“Time for Acupuncture to Become Part of Standard Care”

8 Dec

The following article by Dr.Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., Professor and Director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center appeared in Huffington Post on December 7th, 2013. The article confirms many of the clinical uses for acupuncture in the area of Oncology. These uses are certainly confirmed by myself and other colleagues who have been working in this field utilizing acupuncture and herbal therapy for the past 20 years. Also medical treatment for cancer can easily feel ‘industrial’ and depersonalizing and the care received in acupuncture clinics can help people going through treatment for cancer feel re-empowered, nourished and supported.

In the article the author states that the “mechanisms are not well understood”,  this however is not true any longer with several writers/researchers outlining much of acupuncture’s modes of action in modern scientific understanding. See for example - http://www.amazon.com/Biomedical-Acupuncture-Pain-Management-Integrative/dp/0443066590 and http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Western-Medical-Acupuncture-1e/dp/0443071772/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1386465583&sr=1-1&keywords=western+acupuncture

Thomas Martin LAc.

See also - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23341529

“Acupuncture, the insertion of small, stainless steel needles into points on the body to stimulate specific areas, has been used in recent years by many cancer patients to help with symptom management. Because the mechanisms are not well understood, deciding when and how to safely add acupuncture to one’s treatment plan can be challenging. A recent systematic review conducted by researchers in the Integrative Medicine Program at the MD Anderson Cancer Center can now help patients and their oncologists make more informed choices.

The systematic review, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, searched the worldwide literature for randomized, controlled trials evaluating the use of acupuncture for symptom management in cancer patients.[1] Forty-one studies were found for the treatment of eight symptoms (pain — 11, nausea/vomiting — 11, postoperative ileus (constipation) — eight, xerostomia (dry mouth) — four, hot flashes — seven, fatigue — three, anxiety/depression/mood disorders — five, and sleep disturbance — three), and were rated for study quality and whether outcomes were positive or negative.

One well-designed large study undefined for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, found electroacupuncture worked better than anti-nausea medications or sham acupuncture (minimal needling) in women with breast cancer.[2] Although less clear, the evidence also suggests acupuncture is helpful for pain control. None of the identified studies were classified as having a low risk of bias due to study weaknesses, but nine of the 11 pain studies had positive results favoring its use. For the other symptoms assessed, the quality of the studies was lower, but there is reason to believe that with larger more rigorous studies, acupuncture may be found beneficial for some of these conditions as well.

The use of acupuncture for symptom control in oncology is important to consider. Findings from this review and others indicate it is an appropriate treatment alongside conventional care for chemotherapy-induced nausea/vomiting, although additional studies are needed to better understand how it works and which patients might benefit most. For other symptoms, the specific effects of acupuncture remain undetermined, primarily due to weaknesses in the studies. As a low-risk, cost-effective treatment option, acupuncture may be helpful when combined with conventional care for patients suffering from uncontrolled treatment-related side effects or in those for whom other treatment approaches have failed.”

References:

1. Garcia MK, McQuade J, Haddad R, Patel S, Lee R, Palmer JL, Yang P, Cohen L. “Acupuncture in cancer care: a systematic review.” Journal of Clinical Oncology (Published online before print Jan. 22, 2013). doi: 10.1200/JCO.2012.43.5818)

2. Shen J, Wenger N, Glaspy J, Hays RD, Albert PS, Choi C, Shekelle PG. “Electroacupuncture for control of myeloablative chemotherapy-induced emesis: A randomized controlled trial.” JAMA 284:2755-61, 2000.

Oatmeal, Satiety and the Satiety Index

24 Nov

A small study titled “Acute Effect of Oatmeal on Subjective Measures of Appetite and Satiety Compared to Ready-to-Eat Breakfast Cereal: A Randomized Crossover Study” was recently published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

The study showed that a simple low caloric, high satisfaction breakfast primarily of oatmeal “can prolong the period between meals and thus help establish habits conducive to weight loss.”

