Enrollment in Yo San University Doctoral Program

Yo San University Students in Los Angeles

Yo San University Students in Los Angeles

In Spring 2015, Yo San University awarded two faculty scholarships to its Doctoral Program in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and I was lucky enough to be one of the recipients. I started my studies in May and will graduate in 2017 with the degree DAOM, specialty in Longevity and Healthy Aging. I chose this specialty because of its broad application to every single person on Earth, including people with such chronic diseases as hypertension, diabetes, obesity and neurodegenerative conditions.

The program is interesting in that it provides a lot of variety in the ways to fulfill the requirements. For example, I completed 40 hours of observation and consulting at the Santa Monica Homeopathic Pharmacy, where I learned from homeopaths, naturopathic doctors and pharmacy students, and helped customers with Chinese herbs. I have attended two conferences on aging, where I learned about mind-boggling cutting-edge research presented by geneticists and biologists. I will spend some time observing with a Chinese medicine doctor whose practice is 50% oncology. And I am spending time in the Yo San University specialty clinic in Healthy Aging, treating patients and being supervised by some of the most experienced and prestigious doctors in the nation.

We meet once a month for a three-day weekend of classes, and in between, we write papers, prepare case studies for presentation and read, read, read!

One of the most exciting aspects of this program is the Capstone Project, which is a research study that each candidate designs based on his or her area of interest. Given my interests in herbal medicine and oncology, I am planning to research the safety of using the Chinese herb Astragalus membranaceus to treat the side effects of cancer chemotherapy, such as fatigue and nausea. I hope to show significant evidence that we can relax the current fears of herb/drug interactions with one or more common cancer chemotherapy drugs.

I will keep everyone posted about the progress of my research.

Chemotherapy and Chinese Herbs

MD Anderson Cancer Center  Houston, Texas

MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, Texas

I just attended a fascinating conference on oncology for acupuncturists, at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas Medical Center, Houston, Texas. Some of the topics covered were:

Dry mouth due to chemotherapy: this is a huge problem for some patients, who have trouble eating, speaking, sleeping and swallowing. There is no really effective Western treatment. The MD Anderson Cancer Center designed a study using acupuncture and a control group, with very good results. The actual composition of the patients’ saliva improved (became less sticky).

Fatigue: this is a very common complaint with chemotherapy and radiation patients. Some patients experience such severe fatigue that they are unable to continue with treatment. Damage to several components of the blood is common (platelets, white counts, red blood cells), which can also necessitate a delay in treatment. Some patients are required to undergo transfusions before they can resume chemotherapy. Acupuncture treatment was proven to improve fatigue in several of the MD Anderson studies.

I very much prefer to use Chinese herbs in conjunction with acupuncture. Some oncologists oppose the use of herbs, but I strongly suggest to my patients that they allow me to speak to their physicians so I can explain what I want to do, and how I think it will benefit.

Some herbs with proven effectiveness in protecting the blood, increasing energy and improving the immune response are:

  • Ren Shen (Panax ginseng root), including Asian and American ginseng
  • Ji Xue Teng (Spatholobi Caulis)
  • Huang Qi (Astralagus Root)
  • My patients who take Chinese herbs during chemotherapy almost always hear from their doctors that their blood remains healthy from one cycle to the next.