The people were warm, and it was great to see old friends and make new ones. The lectures were informative and covered a wide range of topics.
Sam Liang presented an array of approaches to the treatment of pain through traditional Chinese medicine. He used imaging such as MRIs and X-rays, along with TCM diagnosis. Dr. Liang demonstrated the effectiveness of integrating imaging into the development of point selection, herbs, patches, dietary changes and at-home therapies. But it was the clinical pearls that Liang placed before us that were most important.
Lillian Bridges taught us to diagnose jing using the face as the primary diagnostic resource. According to Bridges, the face shows many clues about the health of all the major organs in the body. One of the earliest uses of facial diagnosis was to determine sexual function and fertility. She discussed some subtle signs of infertility for both men and women and revealed psychological and emotional issues that create blockages.
Will Morris presented the Six-Channel pulse diagnosis system of Wang Shuhe. He also unveiled a method of treating the umbilicus, calculated for the year of disease onset.
Master Li taught integrating the essence of all spiritual healing through Sheng Zhen Healing Qi Gong which uses the unlimited reservoirs of transpersonal power and the principles of mind-body medicine to facilitate healing.
Paul Magarelli and Lorne Brown explored integrating TCM and allopathic reproductive medicine. Magarelli, a reproductive endocrinologist, has done much to define the field. They presented recent studies showing the benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of infertility.
Neil Gumenick taught Worsely-style acupuncture in his course on Balance Through the Five Elements. This elegant set of systems follows a fundamental premise of diagnosing and treating a patient's causative factor - their root elemental imbalance.
AOMA's own vice-president of faculty, Qianzhi "Jamie" Wu taught True Beauty Through Acupuncture. Cosmetic acupuncture is an art which allows one's true beauty to emerge. Practitioners explored the connection between the internal organs and the face for the purpose of selecting points based on the six facial skin types and syndrome differentiation. The characteristics of channel distribution on the face were addressed, along with commonly used herbal, acupuncture and tuina techniques for facial rejuvenation.
Nigel Dawes taught Fukushin: The Art of Abdominal Diagnosis using a hands-on approach to the abdomen as a diagnostic tool for herbal prescribing. The group explored the clinical significance and application of the 13 abdominal conformations in the modern Kanpo tradition, selecting specific herbal formulas.
Samuel Collins presented Acupuncture Insurance Billing: A to Z. He discussed what is necessary to know in order to successfully bill and be paid for services. He provided information on improving the patient's ability to get reimbursed, as well for those practitioners who maintain cash practices.
The Symposium provided just the right balance of clinical gems, practical skills modern research findings and old-fashioned hospitality, Austin style. Added with the extraordinary service and beautiful venue on Austin's Ladybird Lake, it truly lived up to the goal of connecting communities and transforming lives.
Peter Stewart is in private practice with Acupuncture VI, in Christiansted, Virginia.