Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Opinion Corner

I recently read a review from www.tcmstudent.com that I would like to share:

WebMD vs About.com - How patients are being advised

Two great resources for information on health are both About.com and WebMD. Recently articles were published on both with Acupuncture as their focus, trying to talk about all the benefits and risks of Acupuncture. What is most notable is the difference between how they advise you to find an Acupuncturist:

WebMD: If you're interested in trying acupuncture, be sure to tell your doctor first. People with bleeding problems, an active infection, and other health problems aren't advised to try it. To find a certified acupuncturist, your doctor may be able to help. Friends may have suggestions. Check with major academic medical centers. Check with the American Academy of Medical Acupuncturists.

A qualified acupuncturist gets thousands of hours of training. A physician with acupuncture training, however, gets only 200 hours or so of training. "There's a big difference," says Wayne. A qualified acupuncturist will be licensed through state and national boards. Ask the practitioner about his or her years of clinical experience -- that also makes a difference.

Note how at first they say, talk to your doctor and go to the underqualified AAMA, and in the next sentence they tell you that the AAMA is far less trained. Totally inconsistent and not good advice.

ABOUT~Ask your doctor. Many doctors are now providing information to their patients regarding alternative medicine and natural therapies. If you are looking for an acupuncture practitioner, ask your doctor to get tips and advice on where to look.

~ Always check with your local acupuncture association. National acupuncture organizations (which can be found through libraries or Web search engines) may provide referrals to acupuncturists. These associations and organizations are there to provide a professional service and usually check the listed practitioners for qualifications and experience before allowing the practitioner to join. You may like to take this opportunity to learn more about this natural therapy through these organizations who are very helpful with information.

Now we're talking. Tell your doc, and then call the state association. Finally good consistent information. I love how they say 'Many doctors are NOW providing info' - cause they sure as hell weren't before.

It continues to astound me that many doctors feel qualified to advise on a modality which the majority know nothing about. Working in the medical field, I see daily that most physicians do not prescribe medications or offer consult beyond the scope of their specialty, yet many have no hesitation educating (ahemm, debunking) on alternative therapies with all the authority of Mao. While I always encourage my clients to consult with their doctor and offer to speak with them if they have questions about acupuncture or herbal treatment, I have yet to receive a phone call from a doctor.

As for the AAMA, don't even get me started. Acupuncture is a specialty, not something you can learn in a weekend and certainly not something that you are qualified to practice just because you are an MD. True, in China, MDs perform acupuncture, but the training is a specialty within the medical schools and TCM is widely accepted in hospitals. If someone told you your cardiologist had a 200 hour residency, would you trust in him or would you run out of the office? Be smart. If you are looking for a qualified acupuncturist, go to www.nccaom.org and find out who is certified in your area.


kbug said...

Okay, this doesn't have anything to do with accupuncture, but it does have to do with natural medicine and doctors....ahem.

My hubby was put on cholesterol pills over a couple years ago because his count got a little high. He started out on Lipitor, which left him lethargic, and then went to Crestor, which seemed to do the trick without zapping his energy, but we are very anti-drug and feel that there should be a more natural way to handle such things. So he "asked his doctor" to recommend something besides a drug that he could take to do the same thing. After arguing with him for some time, the doctor finally relented and told him to try Red Yeast Rice, a natural herb. He's been taking that regularly for over a year now and all seems to be well with his cholesterol. Hmmmm........interesting, dontcha think???

Did I tell you that I think our society is over-medicated??? :)

JING Acupuncture said...

Wow - that your doctor was holdng out on you huh?! Something else that is great is hawthorn (Shan Zha). You can get the tea at most grocery stores and it is fantastic not only for high cholesterol, but also aids in the digestion of greasy/fatty foods(aka food stagnation). Not a bad flavor of tea either!

kbug said...

Thanks, doc..... :) I'll check it out next time I'm at the store.

kbug said...

I was just reading back through your blog and came across the do-it-yourself accupressure treatment for high cholesterol. Where can I learn more about this?

JING Acupuncture said...

The site from this doc is http://www.emofree.com/downloadeftmanual.asp?ref=prw-cholest I read through some of the 80-odd page manual and the theory is sound, but I am not thrilled with the all-MD/no LAc advisory board. There are also lots of books out there discussing acupressure and reflexology for a variety of conditions - see which ones resonate with you.