Archive for the ‘Articles from online’ Category

Fan’s new article “The beginning of acupuncture in Washington, D.C. and Maryland: an interview with Dr. Yeh-chong Chan” was published todayon Journal of Integrative Medicine http://www.jcimjournal.com/articles/publishArticles/pdf/jintegrmed2013028.pdf.

Dr. Yeh-chong Chan (Y.C. Chan) is one of the earliest acupuncturists in the United States (US). He served for seven years in the first acupuncture center in the US, which was established in Washington, D.C. in 1972. In 1979, he moved the clinic to Rockville, Maryland and continued to practice acupuncture there for over 30 years. He is a well-known licensed acupuncturist (LAc), one of the developers of the acupuncture profession, and a scholar of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). He has treated two US Governors (In the US, the title Governor refers to the chief executive of each state or insular territory and the political and ceremonial head of  the state.) and many sports stars. He is the author of books entitled Acupuncture Practice in the United States [1], Dr. Chan’s Cancer Healing, Prevention and Self-healing and others. To record the early history of acupuncture in the US, on September 30, 2012, the author, Dr. Arthur Fan interviewed Dr. Chan, 70 years old, who is still in practice.

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19th Century Medical Self-Help

 Historical Essay by Dr. Joan B. Trauner
Dr. Trauner is a research specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center in the History of Health Science Department. Excerpted from the version which appeared in California History, Spring 1978, Vol. LVII, No. 1, courtesy of the California Historical Society.


Chinese Medical Clinic in Chinatown, c. 1890s

Photo: California Historical Society

Another aspect of the story of the Chinese as medical scapegoats in San Francisco is the effect of public health policy upon the Chinese community itself. Throughout the nineteenth century, city officials were reluctant to finance any health services for the Chinese population even though Chinatown was popularly viewed as “a laboratory of infection.” Early Chinese immigrants realized the necessity of banding together and providing for their own health care needs. In the 1850’s they first grouped together into associations based upon loyalty to dan (family associations) or place of origin (district associations). In the 1860’s, the district associations federated into the Chung Wah Kung Saw, which later became known as the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, or the Chinese Six Companies. During this period, each of the district associations maintained a small “hospital” in San Francisco for use by their aged or ailing members, a facility usually consisting of little more than a few bare rooms furnished with straw mats.[55] The existence of these hospitals was in direct violation of city health codes, but local officials allowed them to operate. In fact, during the leprosy scare of the 1870’s, health officers ruled that lepers should be “debarred from hospital maintenance” at city expense and that “the Chinese companies should be compelled to maintain them and send them back to China.”[56] Thus, from August, 1876, to October, 1878, known lepers were housed in the so-called Chinese “hospitals”; thereafter, health authorities ruled that all lepers were to be isolated in the Twenty-Sixth Street hospital.

Not only were local authorities ambivalent about admitting Chinese patients to municipal facilities, but they also were hesitant about providing sanitary services within the Chinatown area. Dr. A. B. Stout, a prominent physician and member of the California Board of Health, testified before a congressional investigating committee in 1877 that “the city authorities undertake to clean the city in other parts, but the Chinese are left to take care of themselves and clean their own quarter at their own expense.”[57]

Whenever a major epidemic threatened San Francisco, however, health officials descended upon Chinatown with a vengeance. During the smallpox epidemic of 1876-1877, for instance, city health officer J. L. Meares bragged that not only had he ordered every house in Chinatown thoroughly fumigated, “but the whole of the Chinese quarter was put in a sanitary condition that it had not enjoyed for ten years.”[58] Similar comments were made at the time of the bubonic plague in 1900-1901 when nearly every house in the district was disinfected and fumigated.

