Friday, September 22, 2006

Cooling Hot Flashes

From webmd, nonetheless!

Acupuncture May Cool Night Hot Flashes
Alternative Medicine Treatment May Ease Menopausal Symptoms
By Jennifer WarnerWebMD Medical News

Sept. 22, 2006 -- Acupuncture may nix nighttime hot flashes caused by menopause, according to a new study.

Researchers found seven weeks of acupuncture treatment reduced the severity of nighttime hot flashes by 28% among menopausal women compared with a 6% decrease among women who had a sham acupuncture treatment.

Hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause and often occur at night, which can significantly disrupt sleep and affect a woman's quality of life.

Until recently, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was the most popular treatment for hot flashes. But in the wake of studies that suggested HRT use could increase a woman's risk of heart disease or cancer, alternative therapies for hot flashes have received renewed interest

Read More

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Celebrity Alert

Not that I am proponent of following Hollywood trends, but everything a celebrity gets press for receiving acupuncture, it raises popular awareness. While I do not think we should look to Hollywood as a guide for healthy living, I am not picky on the manner in which people come to my door.

September 19, 2006
Marcia's Christmas Surprise

Marcia Cross has an extra special Christmas present for her new husband, Tom Mahoney: the sex of their baby. According to the National Enquirer, the "Desperate Housewives" star has asked her doctor to write her baby’s gender on a piece of paper. She plans to keep the paper in an envelope until Tom opens it during the holidays. The envelope is said to read, “Do Not Open Until Christmas.”

Cross’s pregnancy is truly a gift. At 44, she was nervous about her ability to conceive a child and sought out the help of an acupuncturist to increase her chances of fertility. Marcia’s acupuncturist is Dr. Yi Pan, co-founder of The Chinese Healing Institute in Los Angeles. An insider told the Enquirer, “[Marcia] knew at her age her odds of conceiving had diminished, and she hoped acupuncture would help. When she found out she was expecting in July, she personally thanked Dr. Pan."

Marcia and Tom have been married for just over two months. She found out about her pregnancy only about a month after her wedding and the child is due in April.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Relief that Lasts

While the majority of research in acupuncture focuses on effects in general, this one takes the long view and examines efficacy after 24 months.

Research Shows Long-Term Benefits Of Acupuncture In Relieving Back Pain
September 15, 2006 4:56 p.m. EST
Shaveta Bansal - All Headline News Staff Writer

London, England (AHN) - Research by scientists at University of York in England, has shown that acupuncture can be effective therapy in treating patients suffering from lower back pain and that the benefits seem to improve with time.

Short-term benefits of acupuncture have been long known but to investigate the long-term effects of the therapy, Dr. Hugh MacPherson and his team studied a group of 241 back pain sufferers who underwent a short course of acupuncture.

Patients were divided into two groups: one group was subjected to take 10 acupuncture sessions over three months and the other group underwent the normal treatment for back pain, which included medication, physiotherapy and exercises. The satisfaction and pain levels of both groups were measured and recorded during the two-year study.

After three months there was not too much difference between the acupuncture group and patients who had the standard therapy.

A weak evidence of improvement in the acupuncture group was found at 12 months, according to the study published in the British Medical Journal.

By 24 months the difference between the two groups increased. "If you offer acupuncture to someone with back pain on average it is expected you are likely to benefit, not just in the short term but particularly in the longer-term of 12 and especially 24 months," MacPherson told Reuters in an interview.

Read More

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Doubting the Atom

Every once in a while I feel it is good to read what the skeptics have to say. There is something delightfully quaint about people who demand scientific proof that the reflection in the mirror is that of their own face, rather then trusting their own senses. They talk about scientific proof, but many cannot define basic concepts like statistical significance, independent variables, and random sampling. And the assumptions - wow - I am amazed at the lack of investigation and logic.

Normally, I pay little attention to those who dismiss complementary medicine outright - I prefer to spend my time helping people, not converting them. I know of very few practitioners who shun Western Medicine as of us have a yearly check-up with a regular doctor, and many take prescription medicine. Yes, there are some people who practice complementary therapies (including MDs) without proper training, but this is no different in allopathic medicine. Just because someone is an MD and says they are a plastic surgeon, does not mean they are trained and board certified. Frauds are everywhere, but at least with acupuncture, certification is easy to prove and most people who seek it out have a healthy amount of skepticism that helps them determine subjectively whether it is works for them. Individuals do not need a clinical trial to validate personal efficacy.

The gentlemen who wrote the following article brings up a good point if you can fish it out of the supercilious sarcasm: Medicine is medicine whether it came from the ground of from the factory - you need to know what your are putting into your body and to ensure your health by going to qualified medical professionals.

Of course, my first and last impression is that this guy would have gagged Galileo.

Talk of doctors can push buttons

Generally speaking, I am slow to anger.

