Thursday, June 29, 2006

Data Bits 2

For those that believe if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it must be a random coincidence, here are some objective findings.

Literary search and editing by Francine L. Comtois, sec. trés. of the ACDM

Acupuncture would help to relieve the chronic headaches, migraine in particular. Such are the conclusions of a clinical study, carried out in England and in Wales, which was published in British Medical Journal. The study was made with an aim of evaluating if acupuncture could be rather effective, in the case of the headaches, to be integrated into the free care of the system of public health in England.

For 12 months, the researchers followed 401 patients suffering from chronic headaches, mainly of migraines. These patients had been divided randomly in two groups: one received up to 12 treatments of acupuncture for three months, while the others (which were used as reference group) were treated by a usual medication. The gravity of the headaches among patients of the two groups was measured, after 3 and 12 months; the researchers also evaluated, every three months, the need to take drugs or to consult a doctor.

After 12 months, the results showed that the headaches had decreased more in the group treated by acupuncture (reduction of 34%) that in the group which received a medication (reduction of 16%). The patients, who belonged to the group treated by acupuncture, counted on average 22 days fewer headaches per year. Compared with the reference group, they, during this period, had used 15% less drugs, makes 25% less medical visits and taken 15% less sick leave.

The researchers thus concluded from it that acupuncture produces beneficial and persistent effects among patients suffering from chronic headaches, especially from migraines. These conclusions were however criticized, in particular by famous Dr. Edzard Ernst, of the Laing Pulpit of complementary medicines at the Peninsula Medical School of the university of Exeter in England. According to him, being given the methodology of the study, the waitings of the patients could influence the effects allotted to the treatments of acupuncture.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Chinese Herbal Therapy

One of the more amusing points that many conforming MDs make is that herbal therapies do not work and any improvement in condition is a mere coincidence stemmed from the disease running its course. How quickly they forget the Foxglove-Digitalis connection or, more recently, Eli Lilly's use of tropical periwinkle in the development of the anti-cancer drugs Velban and Oncovin. Often times it seems that nothing is ever effective until it can be patented for profit (as a side note, I recently learned that the reason a lot of drugs are coming out with extended-release versions because the patent has run out and it is a method to continue having people buy the name-brand). It also seems many resort to amusing derogatory sound-bites rather than genuine research and a treatment of their own. Despite their claims of voodoo and kitchen witchery, the naysayers will always have a problem convincing those who have personal empirical evidence that Chinese Medicine works.

CHINESE MEDICINE GAINING RESPECTABILITY IN WEST FDA support for testing of botanical drugs helps boost credibility of ancient herbal treatments
Suzanne B. Thompson, Eugenia Chien, Special to The Chronicle
Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Weary and frightened after 10 years of fighting a losing battle against bronchitis, Sheila Cohen turned two years ago to traditional Chinese medicine. A practitioner from the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at UCSF prescribed herbal pills and teas, as well as deep tissue massage, to boost the 58-year-old's immune system.

Since then, Cohen has been gaining the upper hand on her fight against her chronic problem. Her bronchitis used to flare up at least monthly; now it strikes every eight weeks or so. "That's an accomplishment, and we're going to keep pushing to make (the period between relapses) longer," said Cohen, a San Francisco resident.

UCSF, Kaiser Permanente and Stanford University Medical Center are among a growing number of medical institutions that offer traditional Chinese approaches such as acupuncture, tai chi chuan and meditation as evidence mounts of their effectiveness. Hundreds of studies show clinically significant results with these treatments, including a 2002 review from Harvard Medical School that concluded that acupuncture can safely ease chronic pain as well as nausea caused by chemotherapy and pregnancy. A 2004 Tufts-New England Medical Center review of 47 studies on tai chi found the Chinese discipline of meditative movements promoted cardiovascular fitness in people with chronic conditions.
Studies like these have persuaded medical directors at hospitals to introduce traditional Chinese medicine treatments to their patient services.

"What we have to look at is safety and effectiveness and then integrate it into the system," said Dr. Harley Goldberg, a physician who directs the complementary and alternative medicine program for Kaiser's Northern California division.

