What and where does acupuncture belong?

By | October 7, 2016

By Tom Gormley, ESATM 2015

In a conversation with a former teacher at ESA, he made a comment that when he graduated he thought he could do anything with his acupuncture skills. I believe he meant that there was nothing he could not treat. He then said he descended back to earth and realized there are some limitations to what acupuncture can do.

I gave a talk about what acupuncture can treat to a group of physicians and said that acupuncture can treat many things but I wouldn’t rely on acupuncture to treat a victim of a motor vehicle accident. What I meant was that if you need trauma surgery, the hospital emergency department and the operating room was the place for definitive care.
After a year in acupuncture practice and a degree of calmness after getting my acupuncture license (great relief!), I can reflect on this issue. I would moderate the statement about acupuncture and say that as part of a team, acupuncture can belong anywhere and can contribute to any health issues. Let’s look at where acupuncture can belong and treat.
Can acupuncture fit in in a cottage solo practice? Yes, absolutely. One of my classmates got licensed and is doing exactly that out of the box. Can an acupuncturist fit onto a group practice? Yes, one of my classmates is doing exactly that. These are both mainstream acupuncture settings.

How about working in a hospital? A teacher at ESA told us about his work at a major NY cancer hospital. Another teacher told us about work at the startup substance abuse clinic also in NY. We have another former dean and teacher who currently works in a local hospital treating pediatric cancer patients and now is providing services in the emergency department to relieve pain and reduce the dependence on opioid use that has become an epidemic across the United States.
Does acupuncture fit into the battleground? Yes, there is a major program in the military training medics to use acupuncture in the field to reduce pain for battle wounded soldiers. The auricular acupuncture technique can reduce acute or chronic pain almost immediately and allow the wounded soldier to remain lucid and be able to tell the doctors what is wrong rather than be severely depressed by field morphine.

How about for victims of floods, and other disasters? Yes, again! The Acupuncture Without Boarders program does exactly that. The program does weekend courses all over the world and provides acupuncturists to contribute in all parts of the world.
On my office brochure I have a list of health problems I have treated. I am amazed over the list that started small and has grown in a short time. Acupuncture can start by treating one problem and solve or help several others on the same patient.
As an individual acupuncturist a practitioner can carefully help a patient to become balanced and help many issues. As a team member an acupuncturist can contribute in any location and with any disease. The idea of earth, man, and heaven does truly fit our wonderful medicine. We are part of all that exists if you want to be.
Oops! How about research and publishing? Yes, we belong there too. Our ESATM is resurrecting the inactive research board so we can do research in our own school clinic. In the publishing arena we are starting the Eastern School of Acupuncture and Traditional Medicine Journal to publish peer reviewed articles about acupuncture and all types of medicine. This is your opportunity to write so contact Kelly Williams at kwilliams@esatm.edu to learn how to contribute.
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