The Wellness Principle | Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine
The Wellness Principle ~ Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine is a holistic system of healthcare born from the inherent therapeutic value of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Abundant health and vitality are central to quality of life, disease prevention, longevity and comfortable, graceful aging. This occurs through a delicate balance of energy in the body. TCM is a system of medicine designed to optimize the body’s own inherent ability to heal. This process occurs by incorporating the pillars of TCM: acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, diet/nutrition therapy, manual therapy, physical exercise, and moxibustion The Wellness Principle is therefore a complete medical approach that utilizes these tenets, techniques, and vast empirical research to promote well-being and health based on TCM.
Historically, it’s understood that in Chinese medicine a good physician never has a sick patient. The prevention of disease is an integral component to TCM. Our practitioners are classically trained in Chinese medicine dedicated to using the entire system of TCM as it was intended by physicians of the past. The application of multiple modalities, like moxibustion and herbal therapy, in addition to acupuncture, is essential to a complete treatment to further health and healing. When the pillars of TCM are applied as a cohesive whole, there is a synergistic effect that positively influences the mind and body.
By enhancing the body’s innate ability to respond to stress, detoxify, and cultivate energy, the patient experiences a decrease in inflammation, mental-emotional syndromes and chronic pain, along with other positive health changes. This philosophy and practice approach are central to The Wellness Principle. We focus on patient-centered healthcare, meeting the individual where he or she is and moving toward health goals in collaboration with classic traditional Chinese medicine.
"I have been lucky to be under Bianca's care for some time now and let me tell you: she works magic! Her treatments always relieve any stress I am experiencing. Additionally, I have had medical conditions that she has also successfully treated. She is a great listener and very skilled in her acupuncture treatments. I highly recommend her to anyone looking for a talented and skilled healthcare practitioner."
— Nicole A.
"Bianca is the real deal, folks. She's long been on the healing path, first as a massage therapist and now an expert acupuncturist. It's been amazing to witness her dedication to further her education, blending east and west. It's high time acupuncture becomes mainstream and integrates into our healthcare system. "
— Stan B.
About Dr. Di Giulio
Bianca Di Giulio is a licensed acupuncturist and Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM). She practices in Oakland and Napa Valley. Prior to her career in TCM, Dr. Di Giulio attended UC Berkeley to pursue social work where she earned her B.A. in social welfare. While attending college she became curious about massage therapy and completed her first certification course. After college, she practiced social work as a bilingual family advocate at a family resource center in Lake Tahoe, while learning more about anatomy, energy work, and therapeutic massage. These professional experiences blended together quite naturally, leading her toward a Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (MSCTCM) at the Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine College, in Berkeley.
After completing the master’s program, Dr. Di Giulio began private practice in Oakland and began to focus on women’s health and integrative oncology. In order to deeply understand these subjects, she apprenticed with practitioners who specialized in both areas, enhancing her skills and abilities using TCM in an integrative approach. After five years in private practice, Dr. Di Giulio sought out opportunities to broaden her understanding of TCM Oncology through further education and chose to pursue the Doctorate in TCM at American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) in San Francisco. She specialized in women’s health, as well as TCM Oncology, the latter becoming her main focus, and passion, in practice.
Dr. Di Giulio completed the DAOM in June 2015 at ACTCM. Her capstone research addressed the role of TCM in integrative oncology by examining clinic practices and philosophies across the country. This research afforded her the opportunity to intern at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa, Okla., and study under nurses, oncologists, and clinicians who emphasize an integrative oncology model. In addition to her capstone publication through ACTCM, Dr. Di Giulio has also been published in Medical Acupuncture Journal, a peer-reviewed Western medical journal, in June 2015. The article, titled “Quality of Life in Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer,” discussed a clinical case report and is a thorough examination of how the system of TCM can be applied to improve and in this case, extend, life in late-stage cancer.
In addition to Chinese medicine, Dr. Di Giulio is passionate about cooking delicious meals, enjoys baking, and is a proud novice gardener, all inspired by her Italian heritage. She is also a trained barre instructor for The Dailey Method and enjoys teaching barre classes in Napa Valley. A true dog-lover as well, she pampers her sweet, mischievous dog, Rufus. She lives in Napa Valley and enjoys riding around on her beach cruiser, finding new wineries and delicious eateries with her partner, who is also a TCM doctor, and family.
