The weeks keep flying by, probably because I am in clinic six
different shifts, which seems to make the days fly by. I would like
to take a moment to talk a little about a special case I have. I
started treating a patient this trimester that was recently
diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
Everyone is familiar with the word or diagnosis of fibromyalgia,
but how is it defined? Fibromyalgia is defined as a disorder of the
muscles and connective tissues. Patients have muscle pain, tender
spots, and they may have sleep disturbances, fatigue or depression.
Researchers have many theories of what may cause fibromyalgia such
as low serotonin levels, or an increased chemical called "substance
P" that can be caused both by stress or emotional trauma. Others
believe muscle "microtrauma" leads to fibromyalgia, and yet some
researchers believe genes play a role in how the body responds to
In TCM, we diagnose based on the answers the patient states
about their pain as well as their response to questions about other
bodily functions. TCM does have acute and chronic pain diagnoses as
well those that sound like they have nothing to do with pain.
However, we always diagnose the whole person and not just their
I started treating my patient at the beginning of May. Her
rheumatologist had just diagnosed her as having fibromyalgia two
weeks previously. During history taking, she said she also had
severe arthritis in her toes and knees. These disorders were
confirmed by either X-rays or bone scan. After completing an
extensive history, I came up with a diagnosis with my clinician and
began treatment. My point prescription was based on the pattern the
patient had that seemed to be causing the TCM organ disturbances
and thus the pain. After the treatment I discussed with the patient
how often I would like to see her and when I would reassess the
condition. I wanted to see her twice a week for three weeks.
After the two weeks she seemed to be getting great results. Her
pain went from a 5 on VAS pain scale to no pain but just soreness.
She also had no headaches, an improved mood and some increase in
energy. She has not had to take her Celebrex for pain control in
After such improvement, I wanted to incorporate stretches that
she could perform at home to relax the muscles and tendons. I
consulted some of my books but also my fellow chiropractic
students. They gave me instructions on how to perform the stretch
and how it would benefit the patient as well as the results I
should see. After explaining and showing these stretches to my
patient, I also gave her diagrams of the stretches with
instructions of how many reps, sets and amount of time to hold.
She was very grateful and appreciated the time I took with her.
This in turn made me feel good because that's what I look forward
to every day--helping my patients improve their condition as well
as allowing them to take control of their health.
After reassessing her pain condition I have concluded that we
can treat once a week and hopefully see enough improvement that we
can do monthly treatments to keep her energy
Last week I shared with you my HB Kim seminar class. This week I
am going to tell you a little about what we do in the class. I
mentioned that we attend 3 Single Herb classes, 2 Formula classes,
and 6 seminar classes, which discuss topics from internal medicine
and OB Gyn to dermatology. We utilize our knowledge of the basic
classes to help formulate prescriptions for the case subjects of
our senior classes. However, I have to say, nothing compares to the
insane amount of material we go over in two weekends and then have
to study. Insane is good, but hard.
Now, I don't want to scare you, but do want to give you the
reality of the program. Mind you, we have reviewed all of the herbs
and formulas before. However, the overwhelming factor kicks in
after the fifth hour on Sunday when you have just gone over 199
herbs and have 50 more to go. Next week, we are reviewing 134
formulas in 15 hours. Each formula consists of many individual
herbs as well as dosage, which we need to memorize.
have a quiz next week, which I am studied for this past Memorial
Weekend. The quiz will cover herb categories. This will probably be
the easiest test we take in our herbal ventures. As students
working in the clinic, we do use and see a lot of the same herbs
over and over, but there are a few that escape your memory and
those are the herbs and formulas we will study the most.
I plan on using my formula zoo cards to help me study for the
formula portion. These cards were an investment, but definitely
worth it if you are a visual learner like I am. The cards
contain funny pictures to help you remember the formulas' functions
and properties (cooling, warming, bitter or acrid etc.). This
trimester I definitely have my work cut out for me. It will be a
challenging but a rewarding semester.
P.S. If you haven't checked out the school's new and improved
website, go and explore! See you next
Coming soon, I will update you on our graduates in China!
Oh, what a week it has been. Wednesday, I took the biomedicine
portion of the board exam and what an exhausting day! The test was
100 questions with a time limit of 2.5 hours and I took the whole
time. I think that was because by the time I took the exam, I was
so burned out from studying for it that my brain was moving at
snail's pace. I studied materials that were specifically geared
towards boards plus all of my class material - pathology,
orthopedics, pharmacology, microbiology, CPR, clean needle
technique, physiology, and other materials.
Needless to say, I think every student walks out of boards
saying, "Oh my gosh!" From what my friends that took the boards
said, I definitely had different questions. I feel National gave me
sufficient biomedicine classes plus everything from my bachelor's,
and I felt I was ready to take the exam. However, after taking the
exam, I would like to see more case studies being utilized in the
classes. I am confident I passed the exam but without knowing for
sure I am still a little uneasy. So wish me luck!