In the nineteenth century medical care in Chinatown was largely provided by herbalists and pharmacies in the classic tradition of Chinese medicine. As late as 1900, no Chinese physicians appear to have been licensed to practice medicine in the state of California; in fact, not until 1908 was the Medical Department of the University of California in San Francisco to graduate a physician of Chinese origin.[59] Some Chinese of the merchant class did seek treatment from Caucasian physicians, usually for surgical care not available from Chinese practitioners.[60] In the I880’s a few church missions in Chinatown also began offering the services of white female physicians for pediatric and obstetrical care. Throughout the nineteenth century, however, the vast majority of Chinese were unwilling to consult Caucasian doctors because, as one historian has noted, “the language barriers, the higher fees, and strange medications and methods were too much to assimilate.”[61]

The reluctance on the part of the Chinese to seek medical attention outside of Chinatown accounted in part for their low admission rate to the San Francisco City and County Hospital and to the Almshouse during the last century. An examination of the statistics on admissions to the city and county hospital for the years 1870-1897 reveals that less than .1 percent of the hospital inpatients were of Chinese origin, whereas the Chinese population in the city varied from 5 to 11 percent of the total population. Statistics on admissions to the Almshouse disclose an even lower admission rate: of 14,402 admissions from 1871 to 1886, only 14 cases were of Chinese origin.

Obviously, the low admission rate of the Chinese to municipal facilities cannot be attributed entirely to reluctance to seek Western-style care. An 1881 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, headlined “No Room for Chinese: They are Denied Admission to the County Hospital,” referred to a resolution of the Board of Health, adopted several years earlier, that had essentially closed City and County Hospital to Chinese patients.[62]

The article pointed out that in the fall of 1881 the Chinese consul had petitioned the Board of Health on behalf of an ailing Chinese immigrant who desired to gain admission to the city and county facility. Fearing an influx of Chinese patients with chronic diseases, the board passed a resolution that all Chinese patients who thereafter requested care were to be assigned to a separate building on the Twenty-Sixth Street hospital lot.[63] Apparently, this policy remained in effect throughout the remainder of the nineteenth century. A document dated 1899 noted that the City and County Hospital only opens its doors to a limited number of [Chinese] patients. The remainder of the patients are taken to the small, dismal Charnel-house established by the Chinese Companies, and known as the “Hall of Great Peace,” or else to the Leper Asylum or Pest-House.[64]

Although the ban on Chinese patients at both the City and County Hospital and the Almshouse was common knowledge, city officials continued to claim that San Francisco opened its municipal facilities to the sick and poor of any nationality.[65]

Because of the difficulties inherent in obtaining care at municipal expense, the Chinese community sought from an early date to fund a well-equipped hospital within the Chinatown area. Dr. Stout, in his congressional testimony in 1877, mentioned that the Chinese desired very much to establish a general hospital and a smallpox hospital, similar to those built by the French and German communities. Reportedly, the Chinese were willing “to pay liberally and freely” to establish a hospital, with patient care to be provided by both white and Chinese physicians.[66] (In order to secure approval from the Board of Supervisors for the erection of such a hospital, the Chinese community recognized that their Physicians would have to work in conjunction with state-licensed Caucasian physicians.)

Nothing more is heard of any hospital plans until the early 1890’s when land was purchased in the southern outskirts of San Francisco in the name of the Chinese consul general of San Francisco. Plans were drawn up for a hospital, and funds were collected both locally and from foreign sources. When construction of the hospital was about to begin, “city authorities forbade further proceedings on the ground that the promoters only intended to use objectionable Chinese systems of medical treatment.”[67] It can be surmised that the real objections were to the proposed location of the hospital outside the perimeter of Chinatown.

In 1899, the community planned to rent a house in a “suitable locality” to be fitted up as a hospital and dispensary where only practitioners with American or European diplomas were to be allowed to visit the patients. The dispensary was to give free advice and medicine to indigent clinic patients; the hospital was to consist of twenty-five beds for use by both clinic and paying patients. The Chinese Hospital (Yan-Chai-i-yn) was incorporated under California law in March, 1899. At that time, twenty-one persons (including twelve Caucasians) pledged to become members of the hospital by payment of an annual subscription of $5. Except for the Chinese consul general, the officers of the hospital’s first governing board were to be prominent members of the white community.[68] This project, too, must have been shelved because no further trace of this hospital can be found.


