Thursday, December 11, 2008

Unconventional Medicine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - About four in 10 U.S. adults and one in nine children are turning to unconventional medical approaches for chronic pain and other health problems, health officials said on Wednesday.

Back pain was the leading reason that Americans reported using complementary and alternative medicine techniques, followed by neck and joint pain as well as arthritis, according to the survey by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 38 percent of adults used some form of complementary and alternative medicine in 2007, compared to 36 percent in 2002, the last time the government tracked at the matter.

For the first time, the survey looked at use of such medicine by children under age 18, finding that about 12 percent used it, officials said. The reasons included back pain, colds, anxiety, stress and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to the survey.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Live! from the AAAOM Conference

As we wrap up this 5 day seminars, I wanted to share some thoughts of the highlights and low-lights of the conference.

Classical 5-Element Acupuncture with Judy Worsley
I was excited for this seminar.  I use some of the principle in treatment, but was looking for a deeper understanding of the diagnosis and treatment applications, and who better than to learn from.  To the devotees of 5-Element, Judy is a living first degree relic of their messiah. This was also her first conference and she admitted to reluctance and lack of tech-savvy which should have given the organizers pause.  This could have been a bang-up seminar and for the 5E folks, it probably was, but I left with the same knowledge I came in with.  Well, I did learn a lot about her personal life as lover, wife, and widow of her mentor JR Worsley and about general farming practices in the English countryside.  I was hoping for something along the lines of practical application of theory I had in school, but what I got was a half an hour of education and 7.5 hours of anecdotes and on-going audience questions and testimonials that kept the lecture from getting anywhere.  I now understand why it take 4 years to graduate from a 5E acupuncture program - they just keep feeling (without trying to feel) and never get to the point.  
Ethics with Michael Taromina and Betsy Smith
Ohh there is nothing like hearing horror stories from other well-intended practitioners to make you feel maybe flipping burgers would have been a safer career choice!  In all seriousness, Michael was a passionate, knowledgeable speaker and gave a great presentation on the updated code of ethics, risk-management strategies, and overview of the disciplinary process and how to avoid it.  We all need ethics CEU hours and I would say this was the most engaging and useful one I have ever attended. 

Day One
General Session with AAAOM board and special guest Josephine Briggs
As with most of these, there is a lot of introductions, thank yous, and audience commentary.  The bulk of the session discussed herbal initiatives and the state of research, opinions, and use of CAM in the US.  All very informative, however I still think we should focus our attention on uniform national accreditation title with state licensure, as with nurses, physicians, and PT models, but I have ranted on that score so often I am getting sick of the sound of my own keystrokes.

Every Little Bit Counts: Low Back Pain with Matt Bauer
Matt gave an excellent non-cookbook formula for the treatment of back pain.  Not only did he provide great treatment protocols, he also gave us a quick way to calculate the odds of treatment success.  Despite sounding a bit systematic, he is an intuitive practitioner and is more concerned with feeling the flow of energy than hitting a textbook point.  After his workshop, I learned I need to hunker down more with Medical Qi Gong - I think I am finally old enough to handle it. 

Day Two
Insurance Billing with Sam Collins
Wow.  This was the most useful lecture of the conference and I think my practice is going to move in a new direction in the coming months. One thing I adored about his presentation style was his ability to curtail extended questions and commentary - every minute of the presentation was packed with information and he was able to keep from being de-railed.  He also stayed 45-minutes after class to answer individual questions.  I plan on attending one of his seminars in the future and may even sign-up for the consulting service.  I had been investigating adding insurance to my list of services and this makes the process look at lot less daunting. (My frined who went to the Medications to Worry About seminar reported having a lot of good knowledge - I took a miss on it because my FNP Pharmacology class had me Cytochrome P-450'd out!)

Pain & Electroacupuncture with Lixing Lao
I was torn about taking this one as there was an Healing Upper Jiao seminar at the same time, but since my friend went to it (and loved it), I figured I could use the refresher.  There was a lot of review of literature which of course, appeals to my nursing sensibilities.  He provided clear rational for why we set frequencies at certain levels depending on the condition, distal and proximal point use, and electrode placement.  This was quite low-key and an excellent refresher to reinforce knowledge and competence.

