I am traveling back from a wonderful Traditional Chinese Medicine Pulse diagnosis class taught by Robert Doane near Seattle, WA. I feel so fortunate to practice and have the pleasure to continually study this ancient form of healing. Connecting with other practitioners, and learning from Mr. Doane re-inspired me to share a very important topic that needs to be clearly defined and understood by both patients and practitioners.
Something that is often asked when working with a new patient is "how does acupuncture work?" Often times a practitioner will go into some description of qi or energy and meridians with acupuncture points. According to ancient texts, vessels and blood flow are what are currently considered meridians, and qi/energy is what could be considered oxygen in the blood. The way that acupuncture works is by increasing circulation of blood, lymph, and oxygen in the circulatory system. Or for the more poetically minded, qi is unblocked to move through the meridians. It is the same exact thing, expressed in different terms. It is becoming more pressing in the acupuncture community to speak in medical terms as Physical Therapists and other medical professionals are treading into Acupuncturist's territory with needles in hand, without the proper knowledge base and education based on the argument that as acupuncturists we needle into meridian points to move energy and they needle into muscles and increase blood flow. PT's therefore rationalize that they are doing a different procedure, but it is the exact same thing, without the proper training.
Since moving to AZ I have discovered a new world of Acupuncture as my profession here is not protected and several other medical practitioners have decided to pick up needles without the exhaustive knowledge base to diagnose from. Sure some can rationalize and say, well I do a different form of acupuncture, or I learned from so and so in this such and such a way - regardless of what rationalization you may hear, it does not compare to a properly trained acupuncturist that completed physiology, pathology, chinese medical theory, herbal therapy, pulse diagnoses, etc. Chinese medicine is a comprehensive and complex system that needs to be respected as such. We can help a tremendous amount of people with our medicine, and I believe it is the best medicine in the world in the right hands.