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The Last Stretch

by Apr 19, 2019

Here we go, the last stretch for spring 2019…FINALS! The past couple of weeks and weekends have been filled with cramming 15 weeks worth of nine classes into one to two hour exams for the last time. Success in learning is to keep practicing and reviewing until it becomes second nature. One of the classes I took every Friday evening this trimester was Tai Chi.

Tai Chi at dawn

Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese form of exercise originally created as a fighting art. The ultimate purpose of Tai Chi is to cultivate the Qi (pronouced chee) or life energy within us to flow smoothly and powerfully throughout the body. The essential principles include integrating the mind with the body, controlling movements and breathing, generating internal energy, mindfulness, song (loosening), and jing (serenity). I am very thankful to have Tai Chi in my scope of practice. Every week this trimester started with eight classes, and ended with Tai Chi. As a form, it combines gentle physical exercise and stretching with mindfulness. Here, as part of our practice in AOM, we are able to use our minds and bodies to work together and take a break to recharge the body with mindfulness. 

Everyone pushes his mind, body, and spirit every day to the maximum. We eat, sleep and perform everyday activities; as students, we try to balance the simple necessities of life. As I walk around campus, one of the things I appreciate about NUHS is how many are aware of this and strive to keep themselves healthy. Keeping in mind that what we eat will be testimony to our patients to care for themselves. How many hours of sleep and being active shows in the physicality of a person. The energy level is shown when in communication with patients, colleagues, and professors. The mind doesn’t get a chance to take a break. Combining the mind and body to bridge with the spirit in meditation and yoga are some popular practices. This trimester, Tai Chi was introduced to us; as next trimester we will learn Qigong, another ancient practice. Both allow AOM students to not only treat their patients with acupuncture and herbs, but benefit the future practitioner by working with, and experiencing these modalities along with patients. 

“Monkey see, monkey do,” it can be as simple as that. Everything in life is a tug-of-war requiring balance, communication, and teamwork. As my first full year of AOM comes to a close, I am thankful and looking forward to more of what I need to learn on this journey at NUHS to earn my degree.

Racing to the finish line is the goal; for in the end, it is the journey that makes it rewarding. The ability to challenge and grow, not just for myself, but to be able to support my classmates another is a great reward. Good luck to everyone on their finals…and in a few weeks we start again!

: )

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About the Author

Rina Sem

Rina Sem

Rina Sem is a student at the Lombard, Illinois campus studying in the Master of Science-Oriental Medicine program. Though working in the medical field for 10 years, she is keeping the promise she made to her father to complete her master’s degree. Rina is a first-generation American of Cambodian heritage, and passionate about her studies in the field of complementary and alternative medicine.


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