Our New Clinic in Great Barrington

We are entering our second year at our new location at 140 West Avenue in Great Barrington. It’s been wonderful to see our friends and patients from our old clinic in Canaan CT, and our new friends in Great Barrington. We look forward to another successful year filled with health and healing.

All CDC, State and Local Covid-19 precautions are followed with health screening prior to being treated  and disinfection of all common areas, and  fresh linens for each client.  Masks are required for all patients and staff.


Acupuncture to treat patients with Long Haul Covid-19 symptoms

At a time when there is an increasing number of people experiencing debilitating lingering symptoms after having had Covid or Covid symptoms, acupuncture can help with recovery.

Patients still struggling with fatigue, respiratory symptoms of breathlessness, tightness of the chest, muscle aches and other neurological signs such as headaches, brain fog etc. have been diagnosed with what is being call “Long Haul Covid”.

I have been heartened to see the changes patients have experienced when starting acupuncture in most cases with immediate improvement.

Many of these people contracted what they think was Covid-19 earlier in the year, when it was not yet possible to get tested and receive confirmation that they in fact had contracted Covid-19. As we know, the anti-body tests have also been found to not be that reliable, with patients having had all the typical symptoms yet showing negative to anti-body testing.

In Eastern Medicine (the broader term used for all styles of acupuncture) we don’t just treat symptoms but use our differential diagnoses including tongue, abdominal and pulse diagnosis and assessment of the meridians to tailor an individual treatment to support the body to bring itself back to health. Many of these Covid symptoms relate to the Lung meridian, as this is predominantly a respiratory related virus. However, other symptoms such as muscle aches and in particular brain fog, nausea, etc relate more to the Spleen & Stomach meridians and can be indications of lingering pathogens in the body such as dampness. In one case, soon after treatment, the patient experienced enormous amounts of mucus coming out for the first time, leading to a massive clearing out and easing of all her symptoms for the first time in months.

Needless to say, these uncertain times and the constant talk about the virus each time we read the news unsurprisingly creates anxiety and even depression, as our daily activities are curtailed and planning ahead becomes increasingly difficult. Acupuncture calms the nervous system, helping us to quieten the stress hormones of flight and fright and to turn on the parasympathetic nervous system. Many of the points on the chest and upper back that help with breathing also have a very calming effect.

As with any chronic condition, it is important to support the system with good quality rest and relaxation; healthy nutritious eating and if possible, gentle exercise.

Price Changes and Insurance Billing.

PRICING:  Initial Evaluations are $90.00 and include your first acupuncture treatment.  All subsequent acupuncture treatments are $75 per visit.

We now accept all credit cards, as well as checks and cash payments.

Our billing service will check your medical insurance for reimbursement for acupuncture services. If your policy pays for our services, we will refund your prepaid fees.

The History of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a very ancient form of healing which pre-dates recorded history.  The philosophy is rooted in the Taoist tradition which goes back over 8000 years. The people of this time period would meditate and observe the flow of energy within and without. They also were keen to observe man’s relations with nature and the universe. There were many sages of this period, but the most legendary was Fu Hsi, who lived in the Yellow River area of China approximately 8000 years ago. By observing nature, he formulated the first two symbols, a broken line and unbroken line.   These symbols represented the two major forces in the universe � creation and reception – and how their interaction forms life. This duality was named yin-yang and they represent the backbone of Chinese Medicine theory and application. Fu Hsi then discovered that when yin-yang fuse, a creative action occurs, and this gives birth to a third aspect. Fu Hsi then pondered on how this triplicity occurs eight times and this led to the eight trigrams and then 64 hexagrams of the I-Ching (Book of Change).  The I-Ching shaped the thinking for years to come and every influential book on Chinese Medicine is based upon its fundamental philosophy.

The primitive society of China is divided into two time periods- The Old Stone Age(10,000 years ago and beyond) and the New Stone Age (10,000-4000 years ago).During the Old Stone Age knives were made of stone and were used  for certain medical procedures. During the New Stone Age, stones were refined into fine needles and served as instruments of healing. They were named bian stone – which means use of a sharp edged stone to treat disease. Many bian stone needles were excavated from ruins in China dating back to the New Stone Age.