β-glucan content of the oatmeal, a viscous fiber, seems to result in the high satiety index of oatmeal. Its important to note that the oatmeal be as unprocessed as possible, for example muesli is only half as satisfying as oatmeal using the satiety index.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07315724.2013.816614#.UpJMjmTXRk4

 

The Satiety Index of foods was developed by Susanna Holt PhD, and associates at the University Of Sydney. It adds a further refinement to other food indexes such as the Glycemic Index

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glycemic_index.

Interestingly even though boiled potatoes are high on the Glycemic Index they are also the highest food on the Satiety Index. Meaning that if you fill up on them (note, not fries) you will stay full for a long time and therefore eat less. If you eat them with other foods, you will eat less.

More on this at http://www.mendosa.com/satiety.htm

 

The Pima Paradox also shows how a high Satiety Index can greatly alter a high Glycemic Index score.

Whereas the Pima Indians have a significant genetic propensity toward diabetes which manifests in those consuming (in Arizona) a modern diet of plentiful refined carbohydrates, animal fat and protein. Their traditional diet (still consumed in Mexico) however comprises large amounts of corn and potatoes as well as activity, resulting in lean body mass and rare incidence of hyperinsulinemia, obesity and type 2 diabetes (NIDDM).

http://foodandhealth.com/cpecourses/giobesity.php

 

Thomas Martin LAc.

Acupuncture for Depression

30 Sep

A small study comparing outcomes for moderate to severe depression in three groups; standard care, counseling and acupuncture was published last this week in PLOS Medicine.

In this pragmatic randomised controlled trial conducted in the North of England, patients with depression were randomised to receive 12 weekly sessions of acupuncture plus usual care (302 patients), or 12 weekly sessions of counselling plus usual care (302 patients), or usual care alone (151 patients).

Both the acupuncture and the counseling groups resulted in significant improvement in depression scores over standard care alone. Improvements were stable at 3 months post treatment. All study groups continued with standard medical treatments such as antidepressants.

Commentary given considered the study as validating acupuncture as an evidence-based treatment for depression in an integrative environment.

A frequent side-benefit of acupuncture treatment for a variety of conditions is improved wellbeing. The study demonstrates this effect to be robust enough to improve moderate to severe depression scores. It seems reasonable to expect an even greater treatment effect in mild to moderate depression.

Clinically I have seen good success in managing bouts of mild to moderate depression combining acupuncture with an Albizzia based Chinese herbal formula.

http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1001518

 

Thomas Martin LAc.

 

Acupuncture Improves Lung Function and Overall Health in COPD

6 Aug

Sixty-eight of 111 patients from the Kansai region of Japan who were diagnosed as having COPD and were receiving standard medication participated in a randomized, parallel-group, placebo-controlled trial. COPD is considered a non-reversible condition that can severely reduce lung function. It is predicted to be the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2020.

In both groups patients were treated with real or placebo needling at the same acupoints once a week for 12 weeks.The placebo needling involved an apparatus that looked like a real acupuncture needle but only pressed the skin surface.

The primary end point, or study result was the modified Borg scale score evaluated immediately after the 6-minute walk test. This is a scale used to evaluate shortness of breath after exertion.

After 12 weeks, the Borg scale score after the 6-minute walk test was significantly better in the real acupuncture group compared with the placebo acupuncture group. Also improvements in nutritional status, body mass and over-all quality of life was seen in the acupuncture group.

We demonstrated clinically relevant improvements in DOE (Borg scale), nutrition status (including BMI), airflow obstruction, exercise capacity, and health-related quality of life after 3 months of acupuncture treatment 

http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1151703

In clinical practice I have often seen improved breathing and voice strength following acupuncture treatment even when the lungs or chest was not the primary focus of treatment. Acupuncture can be a valuable adjunctive treatment for chronic asthma and I have seen it to be of considerable help with breathlessness in people with a cancer diagnosis. Improved wellbeing and functionality is another non-specific outcome often seen following a course of acupuncture.

 

Thomas J Martin LAc.

 

 

Acupuncture For Breast Cancer Related Lymphedema

1 Aug

 

A significant number of breast cancer survivors develop a long-term, difficult to treat, symptom called lymphedema. This involves swelling of the arm, shoulder or breast on the side in which breast tumors and lymph nodes were removed and or radiation treatment performed. The swelling is due to changes in flow of the fluid within lymph vessels in the area, though the exact process is unknown.

