In Part I of “How acupuncture works,” we talked about some of the scientific understandings of how acupuncture works and how it fits into the world as integrative, alternative and complementary medicine. It is also world-recognized as an impressive healing modality.
Acupuncture is recognized by the National Institutes of Health (the NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) as an effective means of treatment for many conditions.
Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years. It has withstood the test of time. While ancient acupuncturists and their patients probably didn’t need to understand the scientific mechanisms of acupuncture to observe the effectiveness of it in treating a wide range of health challenges, it was none-the-less effective or it would have died off hundreds or thousands of years ago. It certainly predates conventional scientific medicine as we know it today.
However, the curiosity of many and the desire for scientific validation has perpetuated a wide range of scientific studies to prove it. Major universities all over the world are studying either the effectiveness of acupuncture or the mechanism of how it works.
The results are remarkable, but as impressive as the results are, they are incomplete. Typically when acupuncture is studied they use only a few defined points. They are all the same, across however many hundreds or thousands of people are in the study. But acupuncture, or Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), is so much more than defined points. Every individual is different. Every condition is accompanied by multiple symptoms that vary from person to person. That is, if their symptom is looked at from a whole perspective, (and not merely just one or a few lab indicators, or one or a few tests) without considering the full range of other signs or symptoms; the treatment is different from person to person.
This lack of individuality, which is at the core of TCM in these studies, is disregarded. Further, these studies neglect the comprehensive treatments that include lifestyle changes, nutritional recommendations, herbal or supplement therapies, etc. that enhance the effectiveness of acupuncture. As a stand-alone, point-specific symptom approach, acupuncture is undoubtedly effective. Comprehensively, with unique applications of acupuncture point selection and the other complementary therapies, acupuncture can be profound.
Most people return to acupuncture once they’ve experienced it for other health challenges throughout their lives. Their witness and their testimonies speak louder than any “scientific” study. Acupuncture works! If you need further proof, try it yourself.
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Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with nearly four decades of experience. Carling is a “Health Detective,” she looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d’Alene clinic. Visit Carling’s website at www.vitalhealthcda.com to learn more about Carling, view a list of upcoming health classes and read other informative articles. Carling can be reached at 208-765-1994 and would be happy to answer any questions regarding this topic.