Filtered by author: Ellen Teeter LAc Clear Filter


Diagnostics & Treatment of the Melanated Patient

Featured Speaker: Bob Linde, AP, RH

Each of us, when in school or reading our various reference books, whether it be point location (Where the red and the white meet) or identifying certain patterns (red face/malar flush) was exposed to a glowing error in education and practice standards that continues to be repeated even in mainstream medicine. When we speak of the “4 Pillars of Diagnostics”, no single pillar is more important than another. Clearly, we lacked exposure to any but lighter skinned examples of disharmony in a majority of educational settings. I use the newer term melanated on purpose. This term, to me, expresses the wide range of skin tone variation and is the most medically relevant term available.

What is melanation/melanated? The word “melanated" refers to the presence of melanin in the skin, hair, or eyes. Melanin is a pigment produced by cells called melanocytes and is responsible for determining the color of skin, hair, and eyes. People with higher levels of melanin are often described as melanated. It is also a term that is now commonly used to celebrate people of black and brown skin tones.

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Using the Branches to Treat Lower Jiao Pain of Different Types

Using the Branches to Treat Lower Jiao Pain of Different Types

Featured Speaker: Chad Bailey, AP

What are the classical branches of Chinese Medicine? Acupuncture, Tui Na Massage, Herbology, Diet Therapy, and Qi Gong.

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Understanding the Differentials of Low Back Pain

Understanding the Differentials of Low Back Pain

Featured Speaker: Anna Folckomer, L. Ac, DAOM

For many clinics, back pain can be something that we see the most, but is often understood the least. Or perhaps we treat all of them with the same local points and just hope for the best. It’s true, back pain does have ambiguity and lots of overlap, but that is never a reason to forfeit our diagnostic principles and inherently thorough assessment skills.

Take Francis, for example. He’s fit, athletic, and the last repetition of his deadlift “tweaked" his back one week ago, and it’s not improving the way previous back episodes have. Next comes in Cara, who bent over to pick something up in her office, felt a sudden twinge, and had to leave work early and lie on a heating pad for the rest of the day. Both of these cases are just different enough from Kelly, who occasionally experiences a feeling of having a tight strip across her lower back, but flared recently after a prolonged period of standing on concrete floors for a real estate showing. Amy’s pain has a sudden onset and is dull, diffuse, and difficult to locate but seemed to really get worse last night, and Jen’s pain flared up after the heel broke off her boot, but she needed to keep working through a hectic day and didn’t notice until 20,000 steps later. It’s only 11 am and all of these people, all with back pain, have pointed to the exact same area of discomfort.

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There is More to Gua Sha than You Know

There is More to Gua Sha than You Know

Featured Speaker: Katherine Teisinger DAOM

Most of us were taught Gua Sha in school. I did very little of it; patients came in for Acupuncture, not a massage. In a continuing education class, I took another course in Gua Sha and Cupping. That's where I learned about the nature of pain and the toxic buildup in muscle and tendon tissue.

Have you ever wondered what causes pain? Nerves must be fed blood, body fluids, and energy to feel good. Please take one of these away; the nerve is not being fed, so it sends a pain signal. As an example, intertwine your fingers and clutch them very tightly together. You can see how your fingers are no longer getting the blood supply, body fluids, and energy they need. The longer you clutch your fingers and hands together, the more pain you are in. When you release them, the pain goes away.

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The Role of the Abdominal Muscles in Lumbar and Abdominopelvic Dysfunction

The Role of the Abdominal Muscles in Lumbar and Abdominopelvic Dysfunction

Featured Speaker: Brian Lau, AP, CSMA

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TCMceuticals Fertile WIsdom Sponsored Article

TCMZone sponsored article - TCMCeuticals® Fertile Wisdom, A Natural Approach to Healthy Fertility

The wisdom behind these formulas comes f rom Dr. Gouping Zheng, Ph. D., DOM., L. Ac.

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Pelvic Floor Patient Case Study

Pelvic Floor Patient Case Study

Featured Speaker: Darren O’ Rourke

J.P. (47y/o, Male) Initial visit 10/20/23
Extremely athletic: CROSSFIT 5 times a week, in addition to Pilates, yoga, and running several times a week. Clean living, no medications reported, no drugs/alcohol prescribed or recreational.

