What is the Scope for Improved Integration of Complementary and Conventional Medicine? An Exploration of the Views of Acupuncture Practitioners Claire Blanchard, Phil Hanlon and Mhairi Mackenzie
This paper reports on a research project investigating the influences shaping acupuncture practice. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a convenience sample of twelve acupuncturists based in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Themes discussed by the study population included: an increase in acupuncture usage, difficult but improving relationships between GPs and acupuncture practitioners, a growing acceptance of acupuncture practice within the context of integration with conventional practice with some remaining barriers, and the need for further research into acupuncture efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The study population believed acupuncture to be a way of life and defined health as a state of energy balance, with imbalances leading to ill-health. Emphasis was placed on the importance of a good practitioner-patient relationship and patients’ needs being met for the healing process. Finally, particular weight was given by the study population to the differences that are believed to exist between western and eastern philosophies.
Turning Points: Clearing Blocks to Treatment in Women with Early Breast Cancer
Beverley de Valois
In a research study to investigate the use of acupuncture to manage hot flushes and night sweats in women taking tamoxifen for early breast cancer, the author explored the use of clearing blocks to treatment. Blocks to treatment are phenomena in the Five Elements theoretical framework of acupuncture practice, and are not often explored in research studies. The author presents five case studies, discussing the application of treatment protocols for blocks to treatment and showing how they precipitated significant ‘turning points’ in the patients’ progress. She also discusses how these cases shaped and developed her own interpretation of the significance of clearing blocks to treatment, contributing to a ‘turning point’ in her understanding of Five Elements Constitutional Acupuncture to encompass these approaches in her research and in clinical practice.
Prepared for Practice? An EJOM Poll of Recent Graduates
EJOM Team A poll was conducted of graduates from UK acupuncture teaching institutions in the UK who had joined the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) in 2005-2006. The e-mail survey examined graduates’ views on how they had been prepared by their teaching institutions for the ‘business side’ of acupuncture, particularly setting up, running and building a practice. The findings of this informal ‘finger in the wind’ poll, which elicited responses from about ten percent of those contacted, suggest that these graduates appeared to be dissatisfied with this aspect of their training and are finding it hard to make a living in their new profession.
Build up your Practice with New Patients
In this article, an extract from the author's new manual Build a Successful Practice and Retire in Comfort, Rouse discusses the importance of recommendations, the use of incentives, giving talks, writing articles and other methods of building a busy practice.
Knowledge and the Ways of Knowing in Acupuncture
In this paper some understandings of the nature of acupuncture knowledge are explored in relation to contemporary models of knowledge. It is argued that the contemporary acupuncture practitioner now utilises several types of knowledge, including propositional knowledge, non-propositional knowledge, and personal knowledge. In the discipline of acupuncture, knowledge has developed in the past through a variety of ways. The paths to acupuncture knowledge include the study of classical Chinese texts, authority and tradition, apprenticeship, trial and error, personal experience, and reflection on clinical practice. Acupuncture knowledge can be further developed through the use of both traditional methods and by the appropriation and use of research methods from other disciplines.
The Path from Doer to Witness: Reflections on an Acupuncture Practice
The author, a busy practitioner with a 5 year old child, reflects on almost 2 decades' experience as an acupuncturist. She points to the importance of being able to put aside all the pressures and demands in one's life and connect with patients in the treatment room. Striving for this 'sense of connectedness', through supportive networks, treatment exchange, study groups etc., has helped her practice develop and thrive.
Career or vocation?
Shion Buschner Wilson
The author, who qualified from the College of Traditional Acupuncture in the mid 1980s, gives a brief account of her personal journey into acupuncture. She then explores the significance of acupuncture as a career and as a calling or vocation and expresses her concern that, as acupuncture becomes increasingly more mainstream, the former may tend to eclipse the latter. Read the whole article
The Road to Valencia
The author describes her path from Moscow where she studied journalism, to London where she studied acupuncture and shiatsu, and on to Valencia, Spain, where she now runs a busy practice. She points out some of the cultural differences facing an acupuncturist in Spain compared to the UK, and lists factors that have contributed to her success in setting up practice there.
Flooding and Looping: The Treatment of Musculoskeletal Problems with Electroacupuncture
In this article, the author introduces the reader to the treatment of musculoskeletal problems using electroacupuncture (EA) using techniques which he has developed over the last 20 years and which he finds indispensable to the treatment of intractable, chronic musculoskeletal problems. He discusses the treatment of the following conditions: lower back pain, sciatica, osteoarthritis of the hip, hip pain, knee pain, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritic finger joints, arthritic knuckles, plantar fasciitis and scar tissue.
The Research Quest
There seems to be a general consensus within the acupuncture and Chinese herbal community that research is a necessary process to establish our professional status. It may be regarded as a ‘good’ thing, a bold venture to bring Chinese medicine into the cosy confines of evidence based medicine; or perhaps more cynically ‘a necessary twenty-first century evil’ that we need to grit our teeth and get on with. This is an account of the author's foray into the research world to explore the role of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) in the treatment of endometriosis. He set off on his journey dressed in a shiny suit of optimistic positivist fervour. Now several years down the line he feels more like Don Quixote lining up his intellectual lance and charging heroically towards the next windmill on the horizon. This then is the story of how a naive would-be knight lost his armour, encountered the dark forces of bureaucracy, and depending upon your point of view either grew up or went quietly nuts. Read the whole article
Nan Jing Difficulty One: Pulse Diagnosis and the Use of the Right Distal Position
William R. Morris
This article expands upon pulse diagnostic ideas discussed in Chapter One of the Nan Jing. The global view of the right distal position that is presented in Chapter One can be explored from the perspective of other chapters within the Nan Jing as well as from perspectives generated from contemporary practice. Nan Jing Chapter One discusses the use of the right distal position as a method of diagnosing the conditions for the whole person. The right distal pulse position is said to be the meeting place of all the vessels and is the source of all vessel movements from within the ‘Great Abyss’ or the ‘Big Source’ (Lu 9 tai yuan). This investigation explores four applications of Chapter One, based on pulse qualities and depths, and the finger rolling and organ clock methods.