Tung Wah Dispensary, opened in 1900 by the Chinese Six Companies at 828 Sacramento St.

Shortly thereafter bubonic plague was discovered in Chinatown; public officials suddenly were faced with the fact that no health facilities existed in Chinatown for the care of plague victims. As early as May, 1900, the surgeon general of the Marine Hospital Service, Dr. Walter Wyman, suggested that one of the more “substantial” buildings in the area should be converted into a pest hospital.[69] The War Department, on the other hand, preferred to see the Chinese quarantined on Angel Island. Neither plan went into effect, and in April, 1901, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors appropriated funds for the erection of a hospital in Chinatown. The city auditor immediately declared that the appropriation was illegal, and accordingly, the hospital was never constructed.[70]

About the time that plague was discovered in Chinatown, the Chinese Six Companies realized that it was imperative for the Chinese community to organize its own health care system. The result was the Tung Wah Dispensary which opened in 1900 at 828 Sacramento Street. The dispensary, which employed both Western trained physicians and Chinese herbalists, was funded entirely by the Chinese Six Companies, and this dispensary was to be the forerunner of the present-day Chinese Hospital which opened its doors in April, 1925.[71]

In 1900, in addition to financing the dispensary, the Chinese Six Companies instituted legal action to prevent local, state, and national officials from enforcing discriminatory measures aimed at the Chinese. In court, their attorneys won the right for non-licensed Chinese physicians to attend autopsies conducted under the jurisdiction of the San Francisco Board of Health. Similarly, their lawyers forced the courts to end the quarantine of Chinatown as ordered by the Board of Health. In May, 1900, when the U.S. Marine Hospital Service imposed a ban on interstate travel by Asiatics, the secretary of the Chinese Six Companies obtained a restraining order from the U.S. circuit court, arguing that such a ban was unfair class legislation.[72]

Public health officials were infuriated by the legal tactics of the Chinese Six Companies. Dr. J. J. Kinyoun, federal quarantine officer for San Francisco, expressed his indignation in the following statement:

The various injunctions which have been entertained by both state and federal courts … have all conspired to convince the Chinese Six Companies that they in nowise consider the Chinamen amenable to observe or comply with the health laws of the city, state, or United States. The attitude assumed by this powerful corporation forms a good excuse for the individual Chinaman to follow suit and set at naught and defiance any or all rules and regulations which are considered necessary for the sanitary protection of the citizens of this state and country.[73]

Although the Chinese were extremely hostile to the official anti-plague measures, this lack of cooperation stemmed in part from their unfamiliarity with public health procedures. When quarantine of Chinatown was first instituted, the Chinese attempted to prevent door-to-door inspection by locking up their homes and shops.[74] When health officials attempted to vaccinate the Chinese with Haffkine prophylactic serum, riots broke out in Chinatown.[75] Finally, when health officials came into the area to search for victims of the plague, the sick were reportedly hidden in the cellars and “subterranean passages” of Chinatown.[76] Health officials despaired, neither understanding nor sympathizing with the motives of the Chinese. In the words of J. J. Kinyoun: “We never can expect to accomplish in our dealings with this race what we intend to do.”[77] Accordingly, in 1905 after the first episode of the plague had ended, public health officials retreated from Chinatown, unofficially delegating the Chinese Six Companies with the responsibility of caring for the health needs of the Chinese community.

