This is my last week of classes! I'm filled with anticipation
and excitement for what this next chapter will bring. I am thankful
to all of you for reading my blog. I appreciated your emails and
feedback. Writing this blog has been a highlight of my week over
the past two years. While graduating feels exhilarating, leaving
this blog, NUHS clinic and classes, and daily interactions with my
friends/students feels bittersweet.
The parting from NUHS feels bittersweet because in many ways
NUHS has become like family. Looking back at the past couple of
years, I have spent almost as much time at NUHS as I have spent at
home. Then, when I have been home, NUHS has been prevalent through
homework, studying, and papers. NUHS was a dominant role in my
life, so now that I'm graduating, I realize all the parts of NUHS I
will miss. That solemn feeling is partnered with gratitude for all
NUHS has offered me. I have learned information and experienced
opportunities more than I imagined upon enrolling at NUHS. I
desired to work with pediatric patients, PTSD patients, in a
hospital setting, write a scholastic blog, learn AOM information
rarely found in books, and much more. But, I assumed many of these
experiences would come once I graduated. I am so thankful I have
experienced all these and more, allowing me to bring a much broader
skill set into my practice.
Now that the chapter of earning my MSOM is closing, I have a new
career chapter opening. I will be going into practice treating all
conditions. I am specializing in pediatrics, fertility support, and
pain management. I have many goals set for this chapter of my life.
My primary goals are along the lines of teachings I read many years
ago by Mother Teresa; they are very simple: "Love strongly, do as
much good in this world as you can in as much time as you have.
Remember, love first begins by taking care of those at home." These
teachings are the main foundation of all my other goals in
Thank you again for reading my blog. I have enjoyed writing it
each week. Next trimester, Dia will be the new AOM blog writer. An
introductory blog was written about her a few weeks ago. I am sure
you will find her blogs very informative and helpful!
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and Happy
I recently received emails from two of my AOM patients. In their
emails, they shared their responses to AOM treatment. Since they
feel they have benefited by AOM, they were willing to share their
experiences in this blog. They expressed interest in sharing their
experiences as they hope others may benefit by reading them. They
hope it helps readers understanding the benefits that can occur
through AOM treatments.
"I have had the opportunity to
receive various oriental medicine treatments over the past few
years. I have been amazed how well the treatments have helped my
various issues. One of my treatments was soaking my injured foot in
medicinal Chinese herbs. The herb soaks helped decrease the pain
and the swelling of my foot. It was not a cure for the injury, but
the soaks greatly minimized the symptoms of the injury.
Two additional forms of
treatments I have received are auricular (ear) acupuncture and ear
seeds (pictured above) for lower back pain. I have been amazed how
well auricular therapies have treated my pain and inflammation.
Within minutes I felt a remarkable decrease in pain. Within about
24 hours, my flexibility greatly improved just from one treatment.
My pain quickly went from a 7/10 to a 2-3/10 on the pain scale.
Auricular treatments have also been very effective in reducing the
pain caused by the foot injury. I have also received
acupuncture several times for various reasons. This is definitely a
treatment I would recommend. It has helped with headaches and
"I have received acupuncture,
ear seeds, cupping, and have taken Chinese herbs many times for
various ailments. I have used them for physical pain and emotional
issues. I have been very happy with all treatments. If I was able
to do these treatments on a regular basis I think I would see
greater benefits. Unfortunately, my work and the location where I
live prevent the ability for regular appointments."
Penny and Emily, thank you for sharing your experiences! I am
thankful for your beneficial results. I hope this helps readers who
have not experienced AOM or are thinking about pursuing an
education in AOM receive a broader understanding of AOM's impact on
After completion of last week's NUHS exit exams, it was time for
some fun! This weekend my family and I went to the Brookfield Zoo.
Since I was a child, I have enjoyed going to the zoo. In addition
to seeing the animals, this weekend many companies, families, and
volunteers were decorating their sponsored Christmas trees.
Lining the walkway of the zoo were hundreds of Christmas trees.
While we were walking around, we had the opportunity to see Girl
Scouts and Boy Scouts hanging handmade ornaments on the trees. The
kids smiled with excitement as they hung their carefully crafted
I have included pictures of some of my favorite handmade
ornaments. Many of the decorations had a theme of recycling and
environmental awareness. Two of the pictured ornaments are a
decorated container and a decorated soda bottle. What creative
ideas! I'm excited for my family to make these, too!
We didn't stay until dark, but saw thousands of holiday lights
ready to be lit once the sun set. This is the season for Brookfield
Zoo lights. The zoo is normally a wonderful family environment, but
with the holiday spirit in the air, patrons were even more friendly
I felt fortunate to have this opportunity to relax and laugh. I
have learned through my scholastic journey that it is crucial to
stay focused on studying and schoolwork, but it is equally
important to take time to have fun and enjoy the journey.