Results from a small pilot study led by Barrie r. Cassileth, chief of Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Integrative Medicine Service, and Clifford a. Hudis, chief of the Breast Cancer Medicine Service, was published April 10 in The Journal Cancer

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23576267

Study participants received acupuncture at Memorial Sloan-Kettering twice weekly for four weeks, using a regimen developed by the Integrative Medicine Service.

Researchers measured the participants’ upper-arm circumference before and after the treatments. They found that among the 33 patients who received acupuncture, 11 had a significant reduction in swelling and another 18 had at least a small reduction. When contacted several weeks later for feedback, patients reported lasting improvement in swelling.

Dr. Cassileth stated the study showed that acupuncture as a treatment for lymphedema is safe and well tolerated with no serious side effects.

http://www.mskcc.org/blog/study-shows-acupuncture-may-relieve-chronic-lymphedema-after-breast-treatment

 

These results confirm what I have seen clinically treating this condition in women diagnosed with breast cancer with acupuncture for the past 18 years. One of the main effects of acupuncture being improved blood and lymph flow.

Thomas Martin LAc.

Medical Radiation

24 Dec

Between 1996 and 2010 the number of CT scans performed across the United States tripled (Dr. Smith-Bindman’s study looked at data on patients who had imaging among one million to two million patients a year from 1996 to 2010 in six health maintenance organizations ) This was thought to result from increased improvement and accessibility to the technology as well as avoidance of medical law suits.

As ionizing radiation is cumulative patients need to be warned of this and life-time amounts tracked. The scans can be very useful diagnostically but who is told for example that the angiogram their doctor orders is equivalent to 800 chest x-rays?

 

We know from all the data we have today that 2%-3% of cancers in this country are related to use of medical imaging and ionized radiation.

So, why don’t we tell patients when they have a particular imaging scan exactly how many millisievert (mSv) they’re getting exposed to? A CT angiogram of the heart is 16 mSv; a lot is being done to try to reduce that, but that is equivalent to 800 chest x-rays. How about a typical nuclear scan? A lot of patients who are treated in cardiology get this done every year. At 41 mSv, it’s equivalent to 2000 chest x-rays. But patients aren’t told any of this. And not only that, but we could actually measure exactly how many mSv they got by using the same type of radiation badges that the medical professionals use when they work in a cardiac cath lab or in an x-ray suite. But we don’t do that. This is a serious breach of our responsibility to patients.

We have a very important problem here with this runaway use of radiation procedures but no accountability with respect to patients’ exposure. This has come to a crisis point in children. Children who have a diagnosis of a pediatric malignancy, for example, go through all sorts of radiation imaging, and there have been clear-cut trends that this is increasing. It’s worrisome and, in fact, it could even engender additional problems in children burdened with cancer. We really need to change this.

In a digital world, this information could be collected from birth. Every individual should have their mSv exposure through medical imaging recorded cumulatively throughout their life and added to their electronic health record. Hopefully we’ll see that change come about in the future. This is something that’s a big hole in the current way that we work in medicine.

 

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/775659?src=wnl_edit_medp_wir&spon=17

 

Thomas Martin

 

Acupuncture Profession In Crisis

20 Dec

“Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking...”  Steve Jobs

 

I was speaking with a colleague, a fairly recent graduate of a local acupuncture/Oriental Medicine school. She graduated 5 or 6 years ago and told me that she is abandoning her acupuncture career and training for an alternative career. She also told me she knows five other acupuncturist friends from the same class all of whom are looking for work elsewhere.

None of these acupuncturists are surviving on the income from their practices. My colleague, now in her early 40s, stated she has not been able to buy a house and “will never be able to pay off her student loan” because of her career choice. As I will outline below, this is by no means an isolated experience but a widespread phenomenon amongst a majority of acupuncture school graduates. I will show that to make matters worse the very opposite — that acupuncturists are doing well —  is being actively promoted online.

It has long been rumored in the profession that a high percentage of acupuncture graduates fail in their practices in the first few years. Over 50% is a number that has been suggested for many years now.

Unemployment and underemployment among acupuncture program graduates is as alarming as it is under-reported.

