I learned a new technique this week from a friend also in the OM
program. It is called navel cupping. She found this technique
online browsing YouTube. An acupuncturist in Australia, who
specializes in infertility, uses the technique in her clinic and
demonstrated how to do the technique. Women who are infertile often
have "cold in the uterus" and moxa is used to warm up the
My friend often has an abdomen that is cold to the touch and
wanted to try this technique. Being a student in clinic is the best
chance to try different techniques whether it be needle technique,
new needle protocols or new modalities such as navel
We began by collecting everything we needed and preparing it. We
needed a warm glass cup as well as warm salt. The navel cupping is
used to pull the cold out of the body. The thought is, why moxa and
add heat if the body hasn't rid itself of the cold? By removing the
cold, the yang qi may be able to flow and regulate the organs
The whole process took two hours but in the end it worked. I
began by monitoring her abdomen temperature and other areas that
are typically cold on her. I also used tender acupuncture points as
a guide as well. I began by cupping the navel to pull out the cold.
I also took pictures of her tongue to document progress.
After about an hour, I pulled off the cup because her belly was
warm as were the other areas I was monitoring. I then used salt and
ginger as a medium to moxa her navel. This took many sticks but in
the end there was significant improvement. Improvements included a
less purple tongue, a warm belly and ankles, a serene mood, and
clearer sheen in the eyes. I am happy I was able to try and
experience this new way of cupping and hopefully use it on other
Graduation is closer by the day. As I am preparing everything
for graduation I am also studying for my Herbal board and have yet
to write a valedictorian speech. This has got to be one of the most
stressful trimesters! My wonderful husband is supporting me and
helping me in any way he can.
Many may think as the program nears the end it may get easier,
but that is definitely not the case. It is bittersweet. I am joyous
to be finally entering the business world and sharing my knowledge
with my patients, but sad as I will miss my classmates and
professors. But it is just the beginning of a great career.
As I stated in last week's blog, I planned to interview one of
the graduates who went to China.
A little background: Dr. Cai has connections with one of the
hospitals in Xi'an and is friends with one of the hospital
directors. More than a year ago, she set up a program for the
students. In exchange for a year in China teaching English at
Shaanxi University, the students are able to study in the hospital
with the other doctors. The students are given housing and paid a
minimal wage to teach. They also receive two months off in the
summer to travel. Cherlyn, one of the herbal students, left in
February to travel to China and is currently on summer break and
As I talked with Cherlyn at dinner, she stated what a big
culture shock it is to be in China. They are living in one of the
oldest Chinese cities and it shows. There were a few surprises that
they have had to become accustomed to, such as the plumbing, but
that is such a small quirk compared to the beauty of the city.
Everyone is really friendly and like family. Many of the dinners
are focused around "dim sum," which is like a big lazy susan where
all the food is shared among those at the table. It's like
Thanksgiving every night.
At the hospital, where she spends four hours a couple of times a
week, she has enjoyed learning new techniques that are not taught
in the U.S. For instance, they do a lot of herbal injections into
acupuncture points. This could be for menstrual cramps, to induce
labor, for Bell's palsy, and much more.
She has also seen them do a lot of blood transfusions. For
example, the doctor will extract blood from the cubital vein and
then energetically inject it into ST 36. ST 36, Zu San Li , is a
very important and powerful point in Chinese medicine. In Chinese
literature, it is often said to moxa this point every day to bring
She has also seen a lot of flash cupping done to the face for
Bell's palsy. She said the doctors treat a lot of facial paralysis
at the hospital. Cherlyn and her roommate Andrea, also a graduate
of NUHS, have put together a website, Jouneys to Healing Medicine, to share their
experiences and new knowledge. She says she really enjoys China and
all the new experiences it brings her. She also likes the downtime
to practice yoga every morning and read books she has always
balloons at Eyes to the Sky festival in Lisle.
Well, that's all for now, I hope everyone enjoyed their Fourth
This past weekend was so NICE! My husband and I were able to
enjoy the weather strolling around Geneva before we buckled down to
study. Yes, it's finals time already. Time flies when you're having
fun. I have a few finals this week and the rest next week. But
before I talk anymore about me I have a big secret...
National University of Health Sciences' Acupuncture and Oriental
Medicine Program has been accredited by the NCCAOM!! Oh my gosh, I
think I was the last to hear because apparently the word has been
out for a while. All of our administrators' hard work paid off. We
will be accredited until 2016 when NCCAOM will come to recheck all
of the checkpoints.
NUHS has the opportunity to be the best AOM university in the
U.S. We have the facilities to do much research, which
unfortunately is lacking in our field. We have a few clinics, and
most importantly we have a cadaver lab in which we are able to
dissect a human body to experience where all of the muscles and
organs are and how the needles can affect those structures. No
other AOM university has that.
During break I will be studying for my first board test, the
biomedicine portion. This exam is only offered 3-4 times a year so
I have scheduled to take it in May. It won't be so bad because it
will refresh everything I have learned from the last five years
Also during break, my husband and I will be office shopping
again because we have 5 more months until we graduate. It's
exciting but scary at the same time.
Laura is in the picture modeling the Po Sum oil many students
use to do their bodywork, which includes guasha, tuina or cupping.
There are many oils to choose from but usually one with a viscous
texture factor is good. All of the mentioned modalities are good
for treating sore muscles, colds, constipation, and much more.
