Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rising Ire

There is nothing that gets my nurse cap and acupuncture robes more ruffled than unqualified practitioners claiming they are competent AND getting away with it. I will not rehash my position about "medical" and "dry needling" acupuncture programs, since I have already gone off the rails on this before. But I want to share a bit on a story I read today claiming a nurse practitioner who sees a few patients a week is only one of eight board certified acupuncturists in the US. Um, no. This is yet another in a crop of people who are dabbling in medicine without real training and part of a group that is advocating for acupuncture awareness. The problem is, these "medical" acupuncture associations do not acknowledge the NCCAOM, a body that certifies acupuncturists with master's level training, not continuing eduction level training. The other problem is, while they are gung ho on getting insurance and state-funded programs to get acupuncture coverage, they are advocating for themselves, not the profession. Here is my comment, just in case they decide not to publish it:

As an ANCC board certified family nurse practitioner and NCCAOM certified acupuncturist, herbalist, and diplomat in Oriental Medicine (practicing in the midwest where it is geographically impossible for Ivy League schools to exist unless the NCAA decides to restructure), I am curious where the "one of eight nurse practitioners in the United States with a board certification in acupuncture" statistic came from. How can one call themselves board certified in acupuncture yet simultaneously be "not an acupuncturist?" And which board is it? I did not see Boensch listed in the NCCAOM or Michigan Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine State registry. Tinkering in a medicine practice that requires a master's degree with residency is as unethical claiming you are qualified to be a primary health care provider because you passed a test and took a few weekend seminars. The Michigan Medical Acupuncture Association (which does not link to the NCCAOM) endorses a paltry 120 or 224 hour teaching certificate by the AMMA for health professionals. Would you feel comfortable if that was all the training requirement your MD needed to be certified in internal medicine or your NP in midwifery? Seeing a few patients a week does little to expand knowledge or practical application of education, and I wonder if the patients of these practitioners with limited training are getting better by accident, not by competence. While awareness of acupuncture is great, patients need to make sure they have well trained, competent practitioners, both treating them and representing profession.

And for anyone out there in an ire about me, as the gentleman was who accused me of being dishonest, misleading, and watering down the profession by using my earned and recognized DOM title (talk to the NM Board of Acupuncture or the AAAOM - I would welcome a national LAc credential over the hodgepodge of initials so many of us are sporting or making the DAOM the new minimum practice requirement and grandfathering in the MSOM folks), feel free to air out your concerns here!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Research on Acupuncture for Migraines and Headaches

The Cochrane Review completed and update to their survey of acupuncture research and have found it a successful therapy in the search for relief from migraines and tension headaches.

One of the most exciting elements of this report is the explanation of why the placebo control groups often reported benefit close to the level of other participants receiving "real" acupuncture or "traditional" pharmacotherapy. Most of the studies using "sham" treatments as control populations were still receiving acupuncture therapy and therefore cannot be considered true placebos.

One of the issues with acupuncture research is the difficulty in standardizing therapy for the purposes of study in a modality that does not practice the western style cookbook-medicine. The detractors sum it all up by saying anyone who receives benefits from acupuncture must have had psychosomatic pain (aka: "it is all in your head"). While I expect these folks will embrace research demonstrating the effectiveness of acupuncture about as quickly as geocentrists accepted Galileo, having an evidence-based medicine giant may make them re-examine the research.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Help Us Stamp Out Stigma!

We are participating in the NAMI walk for recovery on September 12th at Waterfront Park. Please click the link below to visit the team page for more information, to join us on the walk, or sponsor the team!

Last year was a great time and we hope to make this year even better!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Help! My Sad Face is Frozen!

As Judge Judy wrote, beauty is fades, dumb is forever. Not that anyone would suppose injecting an botulism toxin into the face would be the most intelligent beauty regimen, but it is a quick path to pretty without side effects, right? Some studies are showing that the lack of facial expressions have a negative impact on social interaction as it relates to non-verbal communication, but the inability to produce the full range of facial expression may effect the individual's ability to process their own emotions.

The desire to look as young as you feel in a youth-centric culture is adaptive, especially as we are living longer and harder lives. Hydration, eating a diet high in fresh, un-processed foods, getting adaquate but not excessive sun exposure, staying away from toxins (not injecting them directly into a wrinkle) and cultivating your internal happy go a long way in promoting your inner and outer beauty. Oh, and acupuncture helps too!

Botox injections put a crease in emotional evaluations (excerpt)

By Bruce Bower

Two weeks after their first Botox injections, 40 women took an average of about one-quarter of a second longer to read sentences describing angry and sad situations than they did immediately before the procedure, Havas and his colleagues found.

Critically, Botox patients show no decline in the speed with which they read sentences about happy situations, Havas’ team reports in an upcoming Psychological Science.

“These findings suggest that facial expressions are involved in assessing specific emotions or emotional situations,” Havas says.

Havas hypothesizes that Botox-induced paralysis of the frown muscle — which runs across the forehead just above the eyes, allowing it to pull the eyebrows inward and down — may gradually weaken brain circuits that coordinate negative emotions.

A 2009 fMRI study, led by German neurologist Andreas Hennenlotter, supports that idea. Women attempting to mimic images of angry and sad facial expressions displayed weaker activity in emotion-related brain areas two weeks after receiving Botox injections to the frown muscle, Hennenlotter’s group found.

Banishing frown lines with Botox can indeed have social repercussions, remarks psychologist Nicolas Vermeulen of Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. Previous studies indicate that mimicry of facial expressions critically aids in understanding others’ emotions, intentions and behaviors, he points out.

“Botox patients who are interacting with others behind a locked face might be at risk to react in the wrong way to, say, an angry driver or an angry customer in a pub,” Vermeulen says.

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