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Notes on Patient Acquisition

Notes on Patient Acquisition

Featured Speaker: Nell Smircina

I often get asked what is the one thing I wish I knew when I started my practice. It’s relatively simple: the things you THINK will give you a successful practice and good patient outcomes are not the things that drive the most impactful results for patients. It’s amazing to me in our holistic medicine field how we can get so tunnel visioned on the perceived skill set necessary to generate exceptional outcomes with patients. A “successful” treatment or treatment plan is multifaceted, and our approach should be as well. We can be exceptionally skilled with a needle and know powerful protocols for different patterns. However, if we aren’t considering all aspects of what drives people to comply with a treatment plan, or even curating an effective plan and just letting the patient dictate things like frequency and duration of treatment, we are not getting the best result possible.

Enter your game changer: patient communication. This goes well beyond explaining how acupuncture works (which yes, we will cover in class) into delicately navigating important aspects of a care plan, and influencing patients to comply with important aspects of your recommendations. Don’t get hung up on the word influence, which gets a bad rep, but rather think about how you are helping to influence positive health outcomes for as many patients as possible. We are trusted providers who need to be able to effectively articulate all potential factors which could impact patient results. Patients need to know, like, and trust us. If there is one thing which can drastically improve patient results in your practice, it’s learning to properly communicate in any setting.

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Master Deng's Qi Gong

Master Deng’s Qi Gong

Featured Speaker: Chad Bailey

I met Master Deng Hua Qing in the small village of Yi Chun in Mainland China in 2001. This was the longest stop of our month long trip, 10 days to train with Master Deng in Tai Ji Quan, Lan Shou Quan, and Qi Gong as well as our daily hours at the regional hospital. Master Deng was from the northern city of Harbin but traveled to Yi Chun for our training.

We started each morning around 6am. 60 minutes of Qi Gong followed by 60 minutes of Yang style Tai Ji Quan. Most of our group would leave after Tai Ji practice.  A few of us stayed for Tai Ji applications, push hands, and Lan Shou for the last 60 minutes.

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Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip Complex: Testing, Assessment, and Programming

Featured Speaker: Derrick Mc Bride LAc, CSCS

As an Acupuncturist, low back pain is likely a common complaint you treat. You likely have your tried-and-true ways of treating it, whether it’s deep needling of the Huatuojiaji points, Master Tung points, or something else. You also likely have impressive success stories using these techniques to solve problems that other practitioners could not solve. This is a tremendous feat that I’m sure those patients are grateful for.

What I will cover in the first session of my lecture, Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip Complex: Testing, Assessment, and Programming, will be straightforward and easy to implement orthopedic and muscle tests to better understand the nature and anatomy of the common pain syndromes afflicting the lumbopelvic region. Being more proficient in our anatomy and ability to stress anatomical structures for a more concrete orthopedic understanding of the patient’s pain is always a valuable endeavor. After all, our bodies are biomechanical machines, and our pain syndromes often present themselves within the machinery. They are obviously much more than this, but a working diagnosis from this context is a great step towards an actionable treatment plan. For instance, if I can produce 3 or 4 positive tests for the illusive sacroiliac joint pain, I feel strongly that my plan should include direct treatment to the SI joint. That’s a solid anatomical starting point. From there, we can branch off to holistic treatment of the entire person in front of us, knowing we are stepping from solid ground.

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Genetics and Brain Chemistry

Featured Speaker: Dr. J . Dunn BS, DC, CKP, CWK

Mental health imbalances including depression, anxiety, ADD, addictions, and PTSD are rampant in our society. Perhaps some of us are guilty of thinking depressed people in our lives should just “buck up” and be grateful for what they have. Many of these people consider that these conditions are somehow their fault. In working with these patients through the years, I previously had some success—but nothing spectacular - until I began working with the genetic variants. This lead to a greater understanding of the causes of these conditions and greater levels of compassion.

While there can be a myriad of different causes for depression, genetic variants can be particularly causative. Specifically, the vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene can cause a person to be apathetic and depressed due to low dopamine and adrenaline levels. Dopamine is a catecholamine that is a precursor of adrenaline (an adrenal hormone associated with energy). Dopamine has a powerful effect on our reward system. Low dopamine levels have been associated with depression and addictive behavior. In addition, this same genetic variant is responsible for the production of serotonin, our other brain chemical associated with increased mood.

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Eco-Friendly Practices in Chinese Herbal Formula Manufacturing

By Exhibitor KPC Herbs

Working with the environment and utilizing sustainable practices is essential today. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is deeply connected to the environment, farming, and agriculture, especially regarding manufacturing herbal formulas.

Using herbal formulas that have been sustainably sourced and manufactured safely to avoid contaminants allows for the best treatment results. Herbal formulas are crafted from a blend of herbs, which promote health and balance in different ways. Western pharmaceuticals often involve environmental impact reports, but some negative results show up later and may be more damaging than expected. Using properly sourced herbal formulas can help both the patient and the planet.

