Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Career day demonstrator sticks students without school, parent permission

A couple of years ago I was doing an acupuncture demonstration at a high school and some of the kids asked me to "stick them." Being litigiously paranoid, I told them I couldn't do it without parental permission, even though some of the student were 18. I figured it was better to be a stick-in-the mud than sued. 

Good thing too.  

For career day in Yorktown Elementary School, an acupuncturist demonstrated on student volunteers in view of a teacher and now there is an uproar. In my opinion, she was not providing medical treatment (a shallow insertion in a random point is hardly medical treatment - more like "this is how you put on a bandage), so it seems to be a gray area in the school rules. I think the amount of hoopla is excessive. It does go to show you have to be vigilant about informed consent even with volunteers during a demonstration. 

Read the story


Now the parents are outraged about their children getting "treatments." I think some of these parents are getting outraged for the sake of getting outraged.  In the video, they are showing a full blown treatment with e-stim, not a single demonstration point as was done at career day. If an MD gave advice to the class on exercise and diet, would that constitute treatment without informed consent? If a PT had the kids do range of motion exercises, would that have sparked the same reaction about lack of permission? I agree with the other acupuncturist in the story that this kind of pulicity makes other acupuncturists look bad, but I think it is more because of how it is being covered rather than what was done. I hope this does not go before the state board of acupuncture, but if it does, I hope the acupuncturist stresses that she did not perform a treatment and therefor did not need MD referral. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pediatrics; Alternative Therapies Can Be Safe, Effective for Children

Ahh, there is nothing like having access to research before it is published. Or in this case, lets call it a position statement. I have been working with more children and adolescents lately, especially with pain and ADHD, so it is refreshing to have a bigwig support acupuncture as a safe and viable therapy.

2009 APR 24 - ( -- Today, more children than ever are being treated with complementary and alternative therapies. Recent studies indicate that about 30 percent of healthy children and up to 50 percent of children with chronic disease are using some kind of alternative therapy (see also Pediatrics).

"There is a huge place for complementary and alternative medicine in pediatrics," says Dolores Mendelow, M.D., clinical assistant professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Complementary and alternative therapies are becoming a more prevalent treatment for children. If individuals follow the directions of their physicians, these treatments are a safe and effective way to get and stay healthy, Mendelow says.

While certain types of complementary and alternative therapies are safe for children, there are many therapies that could potentially be dangerous. Mendelow notes that parents should always consult their children's pediatrician before beginning any new treatment.

Alternative therapies can be successful against many illnesses - including the common cold or skin rashes - when over-the-counter medications do not have immediate success. For instance, honey can be used for coughs related to the common cold - just not for children less than one year of age.

"In terms of complementary medicine, we're using acupuncture, dietary supplementation and herbal or botanical therapies," Mendelow says