Archive for tag: food

Senior Seminar 3

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In my Senior Seminar class, which is a series of four, we talk about a range of common illnesses that affect many of our patients. In this particular class, we have focused on amenorrhea and infertility. These topics are near and dear to my heart and I always enjoy learning more. Jia Xu teaches our class. I have blogged about Jia before. She has wonderful palpation techniques that she shares with us in class and clinic. She also incorporates Dr. Tung's acupuncture and 6 level acupuncture into our classes.   


Senior Seminar classes are set up to mimic Grand Rounds. Jia will lecture on the topic for two thirds of the class, and then she will review case studies on each topic. Students then divide into groups to analyze, diagnose and treat each case.  Usually one of those groups will also research the topic and discover studies that have been published on the topic. The case along with the research is then presented to the class the following week as a PowerPoint presentation.

Case Topic

Our last presentation on the topic of amenorrhea focused on endometriosis. Endometriosis commonly plagues American women and in 15% of the cases causes infertility. In TCM, we don't classify each disease process like Western medicine. On the other hand, we do classify endometriosis as dysmenorrhea or infertility.

After asking more in-depth questions surrounding the main concern, as well as asking other questions to help identify the main differential diagnoses, we might diagnose the patient with Blood Stasis. Usually the patient has underlying patterns of deficiency or excess that has caused the Blood Stasis and we treat both. We never just treat the symptoms; we always treat the whole energetic person. We call it the Chuan and the Bian. The Chuan is the passage of development of the disease along a course, and the Bian is the change in the nature of the disease contrary to normal laws. We might focus on the manifestation at first, but then we always treat the underlying passage of development. 

Endometriosis can be treated with acupuncture to ease the pain of the menstruation, but herbs are most commonly used to clear the "obstructions" of Blood or Phlegm and to normalize the hormones. Electric stimulation is often added to the acupuncture needles and is a common research topic on Pub Med. My classmates also found an article utilizing foot reflexology to ease the painful menses. We are not trained in reflexology, but it is a similar concept of the microcosmic of the body but on the foot, hand or ear. There are many books for one to read on reflexology and I definitely believe in the power of touch to help relieve pain.

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Tao of Nutrition 

On another note, the picture is of a recipe I made from my Tao of Nutrition boo - stuffed acorn squash. The foods utilized will move stagnant Qi and remove food stagnation and phlegm. For more info, send me an email.

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is on Monday this week and I have clinic in the afternoon (1pm-5pm) and then class (5-10 pm), so my husband and I celebrated on Saturday. We wanted to try a new restaurant and I had heard good reviews of a Mediterranean restaurant called Reza's. We made reservations and a good thing we did because it was busy.

The food was very good with an excellent variety of vegetarian dishes. We had more than enough to eat with plenty to bring home. Yum! Saturday's dinner was a nice way to end a long day of class on the weekend.  

Strategy Class

This was the second weekend of two that we held our Acupuncture Treatment Strategy class. The class is taught by Dr. HB Kim, who resides in Kentucky. The two weekend hours equal the same amount of hours if we had held the class every week for two hours of the trimester. Those who have clinic on Saturday are excused from clinic for those weekends.

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In addition to his PhD, Dr. HB Kim is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist. He teaches both the Acupuncture and Herbal Treatment Strategy classes. National students are blessed to have this class because it is very good preparation for the Acupuncture and Herbal boards. If you memorize everything he teaches, you will pass the boards. Sounds easy enough but in reality it is a review of everything about acupuncture that we have learned in our seven trimesters of school.

Technically the class is a fourth trimester class but I waited till my eighth tri to take it. I figured I would have most of my classes completed and it would be a nice review. The class provides new two point strategies that some might have heard of and I can't wait to use them. Having it in fourth tri might be a little overwhelming for some. However, if a student wishes to wait to take it, they should be aware that the acupuncture class is offered every other trimester with the herbal class offered in the alternate trimesters. If a student is confused on when to take it, I would recommend talking to Dr. Kwon or an upper tri student. 

Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Belated Chinese New Year (February 3)! It's the year of the Rabbit!  If you are interested in astrology, you can search for your birth year to figure out what animal you are. After talking with one of my Asian professors, I learned that their birthday is determined by how many days it falls from the date of the New Year. Therefore, their birthday may be celebrated on different days each year. How interesting!    

