This week's blog is about Tourette's Syndrome and acupuncture. I
currently have a new patient with Tourette's. I have only seen her
twice in the Lombard clinic but I find her case very
Tourette's is an inherited
neuropsychiatric disorder, believed to be organic damage to the
central nervous system, which is also associated with attention
deficit, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and
obsessive-compulsive disorder. Currently, there is no cure for
Tourette's, and no medication that works universally for all
patients. The medications prescribed have significant adverse
My patient was diagnosed with Tourette's as a young child. She
is now 22 years old. She has a dual diagnosis of OCD and anxiety.
The patient has very positive outlook. We are working on anxiety,
stress and sleep. We are also focusing on muscle jerks and
There was a very inspiring
article I read last week in Acupuncture Today, November 2013 issue,
titled "Beating Tourette's Gaining
Life." This article talked about Miss Arizona 2013 (also Miss
America pageant hopeful) Jennifer Smesthad beating Tourette's. Miss
Arizona, like my patient, was diagnosed around age 10 with
Tourette's and with the help of herbs and acupuncture controlled
the syndrome and brought awareness to Tourette's syndrome.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tourette's syndrome can be
understood as Yang excess due to deficient Yin leading to wind.
Those show a deficiency in Kidney yin deficiency or Liver yin
deficiency leading to Liver yang rising. Acupuncture has a long and
successful history in the treatment of the tics, uncontrolled
movements, and vocal disturbances of Tourette's syndrome. I hope in
the case of my patient, acupuncture can effectively treat her
chronic disorder. In other cases, like Miss Arizona and my patient,
patients are seeking a better clinical outcome to control and
eliminate Tourette's syndrome rather than take western
I used these acupuncture points this week: Buddha triangular on
dominant hand, PC6, four gates LI4, LV3, Cv17, Cv14, Yintang, SP6,
and St36, KD3, KD6. I cannot wait to see if these points helped my
patient this week.
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In this week's blog I wanted to share an interesting case that I
am currently treating in the veterans' clinic in Lombard. A Vietnam
veteran came into the clinic three weeks ago for acupuncture to
help with sarcoidosis. He is a 56-year-old black male who was
diagnosed sarcoidosis two years ago.
Sarcoidosis is a disease that results from a specific type of
inflammation of tissues of the body. It can appear in almost any
body organ, but it starts most often in the lungs or lymph nodes.
The cause of sarcoidosis is unknown. The disease can appear
suddenly and disappear, or it can develop gradually and go on to
produce symptoms that come and go, sometimes for a lifetime.
As sarcoidosis progresses, microscopic lumps of a specific form
of inflammation, called granulomas, appear in the affected tissues. In
the majority of cases, these granulomas clear up, either with or
without treatment. In the few cases where the granulomas do not
heal and disappear, the tissues tend to remain inflamed and become
scarred (fibrotic). (Mayo Clinic, 2012)
My patient has sarcoidosis in both eyes and has completely lost
vision in one. He has sarcoidosis in his spinal cord and lungs. As
a result, he is hemiplegic and has suffered many complications. The
patient feels that this is result of Agent Orange he inhaled when
he served in the Marine Corps during one of his tours in
My patient's symptoms are shortness of breath, fatigue, skin
rashes, poor vision, blindness, tinnitus, weight loss, depression,
and arthritis in the joints. He also has bowel issues and a Foley
catheter, and has a history of diabetes and high blood pressure
controlled by medication. He is currently taking over 20 different
medications prescribed by the VA hospital.
Acupuncture therapy for sarcoidosis is aimed at draining excess
and especially resolving phlegm accumulation. ST-40 (fenglong) is a
well-known example of a point used to transform phlegm-damp.
Acupuncture may be especially suited to addressing individual
constitutional patterns and symptomatic manifestation of the
disease (e.g., one might add GB-23,zhejin, in cases of sarcoidosis
yielding difficult breathing), while herbal therapies can be used
to address the more general characteristics of the disease.
In addition, I have been working with my patient on dietary
counseling and Tui Na for arms, hands and shoulders. After the
first treatment, my patient has shown improvement with his posture
range of motion, and says he feels better after each treatment.
Resource sites: Mayo Clinic 2012 and Subhuti Dharmananda,
PhD, director, Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland,
Oregon, May 2000.
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First, I would like to say welcome back students and faculty at
NUHS. I had a wonderful two weeks break. At the end of this
trimester, I will graduate with my master's degree in acupuncture.
I will still be around campus, though, since I officially
dual-enrolled this trimester in the naturopathic medicine program
and will be working on second doctorate at Midwestern University in
Downers Grove starting in winter quarter.
