First of all, as an acupuncturist, I really don’t feel like I can care about how Western physicians and scientists perceive acupuncture. I mean, how legitimate is validation from a bunch of people who cannot figure out if eggs are actually good or bad for you. Still, for my patients’ sake, it would be nice if they didn’t feel like if they can’t tell their doctor that it was, in fact, acupuncture that helped xyz since the last time they were in, without having the doctor look at them like they have two heads. Because, if they could, these physicians might start to notice that acupuncture is actually helping people. And that would help acupuncture look better. See- a two-fer.

Potato galettes with quail eggs.

How could this not be good for you?

Anyway, it’s been a hard struggle to get doctors to recommend acupuncture, even though it has such theoretically great potential. Interestingly enough, Doctors have no problem with Reiki, though you may still get a funny look. But, really, they’re happy if Reiki worked for you. Acupuncture, however, has routinely failed the cost-benefit analysis that your typical Western physician must consider for both the good of the patient and the avoidance of law suits. That is to say, acupuncture has unproven benefits, but it has the proven potential for injuring a patient. After all, those needles could pierce an organ or cause infection. Except, in the hands of trained professionals, that almost never happens (as usual, I promise to touch more on this later). And acupuncture-related injury certainly happens less often than many of the horrific side effects that come along with frequently prescribed medications, which are okay to prescribe because they have a proven BENEFIT (in a double-blind-randomized controlled trial, at least).

A package and pill of atorvastatin 40mg (Lipitor).

Side effects include; nausea, muscle weakness, liver “problems” and kidney failure.

Which is why it was so exciting to see Dr. David B. Samadi and Dr. Marc Siegel, two Western-trained physicians, endorse acupuncture on national news. The fact that this was once again for back pain aside, several other conditions were mentioned. It took a gigantic study to get these guys to take back everything they once said about placebo, and Dr. Siegel simplifies the explanation of why acupuncture works to the obvious release of endorphins, but it’s a step in the right direction. What is significant is that they called it “safe.” So, “why not try it?”

You can watch the whole clip here. Ignore the part about “trained Doctors.” They must mean “trained acupuncturists, since Doctors either just “do” acupuncture or maybe devote around 200 hours to  get a special certificate (actual acupuncture school is over 2000 training hours). Not that a doctor would hurt you if they did acupuncture. I just find it often doesn’t seem to work when they do it… Hey, I don’t pretend I know how to use an ottoscope. You be the judge.

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