THE DOCTOR OF THE FUTURE WILL GIVE NO MEDICINES, BUT WILL INTEREST HIS PATIENTS IN THE CARE OF THE HUMAN FRAME, IN DIET, AND IN THE CAUSES AND PREVENTION OF DISEASE. – Thomas Edison
What is a DAOM?
There are many acronyms that can follow a licensed acupuncturist's name, so it is important to understand the varying differences among these titles. The DAOM stands for "Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine". It is a clinical doctorate, and the highest degree earned by a licensed acupuncturist.
The L.Ac. is required to practice acupuncture and the most common title, which always includes a master of science in traditional Chinese medicine. One can embark quite successfully with this degree and licensing. The DAOM identifies those practitioners who pursued a doctoral candidacy to specialize in a course of study. This education is no less than three years and requires copious research, writing and culminates in an oral defense and Capstone project, which equals that of a dissertation.
This means that those practitioners with a DAOM have pursued over 7 years of Chinese medical programs, after an undergraduate degree. There is current approval for a "First Professional Doctorate" and those who begin this course of study will eventually receive the DAOM title, but have only received approximately five years of training. This is significantly less than the 7+ years of current DAOM practitioners.
Publication in Journal of Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine case study entitled, "Moxibustion Therapy in the Treatment of Radiation Fibrosis of the Throat"
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center:
Professional Certification - Herbs & Dietary Supplements in Cancer Care
Doctorate of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (DAOM), specialty in TCM Oncology and Women's Health.
Published Capstone entitled, "The Role of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Integrative Oncology"
American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, San Francisco
Doctoral Mentor: Isaac Cohen, OMD, L.Ac., Ph.D
Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Tulsa, OK
Eleanor Hynote, MD - specialty in complex internal medicine cases
Gabriella Heinsheimer, MD - specialty in Integrative Oncology
Erlene Chiang, DAOM, L.Ac. - specialty in TCM Oncology
Publication in Medical Acupuncture Journal on case report, entitled "Improving Quality of Life in Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer"
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center:
Professional Certification - Acupuncture for the Cancer Patient I
2009 - 2014
Volunteer Acupuncturist Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic (provides service to low-income women with cancer)
2009 - 2013
Clinical Assistant to Amy Lee, L.Ac. specialty in Chinese Medicine Oncology
Master of Science Traditional Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine College, Berkeley
Bachelor of Arts, Social Welfare - UC Berkeley
About Dr. Munson
Dr. James Munson, DAOM, L.Ac. completed the 3-year doctoral program in 2014 and received his Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) degree from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) in San Francisco. ACTCM is one of the few colleges approved by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) and the California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) to offer the doctoral degree. He was awarded the school’s first doctoral fellowship while maintaining an active practice in San Francisco and Kensington, CA. He received his Master's degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from ACTCM in 2011 where he was an academic scholarship recipient and ranked at the top of his class. During his Master’s degree program, Dr. Munson completed clinical rotations at California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) in the Stroke/Rehabilitation department as well as a two-year externship with Yumiko Bamba, L.Ac.
His practice encompasses a variety of acupuncture styles and needle techniques including Japanese gentle needle, auricular (ear acupuncture), scalp, Master Tong and Tan, channel/zang-fu, and moxibustion. His treatment protocols may include electro acupuncture, heat therapy, internal and/or external Chinese herbal medicines, Chinese medical massage, acupressure, cupping, gua sha, and Qigong exercises.
Dr Munson previously practiced in San Francisco and Kensington where he was recognized for his expert diagnostic skills and ability to successfully treat patients with complex conditions. His particular strength is developing and executing integrative treatment plans where traditional oriental medicine supports and enhances modern, western medical treatment.
Dr Munson is a graduate of Florida State University where he received his Bachelor of Science in Economics and discovered the study of Traditional Chinese Medicine after meeting exchange students from China who introduced him to the study of the Chinese language and culture. Prior to relocating to San Francisco to pursue his study of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Dr Munson was employed in mortgage banking in Atlanta and New York. He enjoys scuba diving and camping in his free time.