One-fifth of the nation's hospitals offered complementary medical services in 2004, more than double the number in 1998, according to the American Hospital Association. Complementary medicine combines the therapies and philosophies of conventional medicine with those of alternative medicines. Influencing this trend is the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, which was founded in 1999 to facilitate the integration of alternative medicine into American institutions and now includes 32 member medical centers, such as Harvard and Columbia universities.

"The cynics say this is all voodoo medicine, and it's placebo," said Dr. Bradly Jacobs, an internist at UCSF's Osher Center. "In my opinion, this is based on empirical experience of what's worked for millennia. There's something to be said for that."

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Friday, June 23, 2006

All But the Qualified

When I was in TCM school, there was a western medical doctor a couple of semesters ahead of me. This gentlemen had come to New Mexico from the Northeast and left his private surgery practice because he felt that in order to be an acupuncturist, he needed to go to a real school and obtain real certification. I admired that because he could have fobbed off with a 200 hour course and billed an outrageous amount for a substandard acupuncture treatment. He knew that anything doing was worth doing right. The trouble is, many people believe in cutting corners and in TCM that results in what I would consider practicing outside the scope of your license and endangering patient safety.

I am not a chiropractor and although I did learn how to do adjustments during the course of my training, I feel that it is inappropriate and a dangerous liability for me to utilize those skills. Yet somehow there is the feeling among chiropractors that because they were trained to manipulate the body that they are somehow qualified to perform acupuncture. They are now canvassing to allow acupuncture to become a part of their scope of practice.The two systems are totally different and a 300 hour course does not cut it. Does this mean massage therapists, nurses, physical therapists, and physican assistants are going to lobby next? This is money grubbing, plain and simple. I fear that our profession will become so compromised that all but the qualified will be able to have a practice.

In the meantime, the AAOM has created a letter stating their position on the matter that can be sent to state and local representatives. I cannot say it enough - I believe that in order for our profession to be truly recognized and respected, there needs to be one national standard: graduation from an accredited school of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and NCCAOM certification. Whether you are a practitioner or a patron, I would urge all to click on the Legislative Advocacy Submittal Form below to help ensure the safety and standards of the TCM profession.

Chiropractic Community Attempts to Expand Scope of Practice

Chiropractic Community Attempts to Expand Scope of Practice
June 22 2006
Greetings Members and Colleagues:

As you may or may not be aware, across the U. S., the Chiropractic Community is attempting to expand Chiropractric Scope of Practice with legislative campaigns for 300 hour programs. Following, please find AAOM's position paper on this matter. Once you have read this position, we request you forward this to your legislative representative.

How to Submit: We have written an introduction for you, which you may change if you like. Our advocacy system does not allow you to attach a document, so the position paper we have written has been placed beneath the introduction that will be sent by you. Please note that based upon the contact information you provide, the advocacy system will automatically submit your position to your designated legislator by name, so please do not address your legislator's name in the context of your communication.

Legislative Advocacy Submittal Form:Chiropractic Scope of Practice on Acupuncture Advocacy Campaign

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sick? Enjoy Your Illness!

When I would get sick as a child, my only prescriptions were fluid, rest, and a little day-time TV. I came to believe that getting sick periodically was good for you and to this day I steer clear of flu shots and anything with the suffix -cillin. A couple of years ago I was sitting in on a lecture by one of the state's leading endochronoligists where she posed the theory that autoimmune diseases were on the rise because the industrialized countries were too clean, and too vaccinated. She believed that the immune system would essentially get bored and attack itself if there was nothing else available. These attacks could come in the form of random new allergies or in the more debilitating diseases such as Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Naturally, her theory stuck a cord with me not only professionally, but personally. While acupuncture and Oriental Medicine may not cure or reverse these diseases, it is a helpful modality in slowing the progression and relieving the symptoms.

`Too Clean' Environments Have A Price
By WILLIAM HATHAWAY, Courant Staff Writer

Acupuncture Relief

Acupuncture reduces symptoms of fibromyalgia, researchers report in the June issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Fibromyalgia is a chronic, debilitating disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue. There is no known cure, and treatment is often difficult.

Mayo Clinic researchers used acupuncture or sham acupuncture treatment on 50 fibryomyalgia patients. They found that symptoms in patients who received acupuncture substantially improved compared with subjects who got sham treatments.

"The results of the study convince me there is something more than the placebo effect to acupuncture," said Dr. David Martin, a Mayo anesthesiologist and author of the study.The value of acupuncture in the treatment of fibromyalgia has been controversial. In two other studies, one found acupuncture to be effective, while another found it offered no pain relief.