Banquet Dinner with guest speaker Serman Chon
Good dinner, but expensive ($75!) if you did not get it as part of the 4-day seminar package. The speaker talked on the history and development of acupuncture education and law in the US and has done research in this area including personal interviews with many of the pioneers.  I suppose this was supposed to be inspiring, but basically what I got out of it is the entire basis for the educational programs of acupuncture schools in this country originated from 4 hippies in a bathroom.  We also could have had a clinical doctorate as an entry to practice almost from the get-go and it was our own who basically sabotaged it because they did not want to be "like western medicine."  I cold go on about this, but I am going to keep my foot stomping, eye-rolling, and sighing to a minimum - just know I am doing it.

Day Three:
Qi Gong with Jeff Nagal
Awesome way to get the day started - he explained theory in just the right amount and gave a great, balanced practice.  I would love to do a seminar with him, especially in light of the high reviews he received from the Upper Jiao seminar.

Scalp Acupuncture with  Xioatian Shen
This started late due to schedule misprint, but he managed to pack in a lot of great new information in a short periods of time.  Excellent case histories were presented and he was an engaging speaker.  I admit I have a personal prejudice that favors native Chinese educators since that is who I learned from.  There are defiantly some new strategies I will take home with me especially in the area of headaches.

Treating Allergies with Rong Shen Lin
Living in the Ohio valley, allergies are a year-long problem for many people.  It was only natural to sign-on for this  - review to come.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Breast Cancer Studies

It is not worth posting the numerous reports out concerning the effectiveness of acupuncture and the alleviation of side effects in the treatment of breast cancer.  Those of us who practice on patients undergoing chemo know how well it works.  So do the patients.  The interesting (well, typically disturbing) thing is, the amount of people already crying foul at the research design.

A double blind study is not possible in acupuncture research and I am sick of people like "Orac" (a self-described humble surgeon scientist that will not give a real name) calling acupuncture studies worthless because of that fact.  Oriental Medicine cannot be researched in the same way pharmaceuticals can be, but that does not mean all positive outcomes are the result of the placebo effect.  Is is so hard for these folks to conceive that for a different system of medicine there needs to be a different system of research design? 

Speaking of double blind randomized control studies,  I am especially surprised that this latest tirade comes from a surgeon.  You know what surgical techniques  you do when you are in the OR during various -ectomys or -astys or the like.  That is not double blind even though the patient selection may be randomized.  It seems we both have our shortcomings.

Such is the plight.  My latest line for people who say "aren't the results all in your head?" is "if that were case, how is it animals get better with acupuncture?"  I am also fond of pointing out that, other than amputation, everything is in your head.  That sounds more snarky than I like to be. Or should be.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Quick Personal Update

Here is the short version:

I opened my new location in August - I bought it after looking at it or over a year and I can now walk to my office!  My clients love the new space and I am already getting booked up!
I have been teaching at Bellamine all summer and will probably have a full Fall/Spring load
I have been taking a few classes for my NP at Bellarmine that are kicking my tush
I have been traveling like crazy and am going to Albuquerque next week for my husbands art show (yeah!)
I have been ignoring this blog for the 3rd time this year 

Will post something meaningful soon!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

In Keeping with the Olympic Spirit

One cannot help hear of the controversies concerning censorship, human rights violations, end environmental nightmares concerning the host city for the 2008 Olympics.  At least we can find humor in some corners.

CHINESE acupuncturist stuck 205 needles into his face, head and body to celebrate Beijing hosting the Olympic games.

Wei Shengchu, attached flags to each needle to represent all the countries participating in the games.

He said: “We are used to seeing people with flags painted on their faces so I thought, why not just put them into your head?”

The self-taught doctor of traditional Chinese medicine inserted the needles one-by-one while spectators took photos and looked on in wonder.

Read and See More

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Yo Ho-Ho and a Bottle Bao He Wan

When I was younger, I thought working for a cruise line would be an amazing job.  I had actually considered it when I got my RN but did not want to leave my acupuncture practice.  If this becomes a continuing trend, I may have to consider a little working vacation!

LOS ANGELES, July 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Enriching its portfolio of wellness opportunities, Crystal Cruises is introducing onboard acupuncture, along with a menu of Chinese herbs revered for restoring and enhancing health, beauty and longevity. A menu of optional acupuncture treatments, launching this month on Crystal Serenity, focuses on weight loss, pain management, stress reduction, detoxification, smoking cessation, facial rejuvenation and even sea sickness.

