AOM Treatment of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

I hope everyone is having a nice week. I hope you had a chance to try the meditation from last week's blog. 

This week's blog is what I originally had planned for last week. As you may remember, one of the focuses in AOM is pediatrics. As a result, I have been researching a prominent childhood disease called hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD). I was inspired to research this subject because it is a very common childhood illness in this area. Local MDs report many cases in the past few months; several have been severe. After interviewing a number of pediatricians and researching the disease, it appears there is no treatment (Tx) targeting the virus through biomedicine. There are many ways of managing the symptoms (sx), such as fever reducers, painkillers and ointments, but nothing that targets the virus. In AOM understanding, biomedicine is treating the branches of the virus--the resulting sx, but not the root--the actual disease.

If you are not familiar with HFMD, according to the CDC, HFMD is a virus caused by a group of viruses that belong to the Enterovirus genus. The Enterovirus genus includes the viruses: polioviruses, coxsackieviruses, echoviruses, and enteroviruses. The most common cause of HFMD in the United States is Coxsackievirus A16. Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is also a form of HFMD (more predominate in the Asia-Pacific region). HFMD occurs most in children and infants under five years of age. Adults can also acquire the disease, but that is rarer and may coincide with an underlying immune deficiency. "There is no specific treatment for hand, foot and mouth disease. However, some things can be done to relieve symptoms" (

The most common initial sx of HFMD are fever, general malaise (fatigue) and a sore throat. About two days later, blisters inside the mouth and throat appear accompanied by rash and/or blisters around the outside of the mouth, on the feet, hands, elbows, knees and genitalia. Abdominal discomfort and loss of appetite may also occur. As a result of these sx, the child may stop eating and drinking. Severe sx of dehydration can quickly occur. Recently, local cases in the area have lead to dehydration and cause for hospitalization.   


2012-07-31_Foot Blisters

Fortunately, AOM has many treatments for HFMD.  Many research studies show AOM is successful at treating the root and the branch-virus and the resulting sx, of HFMD. One of the main reasons AOM is successful at Tx HFMD is because it looks at the individualized pattern diagnosis for each patient. While the AOM practitioner understands the biomedical element of HFMD, the practitioner focuses on the patient's entire health along with the new symptoms. As a result, the patient is treated holistically, resulting in both viral and symptom treatment.

As discussed in previous blogs, pediatric massage called Tui Na is very beneficial in treating many conditions, especially pediatric conditions. Acupressure and acupuncture have also been shown to create significant results in the Tx of HFMD.

The most prominent form of AOM Tx of HFMD is the application of herbal formulas and pastes. Research has shown significant results using the application of oriental herbal formulas, both biochemically and in clinical trials. Since AOM views each patient individually and treats the patients diagnosed pattern, not the diagnosis of HFMD, there are several recommended formulas. Additionally, each formula can be modified for each individual case. For example, if the child is having difficulty drinking and eating due to pain, herbs to help express and heal the blisters and reduce the pain may be added. If the patient is having excessive itching, herbs to minimize the symptom of itching can be added. In theory, these herbs aren't added symptomatically, but instead through a differential diagnosis that takes both symptoms and the patient's current and underlying constitution into consideration. This is one of the many benefits of oriental medical herbs. This is also the reason patients should only take oriental medical herbs under the care and direction of an oriental medical herbologist. Great consideration must be given to every herb advised in order to create a beneficial, harmonious result.

Works Cited:

"Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD)."Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. N.p., 27 Apr. 2012. Web. 3 July 2012. <>.

Sending Love

Originally, I was writing this week's blog about AOM's ability to treat hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD). I have chosen to post that in a future blog. After the events that occurred 7/20/12, the shooting in Colorado, I feel pulled to blog about this instead of HFMD. I didn't personally know any of the victims, but my heart has hurt for them and their loved ones. I have no interest in blogging about the man who committed the heinous act, but instead, the desire to support those whose lives have been shaken as a result of the evil act.  

I cannot begin to understand how the family members of the victims feel at this time. I cannot imagine how the girlfriends' of the men who died saving their lives feel. It overwhelms me to think about how the parents and loved ones of the children who died feel. I am unable to grasp how any of the victims struggling for life and their loved ones feel at this time. Every life in this world counts, regardless if another deems otherwise.


As President Obama stated in his address, this event reminds us life is fragile and to hug our children and loved ones a bit tighter tonight. Sadly, the families and friends who lost their sons and daughters, spouses, best friends, and more cannot give that extra hug we are so fortunate to do today, and for many days to come. I feel in addition to giving our families extra love, we should also send loving energy and prayers to those hurting. 

