Sunday, September 03, 2006

Blanket Marketing

One of the woes of living in the Midwest is selling people on the success of Acupuncture and Oriental medicine treatment. Unlike the coasts, where acupuncture is an established complementary therapy, many here regard the modality with suspicion and doubt. I have had people say to me flatly, "I don't believe in any of that." I have found that explaining acupuncture is not a belief system but a medical one makes little difference. The blank stare can be most frustrating.

On the up side, the majority of people who seek out treatment here have done their internet research and understand the potential and the limitations of treatment as well as the need to give ample time to allow the medicine to work. Some know very little and come because someone they know recommended it, but are eager to learn as much as they can. There are also those who may want to give it a try but put everything into a western medical context - I say "blood deficiency", they think "anemia." Needless to say, a big part of a practitioner's practice is education. The following article is must-have waiting room reading material.

Alternative Health: Making acupuncture connect

Written by Robert Gluck
Thursday, 31 August 2006

The theory behind the practice of acupuncture continues to confound Western science, but despite the lack of understanding, its popularity is on the up...

This therapy, originating in Asia, is based on the concept that currents of energy called meridians flow through your body. However, no one has ever been able to conclusively demonstrate the existence of these meridians.

Despite the evasiveness of these energy streams, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) holds that alterations in these energy flows can disrupt health and cause pain. Consequently, an acupuncturist punctures your skin with specialised needles to redirect the body's vital energy.

Alleviating Illness
Despite the fact that western scientists have not been able to find satisfactory evidence of the existence of these energetic meridians, studies show that acupuncture works and is especially effective at relieving pain. This therapy has been used to alleviate a variety of conditions including chronic pain, nausea and even mental illness. In addition, some practitioners apply it to those trying to shake off the chains of drug addiction. (More recently, many practitioners now also successfully use acupuncture to relieve physical problems in animals.)

Of course, no matter what your perspective on this therapy, acupuncture's no panacea.

While you might use acupuncture to relieve the discomforts of chemotherapy, you wouldn't use this technique as your primary weapon against a dangerous disease like cancer. Still, this reliable therapy occupies a welcome spot as an adjunct to many mainstream therapies.

Consequently, many mainstream practitioners accept the validity of using acupuncture and many managed care companies reimburse this therapy. Some HMOs even keep a list of approved acupuncturists that they make available to enrolees.

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