It’s surprising that the acupuncture profession as a whole does not collect income data. Chiropractors and massage therapists have Bureau of Labor Statistics data, acupuncturists don’t. The only serious professional attempt to ascertain an approximate income picture are these two papers:

The U.S. Acupuncture Workforce: The Economics of Practice by Steven H. Stumpf, EdD, Clifford R. Carr, EdD, Shauna McCuaig, MAcOM, LAc, Simon J. Shapiro, DO, DAOM, LAc and

Unveiling the United States Acupuncture Workforce, by Steven H. Stumpf, EdD,Mary L. Hardy, MD, D. E. Kendall, OMD, LAc, and Clifford R. Carr, EdD. Both papers are posted in full below with the approval of Dr. Stumpf. Unless otherwise indicated all the italicized quotes are from these papers

Despite the existence of national organizations representing the training programs, licensed members, regulatory boards, and an accreditation body recognized by Department of Education, the acupuncture workforce remains outside the healthcare mainstream (Stumpf et al., 2010). For example, valid longitudinal information describing the acupuncture workforce is simply unavailable in the U.S. A recent review by Stumpf et al. (2010) describes a handful of published studies that provide a minimal depiction of how licensed acupuncturists (LAcs) practice e.g., how many hours they work weekly, their annual earnings, and employment arrangements. As a result, it is nearly impossible for aspiring practitioners to acquire accurate information about practice characteristics and, thereby, forecast their potential to practice successfully.

In the surveys analysed in these papers the majority of acupuncturists are earning a gross income of $20,000 to $50,000 per year. But to emphasize how painfully low these numbers are we need to remember that up to half of this gross income will be taken up with tax, liability insurance, rent, practice expenses, continuing education, health care insurance, loan repayment and so on. That’s a take-home income for the majority of practitioners of close to $10,000 to $25,000 per year.

Three states together—California, New York, and Florida— account for approximately 15,050 or 52.8% of all LAcs in the nation (Zabik, 2009). Approximately 37.7% of the LAcs in these three states earn less than $20,000 per year (Acupuncture Today, September 2010). For these graduates the reality of paying back their student loan debt may be viewed as beyond their reach.

For a health-care profession seeking attention as a serious player in today’s increasingly integrated medicine this is shameful, reflecting poorly on the nation’s acupuncture schools that continue to churn out unsuspecting graduates.

Generally speaking, the respondents to these independent surveys charge fees between $20 and $65 per patient visit; work approximately 30 or fewer hours per week; and generate median gross incomes between $20,000 and $50,000.

50% of the licensed acupuncture (LAc) workforce is working less than 30 hr weekly; 50% are earning less than $50,000 on average; and the number of LAcs working independently in practice, either in their own office or sharing one, has increased from approximately 75% to 90%.

It would be reasonable to assume that the situation regarding the financial viability of the acupuncture profession is worse than is outlined in this already dismal picture. Income data gathering of the independent groups within the acupuncture profession referenced in the above papers, most focusing on a treatment style, is likely to contain numerous biases in favor of higher numbers of clients seen and income received for their favored treatment approach.

Self reporting, a significant factor in the surveys reported, is likely influenced by “professional shame” in lacking success, and other psychological factors. Independent data gathering is the only sure path to statistical clarity but such scientific and transparent data seem absent in the profession.

Graduates of the prominent acupuncture training program who completed surveys for this paper averaged $86,979 in student loan debt in 2009. At present, ~65% are enrolled in programs that “kick the can down the road.”

I would submit that most acupuncturists can’t support themselves without either taking a day job, getting health-care insurance and financial support through a spouse, not having children, indefinite student loan debt deferment, living in rental accommodation long-term, relying on financial resources accumulated from prior employment, and many other creative or luck based factors.

Acupuncture schools to this day remain stubbornly entrenched in teaching hopelessly archaic and metaphysically-based programs, indoctrinating students into an anti-modern medicine, or at least separate but equal mindset. “Alternative paradigm” and “Eastern Doctor” are labels often used, though oriental medicine is in fact a diverse mix of different theories and practices, not a relatively unified field — such as is biomedicine. Which, by the way, is the largest , most culturally diverse, globally collaborative medicine in history. The term “Western Medicine” is simply not accurate. Chinese, Korean, Japanese biomedical researchers and doctors are major contributors to modern medicine. Either join this global ongoing scientific revolution or remain in increasing obscurity. It’s hard to see it any other way.

