I know it’s been ages since I’ve written a blog post, so what’s the word? Well, it seems Acupuncture is making headway in the news and changing the way we perceive healthcare and the idea of wellness. It (Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine) is unfortunately always a controversial topic… does Acupuncture really work or is it just a placebo?! I like to answer this question by secretly thinking in my head (“you’re right… it’s probably placebo, I just spent the last 3 full years of my life mounting a huge debt and committing my every thought and effort to a medicine I plan to also commit the rest of my life to and it doesn’t really work”)… but in reality, I get it. I, myself am a left brain thinker… I like to know how things work. It settles me to know what the exact mechanisms of action are, why and exactly how can we fix things.
Acupuncture, when explained the right way, can be understood as well. It’s just a different language, a different way of looking at our bodies, one we were never taught. In the past, we’ve been taught to hand our health over to a white coat and that our bodies work in individual pieces. Our heart pumps blood, our lungs breathe air and our livers detox… which is exactly right, but that’s only the beginning. What happens when there is a problem with one of these, well, we see a specialist and fix the part (which is not entirely wrong). I’m not here to say western medicine doesn’t have a place in wellness and healthcare, it most certainly does. It is necessary and amazing how far we’ve come as far as the understanding of the human body not to mention medical advances over the years. However this version of healthcare is still lacking in that we don’t recognize the whole body as a coordinated machine. One that can not function correctly and efficiently if one piece of the puzzle is out of whack. If the liver can’t detox, well, then the blood is toxic. If the blood is toxic then I’m pretty sure the blood disperses oxygen and all its contents to the rest of the body right? Well, you can bet those toxins are going to end up elsewhere, so your body comes up with another way to discard the toxic waste creating an imbalance. In this case, it comes out through your lungs and skin (a nasty rash). So, the point… when you go in for this skin rash and you get a topical steroid cream to calm it down, yes, it will more often than not make the rash go away. But, do you think it fixed the actual problem… you may want to think again.
Think of your body as a garden… if the soil is toxic, your garden probably won’t flourish. On this same note, if your soil doesn’t have the proper nutrients (minerals/vitamins), enough water or get enough sunlight then nothing will grow, and if it does, it won’t grow well. Your body works the same way.
So the point of my long-winded argument to support Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is this; treat your body with care, your whole body… each physical, emotional and spiritual part. Without care, nourishment and proper attention to our whole bodies, we can’t flourish and disease will most certainly ensue.
Acupuncture is an amazing tool and treatment modality when used with other treatments as well as on its own. Using herbs in the form of individualized Chinese herbal formulas along with Acupuncture enhances its effectiveness. This most recent study (a meta-analysis) looks at a number of studies over a number of years, specifically addressing chronic pain, migraines, and arthritis. It is gaining positive attention in the mainstream media, which you can find here on the New York Times Wellness Blog: Acupuncture Provides True Pain Relief in Study. While it’s not the first study to say so, it is one of the most rigorous and thorough studies to date.
“The researchers, who published their results in Archives of Internal Medicine, found that acupuncture outperformed sham treatments and standard care when used by people suffering from osteoarthritis, migraines and chronic back, neck and shoulder pain” (O’Connor, A. 2012).
Those of us who are already, dare I say, “believers of Acupuncture” don’t need a study to tell us that it works. Nonetheless, I will take all the good promotion Acupuncture can get; because wouldn’t it be wonderful if it was part of standard care and covered by your insurance?! Education and knowledge is power and if we don’t spread the word, then no one will know the benefits & possibilities of such a wonderful medicine without all the black box warnings.
Till next time…
O’Connor, A. (2012, September 11). Acupuncture provides true pain relief in study. New york times, Retrieved from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/11/acupuncture-provides-true-pain-relief-in-study/