This section contains articles about acupuncture - what it is, and how it can benefit you. For a list view of these articles click here.
Herbal Medicine: Everything Old Is New Again
“There is nothing new under the sun.” This Solomonic wisdom is resonating at Cleveland Clinic’s new Chinese herbal-therapy ward that “primarily sees patients with conditions that Western medicine has, for whatever reason, failed to remedy.”
At BIOM, it’s also our experience that quite often people try Oriental Medicine when they have not had success with conventional treatment. And helping with the hard stuff is a great way to show that what’s been growing under the sun for millennia is still useful today.
All the same, Chinese medicinal herbs being prescribed in the mainstream medical system is likely to raise many an eyebrow; especially when Cleveland Clinic’s medical director, Dr. Daniel Neides, MD said: “Western medicine may not have all the answers.”
The Yin-Yang of Treatment
It’s wonderful for the health of people that Oriental Medicine in its various modalities—herbs, acupuncture, diet & nutrition, chi kung—is gradually being absorbed into the wider society.
And just as the doctors running the Cleveland Clinic are prudent to provide MD-oversight of herbal prescriptions to prevent bad reactions that can result when some pharmaceutical drugs encounter certain herbs in the body (relative to each person’s unique health situation), it’s also important to note that the Cleveland Clinic’s herbal ward is run by a trained Oriental Medicine practitioner.
This is important for the same reason an Oriental Medicine herbalist is not certified to prescribe pharmaceutical drugs: lack of training; medical doctors are not trained to prescribe Chinese medicinal herbs.
To illustrate the point: consider that at Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine, the Masters of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine degree program consists of 3,150 academic and clinical hours over three years.
Contrast that with the fact that there is no accredited training in Chinese medicinal herbs for medical doctors. And where medical doctors have been licensed to perform acupuncture, a leading certification program of medical acupuncture for physicians “is organized into … home study and video course viewing, live lectures and demonstrations, and clinical training consisting of 300 hours of formal instruction in medical acupuncture.”
Clearly, acupuncture and Chinese medicinal herbs, are specialized areas of expertise and the Cleveland Clinic is wise to recognize that in its integrative approach to health care.
High Quality Chinese Medicinal Herbs
From an Oriental Medicine professional’s point of view, it’s very encouraging to see that Cleveland Clinic, like BIOM, is using the same high quality medical herb formulas from Kaiser Pharmaceutical.
What’s different though, while Cleveland Clinic uses compounding pharmacies in Massachusetts and California to create specialized custom herbal blends to address very specific health conditions, at BIOM, Kitty blends your customized herbal formulas while you rest on the table listening to music or quiet.
Cultural Exchange Is Healthy
So, it’s a wonderful thing that Chinese medicinal herbs are gradually being integrated into the American cultural mainstream. The way was paved back in the 1970s when Nixon went to China and James Reston, a New York times reporter, found himself undergoing an emergency appendectomy in a Chinese hospital where acupuncture was used to ease his pain after surgery.
Which gets us to appreciating the cultural bridge that has been built, enabling more and more Americans to enjoy the benefits of both western and eastern medicine here, in our own hospitals.
With the key underlying benefit being: if you practice preventative methods, like Oriental Medicine, you significantly reduce the likelihood of winding up in a hospital at all.
Acupuncture a Powerful Tool in Complementary Cancer Care
Our colleagues over at Mesothelioma.com contacted BIOM to share an article which makes the case for what we’ve been saying for years: Oriental Medicine has a role to play in the broad range of health care.
More people worldwide use acupuncture than any other type of health care or treatment.
Key points include:
Doctors have been increasingly integrating acupuncture into their palliative cancer treatment programs.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that more people worldwide utilize acupuncture than any other type of health care or treatment.
The WHO recognizes acupuncture as an effective method for helping individuals deal with side effects like pain and fatigue stemming from chemotherapy and other cancer-related treatments.
Doctors are using acupuncture to offset the side-effects of chemotherapy and other cancer-related treatments.
So it’s interesting to see that doctors, nurses and other health professionals are using acupuncture as part of their everyday cancer care.
You can read the full article below.
Acupuncture a Powerful Tool in Complementary Cancer Care
Complementary therapies, while not given the attention that more traditional cancer therapies may receive, are perhaps equally important while undergoing treatment for certain types of cancer. Patients diagnosed with difficult to treat malignancies will often use these types of therapies in conjunction with traditional surgical, chemotherapeutic, or radiology techniques to form a more comprehensive and effective treatment regimen. Among the most important and effective alternative therapies utilized by those diagnosed with cancer is acupuncture.
Acupuncture has long been utilized as a general pain reduction method for thousands of years, originating in the Far East and gradually being utilized throughout the world. Acupuncture’s role in cancer management however, is relatively new and indications are that its utilization has not been fully maximized yet. Effective cancer treatment often depends on the patient’s ability to not only defeat the cancer through treatments, but also to maintain their health and mental spirit throughout the painful side effects of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.
Acupuncture’s role in cancer management however, is relatively new and indications are that its utilization has not been fully maximized yet.
Often, the symptoms and effects of the cancer itself on the body are negligible compared to the pain and other side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. This is where acupuncture has been said to be most effective. Cancers such as mesothelioma, which are often unable to be removed by surgical means, are often treated with some combination of chemotherapy and radiation. While these potent therapies can be effective in eliminating some of the tumor mass and growth, they also profoundly affect the health of the surrounding tissue. Symptoms of these effects, including: fever, nausea, and general pain have been dramatically reduced through the utilization of acupuncture. Patients, who are able to withstand these symptoms and recover quickly, will often be able to be more aggressively treated, increasing the efficacy of the treatment regimen as a whole.
If acupuncture can assist in any way in helping patients recover or manage symptoms of chemotherapy or radiation, then it will have contributed to the treatment regimen’s overall efficacy, and should certainly be used.
Acupuncture may not be the answer for each patient’s pain and individual symptoms, but it’s certainly worth exploring as it can do very little harm in trying therapies patients and their physicians believe may be of some help. The goal with alternative therapies, as with traditional therapies, is always to increase the effectiveness of treatment as a whole. If acupuncture can assist in any way in helping patients recover or manage symptoms of chemotherapy or radiation, then it will have contributed to the treatment regimen’s overall efficacy, and should certainly be utilized.
Written by Jack Bleeker Mesothelioma.com
June 1, 2009
Acupuncture Eases Back Pain More Than Usual Care
- Almost half the patients treated with acupuncture needles felt relief that lasted months. In contrast, only about a quarter of the patients receiving medications and other Western medical treatments felt better.
- “Acupuncture represents a highly promising and effective treatment option for chronic back pain,” study co-author Dr. Heinz Endres of Ruhr University Bochum in Bochum, Germany, said in an e-mail. “Patients experienced not only reduced pain intensity, but also reported improvements in the disability that often results from back pain and therefore in their quality of life.”
- “We don’t understand the mechanisms of these so-called alternative treatments, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work,” said Dr. James Young of Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center, who wasn’t involved in the research. Young often treats low back pain with acupuncture, combined with exercises and stretches.
- Funding came from German health insurance companies, and the findings already have led to more coverage in Germany of acupuncture.