My curiosity was piqued by people and media references to “TCM.” Aha. Traditional Chinese Medicine.
I ran it by a Chinese friend, discovered that she too has a conventional, primary care M.D. physician. She says she is part of the system now.
I ran it by an M.D., who suggested trying Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. “We don’t have geriatrics here,” they respond, although they “accept Medicare for psychiatrics” and something else.
I ran it by a retired R.N. neighbor, who urged “try acupuncture!!”
Time to dig deeper. This may be on the final. I discover myriad overlapping, possibly-related terms!
Alternative medicine refers to treatments used in place of conventional medicine. Complementary medicine involves alternative practices used together with conventional medicine.
Alternative therapies include acupuncture, massage, meditation, herbs and nutrition.
Holistic medicine, the art and science that addresses the whole person, body, mind and spirit, is regulated by the American Board of Holistic Medicine, incorporated in 1996. It evaluates the candidacy of applicants desiring certification as specialists in Holistic Medicine and has available a roster of Board certified diplomats.
The theory and practice of acupuncture is based on Asian medicine (also known as traditional Chinese or Oriental medicine), a comprehensive natural health care system that has been used in Asian countries for thousands of years to preserve health and diagnose, treat, and prevent illness. Acupuncture treats health conditions by stimulating “acu-points” found at specific locations on the surface of the body. Acupuncturists stimulate the acu-points by inserting very thin needles through the skin to produce physiological effects. Other methods, such as heat or finger pressure, are also used to stimulate acu-points.
The general theory of acupuncture is that proper physiological function and health depend on the circulation of nutrients, substances, and energy called Qi (pronounced “chee”) through a network of channels or meridians. This network connects every organ and part of the body, providing balance, regulation, and coordination of physiological processes. Pain and ill health result when the flow of Qi through the body is disrupted or blocked. This can be caused by many things, including disease, pathogens, trauma/ injuries, and medication side effects, as well as such lifestyle factors as overwork, poor diet, emotions, lack of rest, and stress.
Acupuncture is considered a major alternative therapy. In 1975, Miriam Lee (1926–2009), one of the pioneering acupuncturists in the United States, was tried in a California court for practicing medicine without a license. Her patients filled the courtrooms to testify on her behalf. The following year, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation legalizing acupuncture in California.
In the 1970s and early 1980s, Lee was the acupuncture teacher of many practitioners working in Northern California. She popularized a 10-point protocol in her book, Insights of a Senior Acupuncturist: One Combination of Points Can Treat Many Diseases as well as Master Tung Ching Chang's Magic Points, a nontraditional point system.
The Acupuncture Association of America was founded in 1980 and run by Lee until 1998, when she retired. Its purpose is promotion of public acupuncture education, provision of continuing education for licensed practitioners, legislative advocacy, and acupuncture research. Her students who are teaching classes today include Esther Su (San Jose), Susan Johnson (Soquel), and Frank He (Sunnyvale).
Chinese Americans’ double identity affords them alternative perspectives on health issues that might not be mainstream. Tom Su, 45, a student of Chinese medicine at Alhambra Medical University, is quoted by journalist Mei Zhou, “From what I observe, unlike the Americans, the average Chinese would not readily go see a doctor when they are sick. They will either purchase packaged Chinese herbs or simply ask their families to send pills from China or Taiwan.” ["Elders Seek Chinese Healers Despite U.S. Malpractice Threat." (New America Media, Oct. 31, 2011)]
A Consumer’s Guide to Acupuncture and Asian Medicine is available from the California Acupuncture Board, part of the Department of Consumer Affairs, at www.acupuncture.ca.gov. The Board’s mission includes protection of the public through regulation of licensure; development of education standards; provision of consumer information; and enforcement of the Acupuncture Licensure Act.
Self-help has been a deep-seated tradition in Chinese culture. Because Chinese herbs are available over the counter, many Chinese immigrants to the United States prefer them to pharmaceutical drugs. Chinese seniors may be wary of Western medicine because drugs sold here may include toxic components, e.g. acetaminophen, which, although safe and effective when taken in approved doses, can cause liver damage, according to Shanghai-born physician Dennis Lee, in an article for WebMD’s MedicineNet.com. Dietary supplements and herbs typically labeled as “food” to avoid U.S. requirements that drugs go through extensive clinical tests, fuel an alternative health market rooted in oriental philosophy, oriental medicinal theory and practice, and self-cultivation regimens. There is a close connection between traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Chinese philosophy, yin/yang theory in particular.