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Beneath the Surface

I have a standard speech I give clients that see me for acupuncture treatments. I provide my condensed version of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, theory an explanation of Qi and what it is suppose to feel like, the type of needles I use and how they are disposed of, and expectation of treatment success. While most practitioners have their own routine, I believe it is always helpful to see how others describe the basics.

Acupuncture can relieve pain and abate the symptoms of illnesses, proponents say.

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 06/18/06BY BOBBI SEIDELSTAFF WRITER

For a long time, Stefanie Hay was in constant pain any time she tried to eat.
The Aberdeen teen, 18, had been to numerous medical doctors, her gall bladder had been removed, and she was told to take pain medication, says her mother, Rhonda Hay.

That changed in March 2005, when Stefanie's mom brought her to see acupuncturist Heather L. Poole in Middletown.

"Pretty much immediately when I came here, and she (Poole) put in the needles, I was out of pain," says Stefanie of her treatments, which are continuing. "I feel a lot better. She takes the pain away, and it's improving my digestion, too."

"I hadn't seen Stefanie be happy before that in two years, since before the digestive problems started," says Rhonda Hay, 46. "I knew nothing about acupuncture. But I have a friend whose daughter has epilepsy and very bad migraines. She took her daughter to an acupuncturist, and it got rid of the headaches and reduced the seizures.

"She highly recommended it to us. I never dreamed acupuncture would work this way," she says, adding that she then began treatments.

"My sinuses cleared up. I was on Claritin and don't take it anymore," Rhonda Hay says.

None of this surprises Poole.

"We have proven scientifically through research that acupuncture has a profound effect on the immune system, the endocrine system and the central nervous system," says Poole, 37, whose practice, Ancient Arts Acupuncture, is on Newman Springs Road in the Lincroft section.

"Acupuncture is the oldest professional medicine that exists — more than 3,500 years old — with over a quarter of the world's population using it as a primary modality," says Poole, who has a master's degree in acupuncture, is nationally board-certified and is licensed in New Jersey, Colorado and New York state.

The treatment involves using new, sterile, very tiny needles to stimulate specific areas of the body to promote good health or treat illness.

"The needles are inserted along 14 meridians, or channels, in the body that hold the qi — pronounced "chee' — the vital energy that animates us. The meridians have areas where the qi pools, and those are the acupuncture points," Poole says, holding up a fine needle that looks far thinner than a strand of human hair. "When the qi flows freely in your body, you have good health. When the qi is blocked, you have pain, or your qi will stagnate and manifest as illness in the body. With our needles, we unblock, increase or modulate qi."

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Local Spotlight

I am always happy to see an article on alternative medicine on the front page, but when two fellow acupuncturists who have poured their energy and drive into making the Kentucky acupuncture law a reality, I am ecstatic. I had at least three clients tell me about this piece before I saw it for myself so I have high hopes that this kind of press will broaden awareness and bring people in the door.

Alternative healing Acceptance grows for nontraditional treatment
By Laura Ungar

Danielle Weakland lounged on a recliner as acupuncturist Jeffrey Russell stuck tiny needles into her arms, legs and left ear.

The ancient Chinese treatment is supposed to correct the flow of "qi," or vital energy. Weakland said she hopes it regulates her menstrual cycle, just as it relieved digestive and gallbladder problems in the past. "It's worked wonders," the 27-year-old Louisvillian said.

Despite such endorsements, acupuncture has been unregulated in Kentucky -- until now.
In mid-July, a new state law will require acupuncturists to meet national standards for education and certification, which critics and proponents alike say will bring the practice more into the mainstream. The law is the latest example of a growing trend to lend legitimacy to all sorts of nontraditional medical practices.

More hospitals and physicians across Kentucky and the nation offer "alternative" or "complementary" medicine alongside traditional services.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Broad Spectrum Collaboration

With all of the methods of pain management out there, acupuncturist are often "the last hope." While it is a gratifying challenge to help someone who has had years of long-standing pain issues, there is something fullfilling about hepling someone at the early onset. One of the best ways to reach people with potentially crippling diseases such as MS, Lyme Disease, or chronic fatigue is if more forward thinking doctors suggest acupuncture and other alternative therapies to their patients. When healers work together, the patient always wins.

