Archive for tag: research

9,000 Needles, Vol. 2

Before I begin to talk about the title of this week's blog, I am happy to announce I did well on all of my exams. Yeah, go me! I try not to freak out before tests, but this trimester is pretty challenging.

The Documentary

As I mentioned last week, the AOM club was hosting the film "9000 Needles" here at the school. The proceeds were to benefit the gentleman, Devin Dearth, on whom the film was based. The movie was offered on two days and I helped with the first day. We had a nice turnout of about 40 people and I think Wednesday's turnout was similar. Thank you to everyone that came out and supported the film and our profession.

The movie was a great way to see how effective Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM) integrated with western medicine could be on an individual who may not have much hope with western medicine alone. The documentary takes the viewer on a heart-wrenching journey of Devin Dearth (a former bodybuilder) and his family's conviction to get the best care and rehabilitation after Devin's debilitating intracerebral stroke. After insurance claims were exhausted, their only option was to continue rehabilitation and pay out of pocket. The catch: it would cost the family $150,000 a month to continue care at the state-of-the-art rehabilitation center he was attending.

Devin's brother investigated other alternatives and came across TOM. A hospital in Tian Jin, China, integrates TOM with western medicine to achieve incredible results. From the day he stepped into the hospital to the day he left 10 weeks later, he received nothing but the best care. Everyone from the doctors to the cleaning staff treated him like family. They gave great moral support and really wanted him to recover. For example, Devin could barely move any of his limbs when he arrived at the hospital and on the first day after receiving acupuncture with electric stimulation, herbs, cupping, and tui na, he was able to lift his right leg four inches off the bed! How incredible to see after other therapies could hardly come close to that success. I quote, "He received more treatment in one day than in weeks in the U.S."  

I don't want to spoil the movie for you, but Devin does make significant recovery and I think it proves that oriental medicine and western medicine can achieve better results together. I hope this film is enlightening for those who are doubtful of our medicine as it proves success.

Top -drsPictured above (L-R) are Dr. Yurasek, Dr. Kwon and Noel Jenson, president of AOM club.

After the show, Dr. Yihyun Kwon, assistant professor of acupuncture and oriental medicine, gave a presentation on stroke. Dr. Kwon, who attended Kyung Hee University for his PhD, wrote his thesis on stroke and has significant knowledge on how to treat stroke victims. Dr. Kwon always wondered why so many stroke victims in Asia have been successfully treated but not in the U.S. Many of the victims are not aware of the benefits acupuncture and TOM have to offer. Dr. Kwon wants to extend his knowledge of how to treat these patients to our students at National. Dr. Kwon, with help from our assistant dean, Dr. Frank Yurasek and other fellow professors have started a stroke case study. We are looking for those individuals who have had a stroke between 1.5 months up to a year ago that would like to participate in a 12-week program.  So please spread the word and contact Dr. Kwon at 630-889-6608, for more inclusion criteria.

Bee Venom Therapy

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During our last week of the tri, Dr. Yurasek was talking about bee venom therapy.  I know he uses it in his practice and at a hospital where he also works, and he has had success with it. I later went and sat in on his class to watch his presentation. Apitherapy, as it is called, is the medicinal use of products made from honeybees. The main product of discussion was the bee venom.  Bee venom therapy has been practiced in China, Ancient Greece and Egypt.  But growing scientific evidence suggests that various bee products promote healing by improving circulation, decreasing inflammation and stimulating a healthy immune response.  

Amber Rose, PhD, AP, LAc, LCSW, is a licensed acupuncturist who has written a book, Bee in Balance, and provided bee venom therapy free to patients in need.  Charles Mraz has made the therapy more popular by the publishing of his book, Introduction to Bee Venom Therapy. Mraz learned apitherapy from Bodog Beck who brought apitherapy to the United States from Hungary. Beck studied under Austrian physician Phillip Terc, who published the "Report about a Peculiar Connection between the Bee Stings and Rheumatism." Mraz cured his arthritic knees with bee venom therapy at the age of 15. He later bred the honeybees and treated patients in New York. Dr. Yurasek was able to converse with Mraz at the age of 93, and he told Dr. Yurasek how apitherapy works. 

Bee Sting? Bee Venom is administered by trained therapists (American Apitherapy Society) in the form of a direct sting by the bee. The venom is injected into the skin. Acupuncturists use the bee to sting certain acupuncture points, which will aid in the recovery of the patient. The venom bladder pumps for about 5 minutes. There is a specific protocol to follow when initiating treatment and the therapist is always prepared if an allergic reaction takes place.  

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Dr. Yurasek has treated approximately 30 people and has had success especially with a boxer who was only able to move his joystick on the wheelchair he was in. After about 6 treatments, the gentleman was able to comb his hair and dress himself. Eventually he was able to stand. Every individual is different and will have different results. However, studies suggest that BVT may improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, gout, osteoarthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

I am very excited about this therapy and want to learn more.  Dr. Yurasek is trying to get approved to lead his own study at our school with the Department of Research. To learn more, you can visit the American Apitherapy Society.

I am on break right now and trying to read the books I haven't gotten to yet. Sounds nerdy but I am always looking for new ways to improve my needling style. But, I also made time for some fun at my girlfriend's wedding and celebrating my one-year wedding anniversary.  

See you all next trimester!


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I am currently taking Neurophysiology of Acupuncture with Dr. Kwon. He used to be the assistant dean of the program and but now focuses on teaching. He is a full of so much knowledge and loves to share with his students.  

We have focused the majority of our class around pain. A large percentage of the patients we see have some form of pain, and acupuncture successfully treats the pain. But, how does it work? Both my patients and I are wondering the same thing. Dr. Kwon explains how the insertion of the needle activates small nerve bundles - vascular, cutaneous or muscular. Activating the larger A beta, gamma or delta fibers that travel faster and "close the gate" pain centers in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord, then prevent transmission to the brain as pain. The slow C-fibers can't relay the feeling of pain. Acupuncture also releases endorphins, which attach to opiate receptors. This blocks the neurotransmitter and the transmission of the painful stimulus.  

We discuss other disorders that cause pain such as headache but we don't limit our discussions to just pain. We also discuss movement disorders such as stroke, Parkinson's and Huntington's disease.


Dr. Kwon requires us to write a research paper based on research we have accumulated via the Internet. My topic is stroke. I have learned how it is diagnosed and treated in eastern and conventional medicine, but I am more interested in the rehabilitation post-stroke. There are many benefits if stroke rehabilitation is started within a few days to a week. Rehab is needed for at least three months. Benefits are seen if patients have continued rehab throughout their life and it may prevent future strokes.