Hi again everyone!
As old man winter maintains his grip on Chicagoland, I have made
my final determination on whether to continue with an additional
degree, and, if so, what degree would best suit my future practice.
The decision was between completing a doctor of chiropractic degree
or a master's in acupuncture degree. I decided that based upon my
future practice, what I wish to accomplish with my patients in my
office and my own personal interests, to pursue the master's degree
I think the NUHS
website best states what acupuncture is all about...
Acupuncture is an ancient healing
technique that is over 3,000 years old. It is based on the
insertion of thin, sterile needles into strategic points on the
body that lie along specific energy meridian
Acupuncture is one of the five main
branches of oriental medicine. The goal of acupuncture is to
promote healing through rebalancing the patient's Qi (or chi)
energy. When the Qi is weak, excessive or blocked, it can cause
illness and disease.
An acupuncturist may stimulate
acupuncture points and meridians using needles, or employ
electronic stimulation, magnets or lasers to acupuncture points for
enhanced healing. Other meridian and point therapies may include
acupressure, the application of heat through moxibustion, drawing
out energy through cupping, and a specialized massage system called
An increasing number of hospitals
and integrative care centers are employing acupuncturists for both
medical treatment and wellness programs. Acupuncturists may also
start their own practice, or work in pain management clinics,
fertility clinics, and weight loss or addiction treatment centers.
Even cosmetic and spa facilities are now offering acupuncture for
clients to relieve stress and combat the effects of aging.
Finally, the master's degree in acupuncture is accredited by the
Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
(ACAOM), which is recognized in most of the 50 states (6 states
have no licensing act for acupuncture and California has its own
This is an exciting turn in my fledgling career as a
caregiver! My intent is to utilize acupuncture where and when
appropriate for my patients' overall well-being. In other words,
another tool in my toolbox to help others return to a basis for
This morning, I sit at my spot by Lake Janse and watch my
classmates walk into their last few exams as I do a small
walkthrough of my last final for the trimester, Minor Surgery.
I think of all the preparation, stress, notes, charts, diagrams,
decision trees, memorizing, practicals, dissecting, adjusting
lab...ahhh! Adjusting?!?! I'm going to be a ND, why in the
world do I need to know how to adjust somebody?!?! This was
something I heard, and even said, early in my education here at
NUHS, a historically chiropractic school.
Well, as things turned out, adjusting was highly important for
me to remember in my first trimester as an intern. Three of my
patients required manual adjustments along with physiotherapeutic
treatments (ultrasound, etc.) and soft tissue (i.e. muscle, tendon,
etc.) manipulation. As a result, I was forced both to remember and
to go back to dig through old notes on modalities I thought I would
rarely, if ever, use in my practice.
The extensive therapy that these patients each needed to return
them to a basis for health included physical medicine, part of the
naturopathic therapeutic order, as well as some supplements and
analgesics specific to their needs.
My patients, through their needs, visits and therapies, helped
me to complete my physical medicine and manipulation requirements
for graduation in my first trimester in clinic! These are
modalities that are typically completed much later in the
naturopathic internship. My physical medicine patients this
trimester have taught me a number of invaluable lessons.
My experience with the physical medicine aspect of our training
here has given me a bit to think about over this coming break and
in the coming months. I am now considering, considering mind you,
pursuing a chiropractic degree upon completing my naturopathic
training here at NUHS. I feel that having both degrees will give me
a more complete tool kit to offer patients as a Natural Medicine
Primary Care Provider. Of course, time and financial resources are
considerations in that "consideration."
Finally, I feel it's important to mention that this past week
was President Joseph Stiefel's first graduation ceremony at NUHS. I
enjoy sharing a "Good Morning" and short conversation with Dr.
Stiefel as we pass on his walk from his home to his office each
morning. In the photo, each of us is getting a "dry run" on the
graduation portrait--his for about 200 graduate photos at the
ceremony and mine for roughly 8 months from now. I enjoyed seeing
him speak to our graduates and their families and am proud to have
Dr. Stiefel as our new President. (Small trivia fact: Dr. Stiefel's
wife, Dr. Holly Furlong, was the very first blogger for NUHS.)
So, with only two trimesters to go (or possibly more if I return
for the chiropractic doctorate), I am looking back at what I have
learned, what I need to brush up on and explore new skills for my
future practice. This is what I will think about when traipsing
over the mountain trails back home over the next two weeks. Until
then, may the rest of your summer be relaxing, fulfilling, and help
you make the decisions you need to guide your future in the proper
direction for you.
• Combined Classes
• Observing in Clinic
• Botanical Medicine
• Minor Surgery
• Intern Skills
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