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
A unique technique used in AOM is gua sha. Gua sha is a medical
therapy using strokes on the patient's body with applied pressure
to help return the body into balance and harmony. Gua sha can be
used for many AOM patterns. The most common clinical applications
are cold, heat, and stagnation.
For example, if a patient has a common cold, it's is often
diagnosed as a wind-cold or a wind-heat. That diagnosis means
either pathogenic wind and cold, or wind and heat has entered the
body and is causing the patient's defense qi (wei qi) to work to
push out the pathogen. Many times, applying gua sha to the patient
in the initial onset of the wind-cold or wind-heat can help the
body release the pathogen.
Another common indication for gua sha is when a muscular trauma
has occurred. If a patient is presenting a trauma with excess heat
(inflammation), cold, or qi and blood stasis (circulatory issue),
the use of gua sha can release the heat or cold as well as improve
circulation. There are many other indications for gua sha, but
these are among the most common.
A very strong gua sha response in a patient.
When applying gua sha to a patient, the practitioner is looking
for a sha response. Sha is the color the skin turns during and
after receiving gua sha. If the area becomes bright red, there is
pathogenic heat being released. If it becomes purple, cold or
stagnation is being released. If it is pale-pink, either cold is
being released or deficient energy is being moved.
Many types of tools can be used for making the gua sha strokes.
Some common tools are ladles, carved animal horns, and stones. I
have used many tools, but my tool of choice is a quarter. I have
found the ridges of the quarter help bring the sha to the surface
the best. Additionally, the thinness of the quarter allows easy
At times, the application of gua sha can be uncomfortable for
the patient. Since the strokes are applied in regions where
pathogens have accumulated, such as heat/inflammation and
stagnation, having pressure on these areas can temporarily provoke
more pain. But, the result of gua sha is often a relief or complete
absence of pain or pathogen. Patients often recover from colds and
muscular skeletal traumas very quickly after receiving gua sha.
Included in this blog are pictures of very strong gua sha
response. There are many apparent regions of sha. The placement of
the sha follows several acupuncture meridians. The sha response is
very red with a little purple. This response, along with other
clinical findings, indicates heat and stagnation have been
released. The sha usually disappears in 2-7 days.
I hope everyone is having a nice week. I hope you had a chance
to try the meditation from last week's blog.
This week's blog is what I originally had planned for last week.
As you may remember, one of the focuses in AOM is pediatrics. As a
result, I have been researching a prominent childhood disease
called hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD). I was inspired to
research this subject because it is a very common childhood illness
in this area. Local MDs report many cases in the past few months;
several have been severe. After interviewing a number of
pediatricians and researching the disease, it appears there is no
treatment (Tx) targeting the virus through biomedicine. There are
many ways of managing the symptoms (sx), such as fever reducers,
painkillers and ointments, but nothing that targets the virus. In
AOM understanding, biomedicine is treating the branches of the
virus--the resulting sx, but not the root--the actual disease.
If you are not familiar with HFMD, according to the CDC, HFMD is
a virus caused by a group of viruses that belong to the Enterovirus
genus. The Enterovirus genus includes the viruses: polioviruses,
coxsackieviruses, echoviruses, and enteroviruses. The most common
cause of HFMD in the United States is Coxsackievirus A16.
Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is also a form of HFMD (more predominate in
the Asia-Pacific region). HFMD occurs most in children and infants
under five years of age. Adults can also acquire the disease, but
that is rarer and may coincide with an underlying immune
deficiency. "There is no specific treatment for hand, foot and
mouth disease. However, some things can be done to relieve
The most common initial sx of HFMD are fever, general malaise
(fatigue) and a sore throat. About two days later, blisters inside
the mouth and throat appear accompanied by rash and/or blisters
around the outside of the mouth, on the feet, hands, elbows, knees
and genitalia. Abdominal discomfort and loss of appetite may also
occur. As a result of these sx, the child may stop eating and
drinking. Severe sx of dehydration can quickly occur. Recently,
local cases in the area have lead to dehydration and cause for
Fortunately, AOM has many treatments for HFMD. Many
research studies show AOM is successful at treating the root and
the branch-virus and the resulting sx, of HFMD. One of the main
reasons AOM is successful at Tx HFMD is because it looks at the
individualized pattern diagnosis for each patient. While the AOM
practitioner understands the biomedical element of HFMD, the
practitioner focuses on the patient's entire health along with the
new symptoms. As a result, the patient is treated holistically,
resulting in both viral and symptom treatment.
As discussed in previous blogs, pediatric massage called Tui Na
is very beneficial in treating many conditions, especially
pediatric conditions. Acupressure and acupuncture have also been
shown to create significant results in the Tx of HFMD.
The most prominent form of AOM Tx of HFMD is the application of
herbal formulas and pastes. Research has shown significant results
using the application of oriental herbal formulas, both
biochemically and in clinical trials. Since AOM views each patient
individually and treats the patients diagnosed pattern, not the
diagnosis of HFMD, there are several recommended formulas.
