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June 11, 2024

The Biochemistry of Moxibustion

Ai Ye, Artemisia argyi, Mugwort Leaf or Moxa - this herb of many names forms a great pillar of Chinese Traditional Medicine - Moxibustion.

Ai Ye, Artemisia argyi, Mugwort Leaf or Moxa – this herb of many names forms a great pillar of Chinese Traditional Medicine – Moxibustion. Fresh and dried leaves are pounded into moxa floss, also known as moxa wool, to be batch bundled or rolled into sticks for practitioner use. Both direct and indirect applications are relevant to modern clinical practices. Your acupuncturist may specialize in an on-skin or off-skin modality but the burning of moxa works medicinally through heat and radiation regardless of treatment technique.

In TCM terminology, when Ai ye is prescribed for internal use it is categorically associated with herbs that regulate blood and stop bleeding. Through its taste profile as acrid, aromatic, and bitter one can remember that this ingredient is added …

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April 15, 2024

Products of Medicinal Culture

Perspectives from Chinese Classical Texts on Aging and Reproduction

Processes of the body are learned through a combination of direct experiences and formal education shaped by the culture we’re raised within. As the latter becomes more intellectualized we are – socially, spiritually, politically – naturalized to specific expectations of our human condition.

A Daoist Evolution of Health
During the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BC) Daoism began its initial rise in popularity, blending religion and science through observation of the Dao – the way of life as told by patterns of the natural world.

The Dao Jia Yi Xue (Daoist Medicine Doctrine), emerged during this period – tying longevity and immortality to spiritual enlightenment. This heavily motivated the advancement of medicinal disease prevention and clinical effectiveness of doctors at the time further endowed the growing faith with …

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February 24, 2024

Alumni Spotlight: Colette Matison Legarrigues

From her time at a Daoist alchemical clinic, through her own experience of pregnancy, and learning with the role of ritual, Colette’s practice lays foundation for intimate collaborations with clients

Colette Matison Legarrigues

Transferred to AIMC from ACTCM in the spring of 2020, graduated in winter of 2021

How would you like to be introduced?
My name is Colette, and my family name is Colette Matison Legarrigues. I am the wife of Martin and the mom of Bodie. My recent ancestors were settler-colonialists to New York and San Francisco from present-day Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, and France. I am a daughter and a sister and a friend. I am an East Asian Medicine practitioner, a postpartum educator, a poet, and a film producer. I am licensed to practice acupuncture and Chinese Medicine herbalism in the states of Massachusetts and California, and I am nationally certified as a Diplomate of Oriental Medicine by NCCAOM. I hold …

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February 12, 2024

Year of the Wood Dragon: Astrology as a Cultural Medicine

The Lunar New Year is upon us. Starting February 10th people in China, Tibet, Mongolia, Vietnam, Korea - and across diasporic communities transcendent of drawn boundary lines - gather to eat, gift, an

The Lunar New Year is upon us. Starting February 10th people in China, Tibet, Mongolia, Vietnam, Korea – and across diasporic communities – gather to eat, gift, and set the stage for the oncoming cycle in community. This is a time to call in prosperity, abundance, and good health under a shared new moon.

Our oncoming year is the year of the Wood Dragon, which happens once every 60 years. There are 12 zodiac animals and 5 elements that layer over each other to produce 60 unique combinations of energetic predisposition. This year carries affiliation of yang, toward processing our anger, healing the liver, and the color green.

As held in ancient myth, the twelve animals and their order in the Zodiac were …

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January 6, 2024

Taking Care of Our Kidneys

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During winter there is a seasonal predisposition to slowness. Needs of gentle movement and restoration reflect the time of year when yin peaks, drawing what’s nutritive in closer to claim focus.