Publication in Journal of Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine case study entitled, "Moxibustion Therapy in the Treatment of Radiation Fibrosis of the Throat"
Publication in Medical Acupuncture, “Improving Quality of Life in a Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer Patient”
Capstone Published- “The Effectiveness of the Eight Extraordinary Meridians in the Treatment of PTSD” - American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Volunteer Acupuncturist– Me-One Foundation Cancer Camp
Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) - American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Publication in California Journal of Oriental Medicine,“With an Integrative Approach, BAYVAC Fills a Need for Veterans”
Yumiko Bamba, L.Ac. - Specialty in Japanese moxibustion techniques and complex conditions
2010- 2011 Clinical Rotations – California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco - Stroke/Rehabilitation Dept.
2009- 2011 - Yumiko Bamba, L.Ac. - Specialty in Japanese moxibustion techniques and complex conditions
Master of Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine, American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Bachelor of Science, Economics - Florida State University
Katie Keville, MSTCM, L.Ac.
Katie grew up in a unique environment. Her family, consisting of nutritionists, naturopathic doctors, Rolfers and personal trainers, helped her develop a mind, body, and spirit driven health consciousness at a young age. Her upbringing included helping run an eight-acre horse farm in southern New Jersey with her parents and two older brothers. Through her work with horses, Katie was exposed to acupuncture. Acupuncture was used on her equine partners to improve their performance when all conventional methods failed and Katie was amazed at the power and effectiveness of this ancient healing method. Katie's pursuit in healing and the human body began at an early age as she attended a college prep academy in the 9th grade for allied health and medical science. She attained a bachelor degree at Rowan University in biology and moved to California in 2013 to pursue her dream of becoming an acupuncturist. She is now a California licensed acupuncturist and graduated summa cum laude with a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine from the Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College in Berkeley where she studied Western medicine, massage, nutrition, tuina, shiatsu, and Japanese acupuncture in addition to Chinese acupuncture and herbal medicine. During school, she interned at UC Berkeley's Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance giving orthopedic care to world-class athletes and also interned at LifeLong Medical Care in West Berkeley providing free treatments to those in need. Her specialties include pain management, stress relief, digestive disorders, hormone balancing and fertility. Katie believes in using acupuncture and Chinese herbs to strengthen and balance the natural healing force within each of us. Her mission is to help people smile and find happiness through healing.
In her free time, Katie enjoys spending time outdoors doing any and all physical activities including mountain climbing, camping, soccer, scuba diving, horseback riding, gardening and much more. She currently spends much of her time caring for all of the animals on her farm in Cotati with her husband. She also competed as an equestrian vaulter (gymnastics and dance on the back of a moving horse) for 24 years and acquired her Gold Medal in 2014, which is the highest possible achievement in the sport. She continues to practice equestrian vaulting on her horse, Revlon, in her spare time.
Katrina Hanson, MSTCM, L.Ac.
Katrina Hanson has been working in the health field since 2011, when she worked as an in-home caregiver for adults with developmental disabilities while obtaining her bachelor’s in Public Health. After graduation, she worked as a community health & nutrition educator before beginning AIMC Berkeley’s rigorous 4-year Master of Science in traditional Chinese medicine. Through the clinical program at AIMC Berkeley, she interned at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and San Francisco’s Homeless Prenatal Program, as well as at AIMC’s school clinic.
Katrina started her TCM studies with the intention of supporting LGBTQ patients. Her internships and research solidified this passion into the focus of her practice: hormone regulation and transgender care. She loves supporting patients through all of life’s hormonal transitions: through puberty, fertility, transgender transition, menopause, and other times of hormonal stress.
She began an internship with Dr. Di Giulio in January 2017 observing treatment approaches and increasing her breadth of knowledge in Chinese medicine. Upon passing the California licensing exam, she was invited to practice at The Wellness Principle Oakland as a Licensed Acupuncturist continuing to apply the therapeutic protocols demonstrated by Dr. Di Giulio.