My mom is a retired college professor. Growing up, I remember
her telling me at the start of each semester, she would tell her
students that they needed to study and keep up with the class work.
She would follow that with sharing they also needed to do at least
one fun thing a week to help them balance out all the hard work. I
have integrated that as one of my personal philosophies!
This is the time of the trimester when many students are heavily
engrossed in studying--this week is entrance and exit exams. As
mentioned in previous blogs, three sets of students take entrance
and exit exams:
The initial entrance exam includes testing over point location
and theory, foundations of AOM, biomedicine, and a practical exam.
The senior entrance exam includes a more advanced version of exams
covering those subjects. Additionally, these students are tested in
herbology. The exit exam includes all the subjects the senior
entrance exams include, but omits the practical portion.
This week I am taking the graduation exit exams. I feel that
preparing for these exams is helping me to prepare for taking my
board exams. I feel the exit exams are insightful in showing me how
much I have learned and retained, how prepared I am for my board
exams, and as a way of reminding myself of things I may have
forgotten. I find this preparation is very useful for my clinical
work as well. Reviewing all the material since beginning at NUHS is
helping me rediscover information I had forgotten. As a result,
it's helping me re-expand the application of this information
As shown in previous blogs, I have two adorable cats that enjoy
helping me study. Typically they let me know when it's time
for a study break, as shown in the picture above.
Thank you for reading my blog this week. I hope you make this a
As mentioned in previous blogs, I graduate this trimester. I
have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences at NUHS. I have felt
privileged and thankful to have the opportunity to write this blog
every week. Next trimester, there will be a new AOM blogger. The
new blogger is Dia Pfleger. She is an amazing and inspiring
Dia Pfleger with President Winterstein at the White Coat
Ceremony for AOM students
Dia Pfleger is a married mom with five wonderful children. She
has also worked well pursuing her studies at NUHS. In Dia's words:
"I became interested in alternative medicine three years ago when
my son Mykael, now age six, was diagnosed with severe/ADHD autism.
My interest also led to my career change from a corporate human
resource manager for the past 10 years to pursing my master's
degree in AOM."
In addition to being a busy mom and career woman, Dia is
involved with many volunteer activities, and is also pursuing
additional degrees and certifications. I hope you find Dia and her
writing as motivating and insightful as I do! I have known Dia
since her first trimester at NUHS and have felt inspired by her
from the first day we met!
From Dia's perspective, "I have always believed that one person
can make a positive impact in another person's life, but we first
must begin with our 'self.' " I hope you take the time to read
Dia's weekly blogs starting in January. I believe Dia has a lot of
wisdom and awareness to share!
Petition for Change
Dia recently wrote a very interesting article regarding making
acupuncture an essential health benefit. Since this week is
election week, I thought it was very pertinent to share her
thoughts. Since she wrote it, some changes have occurred to the
change.org website. You may find additional information about
acupuncture as an essential health benefit at http://aaaom.rallycongress.com/5887/acupuncture-as-an-essential-health-benefit-public-input/.
You may also sign the petition to help make acupuncture an
essential health benefit via a link on this AAAOM website.
The Future of AOM May Be Threatened
It rings true that one person can make a difference and we can
make a difference here at NUHS. There are many issues active right
now that are dramatically threatening the future of acupuncture
practice in Illinois and nationally. The top topics that may have a
future impact on AOM students and current AOM practitioners in
Illinois are:restrictive dietician laws that could influence your
ability to practice herbal medicine and give nutritional advice
based on traditional Chinese medicine.The third topic in Illinois
is the process of determining which services will be included as
Essential Health Benefits under the state's insurance exchange.
Acupuncture and licensed acupuncturist services immediately fall
under the following 10 ten categories of ACA health benefits:
ambulatory patient services, maternity and newborn care, mental
health and substance use disorder services, rehabilitative and
habilitative services, preventive and wellness services and chronic
disease management, and pediatric services.I want to note
that this petition regarding the state's insurance exchange will be
presented to Governor Quinn and the Health Care Reform
Implementation Council if we areable to generate
Recently, organizations like the ILAOM are currently working to
oppose this bill and also include Acupuncture and Licensed
Acupuncturist services as EHB's in Illinois' Essential Health
Benefits (EHB) Benchmark plan. If you have not
already, please take a look at the petition below from our partner,
the National Health Freedom Coalition, and sign and share.
(Information provided below)
I want to encourage students and faculty to sign the online
petition and write to the National Freedom Coalition. It only takes
one person to make a difference and there is strength in numbers to
oppose this bill. Acupuncture as an Essential Health Benefit: The
petition has reached over 1,000 signatures and we need 3,800 more
PLEASE SHARE AND SIGN! We want to show the legislature how
Illinois citizens feel about this issue. See
(works best on Safari and Firefox).