The most significant milestone in the history of Acupuncture occurred during the period of Huang Di -The Yellow Emperor (2697-2597). In a famous dialogue between Huang Di and his physician Qi Bo, they discuss the whole spectrum of the Chinese Medical Arts. These conversations would later become the monumental text – The Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperors Classic of Internal Medicine). The Nei Jing is the earliest book written on Chinese Medicine. It was compiled around 305-204 B.C. and consists of two parts:

  1. The Su Wen (Plain Questions) -9 volumes – 81 chapters
    The Su Wen introduces anatomy and physiology, etiology of disease, pathology, diagnosis, differentiation of syndromes, prevention, yin-yang, five elements, treatment, and man’s relationship with nature and the cosmos.
  2. The Ling Shu (Miraculous Pivot, Spiritual Axis)– 81 Chapters
    The Ling Shu’s focus is Acupuncture, description of the meridians, functions of the zang-fu organs, nine types of needles, functions of the acupuncture points, needling techniques, types of Qi, location of 160 points.

In approximately 1000 BC, during the Shang Dynasty, hieroglyphs showed evidence of Acupuncture and Moxibustion. Bronze needles were excavated from ruins, but the bian stones remained the main form of needle.

During the Warren States Era (421-221 B.C.) metal needles replaced the bian stones. Four gold needles and five silver needles were found in an ancient tomb dating back to 113B.C. The Miraculous Pivot names nine types of Acupuncture needles. The Historical Records notes many physicians practicing Acupuncture during this time. Another milestone for this period was the compilation of the Nan Jing (Book of Difficult Questions).  The Nan Jing discusses five element theory, hara diagnosis, eight extra meridians, and other important topics.

From 260-265 A.D., the famous physician Huang Fu Mi, organized all of the ancient literature into his classic text – Systematic Classics of Acupuncture and Moxibustion. The text is twelve volumes and describes 349 Acupuncture points. It is organized according to the theory of: zang fu, Qi and blood, channels and collaterals, acupuncture points, and clinical application. This book is noted to be one of the most influential texts in the history of Chinese Medicine.

Acupuncture was very popular during the Jin, Northern, Southern, Dynasties (265-581A.D.). For generations the Xu Xi family were known as the experts in the art of Acupuncture. During this time period important texts and charts enhanced knowledge and application.

Acupuncture experienced great development during the Sui (581-618) and Tang (618-907) Dynasties. Upon request from the Tang Government (627-649A.D.), the famous physician Zhen Quan revised the important Acupuncture texts and charts. Another famous physician of the time, Sun Simio, wrote Prescription with a Thousand Gold for Emergencies (650-692). This text includes data on Acupuncture from various scholars. During this period Acupuncture became a special branch of medicine and practitioners were named Acupuncturists. Acupuncture schools appeared, and Acupuncture education became part of the Imperial Medical Bureau.

During the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the famous physician Wang Weiyi wrote, The Illustrated Manual on Points for Acupuncture and Moxibustion. This book included the description of 657 points. He also casted two bronze statues on which meridians and points were engraved for teaching purposes.

The Ming Dynasty (1568-1644) was the enlightening period for the advancement of Acupuncture. Many new developments included:

  1. Revision of the classic texts
  2. Refinement of Acupuncture techniques and manipulation
  3. Development of Moxa sticks for indirect treatment
  4. Development of extra points outside the main meridians
  5. The encyclopedic work of 120 volumes- Principle and Practice of Medicine was written by the famous physician Wang Gendung
  6. 1601 – Yang Jizhou wrote Zhenjin Dacheng (Principles of Acupuncture and Moxibustion). This great treatise on Acupuncture reinforced the principles of the Nei Jing and Nan Jing. This work was the foundation of the teachings of G.Soulie de Morant who introduced Acupuncture into Europe.

From the Qing Dynasty to the Opium Wars (1644-1840), herbal medicine became the main tool of physicians and Acupuncture was suppressed.