Chinese medicine employs a sophisticated system of diagnostic methods that take into consideration the person as a whole, discerning the body’s pattern of disharmony, rather than isolated symptoms. Therefore, precise TCM diagnosis precedes treatment approaches, which are determined according to individual presentation, intake, and diagnostics that include tongue and pulse.
"IT IS THE DUTY OF THE PHYSICIAN NOT ONLY TO PROVIDE WHAT HE HIMSELF MUST DO, BUT TO ENABLE THE PATIENT, THE ATTENDANTS, AND THE EXTERNAL CIRCUMSTANCES TO DO THEIR PART AS WELL."
- Hippocrates, father of medicine, 460-375 BC
"FIRST, MODIFY THE PATIENT’S DIET AND LIFESTYLE AND ONLY THEN, IF THESE DO NOT EFFECT A CURE, TREAT WITH MEDICINALS AND ACUPUNCTURE." – Sun Simiao
Acupuncture is by far the most recognized modality in Chinese medicine. It is often perceived to be the only component of TCM but is merely one spoke in the TCM treatment wheel.
Acupuncture is like an adaptogenic; it supports the body’s inherent ability to heal and respond to stress. Pain and ill health occur when the flow of qi is disrupted. Through the insertion of hair-fine needles into acupuncture points located along complex pathways, called meridians or channels, energy that is blocked begins to move smoothly, promoting health and relieving pain. Stimulation of acu-points through acupuncture helps to restore sufficient, continuous, and even flow of qi throughout the body.
There are a myriad of techniques and styles of acupuncture therapy that influence a practitioner’s manner of practice. Dr. Di Giulio’s technique comes from her studies in Japan and the Japanese style of needling, which uses fewer needles and finer gauges. Proper stimulation of points is still employed, but done so with awareness and skill.
Acupuncture needles are significantly smaller than hypodermic needles, so any sensation from needle insertion is usually mild--some patients report feelings of fullness, warmth, and tingling. There may on occasion be slight discomfort; however, most people find acupuncture with Dr. Di Giulio to be quite pleasant.
Moxibustion / Natural Heat Therapy
Moxibustion, commonly referred to as moxa, is made of dried mugwort, an herb rich in essential oils, cineole, and eucalyptus. Most common knowledge of moxa pertains to its use indirectly, or directly, on acupuncture points as an analgesic, to promote blood circulation, or to optimize immune and digestive function. As an analgesic, moxa stimulates the adrenal glands and secretes anti-inflammatory hormones such as cortisone. It also promotes blood circulation to relieve pain and assist in detoxification.
Classical functions and theory of moxibustion have evolved over the course of time and are quite extensive. In TCM, it’s understood that the primary purpose of moxibustion as a heat therapy is to warm the channels to promote circulation, tonify qi and yang, expel cold and damp, move qi and blood, and of course prevent disease. The action of moxibustion tends toward being yang in nature. By extension, qi is yang in nature, and therefore it is reasonable that moxibustion can promote the production of qi in the body. It is well known in TCM that yin can transform into yang and vice versa. Thus, depending on the technique used, one may be able to supplement qi or yang as mentioned, or to reduce it from the body--for example, to clear heat. These techniques are integral to the application of moxibustion during a Chinese medicine treatment and employed with refined skills in practice.
*Please note, moxibustion therapy creates a light, scented smoke, similar to burning sage or incense. This smell permeates the office and can be a sensitive allergen for some individuals. It will always be present in our clinic, though we will try to accommodate to the best of our ability if there is smoke sensitivity.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
"DIET IS THE ESSENTIAL KEY TO ALL SUCCESSFUL HEALING. WITHOUT A PROPER BALANCED DIET, THE EFFECTIVENESS OF HERBAL TREATMENT IS VERY LIMITED." – Michael Tierra, OMD, L.Ac.
Chinese medicine’s pharmacopoeia is rich with history and an invaluable asset to TCM. Chinese herbs are deeply rooted in the practice. The earliest record dates back to 1066-221 B.C., in which artifacts with illustrations of plants were discovered; these relics included case studies, as well as various topics of herbal properties, like toxicity.
The Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing (Divine Husbandman’s Classic of Materia Medica) is the first text on herbal medicine. It is a compilation written by numerous authors in the second century. It presents 365 single herbs, including their properties, dosages, indications, and potential toxicity. Although the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing laid the foundation for herbal medicine, it was Li Shi-Zhen who truly created the gold standard of treatment with herbs in Chinese medicine. Li Shi-Zhen compiled the first complete pharmacopoeia, Ben Cao Gang Mu (Compendium of Materia Medica), in A.D. 1178. Over the course of 27 years he compiled lists of herbs, properties, descriptions, and illustrations of 1,892 single herbs and 11,000 formulas.
Modern day practitioners comfortably rely upon the Shen Nong Ben Cao, and current publications with updated scientific research in order to prescribe herbs to address many health conditions. In general practice, practitioners integrate herbal formulas according to root and branch symptoms, and constitution, as a result of a rigorous education in herb-drug interactions and efficacy.
The Wellness Principle is deeply committed to the practice of herbal medicine. Dr. Di Giulio firmly believes in the merits of botanicals to further health and healing for acute or chronic disease. Herbal prescriptions are written exclusively for the individual patient in powder or raw form to specifically address the condition being treated, and the person as a whole.
Manual therapies encompass a range of manipulations directed toward correcting posture and alleviating stagnation or pain. Medical massage such as Tui Na, partner-assisted stretches, range of motion exercises, and the like are all used to open the joints and loosen the muscles. When used in concert with acupuncture and moxibustion, therapeutic change is quickly achieved, pain disappears, and physical performance is enhanced.
The modern practitioner incorporates a variety of manual therapy techniques including many popular types of massage like Shiatsu, stretching techniques, or the Japanese method of Sotai. In TCM, historically Tui Na has been used as the primary manual therapy alone or in conjunction with other modalities to treat conditions such as orthopedic disorders, pediatric complaints, and internal and gynecological illnesses. The techniques of Tui Na are based on the principles of TCM and work by regulating yin and yang, qi and blood, to reinforce deficiencies and reduce excess to rectify physical abnormality.
These classic techniques as well as more modern styles of bodywork--like Swedish or deep tissue, trigger point release, and sports massage--are incorporated as appropriate in TCM treatments at The Wellness Principle.
"THOSE WHO THINK THEY HAVE NO TIME FOR EXERCISE WILL SOONER OR LATER HAVE TO FIND TIME FOR ILLNESS." – Edward Stanle
It is important to remember that all pillars of TCM promote prevention of disease and are forms of palliative care. An often overlooked but equally important foundation of TCM is physical exercise. The concept of exercise as a therapy for physical health as well as mental-emotional health is not unique to TCM. The idea that movement is good for the body is fairly innate, and it could be argued that movement is one of the most self-prescribed forms of therapy, especially with respect to managing stress. It is not unusual for practitioners to have patients who may overdo exercise regimens, perhaps in an effort to manage stress or hold on to a physical ideal. However, eventually too much exercise, or just as importantly, the wrong type of exercise, can result in injury and, from a TCM viewpoint: the depletion of qi, blood, yin and/or yang, as well as stagnation of qi and blood.
It is the TCM idea of appropriate exercise that differentiates it from many modern day recommendations on exercise for health and longevity. More specifically, TCM’s idea of safe exercise places greater emphasis on gentle movement and the building of internal health, such as the benefits gained from Qigong or Tai Ji, as a means to obtaining overall physical health, rather than the relatively more external and aggressive focus of often recommended exercises such as running and lifting weights, which have greater potential to cause depletion of the vital substances or cause stagnation. Qigong is a method of exercise that can be done on a daily basis without amenities, accessories, or strict routine. It emphasizes circulation, decreases stress and inflammation, and does so without adverse effects.
The Wellness Principle will focus on the aspect of physical exercise that is appropriate to an individual’s health and constitution, making treatment plans that promote movement and consequently, less pain, inflammation, and chronic disease.
