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Acupuncture for children

Pediatric acupuncture is in the news again! Check out this amazing Good Morning America clip - the kids in the video really seem to enjoy acupuncture. The tools that the practitioner is using with the toddler are called Shonishin (sho=little, ni=child, shin-needle), a Japanese acupuncture technique which uses non-penetrating needles and tools to work with children.

It's also great how they discuss teens using acupuncture. Going through puberty can be a struggle both physically and emotionally, and I feel acupuncture would be a good way to calm the mind and allow teens to feel more comfortable with their changing bodies.



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.



Antibiotics and Chinese Medicine

Photo by sadalit

This time of year always seems to be prime for sinus and lung infections creeping up and knocking us off our feet. The cold weather has settled in, the excitement of the snow has passed, and the holiday season has come to a close. After traveling around more than usual and consuming rich holiday foods, our immune systems are feeling a bit low as well. This can lead to a serious problem if we aren't careful.

While antibiotics definitely have their place in getting rid of certain infections, Chinese Medicine can also be used to treat them without the side effects some antibiotics tend to have. Brian Carter wrote at, "Chinese Herbal Medicine can address the full spectrum of complaints and causes; we (acupuncturists) often treat the conditions which are not responding to conventional treatments like antibiotics."

Unfortunately, sometimes the wrong antibiotics are given, or there is an allergic reaction to them. By using Chinese Herbs and acupuncture, the use of antibiotics may be avoided altogether in some cases. However, preventative action is needed in order to stave off the respiratory infection in the first place.

Several herbal formula companies produce effective formulas for sinus and lung congestion, and due to the different stages of infections, it's a good idea to talk to your practitioner about which herbs are right for you before taking them. In the mean time, be sure to stay warm, drink plenty of water, and even use a nasal irrigation technique if necessary or recommended by your practitioner.



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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Interview with Anita Tadavarthy, MAcOM of Metis Clinics

Anita Tadavarthy, MAcOM, of Metis Clinics

1. What brought you to Portland? My Nike job brought me to Portland. Previously, I had a career in finance & accounting.

2. Why did you decide to become an LAc? I wanted to be able to help people. 3. Tell me about your practice I really enjoy it! I feel that I get to do what I love for a living. I started my Metis Clinics in late April 2007 in Tigard, Oregon, and I already know that I have helped quite a number of people. 4. Where does your passion for the medicine come from? My passion for medicine comes from my desire to help others. 4. Any advice for patients? Take care of any medical issues or concerns early! 5. What is your favorite Portland restaurant and why? La Sarenita, on Alberta. It's affordable, tasty Mexican food

You can contact Anita at:

Metis Clinics Fir Loop Plaza, Suite 205 7110 SW Fir Loop Portland, OR 97223

Phone: 503.819.2904 Fax: 503.746.7432


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Acupuncture-interpretation videos

1.) Video 1 An funny but somewhat unreal depiction of how many needles are used! But seriously-this is what gives acupuncture a bad name. I promise it won't be like this!


2.) Video 2

Self-administered acupuncture with pins....not recommended by anyone!


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Japanese Massage: Shiatsu

shiatsu meridian chart shiatsu meridian chart by echoman

Besides needles and moxibustion, Japanese therapy also includes a wonderful form of massage called Shiatsu. This form is different from the Swedish massage most of us are accustomed to, but it definitely heals on a different level.

When you arrive for a treatment, you will be asked to wear loose, comfortable clothing and clean socks. You will keep your clothes on, and often the treatment will take place on a floor mat, such as a futon (most can accommodate with a table if you need it). The treatment involves a series of stretches and energetic movement of the channels (see the chart above). The channels are similar to those in Chinese medicine, but there are several differences. It's a truly amazing form of a massae

For some great shiatsu practitioners, I recommend (from personal experience) Jennie King, LMT, Elizabeth Hazzard, LMT, Shelley Wagar LMT, Susan Hare, LMT and Xavier Preciado, LMT. They were all instructors here at OCOM at one time (some still are!), and are all amazing people who offer slightly different styles of Shiatsu. Check them out!

meridian chart
meridian chart by life_of_lisa



Japanese Acupuncture: Meridian Therapy

Acupuncture dollAcupuncture doll by Lil [Kristen Elsby]

My interpretation of and experience with Japanese acupuncture has been that it is relatively "painless" style of acupuncture, as the needle is usually inserted in a very superficial manner. The technique of meridian therapy is very light, and there are other wonderful Japanese modalities such as moxibustion (see the previous post on Moxibusion). Even though this particular style is does not feel the same as needling may in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the results are always effective (in my experience!).

Meridian therapy treats the channel that is affected the most in the body. The pulse it taken on both wrists at the same time to determine a specific pattern. Once that pattern is found, needles are inserted at a shallow level to gently treat the affected meridian. There is a lot of palpation involved in this gentle therapy, and in Japan, we often hear of the blind acupuncturists. Read more about this amazing practice here.

Due to the fact that I can't give this style of acupuncture much justice, read more about it on this website.

Here in Portland, I recommend my instructor, Bob Quinn, DAOM. He has instructed several Japanese style classes, as well as a So Tai class for students (more on that wonderful treatment later!).


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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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Interview with a practitioner: Alysia Anderson, L.Ac, MAcOM, of An Sen Clinic

alysia anderson photo Alysia Anderson, L.Ac, MAcOM, of An Sen Clinic

1. What brought you to Portland?

School brought me to Portland. In 2002, The Oregon College of Oriental Medicine was listed nationally in the top 3, for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine schools.