During winter there is a seasonal predisposition to slowness. Needs of gentle movement and restoration reflect the time of year when yin peaks, drawing what’s nutritive in closer to claim focus. In Traditional Chinese Medicine winter is associated with the water element and support towards the Kidney organs. As many plants draw back their leaves and send energy into their roots, our qi descends naturally to the energetic reserves kept within the Kidneys. Powerfully, these organs are considered to be generators of our primal essence, jing, and acts as the seat of our spirit, zhi (will power). Jing and Zhi both represent a commitment to this life. While the strength of our jing provides the material basis for longer life and graceful aging, zhi is …

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December 5, 2023

Chinese Patent Medicine and Over-the-Counter Herbalism

Building Your Herbal Confidence Over Layers of Generational Practice

The phrase “Chinese patent medicine” extends to describe herbal recipes generally composed into pill or tablet form for wider accessibility and streamlined dosing when compared to more traditional raw herb decoctions. Their preparation into prepackaged prescriptions descends from formulations in ancient texts, such as the Shang Han Lun and the Jin Gui Yao Lue, time tested by generations for over 2,000 years. This historical context establishes not only the ingredient herbs, but the preparation required for single herbs before they are mended together, and the harmonizing proportions necessary to bring out the intended effects of the entire composition.

Tea pills are made starting with ground herbs mixed into a paste with a binder – water, honey, or a liquid herbal extract – then rolled or …

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October 30, 2023

Ghost Points Origins

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Point Prescriptions to Illuminate our Spooky Season

In the Northern Hemisphere, October marks the settling in of our Autumn season, and as our environment shifts – the days getting darker and nights longer – we’re also issued a shift to our daily rhythms. Across lineages and cultures people have ways of recognizing the movement into Fall times, and whether that’s through celebration of the harvest yields, a gratitude towards light’s presence despite darkness, or leaning into the “thinned veils” between the world of the living and the world of the ancestors, there is an importance around holding this turning point.

In this space, I’ll hold the responsibility by honoring and uplifting the “Ghost Points” of Chinese Medicine. Spooky in name, but largely exorcized in practice, the Ghost Points are a group …

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September 25, 2023

Loving the Lungs for Autumnal Transition

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The Lungs are a delicate organ often needing our support, and especially call in our attention in the Fall during California’s fire season and across seasons as the weather gets colder into Winter.

Moving deeper into Autumn we can support the health of our physical and emotional bodies with the elemental logic of Chinese Traditional Medicine. Through this season we depart from the Heart-centered fire of Summer to honor the element of Metal, and the organs of the Lungs and Large Intestines which filter and purge. We have lived through annual peaks in Yang energy and start to distill the lessons we’ve lived through, deciding what is most necessary to carry forward. Energetically, Lungs process through the emotion of grief so the seasonal contraction truly is a gentle nudge towards inwardness, retrospection and release.

The Lungs are a delicate organ often needing our support, and especially call in our attention in the Fall during California’s fire season and across …

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July 25, 2023

Best Ways to Incorporate Microneedling Into Your Acupuncture Practice

Acupuncturists are in the unique position of providing a modern aesthetic procedure that actually improves their patient’s internal health.

If you’ve ever considered adding microneedling to your acupuncture practice, know that there is much to learn about this effective, lucrative and popular modality. There are a growing number of acupuncturists utilizing microneedling to help their patients look and feel their best. It’s understandable to want to dive right in and offer this specialty to your patients, but taking the time to understand the right tools and approaches to make it the most effective will mean your patients will experience better and more lasting results. And that in turn will lead to more referrals, and an increased income and reputation.

What is Microneedling?

There are three distinct ways of answering that question – from a Western, Eastern, and Integrative perspective.

From a Western perspective: microneedling uses …

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July 10, 2023

Plastic-Free July at AIMC Berkeley

Head to our beaches this summer and you face a stark reminder of today’s plastics crisis as you squish through the sand, increasingly composed of microplastic. As the fossil fuel industry faces growing public pressure, it is turning toward using petroleum to produce ever-more plastic instead of fuel.

Plastic and Your Health

From a Chinese medicine perspective, the jing (deep energy reserve) of the planet is being tapped and either burned, creating either excess heat/yang and warming the atmosphere, or made into plastic and chemical compounds, which can be seen as pathological yin or phlegm. Chinese medical wisdom teaches that “phlegm is the mother of a hundred diseases.”

A growing body of research links chemicals produced in …

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Testimonials

"One of my favorite things about AIMC is the sense of community. We come together to support each other through challenges. Instead of a sense of competitiveness between students, there is a caring community that lifts everybody up. The faculty and staff are approachable and provide wonderful support during your graduate journey."

- Master’s Student