Acupuncturist focuses on healing mind and body
By Susan Tuz

At age 20, Kelly McGarvey barely had the energy to get through the day. She had to drop out of college and was in chronic pain.
The symptoms had been mounting for over 10 years and McGarvey felt she had lost control of her life.

It was at this time that McGarvey started to see a new medical doctor, and he diagnosed her with chronic Lyme disease. He also recommended that she receive an alternative course of treatment in conjunction with what he could do for her.

McGarvey started a course of acupuncture and herbal treatments administered by Samantha Jacobs, of Ridgefield Acupuncture LLC.

"I came to Sam and she helped me with my problems," McGarvey said. "That was two years ago. Sam helped point me in the right direction. She controlled the inflammation, the pain of Lyme related arthritis. I now have a better range of motion. I sleep better and the chronic fatigue is gone. I've gotten my life back."

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Acupuncture spans culture divide

One of the things that many of us have a hard time with is patience. We are a culture in which instant gratification is not fast enough, and when it comes to healthcare, people want results . . . yesterday. Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is not the instant miracle. While I have had some "eureka" clients who report and physically demonstrate vast improvement as soon as they get off the table, the majority take a few treatments to truly notice a difference. The good news is, since the majority of my clients come to me as a last resort after trying MDs, massage therapists, and chiropractors, they are willing to put in a little more time to see a change. This is a nice story that exemplifies how a little patience can have a lifelong impact.

BENNINGTON — On a cold and dreary day in 1997 in Moldova, Marc Williams woke without the use of his right arm.

Three days earlier, the Akron, Ohio, native felt a tingling sensation that began in his pinky. Over the next few days it spread to his shoulder and eventually became full-blown paralysis of the limb.

At that point, Williams had spent two years in the crumbling former Soviet Republic teaching locals to speak English through the Peace Corps. The village of Cainari had begun to feel like home, but serious illness in a foreign land would scare even the most world-weary traveler.

The weeks went by and every doctor he saw was puzzled by his condition.

"It was just a dead limb," he said. "It was very scary."

He made plans to return to the U.S. and seek the care of specialist. While making his way around the village, saying his good-byes to the impoverished people he was trying to help, suddenly help came to him.

A Soviet trained neurologist and acupuncturist named Natasha found out why Williams was leaving and approached him, asking him to live with her and her husband Octavian until he got better. She said she could treat him with acupuncture. Williams had his doubts. "I didn't really believe that anything was going to happen," he said.

Williams had four days before he was meant to return to the U.S. and figured that one last shot at healing was better than dragging his seemingly dead arm back with him across the Atlantic Ocean. Staying with Natasha and Octavian was the only thing that made sense at the time.

The first treatment yielded no results in terms of his mobility, but he said it provided a deep relaxation. By the third day, Williams woke up, lifted his arm and made a fist. His right arm had been restored to full health. Natasha had really done it.

He canceled the return trip and stayed in Moldova teaching for another year. The experience provided an awakening for Williams, who had planned on going into environmental law after his stint in the Peace Corps. When he came back to the U.S. he attended acupuncturist school and hasn't looked back since.

"Acupuncture is really a miracle to me," Williams said Wednesday at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, where he performs acupuncture once a week at the integrative therapies department.

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Thursday, June 08, 2006


Well, maybe not a huge scandal, but copyright infringement is not something to dismiss. It is amazing to me that people would think in these times that an author would not find out you stole and retranslated his work, but even in the world of alternative medicine, some people are without scruples.

Vietnam facial acupuncture publication violates copyright abroad

A book of facial acupuncture researched by a Vietnamese scientist and published under his name in Vietnam 22 years ago was found recently to have violated copyright in three countries abroad.

Methods in Facial Acupuncture and Gland Therapy (Dien Chan - dieu khien lieu phap) was written by Bui Quoc Chau and published in 1984 by the Minh Hai newspaper.

The publication was recently translated, re-printed, and published in France, Spain and Germany, which is where the problems arose.

The publication was recently translated, re-printed, and published in France, Spain and Germany, which is where the problems arose.

According to the author Chau, his book was initially translated into French and published illegally in 2000 by Switzerland’s publishing house Jouvence under title ‘Le Dien Cham – Une étonnante méthode Vietnamienne de réflexologie faciale’.