"For many, a vacation offers the freedom to try something new," says Thomas Mazloum, senior vice president, hotel operations. "Whether one is just curious or one wants to pursue new treatments, acupuncture complements Crystal's myriad of onboard wellness activities, which have transformed guests into devotees of disciplines like yoga or reflexology or Spinning(R)."

Acupuncture is a technique of inserting and manipulating fine needles into specific points on the body to ease pain and for other therapeutic purposes. According to the World Health Organization and other reputable entities, acupuncture helps relieve aches and pains; stimulate weight loss; alleviate stress; detoxify the body; smoking cessation; seasickness; and anti-aging.

The Crystal acupuncture program includes:

-- Onboard acupuncturist - Nancy Kerastas, Crystal Serenity's licensed acupuncture physician, has been practicing the art since 2002;

-- Menus of Chinese herbs - Includes remedies that reactivate the body's fat-burning process; stabilize blood sugar metabolism; and relieve swollen or immobile joints; and

-- Shipboard seminars - Three to five classes will be held per cruise, discussing acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and Feng Shui practices and benefits.

Guests receive pre-session consultations to discuss their conditions and medical histories. Cost is $150 for a 60-minute session and can be booked through Crystal's Feng Shui-designed spa.

Crystal also offers complimentary yoga, Pilates and newly introduced "Tour de Spin" cycling classes, and an exclusive Walk on Water(R) program utilizing weighted vests to increase resistance. The line continues its partnership with the esteemed Cleveland Clinic to feature onboard lectures and seminars with leading medical experts.

In December 2008, and in 2009 both Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity host Mind, Body & Spirit theme cruises, focusing on general wellness through classes and discussions with guest instructors in Tai Chi, yoga, Pilates and general fitness.

For additional information and Crystal reservations, please contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit the luxury line's website,

CONTACT: Mimi Weisband 310-203-4302

Crystal Cruises

Web site:

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A little acupuncture humor

From The Daily Mash (UK)


ACUPUNCTURE is extremely effective at making tiny holes all over the body, the biggest ever study of the ancient Chinese remedy has revealed. 

Researchers commissioned by the Acupuncture Society tested the needle-based complementary therapy on 2,000 patients, all of whom reported small holes in their skin after treatment.

The Institute for Studies then gave a control group of 2,000 different patients no acupuncture at all, after which they were examined and found to be entirely hole free.

Report author Henry Brubaker said: "If even one patient given the needle treatment had come back without a hole I might have had my doubts, but this shows that acupuncture works.

"As you can see, when the needle is pushed into the patient’s skin it breaks through the outer layer and so creates a tiny hole. But even after you remove it, the hole remains. Still think it's all in the mind?"

Julian Cook, president of the Acupuncture Society, welcomed the report as a major piece of scientific research and excellent value for money.

He said: "A report came out last week that said acupuncture is no help whatsoever if you are trying to get up the duff. Call that science? What about China?

"Those guys are pumping them out so fast they have laws against it. Ever tried counting them? All you need to do is show a Chinese woman a needle and she’s pregnant. You don’t even need sperm."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Who needs the PDR?

Only a few lines in this piece are about acupuncture, but I thought it was worth posting for the subject matter alone.  The thing they do not mention is that the PDR does not include drugs that are off patent, so it is basically a sales rep disguised as an important looking book.

8 drugs doctors wouldn't take
If your physician would skip these medicines, maybe you should, too
By Morgan Lord

With 3,480 pages of fine print, the Physicians' Desk Reference (a.k.a. PDR) is not a quick read. That's because it contains every iota of information on more than 4,000 prescription medications. Heck, the PDR is medication — a humongous sleeping pill. 

Doctors count on this compendium to help them make smart prescribing decisions — in other words, to choose drugs that will solve their patients' medical problems without creating new ones. Unfortunately, it seems some doctors rarely pull the PDR off the shelf. Or if they do crack it open, they don't stay versed on emerging research that may suddenly make a once-trusted treatment one to avoid. Worst case: You swallow something that has no business being inside your body. 

Of course, plenty of M.D.'s do know which prescription and over-the-counter drugs are duds, dangers, or both. So we asked them, "Which medications would you skip?" Their list is your second opinion. If you're on any of these meds, talk to your doctor. Maybe he or she will finally open that big red book with all the dust on it.

