Archive for tag: acupuncture

Fine Farewell

Two weeks until graduation, but this will be my last blog. This past week has been crazy. I think I have spent every extra minute studying for my HB Kim herb test as well as my herb board. I will admit I am burned out. As much as I study, sometimes I feel as if it goes in one ear and out the other. This may be in part due to plans of my future business rolling around in the back of my mind or the valedictorian speech I need to write. It seems like every minute counts in these last few weeks.

As much as I feel I have studied for my herb test, in actuality I have yet to even conquer all the information. I have found that spending extra time in the herb room with the herbs and preparing formulas for the other interns has helped me remember the herbs better. I am a visual learner, so seeing the herbs over and over again actually helps me remember what they do. So, if you are thinking about studying herbs, the herb room may benefit you as well.

My fellow graduate has passed three of his board tests so I shouldn't be worried about taking them. National's classes really do prepare the student for the boards. The key to success, however, is to stay on top of your studies and don't wait until the last minute to cram. Cramming may allow you to pass the test, but when it comes to board or comp exams, it just won't cut it.


My fellow student Kim (pictured above) will be taking over the AOM blog (view Kim's blog). She transferred in from another TOM school and is sure to shed a new light of comparisons between schools. She comes with a lot of experience having worked with an acupuncturist in the field, and may share that with you, too. I had hopes of shadowing a few acupuncturists but unfortunately with my schedule I was not able to.

So my last word of advice is: If your schedule allows, try calling an acupuncturist in the area and asking if you may shadow them for a few days to experience how an actual practice runs. They have much information that may assist you in the future.

Well, it was my pleasure sharing my school experiences with you and I hope it has shed some light as to what it is like to be a student at National. In good health :)

Editor's Note: Congratulations, Elizabeth, on your achievement as the valedictorian of the Summer 2011 graduation class, and best wishes for an exciting and successful practice.


As I stated in last week's blog, I planned to interview one of the graduates who went to China. 

A little background: Dr. Cai has connections with one of the hospitals in Xi'an and is friends with one of the hospital directors. More than a year ago, she set up a program for the students. In exchange for a year in China teaching English at Shaanxi University, the students are able to study in the hospital with the other doctors. The students are given housing and paid a minimal wage to teach. They also receive two months off in the summer to travel. Cherlyn, one of the herbal students, left in February to travel to China and is currently on summer break and visiting us. 



As I talked with Cherlyn at dinner, she stated what a big culture shock it is to be in China. They are living in one of the oldest Chinese cities and it shows. There were a few surprises that they have had to become accustomed to, such as the plumbing, but that is such a small quirk compared to the beauty of the city. Everyone is really friendly and like family. Many of the dinners are focused around "dim sum," which is like a big lazy susan where all the food is shared among those at the table. It's like Thanksgiving every night.


At the hospital, where she spends four hours a couple of times a week, she has enjoyed learning new techniques that are not taught in the U.S. For instance, they do a lot of herbal injections into acupuncture points. This could be for menstrual cramps, to induce labor, for Bell's palsy, and much more.

She has also seen them do a lot of blood transfusions. For example, the doctor will extract blood from the cubital vein and then energetically inject it into ST 36. ST 36, Zu San Li , is a very important and powerful point in Chinese medicine. In Chinese literature, it is often said to moxa this point every day to bring long life. 

She has also seen a lot of flash cupping done to the face for Bell's palsy. She said the doctors treat a lot of facial paralysis at the hospital. Cherlyn and her roommate Andrea, also a graduate of NUHS, have put together a website, Jouneys to Healing Medicine, to share their experiences and new knowledge. She says she really enjoys China and all the new experiences it brings her. She also likes the downtime to practice yoga every morning and read books she has always wanted.

2011-07-05_BalloonsHot air balloons at Eyes to the Sky festival in Lisle.

Well, that's all for now, I hope everyone enjoyed their Fourth of July.

What a Good Week!

Hello, prospective students! If you are new to my page you may not know that I will be graduating in August. Yay! 

About a month back I took the first of my four board exams. Some states only require three, so to see what your state requires you may go to and browse for state requirements. Usually when you take the computerized board exam it will tell you if you passed, but since the biomedical portion is so new they are still working out kinks so they mail the results. It's grueling because you have to wait 30 days. I received my results this week and I passed! It is such a good feeling to see the results. 

Besides my results, I had a good week in clinic. I had 16 patient visits to add to my tally sheet to meet my 450 total patient visits for all my clinic shifts. I saw my continuing patients but also a few new cases. I filled in for an intern who usually sees PTSD patients. These patients receive specific auricular points to help cope with their stress and anxiety. These patients are so grateful because they are experiencing results and receive the treatments for free.

