Pediatric Colorpuncture

As I have been studying AOM, I have fallen in love with pediatric AOM. I have previously blogged about Tui Na, but this week, as an extension of explaining acupuncture, I'd like to write about colorpuncture.

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I am still in the process of learning colorpuncture and have only used it on pediatric cases. From my understanding, colorpuncture is also referred to as color therapy, and is a method of returning the body to harmony using lights. It is believed that the body has either a deficiency or an excess of certain light, or photons, at a cellular level. This deficiency or excess is causing the body to create disease and/or disharmony and illness. By placing specific colored lights on certain points on the body in a specific sequence, it is believed and shown in various studies, to replace or shift the cellular photons that were deficient or excess, helping return the body to a state of healing.

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The truest form of facilitating colorpuncture that I am aware of is by using a light with colored crystals on the end. The combination of the color of the light and vibration of the crystal promotes a profound healing effect on the body. Personally, I have not purchased the full colorpuncture set yet, but have found using a color-changing flashlight works very well. I have used it on many pediatric cases and had significant results. The effects of colorpuncture continuously fascinate me.

In this week's pictures, I have some illustrations of pediatric colorpuncture. Since I am using a flashlight, it looks different than what a true colorpuncture wand looks like. There are many forms of colorpuncture treatments, which allow many illnesses and diseases to be affected. Many of these therapies use the same points as acupuncture treatments.

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In one of the pictures, I am placing the light on the umbilical region, which is Ren 1. As you can see, the patient enjoyed the treatment and even helped with the treatment. The patient even started giving their stuffed animal a colorpuncture treatment! 

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Some of the areas I have seen the most profound results with colorpuncture in pediatric cases are eczema, anxiety, night terrors, autism, ADHD, colds, and flu. I have found it works very well when combined with other AOM modalities as well. I am still learning about colorpuncture and all that it is able to affect, but so far, I'm rather amazed by its abilities!

What is AOM?

I realize I've blogged about acupuncture and its use in clinic, but have not really explained much about acupuncture and the philosophy of how it works.

2012-01-30-acuman _head2I think I haven't blogged this yet partly because I'm still learning the intricate workings of acupuncture and oriental medicine (AOM) and find as soon as I think I have a slight grasp on how AOM works, I realize that I have yet to touch the surface on many things. That is part of what I love so much about this medicine. The learning capacity and its healing abilities appear to be limitless! But, for now, I will share some of the basic philosophy of AOM that I have learned and fully grasped.

Fortunately, I have my trusty friend Acuman, as we refer to him in clinic, helping me by means of photography.

The first things you may notice in the pictures of Acuman are all the lines etched into his body. These lines are meridians. Meridians are also referred to as channels.

In AOM, we believe everyone has 12 primary meridians that correlate with 12 organs. According to AOM teachings, by treating the meridians through acupuncture, dysfunctions with a patient's physical organs can also be treated. There are additional meridian systems, but I will stay focused on the 12 primary meridians, today. Each meridian is a pathway for "qi" to flow. Qi can be thought of as the energy or life force in one's body. 

When the qi is flowing properly, there is balance between yin and yang, and the person is functioning in a state of well-being and harmony. Simply put, yin and yang can be thought of as the balance of opposites, and the connection of where they flow and turn into each other. In AOM philosophy, the human body is balanced by yin and yang. When yin and yang become imbalanced, AOM works with the meridians and qi flow to balance yin and yang.

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As shown by Acuman, each meridian has several acupuncture points. The acupuncture points are shown by small dots with letters and numbers. The letters and numbers refer to the meridian the point is on and the number is the order of the points. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the points are referred to by Chinese names that have significance with the purpose or action of the point. The acupuncture points serve as transmitters for moving, tonifying or sedating the body's qi. By using a combination of points based on an AOM diagnosis, the points are punctured and able to help qi return to natural state of well-being. This in turn helps restore the balance between yin and yang.

PTSD Clinic for Veterans

A wonderful attribute of oriental medicine (OM) is its ability to affect many people, disorders and diseases. Many times, OM's treatments and results can be administered and experienced in a quick and effective manner. While instant results such as a reduction in symptoms are rather common, for chronic conditions long term treatment is needed many times to help bring healing to the root of the disorder.