Once nicknamed "super aspirin," Celebrex is now better known for its side effects than for its pain-relieving prowess. The drug has been linked to increased risks of stomach bleeding, kidney trouble, and liver damage. But according to a 2005 New England Journal of Medicine study, the biggest threat is to your heart: People taking 200 mg of Celebrex twice a day more than doubled their risk of dying of cardiovascular disease. Those on 400 mg twice a day more than tripled their risk, compared with people taking a placebo.

Your new strategy: What you don't want to do is stop swallowing Celebrex and begin knocking back ibuprofen, because regular use of high doses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can lead to gastrointestinal bleeding. A safer swap is acupuncture. A German study found that for people suffering from chronic lower-back pain, twice-weekly acupuncture sessions were twice as effective as conventional treatments with drugs, physical therapy, and exercise. The strategic needling may stimulate central-nervous-system pathways to release the body's own painkillers, including endorphins and enkephalins, says Duke University anesthesiologist Tong-Joo Gan, M.D.

Read More

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Well, I knew it was bound to happen.  Doctors don't need acupuncture training to add it to their service list, chiropractors just assume they are qualified to be acupuncturists with or without a "certification course,"  and now physical therapists are getting in on the act!

Needling' Becoming More Popular To Treat Pain

DENVER (CBS4) ― Some physical therapists in Colorado are offering an alternative treatment for chronic muscle pain and stiffness.

On Tuesday, CBS4 health specialist Kathy Walsh sat in on a session of the new treatment called "trigger point dry needling."

Using very thin, solid needles to penetrate deep into areas of tension, dry needling promises to stimulate, reset and relax muscles.

One satisfied dry needling patient is Sgt. First Class Lee Holloway. According to Holloway, dry needling is an effective way to relieve muscle tension.

Although similar to acupuncture, Keil says that dry needling is actually its own distinct practice. 

"It's a very Western concept of muscle anatomy," said Keil. "As compared to the Eastern concept of the meridian through acupuncture."

Some licensed acupuncturists are skeptical of this claim.

The president of the Acupuncture Association of Colorado, Nancy Bilello, says dry needling is just a dubious form of acupuncture.

"Dry needling is the same thing as acupuncture with far less training and very little regulation," said Bilello.

While licensed acupuncturists must have a minimum of 1,800 hours of training, physical therapists hoping to practice dry needling require only 46 hours of training, according to Bilello,

Despite concerns like Bilello's, in 2005 the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies did approve dry needling for practice by trained physical therapists.

Read More

Friday, May 09, 2008


Acupuncture. Put needles in. Take needles out. All out? Yes, all out. Periodically, patients with fluffy hair or slippery clothing may have a souvenir left when they put on their hat or pull on their socks due to obstruction of the needle. However, the following is a serious example of when not having a system for insertion and withdrawal can cause a heap of trouble.

Acupunture patient left with 'forgotten' needle

May 9 2008 Media Wales

An acupuncture patient returned home from treatment with a two-inch needle stuck in her back, she said today.

Back pain sufferer Wendy Dempsey had her first acupuncture session on Wednesday at a hospital in Newport, South Wales.

The 54-year-old claims she suffered excruciating pain as she drove the five miles to her Llanmartin home and only realised what was wrong when her nephew Ieuan Edwards started screaming.

Mrs Dempsey said: “I was a bit apprehensive before the treatment, as I’d never had it done before.

“At the end, he said he’d removed the needles, and I felt fine.

“My eight-year-old nephew lives with me, and as I was driving us home I had this most tremendous pain in my back.

“I was in absolute agony. I thought I wasn’t going to get home. I kept slowing down, and every time I changed gears the pain got worse.”

When she arrived home, Mrs Dempsey said she had to wait 15 minutes before moving from the car because of the pain.

She said: “I asked my nephew to have a look at my back when we were in the house.

“He let out an ear-piercing scream. Once he had seen the needle, he was petrified.

“It’s just scared him – and it’s not done too much for me either.

“By driving home, I think I’d pushed it in further.”

Mrs Dempsey was driven to the Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport, by a neighbour, where the needle was removed from near the bottom of her back.