This week's blog is about the first Illinois Walk for
Acupuncture sponsored by the Illinois Association of Acupuncture & Oriental
Medicine (ILaaom). ILaaom is Illinois' oldest
professional organization representing licensed acupuncturists and
students, along with oriental medical schools and
acupuncture-related businesses. It is registered with the State of
Illinois as a nonprofit corporation. ILaaom was formed in 1983 (as
the Illinois State Acupuncture Association) to be the unifying
force for Illinois acupuncturists to uphold ethical and
well-regulated standards of practice and to lobby for legislation
to advance the profession. ILaaom acknowledges and respects all
traditions of acupuncture and oriental medicine, and believes that
cooperation and strength among practitioners and supporters will
ensure that this ancient medical art will retain its integrity and
achieve the recognition and legal status to which it is entitled,
thus enhancing the quality of health care for people in
The first Illinois walk for acupuncture was held this past
Saturday, September 7th from 9am to 12pm in
downtown Chicago along our beautiful lakefront. We had a great
turnout. They coined the phrase "Move your Qi - Walk for
Acupuncture." Everyone had a great time!
The walk helped raised money to continue our work of increasing
awareness of the benefits of acupuncture, advancing and defending
the practice of acupuncture in Illinois, and improving services and
support for practitioners. ILaaom will be having future walks and
events. You can visit their website: Support Acupuncture.
A Big Thanks to NUHS students, friends, and family who were able
to attend the event.
Acupuncture can be used as complementary treatment for stroke,
head injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder (PTSD). I am currently treating a 29-year-old
Marine veteran who suffered a stroke and a traumatic brain injury
While there is no definite evidence that acupuncture treatments
can cure severe brain injuries, studies and clinical experience
demonstrate that victims of brain injury and stroke have a higher
chance of recovery and rehabilitation if acupuncture treatment is used soon after the
My patient case is very complex and unique. His acupuncture
treatment focus is on his brain injury, stroke and PTSD. His main
objective is to bring back feeling and function to his body, help
with vision, speech impairments due to apraxia, spasticity
(uncontrolled movements) in both his hands, and regulate stress and
His TCM DX (diagnosis) is shen disturbance with trauma bi. His
treatment strategy is to calm the shen and relieve bi pain. I use
scalp acupuncture, but I also incorporate Tui Na (Chinese massage)
and Sotai. Sotai is a systematic form of exercise using active and
passive exercises. It is similar to kinesiology, but the key to
Sotai is correct breathing and a natural balancing of one's weight
while moving. Sotai treatments are often immediately effective in
reducing the effects of the stress on one's body.
he comes in for treatment he responds well overall. His wife has
seen the improvement in his conditions over the past 9 months at
our Lombard clinic.
His progress has been slow and steady, but significant. He also
receives chiropractic treatment, speech therapy, cold laser
therapy, massage, equestrian therapy, and intense physical therapy.
His motto continues to be Semper Fi!
It is an honor and a privilege to treat him. His dedication and
determination is inspiring to me and those around him.
Have you seen the video documentary "9000
Needles"? If you haven't, I highly recommend this video to my
patients, friends and family and especially prospective AOM
students. Why you ask?
While we watch, the video asks us one powerful question. How far
would you go for a fighting chance? The documentary discusses the
complicated case of a person named Devin Dearth. He was a healthy
40-year-old married man, a father of three, who suffered a stroke
that paralyzed the right side of his body. His case is a
complicated one because of his brain stem bleed, which was the
cause of his major stroke.
I was moved by this documentary--Devin's determination to fight
his way back to a somewhat normal life after his severe stroke and
his family's deep seeded love for him and each other. I could not
contain my tears of joy and sadness for the Dearth family.
I don't want spoil the documentary but this documentary is not
just about Devin Dearth and his family. It also brings to the
forefront the importance of integrative medicine and our failing
health care system in United States.
What do I mean by failing? The U.S. continues to have the
highest cost per capita--twice what other major industrialized
countries spend--for health care, and has dropped to last among 19
countries on a measure of mortality amenable to medical care. We
spend more and more money with nothing to show for it. We have a
number of Americans who have little or no health care insurance. We
lack adequate preventive care. We lack appropriate primary care. We
allow greedy insurance and pharmaceutical companies to take
advantage of our health care system, therefore, taking advantage of
I close with this quote:
If people let government decide
what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their body will
soon be in as sorry a state as the souls who live under
-- Thomas Jefferson
Thank you for your continued support of the AOM blog! Happy
4th of July!
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