Additionally, each formula can be modified for each individual
case. For example, if the child is having difficulty drinking and
eating due to pain, herbs to help express and heal the blisters and
reduce the pain may be added. If the patient is having excessive
itching, herbs to minimize the symptom of itching can be added. In
theory, these herbs aren't added symptomatically, but instead
through a differential diagnosis that takes both symptoms and the
patient's current and underlying constitution into consideration.
This is one of the many benefits of oriental medical herbs. This is
also the reason patients should only take oriental medical herbs
under the care and direction of an oriental medical herbologist.
Great consideration must be given to every herb advised in order to
create a beneficial, harmonious result.
"Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD)."Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention. N.p., 27 Apr. 2012. Web. 3 July 2012.
I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July
celebration. Thank you to all who have and are serving our country!
Thank you for helping preserve the independence we all recently
This 4th of July, I had the pleasure of celebrating
at a lake with my family. Being surrounded by family and water
caused me to think about the earth's elements and how they relate
to AOM. A major school of thought in AOM is the theory of the Five
Elements. This is a very involved theory.
One aspect of the Five Elements is that all the acupuncture
meridians are linked to elements. For example, the kidney and
urinary bladder meridians are considered the water element. As a
result, these meridians can be treated with water elements and hold
the nature of water in many ways.
By being able to be treated with water, these meridians can be
tonified (strengthened) or sedated (weakened) using the element of
water. All primary meridians contain points that are considered
water points. Using the Five Element Theory, these water points can
be used for many functions, including affecting the kidney and
urinary bladder meridians.
Additionally, being surrounded by the water element is believed
to strengthen the kidney and urinary bladder meridians and thus
strengthen their functions. For example, since I spent much of the
past week on a boat as well as swimming in natural bodies of water,
my kidney and urinary bladder meridians were tonified.
I also ate a fair amount of seafood, which is also believed to
have the water element. In AOM, food often has the element of its
environment. This food also aided in the tonification of the kidney
and urinary bladder meridians.
Furthermore, the kidney meridian is believed to contain our
prenatal jing. Jing is our primal energy that we have when we enter
this world. Much of our jing is believed to be derived from our
parents. Jing is similar to the biomedical understanding of genes
and DNA. I believe that as a result of being with my family all
weekend, my kidney meridian was further tonified. I believe it
could be tonified as a result of being with my family because we
have a comforting and loving relationship. As a result, I believe
this is nurturing to my kidneys since it houses my prenatal
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing an acupuncture
patient, who had been diagnosed with sciatica. Sciatica is a
condition in which the sciatic nerve is inflamed. The symptoms this
patient had included pain, tingling, and numbness which traveled
from his lateral aspect of his left hip, referred down his leg and
into the lateral aspect of his left foot. At times the pain was so
severe he had to miss work and other common daily activities. He
did not find much continuous relief of symptoms through his
conventional medical care. As a result, he received two acupuncture
treatments, which gave him long-term relief from the sciatic
symptoms. This patient was kind enough to agree to an interview for
this blog to explain his personal experience with acupuncture.
Happy Belated Mother's Day to all Moms!!! I hope you had a
very special and relaxing weekend! Hopefully you had a day of
relaxation, or at least moments of the day were filled with
In addition to celebrating Mother's Day this weekend, classes
started for the new trimester this past week.
personally consider both the start and the end of each
trimester a mini-celebration, as each segment of time shows the
beginning or end to another chapter of learning.
This week I was able to see the affects of acupuncture on pain
patients very clearly. While I was fortunate to be a part of
treating many pain patients, one patient agreed to share her
treatment with this blog. This patient is a 61-year-old female
who injured her foot. She may have broken 1-2 toes, but had
not received X-rays at the time of her treatment. (Notice
bruising on center toe.) It was decided to treat the foot distally,
which means far away from her foot. One of the most conducive
aspects of acupuncture is there are many ways to treat one
pathology. If it's decided treating locally is not the best
option, there are still many more options for treatment.
In this case, treating the patient's foot via auricular
acupuncture was determined to be the best option. The patient
received five needles in the ear on the same side as the injured
foot. She received a needle in the following auricular points:
toes, lumber, shenmen, point zero, and kidney. These points
help to reduce the pain, while also helping the patient feel
relaxed. Additionally, they help treat the patient's root
energy, which will greater exacerbate a healing response.
The patient reported feeling a remarkable decrease in foot and
back pain. The patient had a previous back injury worsened by
the change in her gait (walk) as a result of the foot injury.
