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.