The book was undersigned by a French Marie France Muller and Le Quang Nhuan, Chau’s former student in Vietnam, without Chau’s consent.

In 2002, the book was translated from French into Spanish by the two ‘co-authors’ and published by Océano Ambar publishing house and in 2005, the book continued to be translated into German and published in Spain.

Chau said the latter books copied most of the content of his original book, thus he is claiming copyright compensation and a change in the undersigning of the books to his name.

Chau said that in a similar incident in 2004, one of his students plagiarized his unique book of facial acupuncture and translated it into Chinese to be published it in Taiwan.

The student was discovered and had to repay him money for copyright and reprint the book under the author’s name.

Source: Tuoi Tre – Translated by Minh Phat

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Get the Dynasty look

When I was in school, I was trained in how to perform acupuncture facelifts, although the professionally accepted description these days if acupuncture facial rejuvenation. I have begun to get more inquires about this in my practice and I have to say they one of those procedures that are a lot of fun to deliver. The results do not look like a surgical facelift, but then, who wants to spend $30,000 for surgery to have it look like you had surgery? This is a great alternative and nearly everyone I have treated has seen visible and lasting results.

Acupuncture 'facelifts' given to Chinese empresses are now available here, as Charmian Evans reports

The wrinkles say it all - we're getting older. More and more of us don't like what we see in the mirror and are turning back the clock by a variety of methods. Botox injections and facelifts are on the increase, but now there is a method that doesn't involve toxic treatments or surgery.

The acupuncture "facelift" is the latest option. Unlike many other treatments, it has been in use for thousands of years. Cosmetic acupuncture was performed on the Empress (and Emperor's concubines) back in the Sung Dynasty, around 960AD. For centuries the Chinese have known that nourishing the inner body will ensure the face is radiant.

Sharon Yelland has seen the effects acupuncture can have. A qualified nurse and midwife, she trained mainly in China. Back in England, she and two colleagues set up one of the first NHS acupuncture clinics for pregnant women, attracting the interest of Prince Charles, who presented them with a joint award from the Foundation for Integrated Medicine.

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Patients with Four Legs

Because veterinary acupuncture is almost exclusively limited to Doctors of Veterinary Medicine, my personal experience with equine acupuncture has been limited to observational training. Both the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) and its affiliate organization The American academy of Veterinary Acupuncture(AAVA) have done a wonderful job providing continuing educations for veterinarians who want to practice Oriental Medicine techniques. They have nearly 100 members, all DVMs, with the highest number of practitioners in CA, VA, KY, and NJ. Continuing education classes very, but I was delighted to find that the Chi Institute ( takes their education seriously and offers both basic and Master's level course work for those interested in certifying. Who knows - maybe one day there will be an "Official Acupuncturist of the Kentucky Derby."

A Stick in Time
by: Marcia King
June 2006 Article # 7004

Your reining horse isn't sinking as deeply into his hocks as he used to. Your hunter refuses jumps that should be no big deal. Your dressage horse isn't bending properly. Your endurance horse flinches when he's saddled up. It's an old story: Acute or chronic pain that hinders a horse's performance. The traditional treatment usually involves anti-inflammatories coupled with rest or exercise modification. But in the last 30-some years, acupuncture has emerged as an increasingly important component in keeping the performance horse performing.

Lameness is the most common for which acupuncture is used, so acupuncture lends itself quite well for keeping the performance horse sound. "Depending on the individual case, I usually use acupuncture as an adjunct or additional therapy for chronic problems," says Rathgeber. "But I also use acupuncture as a drug-free alternative for pain or discomfort in both acute and chronic cases for shows or if an owner does not want to use drugs. Some horses are very sensitive to anti-inflammatory agents; they don't experience side effects with acupuncture."

Acupuncture is still perceived by some as a last ditch effort, but that appears to be changing. "Recent experience has proven acupuncture to be very helpful in improving the health and performance of the equine athlete in areas where Western medical choices are lacking or unavailable due to medication restrictions," Luckenbill stresses. "Today, acupuncture is a widely used modality in equine sports medicine. Whether used as a stand-alone therapy or in conjunction with other treatment options, acupuncture is gaining in popularity as an integral part of the total health care approach to performance-related soreness."

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