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June 22, 2018

What is Qi?

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Qi is fundamental to Chinese Medicine. It moves with the blood through the meridian channels, and its flow can be influenced by stimulating various acupuncture points. Qi can flow smoothly or it can become deficient, stagnant or even rebellious. If you’ve ever felt under the weather in any way shape or form, chances are your qi fell into one of said pathological states. But what exactly is qi? And more importantly, how does it manifest in our everyday lives?

When acupuncture school first piqued my interest, I pretty quickly realized how little I knew about qi. Sure, I’d heard qi tossed around before; someone emerging from a yoga class, glowing, raving about the qi of the instructor. But if you’d asked me to define it, I …

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May 11, 2018

What is Moxibustion?

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What is Moxibustion?
By: Katie Scarlett

Knowledge and acceptance of acupuncture is on the rise, but few people know that the Chinese term for acupuncture includes moxibustion. The word is “Zhen Jiu” (針灸) meaning “acupuncture-moxibustion”.

Moxa is made from ground mugwort, artemesia argyi, which is can be rolled into a stick or cone, and burned above or directly on the skin to stimulate and warm the acupuncture points and meridians. Mugwort is an excellent material for lighting on fire. It burns cleanly and slowly, allowing the heat to evenly penetrate the muscles and tendons thereby increasing blood circulation. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), moxibustion is an especially important modality for treating cold and deficient conditions. (Chen, 2001).

“Mugwort is an excellent material for lighting on fire. It burns …

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January 24, 2018

On Peak Eating and Pleasure Superheroes

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Nishanga Bliss, MS, Ph.D. L.Ac., is the author of Real Food All Year and has been a practitioner in the holistic health field for over 20 years. She is an acupuncturist, herbalist, integrative nutritionist, and professor of Chinese medicine at the Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College in Berkeley, where she grows, cooks, ferments, teaches, and writes about sustainable food.

On a recent sunny spring afternoon, Nishanga met with Kimber Simpkins, a yoga instructor, positive body image teacher, and author of Full and 52 Ways to Love Your Body. The venue was Sanctuary Bistro in West Berkeley. Along with Cheryl Angelina Koehler, editor of Edible East Bay, who joined them to photograph, they enjoyed BLTs and citrus trifle as they discussed the topic of pleasure in relation …

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January 16, 2018

A Brief History of Japanese Acupuncture & How it’s Different from Chinese Acupuncture

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It is widely agreed that acupuncture originated from China more than 2000 years ago. However, for thousands of years acupuncture had been practiced in other Asian countries as well.

In Japan, acupuncture has been an important part of their medical practice and system for over 1400 years. However, it was in fact, a Chinese monk-physician named Chiso that brought acupuncture along with other medical techniques to Japan in the 6th century. During this time, China was far more advanced in the practice of acupuncture than Japan but since then acupuncture in Japan has evolved in its own very unique way.

Between 1868 and 1988, approximately 4000 medical books were imported from Japan to China. Many of these were Chinese medicine texts which were re-imported …

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November 28, 2017

Acupuncture: An Alternative to Drug Therapy and overuse of Opioids

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Every day over 140 Americans die from accidental drug overdose. Alarmingly, 65% of those deaths are from an opioid drug overdose. In 2016 alone, the annual death toll due to an opioid overdose was 64,000. This is a 22 increase from the previous year. The overuse of opioids to treat pain has become so dangerous that on October 26th, 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency (Department of Health and Human Services, 2017).

As a result, the opioid addiction epidemic has increased awareness and interest in alternative pain management care such as acupuncture. Today, it’s estimated that more than “700 addiction centers offer acupuncture as an alternative and/or adjudicative therapy” (Esmaeili, Motlagh & Ibrahim et …

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November 27, 2017

Hands-on Training in Shakuju Therapy

The weekend of October 7th and 8th, Daiki Takahashi, Saori Tasaka, and Tisha Mallon L.Ac held a Shakuju therapy (SJT) Training Seminar at AIMC-Berkeley. Over 20 participants attended from all over the country to learn the theory and hand-on techniques of SJT, as well as abdominal diagnosis, contact needling, moxibustion, bloodletting, and how to perform root treatment.

SJT was developed by master Shoji Kobayashi over 40 years ago in Japan. He is known for his deep inquiry into the I-Ching and the Classic texts, and for applying effective comprehensive treatments to the most difficult cases. As a teacher he tried to find a system that students could acquire within a 3-year course which would treat patients with positive effect. The system of SJT is organized in …

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September 28, 2017

Pedal Power Fuels AIMC Berkeley Student

Heidi Hellmuth happens to spot AIMC President Yasuo Tanaka taking a walk along the Embarcadero and offers him a ride in her gold pedi-cab.

On any given Saturday, you can find Heidi H. along San Francisco’s Embarcadero pointing out the sights to her passengers as she leans into her pedals and the bicycle’s chains on her Gold-colored pedi-cab whir. You can imagine her pointing, there—that’s the Ferry Building, the Baseball Stadium, the Golden Gate Bridge….

It’s not only San Francisco’s skyscrapers jutting into the sky, with its gauze of clouds, that cuts quite a figure. It’s also Hellmuth herself.

Six years ago, the Fall 2014 AIMC Berkeley student had a bad accident. In 2011, Heidi was helping restore a historic villa in Tuscany and that’s when she sustained …

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September 21, 2017

Local, Organic, Chinese Herbs!

How often do you see those words together? Some of us equate them with one person in particular: Peg Schafer. Peg Schafer runs the Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm out in Petaluma. Since 1997 her desire has been to grow “the highest quality and most efficacious Chinese herbs possible”. As future practitioners, what more could we ask?

On July 29th, a beautiful summer’s morn, a group of AIMC students, including two student council members, made our first field trip to Petaluma* to visit and see what the future of Chinese herbs could be…

Students are familiar with Chinese herbs in the form of plant parts that appear in our herbal pharmacy, generally from China. However, the plants themselves are seldom encountered. Some appear in …

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September 13, 2017

AIMC Continues the Tradition of Rich Learning in Medical Qi Gong Program CEU

A class of twenty completed the Medical Qi Gong certification program led by Suzannah Stason LAc, CMQ this past summer. The program included six modules spanning over the length of a year. With the momentum of the resounding success of this graduating class, the program is being offered again, beginning with module one on September 16-17, 2017.

The practice of Medical Qi Gong is one of the original branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In the West, we often think of just acupuncture but when we look at Traditional Chinese medicine as a whole system, we see the many aspects that it addresses from the internal medicine that herbal formulas provides, the qi cultivation and regulation that qi gong provides and the balancing aspects of acupuncture.

Medical qi …

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TOTALITY: MY SOLAR ECLIPSE EXPERIENCE

I have been to a few festivals, but never to one this big, and never to one occurring during a total solar eclipse. All I knew about the Symbiosis festival was from a friend—a farmer in Oregon and an SF native, who called it a mini burning man and a sanctuary of the mind. After finishing my first term of acupuncture and Chinese medicine school, I felt myself moving forward on a path leading toward complete connected-ness with the earth, life and being, and with the universe, death and knowing.

I was thinking in terms of Yin and Yang, everything was becoming Yin or Yang. So I knew seeing the eclipse in totality would be the ultimate Yin Yang experience and I needed to be there. …

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- Master’s Student

Acupuncture & Integrative
Medicine College, Berkely

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