Category Archives: Integrative medicine

THE STATE OF ACUPUNCTURE EDUCATION

 

Acupuncture is an effective low impact therapy that accesses self healing aspects of the bodies neurohormonal system.

Due to increased research in recent years acupuncture has an evidence base greater than many conventional medical treatments.

The efficacy of acupuncture does not depend on the style used. In other words contemporary acupuncture taught in a short course based almost solely on modern anatomy and physiology works as well as traditional approaches taking 3 or 4 years.* This is a game changing point – acupuncture can be taught in a few weeks to qualified medical professionals.

Most contemporary acupuncture schools subject students to unnecessary ideology and traditional detail resulting in the dual burdens of high debt and low income. Essentially students are being inducted into the belief systems of their teachers at great cost to them. As I have shown previously this has financially ruinous consequences and is an ethical travesty.

Most traditional acupuncture training is of low quality with respect to real world application. Most acupuncture education is at least covertly anti-scientific and anti-evidence. Hence the lack of evident change.

Personally I would dissuade a prospective acupuncture student from attending the usual acupuncture education unless they have another medical license such as NP, PA, MD, PT. Or they have another income source or are independently wealthy. If you have one of the above licenses and live in a State which legally sanctions it then I would recommend a short course such as –https://integrativedryneedling.com/

Finally I’m not in the business of telling others what to believe nor am I personally a capital S skeptic nor by inclination or evidence a materialist. If you are interested in natural medicine find a way to do so that is practical and feasible. Be careful thinking you are going to be different from the others; be super successful and pay off a student debt of $60,000 to $100,000 by practicing acupuncture. If you can, get a standard medical degree and learn natural medicine through continuing education.

Don’t divide medicine into Eastern/Western, Traditional/Naturopathic etc. The best medicine is whatever works with the least amount of toxicity and side effects. Natural medicine is not more spiritual than allopathic medicine. All medicine has the potential to be a practice of compassion. Don’t let yourself be indoctrinated by other people’s beliefs, be your own guide.

 

* Researcher Andrew Vickers quoted in –  Medscape Medical News – Neurology. Acupuncture Superior to Placebo, Usual Care for Chronic Pain, Pauline Anderson, September 10, 2012

See also –  http://www.wellnessclarity.com/?p=283

 

 

“Time for Acupuncture to Become Part of Standard Care”

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.