Winners of Fellowships for Distinguished Students Study Traditional Chinese Medicine

Editor’s Note: Distinctive Stockton Students will feature students who receive the Board of Trustees Fellowship for Distinguished Students. This is the second of five posts on the students who received those fellowships this past spring/summer.

Breanna Hudik and Julia Miliaresis, Nursing majors who are minoring in Holistic Health, studied traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) at a Beijing hospital this summer.

Each was awarded a Fellowship for Distinguished Students by the college’s Board of Trustees, which helped fund their trip. Dr. Mary Lou Galantino, professor of Physical Therapy at Stockton, was their faculty advisor in the trip, part of a collaboration between Stockton and the University of Pennsylvania.

china 2

Breanna Hudik, left, and Julia Miliaresis visit the Summer Palace in Beijing while there this summer on Stockton Distinguished Student Fellowships.

“I know we went to learn all about traditional Chinese medicine, but I have to say I think I learned more about myself than anything else,” said Miliaresis, who is president of the new Holistic Health club and a resident of Mount Laurel. “In addition to gaining a new perspective on health care, we got a whole new perspective on life as well.”

The two Dean’s List students studied acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, qigong and specialized massage techniques, attending lectures and getting hands-on clinical practice. “Cupping is when you heat the inside of cups and place them on the body,” said Hudik. “It creates suction and is thought to improve the body’s qi flow, or energy flow in TCM.” Moxibustion involves burning a small bundle of herbs and applying it to specific points on the body in acupuncture, while qigong involves aligning breathing, posture and mental focus.

“We practiced acupuncture on each other and the doctors would make sure we were hitting the right acupoints (there are 360!) before we were allowed to needle the patients,” said Hudik, a resident of Bordentown Township in Burlington County. “After a couple days we were permitted to needle the patients under the doctor’s supervision, cup the patients, remove needles, and set up the electro-stimulation machines.”

Julia Miliaresis uses a flame to heat cups with which she will perform the traditional Chinese medicine method of cupping on Breanna’s back. Practitioners say this creates local suction and increases blood or “energy” flow, promoting healing.

Julia Miliaresis uses a flame to heat cups with which she will perform the traditional Chinese medicine method of cupping on Breanna’s back. Practitioners say this creates local suction and increases blood or “energy” flow, promoting healing.

“Patients would come regularly to treat health problems many Americans would go to a regular hospital for,” she continued. “Their ailments could range anywhere from menstrual cramps, to insomnia, to back pain and so on. It was interesting to see how a different culture views a person’s disease or symptom versus how western medicine may view and treat it.”

“Once we arrived, we met the other kids in our group who were mostly medical students from the U.S.,” Hudik said. “Two were from Drexel, one from Johns Hopkins, Des Moines, UPenn, Jefferson, UCal, and a doctor from Hamburg, Germany. We were proud to put the Stockton Nursing program on the map with all of these prestigious schools!”

Breanna is captain of the Women’s Track and Field team and participates in Stockton’s Special Olympics athlete unity program. Julia is a Dean’s Scholarship recipient who works part-time in addition to going to school.

“We would like to thank Dr. Galantino, Dr. Jun Mao (of UPenn), the Nursing and Holistic Health faculty, as well as the board behind the fellowship grant for helping us experience such an adventure. We are extremely grateful,” said Julia.

Looking ahead, Breanna intends to pursue a nursing career in the Navy after graduation and eventually attend graduate school for nurse anesthesiology. Julia said she is “leaning toward oncology nursing, but I’m still in my clinical rotations and learning what I’m capable of, so I’m just taking it day by day right now.”