic
experience has been great on both sides, and the clinicians are
awesome and have really given me the guidance I needed. The AOM
clinic has allowed me to work with veterans here in Lombard and
work in a hospital atmosphere downtown as well. However, it can be
frustrating, because even as a dual-enrolled student I still had to
treat an AOM patient with acupuncture and a DC patient with
chiropractic, and I couldn't combine them in the same visit because
they are separate shifts and are overseen by separate clinicians.
But it's still good experience because it gives me an idea of how
I'll operate when I have my own practice.
Q: Where do you see the future of integrative
A: I think more and more patients are going to be searching for
a doctor or health care practice that can provide them with a
variety of treatment strategies instead of a single option. I think
patients can only benefit from having a plethora of resources
available to them that address them as a whole person and take into
account all aspects of their lifestyle. Students should really read
up on Andrew Weil, MD, who has put out some great material
regarding the importance of integrative medicine. A recent article
described his treatment strategy as "not being wedded to a
particular dogma, western or eastern, only to the
get-the-patient-better philosophy," which is the way all
practitioners should think.
Q: What are your future plans?
A: I will be opening my own practice in Indiana after I graduate
in August. I'll be working out of the same office as my soon-to-be
husband, who is also an NUHS graduate, so it will be nice to have a
National colleague to bounce ideas off of. He does a lot of
ART/DNS/MacKenzie work, where I will focus more on acupuncture, so
we'll have a variety of treatment options for our patients. I'd
love to get in part-time with a hospital in the area after a few
years of private practice, as well as focus on using my advertising
background to work with national and state organizations to promote
A BIG thanks to Lauren! We wish her the best in her future
endeavors and upcoming wedding in August.
Thank you for your continued support in the AOM blog! Have
a great week as we count down to finals and graduation.
What is cupping? Cupping was used in China for thousands of
years. The method was used primarily to withdraw pus and blood in
the treatment of boils. Cattle horn was used in early years for
cupping therapy. The Qing dynasty introduced the use of bamboo,
ceramic and glass cups for cupping. The modern cupping instruments,
which are used in United States clinics, are glass, plastic and
rubber cups. Occasionally, bamboo cups are used.
Cupping is a simple method of suction or negative pressure that
pulls "stuck," stagnant, and congealed blood and fluids out of the
injured area. Plastic or glass cups are placed on the skin and then
applied using suction. Cups are kept on from five to 30 minutes,
according to the judgment of the acupuncturist. Cupping releases
tight, painful muscles and increases blood circulation.
Cupping therapy can also be used to treat pain, Bi syndromes,
such as low back pain, shoulder pain, leg pain caused by wind
dampness, digestive problems, and even respiration problems.
Cupping therapy has been used for cosmetic purposes such as broken
veins, breast enhancement and cellulite. I regularly use cupping in
the clinic for stress reduction, muscle pain and tightness in the
upper and lower body. Patients are always saying how wonderful
cupping feels and how relaxed they feel after their treatment.
Helping Veterans' Pain
We have been using cupping therapy in the NUHS Whole Health
Center PTSD Clinic in Lombard. Many of the veterans' bodies have
been bruised and battered. They live with constant physical pain.
They find cupping as one of the many therapeutic therapies to help
with pain management and stress reduction for PTSD.
Cupping therapy has precautions and contradictions. As a result
of performing cupping, red or purple circle will often be produced
on the skin, or you may even see black circle that may take a few
days to heal. These circles are only dark colored in the area
cupped and may result in bruising. Since cupping marks take a few
days to heal, please consider if you are going to the beach or to
an event where you will be revealing the cupped area.
Cupping is not advisable or recommended if you are pregnant,
have a circulation disorder, hemophilia, lupus, or diabetes,
sunburns, wounds, skin ulcers, edema, high fever, hemorrhages, and
are using anticoagulant drugs. Cupping is also not recommended for
children under the age of seven.
Remember cupping helps to release tight muscles, increase blood
circulation, relieve stress, move congealed body fluids, however
bruising and bleeding may sometimes occur.
Thank you for your continued support of the AOM blog. Ask about
cupping therapy next time you make your next appointment in the
Lombard clinic. Have a stress free week!
• Fertility and TCM
• Cupping Therapy
• Boost Your Qi
• AOM and Autism
• New Spring AOM Interns
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