Read More

Monday, May 05, 2008

Military Service (for them)

In an effort to prevent the situation many of our veterans faced following Vietnam, the VA has made wonderful progress in helping our military personnel re-acclimate to their lives before war. Yet in some areas, the services are spectacular, while in others it is sub-par or non-existent. This is why folks like the ones below are a wonderful boon to our soldiers, especially those returning home with PTSD.

Acupuncturists serving the troops

May 4, 2008
Margaret Gargarian respects the fact that her son's high school in Belmont has a community service requirement. "I think it should be part of life," she said.

To do her part, Gargarian - an anesthesiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital who has training in acupuncture - recently joined an offshoot of Acupuncturists Without Borders.

Gargarian and licensed acupuncturists Margaret Ryding, Bill Kellar, and Patricia Burkhart, all of Arlington, offer free, weekly acupuncture treatments for US military personnel who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gargarian said she believes alternative therapies are valuable because they offer another tool to cure or manage health problems.

Benefits of acupuncture, she said, may include reduced anxiety and irritability; improved sleep, energy, and mental clarity; and the alleviation of flashbacks and nightmares.

Although a client may feel a "quick pinch" as the thin acupuncture needles are inserted,

Gargarian said the treatment is relaxing. Sessions typical last a half hour.

"Every time we treat someone," she said, "it makes us feel good, too."

Read More

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ahhh, Research!

Finding a research study involving acupuncture that has any statistical significance or reproducible design is not an easy task. This one involving hot flashes and tamoxifen is decent, despite the argument that it is not reproducible because there is no pill involved (?!) and the results are subjective (um, last time I checked there was no lab value for pain or discomfort). An objector does bring up a reluctance to send one of his patients to an acupuncturist he is not familiar with, and that should make any practitioner realize that MDs can be an important component to a successful practice. From my standpoint, I would have liked to have known what treatment protocol was used, but with a little digging I am sure it is not difficult to find.

Acupuncture Can Relieve Hot Flushes Caused by Tamoxifen
Monday, 21 April 2008 20:53 Zosia Chustecka

Acupuncture reduced by half the hot flushes caused by tamoxifen in a small clinical trial involving 59 breast cancer patients after surgery. Relief was experienced both day and night, and the reduction in hot flushes was seen 3 months after the last acupuncture treatment.

The study involved a 10-week course of treatment (with sessions twice a week for 5 weeks, and then once a week for 5 weeks). A control group received sham acupuncture, with needles inserted shallowly (to a depth of 3 mm; in real acupuncture, needles are inserted to a depth of 3 cm), and in places far away from known acupuncture points. Ms. Hervik said that in both cases she aimed for a neutral atmosphere, with no soft music and minimal time spent talking to the patient, to reduce the placebo effect of the treatment.

Women treated with real acupuncture reported a 50% reduction in hot flushes, both day and night, and reported a further reduction in hot flushes when assessed 3 months after the last acupuncture treatment. The women in the sham group reported no changes in hot flushes during the day, and a slight reduction in hot flushes at night while the treatment was ongoing, but they increased once the treatment stopped.

Read More

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fellowship Opportunity

If you like the cold and the security of working within the Western Medical setting, this sounds like a winning experience. I had not visited MCAOMs website before ( but the programs look impressive. This was actually from a chiropractic newsletter.

Northwestern Health Sciences begins acupuncture fellowship program

The Minnesota College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MCAOM) at Northwestern Health Sciences University now offers a post-graduate fellowship opportunity in collaboration with the Woodwinds Health Campus in Woodbury, Minn.

The one-year fellowship, launched in November 2006, provides a licensed acupuncturist with post-graduate experience in a hospital setting. Mark McKenzie, LAc, MOm, dean of MCAOM, said he believes there are no other acupuncture and Oriental medicine schools in the United States partnering with hospitals to offer such a paid fellowship.

The fellowship is partially funded by HealthEast Care System. Ian Johnson, LAc, MOm, a 2006 graduate of MCAOM, has been selected to carry out the year-long fellowship. He will be working under the guidance of Wei Liu, BMed, LAc, a professor at Northwestern.

According to McKenzie, the fellowship program would not have happened in the Midwest 10 years ago due to lack of understanding about the field.

