We are the only Doctors of Acupuncture from an accredited American university practicing in Napa, CA. | For Information and Appointments: (707) 418-0010
We are the only Doctors of Acupuncture from an accredited American university practicing in Napa, CA. Call 707-418-0010
Dr. Bianca Di Giulio and Dr. James Munson
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine of Napa Valley
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine of Napa Valley (AOMNV) 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.
AOMNV 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 and AOMNV. Dr. Bianca Di Giulio and Dr. James Munson are classically trained Chinese medicine doctors, whose philosophy is dedicated to using the entire system of TCM. Many practitioners focus on the sole modality of acupuncture, but this is merely one pillar of the medicine. The application of multiple modalities, like moxibustion and herbal therapy, is essential to a complete treatment. When the pillars of TCM are applied as a cohesive whole, as they were intended, 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 AOMNV. Dr. Di Giulio and Dr. Munson focus on patient-centered healthcare, meeting the individual where he or she is and moving toward health goals in collaboration, using classic traditional Chinese medicine.
"DI GIULIO GOES FROM BEING PATIENT TO HEALER"
– Napa Valley Register, 2014
"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
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
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.
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. Those practitioners with a DAOM have pursued over 7 years of Chinese medical programs, after an undergraduate degree.
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.
Dr. Di Giulio and Dr. Munson received their Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) 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) as well as the California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE).
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.
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.
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.
THE GREATEST MISTAKE IN THE TREATMENT OF DISEASES IS THAT THERE ARE PHYSICIANS FOR THE BODY AND PHYSICIANS FOR THE SOUL, ALTHOUGH THE TWO CANNOT BE SEPARATED.
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
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.
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.
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.
HE WHO TAKES MEDICINE AND NEGLECTS TO DIET WASTES THE SKILL OF HIS DOCTORS.
— Chinese Proverb
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 treating conditions that are conventionally thought to be difficult to treat as well as the following list of commonly treated conditions:
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
"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.
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Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine of Napa | copyright 2016