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Graduate Profile of Haro Ogawa, MSOM, LAc, CMT, ATC

  1. Date of graduation: June 15, 2003
  2. Full-time or part-time practice: Full-time
  3. Current practice setting: I am a member of the San Francisco Giant's medical team. I work not only as an acupuncturist and massage therapist but I also provide other bodywork modalities. Along with other training staff, I work to warm up and stretch the SF Giants baseball players. I tour with the team during the season as well as work during the 81 games here in San Francisco. My day can start at noon and last till midnight, depending on how long each game lasts. It sounds hard, but I never feel that way because I really like the job. Offseason I get time off and sometimes I travel back to my home country of Japan or I use the time to study to learn new skills.
  4. Areas of practice specialization: My specialty is combining both Oriental Medicine and Western Medicine. I work especially with Meridian Therapy which is based on Five Element Theory. I combine acupuncture and nerve physiology and anatomy. I do some functional manual therapies such as Shiatsu, ART, and Myofascial release.
    • Type of patients: Athletes
    • Type of therapy used: Acupuncture, Moxibustion, Shiatsu, Massage, ART, Myofascial release. I use moxa very often.
    • Principal conditions treated: I see lots of orthopedic cases such as joint, muscle, and nerve damage as well as internal medicine issues including digestive issues, headaches, and allergies.
  5. Postgraduate Education: Not academic but before applying to major league baseball teams in America, I worked with corporate semi-professional baseball leagues in Tokyo. My team won the Japanese amateur championship twice. That's when I was invited to become an athletic trainer for a professional baseball team. Prior to that, I worked in hospitals and clinics as an acupuncturist. I originally attended Oriental medicine college in Tokyo before attending Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine College (AIMC) Berkeley.
  6. Most rewarding aspect of practice: Getting to build a successful practice. Seeing peak performance by the players because of my treatments.

    I want to mention that it is really different being a therapist with the team rather than being in individual practice. Working with the SF Giants, I watch and memorize players' best performances. I watch them every day so I can see when something is wrong and I can observe them as they recover. Therefore, each treatment can be more subtle and I can do smaller interventions rather than wait until something is really wrong. But in a clinical setting, you only have one chance to get a good result because you may not get to see the patient very often.
  7. Most essential tips for other graduates desiring to establish a successful practice: First of all, I recommend studying sports acupuncture based on anatomy and physiology. You have to know basic anatomy and physiology, and also body movement. Because acupuncture works for muscles and sometimes nerves, it involves nerves and blood circulation. We can treat injury at the muscle. Basically, you need to know how to treat movement. If you focus on particular sports, like baseball, soccer, or football, you need to know how the body performs other movements, such as the difference between running, jogging, or sprinting. If you understand the specific muscles, it helps you treat your patient better. Another more important tip is that you have to feel imbalances with your hands and fingers to get a good diagnosis.

Haro Ogawa is a 2003 graduate of the Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College, Berkeley, a CCAOM member institution. For a list of all CCAOM member colleges, see state list.