Something Different

Dr. Yihyun Kwon has started to see stroke patients in the clinic. This is part of his ongoing stroke clinical study on the results of acupuncture and herbs in stroke victims with any kind of paralysis. I have been very lucky to be able to observe his cases as he takes a history, needles and gives the patients instructions on home exercises and dietary changes. Some of the points he uses are not commonly used in clinic, as well as his needling method, so it is fascinating!

Elizabeth -cookgroup

On Thursday I had the pleasure of eating with one of my favorite professors. She wanted to cook for a fellow acupuncture grad who has treated her in the past. It was her way of saying thank you to the grad and she invited me as well. We had a feast, as you can see in the pictures. We had noodles, fried rice, tofu, shrimp, fish, baby bok choy, dumplings, and egg drop soup. Oh my, it was so much food and so yummy! 

Elizabeth -cookgroup2      Elizabeth -cookgroup3


This trimester has brought much change to the clinic environment. Most of the change is good and the rest just needs mending.

Previously, we saw three return patients a shift, with approximately an hour and 15 minutes for each patient. Currently, we have two shifts, one from 8 am to noon and the second from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. That also may be changing with the addition of students to the clinic shifts. There has been talk of schedule changes this whole trimester but they finally have been implemented.  

The new schedule

The new schedule allots an hour for a return patient and an hour and a half for a "new" patient (previously two and a half hours). The "new" patient visit lasts longer because a full exam and history must be done. An exam includes blood pressure, pulse rate, respiration and temperature, and it can include orthopedic and neurological exams. A chiropractic intern joins us to ask any additional questions and provide a western diagnosis for insurance and charting purposes. In Illinois, acupuncturists cannot diagnose a patient with a disease. The new patient also receives acupuncture and herbs, if necessary. So with the new schedule, this is all done in an hour and a half, an hour shorter than the previous time schedule.

A positive is the student is faced with a realistic time slot for future practice arrangements. For me personally, I think it will be a big challenge to get a full history and exam with the allotted time, especially with all the discussion that is involved with the clinicians that also takes time. Another positive to the new schedule is that it will eventually allow the intern to see four patients a shift. This will add ease to those that are behind on their numbers to graduate.  

Another change

The other change is the individual evaluations given daily by the clinicians. Each intern will be evaluated by his/her clinician daily with a weekly prognosis sent by email. I appreciate this because the intern can see their growth through their time as an intern.  It can also be a good tool for the student to ask questions on how to improve if their comments did not meet their expectations.

Currently, the process is in a transition because each clinic shift receives a letter grade that reflects our number score of the average of the evaluations. We as a student body are requesting that this change to a pass or fail system, so as it will not affect our grade point average. This is important to those that rely on scholarships to help fund their schooling. It is hoped that with time everything will fall into place.

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Dr. Hyundo Kim is pictured above. He is my Monday clinician as well a previous professor. Dr. Kim provides us with much knowledge of differential diagnosis as well as how to create great herbal formulas.

9,000 Needles

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All those wondering about the effectiveness of acupuncture should save the date, 3/15 and 3/16 at 7pm to come to National University to see the famous film "9000 Needles." The film follows a 40-year-old stroke victim who after exhausting all of his other options travels to Tian Jin University in China, to see what acupuncture and Chinese Medicine has to offer in aiding his recovery. After the film, one of my favorite professors will be speaking about his experience with stroke. Dr. Yihyun Kwon received his DAOM in China and wrote his thesis on stroke.

So don't miss it!!  The film will be showing in our Student Center. Hope to see you there :)

Psychopathology Midterm

Hey there, everyone, well I made it through my psychopathology midterm.  It was as I predicted, hard. There were 10 questions, three of which were essay and the others short answer.  One of the short answer questions was a seven-part essay with in-depth descriptions in each part. We had two hours in which to complete the task and I, like always, used the whole time but definitely could have used another half hour. I guess I am just a slow test taker.  

Herbal Seminar 4 Midterm

My second test was on Friday and even though I have studied throughout the trimester, I still feel like I didn't have a grip on all of the info, however, the test wasn't that bad. Herbal Seminar 4 also was essay and short answer questions. Essay questions are practical in this part of our education because they simulate a real patient. These herbal seminar classes take herbs to another level because not only do we need to know the function of the formulas (in pinyin), but also we now have to memorize every ingredient and dosage. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining; I am preparing those future herbal students for what is to come.

So much coffee has made it difficult for me to sleep and a few nights I don't fall asleep 'til 4:00am, which is frustrating. So I did my body a favor and went to get acupuncture myself and Dr. Cai helped me modify a few formulas to suit my TCM pattern diagnosis. 

Elizabeth -Granules

Granules are an addition to the herb room. Granules are raw herbs but better because they are already cooked and all one has to do is dissolve them in hot water and drink. So of course, with my hectic schedule I prepared them in granule form. They look and smell so good. A plethora of colors!  But don't worry we still offer raw herbs and patent formulas.