In AOM, we are taught a form of medicine called Qi Gong. An aspect of Qi Gong involves meditation. In one of the meditations, we are guided to go up to Universal energy. For some, Universal energy means God, the Dao, Divine Spirit, and so on. One's underlying belief system can be personal to them and should not act as a barrier to participate in the meditation. The important thing is to go into absolute good Universal energy and meditate in it. While meditating in this energy field, we are taught to think the word or image of love. Once our whole being and meditation space is filled with love, we are taught to project this love to a specific area for the purpose of healing. I believe it would be extremely beneficial for all of us to do this meditation daily, sending the loving energy to those suffering from the effects of the Colorado shooting. Since love is infinite and limitless, we are taught we can send love to all those it is the highest good to receive. 


If you're open to it, please give this meditation a try! I believe, even the smallest ripple affects the waves that move the ocean. We can each be a ripple that unites for the good of humanity! If you have any questions about the meditation, please email me at

Being a Rotating Resident at Stroger

As I blogged about previously, a very unique aspect of being an AOM student at NUHS is the ability to be a resident at Stroger's Hospital. I'm a resident at Stroger's and am finding it to be a priceless experience! Learning within a high paced hospital setting is invaluable. I am discovering a variety of ways to offer patient care that are not found in many textbooks. 

Our clinician, Frank Yurasek, PhD, MSOM, LAc, shares many treatment strategies with the residents that he learned first-hand by ascended AOM and TCM masters from China. 

Mary Thuermer is also a resident at Stroger's Hospital. This is her second rotation at Stroger's. Additionally, she is graduating this trimester. Since she is nearing graduation, she has been a part of many educational experiences and resources offered by NUHS. From what I gather, she feels her residency at Stroger's has been monumental in her NUHS learning experience.

In addition to the information Dr. Yurasek shares with us, we are learning a great deal of information and clinical skills through our patients. Since this is a fairly new program at Stroger's, we feel extremely fortunate to have new and recurring patients trust us with their AOM care. This is a very new experience for most of our patients, so it feels very rewarding to be able to be a part of this journey into holistic medicine, together!

The Water Element

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July celebration. Thank you to all who have and are serving our country! Thank you for helping preserve the independence we all recently celebrated!

This 4th of July, I had the pleasure of celebrating at a lake with my family. Being surrounded by family and water caused me to think about the earth's elements and how they relate to AOM. A major school of thought in AOM is the theory of the Five Elements. This is a very involved theory. 


One aspect of the Five Elements is that all the acupuncture meridians are linked to elements. For example, the kidney and urinary bladder meridians are considered the water element. As a result, these meridians can be treated with water elements and hold the nature of water in many ways. 

By being able to be treated with water, these meridians can be tonified (strengthened) or sedated (weakened) using the element of water. All primary meridians contain points that are considered water points. Using the Five Element Theory, these water points can be used for many functions, including affecting the kidney and urinary bladder meridians.


Additionally, being surrounded by the water element is believed to strengthen the kidney and urinary bladder meridians and thus strengthen their functions. For example, since I spent much of the past week on a boat as well as swimming in natural bodies of water, my kidney and urinary bladder meridians were tonified.

I also ate a fair amount of seafood, which is also believed to have the water element. In AOM, food often has the element of its environment. This food also aided in the tonification of the kidney and urinary bladder meridians.


Furthermore, the kidney meridian is believed to contain our prenatal jing. Jing is our primal energy that we have when we enter this world. Much of our jing is believed to be derived from our parents. Jing is similar to the biomedical understanding of genes and DNA. I believe that as a result of being with my family all weekend, my kidney meridian was further tonified. I believe it could be tonified as a result of being with my family because we have a comforting and loving relationship. As a result, I believe this is nurturing to my kidneys since it houses my prenatal jing.

Dual Enrollment

A valuable aspect of being a NUHS student is the integrated health care programs at our school. Our school has master's degree programs in acupuncture and oriental medicine, doctoral degree programs in chiropractic and naturopathic medicine, and a certification program in massage therapy. As a result, some students choose to dual enroll in a couple health care programs. This broadens their knowledge base and scope of practice. An additional benefit of being dual enrolled is that some of the course credits, such as bioscience, transfer between programs. 