Following the Revolution of 1911, Western Medicine was introduced and Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology were suppressed. Due to the large population and need for medical care, Acupuncture and herbs remained popular among the folk people, and the “barefoot doctor” emerged.

Acupuncture was used exclusively during the Long March (1934-35) and despite harsh conditions it helped maintain the health of the army. This led Mao Zedong, the leader of the Communist Party, to see that Acupuncture remained an important element in China’s medical system. In 1950 Chairman Mao officially united Traditional Chinese Medicine with Western Medicine, and acupuncture became established in many hospitals. In the same year Comrade Zhu De reinforced Traditional Chinese Medicine with his book New Acupuncture.

In the late 1950’s to the 1960’s Acupuncture research continued with – further study of the ancient texts, clinical effect on various diseases, acupuncture anesthesia, and acupuncture’s effect on the internal organs.

From the 1970’s to the present, Acupuncture continues to play an important role in China’s medical system. China has taken the lead in researching all aspects of acupuncture�s application and clinical effects. Although acupuncture has become modernized, it will never lose its connection to a philosophy established thousands of years ago.
By: Scott Suvow, L.Ac.

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine for Cholesterol Management

What is cholesterol and how is it bad? Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in your body and many foods. Your body needs cholesterol to function normally and makes all that you need. Too much cholesterol can sometimes build up in your arteries. After a while, these deposits narrow your arteries, putting you at risk for heart disease and stroke.

Since you can have high cholesterol without realizing it, it’s important to have your blood cholesterol levels checked. Most of the 65 million Americans with high cholesterol have no symptoms. All adults age 20 and older should have their cholesterol levels checked at least once every five years, or more frequently if cholesterol levels are elevated.

High cholesterol can also develop in early childhood and adolescence, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the risk increases as weight increases. In the United States alone, more than twenty percent of youth aged 12-19 years have at least one abnormal lipid level. Children over the age of two should have their cholesterol checked if they are overweight or obese, have a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or certain chronic conditions such as kidney disease, inflammatory diseases, congenital heart disease, and childhood cancer.

Research has clearly shown that lowering cholesterol can reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Whether you have heart disease already or want to prevent it, you can reduce your risk for having a heart attack by lowering your cholesterol level.

According to the American Heart Association, exercise and a healthy, balanced diet low in cholesterol and saturated fats is important to lowering risk and improving your cardiovascular health. Speak to your health care providers to make sure your cholesterol is being monitored and find out how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you stay healthy.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be used to treat many of the health conditions known to drastically increase the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol including smoking, high blood pressure, excess weight, and diabetes.

Combating Feelings of Holiday Stress, Anxiety and Depression with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

While the holidays are depicted in movies as a time of idyllic serenity and joy, we have all felt the realities of holiday stress.  Financial concerns, gift giving, busy schedules, family obligations, weight gain and lack of exercise all play into the “holiday cheer”.  These pressures can affect us physically, emotionally and spiritually often leading to anxiety and depression.   Acupuncture and Chinese medicine provide a unique perspective and intervention for these common seasonal difficulties.

Anxiety comes in a wide range of manifestations, from mild worrying to more physical responses such as nausea, insomnia, shortness of breath and panic attacks.  Some anxiety is a healthy response to the stress of daily life and new situations; however, anxiety that occurs randomly or excessively is a sign to take notice.  Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help balance both the mental and physical symptoms of anxiety and help to create harmony and spaciousness.

From an acupuncture and Chinese medicine perspective, many manifestations of anxiety can be traced back to the energetic concert between the heart and kidneys.  The temperament of the heart is fiery, expansive and upward.  From a Chinese medicine standpoint, it exhibits yang characteristics.  The dynamic terrain of the kidneys are on the other end of the Chinese medicine continuum.  The kidneys’ energetic character is fluid, inward and contemplative, exhibiting a yin nature.  If there is too much fire, we may experience symptoms of anxiety and agitation of the mind.

It is estimated that 20% of the population is depressed at some point in life.  Common symptoms of depression during holiday time include a sense of apathy, cynicism or anger toward the holiday season, isolation from festivities and holiday traditions, crying spells and over-consumption of food and/or alcohol.  Depression may be compounded in some people by SAD, seasonal affective disorder  – a type of depression associated with the low light conditions experienced during the winter months.