2. Why did you decide to become an LAc?

I was working prior to school in Pittsburgh PA, at the Center for Complementary Medicine as a research associate. There, I was able to take a closer look at Acupuncture research as well as many other alternative healing practices/supplements such as EMDR, SAM-e, etc. I also grew up with parents that were very open minded so I was exposed to alternative medicine from a very young age. I was raised vegetarian, and surrounded by the teachings of Prem Rawat, which had a deep rooted effect on the evolution of my soul, and the beauty of life and its importance.

3. Tell me about your practice.

I operate a small business in the B & O building called An Sen Clinic (SE Industrial District). The name means peaceful heart in Chinese. I developed a space which I think helps contribute to the healing sessions we offer. It is cozy and relaxing, with a modern yet traditional oriental flare. An Sen Clinic offers a variety of healing modalities, including Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Diet and Nutrition, Full Body-Massage, Reflexology and Facial Rejuvenation. I feel that my practice and practice style is ever changing, evolving, and simplifying. I like to work on many types of issues, and I sort of see myself as a GP of Chinese Medicine. I also focus heavily on mind, body connection, and mesh together TCM with 5 Element, and musculoskeletal techniques. I have a great explanation of the services we offer @

Where does your passion for the medicine come from?

The passion comes from it’s connection with nature and energy, which we are apart of and flowing with. I love that is offers something else, something deeper on a healing level than your average medicine. I like to listen.

4. Any advice for patients?

Think of yourself as training for a difficult race. Your body and mind have to be in peak shape, which isn’t always easy. Take it step by step, be firm in what you want to accomplish, but don’t beat yourself up. Get the support you need with the medicine we offer.

5. What is your favorite Portland restaurant and why?

Boy that’s tough. I guess I will mention my local fav “The Blue Monk” in the Belmont District, for the times I just need to simply walk up the street, sit down, and have their “cilantrotini”. I really like and jive with the east coast owners. It’s a great chill out spot.

You can contact Alysia at:

Portland Acupuncture at An Sen Clinic 107 SE Washington St. Suite #134 Portland, Oregon 97214

Clinic: 503-236-6633 Cell: 503-473-2914 Fax: 503-234-2185


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Spring Cleaning

I am now at the end of week two (out of three) of a Mediclear cleanse, which explains the reason for the coffee post from last week....

Spring is the time of the year for new beginnings, rebirth, and for cleaning things out. Including yourself. However, this spring has been pretty cold, and it's best to do a cleanse when it's warmer outside so your body won't be working as hard to stay warm and can do more to purge out what isn't needed.

There are a lot of individualized programs with detoxing, and it seems like a lot of stores have come out with their own "detox in a box," so be careful! Simply taking a lot of fiber and doing enemas can be harmful to your bowel health, so check in with a practitioner as to which program is best for you. That being said, it's important that while you are on a cleanse to have at least one bowel movement per day.

Groundspring Healing Center in southwest Portland sent out a great newsletter in January comparing Mediclear, the Biotics detoxification, and Standard Process cleanse, which really helped me decide which was best for me and which one I could afford. I haven't tried Biotics or Standard Process, but my experience with Mediclear has been pretty good thus far.

Doing a cleanse can take anywhere from a few days to a few months. There are several cleanses or detox programs, such as the Master cleanse and juice fasts. With all of them, there are usually dietary restrictions, such as cutting out red meat, dairy, wheat, COFFEE, and sugar (just to name a few...). These foods are often considered imflammatory to the body, and cutting them out for a while can help your you adjust to a new beginning.

That being said, if you decide to try a cleanse at some point, make a list of things you CAN eat, instead of focusing on what you CAN'T. It sure makes your life and the pleasure of eating a lot easier. Good luck if you feel like you are ready to try it- I feel better already!

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What Can Traditional Chinese Medicine Treat? Pain

Acupuncture VideoAcupuncture Photo by:

There are so many different aspects to Traditional Chinese Medicine, and acupuncture is an integral aspect of this medicine, along with the herbs, other methods, and energy work. I'm going to use TCM and acupuncture interchangeably in this blog, as I've noticed that they are often used that way in conversations about what it is and how it heals.

I would think that the most common reasons people come to acupuncturists is for pain control. Upper, middle and lower back pain, shoulder, knee and ankle pain, fibromyalgia (a chronic syndrome often characterized by fatigue and pain throughout the body), and headaches to name several. Migraine and tension-headache treatments can also be quite successful, and even if the initial outcome is simply reducing the amount of medication. I know many ex-migraine sufferers have been more than satisfied with the results acupuncture produced.

A lot of sports injuries such as ankle and wrist sprains, fatigued or pulled muscles, broken bones, and other serious injuries are also successfully treated by acupuncture. My personal experience was lateral knee pain when I was training for a half-marathon, and I was experiencing it at least once per week for three weeks. I went into the acupuncturist for a treatment with needles, some bloodletting (more on that later-it's not as bad as it sounds!) and an herbal patch. The next day there was no pain at all. With acute injuries, the healing time is often faster, as the injury is recent.

Having said that, keep in mind that it does take time to see results with chronic injuries. There is a somewhat "tried and true" formula that for however many years you have experienced the pain or headaches, it will take treatments twice a week for the same amount of months to achieve a realistic result. For example, I had serious allergy and asthma symptoms for around 4-5 years. I was able to get treatments in Korea 2-3 times per week for four months, and I experienced a significant decrease in symptoms.

Enough to make me apply to acupuncture school.

Check back soon for more information on the many, many other conditions that Traditional Chinese Medicine can treat!

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