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In-hospital patients treated with acupuncture

April 30, Lombard, Ill. – National University of Health Sciences (NUHS), an institution working to innovate integrative care and the training of a variety of health care practitioners including massage therapists, announces that interns from its Masters degree program in acupuncture and oriental medicine are now working in clerkship programs in a local hospital.

April 30, 2012  By Massage Therapy Canada

Yurasek, PhD (China), MSOM, assistant dean for Acupuncture and Oriental
Medicine at NUHS, was recently appointed as an Attending Physician at the John
H.  Stroger Jr. Hospital, supervising the NUHS interns and assisting in
patient care.

“This is
a historic step for both our university and the acupuncture profession. We are
bringing acupuncture care for chronic pain to one of the largest urban
hospitals in the nation,” says Dr. Yurasek. “We are demonstrating that oriental
medicine can provide cost-efficient and effective care in a western medical
environment challenged with a high volume of patients.”

NUHS interns were initially scheduled to provide acupuncture for approximately
50 patients each Thursday.  After just a few short weeks, due to the
initial success of the program and patient demand, the hospital has already
added acupuncture on Wednesdays to the clinic schedule as well.


Advantages of Integrative Medicine

The new
acupuncture clerkship program reinforces NUHS’ commitment to integrative
medicine. Integrative medicine brings different health care specialties
together in educational and clinical environments so that they can combine
their expertise for better patient outcomes.


Maria L.
Torres, MD, Chair of Pain Services at the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital says, “Multi-disciplinary
pain management means evaluating multiple modalities to treat patients in
chronic pain. I have a background in anesthesiology with a specialty in pain
management. I try to understand mechanisms of pain and use pharmacologic and
interventional therapy to treat patients. But we have to understand that pain
needs to be evaluated and treated in many different ways. That’s why we’ve
incorporated other specialties including psychiatry, psychology, acupuncture,
massage therapy and biofeedback.”


Patient Benefits 

The true
measure of the acupuncture program’s success is the patients’ experience.



we’ve added Dr. Yurasek and his interns, I’ve frequently been stopped by
acupuncture patients who report great relief from chronic pain. In some of
these cases, this is very refreshing to hear, because these are people who have
been suffering with chronic pain syndrome for a long time,” says Dr. Torres.


patients with chronic pain must spend months or years on opiates or other pain
medications that often have negative side effects. Acupuncture provides a
secondary benefit to chronic pain patients in that it is virtually free of side
effects. Dr. Torres says, “The patients’ benefits have certainly been reduction
of pain, but also an increase in their quality of life. They can functionally
perform better and minimize the amount of medications they take.”


further explore patient benefits, the clinic has set aside a group of patients
receiving acupuncture that the clinic will track over time in order to evaluate
long-term benefits such as actual reduction in medications used.


Internship Advantages


addition to providing NUHS’ student interns with work experience in an
integrative medical setting, interns in the Stroger clerkship also benefit from
treating a wider variety of patient conditions than they might otherwise see in
NUHS’ suburban campus clinic.  The daily patient roster may include
gunshot and burn victims, pre-surgical knee and shoulder patients, cancer
patients with bone pain, cases of HIV neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy, stroke,
headache and more.



wouldn’t trade this experience for anything,” says NUHS intern Greer Nesbit,
who will graduate with her Master of Science in Oriental Medicine degree this
April. “We’re seeing real life situations that we wouldn’t experience at
school.  There is a wide range of different pathologies, and we’re forced
to think outside the box and think very quickly. Since we’ve been there, the
demand for our service is quadrupling. We have a lot of returning patients
because it’s working, and doctors are referring more, especially in cases where
nothing else seems to help.”


benefit to the educational piece is that the education flows both ways,” says
Dr. Torres. “Dr. Yurasek and the NUHS interns will provide review lectures for
the rest of our staff on the proper use of and referral for acupuncture in
patients with chronic pain.”


Parish, DC, dean of clinics for NUHS, says: “We’ve been working hard to expand
the number of hospital rotations and clerkships for our interns. We are very
excited to have our acupuncture and oriental medicine students challenged by
the dynamic environment provided by Stroger Hospital. We look forward to a long
and successful partnership in providing care for the residents of Cook County.”


For more
information on NUHS programs, please visit



















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