In acupuncture and Chinese medicine, the liver’s job is to negotiate the free flow of energy in the body.  Impaired liver function can lead to inappropriate jams, limited availability of resources and sluggishness.  In acupuncture and Chinese medicine this condition is often referred to as liver depression and qi stagnation.  The “depression” is the body’s reduced ability to move its resources.  Stagnation occurs when the lack of energy to circulate needed supplies becomes obstructed.  This can cause sleep and digestive complaints, musculoskeletal pain and emotional instability.  Acupuncture and Chinese medicine offer effective strategies to remedy the depressed energy and to move the resulting stagnation, leading to better health and outlook.

While modern life has helped make so many aspects of daily living easier, many people still suffer from emotional distress especially around the Holiday season.  Subsequently, anxiety, increased stress and depression are some of the most common conditions affecting individuals during this eventful season.  Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are effective and safe tools to help smooth and balance what can be a challenging time of the year even under the best circumstances.

About the Author
Sharon Sherman is a Licensed Practitioner of Oriental Medicine (L.OM.) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania specializing in Acupuncture, Chinese Herbology and Oriental Medicine. Sharon is the founder of Empirical Point, LLC. a private Philadelphia acupuncture practice with offices in Chestnut Hill and Center City.

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Understanding Tongue Diagnosis

You may be surprised to find that during an acupuncture appointment, your practitioner will ask to look at your tongue.  This may seem like an odd request, and is probably the first time a health care provider has asked you to stick our your tongue.  However, in Chinese medicine, a practitioner can garner quite a bit of information about you and your condition, simply by taking a look at your tongue.

When your practitioner looks at your tongue, he or she is looking at the shape, color, size, coating and positioning or movement of the tongue, each of which offers a piece to the diagnostic puzzle.

Shape and Size of Tongue
The shape and size of the tongue tends to address the status of fluids in the body.  For example, a very large, puffy, or scalloped tongue suggests that fluids are not being properly metabolized in the body. In contrast, a very small, short tongue may indicate dryness, a deficiency of fluids, or deficiency in general.  In addition to shape and size, any movement of the tongue can indicate a deficiency of energy or the presence of an internal wind pathogen.

Color of Tongue
Tongue color varies widely from person to person, but is a good indicator of the overall nature of what is going on in the body.  A red tongue indicates that there is heat present  in the body, and the redder the tongue, the greater amount of heat present.  A tongue that is pale indicates a deficiency of qi and blood or the presence of cold.  A purple tongue tells your practitioner that there is stagnation somewhere in the body.

Tongue color may also vary on different parts of the tongue.  For example, a tongue that is red at the very tip indicates heat in the Heart, as the tip of the tongue correlates with conditions of the Heart.  Just behind the tip corresponds to the Lungs; the sides of the tongue are associated with the Liver; the center of the tongue with the Spleen/Stomach or digestion; and the back of the tongue is associated with the condition of the Kidney.

Tongue Coating
A coating on the tongue can also give your practitioner information about your health.  The thickness of a coating is an indicator of the severity of the condition being treated.  A thin coating, one in which you can see the tongue through the coating, indicates that any pathogen present is mild or on the exterior.  A thick coating that obscures the tongue tells your practitioner that the condition is deeper and more serious.

The condition of the coating also speaks to the condition of fluids in the body.  A moist or wet coating indicates poor fluid metabolism, and a dry coating indicates depleted fluids.  A coating that is peeled off, either completely or partially, indicates some kind of heat or damage to the Stomach, possibly a depletion of Stomach Yin, or damage to Stomach Qi.

Tongue coatings also vary in color.  In general, a thin white coating is normal, but can also appear in diseases associated with cold conditions.  A yellow or brown coat indicates heat, and a gray or black coat indicates an extreme condition.  It�s also important to note that foods such as red wine, orange juice, and coffee can alter the appearance of the coating.  Needless to say, food dyes can dramatically alter the color of the tongue.  In more than one instance, I have had a young patient stick out their tongue, only to see a bright blue, green, or pink coating!