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An Integrative Approach to Sex Hormone Decline with Functional Medicine and TCM

Featured Speaker: I lyas Hamid DAOM

On April 14th, a 54-year-old woman came into the clinic seeking treatment for insomnia, hot flashes, stress, and she was postmenopausal for 3 years, and since then, she had gained about 25 pounds. Her sleep routine involved going to bed around 10 pm, but she consistently woke up in full alert between 1-4 am and would not be able to fall back asleep. She would turn on the television to try to tire her mind to fall back asleep. She described herself as being in a constant state of anxiety all day and night that she could not turn off. She was regularly and randomly having hot flashes all day and night. She had achilles pain that was taken care of in the past but seemed to have been reactivated with menopause. It had become chronic for 3 years. Her energy levels were low. She felt as though she always needed sleep, and she felt unmotivated. Digestion-related, she always felt bloated. She had constipation that had been going on since her 20s. She would have bowel movements one to two times per week and sometimes would go a week without a bowel movement. The stools were very hard and dry. She would do detox teas to help her bowels move when she was severely constipated. To make herself regular, she would do colon cleanses one to two times a month for about 5 months, but this approach was unsustainable. Her diet included 2-3 meals per day. She would often miss breakfast, which seemed to have made her more stressed at work. She relied mostly on sandwiches and starches and included a lot of vegetables in her diet. Some foods that were regularly included in her diet were peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch, pretzels for snacks, pasta for dinner, and cereal with fruit or toast with avocado and eggs. She loves coffee and has been drinking 2 large cups a day since she was in her 20s. She has also gone vegan at times. She perspired often, especially when having hot flashes. Some of her other symptoms include dry phlegm in the nose at night, and swelling and tightness all over her body,

As she was sharing her symptoms, I was navigating the possible pattern differentiations I could diagnose her with, just like many Chinese Medicine Practitioners do. When it comes to menopause, most practitioners will consider some form of Yin Deficiency. With her hot flashes and constipation, one may consider heat signs. But when I looked at her tongue, I was surprised to find that she had a very thick, greasy tongue coat, and a pale tongue that was slightly redder at the tip. The tongue coating was not just centralized but was also on the sides of the tongue which would be considered the Liver area. Her pulse was overall slippery and wiry on the right and left sides respectively. This was the first time I had experienced menopause in this way. I diagnosed this as a Damp Phlegm Accumulation trapping Empty Heat.

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A Common Case of Male Infertility

Featured Speaker: Lisa Lapwing, AP

A 31-year-old patient came to me with the chief complaint of male infertility. In his case, he had low sperm morphology and motility which was diagnosed in 2020. 

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Florida Saves Acupuncture Physician Title