I’ll conclude this column with an anecdote that meets both definitions [1. A short account of an interesting or humorous incident. 2. Secret or hitherto undivulged particulars of history or biography]:
Following major surgery, I was dispatched by ambulance from the nursing-rehabilitation center, with no “support system” in place, i.e. no arrangements for a temporary in-home caregiver. The social worker provided an IHSS [in-home supportive services] application form and a brochure advertising an alerting device-- the kind advertised by “I fell down and can’t get up.” I tried phoning the Visiting Nurse Association, etc. etc. Then I chanced upon a reference to the Asian Network. They didn’t ask whether I was Asian (no) with an HMO (no). Instead, they sent an R.N. to evaluate the situation and a physical therapist, each for several visits over the next two weeks.
New York City senior centers’ participants have sent a message to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo – Don’t cut Title XX funding, protect our senior centers. For the past two years, first under Governor Paterson and then during Governor Cuomo’s first term, a threatened cut of about $25 million would have closed 105 New York City senior centers, depriving upwards of 10,000 older New Yorkers of their local senior center. The 15,000 letters – in English, Spanish and Chinese - ask Governor Cuomo not to propose the cut again as he prepares his FY2013 budget.
A bill to establish universal healthcare through publicly financed administration was authored by former California Senator Sheila Kuehl as Senate Bill (SB) 840. This was the first single payer bill that a state legislature ever sent to a governor in our nation's history. In fact, SB 840 was passed by the California Senate and Assembly twice, in 2006 and in 2008. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill both times. Senator Kuehl was termed out in 2008. In 2009, Senator Mark Leno introduced the same bill, re-numbered and recently reintroduced as SB 810. January 2012 is a crucial month for the bill because it needs to pass the Assembly and the Senate by January 31 or it will be dead for the year. Watch California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA) and the Older Women’s League (OWL) website www.californiaalliance.org for further information.
On Nov 30, 2011 the Census Bureau released data that show there are more age 65+ people than ever before in the United States. According to the 2010 numbers, there are 40.3 million people age 65+, an increase of over 5 million since the 2000 Census. The older population grew at a faster rate than the population as a whole. Males show more rapid growth in the older population than females over the decade, while females continue to outnumber males in the older ages.
The nation’s largest for-profit nursing homes deliver significantly lower quality of care because they typically have fewer staff nurses than non-profit and government-owned nursing homes. This is the finding of a new UCSF-led analysis of quality of care at nursing homes around the country. It is the first-ever study focusing solely on staffing and quality at the 10 largest for-profit chains. The 10 largest for-profit chains operate about 2,000 nursing homes in the United States, controlling approximately 13 percent of the country’s nursing home beds. “Poor quality of care is endemic in many nursing homes, but we found that the most serious problems occur in the largest for-profit chains,” reported first author Charlene Harrington, RN, PhD, professor emeritus of sociology and nursing at the UCSF School of Nursing.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Be sure to confirm. Share by email news of future events that may interest boomers, elders and seniors. Daytime, free or senior-discounted, and Bay Area events preferred. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, December 3, 12-1 P.M. UC, B Hertz Concert Hall, free admission. UNIVERSITY CHAMBER ORCHESTRA. Mozart "Overture to Don Giovanni" - Miriam Anderson, conductor. Stravinsky "Pulcinella Suite" - Garrett Wellenstein, conductor. Schubert Symphony No. 5 - Melissa Panlasigui, conductor. 510-642-4864.
Monday, Dec. 5. 6 P.M. Evening Computer class. Central Berkeley Library, 2090 Kittredge. 981-6100. Also Dec. 12 and 19.
Monday, Dec. 5. 6:30 P.M. "Castoffs" Knitting Group. Kensington Library,
61 Arlington Ave. Free. 510-524-3043. An evening of knitting, show and tell and yarn exchange. All levels welcome. Some help will be provided.
Tuesday, Dec. 6. 10 -11:30 A.M. Health & Happiness Workshop Join Helen Calhoun, M.Ed., Certified Acupressurist. Learn techniques and practices that actually work to promote better fitness for body, mind and spirit. Participants will engage in Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Self-Acupressure, and Chakra healing exercise. $10 per person fee. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda. 510-747-7510
Tuesday, Dec. 6. 1 P.M. Holiday Concert. The Oakland Community Orchestra will perform traditional Jewish and Christmas holiday songs in the Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. Free. 510-747-7510.