It is important to note that the elaborate theory of energy meridians that acupuncture students must learn has no scientific evidence despite a decades long research effort. (Many acupuncturists/researchers have discussed this fact, Yun-Tao Ma Phd. LAc. for example. See also http://www.ivis.org/proceedings/aaep/2000/220.pdf)

Surprisingly, there is excellent scholarship indicating that the theory of “energy flow” and energy meridians was not the basis of ancient Chinese Medicine, but instead a recently added Western metaphysical concept, with blood flow being the central dynamic feature: http://www.tedpriebe.com/documents/Kendall_SJIM_meridians.pdf

http://tedpriebe.com/documents/Anatomical_Foundations_of_Chinese%20Med.pdf

There are strong sub-beliefs within the profession of certain acupuncture styles working better than others. The evidence of treatment efficacy however does not support this apparent diversity, showing no appreciable difference in outcomes between traditional, neo-traditional, new age contemporary and modern medical acupuncture such as Dry Needling. Fads, charismatic teachers, novelty and reference to ancientness continue to generate new acupuncture styles, in effect creating a kind of surrogate evidence of efficacy.

Acupuncture school graduates enter the workforce set up for isolation in the contemporary medical milieu. Questioning and critical thinking is actively discouraged in acupuncture schools, and graduates are often equipped with a New Age attitude that their success or failure depends on their “energy” to attract success, and not on socioeconomic factors and the inadequacy of their training.

Over 90% have no alternative but to develop private practices in a time when increasingly, standard medical practitioners are finding it unviable to do so. Only 4% of acupuncturists are employed in contemporary medical facilities. The few employment opportunities available within the profession often entail low hourly rates, no benefits such as vacation pay or health-care insurance, or other types of professional support. In such low-paid acupuncture industry situations, clients are usually treated in clinics by groups of acupuncturists, thereby diluting the practitioner/client relationship. Treatment of a particular client is often repeated at length with little or no consistent treatment plan.

Insurance reimbursements to acupuncturists are continually being reduced and client deductibles continue to rise. Medical spending is at its lowest rate in five decades.

There is a very limited job market for acupuncturists, with the only significant employers being acupuncture schools and drug treatment programs . . . Opportunities for acupuncturists to participate in the health care system in the same way other providers do are limited

The future, IMHO

We have a profession whose central defining practice (acupuncture) can be just as effectively utilized in a simple, fairly easily learned way, in a form entirely integrated within modern biomedicine. Oriental medicine is not the primary reason clients seek out an acupuncturist, they just want to get better and have heard that acupuncture might help. If they go often enough they may become suborned into the mindset of energy and meridians, but the original motivation holds; desire for improved health. The question arises, is an independent professional future even realistic for acupuncturists?

The status quo means increasing marginalization and a “99%” type scenario, with a few practitioners doing well and the majority struggling or failing. Income by acupuncturists will decline further as will professional standards. Getting acupuncture may become like having a chair massage. As the above income data becomes more commonly known, acupuncture schools will likely see a fall off in enrollment.

Simple acupuncture techniques like Dry Needling, and Biomedical Acupuncture based on contemporary science and physiology, will be increasingly appropriated by other medical professions. These approaches, sensitive to evidence-based updates, have shown the same outcomes as traditional styles in studies, yet can be taught in a short time to appropriately medically trained individuals.

Many researchers have pointed out that the type of acupuncture doesn’t make a difference in outcomes: To quote Dr. Andrew Vickers, a longstanding acupuncture researcher:

The type of acupuncture didn’t seem to make a difference to the results, said Dr. Vickers. “Some acupuncturists will tell you not to go to such and such a person because that person doesn’t put the needles in the right way, or they don’t use the right theories, or they’re not as well trained, but the particular type of acupuncture you get doesn’t seem to make a large difference.”