'Til next week. Email me with any questions.

Rainy Saturday

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Wow, what a crazy weekend!  On a recent Saturday, I awoke to find a river in my backyard and a lake beside my apartment parking. The water was five feet from the 1st floor balcony and a foot away from the transformer box. Needless to say I was a little panicky since I had to go to clinic in two hours. So my husband and I unplugged all of our electronics in preparation for any water damage. When I arrived at clinic, the parking lot was flooded, leaving very few options to park. Lake Janse was overflowing with water almost to the sidewalks. The swans probably loved the larger area in which to swim. Marilyn at the front desk informed me we were closing clinic and re-scheduling patients. However, I still was able to treat two patients.


Saturday was a scheduled fieldtrip to Chinatown with Jin, my OM Nutrition teacher. We have explored so many new food items in class that she wanted us to have the experience of seeing first-hand what they look and taste like. We went to an herbal shop that had an array of exotic items in big glass jars and even more along the store aisles.

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The most abundant food item was the ginseng. They had American, Korean and Chinese ginseng, both fresh and packaged of different grades. Jin showed us items such as Mu Er, a black fungus that in Chinese medicine moves blood, fresh Reishi Mushroom for cancer protection, deer tendon to strengthen tendons and bones, as well as abalone shell, cordyceps, shark cartilage, black hair moss seaweed, sea cucumber, and the best  - the bird's nest. The bird's nest is the nest of the swallow. The swallow uses its saliva to make its nest in caves in China.  The Nest is used to improve one's longevity and improve youthfulness and complexion. It is very rare and it is sold along with the other very powerful herbs for at least $300 per pound. I guess it is a safer alternative to Botox or liposuction.

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We ate at a Southern Chinese restaurant. Jin selected all of the food choices and we ate Dim Sum style. Dim Sum consists of many dishes that are shared on a big lazy susan among the people at the table. Jin said the Chinese think it's rude to pass the dishes from person to person so they use the turntable instead. Foods consisted of duck, tofu, crab and green veggies, lotus leaf filled with sticky rice and shrimp and veggies and a few others. Each of the foods we have learned about in class has many functions in the Chinese culture.

Spring Renewal

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Ahh, spring, what a wonderful season to experience nature's entire awakening after the long cold winter. This weekend was a wonderfully warm one, almost too warm to be called spring. It was in the 90s this weekend and I definitely wanted to enjoy it while I could, in-between studying of course. My husband and I like to enjoy the many parks around where we live. We get to enjoy nature while getting a little exercise by walking around the lake. All of the trees are green and a few flowers are starting to bloom and in Chinese medicine the body is similarly renewing itself.  

Springtime in Chinese medicine belongs to the Liver. The Liver is associated with the element Wind. Wind is fast and free flowing and it is said, "Wind is the leader of the hundred diseases." Many disorders that occur in the spring are linked with Wind Heat or Wind Cold. In biomedical terms, these may present as the common cold, allergies, asthma, and even eczema or urticaria. Each of these disorders may present differently in each person depending on their underlying constitution.

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Nevertheless, one way to support the Liver in springtime is with your diet. Since Liver is in charge of free coursing the qi, we want to nourish the yang qi with our diet. (In Chinese Medicine the Qi is yang and the Blood is yin). We also want to strengthen the immune system because old diseases can be provoked due to the active liver qi in the spring. For example, if one did not eat according to season, they may have caused injury that will manifest itself in the spring. Foods to incorporate into one's diet during the spring include scallion, garlic, chives, and kale; these foods nourish the yang. One will also want to eat less sour food such as pickles, plum and Hawthorne because too much will cause stomach upset. Incorporate foods that are sweet in nature such as yam, fruit, beets, spinach, and carrot. Sweet food does not refer to candy, ice cream or pastries; these foods will lower your immune system and cause damp in Chinese medicine. Also avoid cold foods and heavy or spicy foods that can be detrimental to the Liver and Spleen.

Cleansing may also offer your body and Liver benefit. Currently, National has a Spring Cleanse meeting with support from one of the naturopathic medicine teachers who has given ideas and options for cleansing. I personally have used cleanses and I believe they are a great way to jump start your spring, but I believe they should be supervised by a physician.

National also offers a fresh foods delivery from a local farm that carries organic fruits, veggies and meats as a great way to start your spring off to a healthy start!