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"What diseases can Acupuncture treat?"
This essay illustrates why I am so enthusiastic about the benefits of the "expanded paradigm" approach to health care that we use at NIHA. Many problems that were puzzling seem to be more manageable when looked at from a different perspective. In my practice, I do not rely on only Traditional Chinese Medicine and old-style acupuncture; I employ acumeridian energy flow dynamics as part of an integrated approach to support a person's innate self-healing ability. Yet, taken alone, there can be significant benefit from acupuncture treatments. Please remember that as I point out in my description of my Services, I consider it actually wrong to use "disease" classifications. This is why my doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine puts me in a distinctly different practice of healthcare than allopathic A.M.A.-type doctors. Their approach often brings results. Yet, we are using distinctly different models as our way to understand how to make recommendations and give treatments.
A quote that I find particularly relevant is:
"A doctor who prescribes an identical treatment for an identical illness in two individuals and expects an identical development may be properly classified as a social menace." Lin Yutang
Read this enthusiastic essay:
What Can Acupuncture Treat?
[Comments by Dr. Claire Cassidy, Ph.D., Dipl. Ac.]
The answer is simple; Most everything. But since this answer surprises most people, recently someone turned it on its head: “OK, then, what can it not treat?” My answer is that Chinese medicine has never emphasized surgery so conditions that are best treated by surgery are best tended by a biomedical practitioner (an MD). These conditions include tumors (cancerous or not), broken bones, the results of severe trauma, and severe immune or hormonal malfunctions. But acupuncture can still help in these situations. It can minimize the side effects of chemotherapy, reduce the burning of radiotherapy, increase the rate of healing after surgery or trauma, and support the immune system even when it is badly compromised.
Most other conditions can be treated by acupuncture, herbs, or a combination of the five therapeutic modalities of Chinese medicine: acupuncture, herbs, massage (Tuina), diet therapy, and moving meditation (Qi Gong, Tai Chi).
When I make such a broad claim people often look startled and then start throwing names of conditions at me: Hemorrhoids? Arrhythmia? Colds & flu? Hypothyroidism? Diabetes? Slipped discs? Headaches? Asthma? Fallen arches? Ulcers? High blood pressure? Diarrhea? Osteoporosis? PMS? Depression? Rashes? Infertility? The answer is still “Yes” but readers should remember that Chinese medicine views the body differently from our familiar biomedicine, so these conditions are seen not so much as “diseases” but as perturbations in the flow of bodily energies. The practitioner’s task is to identify the kind of perturbation and its cause, and then to correct it.
For example, hemorrhoids (and varicose veins) indicate blood stasis, that is, the blood is pooling instead of moving on. The practitioner tries to understand why it pools, tries to remove the deeper energetic cause, and then the superficial symptom should correct itself. This model applies to all Chinese medicine: Find the energetic imbalance, and correct it. The energetic imbalance is inside you – thus care is individualized, and the goal is to strengthen you in such a way as to ensure your energy flows as smoothly as possible.
Here is another example: Sometimes a person comes with a series of conditions for which, as often as not, they’ve seen a series of specialists. Dry eyes take them to the ophthalmologist, constipation to the internist, and low back pain with achy knees to the rheumatologist. The acupuncturist listens to the whole list, asks questions, checks the pulse, reflex points, and the tongue, looking for the energetic clues that link these complaints together. A careful choice of acupoints, an individualized herbal combination, and within a short time the patient finds relief of all their symptoms, including some they may not have even mentioned. In short, the acupuncturist doesn’t see the complaints as separate disorders, but as signs of the same underlying imbalance. That is why the simple intervention with needles, and possibly herbs or other helps, can adjust all the complaints at once. Acupuncture and herbal care are not expensive and often pay huge dividends in improved health and wellbeing!