Mission Accomplished!
Florida Saves Acupuncture Physician Title

When previous bills intended to restrict the use of the words “physician” or “doctor” in professional titles were introduced in Florida, they gained little traction or support. What made Senate Bill 230 different was not its language or timing, but instead the legislative leadership backing the Bill. Unlike previous efforts, in 2024, Florida’s State Senate leadership shared that SB 230 was a cornerstone in their healthcare reform agenda. Sponsorship of SB 230 was entrusted to the Health Policy Committee chairperson in the Senate, and a medical doctor elected to the leadership of the State House of Representatives. This gave gravitas and political life to an issue that had previously been floundering. 
The Senate and House versions of SB 230 essentially would have banned anyone but medical doctors and osteopathic physicians from using the words “physician” in their advertisements and daily interactions with patients. Exceptions were made for chiropractic physicians, who are authorized in their practice to identify themselves as chiropractic physicians; as well as dentists and podiatrists, whose specialty recognitions and licenses can include the terms doctor, physician, and surgeon.1
When the Senate version of the bill was filed on Feb 9, FSOMA’s lobbyist Corinne Mixon contacted the Senate Health Policy Chairperson’s office to meet and discuss an exception amendment for Acupuncture physicians. She was forcefully rejected and told that no such amendment would be allowed.
The path forward for SB 230 in the Senate was unchallenged and it was adopted in six weeks on March 15th.
Ms. Mixon had forewarned FSOMA in mid- February that the absence of support for an Acupuncture amendment in the Senate meant that FSOMA needed to mobilize a full-scale education and advocacy campaign directed at the Florida House of Representatives and, if needed, the Governor’s office. 
Fortunately, the companion bill in the House was delayed until April 3rd, giving FSOMA extra time to refine its strategy and talking points. The priorities were to (1) educate the profession about the issue, threat, and implications of the SB 230 (2) educate House legislators about the bill’s harmful effects, (3) secure a House sponsor for an Acupuncture amendment, (4) develop a concurrent strategy seeking support to defeat the bill in committee, if no amendment sponsor came forward, and (5) to seek a veto from Governor DeSantis should a final bill make it to his desk for signature.
Crisis mode at FSOMA is an all-hands-on-deck effort that requires the Board and Management team to execute an urgent, intensive campaign that will educate, motivate, and activate a large-scale response from the Florida profession directed toward legislators. FSOMA has been here before and history has taught its leadership the value of being prepared.
FSOMA has a very experienced Executive Director, Ellen Teeter, AP and a dedicated and talented Director of Communications, Natalia Morrison, L.Ac., A.P. They coordinate and deliver all messaging from the Board of Directors to the Association’s membership, to the Florida profession at- large, and to the schools, students, and vendors. The Association supports and invests in its Management team, because Ellen and Natalia are the face of the organization, and they have the greatest impact on how the Association collaborates with and supports the Florida profession.
FSOMA’s Board and Executive Committee has both seasoned and new volunteer directors who work together to help keep all efforts focused. With input from various committees, FSOMA’s leadership, lobbyists, and attorneys developed a strategy that was driven by clear messaging directed at 3 identified audiences (licensees, students, and legislators).
This is how FSOMA and Florida handles protecting and promoting the practice and profession. It requires infrastructure: The Management team is salaried to manage the data and systems needed for FSOMA to operate and communicate with the profession. It requires professional services: FSOMA maintains a least 1 full- time lobbyist and 2 law firms. Without passionate and experienced health care lobbyists and attorneys, it is near impossible to represent the interests of this profession. Lastly, it requires “individual commitment to a group effort.” – Vince Lombardi. Between March 15th and June 2nd, FSOMA partnered with the Florida Acupuncture Association (FAA) led by Dr. Tang, who provided additional input and resources needed to hire a second lobbyist for the remainder of the 2024 legislative session.FSOMA provided all members, licensees, and students contact lists with the names, email, and telephone info for every legislator seated on a committee of concern that would hear and vote on this Bill. Talking points were updated and provided weekly with new sample emails and template letters. Every member, licensee, student, and stakeholder were asked to call and/or email daily requesting that their Representative “Vote-No” on the Bill and to meet with FSOMA’s lobbyist to discuss our concerns. The barrage of communication was organized, on- message, and relentless.
This had a wildly positive effect and profound influence on legislators and their staff. Acupuncturists and their supporters scratched and clawed their way forward until everyone in Tallahassee knew there was a major defect with SB 230: it needed an amendment or exception for Acupuncture physicians. Legislators were hearing concerned messages from dozens and hundreds of Acupuncturists (small business owners/employers), patients (voting constituents) and students (future small business owners/employers) who live, work, and vote in their district: all in support of an amendment, a no-vote, or a veto from the Governor.
Part 1 of the strategy “sounding the alarm” getting the profession and students to hear the call to action was achieved with a combination of email and social media notices.
Part 2 was progressing effectively, and no legislator or staffer handling SB 230 could claim to unfamiliar with Acupuncturists’ position, concerns, and requests. 
Part 3 was achieved when Rep. Maria Woodson (D) sponsored an amendment in the final committee of concern: House Health & Human Services.
Dr. Anaya Palay, DAOM and Mina Larson, CEO NCCAOM presented and responded to questions from the committee. The record positively reflected that Florida’s efforts to educate legislators had been successful. They were well-informed about our issues and concerns. 
Despite best efforts, the amendment failed on a tie-vote (9-9) in the committee, but notably it achieved bipartisan support, including support from HHS Committee Chair Rep. Randy Fine (R), who spoke out against the bill citing that it was a “solution in search of a problem.” Legislators from across-the-isle shared personal stories of positive interactions and successful treatment outcomes with Acupuncturists. They supported the continued use of the professional title Acupuncture physician and dismissed the idea that the title could be misleading or deceptive. 
Although the amendment was not adopted, what had become clear is that the Bill itself was not popular among all key legislators and some had serious reservations about allowing the Senate leadership to put forth a bill that infringed on how certain non-MD professions could legally advertise and promote themselves and their private businesses. When the House version of SB 230 finally came to before the full.
Florida House of Representatives for a floor vote, there was a buzz in the air because a last-minute amendment filed by the House sponsor Rep. Dr. Massullo (R) to include Doctors of Optometry had been rejected by the Senate forcing the House to strip an exception for Optometrists titles out of the final version of the Bill. This only added to the drama and unpopularity of SB 230, but the Bill still passed 78/34 and was headed to Gov. DeSantis’ desk with Acupuncturists’ and Optometrists’ supporters fully advancing on the Governor asking for his VETO.
So, FSOMA unleashed Part 5 of the strategy, with the same intensity and more.
The Association went on an offensive campaign using email and social media again to ramp-up engaging with the membership, student, and patients to contact Gov. DeSantis’ office daily with information about the negative impact of this legislation and to request his VETO. This is when FSOMA’s greatest asset and strength came into full view. 
It wasn’t the seasoned leadership; and it wasn’t the experienced management. FSOMA’s greatest asset is the dedication and resilience of its individual members who collectively represent that percentage of the profession who want to understand and respond to challenges facing their practice in Florida. FSOMA is defined by its individual members who are committed to a group effort. When FSOMA called on its membership to generate 10,000 personal contacts with Governors’ office and staff weekly between May 5th and June 30th they responded. This involved everyone and anyone with a unique email address and phone number; and it employed Acupuncturists, staff, patients, students, teachers…simply every stakeholder possible.
Individual Acupuncturists reached out to advisors around the Governor asking them to share their concerns and support for the Acupuncture profession.
Ultimately, on June 2nd FSOMA received word from Corinne Mixon that the Governor had just vetoed SB 230. It’s a rare and precious moment when hard work is rewarded, and prayers are answered.
Lessons from Florida’s recent experience apply to every state’s professional society association,      all     licensed      practitioners, college  programs,        students,         patients, stakeholders,        and         supporters          of Acupuncture and East Asian traditional medicine.
These lessons are things that we already know to be true and constant, but somehow are not fully embraced by the profession. We know that no one leads alone. We know that many hands make light work. We know that although might is usually right, Acupuncturists can triumph when they are united, working together, and pooling their talents and resources.
The profession is a force for good in the world, but to compete and survive shoulder-to-shoulder among other health care professions we need all-hands-on- deck – all-the-time. To be successful in life and work, first you have to show-up and contribute…until it hurts. That’s when you know you have done all you can to protect and promote your interests and those of your patients and colleagues. Please join and support your State’s professional association. Every single Acupuncturist is important to present and the future of this profession.
David Bibbey AP
FSOMA Legislative Chair
President Emeritus