A strong example of this is the use of OM in "At Ease," NUHS' free veteran's post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) clinic. The PTSD clinic serves veterans that have given our country and us so much of themselves, and as a result, are carrying wounds within themselves from the battles they fought. Often, they receive the OM treatments as an adjunct treatment to other therapies they are receiving outside of the NUHS clinic.

Through the application of acupuncture, primarily auricular acupuncture, these veterans are able to receive some relief in their PTSD symptoms. A common procedure in the PTSD clinic is for the patient to receive five acupuncture needles in each ear. It is believed that these needles work directly with neurotransmitters in the brain, much like pharmaceuticals, helping to reduce stress, blood pressure, and decrease the psychological symptoms PTSD creates. It has been seen and reported that the combination of OM alongside other prescribed treatments greatly improves the quality of life for veterans suffering from PTSD.  

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Dr. Frank Yurasek

This clinic was created by Frank Yurasek, PhD, MSOM, (shown above), who is also very involved in the Wounded Warrior Project and Bethesda Naval Hospital. Dr. Yurasek has found OM therapies, ranging from auricular acupuncture to medical Qi Gong, have a profound impact on veterans experiencing PTSD. He has been researching and applying his research to this field for many years. As a result, he brings a vast amount of knowledge and first-hand experience to each patient. In addition to his skills and knowledge, it is apparent that he genuinely cares about each and every patient in the clinic. Dr. Yurasek's compassion runs just as rich as his knowledge base.

I am fortunate to have started interning this trimester with Dr. Yurasek in the PTSD clinic. I have always held great honor and esteem for those in the military and feel extremely grateful to have this opportunity to work with them. I feel very encouraged for each patient as I watch the promising results I see during each treatment. While I am not aware of any instant cure for PTSD, I think it is reassuring to know there is much more patients can do to find their way out of the disorder then they may have realized before. 

I encourage those of you reading this blog to share the PTSD clinic information with those you know. From what I am learning, many veterans go years without receiving help, or enough help for PTSD. This greatly decreases their quality of life, and of those they care for and love. We would be honored to have them come to our free PTSD clinic and help them to the best of our abilities!

Ready for another trimester

Just as we had our first snow fall of the season this week, NUHS had its first week of the classes for the new trimester. The AOM student body feels like it is growing in a positive way with every new trimester. I had the pleasure of meeting the new clinic AOM observers this week. I also have had the ability to meet additional AOM students throughout the campus.  

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Every trimester I seem to notice the same thing about AOM students--we love coming to our classes and clinic. Simply by being around my current friends/students and the newer students I met, I could feel the rooms being filled with enthusiasm. This positivity creates such an invigorating energy throughout the AOM department. I find a little extra boost in positivity is always pleasant to be around.

I think some of my favorite things about returning to classes are reconnecting with all my friends, returning to clinic and receiving the syllabi from my new classes. I always feel a sense of excitement during the first classes of a trimester. I find myself filled with a new sense of anticipation when reading each class's syllabus, as I realize within a few months, I'll have a grasp on all the knowledge outlined in it.

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While it was wonderful to have returned to NUHS last week, I was rather happy to have the extended holiday weekend the first week back. It has helped with the transition of being on vacation mind-set to returning to a studious train of thought. It has also been very helpful with my schedule change in my home life. From my experience and those shared of my fellow students, returning to school after being on break can sometimes feel like a rather large adjustment for those at home, especially children. Fortunately, this extended holiday weekend allowed for extra time to readjust!

Life After NUHS

Recently, I had the pleasure of having dinner with two friends and recent NUHS graduates, Elizabeth (Lisa) Tenzinger-Spicher and Greg Golden. You may instantly recognize Lisa's name, as she was the previous writer of this blog. Both graduates are doing well and on an interesting postgraduate path. Both graduated with MSOM degrees this past August 2011.

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Lisa and Greg, NUHS alumni.

Lisa is specializing in infertility. In addition to her education at NUHS, she has gone to seminars to further expand her understanding of how to treat infertility. Lisa has already passed all of her boards and is licensed.

She is married to an NUHS chiropractic graduate and they are opening an integrative practice in the suburbs together. They are in the exciting process of locating their office and are enjoying the process of finding the perfect place to treat their up and coming patients. Lisa glows when she speaks about their new practice. She is also considering the option of partaking in a research project, but was unable to share further details regarding this opportunity.

