Mark Seem, Ph.D.
Acupuncture Physical Medicine is a modern American approach to classical meridian acupuncture that was developed by Mark Seem, Pb.D., L.Ac. over the past twenty years at the Tri-State College of Acupuncture that he founded and directs. Well known nationally and internationally for his several books and lively hands-on teaching style focused on clinical demonstrations with actual clients, Dr. Seem was also a pioneer in the development of Acupuncture in North America as a former president of the National Council of Acupuncture School and Colleges and a former commissioner on the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. In APM, the focus is on locating clientÍs physical holding patterns that contribute to their chronic health complaints. APM draws from classical acupuncture from China, Japan and Europe, as well as from modern principles of osteopathy and physical medicine, especially the myofascial release of soft-tissue constrictions advocated by the late Dr. Janet Travell and Dr. David Simons.
How is APM Different?
The most common style of acupuncture practiced in North America
today, known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM) acupuncture,
is a modern form of acupuncture developed in the People’s Republic
of China to practice acupuncture, along with herbal therapies, according
to principles of TCM internal medicine. In contrast, APM draws from
the best of classical acupuncture and modern Western physical medicine
to result in a hands-on practice focused on a personÍs own unique
holding pattern. The aim is not a Chinese medical diagnosis and
treatment based on TCM, but rather a physical medicine evaluation
and treatment based on the client’s actual lived experience of illness
or distress. In APM, clients are evaluated and treatment is begun
on the table, with a hands-on communication established between
client and practitioner that is quite unique and profound. In this
physical encounter, years of chronic constrictions can yield in
relatively few sessions, and the client will make far greater strides
in their other complementary healthcare goals. APM is readily integrated
into a multi-disciplinary approach to client care where the client’s
well being remains central.
What conditions does APM treat?
APM Is best suited for chronic complex healthcare disorders that often fall outside mainstream orthodox, acute, medical care approaches, including chronic pain, fatigue and stress as well as complementing the medical care of illnesses such a Reflux, IBS, Asthma and PMS. This approach also is of enormous benefit to adult survivors of emotional, physical or sexual abuse when combined with the appropriate psychotherapy. A list of common complaints that APM treats effectively includes:
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
When caught early, APM can release the musculoskeletal aspects of this common complaint before it grows permanent. Many people are too hastily diagnosed with this disorder who go on to see little or no improvement after surgery, because the muscular component was never addressed.
Repetitive strain injuries, also known as cumulative trauma disorders,
are clues to habitual overuse of a small set of muscles and occur
frequently in computer users, musicians, and those who use their
hands at work (carpenters, etc.) or in leisure activities (knitting,
home decorating, gardening). APM can rapidly loosen up the more
serious constrictions involved, leading to less frequent and less
serious discomfort, and clients then often make much greater progress
in physical therapy, bodywork or stress reduction programs and
can often then begin to work on strengthening the muscles involved
to prevent relapse.
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDS) include such things as carpal tunnel syndrome and RSI when caused by poor ergonomically designed workspaces or jobs that involve repetitive overuse. The federal government’s OSHA guidelines will soon require the employer to develop early detection and intervention plans to cut down on the occurrence of MSDs in the workplace while helping those who develop them. APM is especially well suited for the early treatment of such disorders and often proves successful in very few sessions. When combined with the right physical or occupational therapies, APM can provide great relief even in the most recalcitrant cases.
The symptoms of heartburn, gastric distress and chest discomfort suffered by these clients often yield greatly to the myofascial release of tight abdominal muscles with APM treatment.
Along with other complementary therapies such as yoga, relaxation, hypnotherapy or breathing techniques, APM can help people learn how to react to stress with less pain and discomfort, rendering them more capable of pursuing those things their stress disorders had been preventing them from enjoying.
Soft-tissue injuries incurred frequently by dancers, musicians and athletes are often relieved in a few sessions if caught early by APM treatment and APM can be integrated with physical therapy very effectively even in very chronic cases.
People who have sustained emotional, physical or sexual abuse, or who have suffered other extreme traumas often need to release the physical straightjackets that their bodies have created to protect against further trauma. Combined with the right psychological sorts of treatment, such people can move beyond repetitive patterns that prevent them from living fulfilling lives.
APM is extremely effective in cutting down on the frequency and
severity of PMS, as well as restoring or helping to regulate menstrual
cycles. APM is also very effective in relieving some of the effects