HE WHO TAKES MEDICINE AND NEGLECTS TO DIET WASTES THE SKILL OF HIS DOCTORS. – Chinese Proverb
In Chinese medicine, food is medicine. The merits of nutrition in TCM go back more than 5,000 years with a direct relationship to the importance of balance and harmony for wellness. It is essential that the body receive proper food and fluids to cultivate qi and blood for overall health and wellness. Every food item and fluid has a specific property and temperature that establishes its category in dietary medicine. One’s constitution determines what foods to increase or decrease. Similarly, different disease and conditions influence what should or should not be consumed to promote health and wellness, or recovery from illness.
In ancient China, people were deeply connected to their environment and acutely aware of how their bodies responded to their surroundings. This actualized in an awareness of mind, body, and balance through proper diet and nutrition. Therefore, just as the whole of TCM is a complete system of healthcare, so is nutritional medicine. It is a congruent balance of dietary needs and modifications to promote healing and prevent disease, addressing the person as a whole.
The Wellness Principle uses these nutritional truths to make patients aware of their body types and how to modify their diets to optimize and improve digestion, and therefore, balance metabolism, and control blood sugar and weight. Most importantly, TCM nutrition is a flexible form of dietary medicine that adapts to individual constitutions and physical needs in order to create long-term, sustainable dietary health.
Both the National Institutes for Health and The World Health Organization recognize Traditional Chinese Medicine’s ability to treat over 43 commonly encountered clinical disorders.
In our practice we have found exceptional success employing the modalities of Chinese medicine for conditions that are conventionally thought to be difficult to treat. The list below provides examples of health concerns that can be addressed with TCM to encourage healing and promote wellness in both mind and body.
Fertility Care: Support of natural fertility, high FSH, tube blockage, impotence, low sperm count
Pain Injuries: Back, shoulder, neck, joint, arthritis, sciatica, post-extraction tooth pain, tendonitis, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel, pre and post-surgery, etc.
Sports Injuries: Sprained ankles and knees, pulled and torn muscles, bruises, tennis elbow, torn ligaments, tendonitis, shin splints, knee pain, repetitive motion injuries, etc.
Headaches and Migraines
Ear, Nose, Throat Disorders: Hay Fever, allergies, asthma, sinusitis, common cold, chronic cough, acute and chronic bronchitis, shortness of breath, sore throat, earache, dizziness
Women’s Health: Irregular periods, painful periods, heavy bleeding, absence of period, menopause, hot flashes, night sweats, PMS, endometriosis, fibroids, postpartum depression, morning sickness.
Men’s Health: Prostate, infertility, impotence
Cancer Recovery: Chemotherapy/radiation side effects including pain, fatigue, nausea, immunodeficiency as well as post-surgery care
Skin Conditions: Hives, eczema, acne.
Metabolism Disorders: Overweight, diabetes, thyroid issues, chronic fatigue
Mental Health: Stress, anxiety, depression, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Addiction and Detoxification: Smoking, alcohol, drugs.
Digestive Disorders: Acid reflux, heartburn, gastritis, peptic ulcer, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, chronic stomach pain, nausea, Crohn’s disease, constipation, diarrhea
The specialty of gynecology in traditional Chinese medicine can be traced back to medical writings in the Shang Dynasty (1500-1000 B.C.). Just as there exist inscriptions of acupuncture on bones and tortoise shells, doctors’ inscriptions of childbirth problems also serve as evidence of this ancient specialty. Medical herbs were also part of the early pharmacopoeia in the treatment of infertility. Thus, Chinese medicine has a long relationship with women’s health, which provides an immense capacity to understand and successfully treat gynecological conditions. This occurs not solely by treatment of acute symptoms, but by identifying and accessing deeper levels of the body, mind, and spirit. In TCM, this profoundly correlates to the health of the physical being.
Over the course of thousands of years, Chinese medicine physicians have developed tools to effectively diagnose the physical and emotional constitution. In women, imbalances can affect menstruation, fertility, or healthy hormonal function, among many other gynecological conditions. These diagnoses are frequently identifiable and generally understood in modern medicine. The resourcefulness and technology of allopathic medicine cannot be denied, but there are obvious limits to its extent of treatment. Further, when there are idiopathic conditions and Western medicine has reached its capacity to treat, Chinese medicine can and will always have a diagnosis and treatment. TCM can utilize the science of Western medicine and easily translate it to provide effective treatment, without side effects.
