This article describes the results of the first real groundbreaking study on acupuncture outcomes by the formal medical community. Acupuncture stands on the threshold of acceptance by the medical establishment in the United States. Skeptics dismiss it, and insurance companies are not required to pay for it. New research from medical investigators at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York finds that the ancient practice of acupuncture is an effective treatment for pain and much more. The study was an eight year meta-study that involved nearly 18, 000 patients.
Acupuncture philosophy, and practice is challenging the basis of the current medical understanding of health and illness in the United States. Acupuncture has been practiced for well over 3,000 years, and is practiced side by side with western medicine today in hospitals in the Orient. It is relatively new in the United States. In 1971 President Nixon went to meet with chairman Mao in China. Among his entourage was a reporter for the New York Times, James Reston. While in China, Reston developed appendicitis. Acupuncture was the only modality used during the surgical procedure for anesthesia, and for postoperative pain. His report of the experience sparked massive public interest and the door for acupuncture to enter the United States as a legitimate practice was opened. Today there are over 20,000 licensed acupuncturists practicing in the United States.
Acupuncture has proved its efficacy worldwide. The World Health Organization sanctions acupuncture treatments for over 350 conditions. The relationship between conventional allopathic medical care in the U.S. and acupuncture care remains tenuous, because medical doctor’s standard for proof is the medical research study. The limiting factor here for acupuncture research is funding. Although there have been 1,000’s of rigorous acupuncture research studies done in worldwide, for some reason they have not been accepted as proof by the medical community in this country that acupuncture works.
The United States military armed services uses acupuncture effectively in the battlefield in the Middle East, and with returning veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. This is done because they have seen that acupuncture works pragmatically, not through studies but through results. Over time slowly, acupuncture philosophy and practice will be accepted and will serve to broaden the conventional concepts of health and disease in the United States. This study is a step forward because of its depth, magnitude and because of the shockwaves it has brought about in the media at large in the United States.
The Use of Acupuncture by the U.S. Military to treat battlefield injuries and PTSD
Acupuncture practiced side by side with western medicine in many countries among them China.