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/770646

 

A Possible Alternative

The acupuncture profession as we now see it may well become an obscure historical  entity harking back to a proud isolated alternative medicine  mindset of the 1970′s.

Acupuncture colleges that have the foresight and freedom from current metaphysical dogma could develop primary care programs similar to those of NP’s and PA’s and teach modern biomedical acupuncture and functional medicine based herbology and nutrition. If they did this, high quality students would be attracted and new jobs for graduates would become available within the medical establishment. Current  practices and products could be sifted by the transparent clarity of modern scientific medicine, brought into the 21st century through critical review and evidence.

Such colleges could also teach short acupuncture courses to other medical professions, having some play in what is inevitable anyhow.

These colleges would have an ethical responsibility to link success of their programs to the ability of graduates to pay down their loan debts in a prescribed period of time, thereby linking curriculum to actual job markets and the contemporary medical ethos. This responsibility, it seems, is currently evaded by most acupuncture schools.

The colleague I mentioned at the beginning of the article stated that although she enjoys the work, she would not choose to be an acupuncturist if she had her time all over again. Another colleague who has been in practice 15 years expressed the same sentiment. One wonders how many others among the nation’s practicing acupuncturists would concur?

Misinformation abounds on the web…

“A licensed acupuncturist after one year out of school can expect to make $45,000 a year and up. After five years in practice, one’s income should approach $100,000.

$200,000-300,000 a year is not unrealistic within 10 years in practice.”

From acufinder.com

“The starting salary of individuals in this profession averages $49,844 annually. Salaries after 10 years of practice peak at $133,700 annually.”

From toptenreviews.com

This website actually places ‘acupuncturist’ as a job receiving the highest salary among nine other medical professions.

“Average annual salary for a Licensed Acupuncturist is $51716 based on statistics in the U.S. as of 2013.”

From jobgeeks.com

Note the over-sell, the casual misinformation, the confusion of ‘salary’ with business revenue, and the attractiveness of it all for the unsuspecting applicant prepared to put themselves into major debt. A debt they are likely not to pay off in over 10 years in practice, or even in another career.

Even the Council Of Colleges Of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM) happily perpetuates this deception. Note the following FAQ from their website -

How much can an AOM practitioner expect to earn?

There are approximately 20,000-25,000 AOM licensees throughout the United States. A recent estimate, which is based on job postings, reports an annual income range between $30,000-$60,000 and notes that gross annual income can be as much as $105,000.

CCAOM must know that there are very few “job postings” for the 20,000 to 25,000 acupuncturists mentioned. What is the hope for honesty and transparency if a major professional organization prefers to present myth over truth.

Occasionally one can find clear criticism of the confusing presentation of income data, deliberate or otherwise, as with this post questioning the Oregon College Of Oriental Medicine’s graduate data by Lisa Rohleder LAc – OCOM Redefines Acupuncture as a Hobby for Girls -

That would be “the Sugar Daddy business model”, in which an acupuncturist asserts that  he or she is successful in his or her practice, because in reality he or she doesn’t need to earn a living, since his or her partner/husband/ wife has a real job and supports their household. Plenty of acupuncturists, regardless of gender, claim this kind of success. https://www.pocacoop.com/prick-prod-provoke/post/ocom-re-defines-acupuncture-as-a-hobby-for-girls

 

 A Decision Based On The Facts

Remember the quote above from Steve Stumpf et al. “it is nearly impossible for aspiring practitioners to acquire accurate information about practice characteristics and, thereby, forecast their potential to practice successfully.”

So if you’re thinking of going to acupuncture school here’s how it probably shapes up. Not inevitable, but likely, based on the experience of the majority.

For the first few years after graduation it’s touch and go if you are even able to stay in practice – most likely you will be struggling to set up a private practice outside the support employment offers. If you survive that, statistically speaking you need to have a spouse to support you and to get health-care insurance through. Or you will need another source of income such as another job, an inheritance, savings, something. Frugality is good!

If you gain employment in the industry, such as detox clinics or low cost public health facilities, you will be part-time, without benefits, often treating the same individuals over and over with a vague or no treatment plan. There will be no union watching out for you.