Action Needed in Illinois
Oppose Senate Bill 2936 as written and
request health freedom exemption amendment!
OPPOSE and AMEND Illinois S.B. 2936, the Illinois Dietitian
Licensing bill! Illinois' current monopolistic dietitian law is
scheduled to be automatically repealed in 2013 and Senate Bill
2936, introduced in 2012, is attempting to extend the law until
2023. The Illinois Dietitian and Nutrition Services law is one of
the most restrictive monopolistic dietitian laws in the U.S. and
needs to be repealed.
National Health Freedom
2136 Ford Parkway
St. Paul, MN 55116-1863
As explained last week, gua sha is a form of AOM treatment that
primarily creates bleeding subcutaneously to aid in the moving and
release of many types of pathogens. This week, I'm blogging about
another blood related therapy, bloodletting, which purposefully
causes the patient to bleed to release pathogens. This may seem a
bit horrific, but it rarely hurts and offers significant healing
Bloodletting is an ancient form of AOM treatment. It produces
one or many punctures to the skin allowing blood to be released.
The discharge of blood releases pathogens such as trauma, heat,
cold, stagnation, and deficiency (under certain conditions).
Bloodletting improves circulation and qi flow in addition to many
There are many forms of bloodletting. One form of bloodletting
includes using either an acupuncture needle or a lancet to puncture
the skin. Upon extraction of the needle, bleeding occurs (as
pictured on the finger). At times, bleeding occurs naturally after
needle extraction. If bloodletting is indicated, but does not occur
naturally, the practitioner may apply pressure to aid in the
discharge of blood. This form of bloodletting is indicated for many
conditions. Some conditions include heat rash, common cold,
respiratory illness, GI pathology, mental or emotional disorder,
Another form of bloodletting occurs from using a plum blossom
(pictured) or seven start tool. The patient's skin is quickly
pricked repeatedly using the tool. While the tool looks like
something out of a medieval movie, this procedure is often
painless. Most patients have reported feeling a tapping or tickling
sensation. After the repeated pricks, a small amount of bleeding
often occurs. This therapy is useful for many conditions. I have
seen it used most for trauma and reducing hypertension.
The last form of bloodletting I'm going to discuss is
bloodletting through cupping. As discussed in previous blogs,
traditionally cupping uses glass cups that are heated momentarily
with fire to create suction on the patient's body. The fire is
placed momentarily into the cup using a hemostat and cotton ball.
The fire is removed quickly and the cup is placed on the body. The
temporary heating of the cup creates a vacuum on the body.
Cupping can be transitioned into bloodletting in several ways.
One way is to apply acupuncture to the patient, often on the
patient's back. After needle extraction, cups are applied. A
second option is to plum blossom the area first, instead of using
acupuncture needles. The vacuum from the cups draws blood to the
Clinically, I have found areas of the body that contain
acupuncture points most related to the patient's diagnosis manifest
with the most productive bloodletting. For example, if a patient is
diagnosed with excess stomach heat, the fire point on the stomach
channel typically discharges the most blood. By releasing the
blood, the body is clearing the excess heat.
Above is a picture of a patient's back showing the result of
bloodletting through cupping. The patient had acupuncture needles
extracted in all areas where cups had been placed. The red circles
indicate where the cups had been placed. The cups create sha, much
like gua sha. The patient bled in the region of the point that
mostly pertained to the patient's diagnosis. The patient reported
feeling much better post treatment.
This trimester, two new NUHS students joined the team at
Stroger's Hospital. NUHS students Dong Ming Sung and Asim Kamal
became rotating residents at Stroger's hospital this trimester.
These students bring a strong skill set and knowledge base to the
Both students feel this opportunity is a cornerstone in their
educational career. "I think this is real world
experience," Dong Ming stated. "It is similar to
what career life will be after I graduate. Every student in our
school should participate in this great opportunity. I really
appreciate that Dr. Frank Yurasek is giving us this great
Dong Ming Sung, Asim Kamal, and myself
I fully agree with Dong Ming. I believe we are privileged to
experience many unique patient interactions at Stroger's. We are
fortunate to introduce AOM to many patients who have never
experienced it. Additionally, these patients are experiencing
remarkable results with the addition of AOM treatments.
This trimester, we have worked together at Stroger's for three
weeks. We have already been taught many new skills and tools from
working with our patients. Our clinician, Frank Yurasek, PhD
(China), LAc, continuously shares knowledge and skills we haven't
learned elsewhere. The learning that occurs during this residency
is so rich. Many of the AOM residents feel the knowledge we gain
during our time at Stroger's seems equivalent to taking many
additional educational seminars. At times, we learn AOM techniques
and information we hadn't even imagined were possible. This
residency adds a new depth, perception, and application of AOM.