[02/20/2020] Lecture Series by the Seaside

Starting on January 16th, 2020, Five Branches University will be holding a free series of lectures at our Santa Cruz Campus. Courses will be held throughout the year and topics and teachers will vary. Check back here often to see what we have in store.

Date Course Speaker




Chinese Auricular (Ear) Therapy

Auricular (Ear) acupuncture is both a diagnostic and treatment system.  Our ear is a micro-reflection of not only our body but also our emotions!    Because of its accessibility, it is a wonderful modality to use in order to prolong treatments’ effects up to a week while empowering patients to take control and assist with their own healing process. During the lecture, we will reveal the hidden in plain sight map located on the external part of our ears, and learn how Chinese medicine uses it to treat various conditions.   

Mariposa (Marilyn) Bernstein, DAOM, L.Ac

Dr. Bernstein was studying in London, England, when a profound experience with an acupuncture treatment, made her rethink the course of her future career.  In the early 80’s, while visiting CA from Boston, she found Santa Cruz and fell in love with it’s natural beauty and liberal atmosphere.  She enrolled in Five Branches University, then Institute, in 1984 and later on continued her studies with the university to obtain her doctorate degree.  Today she holds a private practice in Santa Cruz, while also supervising students at the Five Branches Health Care Center.




Treating Peripheral Neuropathy with Chinese Medicine

Chinese medicine has existed for over a couple of millennia and is especially beneficial for chronic debilitating conditions.  It can help you either resolve or reduce the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy depending on duration, and cause of symptoms. 

A Chinese medical practitioner has several tools to assist people who have been surfing from peripheral neuropathy.   Most people have heard about acupuncture but this is not the only modality used for your condition.   Chinese Medicinal herbs, Tuina (bodywork) and life style changes can all be employed to alleviate your symptoms.

Learn the unique view point of Chinese medicine on health and illness and how it can assist you to better your life quality. 

Eleonor Seiff-Mendelson, B.PT (Israel), DAOM, L.Ac

For over a decade, Dr. Mendelson worked as a physical therapist in hospitals, out-patient clinics and in-home care in her home country, Israel. She was also a lecturer on behalf of the Health Education Department, Israel.  

It was a chance invitation to listen to a casual talk about Chinese medicine that awakened her mind to a very different view on life, health and well-being. 

She completed a three year acupuncture program in Israel and then felt compelled to further her education at a deeper level.  She relocated to the US, and continued her studies in Chinese medicine.  She graduated with a Doctorate degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from Five Branches University.

She currently holds a private practice at Five Branches University, Santa Cruz Health Center and also serves as a faculty and the university’s admissions director.




Topic: Learn the self-care branch of Chinese Medicine: Qi Gong

Qi Gong is an ancient Chinese health care system that integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intention.

Qi Gong is the fitness aspect of Chinese Medicine and can be practiced at any intensity level that suits your health and needs — from the ill and injured to healthy and very athletic. It is for all ages and physical abilities and you can do it lying down, sitting or standing.

Traditionally Qi Gong was practiced for Healing, Health and Longevity. It is also used in the Martial Arts, and enhances Spiritual and Meditation practices as well as brings balance and integration to one’s emotional life.

LeTa  Jussila, DAOM, L.Ac

Dr. LeTa, a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, is Owner of Optimal Health and Fitness, is a Certified Personal Trainer by the International Academy of Sports Sciences, Certified Outdoor Action Fitness Instructor, a Certified Qi Gong Instructor and Board Member of Inner Light Ministries. She is a national wellness expert and helps individuals achieve and maintain their healthcare goals efficiently. She believes that when given the proper support, our bodies can often return to healthy function at almost any age. Through the Chinese medical paradigm she provides Acupuncture, Cupping, Gua Sha, Qi Gong prescriptions, herbal medicine protocols, integrative consults utilizing genetic testing to recommend the best foods, herbs, exercises, detoxification, supplements, and cannabis so you can live the life you were meant to live. Dr. LeTa loves to work with individuals who are ready to feel better. She has a in-person practice in Santa Cruz, California and an online medical practice




PTSD East and West, Veteran and Civilian

Western science has documented the link between emotional trauma and dramatic increases in mortality and morbidity. Chinese medicine is known for its holistic approach to illness–balancing body, mind and spirit. This presentation will explore trauma as a root cause of disease–and time-honored healing practices from the five branches of traditional Chinese medicine.

George Samuels, DAOM, L.Ac

George came to traditional Chinese medicine by way of extensive “travels on the water cycle”. Previous jobs include yoga, tai chi, meditation and massage instruction; hiking and international whitewater raft guiding.

In 1997 George moved to Santa Cruz to become a foster parent to a young nephew. That is when he began his formal studies of traditional Chinese medicine. Years of training in bodywork and movement arts (including CranioSacral therapy, Esalen massage, Aikido and Tai Chi Chuan) had prepared him for the rigors of his graduate education at Five Branches. A strong proponent of lifelong learning, George recently completed his DAOM degree at Five Branches in San Jose. His doctoral capstone was on acupuncture and neuroplasticity in the treatment of depression. He has also completed an integrative internship at Highland Hospital, a UCSF facility in Oakland, where his final presentation was on traditional Chinese medicine and PTSD. 



The Five Elements in Daily Life

In this lecture you will be introduced to the Five Elements theory of Chinese medicine.  We will also have a practical discussion on how to balance the Five Elements throughout the seasons of your life.

Mary Lyell, J.D., MTCM, L.Ac

Mary Lyell received her Master’s in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Five Branches University and joined its faculty in 2008. She maintains a private practice in Santa Cruz, CA where her treatments are rooted in TCM and Classical Five Element style acupuncture. She has also studied core shamanic techniques with the Harner Foundation for Shamanic Studies.

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