In some measure you will be deferring your $80,000 to $100,000 loan debt, so forget about buying a house and treat your old car well. You will feel the need to learn new acupuncture styles and do business development courses. There are plenty of people ready to bill your credit card for these.

You’ll need to keep up with CEU’s, and pay Liability Insurance. You’ll find yourself with a whole set of beliefs that other medical practitioners don’t seem to care about. You’ll wonder why the Law Of Attraction isn’t working for you…

Or you may be one of the lucky ones – your acupuncture program would have quietly encouraged that feeling all through your training.

But, for sure, you are a good person, sincerely wanting to help others, and life is indeed an adventure of endless learning, not a bank account. Stay flexible, be creative, jettison most of your acupuncture college training, re-discover your own thinking. Learn from your clients: they, your real teachers will be paying you! Change direction if needed. Enjoy making small differences, as in real life; they are the differences that count. Good luck.

 

______________________

Workforce_CHPR_Dr. Stumpf_2010 CHPR374640_Mainstreaming_Stumpf

CHPR374640_Mainstreaming_Stumpf

______________________

May, 2013

Thomas Martin LAc.

http://www.wellnessclarity.com/?p=183

______________________

 The following is a letter from a recent Acupuncture School  graduate who read the above post. The statistics outlined in the post reveal that Michael’s difficult journey, which by no means has yet ended, is shared by a great many. Their plight, in most cases, is not from personal lack of talent or hard work but from deliberate and passive misinformation  disseminated from professional schools and organizations.

Hi Thomas-

Thank you for your blog entry “Acupuncture Profession in Crisis”. 

I had a rough two years after graduating from Tri-State Collge of Acupuncture in 2011. I simply couldn’t make any money in acupuncture (I lost money, actually). With that, my confidence dropped and eventually had such a problem with anxiety and panic attacks that I stopped practicing. I have $140K debt (including personal) and was so optimistic that I would pay the loans back. But working in acupuncture in NYC means community acupuncture, which was half of what I made as a waiter. 

It’s very sad, but I knew that if I didn’t leave, I would be wasting precious time that could be used to find a profession where I could make better money. 

While it makes me angry, to think the school promised so much, I kick myself for not looking further. I don’t want acupuncture to go away, but I think people need to know the facts. 

Thank you again. I hope more people thinking of going into acupuncture will read this entry!

Best-
Michael 

October 2013

Thomas Martin LAc.

 

 

 

 

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Health Benefits of Coffee

25 Jun

While caffeine has been  demonized by CAM practitioners for decades an increasing number of studies are supporting tea and coffee consumption in moderated daily quantities (even in some studies what would generally be considered excessive consumption). Coffee which contains numerous flavonoids, chlorogenic acid and the antioxidant caffeine, has been shown to to reduce incidence of several diseases and support healthy brain function.

A study conducted at the University of South Florida and the University of Miami involving 124 people aged 65 to 88 was published 6/5/12 in the Journal Of Alzheimer’s Disease. It showed that those individuals with the highest blood caffeine levels actually avoided conversion of mild memory impairment to Alzheimers disease in the 2 to 4 year period in which the study was conducted.

“These intriguing results suggest that older adults with mild memory impairment who drink moderate levels of coffee — about 3 cups a day — will not convert to Alzheimer’s disease — or at least will experience a substantial delay before converting to Alzheimer’s,” said study lead author Dr. Chuanhai Cao, a neuroscientist at the USF College of Pharmacy and the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute. “The results from this study, along with our earlier studies in Alzheimer’s mice, are very consistent in indicating that moderate daily caffeine/coffee intake throughout adulthood should appreciably protect against Alzheimer’s disease later in life.”