Through TCM intake and observation, symptoms--as well as the underlying constitution--are diagnosed according to classical pattern differentiation. As a result, there is a natural pathway toward appropriate treatment. This may focus on strengthening the constitution, and/or expelling excess pathogens, with the ultimate goal of gynecological health and wellness. The following conditions, among many others, respond extremely well to TCM:
- Fertility enhancement
- Pregnancy-related conditions: morning sickness, fatigue, edema, constipation, acid reflux, insomnia, pain
- Irregular menstruation
- Painful periods
- Fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts
- Hormonal acne
- Perimenopausal or menopausal symptoms
- Vaginal infections or viruses
- Urinary tract infections
Dr. Di Giulio has been committed to truly understanding the character, health, and physical and emotional wellness of women’s physiology. Her practice is inspired by the renowned women’s health physician Dr. Christiane Northrup, and mind-body spiritual teacher and author Carolyn Myss. It was only natural for Dr. Di Giulio, as a woman, to focus her practice on treating women and the various conditions that present during adolescence, into reproductive years, and toward the powerful transformation of menopause. She recognizes the incredible correlation between gynecological conditions and emotional wellness. Consequently, treatment approaches are often inclusive of supporting the emotional and spiritual root of the woman, promoting wellness and empowerment regardless of condition or stage of life.
After specializing in women’s health, along with oncology, in the doctoral program at ACTCM, Dr. Di Giulio was provided the opportunity to intern with and learn from the foremost leaders in TCM women’s health. This clinical and didactic experience afforded her unique learning environments to hone her understanding and skill in the treatment of gynecological conditions, from both a Western and Eastern perspective.
Chinese Medicine and Oncology
"Dr. Di Giulio has been a compassionate and effective partner in managing the side-effects of my cancer treatments, particularly the chronic pain and numbness of neuropathy. Her treatments have significantly lessened my pain and the recovery time from acute episodes has been dramatically reduced. Ever since I was referred to her for pain management during chemotherapy, she has managed every complication and injury. I'm forever grateful for her skill, compassion, and peace-filled collaboration. Dr. Di Giulio’s care is key to a better quality of life for me."
— Diane B.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
A cancer diagnosis leads individuals to seek all forms of healing. Studies show that more than half of cancer patients utilize complementary forms of care, mainly to improve quality of life during allopathic treatments. The range of modalities may include anything from the more esoteric practices like guided imagery or Reiki, and therapeutic massage, to the more familiar and accepted forms of healthcare, like nutritional or dietary advice, naturopathic medicine, and of course, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
Within the field of oncology is an evolving medical trend toward the practice of integrative oncology (IO). The goal of IO is to empower the patient through his or her experience. IO works in conjunction with Western medicine protocols such as chemotherapy and radiation, but the two are not mutually exclusive. It’s important to distinguish alternative and complementary forms of treatment. The former is defined by an individual who chooses a nontraditional form of oncological care; perhaps taking herbal medicine, changing one’s lifestyle and diet, and focusing on detoxifying his or her body to eradicate the cancer, in lieu of Western medicine.
The latter, complementary medicine, is always used in combination with standard cancer treatments and it is this integration that yields the practice of IO. As a result, leading cancer institutions have established IO centers that provide a myriad of therapies to provide better support for cancer patients. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Mayo Clinic, among many highly renowned hospitals, offer cancer patients many complementary therapies to choose from, including acupuncture as part of TCM.
Medical Acupuncture Journal:
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Cancer
Evidence discovered on bones and tortoise shells from the Shang Dynasty (16th-11th century B.C.) identifies the word for tumor, liu. As early as the Qin Dynasty (221-207 B.C.), physicians documented their observations of tumors, sores, swellings, and suppurations, as well as theories on the disease. Of course, the word for cancer did not exist. The long history of tumor formation is illustrated through these, and many more references, in ancient Chinese medical texts. These early observations and analyses provide a foundation of TCM oncology.