From the President - 2024 Conference Journal

From the President

Galina V. Roofener AP

Dear FSOMA Members, 
The FSOMA, as a 501(c)6, not-for-profit professional association, has been serving Florida Licensed Acupuncturists since 1994. During our long history, FSOMA has had tremendous success in gaining respect and acceptance for our profession at the State and National levels.

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What Does “Direct Supervision” Mean in Non-Hospital Diagnostic Testing Facilities?

Reposted From an article by Amanda Howard of Florida Healthcare Law by FSOMA on July 22, 2022

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, commonly known as CMS, requires physician supervision of certain services as a condition for reimbursement. The required supervision level depends on the type of service performed, the setting where the service is performed and the physical location of where the service is performed. Adhering to the proper protocol is critical, as services furnished without the required level of physician supervision are not reimbursable by Medicare and may potentially have even more significant consequences, including civil and criminal penalties.

Types of Physician Supervision

Generally, there are three levels of supervision for diagnostic testing in non-hospital facilities:

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Having Good Boundaries in Our Profession

One network that can help us as professionals with out of control, inappropriate or addictive type behavior is the Professionals Resource Network, Inc. (PRN) - For Florida practitioners who find themselves in trouble. Don’t wait for discipline to be enacted, get support now through PRN. You can report someone, or yourself and get help.  For someone facing discipline by the Board of Acupuncture it may be a way to maintain your license.  They provide counseling and monitoring to ensure public safety. 

If you have a problem, get help before you cross the line. 

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Five Easy Steps to Set Your 2022 Financial Goals

Creating Financial Goals from SCORE

The best way to ensure success for your business is to plan ahead. If you want to grow and bring in profits, you need a strategy. Outline your goals and what steps you’ll take to achieve them. Have a plan to track your finances throughout the year and a method of evaluating your success.

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Some Good Advice from SCORE on Business Planning

I've copied this post from a SCORE blog post found hereSCORE is a great organization supporting small businesses. 

5 Tips To Nail Your Small Business Plan

How To Write a Business Plan

You would never start a road trip without a map planned destination. So why would you start a new enterprise without a solid business plan? 

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