 

The following article published by the Life Extension Foundation, an integrative medicine research organization, outlines the numerous health benefits of coffee -

 http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2012/jan2012_Discovering-Coffees-Unique-Health-Benefits_01.htm 

  • Decaffeinated and caffeinated coffee lowered the risk of kidney stones in women by 9 and 10%, respectively.
  • Caffeinated coffee reduced the incidence of gallstones and gall bladder disease in both men and women.
  • Scientists found that coffee boosted regular weight loss by 8 pounds and promoted body fat metabolism.
  • Sometimes-inconsistent findings have generally linked coffee drinking with reduced all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality.
  • For athletes, caffeine reduced muscle pain, increased energy (ergogenic aid), and enhanced endurance.
  • One study found caffeine, taken 2 hours before exercise, prevented exercise-induced asthma.
  • Confirming earlier research, a 2011 study on over 50,000 women found that 4 cups of coffee daily lowered the risk of depression by 20%, compared to coffee abstainers.
  • Antibacterials in coffee were found to inhibit plaque formation and prevent dental decay.
  • Whether caffeinated or decaffeinated, coffee consumption prevents constipation  and – despite the myth that coffee dehydrates the body – contributes to the body’s fluid requirements.
  • Caffeine is believed to boost by 40% the effectiveness of pain relievers against headaches. Caffeine also helps the body absorb headache medications more quickly.

      A large, as-yet-unpublished study presented October 24, 2011, found that men and women with the highest coffee consumption have a 13% and 18% lower risk, respectively, for  basal cell carcinoma (a type of skin cancer).129

      The May 14, 2011, issue of Breast Cancer Research reported that postmenopausal women who consumed 5 cups of coffee daily exhibited a 57% decrease in their risk of developing ER-negative

      A promising study appeared in the June 8, 2011, issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The research team reported that men who drank over 6 cups of coffee a day had an 18% lower risk of prostate cancer – and a 40% lower risk of aggressive or lethal prostate cancer.

      A 2009 meta-analysis in the Annals of Internal Medicine combined data on over 450,000 people and found that every additional cup per day of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee lowered the risk of diabetes by 5 to 10%.

     Caffeinated coffee has also been associated with protection against Parkinson’s disease, the second most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s. A study of 29,000 individuals found that one to four cups daily decreased the risk of Parkinson’s by 47% and 5 or more cups decreased the risk by 60%.

     Many epidemiological studies show that the risk of diabetes drops directly according to the amount of coffee consumed. For instance, scientists found that overall risk is reduced by:

  •                1. 13% with one cup a day
  •                2. 47% with 4 cups a day,
  •                3. 67% with 12 cups a day.

It’s noted that most of the benefits outlined are available with decaffeinated coffee as well. Also for many people coffee is the major or only source of  polyphenols in the diet so those consuming a whole foods largely plant-based diet will already likely have significant reduction in incidence of diseases mentioned above. It’s also difficult to deduce which of the 1,000 phytochemicals contained in coffee are responsible for improved health though chlorogenic acid and caffeine may have significant play in neurodegenerative disorders.

 

Thomas Martin LAc.

Chilli Peppers for Heart Health and Pain

1 Apr

Substances found in chilli peppers called capsaicin and capsaicinoids have been shown to relax blood vessels in the heart to increase blood flow, reduce cholesterol and blood pressure.

The team found, for instance, that capsaicin and a close chemical relative boost heart health in two ways. They lower cholesterol levels by reducing accumulation of cholesterol in the body and increasing its breakdown and excretion in the feces. They also block action of a gene that makes arteries contract, restricting the flow of blood to the heart and other organs. The blocking action allows more blood to flow through blood vessels.

“We concluded that capsaicinoids were beneficial in improving a range of factors related to heart and blood vessel health,” said Chen, a professor of food and nutritional science at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120327215605.htm

Also see - http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/tc/capsaicin-topic-overview

Thomas Martin LAc.

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More on Yoga Injuries

19 Feb

Pertaining to my Yoga and Transformation post on 1-22-12 http://www.wellnessclarity.com/?p=119 the following article from The New Zealand Herald gives actual statistics from the national accident insurance that all citizens there have largely free access to (ACC).

The article reports that 1000 yoga related injury claims were filed last year. Most claims were for back and neck injuries. To put this in perspective 300,000 claims were made for other sports/exercise injuries.

Also an average of $600 NZ was paid out for each occurrence, indicating that the injuries were likely relatively minor.

The article did indicate injuries are increasing and suggested inexperienced teachers, new ‘fad’ forms of yoga and poor attention to alignment in yoga poses all played a part.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10786455

Thomas Martin LAc.