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Z - AOM Visiting Scholar: Alaine D. Duncan. Integrating Acupuncture and Asian Medicine with Neurobiology to Revolutionize Healing from Traumatic Stress is a Course

Z - AOM Visiting Scholar: Alaine D. Duncan. Integrating Acupuncture and Asian Medicine with Neurobiology to Revolutionize Healing from Traumatic Stress

Ended Feb 23, 2020

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Full course description


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AOM Visiting Scholar: Alaine D. Duncan. Integrating Acupuncture and Asian Medicine with Neurobiology to Revolutionize Healing from Traumatic Stress

Workshop Dates:

Saturday and Sunday – October 17-18, 2020


Location:  MUIH Main Campus Rooms 3 & 4

Maryland University of Integrative Health
7750 Montpelier Road | Laurel, MD 20723


CEUs: 14 (MD Board of Acupuncture & NCCAOM)

Workshop Overview:

Advances in the last 10-20 years in the study of the neurobiology of traumatic stress have revolutionized understanding of its impact on survivors. Survivors will benefit when we integrate modern, scientific understandings of the human response to threat into how we offer needles, manage clinical interactions and interpret signs and symptoms.

Full Description:

Trauma is experienced differently today than when acupuncture came into being 3,000 years ago. Rarely in current time do survivors return home from war, natural disasters or human tragedies to intact families and communities and an agrarian life-style that immerses them in the regulating impulses of the lunar and solar cycles.

Many of the symptoms that bring patients to acupuncturists and other integrative medicine providers - elusive, chronic, and hard to diagnosis problems like intractable pain, autoimmune disorders, digestive disturbances, insomnia, depression and anxiety – have a connection to autonomic nervous system dysregulation caused by traumatic stress that is ongoing or occurred long ago.

Asian Medicine’s Law of Yin and Yang is mirrored in neurobiology’s division of the autonomic nervous system into its sympathetic and parasympathetic branches.

Our Law of the Five Elements mirrors the self-protective response and informs an integrative study of trauma physiology.

Trauma survivors are fortunate to live in a time and place where ancient and modern, Eastern and Western, integrative approaches are available for restoring balance and regulation to their body, mind, emotions, and spirit.

Participants will be able to:

·        Better recognize trauma physiology in survivors.
·        Interview trauma survivors using techniques that don’t require them to re-live their experience and overwhelm their energy body.
·        Develop titrated treatment plans that unfold care at a manageable pace. 
·        Recognize the critical importance of our own inner regulation as our primary tool for supporting our patients.

Learning Objectives:

As a result of this workshop, participants will:

·        Describe the Acupuncture and Asian Medicine (AAM) principles of the Tao, Yin and Yang, and Qi in the context of restoring balance and regulation in survivors of trauma.

·        Explain the interface of Asian Medical physiology, the Five Phases and the autonomic nervous system in survivors of trauma.

·        Compare and name the 5 Steps of the Self-Protective Response with the steps in the cycle of the Five Elements.

·        Discuss the impact of incomplete protective responses on whole-body balance and regulation and dynamic coherence between systems as an approach to working with trauma survivors. 

 ·        Discuss how an understanding of PolyVagal Theory can inform approaches to building safer communities

Workshop Schedule:

Day 1

9:00 – 11:00 am

Welcome, Course Overview. Theoretical Foundations. Overview of the Central Nervous System and the Autonomic Nervous System.

11:15 am – 12:45 pm

The 5 Steps of the Self-Protective Response and The Five Elements; breaking down the physiology of traumatic stress. The correspondences of the Five Elements as a tool for accessing trauma held in tissue memory.

12:45 – 1:45

Lunch on Own

1:45 – 3:00 pm

Open Question and Answer, Group Discussion of the material presented thus far.

3:15 – 4:45 pm

Helping the Qi to arrive: Using the felt sense to cultivate interoceptive awareness. Guided group exercise, small group discussion

4:45 – 5:30 pm

Coherence creates coherence. The importance of our own self-regulation. Small group discussion.

Day 2

9 am – 10:30 am

Review of previous day's material. Open question and answer.

10:45 – 12:45

Complex trauma. Understanding PolyVagal Theory. The interface of the 5 Elements and PolyVagal Theory. Social implications of habituated fear.

12:45 – 1:45

Lunch on Own

1:45 pm – 3:45 pm

The Kidney/Heart Axis. AAM and Complex Trauma. Building Capacity in the Kidney is foundational to restoring balance and regulation in the autonomic nervous system.

4:00 – 5:30 pm

Clinical Applications. Patient management. Concept of titration and pacing of treatment. Approaching consent as an ongoing process, needling techniques that empower patients and reduce arousal.


Alaine Duncan is an acupuncturist and Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner. Her clinical curiosity, at the interface of the neuro-biology of traumatic stress and ancient healing principles from acupuncture and Asian medicine, inspired the recent publication of The Tao Trauma: A Practitioner's Guide for Integrating Five Element Theory and Trauma Treatment.

Her research background includes serving on studies assessing the impact of integrative medicine on compassion fatigue in military caregivers; use of acupuncture for treatment of combat-related traumatic stress, chronic headaches in OIF/OEF veterans with traumatic brain injuries, pain in veterans of all conflicts, and for Gulf War Veterans Illness.  

She was founding director of Crossings Healing & Wellness, Silver Spring, MD, a charter member of the Integrative Health & Wellness program at the DC Veterans Administration Medical Center and is Chair of the National Capitol Area Chapter of Acupuncturists Without Borders, providing free acupuncture for immigrants and refugees. 

Recommended Reading:

Duncan, A. D. (2019). The Tao of Trauma: A Practitioner’s Guide for Integrating the Five Elements and Trauma Healing. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

Registration Fee:

*MUIH Alumni, Faculty, and Students - $300

General Public - $450

*Contact for a MUIH Affiliation discount code.

Workshop Contact:

Janet Padgett

Director - Acupuncture Programs

410-888-9048 x6660

Cancellation and Refund Policy:

Cancellation requests must be received via email to by Wednesday, February 19th to receive a full refund.  Refunds will not be processed after this date. Cancellations related to MUIH Campus Closing due to inclement weather will be refunded or transferred per the registrant’s preference.  Snow dates February 29th-March 1st, 2020.

Registration Details:

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