In the years to come, the overcrowded living conditions in Chinatown were to result in a high incidence of tuberculosis. For instance, the average yearly death rate from tuberculosis for the years 1912-1914 was 622 deaths per 100,000 as compared to a citywide average of 174.[78] In 1929, after the introduction of tuberculin testing of cattle and pasteurization of milk, the Chinese mortality rate was 276 deaths per 100,000 as compared to a citywide average of 8 3.[79] Yet, until 1933 no public health facilities existed within Chinatown for the diagnosis or treatment of tuberculosis. One 1915 health report noted the absence of clinics in the Chinatown area and stated as follows: “The Six Companies is probably in a better position than any other group to cooperate with the Board of Health in instituting curative and preventative measures among their own people.”[80] In other words, the city had adopted a “hands off” policy with regards to health care among the Chinese. Not until March 1933, when the Chinese Health Center was established in the nurses’ room at the Commodore Stockton School, would the city attempt to cope even half-heartedly with the tuberculosis problem in Chinatown.[81]

Today, the outright discrimination against the Chinese has ceased. Nevertheless, a continuing phenomenon is the reluctance of many Chinese–particularly among the aged or non-English speaking immigrant groups–to seek health services outside of the Chinatown area. Thus, while members of the Chinese community routinely seek medical care in hospitals, offices, and clinics throughout San Francisco, Chinatown itself continues to present a unique situation for the organization of health services. In one sense, the Chinese ceased being medical scapegoats by 1905; after that date, advances in medical science made obsolete the nineteenth-century policy of condemning the Chinese as “carriers of alien disease.” However, the failure of the City and County of San Francisco to provide health services within Chinatown was to have a more enduring effect. As late as 1967, the only outpatient facility furnishing acute medical services to the Chinese indigent in Health District IV (Chinatown-North Beach) was the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Clinic, located in North Beach and funded in part by the United Crusade and by the San Francisco Department of Public Health.[82] The city facility–the Northeast Health Center–was housed during this period in the basement of the Ping Yuen Housing complex; a tuberculosis clinic, a well-baby clinic, dental services, an immunization center, and a public health nursing service were all provided in 1200 square feet of converted laundry space.[83] In other words, a paucity of medical services existed in Chinatown as late as the 1960’s; not until the 1970’s was the situation finally remedied.

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(作者:陳明 三藩市 )http://singtaousa.com/031811/sq01.php


中醫是中華民族幾千年來生產生活實踐和與疾病鬥爭逐步形成並不斷豐富發展起來的醫學科學,為中華民族的繁衍昌盛作出了重要貢獻,對世界文明進步也產生了積極的影響。一百多年前隨著華人移民到美國,也把中醫中藥帶到美國。據筆者所知,第一位來美國的中醫師就是黎普泰,他是廣東順德人,一八五四年四月,黎普泰在《金山日新錄》(The Golden Hills’ News)刊登中醫館廣告。以此算起,中醫中藥傳入美國三藩市已有一百六十年。

黎普泰的中醫館最初設在華埠華盛頓街,後遷至都板街夾企李街的錦生堂樓上。黎普泰以中藥治療奇難雜症,名揚遐邇。由於求醫甚眾,他一個人難以應付,便叫他的外甥譚富園來幫忙。  譚富園就讀於北京太醫院,是當時全國唯一的最高中醫學府。一八九零年譚來三藩市,襄助普泰醫館,聲名鵲起。三年後因黎普泰病逝,譚的父親譚子山在廣州行醫,命他回去幫忙,譚富園便回到廣州。

一八九四年,富園攜妻子及三子一女來加州,在南加州的列連埠(Redlands)創立富園醫局(Foo and Wing Herb Co.)。由於富園醫術精湛,妙手回春,聲譽日隆,引起西人醫師的妒忌,在報上攻擊中醫中藥不科學。譚富園把自己的醫案交給記者發表,證明中醫的奧妙,其功效一點也不遜於西醫,甚至有些西醫無法治療的奇難雜症,中醫能夠對症下藥,藥到病除。這場關於中醫是不是科學的筆戰,由於富園既有理論,又有治癒病例醫案佐證,終於取得了最後勝利,為弘揚中醫中藥作出了貢獻。













