by SU LEE - DAOM - SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Acupuncture is a technique of inserting and manipulating filiform needles into "acupuncture points" on the body with the aim of restoring health and well-being, e.g. treating pain and diseases. Acupuncture is thought to have originated in China and is most commonly associated with Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Different types of acupuncture (Japanese, Korean, and classical Chinese acupuncture) are practiced and taught throughout the world.
Scientists are studying the mechanisms and efficacy of acupuncture. Researchers using the protocols of evidence-based medicine have found good evidence that acupuncture is effective in treating nausea and chronic low back pain, moderate evidence for neck pain and headache. The World Health Organization (WHO), the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Medical Association (AMA) and various government reports have also studied and commented on the efficacy of acupuncture. There is general agreement that acupuncture is at least safe when administered by well-trained practitioners, and that further research is warranted.
The NIH consensus statement summarized and made a prediction:
Acupuncture as a therapeutic intervention is widely practiced in the United States. While there have been many studies of its potential usefulness, many of these studies provide equivocal results because of design, sample size, and other factors. The issue is further complicated by inherent difficulties in the use of appropriate controls, such as placebos and sham acupuncture groups. However, promising results have emerged, for example, showing efficacy of acupuncture in adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting and in postoperative dental pain. There are other situations such as addiction, stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma, in which acupuncture may be useful as an adjunct treatment or an acceptable alternative or be included in a comprehensive management program. Further research is likely to uncover additional areas where acupuncture interventions will be useful.
I have personally been working with the HIV population for 4 years now and have seen significant improvement in some of my patients. I receive much pleasure in dealing with the patients and they have taught me much about the importance of living for each day.