Before I begin to talk about the title of this week's blog, I am
happy to announce I did well on all of my exams. Yeah, go me! I try
not to freak out before tests, but this trimester is pretty
As I mentioned last week, the AOM club was hosting the film
"9000 Needles" here at the school. The proceeds were to benefit the
gentleman, Devin Dearth, on whom the film was based. The movie was
offered on two days and I helped with the first day. We had a nice
turnout of about 40 people and I think Wednesday's turnout was
similar. Thank you to everyone that came out and supported the film
and our profession.
The movie was a great way to see how effective Traditional
Oriental Medicine (TOM) integrated with western medicine could be
on an individual who may not have much hope with western medicine
alone. The documentary takes the viewer on a heart-wrenching
journey of Devin Dearth (a former bodybuilder) and his family's
conviction to get the best care and rehabilitation after Devin's
debilitating intracerebral stroke. After insurance claims were
exhausted, their only option was to continue rehabilitation and pay
out of pocket. The catch: it would cost the family $150,000 a month
to continue care at the state-of-the-art rehabilitation center he
Devin's brother investigated other alternatives and came across
TOM. A hospital in Tian Jin, China, integrates TOM with western
medicine to achieve incredible results. From the day he stepped
into the hospital to the day he left 10 weeks later, he received
nothing but the best care. Everyone from the doctors to the
cleaning staff treated him like family. They gave great moral
support and really wanted him to recover. For example, Devin could
barely move any of his limbs when he arrived at the hospital and on
the first day after receiving acupuncture with electric
stimulation, herbs, cupping, and tui na, he was able to lift his
right leg four inches off the bed! How incredible to see after
other therapies could hardly come close to that success. I quote,
"He received more treatment in one day than in weeks in the U.S."
I don't want to spoil the movie for you, but Devin does make
significant recovery and I think it proves that oriental medicine
and western medicine can achieve better results together. I hope
this film is enlightening for those who are doubtful of our
medicine as it proves success.
Pictured above (L-R) are Dr. Yurasek, Dr. Kwon
and Noel Jenson, president of AOM club.
After the show, Dr. Yihyun Kwon, assistant professor of
acupuncture and oriental medicine, gave a presentation on stroke.
Dr. Kwon, who attended Kyung Hee University for his PhD, wrote his
thesis on stroke and has significant knowledge on how to treat
stroke victims. Dr. Kwon always wondered why so many stroke victims
in Asia have been successfully treated but not in the U.S. Many of
the victims are not aware of the benefits acupuncture and TOM have
to offer. Dr. Kwon wants to extend his knowledge of how to treat
these patients to our students at National. Dr. Kwon, with help
from our assistant dean, Dr. Frank Yurasek and other fellow
professors have started a stroke case study. We are looking for
those individuals who have had a stroke between 1.5 months up to a
year ago that would like to participate in a 12-week program.
So please spread the word and contact Dr. Kwon at
630-889-6608, firstname.lastname@example.org for more
As I promised last week, I was able to have lunch while
interviewing a graduate of the Oriental Medicine Program. Margaret
Thompson-Choi, you might remember, wrote this blog before
Margaret graduated in December 2009. After graduation, she spent
5 weeks in Korea continuing her OM education hands-on at a
hospital. She visited Kyung Hee University in the months of January
and February while staying with her in-laws. Margaret says the
hospital specializes in Bell's Palsy, so she would feel very
comfortable treating such patients in her office.
Kyung Hee University has 12 departments and students have the
choice of touring one or all of the departments. Margaret spent 8
hours a day touring the university and was very impressed with the
hospital. "It was similar to a Western hospital; they utilized all
of the same equipment, such as MRI machines to help diagnose
patients," she said, "and it was also very sanitary."
Some of the interesting things she witnessed were the doctors
doing manipulation to patients called Chuna, which she described as
similar to chiropractic adjustments. The hospital also utilized
pulse machines that were able to electronically print out the pulse
diagnosis from a strap around the patient's wrist. The doctors also
took high quality pictures of the patient's tongue. These were used
in diagnoses but also to show improvement to the patient. Margaret
also noticed that some doctors only practiced herbs. After writing
a prescription for the patient, they would give it to the
hospital's pharmacy. The pharmacy had big vats that they prepared
and boiled the herbs in. They then put the individual dosages into
little cartons that the patient could drink right away.
Margaret really enjoyed her experience and recommends the
university as shorter alternative to the year-long China trip. The
trip would run around $2,000 plus lodging.
Currently, Margaret is working at one location in Chicago and
two locations in Naperville. At one of those locations, she is an
independent contractor and is slowly building up her patient base.
She currently sees one to seven patients a day but would be happy
to see 8-12 a day. She also has the ability to recommend herbs if
the patient chooses.
She states, "There are jobs out there for acupuncturists, you
just need to find them." She looked on craigslist, sent letters to
chiropractors, and checked on NUHS's alumni site for job offerings.
She also suggested joining a leads group in the town in which you
would like to practice. The group meets weekly and exchanges
business cards. She suggests working at two places maximum to build
up a good clientele. When I asked her for her advice, she said, "Be
prepared for set-backs." Things may take longer than anticipated
such as getting your license and finding work. But it all works
I would like to thank Margaret for allowing me to interview her
and for sharing her experiences with all of the future
• Clinic Success
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• Bee Venom Therapy
• Kinesio Taping
• SACA Seminar
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