Ancient Remedies for Modern Lives

Learning Integrative Medicine for the Real World

By Nina Grenningloh, Communications Specialist at Emperor’s College

Recently, integrative medicine has been at the center of attention in the medical community and a much discussed topic in the media. Mainstream media outlets like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Huffington Post have published articles on how integrative medicine can shape the future of healthcare in the US.

More and more doctors and patients alike are turning to integrative medicine designed to treat the whole person, not just the disease. Combining the best treatment options from conventional Western medicine with those from other healing traditions including traditional Oriental medicine, integrative medicine promises a way out of our broken healthcare system.

A truly integrative approach to healing

The hard-hitting documentary “Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare” points out that we’re currently at a crossroads when it comes to the future of healthcare in America. The filmmakers promote a preference for the least toxic interventions whenever possible and urge the medical community to adopt a truly integrative approach to healing – a vision that we share at Emperor’s College.

Nina Grenningloh portrait

Nina Grenningloh, Communications Specialist

As one of the oldest acupuncture colleges in the nation (in fact, we’re celebrating our 30th anniversary this year), Emperor’s College has been committed to the integration of Eastern and Western approaches since 1983. “We envision an America with integrative, in-patient hospitals that offer conventional medicine, acupuncture and herbal medicine in complement to each other,” said Yun Kim, CEO at Emperor’s College.

Emperor’s College partners with UCLA

In order to teach the philosophy and practical applications of integrative medicine to students of both Eastern and Western medicine, Emperor’s College has partnered with a number of local hospitals and universities to offer its own students externships and presentation opportunities as well as access to clinical observation for Western medical students at Emperor’s College Acupuncture Clinic.


UCLA’s SIM student organization, formerly known as NCAM

One of these partnerships is with UCLA’s Students For Integrative Medicine (SIM, formerly NCAM) student organization offering its members the opportunity to observe in Emperor’s College Acupuncture Clinic and get an insight into the booming field of integrative medicine. SIM – formerly known as NCAM –  strives to raise student awareness for evidence-based, integrative, and whole-person approaches to medicine by encouraging students to learn about healing ideologies from across cultures.

Witness acupuncture treatments first-hand

Emperor’s College interns share clinical insights with NCAM members

Emperor’s College interns share clinical insights with NCAM members

“SIM members can witness acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments first-hand and get a deeper understanding of non-Western medicine and its areas of efficacy,” said Robert Newman, LAc, Dean ofClinical Training at Emperor’s College Acupuncture Clinic.

UCLA pre-med student Lynn Leveille, who was among the first group of SIM members to complete the 4-week shadowship, was impressed by the depth of experience she was able to gather from observing patient-practitioner interactions. “Not many people in the West recognize Eastern medicine, and after my experience at Emperor’s College Acupuncture Clinic, I find that to be incredibly disappointing. I was fortunate to observe patients during consultations and acupuncture procedures. And after conversations with the supervising practitioner, Steven Stone, I learned of past patients who had improved significantly even after just one visit to the clinic,” said Leveille.

Acupuncturists and medical doctors learning from one another

Steven Stone, LAc

Steven Stone, LAc

Licensed acupuncturist Steven Stone, LAc, who is mentoring the SIM observers, points out why this program is an important step into a new direction for medical training: “Integration is the whole reason I got into this medicine.  Not only do the SIM students get to come and learn about acupuncture first-hand by observing treatments and receiving them, but we have the next wave of acupuncturists and medical doctors learning from one another–everyone wins.”

UCLA student Ivan Jiang is one of those “winners”. Jiang said that “shadowing with Emperor’s College Acupuncture Clinic was an eye-opening experience, especially with regards to seeing what acupuncture and Eastern medicine is capable of in this modern day and age. I’ve witnessed all sorts of impressive results such as torn muscles being slowly relieved and eventually healed, sperm morphology improvement, and even progressive recovery from depression and anxiety.”

SIM member Anna Shvartsur had a similarly amazing experience: “A memorable moment of mine was seeing a patient with paralysis on half of her face, who after several acupuncture treatments, was able to smile and slightly move her eyebrow on the side that previously didn’t move at all. Seeing interactions first-hand between patients, interns and doctors is very inspiring and gives you a great sense of the integration of Eastern and Western medicine.”

Do you want to benefit from the impressive results that can be achieved through acupuncture and integrated Oriental medicine? Check out Emperor’s College Acupuncture Clinic at

Are you a UCLA student with an interest in integrative healthcare? Check out SIM, formerly NCAM, at  or on Facebook.