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Acupuncture Education


TCM in Pediatric Hospitals

Photo by Spiderwoman

Childrens Hospital is integrating acupuncture into treatment plans for kids!

Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is collaborating with the Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine to provide acupuncture and Chinese medicine to pediatric patients. The Pediatric Acupuncture Program began treating patients in January of this year, and Dr. Jeffery Gold, the director of Pedictric Pain management stated that "...acupuncture may serve to harmonize Traditional Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine as a means of promoting preventive care and symptom management for children." More information on this collaboration can be read here.

Childrens Hospital Boston has been utilizing acupuncture to help with chronic pain management as well as diseases such as asthma, constipation, and dental pain. Acupuncture is used in conjuction with Western medical care at the hospital in order to “.... decrease children’s pain and symptoms so that they may participate in activities at school, in sports and with their peers,” reports Dr. Yuan Chi Lin, director of Children's Medical Acupuncture Services .

I look forward to seeing how many pediatric hospitals in the US and hopefully throughout the world will be using acupuncture to help children in the future!



Acupuncture During Pregnancy

anya-talks-to-seth Photo by Paul: Anya says hello to Seth

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a wonderful tool to use during pregnancy. It's drug-free, and relaxing for both the baby and the mother. It can be used throughout the entire pregnancy, and even after delivery. Although there are a few acupuncture points that are contraindicated in pregnancy, there are many safe and very effective points that practitioners can use to help the mother feel her best during this special time.

During the first trimester (1-12 weeks) of pregnancy, a woman might feel fatigue and nausea, both of which may slowly disappear by the second trimester (13-28 weeks). There may be some herbal formulas to take, but these may be limited due to the fact that many herbs can't be used during pregnancy, and the taste may be difficult for a pregnant woman to swallow. Weekly acupuncture treatments are the best remedy during this time of the pregnancy to combat the nausea and help her gain some energy.

The second trimester is the time where the woman may start to feel slightly better in regards to the nausea, and also when she will begin to look pregnant and feel the baby move. That being said, heartburn, constipation, and even hemorrhoids may occur during this time. This is due to hormonal changes that affect the smooth muscle in the body as well as the veins. Acupuncture points can also be used effectively at this time to provide relief for the mother.

In the third trimester, acupuncture can help relieve edema, or water retention, around the ankles and feet as well as back pain and insomnia.  If the baby is in a breech position, moxibustion can be used to turn the baby around. It usually takes around ten days of using the moxibustion stick daily, but it can be very effective when using it properly. Acupuncture can also be used closer to the delivery date to help with effacement and to shorten the labor time. There are also some practitioners who will help induce labor in a baby that is past the due date, depending on the situation. There are some hospitals and midwives who also allow acupuncturists to be present during a delivery if requested by the mother.

Every pregnancy is different, and it's important to keep an open mind with the treatments. This site has some good suggestions about Western herbs to avoid during pregnancy, as well as some other helpful hints. Mother's Special Blend is an oil that several women swear by to help with stretch marks (you can also find this at New Seasons in Portland). Pregnancy is a special time in a woman's life, and I believe that acupuncture can effectively help her to have the best 40 weeks possible.



TCM school

acupuncture chart by seventeenstars

It's all over!

I just finished my last NCCAOM (National Certificatoin Comission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) board exam (finally!), and now I wait for my license. It's a really great feeling to know that I don't have to study for school any more! Any learning I do now is on my own, and I find myself surrounded by amazing books I've collected these past three years, and instead of wanting to get rid of them, I can't wait to start using them in my own practice! It usually takes about 2-3 months for a license to come through (so I've been told). In the meantime, I have a lot of small business "stuff" to figure out.

OCOM has a great resource in Jason Stein, LAc, who is the head of the Professional Development Center at OCOM. He recommened that we graduates check out SCORE to get some assistance in starting up a new business, which I recently did. They were incredibly helpful, and gave me everything I needed to start an LLC, as well as answered all of my questions (no matter how strange!). I recommend them to anyone starting a new business. Oh- did I mention it's free and that you can use their library of resources?

I also wanted to share a fantastic Australian TCM site! Chinese Medicine Adventures has been up since January, but I didn't discover until today (thanks, Yael!). There are photo essays, a few videos of life in a TCM school in Sydney. For those of you who have graduated, it will be a trip down memory lane. For those of you who are still in, it's definitely something you will be able to relate to. Check it out when you have time (not in class, of course....)



Clinic Survival Guide

My friend and recent OCOM graduate Andrew Schlabach, LAc, just finished printing an amazing acupuncture reference book called the "Clinic Survival Guide."  It's a complete book full of amazing acupuncture diagrams, and the information is compliled in a way that it's easy to find and carry around with you. Andrew did an amazing job of putting the information together, and I recommend you check it out ( click on "What's Inside" for a peek at the graphic design talent. Andrew is also one of the founders of the Acupuncture Relief Project, which is getting underway very soon!

My apologies about the delay in postings! Apparently graduating, applying for licensing, and re-connecting with friends and family (long ignored due to the intense masters program!) took a little longer than planned. Look back for more postings this week! I'm hoping to connect with my classmates in China (who leave Friday!) who are planning to blog about what's going on in the hospitals there, an eventually with the grads in Nepal in the fall.


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Herbs to Try: Gou Qi Zi

Gouqi (Lycium Chinense)Photo By * Beezy *Gou Qi Zi (Wolfberry)

Gou Qi Zi, also known as Chinese wolfberry, goji berry, or lycium fruit, is easily available in Portland at Asian food stores, New Seasons, and even Trader Joe's has a goji berry trail mix. While there seems to be some controversy over the "best" kind of Gou Qi Zi, in my opinion (as with any herb), organic is the way to go until we are able to grow them locally. Which isn't too far away - check out what groups such as High Falls Garden are doing (more on the subject of local, organic, and sustainable Chinese herbs in a later post)!

According to the Materia Medica Gou Qi Zi is a sweet fruit that is often used in herbal formulas to nourish and warm the body, and also assist the yin in the Kidney and Lungs. This means that it's a great mild herb to help with fatigue, low sex drive, eye problems as well as a general all around nourishing herb. It's often referred to as the "longevity herb," and is thought to help those who consume it on a regular basis live a longer life.

A combination of this tasty herb with chrysanthemum flowers is a great way to clear excess heat out of the body and help your vision. So whenever those promised hot days start making their way here, put a small handful of gou qi zi and a few dried chrysanthemum flowers (Ju Hua) into a glass and let it steep in hot water for a few minutes. You can even add some ice cubes to make a refreshing iced  tea. Eat the berries when you're done- they're surprisingly sweet!

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