Archive for tag: classes

Clinic Success

The weeks keep flying by, probably because I am in clinic six different shifts, which seems to make the days fly by. I would like to take a moment to talk a little about a special case I have. I started treating a patient this trimester that was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia. 

Everyone is familiar with the word or diagnosis of fibromyalgia, but how is it defined? Fibromyalgia is defined as a disorder of the muscles and connective tissues. Patients have muscle pain, tender spots, and they may have sleep disturbances, fatigue or depression. Researchers have many theories of what may cause fibromyalgia such as low serotonin levels, or an increased chemical called "substance P" that can be caused both by stress or emotional trauma. Others believe muscle "microtrauma" leads to fibromyalgia, and yet some researchers believe genes play a role in how the body responds to pain stimuli. 


In TCM, we diagnose based on the answers the patient states about their pain as well as their response to questions about other bodily functions. TCM does have acute and chronic pain diagnoses as well those that sound like they have nothing to do with pain. However, we always diagnose the whole person and not just their manifestations.  

Elizabeth -group _web 640Fellow interns.


I started treating my patient at the beginning of May. Her rheumatologist had just diagnosed her as having fibromyalgia two weeks previously. During history taking, she said she also had severe arthritis in her toes and knees. These disorders were confirmed by either X-rays or bone scan. After completing an extensive history, I came up with a diagnosis with my clinician and began treatment. My point prescription was based on the pattern the patient had that seemed to be causing the TCM organ disturbances and thus the pain. After the treatment I discussed with the patient how often I would like to see her and when I would reassess the condition. I wanted to see her twice a week for three weeks.


After the two weeks she seemed to be getting great results. Her pain went from a 5 on VAS pain scale to no pain but just soreness. She also had no headaches, an improved mood and some increase in energy. She has not had to take her Celebrex for pain control in two weeks.

Self Help

After such improvement, I wanted to incorporate stretches that she could perform at home to relax the muscles and tendons. I consulted some of my books but also my fellow chiropractic students. They gave me instructions on how to perform the stretch and how it would benefit the patient as well as the results I should see. After explaining and showing these stretches to my patient, I also gave her diagrams of the stretches with instructions of how many reps, sets and amount of time to hold.

She was very grateful and appreciated the time I took with her. This in turn made me feel good because that's what I look forward to every day--helping my patients improve their condition as well as allowing them to take control of their health.


After reassessing her pain condition I have concluded that we can treat once a week and hopefully see enough improvement that we can do monthly treatments to keep her energy balanced.  

Never Ending Herbs

Last week I shared with you my HB Kim seminar class. This week I am going to tell you a little about what we do in the class. I mentioned that we attend 3 Single Herb classes, 2 Formula classes, and 6 seminar classes, which discuss topics from internal medicine and OB Gyn to dermatology. We utilize our knowledge of the basic classes to help formulate prescriptions for the case subjects of our senior classes. However, I have to say, nothing compares to the insane amount of material we go over in two weekends and then have to study. Insane is good, but hard. 

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Now, I don't want to scare you, but do want to give you the reality of the program. Mind you, we have reviewed all of the herbs and formulas before. However, the overwhelming factor kicks in after the fifth hour on Sunday when you have just gone over 199 herbs and have 50 more to go. Next week, we are reviewing 134 formulas in 15 hours. Each formula consists of many individual herbs as well as dosage, which we need to memorize. 

Elizabeth -herb -cards _webWe have a quiz next week, which I am studied for this past Memorial Weekend. The quiz will cover herb categories. This will probably be the easiest test we take in our herbal ventures. As students working in the clinic, we do use and see a lot of the same herbs over and over, but there are a few that escape your memory and those are the herbs and formulas we will study the most.

I plan on using my formula zoo cards to help me study for the formula portion. These cards were an investment, but definitely worth it if you are a visual learner like I am.  The cards contain funny pictures to help you remember the formulas' functions and properties (cooling, warming, bitter or acrid etc.). This trimester I definitely have my work cut out for me. It will be a challenging but a rewarding semester.

P.S. If you haven't checked out the school's new and improved website, go and explore!  See you next week.

Coming soon, I will update you on our graduates in China!

Oh, What a Trimester!

Oh, what a week it has been. Wednesday, I took the biomedicine portion of the board exam and what an exhausting day! The test was 100 questions with a time limit of 2.5 hours and I took the whole time. I think that was because by the time I took the exam, I was so burned out from studying for it that my brain was moving at snail's pace. I studied materials that were specifically geared towards boards plus all of my class material - pathology, orthopedics, pharmacology, microbiology, CPR, clean needle technique, physiology, and other materials. 

Needless to say, I think every student walks out of boards saying, "Oh my gosh!" From what my friends that took the boards said, I definitely had different questions. I feel National gave me sufficient biomedicine classes plus everything from my bachelor's, and I felt I was ready to take the exam. However, after taking the exam, I would like to see more case studies being utilized in the classes. I am confident I passed the exam but without knowing for sure I am still a little uneasy. So wish me luck! 

No Time for Rest

This weekend I had my second HB Kim seminar. This seminar was focused on "Herbs and Formulas." The class is held over two weekends (Saturday 8-6 and Sunday 8-3) because HB Kim travels from Kentucky to teach it. I enjoy the class and the material but it is a lot of information to process in one weekend. 

Web _Elizabeth -seminar"Herbs and Formulas" seminar with HB Kim.

Dr. Kim provides excellent handouts and he presents in a way that engages all learning styles. He is a wealth of knowledge and he makes the class very enjoyable. He has studied extensively with many famous doctors and he has read and interpreted all the Classics of TCM. The students have all had three materia medicas, two herbal formula classes, and some senior seminar classes. We have learned all of the herbs and formulas, but seeing them again in a different format with a different teacher brings a different perspective. He also discusses things such as Dui Yao, or two herb combinations, that we are not formerly taught. I can't say enough good things about Dr. Kim and his classes. I think National is extremely lucky to have him. 

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.

Good Ole Midterms

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Can you believe it's Week 9 already? The weeks just seem to fly by especially when you have a jam-packed week. Lately, I have been adding to the craziness by going in early on Mondays to treat a patient who can only make that time, so last Monday was 13-hour day at school. But I treated myself with an acupuncture treatment on my day off, Thursday.

However, for the past three weeks I have been going in on Thursday mornings to help out in the herbal pharmacy. I used to work in the herb room and when I did, I felt more confident in my herbal strategy so I've begun to volunteer. It's a great learning experience because we are treating a Hepatitis B patient with herbs who has been improving over the last few months documented by the lab work she receives every month.   


Ask any student and even the calmest will say they feel a little more stirred up when midterms come along. After being at National for over 5 years (including my B.S.) I have definitely learned to chill out more around test time. But midterms still have me staying up a little later studying. I have learned that the calmer one is when taking a test, the more you will remember. I especially couldn't get through midterms without my husband who gives me encouragement and makes me home cooked meals that feed my brain's glucose need. 

Currently I am studying for three midterms, one of which is for Psychopathology, in which every question will be in essay form and should be at least a one-page answer, states Dr. Delfosse, our instructor. I enjoy the class because it helps me realize what some of our mental illness patients are experiencing.

One of the topics we have discussed is PTSD, short for posttraumatic stress disorder. Auricular acupuncture works exceptionally well at treating the symptoms of PTSD. We use a protocol called NADA, which has been used all over the world for recovering addicts. We currently treat PTSD veterans of war for free on Thursdays at the clinic. So spread the word!

Elizabeth -Cat -study

The picture is of me studying with the help of fuzzy feline, Kitty.