I started my journey into medicine as a pre-med student at Boston University. That didn’t last long for a couple reasons. 1. I realized that I didn’t want to work in the traditional medical model with it’s long ass hours, short patient visits, and incredible student loan debt. 2. I couldn’t pass Organic Chemistry. I got a 4/40 on my first exam and never went back to class… so there’s that.
I’m telling you this to let you know that I am not anti science or anti western medicine. It’s common in the acupuncture world to dis doctors and conventional therapies. I do this too – but only when it’s necessary and what they are suggesting is bullshit. The most current standards of “Evidence Based Medicine” show that just about 50% of performed tests and treatments are actually evidence based.
In normal people words: Doctors are doing stuff all the time that has no proof of being beneficial.
Science is a tricky thing. We tend to say “Well, the studies say…. “ but what we should say is: “CURRENTLY, the science that is available to us now has shown …. however, this information will be updated as soon as advances in Science allow.”
Science, like every other endeavor on this planet, is imperfect.
If you had spent the last 11 years in my clinic with me, side by side, you would have NO DOUBTS that acupuncture brings about change. In this video that I left on my Facebook page, I talk about a young woman who had her first improvements in her ability to walk following a stroke that happened 7 years earlier. The major improvements happened during her FIRST acupuncture treatment. You can’t have doubts when you see things like this happen.
Still, science is important and we should use it to the best of our abilities to make sense of the world around us, acupuncture included. That is exactly what my friends over at Evidence Based Acupuncture are doing. EBA was started by a colleague of mine in Poland, Bartosz Chmielnicki and is now continued by a group of people lead by Mel Hopper Koppelman, my favorite acu and functional medicine practitioner located in Bristol, RI. The EBA website is an amazing source for all your science related acupuncture questions.
In September, EBA is putting on a symposium in Providence, RI. The goal of this symposium, according to their website is as follows:
We deliver therapists simple, trustworthy and robust evidence-based tools that will empower them and the profession, helping acupuncture to be available as a first line treatment where appropriate.
This symposium is directed at current acupuncturists who would like to be well versed in the research that supports our medicine. If I lived anywhere closer to home, I would be there. If you are an acupuncturist – you should seriously consider this. If you have an acupuncturist, feel free to share this information with them.
Acupuncture and science definitely blend. There are loads of research articles proving it’s efficacy. The more we do it, the more we’ll know. The more we learn, the further we can push the boundaries.
Help us push the boundaries.
P.S. Mel has also written a couple of blog posts in response to various acupuncture bashing articles on the blog: Science Based Medicine. Here’s a give and take that you might enjoy. Read in the order posted 😉