In AOM, there are a fair amount of dual enrolled students. One student, Karen Rejano, DC, is a graduate of the chiropractic program and currently enrolled in the acupuncture program. She began the acupuncture program before graduating the chiropractic program. She is a wife and mom along with all her scholastic responsibilities. 

Karen is now in practice as a doctor of chiropractic  DC. Somehow, she finds methods to balance her work, school and home life. Here is a video of her sharing her experience as a dual enrolled student.


Penny and AlThis week has been an important week in my family's life. After 39 years of being an HVAC engineer at the same location, my dad retired. My dad's retirement has come almost exactly two years after my mom retired from being a nursing professor at a college. My mom instructed for 30 years. Being a part of the celebration of these events has taught me how important it is to choose a career path in life and put 100% effort and dedication into that path.  

Over the years, I've watched my parents love their professions, through the easy and difficult times. My mom experienced being a lead person in a union strike while my dad was part of many company changes. I think one of the most profound impacts observing my parents and their careers has taught me is to stand in your dream and stay loyal to it. My parents fell in love with their intended career path from the moment they were in college. Funny enough, that is also when they fell in love with each other. In a couple weeks, my parents will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary! 

I feel very thankful to have been modeled by two driven and dedicated parents that base much of their morals on trust, love, faith, and loyalty. As a result, it has taught me to do the same. While AOM is my second career path, I feel my first career was leading me to this path. It was the doorway to this career. I just had some other paths to walk before being able to realize this role, fully. In addition to being heartfelt role models, my parents are by far, my biggest supporters in my education and goals.

After learning my dad retired, I also learned he took another engineering position at a new location. After 39 years of dedicated engineering, he still desires to continue in his career path, even when he clearly has the ability to stop! I find this very impressive! My mom also took on a new job after retiring, but it is 100% volunteer work! To me, this shows there are always more dreams and goals to create.

2012-06-26_penny Al2

It has been very moving to be in the midst of these endings and new beginnings for my parents. It is making a powerful impact watching my two lifelong role models venture into new chapters of their lives. Additionally, it is very interesting to watch two people finish more than a 30-year career path in one direction while I am surrounded by NUHS students preparing to begin their paths. I wonder what the future holds for all of us. I believe it will be influential and adventurous!

Ge Gen

Ge gen is a very traditional and longstanding Chinese herb often used in herbal formulas. This herb is also referred to as kudzu root. It is a very common and reliable herb used for a variety of conditions. It is one of my favorite herbs in Chinese herbology! 


According to HB Kim, LAc, some of the main actions of ge gen are to release wind-heat and wind-cold, relax muscles, vent rashes, clear heat and generate fluids, lift yang qi and stop diarrhea due to damp-heat or spleen qi deficiency, and treat hypertension. It is a sweet, acrid and cold herb. Its pharmaceutical name is pueraiae radix. It belongs to the herbal category; disperse wind-heat (p208, Kim). 

What this means in more of a biomedical understanding is, this herb has the ability to treat a common cold from a variety of causes. It can help reduce body aches caused by colds. It also has the ability to relax muscle, especially when the tension is in the upper body. Additionally, it can greatly reduce muscle tension due to stress. 

Ge gen has the ability to treat rashes. Since it "vents" the rash, it may first cause an exacerbation of the rash, helping release the pathogen that has initiated the rash symptom, and then clear the physical manifestation of the rash. 

This herb is very useful in the treatment of diabetes in combination with an MD's prescribed care. This herb helps to generate fluids internally, decreasing excessive thirst. Ge gen also helps in the metabolic function, aiding in the balance of insulin levels and hunger.

Since ge gen raises the clear yang qi, primarily related to the digestive system, it has the ability to increase the metabolic rate and diminish hunger dependent on the root cause. Often patients who have a slow metabolism and are unsuccessful in weight loss even when following a prescribed diet plan, benefit from the addition of ge gen.


Research has shown that ge gen has the ability to reduce hypertension. It also has a beneficial effect on coronary artery disease. 

Lastly, one of my favorite aspects of ge gen, is it is able to strongly produce these functions as a single-use herb, as well as in an herbal formula. Many times herbs are best used in formulas, as the combined actions of the other herbs produce the greatest benefit. Ge gen is able to produce great benefits and is unlikely to create any side effects alone, or in the combination of other herbs.

While ge gen has many significant benefits, never begin using this herb, or any other herb until discussing it with your health care professional. 

Works Cited: Kim, HB.Minibook of Oriental Medicine. 1st ed. Anaheim: Qpuncture, 2009. Print.