Senior Seminar 3

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In my Senior Seminar class, which is a series of four, we talk about a range of common illnesses that affect many of our patients. In this particular class, we have focused on amenorrhea and infertility. These topics are near and dear to my heart and I always enjoy learning more. Jia Xu teaches our class. I have blogged about Jia before. She has wonderful palpation techniques that she shares with us in class and clinic. She also incorporates Dr. Tung's acupuncture and 6 level acupuncture into our classes.   


Senior Seminar classes are set up to mimic Grand Rounds. Jia will lecture on the topic for two thirds of the class, and then she will review case studies on each topic. Students then divide into groups to analyze, diagnose and treat each case.  Usually one of those groups will also research the topic and discover studies that have been published on the topic. The case along with the research is then presented to the class the following week as a PowerPoint presentation.

Case Topic

Our last presentation on the topic of amenorrhea focused on endometriosis. Endometriosis commonly plagues American women and in 15% of the cases causes infertility. In TCM, we don't classify each disease process like Western medicine. On the other hand, we do classify endometriosis as dysmenorrhea or infertility.

After asking more in-depth questions surrounding the main concern, as well as asking other questions to help identify the main differential diagnoses, we might diagnose the patient with Blood Stasis. Usually the patient has underlying patterns of deficiency or excess that has caused the Blood Stasis and we treat both. We never just treat the symptoms; we always treat the whole energetic person. We call it the Chuan and the Bian. The Chuan is the passage of development of the disease along a course, and the Bian is the change in the nature of the disease contrary to normal laws. We might focus on the manifestation at first, but then we always treat the underlying passage of development. 

Endometriosis can be treated with acupuncture to ease the pain of the menstruation, but herbs are most commonly used to clear the "obstructions" of Blood or Phlegm and to normalize the hormones. Electric stimulation is often added to the acupuncture needles and is a common research topic on Pub Med. My classmates also found an article utilizing foot reflexology to ease the painful menses. We are not trained in reflexology, but it is a similar concept of the microcosmic of the body but on the foot, hand or ear. There are many books for one to read on reflexology and I definitely believe in the power of touch to help relieve pain.

Elizabeth -squash

Tao of Nutrition 

On another note, the picture is of a recipe I made from my Tao of Nutrition boo - stuffed acorn squash. The foods utilized will move stagnant Qi and remove food stagnation and phlegm. For more info, send me an email.

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