What is cancer in Chinese medicine? There are extensive diagnostic patterns that guide a TCM pattern diagnosis with respect to cancer. The most approachable response to begin to understand this dynamic encompasses two aspects. First, an accumulation of qi and blood causes stagnation; and second, this accumulation may lead to acute or chronic disease, including cancer. The diagnosis of qi and blood stagnation can result from internal, long-term, or chronic deficiency, or by way of systemic micro-inflammation, which in turn will lead to stagnation, or obstruction of energy and blood in the body.
One of the most common questions asked of a TCM practitioner specializing in oncology is “What can Chinese medicine do for patients with cancer?” The answer can be very specific, and quite complex. Skilled clinicians will utilize TCM techniques that alleviate the most common physical ailments, including:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Mouth sores, dryness, taste changes
- Pain syndromes
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Emotional challenges
There are an increasing number of research studies that exhibit acupuncture successfully treating a myriad of physical syndromes associated with cancer. Refer to National Institute of Health or PubMed for hundreds of reports.
However, it is crucial to emphasize the depth of TCM oncology and how it safely and effectively integrates with allopathic care, in its ability to support the individual’s entire well-being and constitution for optimal outcomes.
This begins in the practice of TCM with the very true, deep concept of prevention. The prevention of illness is not discussed or explored enough in the larger, traditional medical world, but it is honored and emphasized in Chinese medical practices. Prevention is even more crucial in the context of oncology. When a person diagnosed with cancer seeks acupuncture to address side effects due to standard treatment protocols, the skilled TCM provider does not merely treat the nausea or vomiting, for example, but utilizes acu-points and other pillars of TCM to support the patient’s underlying constitution. Areas of pain can and will be treated to lessen discomfort, but proper treatment will also offset severity in the future. Fatigue is lessened with refined moxibustion techniques, and equally important--energy is simultaneously increased before another chemotherapy infusion, for example. This is prevention.
This manner of prevention can occur despite a cancer diagnosis. It is never too late to focus on this aspect. This approach will strive to decrease the possibility of disease progression, to promote energy to endure chemotherapy cycles, to quickly recover from surgery, and/or to heal from radiation therapy. But, TCM does not stop there. Once Western treatments have ceased, then the focus shifts toward boosting the qi and blood to promote deep healing of the body and mind, and ultimately prevent relapse.
The techniques employed by Dr. Di Giulio have been carefully refined as a result of her research and clinical studies in TCM and IO. The experienced TCM physician will create cycles of TCM treatments that complement allopathic medicine. The application of specific acupuncture points, at clearly defined times during Western treatments, as well as moxibustion, Chinese herbal therapy prescription, and nutritional advice are crucial and integral to successful outcomes. This medical specialty requires careful attention; up-to-date, thorough knowledge of Western oncology protocols; ability to communicate with patients whether in a Western or Eastern medical paradigm; and collaboration with physicians and other healthcare providers.
Dr. Di Giulio provides complementary TCM for patients who are seeking to enhance their physical and mental well-being, whether it is before, during, or after cancer diagnosis and treatment. The scope of care extends beyond palliative approaches for side effects due to allopathic medicine and reaches toward the underlying constitution of the patient. Proper TCM diagnosis will address the root of the disease, and focus on prevention by strengthening internal mechanisms of both the mind and body to offset reoccurrence. This is done through the integration of the multiple pillars of TCM as appropriate with each patient.
Oncology is a medical specialty that few practitioners feel called to practice. The unpredictable, aggressive nature of the disease is constantly challenging and deeply frustrating for the patient, provider, and caregivers, on many levels. Dr. Di Giulio has been actively dedicated to the study and clinical understanding of cancer, from both a Western and Eastern perspective, throughout her career. She strives to empower the individual, both in mind and body, through the profound techniques and spirit of Chinese medicine.
Phone: (510) 394 5042
Dr. Di Giulio
Dr. Di Giulio
330 41st Street
Oakland, CA 94609
Monday 11 a.m.–7:30 p.m.
Tuesday 2 p.m.–7:00 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
Monday–Friday 9 a.m.–6 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. –2 p.m.
2180 Jefferson St., Suite 105
Napa, CA 94559
Phone: (707) 418 0010
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