Tuesday, Dec. 6. 1 P.M. Jean Johnson-Fields will provide an overview of the Program for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) offered by the Center for Elders’ Independence. This health plan for seniors age 55+ makes it possible to stay at home with the help of caregivers. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda Social Hall. Free. 510-747-7510.
Tuesday, Dec. 6. 6 – 8 P.M. Sign-up for lottery at 5:45 P.M. Lawyers in the library. Oakland Public Library Temescal Branch, 5205 Telegraph Av. Free legal information and referral presented with the Alameda County Bar Association. Call in advance to confirm on the day of the program. 510-597-5049.
Wednesday, Dec. 7. 12 Noon. Playreaders at Central Berkeley Library, 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100. Also Dec. 14.
Wednesday, Dec. 7. 12:15-1 P.M. Holiday Choral Music. UC, B Music Department Noon concert. Hertz Concert Hall. University Chorus and Chamber Chorus
Matthew Oltman, guest director. Hugo Distler: Variations on "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" from Die. Weihnachtsgeschichte, Op. 10. Francis Poulenc: Quatre motets pour le temps de Noel. Michael Praetorious: Variations on Martin Luther's Vom Himmel Hoch. Free. 510-642-4864.
Wednesday, Dec. 7. 6-8 P.M. Lawyer in the Library. Albany Library, 1247 Marin Av. Free. 510-526-3720.
Thursday, Dec. 8. 10 A.M.-12 noon. Literacy Reading Club. Albany Library. 1247 Marin Av. Practice English conversation. Meet other adults, build confidence in your speaking and discuss a good book. Free. 510-526-3720. Also Dec. 15.
Thursday, Dec. 8. 10 A.M. Computers for Beginners, Central Berkeley Library, 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100. Also Dec. 15, 22 and 29.
Thursday, Dec. 8. 10:30 A.M. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. Free. The New Member Orientation is a must if you are new to Alameda, recently retired, or expecting your parents for an extended visit! This Orientation offers a guided-tour to introduce you to the Center, an information packet outlining the various activities, programs and services, and a coupon to enjoy a complimentary lunch provided by Bay Area Community Services (BACS). Make a reservation by visiting the Mastick Office or calling 510-747-7506.
Thursday, Dec. 8. 6 P.M. Lawyers in the Library. Berkeley Public Library South branch, 1901 Russell. 510-981-6100.
Saturday, Dec. 10. 2-5 PM. PEN Oakland 21st Annual Literary Awards. The ceremony will be followed by a reception and book signings. Free. Rockridge Library, 5366 College Ave., Oakland. 510-597-5017
Monday, Dec. 12. 12 Noon. Senior Center Lecture - J-Sei Center Center - 1710 Carleton Street, Berkeley "Fall Prevention" Speaker: Andrew Teran - Bay Area Vital Link. To place a reservation for the lecture and/or lunch at 11:30 A.M., call 510-883-1106.
Monday, Dec. 12. 7:00 P.M. Swedish Folk Music with Mark and Jennie Walstrom. Their instruments include the Swedish Säckpipa (bagpipe) and Nyckelharpa (key fiddle). Tonight’s music will center on the Swedish winter holidays. Kensington Library, 61Arlington Avenue Free. 510-524-3043.
Tuesday, Dec. 13. 1 P.M. Mastick Book Club members will share a book of their choice. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. Free. 510-747-7510. See also January 3.
Wednesday, Dec. 14 6:30-8 P.M. Drop-In Poetry Writing Workshop. Albany Library 1247 Marin Av. Free. 510-526-3720.
Wednesday, Dec. 14. 6:30 P.M. Berkeley Commission on Disability. Meets at North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Avenue. Check the City online community calendar to verify or call the Center, 510-981-5190.
Thursday, Dec. 15. 10 A.M. Mastick Senior Center’s Annual Holiday Sing-Along.
Join Jim Franz and Friends for the Annual Holiday Sing-Along. Enjoy a visit from Santa, refreshments, and the spirit of the season! 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. Free. 510-747-7506.
Thursday, Dec. 15. AARP members invite you to join them for their Annual Holiday Luncheon after the Annual Holiday Sing-Along. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. Enjoy a catered lunch including turkey and all the trimmings. Per person cost is $15. Reservations are required and can be made by contacting Corky Hastings at 510-653-7678 or Marge Ryan at 523-4148. Consider bringing a small wrapped gift and participate in the gift exchange.
