Interview from Comprehensive Medicine News – Dr. Robert Chu interview Volume 3, August 1, 2011

January 6, 2012

Interview conducted by Namwook Cho, Reporter from Comprehensive Medicine News (a Korean Language journal) .

1.    How long the externship has been running in Disney Cancer Center, and how many students are participated in and how many patients are treated by acupuncture?

The externship from Emperor’s College at the Disney Family Cancer Center Integrative Medicine Clinic has been in existence since the beginning of this year.  Thus far, 5 students have participated in the externship program and they get to experience acupuncture and Chinese medicine in an integrative medical setting with roughly 8 – 10 patients per shift.

2.    What are the major symptoms of patients whom wanted to be treated by acupuncture?

Since we are seeing all types of patients, we get all types of issues ranging from side effects of cancer treatment like nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, loss of appetite, weakened immunity system, fatigue, lethargy, and pain.  We also do a fair amount of neuromusculoskeletal pain disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, gynecological diseases, stress, insomnia, poor memory and the like.   Modern living itself is a major problem, and people like to get acupuncture to simply relax.


3. How is the externship in the hospital is operated?   For example, any in or out patients of the hospital can be treated by their needs or patients should be advised by doctors in the hospital and get permission to be treated by acupuncture?

No, the clinic is the Integrative Medicine Clinic and they can be self- referred.  In California, Licensed Acupuncturists are primary treating physicians, which means we diagnose and treat according to Traditional Chinese Medicine principles.  Anyone can walk off the street, and if we’re available, we can see them, but we usually suggest they make an appointment.  Some are referred by doctors at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, with specific problems and we see them, of course.


3.    Why do you think Emperor’s College of TCM could get a chance to have externship in Disney Cancer Center?

Well, Emperor’s College of TCM is one of the nation’s oldest and prestigious schools of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and has a long standing reputation in the community, so when this opportunity came up, the school was a natural choice to offer externship for its students.  Emperor’s boasts a high ranking pass rate of students that excel on both the NCCAOM® and California Acupuncture Licensing Exams and is always seeking to enrich educational opportunities for their students.

4.    What’s reaction of patients who are treated with acupuncture by the students in the hospital?

The reaction is favorable.  Since I am the supervisor of the externs and we use both the Master Tung Acupuncture and traditional points, we have amazing efficacy with acupuncture.  I teach the students to have logic in selecting points, not just go by rote memorization.  By identifying the patient’s signs and symptoms with the acupuncture channels, we have almost immediate effect.  Pain disappears almost instantaneously, and complaint symptoms subside.


5. What is your personal opinion on working with western doctors and acupuncturists?

Acupuncture in China is already modernized through what is called “Traditional Chinese Medicine” (TCM).  We are already a modern paradigm, as TCM is the system of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal therapy that stems from the 1950’s, widely taught in schools, and practiced in hospitals in China, and is the leading form of Acupuncture practiced worldwide.  So for us to be put in the modern integrative medical setting is already natural.  We already work side by side with doctors, read diagnostic tests, blood work, reports of findings, do orthopedic tests, refer to a patient’s health history and in addition, do our Chinese medicine diagnosis of inquiry, tongue diagnosis, palpation of channels, and pulse taking.   All acupuncturists should be familiar with Western Medicine diagnosis, even if we do not treat with western medicine.  I can only see more and more hospitals doing this, as patients are often looking for a more natural method of healing, want to lessen side effects from taking multiple drugs, and perhaps in the case of cancer, strengthen their immunity system and combat fatigue.


6. Dr. Chu, you are famous worldwide for lecturing on acupuncture, could you tell us a little about your teachings?

Yes, I just came back from lecturing for a week in Paris, France, and I am asked to lecture in various countries through Europe, Canada and the United States, where I teach the Master Tung and Optimal Acupuncture systems.  I provide continuing education to MD’s and Acupuncturists, since 2005, and founded ITARA – International Tung’s Acupuncture Research Association, to preserve, standardize, educate, and research new applications of the Tung family system of Acupuncture with integrity, and open sharing.   ITARA has now grown with branches internationally.  My lectures are always filled with humor and clinical anecdotes, where I hope my colleagues can find a more effective approach in the clinic, and their patients benefit.

7.    Where can we reach you Dr. Chu?

Currently Monday afternoons at the Disney Family Cancer Center from 1:30 pm to 6 pm, at the Integrative Medicine program at the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center in Burbank, CA, please call 818-748-4751 to schedule an appointment with my interns, or at my private practice during the week in Pasadena at 1028 N. Lake Avenue, Suite 107, at (626) 345-0441.  You can look up more information at


Thank you for your time.

Many thanks!



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