The condition of your tongue will change as your health changes, but in general those changes appear on the tongue slowly.  One exception is during a cold or flu when the patient has a high fever, a very red tongue will appear fairly quickly.

Tongue diagnosis can be a subtle art. To try it yourself, observe the variations of your tongue and compare it to that of friends or family members.  After you have looked at a few tongues, you will see that they differ widely, and with a little study can tell you a lot about the overall health of a person.

by: Lynn Jaffee, LAc, Dipl. OM, MaOM

Foods Men Should Eat Every Day


Adding nutrient-rich super foods to the diet can give men a healthy boost.

Here are just a few foods that can help maintain muscle mass, prevent prostate cancer, and more.

Avocados are a good source of vitamin K, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate and copper.  Rich in potassium, avocados contain more of this nutrient than bananas.  Potassium is needed to regulate nerves, heartbeat and, especially, blood pressure.  An added bonus for men: Avocados inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells.

Blackberries are packed with Vitamin C, calcium and magnesium, with more than double the amounts than their popular cousin, the blueberry.  Vitamin C is a powerful stress reducer that can lower blood pressure and return cortisol levels to normal faster when taken during periods of stress.  Magnesium and calcium act together to help regulate the nerves and muscle tone.

Too little magnesium in your diet can cause nerve cells to become over activated and can trigger muscular tension, soreness, spasms, cramps, and fatigue.  Blackberries also score high on the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) scale assesses the antioxidant content of food: the higher the score, the better the food’s ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals that lead to cancer.

Spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence.  Spinach can help protect against prostate cancer, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, lower blood pressure and strengthen muscles.

When it comes to their health benefits, walnuts are the king of nuts. Richer in heart-healthy omega-3s than salmon, loaded with more anti-oxidants than red wine, and packing half as much muscle-building protein as chicken, walnuts are one of the all time super foods.

Eating yogurt that contains live bacterial cultures every day improves digestive health, boosts the immune system, provides protection against cancer and may help you live longer.   Not all yogurts are probiotic though, so make sure the label says “live and active cultures.”

Acupuncture Makes Cancer Treatments Easier to Tolerate

The American Cancer Society has reported that half of all men and a third of all women in the United States will develop cancer during their lifetimes. Although there are many forms of cancer, all forms of the disease begin with abnormal cells that grow out of control.

Unlike other illnesses that are eradicated by the body’s natural defense system, cancer needs to be treated with powerful medical interventions. Unfortunately, most of the current cancer treatments available have some debilitating side effects. This is where acupuncture can provide real help, by decreasing many of the side effects associated with conventional cancer treatments.

Clinical Trials Indicate Acupuncture Provides Relief

Clinical trials have examined the effects of acupuncture on cancer and the symptoms caused by cancer treatment, including weight loss, cough, chest pain, fever, anxiety, depression, night sweats, hot flashes, dry mouth, speech problems and fluid retention in the arms or legs. Studies have shown that, for many patients, treatment with acupuncture either relieves symptoms or keeps them from getting worse.

  • Relieves Pain and Stiffness during Hormone Therapy – In 2010, The Journal of Clinical Oncology published the results of a small study that concluded that acupuncture helped relieve pain and stiffness in breast cancer patients who were simultaneously being treated with hormone therapies.
  • Minimizes Dry Mouth – In 2009, the medical journal Head and Neck reported the results of a pilot study done at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. The subjects were people suffering from head and neck cancer. The authors concluded, “This pilot study demonstrates that acupuncture can improve the subjective symptoms of dry mouth in patients with radiation-induced xerostomia as early as two weeks after starting treatment, and the benefits can remain at least one month after treatment ends,” Dr. Mark Chambers told Reuters Health.
  • Reduces Pain and Shoulder Dysfunction – In 2008, Dr. David Pfister, chief of the head and neck medical oncology service at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago. He reported that patients found significant reductions in both dry mouth and pain and shoulder dysfunction after neck dissection with the help of acupuncture. “Although further studies are needed, this does support the potential role of acupuncture,” said Pfister.
  • Reduces Hot Flashes – In 2011 A Yale University/University of Pittsburgh study of women with hot flashes brought on by conventional breast cancer treatment found that women who received acupuncture had a 30 percent reduction in hot flashes.

