Yale School of Nursing, Yale University's Graduate Nursing Programs

Yale School of Nursing

The Qi (Energy) Moves West: A presentation on the growth of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the US

February 1, 2011

Trina Lion."Too much happiness can lead to illness – really, you should experience all the emotions and then let them go. When they get stuck - that's when illness or injury can occur," Trina Lion pointed out to listeners on February 9th at YSN. In 90 minutes, Lion enthusiastically covered the evolution of Traditional Chinese Medicine in America.

Before she became an acupuncturist, Ms. Lion was a literacy consultant in New York City. After a lengthy project where she felt "locked to the laptop," she developed wrist pain and digestive problems. Both problems disappeared after a series of acupuncture treatments (for once, she followed her mother's advice, Lion jokes).

This healing experience and teaching outreach programs after the September 11th terrorist attacks caused Lion to consider switching careers. "I wanted to do more than provide a creative forum; I wanted to enact a lasting change," she explained.

At the YSN presentation, Lion began by describing core principles of TCM; Qi and Yin and Yang. She pointed out that Qi, or energy, has no Western parallel, and that one's Yin and Yang are constantly shifting, just like a person's health. Lion noted that Traditional Chinese Medicine encompasses both physical and emotional health and requires lifestyle changes: "Anyone who receives treatment must be changing aspects of their life or else the treatment won't last," she commented.

Lion presented an array of conditions for which TCM is used, and adaptations including a protocol developed by the US Military. Known as "Battlefield Acupuncture," the method involves inserting tiny, specially developed ear acupuncture needles into injured soldiers to enable them to return to and recover from battle more quickly.

Trina Lion attended John Hopkins for her B.A. in Culture and Media Studies. After working as a literacy specialist for ten years, she received her M.S. in Acupuncture from the Tri-State College of Acupuncture in New York City. Upon moving to Shanghai, China, she interned in TCM hospitals for two years. Lion currently teaches TCM theory at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, one of the oldest universities in China.