Troubled Teens Get Help From Oriental Medicine
By Felix Wolf, DOM and Carmela Wolf, DOM
Thompson Falls, MT, January 7, 2004 - Spring Creek Academy is
a specialty boarding school for teenagers struggling in their
home, school, or community. Most of the 450 students are here
because of problems with drugs, alcohol, negative peers, low self-esteem,
poor academics and low motivation. Besides the academic program,
students participate in a variety of growth and development programs,
and recently, progressive directors Cameron and Chaffin Pullan
enlisted the help of Oriental Medicine.
From September to December 2003, Miami-based OM Programs, founded
and operated by Acupuncture Physicians Carmela and Felix Wolf
conducted a four month controlled trial program to research the
effects of Oriental Medicine on the emotional development of a
group of Spring Creek students. The program consisted of a total
of twenty acupuncture treatments, Qigong therapy, acupressure
instruction, aromatherapy, and daily herbal therapy.
The treatment protocols targeted stress and anger management,
anxiety, irritability, substance abuse, and general emotional
imbalances. Students participated in daily sessions for one week
every month. Every session started with approximately 30 minutes
of Five Element Qigong and was followed by acupuncture, utilizing
combined auricular and classical body point protocols. During
acupuncture, meditation-grade Japanese aloes wood incense was
burned to enhance relaxation. An herbal formula, Bupleurum &
Dragonbone, was given twice daily for the whole four months in
a conservative dosage. Progress was monitored through questionnaire
feedback by faculty, participating students, and a control group.
The questionnaire asked participating students and the students
in the control group if they felt stressed, tired, frustrated,
unmotivated, irritated, unhappy, confused, misunderstood, unfocussed,
anxious, angry, depressed, worried, or uninterested. Students
could answer never, rarely, sometimes, often, very often, or always
to each of the questions.
The same questionnaire was given to the family representative
of each of the students. The family representative was the faculty
member with the most regular and comprehensive contact with the
individual student. The question was if the respective student
generally felt stressed, tired, etc. and the possible answers
were identical to the student questionnaire: never, rarely, etc.
Each answer was given a numerical value: 0 for never,
1 for rarely, 2 for sometimes, 3 for often,
4 for very often, and 5 for always. There
were 14 questions total, so the highest possible number per questionnaire
was 14 x 5 = 70. A numerical value between 10 and 30 would be
The questionnaires were administered at the beginning (09/03)
and end of the program (12/03)
to 34 continuously participating students and 30 students in the
control group. No explanations or rationale for the questionnaire
was given to either group.
Beginning of program (09/03):
Control group had an average numerical value of 34.85 (36.1 self
assessed and 33.6 by faculty)
Treatment group had an average numerical value of 38.7 (39.4 self-assessed
and 38.0 by faculty)
End of program (12/03):
Control group had an average numerical value of 39.58 (40.86 self
assessed and 38.3 by faculty)
Treatment group had an average numerical value of 25.0 (24.3 self-assessed
and 25.7 by faculty)
As expected, both groups had a fairly high initial value, documenting
emotional distress. The treatment group felt even worse reflecting
the fact that particularly troubled students were selected for
the program, either by their parents or by faculty (not randomized).
The emotional distress worsened in the control group from September
to December by 4.73 points or 13.6% which may be due to the approaching
winter, holiday season away from family, etc.
The treatment group, however, improved by a very impressive 13.7
points or 35.4% from September to December. It is important to
note that even the faculty assessment of the treatment group improved
by 32.4% (Students self assessment improved 38.2%)
A 13.6% worsening of emotional distress in the control group versus
a 35.4% improvement in the treatment group adding up to a total
difference of 49% speaks for itself. The researchers took great
care, not to influence or otherwise contaminate the evaluations
by students and staff and feel therefore that the results are
solid and replicable.
During the 3rd round of treatments in November students were asked
to give some feedback on the program. A few sample answers are
This has actually been one of the most amazing things Ive
been through. It has really stabilized my state of being and brought
me to a strange sense of inner peace and joy. I feel cured in
many aspects, both, mentally and physically.
The acupuncture program here has helped me with my anger
issues and how I react to things. It has also helped me to become
more centered with myself and it improved my lower back pain.
The acupuncture program has been a very good thing for me.
I feel less stress and I feel calm and focused. This program has
given me a positive thing to go home and get involved in. My craving
for drugs has decreased and the focus in my life has increased.
I look forward to the acupuncture every night.
This acupuncture therapy has been amazing! Over the last
couple of months my anger problem and my mental obsessions over
drugs and alcohol have decreased. I have been sleeping much better
and I have been a lot calmer and less jumpy. I am very grateful
for having been enrolled in it. Thanks a lot Felix and Carmela!!!
Drs. Wolf can be reached at:
1782 Opechee Drive
Miami, FL 33133