Midterm Management

This week is midterm week, so many students are feeling a bit stressed. Fortunately, we have come to appreciate the calming effects of AOM treatments and therapies. During this time of the trimester, we often use points for aiding in the ability to study, stay focused, and remain relaxed.

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Some of these points include si shen cong, which are four points at the top of the head, DU20 at the vertex of the head, and yin tang, a point on the face in the center between the eyebrows. Si shen cong and DU20 are displayed in the picture. A combination of points often referred to as "four gates" is also very powerful at reducing stress that tends to occur during midterm week.

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Auricular points are also very popular for reducing stress. My favorite auricular point for reducing stress, feeling centered, and staying focused is shen men, which is pictured.

Since we study this medicine, we know what points to use and when to use them. We know when they might be contraindicated due to other diagnoses present. The nice thing is since there appears to be an infinite ability to choose and combine points, there is always a way to use acupuncture to reduce stress. 

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In addition to using acupuncture to stay relaxed and focused, herbal formulas are very helpful in promoting stress reduction. Two of my favorite formulas that help reduce stress depending on Chinese medicine diagnosis are xiao yao pian (pictured) and Chai hu jia long gu mu li tang.

In AOM, a big result of stress is a pattern called liver qi stagnation. In short, that means a blockage of qi flow primarily in the meridian (liver) that deals with frustration, depression, or feeling overwhelmed. This can lead to many other problems in other channels. The spleen channel deals with anxiety, so many times it's useful to treat the liver and spleen channels together depending on how the patient presents in the clinic.

Xiao yao pian harmonizes the liver and spleen meridians, among other actions, which greatly aids in reducing stress and promoting concentration. Chai hu jia long gu mu li tang works to sedate and calm the spirit. It also creates a very calming effect. 

In addition to acupuncture and herbs, many of us use Tai Chi, Qi Gong and yoga to keep ourselves centered and balanced. These modalities combine breath, movement, and visualization to promote healthy qi flow. This aids by bringing our mind, body and spirit into a place of balance and well-being.