Before receiving acupuncture, the patient rated the pain as a 6/10
on the VAS pain scale, 10 being measured as the worst pain
possible. After the treatment, the patient rated her pain as
2/10. I followed up the treatment with auricular seeds; they are
small metal beads that stick on the patient's ear. Ear seeds
are a form of acupressure that allow for continued treatment after
the patient leaves the clinic. By pushing on the ear seeds,
the patient triggers a healing and analgesic (feel-good and pain
reducing) response. The analgesic response is much like taking
pain medicine to decrease the pain. I will learn at the
patient's follow-up visit, how the ear seeds affected
I find observing pain patients' responses fascinating, as
usually through about 5 needles, the patients have a significant
decrease in pain that typically holds through the follow-up
visit. This is something I could never imagined possible
before becoming a student of AOM!
This is my final blog for this trimester. As a result, I decided
to write about new beginnings.
For some students, now is the time they are beginning their
journey into AOM. For other students, it's time for graduation and
the beginning of their journey as practitioners. I was fortunate to
receive feedback on how it feels to be in both places of this
process from two students: Kari Singh and Mia Davis. Kari is
finishing her second trimester at NUHS. Mia is graduating this
trimester. I was rather moved by what each student expressed when
asked how they feel about this phase of their journey.
Kari Singh's Journey into Oriental Medicine
When I was 16 years old, my mother's
best friend gave me a book on Reiki, Reflexology, and Acupuncture.
I remember staying up and finishing the book in one night. Those
words resonated with my soul. My spiritual being knew this is what
I was meant to do...it is part of the reason I was put on this
earth. At the age of 16, though, my rational mind took over and
asked who would pay for this, where will you go to school, how
would you make a living? I went to traditional four-year college
and got my degree in psychology.
Acupuncture student Kari Singh
At the age of 36, I was going
through a rough time in my life. I started receiving acupuncture
treatments. My life was at a crossroads. The first treatment was a
very moving experience for me. I felt Qi rushing through my body.
It was like parts of me that weren't communicating suddenly were.
My mind and my heart were one. I found myself and my calling all at
once. I wanted to do this. I wanted to heal. After two weeks of
treatments, I noticed major changes.
I found National University of
Health Sciences shortly after. I started coming to the clinic to be
treated by students. I asked a lot of questions about the program
and I felt at peace. I knew this was the place for me. I enrolled
and started at National in the fall of 2011. The day before
orientation I was cleaning out a box and found that book from when
I was 16. I had not seen that book in years. It made me smile
because it was destiny. I will finish my second trimester this
April 2012. I feel blessed every day to be part of this school.
Many of my professors inspire and amaze me, daily. My goal is to be
able to teach at this institution some day because I want to give
back to a student what I receive now.
There are so many things about being
a student at National that make this program unlike any other. The
professors are so passionate about this program. Many of them go
out of their way to ensure students succeed. The program is well
rounded and geared towards blending eastern with a solid western
foundation. The clinic treats patients from the public for $25. I
am currently observing other students treating patients. It is very
exciting to see patients with Parkinson's, Crohn's, anxiety, and a
host of other conditions report how beautiful and amazing
acupuncture and oriental medicine are to make them feel whole. I am
excited every day as my journey continues.
I have three treasures. Guard
and keep them:
The first is deep love,
The second is frugality,
And the third is not to dare to be ahead of the
Because of deep love, one is courageous.
Because of frugality, one is generous.
Because of not daring to be ahead of the world, one becomes
the leader of the world.
-- Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu, Chinese philosopher (604
BC - 531 BC)(1)
I feel very inspired by what Kari wrote. I can feel her
passion through her words. Simply reading her statement
caused me to feel excited for her!
Mia also wrote an insightful and motivating statement regarding
how it feels to be graduating.
Mia Davis' Journey into the Profession
WOW! Time sure does fly by! It seems
like just yesterday I was starting the Oriental Medicine program.
These past three years in the program have been so wonderful. It's
amazing the amount of knowledge and experience I have gained in
that time. Not only have I learned about oriental medicine, but
I've also learned about another culture, language, and perspective
on health and life.
Oriental Medicine student Mia Davis
My instructors have been supportive
and beyond amazing at what they do. The amount of wisdom and caring
they have imparted is truly unique and I will always be grateful
that I've had this opportunity to learn from them. It feels good to
know that I will be graduating with a feeling of true
accomplishment and know-how. The friendships I have made here are
golden. While my time at NUHS is coming to an end, the gift of
knowledge I've been given here will last me a lifetime!
While Kari is entering the interesting world of learning AOM,
Mia now has the knowledge and skill set available to soon treat
patients as a practitioner. What I find most intriguing is both Mia
and Kari seem equally passionate and excited at where they are in
their journey. Both students are at the doorway of a new beginning,
ready to begin with both feet in and arms wide open!
Congratulations to everyone graduating this trimester!
Also, congratulations to everyone starting this journey!
• What is AOM?
• PTSD Clinic for Veterans
• Pedatric AOM
• Learning Through Clinic
• Journey into AOM
• Hospital Residency
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