Some may argue differently but most people describe me as generally good-natured.
But when my buttons are pushed oh, my.

Recently, there was a photo in another newspaper that had this person with a number of acupuncture needles sticking into her face. It seems she was undergoing acupuncture because she ``didn't like doctors.''

OK. Let me see here.

She doesn't like the doctor that has been through four years of college, four years of medical school, and 3-7 years of residency training, but she will let someone without a college degree stick needles in her face?

She doesn't trust a trained health care professional yet allows someone to apply unproven and unconventional treatments to her?

I have a friend who states unequivocally ``I don't like to take medicine,'' yet pops four homeopathic pills in her mouth without even asking what is in them. And then wonders why she felt hot flashes all the way home.

Or the one who refuses to take an ibuprofen because he heard that ibuprofen damages the kidneys but knows intimately the dosage on Oxycodone?

Oh yeah my buttons are pushed.

Doesn't ``like doctors?'' To me, that's almost the same as not liking air -- definitely important and pretty unhealthy to do without.

Obviously, I'm firmly entrenched in the ``traditional'' side of medicine. Have been for almost 29 years. My daughter and her husband are both doctors, of the ``M.D.'' variety.

Oh, I'm definitely prejudiced.

Prejudiced because I am at heart a scientist and I want scientific evidence of what I do to or put in my body.

Prejudiced because I having a pretty good working knowledge of what medical training involves.

Prejudiced because I understand the importance of good, traditional medical care.

Don't take this as a complete indictment of non-traditional methods of health care. Oftentimes, we have learned more about how the body works by NOT doing things the way they've always been done.

For example, we have learned a lot about the body by exceeding what we always thought were physical limitations.

We've learned a lot by exploring home remedies and ancient forms of promoting healing.

Not everything must pass the test of a double-blind study for us to know that it works.

But when it comes to health care, I just prefer to rely on the person who has dedicated 11-18 years in formal education in the pursuit of knowledge that makes him or her the absolute best person to help me make decisions about my health.

I want to live to be old but still be healthy and active.

That's why I get a physical examination every single year and have a good working relationship with a specific family practitioner.

Doesn't ``like doctors?''

Your doctor should be one of your favorite people.

Joe Black, PT, SCS, ATC, is a physical therapist and athletic trainer at Appalachian Therapy Center. Write to him at: Joe Black, c/o The Daily Times, P.O. Box 9740, Maryville, TN 37802-9740.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Making a Difference

It is wonderful to see how giving so many fellow professional acupuncturists can be not only in the midst of tragedy, but in its aftermath.

Healing hands help Katrina victims
By Jillian Fennimore/ Staff WriterFriday, September 8, 2006 - Updated: 09:55 AM EST

Known for their calm nature and healing hands, acupuncturists from across the country brought peace to an area still in chaos and repair one year later. Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast last August with record strength, leaving the people of New Orleans and coastal Mississippi in devastation, some homeless, and most stressed in the wake of its destruction.

Licensed acupuncturist Bella Rosner, whose practice is in Watertown at the Japanese Acupuncture Center, was one of the many who joined the worthy cause of Acupuncturists Without Borders to treat the traumatized with free community acupuncture in Louisiana both last November and February. Last Thursday, Rosner’s treatments were brought back to Watertown in order to help raise money for the organization’s continued success as the needs increase down south. Rosner treated several people throughout the day, with funds going to AWB.

Since last September, AWB has sent rotating teams of acupuncturists to benefit the evacuees, displaced residents, relief workers, emergency responders and others suffering from the devastating effects of hurricanes Rita and Katrina. They hope to continue with much-needed funding.

"We worked with the poorest of the poor, to FEMA workers staying at the Hyatt, and National Guard rescue workers," said Rosner about her two visits this past year to the more distressed areas of Louisiana. "But people were telling me that for the first time [since Hurricane Katrina] they got a good night’s sleep. They wanted us to come back."

Inside the serene treatment office on Watertown Street, a rock fountain flows in the corner and a can for AWB donations sits at a nearby table. Inside of a photo album, pictures of Katrina’s aftermath sit boldly behind their plastic pockets, displaying empty lots where homes used to be and the faces of those happy to help and happy to be alive. Rosner said she and a group of grassroots organizations visited emergency communities of the Lower 9th Ward and St. Bernard’s Parish, along with other venues, treating people with symptoms of acute stress and trauma.

Traveling on a bus to visit a community, Rosner found herself sitting with New Orleans residents driving past their homes and uncovering their neighborhoods for the first time, including a young couple with their newborn baby.

"They would point and say ’look there’s auntie’s house’ or ’that’s grandma’s house’," she said. "Entire communities were torn apart. We just want to give them peace of mind for one day."

Since their efforts on year ago, AWB members have treated more than 6,000 people in the aftermath of the hurricane and their appointment calendars are still full.

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.

  • Read More