This trimester brought me a lot of joy when I started seeing
patients in the clinic. I remember how confused I was 2-3 tris ago.
I felt like I would never be able to discern a pulse or a
diagnosis. I remember practicing taking the pulse in class and how
most of us had no idea what kind of pulse we were feeling on the
I can only say it gets better. How? Practice will sound old and
overrated but it's still true.
Do I feel more confident? For me, confidence is a combination of
so many things! It's not only the theory that you learn or practice
needling. Having a background in healthcare I didn't felt so
overwhelmed in the beginning. I'm also lucky because I have a good
memory, so memorizing acupuncture points was fun and easy, and I
still remember most of them even if we don't really use them on
patients. My energy medicine background helps a lot on finding the
right points and most of the times I can feel empty and full before
even palpating a point.
Memorizing Chinese herbs is a different story for another time.
Most of all, I love working with people and seeing the results!
Not only does it gives me confidence, but it also gives me the
energy and the motivation to study more and be better. I can hardly
wait to get my license and integrate everything I studied for more
than 10 years!
What makes it better and how can you gain more confidence? Go
with the flow! Each day will build you in a better practitioner.
Take the pulse whenever you have the chance; don't stress too much
on getting the exact type of pulse. Stay relaxed and you will
discover that when you start seeing patients on a daily basis,
you'll suddenly find yourself feeling differences and knowing
exactly what kind of pulse is.
Try and needle yourself and pay attention to different
sensations when you needle certain points. Try and feel the arrival
of De Qi so you get used to it.
In Japanese acupuncture they say intention is primordial and not
needling. So next time you needle, use your intention, too.
Japanese say you should be able to get results even when you don't
needle and just touch the skin with the needle. Since it's all Qi
or energy or whatever you want to call it, use it, play with it and
make it your ally.
I'm already done with the first part of exams and I'm looking
forward to a relaxing weekend. Meanwhile, I had to take care of
myself and not catch all the bugs that were running around campus.
:) Not only were many people are dealing with colds, but stress
during exams can lower your immunity and make you a target, so I
definitely didn't want that to happen to me, too.
How do I keep stress low and energy high during
You probably think that I will start talking about
Chinese herbs, but to be honest, I find patents not strong enough
for me. Even if I like the raw herbs, I don't have time for them,
so I stick with easier and faster choices.
First on my list are essential oils. I've been using them a very
long time and I never leave the house without some travel bottles
with my favorite ones. I know here in USA people don't really use
them orally, but in Europe we have, and you can buy them over the
counter in any pharmacy. They come packed in gelatin capsules, so
ingestion is very easy. Needless to say that if you use them
orally, you should buy only organic high-grade essential oils.
My list is very long but here are a couple of the basic ones:
mint for tension, headaches and just waking up when I feel tired;
lavender as a good stress reliever; thyme to keep the bugs away;
chamomile for insomnia; cardamom for calming the digestive system
(bloating and abdominal cramps); lemon oil in my water to help
lymph moving; eucalyptus for respiratory infections; and orange,
grapefruit and rose oils just because I love the scent and they
just make me happy. :)
Second on my list are my herbal tinctures. I use different
combinations for digestive issues, for energy and for immunity.
Sometimes I get them from the clinic; sometimes I just buy them
Next, my homeopathic box comes in very handy. I use Gelsemium
for stress before an exam, Sepia for mood swings, Nux vomica for
digestive issues, Kali phosphoricum for tension headaches, and Ruta
graveolens for when my eyes are tired from all the reading and
I was recently gifted an entire Bach flowers remedies kit and I
have to say I love using it, but I still have to study and learn
more about these remedies.
Last but not least, I use my ear seeds all the time! I don't
needle myself so much just because I am very sensitive, and I
discovered I prefer the Japanese style, but I still use ear seeds,
moxa and cupping.
Good luck with exams and lots of health!
Time seems to move faster and faster and we've just welcomed the
Year of Fire Rooster! If you missed it in January, here's your
second chance to plan and set goals for this year!
I don't really know much about Chinese Astrology but I'm hoping
this year will not rock my boat too much. :) From what I've been
reading, 2017 is subject to the Fire element in its Yin form.
"Yin Fire expresses warmth and insight, as well as the quietness
of privacy and family ties. Rooster Years are a combination of
righteousness and justice, bombast and logistical efficiency."
Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ILAAOM)
organized a celebratory dinner in Chinatown this past weekend and
most of our AOM students and teachers attended. Sadly, I wasn't
able to attend because of my busy schedule and 4 exams coming up,
but I was happy to hear everybody had a wonderful time. ILAAOM
offered different scholarships, raffle prizes, an auction, and they
also had a couple of speakers. I wish we could have these events
more often and not only for the New Year!
Besides school, clinic and work, I kept myself busy with my
monthly Center for Education and Development of Homeopathy (CEDH)
seminars and an online course from Lotus Institute of Integrative
I'm proud to say I went back to my usual High Intensity Training
(HIT) routine three times per week, bright and early in the
morning! I've been dealing with some neck and shoulders issues and
I thought exercising and some cupping would help me release some of
the stress that gets stuck in those muscles. But I'm also dealing
with the winter blues because I miss the sun so much!
I recently took a trip to downtown Chicago and attended a
seminar in "Point Palpation and Japanese Needle Technique."
The opinions are so different from person to person when you ask
about Japanese acupuncture, I didn't know exactly what to expect.
Most of the people say it's too shallow and that you really have to
stimulate much more so you can get an effect.
The instructor took us through the basic methods of Japanese
palpation of skin and subcutaneous tissue and the painless needle
technique. We discussed pulse and abdominal diagnosis, how to use
the pulse and choose the points, and how to locate a point on
We practiced all of the above and then we worked on our needling
Everything was quite different from TCM.
Japanese acupuncture bases the treatment more on palpation, and
no matter how much excess a person has, they first tonify the Yin
organ that comes up in pulse and then move forward to work on the
Quick Facts on Acupuncture Styles
Acupuncture stresses meridian palpation and acupressure,
and uses thinner needles.
Acupuncture often uses only four needles, and treatment
focuses on extremities like hands or ears.
Acupuncture originated in Taiwan, and works great on
Acupuncture is the traditional foundation for all styles,
and larger needles are inserted over a wider area.
They always start treatment with contact needling on the abdomen
so they stimulate the parasympathetic system. They are checking
pulse before and after this stimulation, and most of the times the
pulse becomes clear and you can distinguish much easier where is
They classify pulse in: fast/slow, deep/floating,
excess/deficiency and don't really go into other categories. We
didn't checked tongue at all, but we paid more attention to color
and moisture of the abdomen.
The needles used on patients are very thin (0.12-0.18 mm),
overall stimulation is small, and patients don't really experience
any pain. The needle is supported most of the time, and you have to
use both hands and stimulation ends when the change is
The goal in Japanese acupuncture is to boost patient inner
healing power and it is considered you have a good technique when
you preserve the patient's right Qi.
The instructor underlined that we, as practitioners, have to be
clear on our purpose and intention is paramount. When needling you
have to use your intention and visualize Qi moving in the right
I loved the seminar and I'm planning to attend the next one that
will focus on "Five Phase Root Treatment in Japanese Meridian
If you are curious to learn about Japanese acupuncture, you can
ILAAOM and if you would like to try it, come and see me in the
clinic and I'll be happy to give you a treatment or just explain
more about the needling technique.
Another break is gone and we're even closer to the finish line.
Winter break brought me some much-needed rest and I can't really
say I did too many things. I kept it low key and just stayed around
the house, reorganized my office, met with friends, went to the
movies, and did some shopping. This time I really felt I needed the
rest and I allowed my body to just do nothing and relax.
First week of school is already gone and I'm happy to say I had
a blast in the clinic, saw 6 patients, and enjoyed every single
minute. This trimester I have 4 clinic shifts, 5 classes, and just
20 hours per week at work, so I'm hoping it will be a bit easier on
my body and overall health. Usually I am not excited about Western
Medicine classes, but I am happy to say I loved every minute of my
first class in Imaging Diagnosis with Dr. Bogar, and I am looking forward to
learning a lot from him!
Each of the next 14 weeks is already planned. Before the end of
last tri I bought a planner and started adding things in it almost
every day. If I don't plan and have everything on my calendar, all
becomes a big mess and I end up not having time to even eat a
I am not a crafty person but I love making lists so I have all
the exams and the time for study in my planner. The material is
divided in small portions starting with Week 2 so I don't get
overwhelmed just before an exam.
I use the planner for everything, not only exams. I plan when I
do laundry, cook, grocery shop, read books, exercise, go to
seminars -- basically all my life. It makes it easier to not feel
stressed, forget things and it shows me exactly how much free time
I have each day, so I can take some time for myself and play with
the dog, talk with friends and family, or just enjoy a book or
In case some of you are interested in seminars happening this
trimester, here's a list:
Good luck with classes and studying!
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