No Time for Rest
This weekend I had my second HB Kim seminar. This seminar was
focused on "Herbs and Formulas." The class is held over two
weekends (Saturday 8-6 and Sunday 8-3) because HB Kim travels from
Kentucky to teach it. I enjoy the class and the material but it is
a lot of information to process in one weekend.
and Formulas" seminar with HB Kim.
Dr. Kim provides excellent handouts and he presents in a way
that engages all learning styles. He is a wealth of knowledge and
he makes the class very enjoyable. He has studied extensively with
many famous doctors and he has read and interpreted all the
Classics of TCM. The students have all had three materia medicas,
two herbal formula classes, and some senior seminar classes. We
have learned all of the herbs and formulas, but seeing them again
in a different format with a different teacher brings a different
perspective. He also discusses things such as Dui Yao, or two herb
combinations, that we are not formerly taught. I can't say enough
good things about Dr. Kim and his classes. I think National is
extremely lucky to have him.
All those wondering about the effectiveness of acupuncture
should save the date, 3/15 and 3/16 at 7pm to come to National
University to see the famous film "9000 Needles." The film follows
a 40-year-old stroke victim who after exhausting all of his other
options travels to Tian Jin University in China, to see what
acupuncture and Chinese Medicine has to offer in aiding his
recovery. After the film, one of my favorite professors will be
speaking about his experience with stroke. Dr. Yihyun Kwon received
his DAOM in China and wrote his thesis on stroke.
So don't miss it!! The film will be showing in our Student
Center. Hope to see you there :)
Hey there, everyone, well I made it through my psychopathology
midterm. It was as I predicted, hard. There were 10
questions, three of which were essay and the others short
answer. One of the short answer questions was a seven-part
essay with in-depth descriptions in each part. We had two hours in
which to complete the task and I, like always, used the whole time
but definitely could have used another half hour. I guess I am just
a slow test taker.
Herbal Seminar 4 Midterm
My second test was on Friday and even though I have studied
throughout the trimester, I still feel like I didn't have a grip on
all of the info, however, the test wasn't that bad. Herbal Seminar
4 also was essay and short answer questions. Essay questions are
practical in this part of our education because they simulate a
real patient. These herbal seminar classes take herbs to another
level because not only do we need to know the function of the
formulas (in pinyin), but also we now have to memorize every
ingredient and dosage. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining; I
am preparing those future herbal students for what is to come.
So much coffee has made it difficult for me to sleep and a few
nights I don't fall asleep 'til 4:00am, which is frustrating. So I
did my body a favor and went to get acupuncture myself and Dr. Cai
helped me modify a few formulas to suit my TCM pattern
Granules are an addition to the herb room. Granules are raw
herbs but better because they are already cooked and all one has to
do is dissolve them in hot water and drink. So of course, with my
hectic schedule I prepared them in granule form. They look and
smell so good. A plethora of colors! But don't worry we still
offer raw herbs and patent formulas.
Can you believe it's Week 9 already? The weeks just seem to fly
by especially when you have a jam-packed week. Lately, I have been
adding to the craziness by going in early on Mondays to treat a
patient who can only make that time, so last Monday was 13-hour day
at school. But I treated myself with an acupuncture treatment on my
day off, Thursday.
However, for the past three weeks I have been going in on
Thursday mornings to help out in the herbal pharmacy. I used to
work in the herb room and when I did, I felt more confident in my
herbal strategy so I've begun to volunteer. It's a great learning
experience because we are treating a Hepatitis B patient with herbs
who has been improving over the last few months documented by the
lab work she receives every month.
Ask any student and even the calmest will say they feel a little
more stirred up when midterms come along. After being at National
for over 5 years (including my B.S.) I have definitely learned to
chill out more around test time. But midterms still have me staying
up a little later studying. I have learned that the calmer one is
when taking a test, the more you will remember. I especially
couldn't get through midterms without my husband who gives me
encouragement and makes me home cooked meals that feed my brain's
Currently I am studying for three midterms, one of which is for
Psychopathology, in which every question will be in essay form and
should be at least a one-page answer, states Dr. Delfosse, our
instructor. I enjoy the class because it helps me realize what some
of our mental illness patients are experiencing.
One of the topics we have discussed is PTSD, short for
posttraumatic stress disorder. Auricular acupuncture works
exceptionally well at treating the symptoms of PTSD. We use a
protocol called NADA, which has been used all over the world for
recovering addicts. We currently treat PTSD veterans of war for
free on Thursdays at the clinic. So spread the word!
The picture is of me studying with the help of fuzzy feline,
• Clinic Success
• Rainy Saturday
• Business Planning
• Bee Venom Therapy
• Kinesio Taping
• SACA Seminar
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