Complementary Medicine to be made Available to Athletes at the World Special Olympics

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Holistic wellness services provided by licensed acupuncturists will be made available to the 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches participating in the 2015 World Special Olympic summer games in Los Angeles.

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7,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries will gather in Los Angeles at the end of July to participate in the World Special Olympics summer games and for the first time at any World Special Olympics games acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) wellness services will be made available to all athletes and coaches. Organized by Emperor's College of Traditional Oriental Medicine, AOM wellness services will be available in the Healthy Athletes area of the Athletes Village on the campus of the University of Southern California (USC).

The World Games will be the largest sports and humanitarian event in the world in 2015, the largest event hosted by Los Angeles since the 1984 Summer Olympics, and the first time the summer games have been held in the United States since 1999.

In addition to showcasing 25 Olympic-style athletic events at over 20 locations in the greater Los Angeles area, an important focus of the Special Olympics is to promote healthy lifestyles, which it does through its Healthy Athletes program. The Special Olympics has become the largest global public health organization dedicated to serving people with intellectual disabilities; for many athletes in the developing world Special Olympics Healthy Athletes exams could be the first time they have ever seen a doctor, dentist or other licensed medical professional.

During the World Games, volunteer Healthy Athletes medical professionals will offer free health examinations to the athletes in seven disciplines: Fit Feet (podiatry), FUNfitness (physical therapy), Health Promotion (better health and well-being), Healthy Hearing (audiology), MedFest (sports physical exam), Opening Eyes (vision) and Special Smiles (dentistry).

In addition to the services provided in the seven disciplines, athletes will have the opportunity to seek treatment from licensed acupuncturists. Using acupressure, Chinese medical massage and other noninvasive measures, the AOM wellness team, composed of over 75 practitioners and staff, will focus on treating minor aches and pains, travel fatigue, jet lag, anxiety, insomnia, over stimulation, and digestive issues. If more comprehensive treatment is required, patients will be referred to Kaiser Permanente medical services at the Games or, if needed, local hospitals.

The goal of the AOM wellness team is to help quickly resolve these wellness complaints so that the athletes and coaches can perform at their best during the Games and maximize their experience while in Los Angeles.

In addition to organizing AOM wellness services, Emperor's College will be coordinating tai chi classes and yoga classes. Numerous classes will be held daily in the Athletes Village on the campus of USC. This will be the first time that tai chi classes and yoga classes will be widely available to athletes of a World Special Olympic games. Yoga classes will be taught by world-class teachers Mia Togo, Sara Ivanhoe, and Meaghan Kennedy Townsend, the grand-niece of Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

Special Olympics World Games 2015:
Emperor's College:;
Mia Togo:
Sara Ivanhoe:
Meaghan Kennedy Townsend:

About Emperor's College:
Emperor's College is nationally recognized as a pioneer and leader in the field of acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) education. Founded in 1983, the graduate school, located in the beach town of Santa Monica, CA, near Los Angeles, offers master's and doctoral degrees in Traditional Oriental Medicine. Emperor's College has been honored for its curriculum, faculty and acupuncture clinic, and is currently ranked #2 nationally among acupuncture schools. The school has been recognized for its work on behalf of military veterans and for its clinical commitment to the health and well-being of people fighting cancer and people living with HIV/AIDS.

About Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 (LA2015):
With 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games – being staged in Los Angeles July 25-August 2, 2015 – will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, and the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games. The 2015 Special Olympics World Games, with the unparalleled spirit, enthusiasm, teamwork, joy and displays of courage and skill that are hallmarks of all Special Olympics events, will feature 25 Olympic-style sports in venues throughout the Los Angeles region. The Opening Ceremony, to be held July 25, 2015 in the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, is expected to attract 80,000 spectators. On April 30, 2014, LA2015 and ESPN announced a global programming deal that will see ESPN bring coverage of World Games to millions of fans around the world. Honorary Chairs of the Games are President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Governor Jerry Brown serving as Honorary Hosts.

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Chris Johnston, Director of Public Affairs
since: 05/2010
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