Endorsement of Acupuncture for Cancer Treatment

Acupuncture continues to receive enthusiastic testimonials from patients and health care professionals alike. Prominent names in U.S. society and the medical community have attested to the efficacy of acupuncture as a supportive therapy for oncology treatment.

  • Dr. Oz has said that acupuncture is helpful for reducing the side effects of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation including pain, nausea, fatigue, hot flashes and dry mouth.
  • When singer Sheryl Crow was diagnosed with breast cancer, she underwent a lumpectomy followed by radiation. During these treatments she also received acupuncture and drank herbal teas.
  • Former First Lady of Chicago, Maggie Daley, gave generously to help open the Maggie Daley Center for Women’s Cancer Care at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The center includes acupuncture as an option for the patients.

Many people are finding out that, although the treatments necessary to defeat cancer can be traumatizing and debilitating, they can get some relief through acupuncture.

Acupuncture More Effective than Medication for Headache Relief

By: Duke Medicine News and Communications

Acupuncture is more effective than medication in reducing the severity and frequency of chronic headaches, according to a new analysis conducted by Duke University Medical Center researchers.

The National Institutes of Health recommended acupuncture as a viable treatment for chronic headaches a decade ago and, while research in this field has increased, there have been conflicting reports about its efficacy.

“We combed through the literature and conducted the most comprehensive review of available data done to date using only the most rigorously-executed trials,” says Tong Joo (T.J.) Gan, MD, a Duke anesthesiologist who lead the analysis.

Researchers analyzed data from only randomized controlled trials evaluating acupuncture for adults with chronic headaches and were conducted for more than four weeks.

“Acupuncture is becoming a favorable option for a variety of purposes ranging from enhancing fertility to decreasing post-operative pain because people experience significantly fewer side effects and it can be less expensive than other options,” Gan says. “This analysis reinforces that acupuncture also is a successful source of relief from chronic headaches.”

While everyone experiences an occasional headache, more than 45 million Americans (one in six) suffer from chronic headaches, 20 million of whom are women. Medication remains the mainstay of treatment with varying levels of success.

The Duke team looked at studies that compared traditional acupuncture to either medication or a control group who received sham acupuncture. Similar to traditional acupuncture, the sham therapy entails inserting needles into the skin but the acupuncturist avoids meridians or areas of the body that Chinese medicine teaches contains vital energy associated with achieving balance needed for good health.

Researchers analyzed more than 30 studies to arrive at the findings published in the December issue of Anesthesia and Analgesia. The studies included nearly 4,000 patients who reported migraines (17 studies), tension headaches (10 studies) and other forms of chronic headaches with multiple symptoms (four studies).

In 17 studies comparing acupuncture to medication, the researchers found that 62 percent of the acupuncture patients reported headache relief compared to only 45 percent of people taking medication. These acupuncture patients also reported better physical well-being compared to the medication group. In 14 studies that compared real acupuncture to sham therapy, 53 percent of acupuncture patients responded to treatment compared to 45 percent receiving sham therapy.

“Acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years but only recently has started to become more accepted as an alternative or supplement to conventional therapies,” Gan explains.

“One of the barriers to treatment with acupuncture is getting people to understand that while needles are used it is not a painful experience,” Gan says. “It is a method for releasing your body’s own natural painkillers.”

Acupuncture therapy is becoming widely available nationwide and a typical course of treatment for chronic headaches requires 30-minute sessions. Many people begin experiencing relief following five to six visits.

Gan also has conducted research to determine the effect of acupuncture on post-operative pain, nausea and vomiting. His research has found that acupuncture can significantly reduce pain and the need for pain medications following surgery. He also found that acupuncture can be as effective as medication in reducing post-operative nausea and vomiting.

The research was conducted in collaboration with Yanxia Sun, MD. The meta-analysis was supported by Duke’s Department of Anesthesiology.

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11/27/2013 10:03:54 am