Friday, April 11, 2008

MIA Message

The news in the acupuncture world has been dismally uninteresting of late. Lots of private practice press releases and "did you know acupuncture was good for" types of news are the bulk of what I have been receiving. I have not felt compelled to pass along things I have already covered, but I also lost total track of time ans I see it has been over two months since my last post! I have not attend any more CEU seminars to report back on either, shame on me, and I am in a quandary as to weather I am going to go see Richard Tan or Mary Elizabeth Wakefield this summer.

However, the other reason for the delay is general life. I started nurse practitioner school this semester and just moved into a new house a few days ago (we had been looking and planning for nearly a year). My practice is continuing to grow and I am hoping to change my office in the next few months.

It somehow seems like a lot more when you live it as opposed to when you write it.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Hearing this sort of thing makes me cringe for a variety of reasons. Some of them are from being a woman and some are from professional fear of being accused of anything inapproprite. Even though I am slightly less at risk because I am female, that does not mean I can be cavilere.

This is not on par with alleged abuse, but I know I lost at least one patient when I was in school because his girlfriend though I was flirting with him (backstory: we were allowed to give a certain number of free treatments per semester and I had made it my policy that the week before Christmas Holiday I would give out all my freebies. He was the first patient of the week and when his girlfriend, who had an appointment later in the week, found out, she was upset to say the least).

But I digress.

May the truth come out.

Acupuncturist Accused of Assaulting Clients
Lauren Leamanczyk

PEWAUKEE - Robyn McKenna tried acupuncture on a whim. Her first visit to acupuncturist Samy Elawady went well, so she continued with the treatment. Then, she says, at the end of a visit, something disturbing happened. “This time he lifted my bra up over my breasts. After he took the needle out, he started massaging them," she said. McKenna says it made her uncomfortable. Still, she brushed it off as part of the treatment. It wasn't until it happened a second time that she canceled the rest of her appointments. She did not complain or call police.

Then she spoke with Suzette Steinbach - Mineau.Steinbach-Mineau is also accusing Elawady of sexual assault.

She described her acupuncture session to TODAY'S TMJ4 Reporter Lauren Leamanczyk. "He started putting this oil or lotion kind of stuff on my stomach'" she said. "And them when he got up to my breast area he pulled my bra up and started putting the oil on my breasts.”She too kept the incident to herself. After she realized other women claimed to have similar experiences, Steinbach-Mineau called police."As a woman I want to protect other women,” is the reason she gives for coming forward.

Steinbach Mineau claims she lost her job as a receptionist at the Oriental Wellness Center because she filed charges. She says Elawady continues to practice acupuncture at the center.Elawady, through his attorney, declined to comment. He is charged with five counts of 4th degree sexual assault.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

"Would you go to a blind acupuncturist?"

I only have two words for this: Toyohari Acupuncturists

Blind woman tries again for state acupuncture license
Associated Press

AUSTIN — A blind student of acupuncture is making a second request for a state license to practice the trade after being rejected last year because of her lack of vision.

The licensure committee of the Texas State Board of Acupuncture Examiners was set to rehear Juliana Cumbo's request for a license today. She would be the first blind person to be issued a state license, board members said.

"I wanted to be more involved in health care ... and I thought it was a perfect profession for a blind person," Cumbo said of her decision to pursue acupuncture, a method of diagnosing, treating and preventing illness by placing thin needles along specific points on the body.

The 31-year-old practices as a graduate intern in the student clinic of the Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin. She has earned a master's degree in acupuncture and Oriental medicine and passed the national board exams.

"Juliana is an exemplary practitioner ... and she is extremely talented," said Will Morris, president of the Austin academy. "I am proud to sign her diploma."

Meng-sheng Lin, the licensure committee chairwoman, said she's inclined to repeat her vote against Cumbo's application. She said Cumbo's case was the first time she had encountered the issue.

"I'm just trying to fulfill my duty to protect the public," said Lin, an acupuncturist in Dallas. "Would you go to a blind acupuncturist?"

Lin said acupuncture can lead to bleeding, which could be a problem if it went unnoticed and created a situation where the acupuncturist or patient could become contaminated.

Hoang Ho, a member of the acupuncture committee who also voted against Cumbo's license, said licensing Cumbo would be a liability for the board if something were to go wrong.

"You have to know exactly the point" to insert the needle, said Ho, who practices acupuncture in Kerrville and San Antonio. "There are a lot of blood vessels, and there can be injuries."
Cumbo, who said she also has a bachelor's degree in classical guitar, completed 3,218 hours of training in acupuncture. About a third of that was clinical experience in which she worked on 592 patients without any formal safety complaints, said Xiaotian Shen, the director of the Austin clinic and one of Cumbo's teachers.