Thursday, Dec. 15. 6-8 P.M. Lawyers in the Library. Berkeley Public Library West Branch, 1125 University. 510-981-6270. Also Dec. 22.
Saturday, Dec. 17. 11 A.M. Landlord/Tenant Counseling. Central Berkeley Library, 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100.
Saturday, Dec. 17. 12:30 P.M. San Francisco Gray Panthers Holiday Party. 1182 Market, Room 203. 415-552-8800.
Saturday, Dec. 17. 3:30 P.M. The Knitting Hour. Berkeley Public Library West Branch, 1125 University. 510-981-6270.
Monday, Dec. 19. 12:30 – 1:30 P.M. Albany YMCA/Albany Library brown Bag Lunch Speaker’s Forum: Matt Johanson discusses Yosemite Epics: Tales of Adventure from America’s Greatest Playground. At the Albany Library, 1247 Marin Av. Free. 510-526-3720.
Monday, Dec. 19. 7 P.M. Book Club. Josephine Tey’s Daughter of Time. Tey is known as the mystery writer for those who don’t like mysteries! Kensington Library, 61 Arlington Ave. Free event. 510-524-3043. Each meeting starts with a poem selected and read by a member with a brief discussion following the reading. New members are always welcome.
Wednesday, Dec. 21. 1:30 P.M. Berkeley Commission on Aging. Meets at South Berkeley Senior Center, 2939 Ellis Street. Check the City online community calendar to verify or call the Center, 510-981-5170.
Wednesday, Dec. 21. 7 – 8 P.M. The Adult Evening Book Group will read Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Facilitated discussion. Come to one meeting, or all meetings. Albany branch of the Alameda County library, 1247 Marin Av. Books are available at the Library. 510-526-3720 x 16.
Thursday, Dec. 22. 12:30 P.M. Mastick Senior Center. Birthday Party Celebration All members celebrating a birthday in December are invited to join us in Dining Room 2 for cake, music, balloons, and good cheer. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. 510-747-7510.
Tuesday, Dec. 22. 3 P.M. Tea and Cookies. Central Berkeley Public Library. 2090 Kittredge. 510-981-6100.
Wednesday, Dec. 28. 1:30 P.M. East Bay Gray Panthers. 510-548-9696. Meets at North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst.
Wednesday, Dec. 28. 1:30 – 2:30 P.M. Great Books Discussion Group. Albany Library, 1247 Marin Av. Holiday lunch and selection discussion. 510-526-3720 x 16.
Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012. Book Club members will read French Lessons by Ellen Sussman. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. Free. 510-747-7510.
Wednesday, Jan. 4. 9 A.M. – 1:30 P.M. AARP Driver Safety Refresher Course specifically designed for motorists age 50+. Taught in one-day. To qualify, you must have taken the standard course within the last 4 years. Preregistration is a must. There is a $12 per person fee for AARP members (AARP membership number required) and $14 per person fee for non-AARP members. Registration is payable by check ONLY made payable to AARP. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. 510-747-7510.
Tuesday, Jan. 10. 1 P.M. Sugar Blues or What? Come be inspired, find ways to beat cravings, find specific tools to make healthier choices with Neta O’Leary Sundberg, Certified Health coach-Yoga teacher. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. 510-747-7510.
Friday, Jan. 13. 9:30 – 11:30 A.M. Creating Your Personal Learning Network. Learn to use the Internet and tools like Twitter and YouTube Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. 510-747-7510. Also Feb. 17.
Monday, Jan. 23. 10:30 – 11:30 A.M. Learn to Create a YouTube Video Jeff Cambra, Alameda Currents producer, will share the basics of shooting a good video and how to get it uploaded to YouTube. No equipment or experience needed. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. 510-747-7510.
Tueday, Jan. 24. 1 P.M. Doggie Communication 101. Does your dog pull you down the street? Not get enough exercise because you have mobility challenges? Growl or snap? Bark too much? Other annoying or worrisome behaviors? Bring your questions and join dog trainer Ruth Smiler. Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. 510-747-7510.
Thursday, Jan. 25. 1:30 P.M. Music Appreciation Class. Join William Sturm, Volunteer Instructor. Piano recital and discussion about “The Classical Romantic: Johannes Brahms.” Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. 510-747-7510.