Friday, June 25, 2010

Tales from the Undertrained and Over-initialed

This story has been posted all over The Book of Face today by some fellow acupuncturists, and in keeping with my last blog entry I am following suit. Enjoy!

Abbreviated Courses In Acupuncture For Physicians Pose A Serious Problem

  • Sometimes, understanding one’s background can clarify their particular point of view. So in the spirit of “full disclosure” I would like to tell you a little about mine.

    I began my medical career in 1979 when I received my MD degree from Albany Medical College. I trained in diagnostic radiology at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC. I entered private practice and spent 20 years doing full-service hospital radiology. It was at the end of these 20 years that changes occurred in my life, changes that made me look at my direction and commitments. It was at that time in my career when I discovered acupuncture, and the power this medicine has to heal. Please understand, I was awestruck at the conditions acupuncture could effectively treat —- conditions that from my previous medical training I knew were precisely those no one wanted to get stuck with because there was no effective treatment. I am a fellowship-trained interventional radiologist, and I have put needles into arteries, veins, solid organs, abscesses, tumors, pleural cavities, peritoneal cavities….you name it. But I had never felt the pull of Qi on a needle, I had never intentionally manipulated a needle to achieve a specific energetic effect, I had never contacted the energy of a meridian, nor used needles themselves, as instruments of healing. Here was a whole new science to learn. And the amazing thing is that it has a 3000 year history with millions upon millions of people undergoing clinical trial in China for 30 centuries!

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Doctors, excuse me, CHIROPRACTORS, using "Biomedical Acupuncture" as a Loophole for Practice

And not just chiropractors. Dentists, occupational therapists, physicians, and physiotherapists can all get on the medical acupuncture bandwagon. Some of these programs range from a whopping underwhelming 300 hour certificate to a dismal weekend course. Of course the proponents of this farce claim that acupuncture theory is too esoteric because it does not rely on sound anatomy and physiology.

Funny, I took A&P as well as biology, chemistry, biochemistry, lab data, western physical exam, nutrition, psychology, surface anatomy, and western pathology when I was in school. And those were not even 25% of my nearly 3000 hour graduate program!

But of course, this is all old news. The Medical Acupuncture Association has been around for ten years. And this is hardly the first time I have ranted about other disciplines encroaching on our territory without proper training.

What has me hot under the collar this time is the claim TCM is anecdotal while biomedical acupuncture is scientific - check out this zinger of a story.

The fact these "dry needling" techniques they teach in these seminars stems from over 3000 years of acupuncture theory and practice is apparently of no consequence. Oh yes, it is okay to jab needles into muscles and random trigger points (that's ashi points, those that have a real education in acupuncture know that already) and claim it has a "real" effect because it is causing a micro-trauma that stimulates the body's healing response. Not like that qi stuff that stimulates the body's healing response, no sir. When the point is needled, you are feeling the exact same sensations whether you call it a major quadratus lumborum trigger point or "Pi Gen," the difference is that in TCM, you are not just treating the branch symptom, you are treating the root cause.

The other reason I am so irritated is I just know insurance is going to start covering this nonsense. I already live in a state where legitimate acupuncturists cannot get in-network but at least chiropractors are banned, in theory, from practicing acupuncture without an acupuncture license for the moment (although they STILL put themselves in the phonebook under "physicians MD and osteopaths OD").

While the AAAOM is working to get professional parity through supposed acupuncture doctoral programs, our profession, which still does not have a national title and basic scope of practice, may just get pulled out from under us.