Greg has also passed all of his boards and is licensed. He is so passionate about learning AOM that he decided to move directly into a doctorate program (DOAM) to further his education. Greg has recently moved to Indiana to become a practitioner at the INDY practice. He is working with The American Acupuncturist journal on special projects. Additionally, he recently published an article, "The Ancient Art of Japanese Kampo" in the Oriental Medicine Journal. The publishing of his first article was a very special moment for him. As his friend, I am so proud of him!

I am very impressed by Lisa and Greg's growing accomplishments. They were very knowledgeable interns, so I am certain they are outstanding acupuncturists now that they have graduated. They have already accomplished so much since they graduated this summer. I find their accomplishments very motivating and inspiring! I know they are now helping and will continue to help many patients while flourishing in their field of practice.

A Time of Giving

We're entering into one of my favorite seasons! I love this time of year for many reasons, but particularly because it is such a time of giving and camaraderie.

Last week, many of us joined our loved ones for a Thanksgiving celebration. After the warm family memories of eating turkey and pumpkin pie, we are heading into more holiday festivities. As we move forward and begin to think of what 2012 will bring, I think it is a good time to think about the well being of those around us. 

Fortunately, NUHS offers many ways for its students to help others. We have the ability to earn service credit hours on and off campus. NUHS is affiliated with charitable programs that allow students to volunteer time. I think volunteering is such an important part of life!

2011-11-28_miaRecently, Mia Davis, a fellow AOM student, created and ran a clothing drive for the Lakota Sioux tribe living on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. She was moved by the realization of how fortunate she and many of us are, in contrast with the disparaging conditions that these families live in. Many times Mia expressed the realization that many of the children did not have clothing, coats or even shoes to protect themselves. She was very concerned about their well being, especially during winter weather.

Instead of simply feeling sad for these families and becoming busy in her own life, Mia created a campus clothing drive. She offered the ability for others to give while creating a stockpile of clothing for the Lakota Sioux. 

Fortunately, many students helped make this drive successful! You can see from the picture that many bags of clothing were collected. It was both successful for helping the people of the Lakota Sioux tribe, and in inspiring us to become involved in helping others in a campus cause.

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The clothing drive was a success.

Mia offered us an ability to place ourselves in the spirit of giving and showed us the great results it can bring. I know at times when I'm studying for exams and writing papers, thinking of further extending myself outside of my home life seems like it may be tricky. Watching Mia run the drive successfully while maintaining a full-time senior intern schedule was very inspiring.

Way to go Mia and all those who helped with the drive!

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone reading this has the ability to be surrounded by family and friends this Thanksgiving. I love this holiday as I think it is wonderful to have a day declared for giving thanks for all we have and all that has been. I know many people are facing extraordinary circumstances on a day-to-day basis. I hope this Thursday offers you some time for laughter, joy and freedom from anything that has been weighing on you. 

I hope we can all take some time this week, and every day for that matter, to solely focus on the joy in our lives and embrace all the goodness that we have in our lives, freeing us in those moments from any stress. It has been said that laughter is the best medicine and I am a firm believer in this theory! 

Hopefully you blessed and able to sit down to a lovely Thanksgiving dinner this Thursday shared with those you care for and love.  

Herbology and Thanksgiving

As you are eating, it may be fun to know some comparisons to foods from a Chinese herbology perspective.

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Many people snack on scallions and dip as a pre-dinner snack. Green scallions are called cong bai in Chinese herbology. Cong bai can be used in treating certain types of colds.

You may drink a glass of ginger ale with your dinner. Ginger is called sheng jiang and may be used to treat various conditions including abdominal conditions and symptoms such as nausea.

Another favorite dish many people enjoy eating during Thanksgiving dinner is sweet potatoes. If you substituted them for Chinese yams you would be eating an herb called shan yao. Shan yao is used for all ages, from infancy to elderly. Shan yao is an herb that is very helpful in treating many conditions including abdominal conditions and childhood developmental issues.

In Chinese herbology, many foods have medicinal properties. So, this Thanksgiving, I hope you have an extra smile as you drink your sheng jiang-ale and snack on your cong bai, knowing the fun correlation they have with Chinese herbology.

Happy Thanksgiving, I hope it is a joyous day for you and your loved ones!