Cumbo received extra hands-on training, and now she is better at finding acupuncture points than many students who can see, Morris said.

Shen said Cumbo was tested on a live model to pass the national boards.

Dr. Terry Rascoe, the acupuncture board's presiding officer, said the committee could approve Cumbo's request, reject it or ask the full board to consider it. The case could also go before a state administrative judge.

Cumbo's lawyer, David Cohen of Austin, said denying Cumbo a license "on the basis of her blindness alone" would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Bob Simpson, general counsel to the board, said there are no state laws prohibiting the licensing of a blind person.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Acutonics and Placebo

Acutonics has been getting some attention lately. For a couple of years I have been incorporating some of the techniques in my practice with a pair of Om Tuning Forks. The majority of my patients give a positive review. What I like about this piece is the quote about placebo effect:

"One out of three people, which is a pretty big number, get relief from placebos because pain is a mind/body type of phenomenon."

What's wrong with that? I would love to be able to placebo away my ailments - a placebo pill is usually safer than the real thing! I find it amusing when people dismiss a modality because it is unfamiliar or because they don't want to accept it by saying, "it's just the placebo effect." I hear that a lot with students in the western medicine field because to them, if you can't be objectively assessed, than it is not real.


The mind has amazing control over the body. If a modality works for you, than it is what your body AND your mind needed to fix the problem. For some people it is a drug or surgery. For others it is yoga or Reiki. And then there are those who get well by activating a tuning fork and letting it buzz on acupuncture points. A patient for every treatment and a treatment for every patient.

Good vibrations without the use of acupuncture

Have you always wanted to try acupuncture but are afraid of needles? Now, there's a therapy that promises the same relief but doesn't involve any poking at all!

It's the latest alternative therapy to treat all kinds of ailments. It's called "Acutonics®," a modern technique that blends different forms of ancient Chinese medicine.

Kristi Marshall, an Acutonics® fan, "The minute I experienced it, it's like, I wanted it more and more."

Donna Carey co-created the technique. She says the vibrations open up energy pathways in our bodies, which are made up mostly of water.

Carey says," Sound travels four times faster in water and through water than it does in air. Our body is a sound resonator."

In a typical session, a practitioner will stimulate pressure points. But, instead of using needles, like with acupuncture, the treatment involves vibrations from tuning forks.

Read More

Thursday, January 17, 2008

2008 Sensationlism

Both Oprah and US News and World Report are talking about acupuncture (and CAM in general). What a boon to the profession!


Oprah is ready to take a step toward the frontier of medicine…but she's a little scared of the whole needle part. Daniel was ready to ease her fears. "The needles that [Daniel] is going to use would actually fit through the hole in the needle that they use to take the blood from your arm," Dr. Oz says."Acupuncture treats any condition from allergies to, obviously, pain to gastrointestinal issues—a wide range of chronic diseases," Daniel says.Oprah doesn't suffer from those particular ailments, so Daniel recommends a wellness acupuncture treatment, which will help boost Oprah's immune system. This normally requires about 10 needles, he says, and the positive effects will be felt anywhere from 20 minutes to days afterwards."It's really not bad," Oprah says. "It's not as bad as getting your ears pierced, I'll tell you that."

From US News and World Report:

Embracing Alternative Care
Top hospitals put unorthodox therapies into practice
By Avery Comarow

Posted January 9, 2008
"To be blunt, if my wife and I didn't think it was helping him, we wouldn't have continued with it," says Dan Polley. He's talking about Mikey, the Polleys' 2½-year-old in the next room, who was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia when he was 6 months old. Chemotherapy, radiation, and a bone marrow transplant have been crucial elements of Mikey's treatment. But the "it" his father speaks of is nothing like these aggressive, costly, and heavily researched exemplars of western care—it is a kind of touch therapy, from the camp of alternative medicine. Gentle and benign, "healing touch" is intended to rebalance the energy field that its practitioners believe surrounds the body and flows through it along defined pathways, affecting health when disrupted. Several times a week, therapist Lynne Morrison spends 20 minutes unblocking and smoothing Mikey's energy field, which energy healers like Morrison say they can feel and correct.