譚頴秀 – 註册針灸師 http://kaywin.ca/WellnessCentre/LingLanWellnessCentre.aspx

7725 Birchmount Road Unit 29/30, Markham, Ontario L3R 9X3
Phone: 647-282-3996            Email: LingLan333@hotmail.com

譚氏曾祖父譚富園公受其父親中醫譚子山之薰陶, 就讀於北京太醫院學習中醫,曾在清朝末年任太醫,後跟隨舅父中醫師黎普泰(第一位到美國之中醫師),到美國三藩市行醫,再與康有為弟子在南加州的列連埠(Redlands)創立富園醫局。由於富園公醫術精湛,妙手回春,引起西人醫師的妒忌,在報上攻擊中醫中藥不科學化。富園公把自己之醫案交給記者發表,證明中醫之奧妙,其功效一點也不遜於西醫,甚至有些西醫無法治療之奇難雜症,中醫也能夠對症下藥,藥到病除。這場關於中醫是不是科學化之筆戰,由於富園公既有理論,又有治癒病例醫案佐證,終於取得了最後之勝利,為弘揚中醫中藥作出了貢獻。其四子譚少富繼承衣砵在加州行醫,退休後回港飬老。那時譚氏年幼未能跟隨叔公學習中醫,但他留下不少清代名醫陳修園之書籍及治療札記,令譚氏獲益良多。


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Please see detail information online(click below) for your reference before, during the acupuncture.

The book author is Dr. Harvey Kaltsas, AP and Acupuncture Media Works


Table of Contents
Acupuncture Works – the Proof 3
Acknowledgments to: 5
Section One: Purpose and Introduction 6
Purpose 6
Introduction 6
How the studies in this book were selected 8
Section 2: Testimony before the U.S. Senate 11
Special Hearing 11
Acupuncture in the United States 16
The Chinese Example 16
Acupuncture in the Treatment of Chemical Dependency 17
Stroke, Paralysis, and Brain Damaged Babies 18
Cancer 19
Pain 20
Requests for Congressional Support 20
Conclusion 22
Section Three: Peer-Reviewed Research Studies 23
Allergic Rhinitis 23
Angina Pectoris 25
Breech Birth Version 26
Cancer Care – Improving Quality of Life 27
Cardiac Arrhythmias 30
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 31
Chronic Venous Ulceration 34
Depression 35
Diabetes 38
Diabetic Peripheral Neuritis and Neuropathy 40
Dry Eye Syndrome 42
Dysmennorhea 43
Dyspepsia 44
Endometriosis 45
Facial Paralysis 46
Fertility Support 47
Fibroids, Uterine 50
Fibromyalgia 51
Gall Bladder Disorders – Cholecystitis 57
Glaucoma 59
Headache 60
Hot Flashes and Post Menopausal Symptoms 65
Hypertension 67
Improved Gait Performance in Geriatric Patients 69
Inflammation 70
Insomnia 72Copyright © 2012 by Dr. Harvey Kaltsas, AP and Acupuncture Media Works
Irritable Bowel Syndrome 75
Labor Pain 76
Leukopenia and Neutropenia Induced by Chemotherapy 77
Low Back Pain 79
Lupus 91
Migraine 92
Military Use 97
Musculo-Skeletal Disorders 99
Nausea and Vomiting 100
Neck Pain and Whiplash 107
NIH Consensus Statement – Various Disorders 114
Osteoarthritis of the Hip 116
Osteoarthritis of the Knee 117
Osteoarthritis Pain 124
Peripheral Joint Osteoarthritis 125
Pain 126
Poststroke and Other Forms of Paralysis – Rehabilitation 135
Raynaud’s Phenomenon 138
Restless Leg Syndrome 139
Rheumatic Conditions 140
Rheumatoid Arthritis 141
Schizophrenia 143
Shingles 144
Strength Performance 145
Substance Abuse and Alcoholism 146
TMJ Disorder 151
Tendonitis – Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow) 152
Understanding the Placebo Effect 153
Using Chinese Language Databases in Research 155
Utilizing Acupuncture in Health Care Systems:
the Economic Impact 156
Section 4: Breakthroughs in Understanding 159
How Acupuncture Works 159
Section 5: NFWL Resolution on Acupuncture 161
About the National Foundation for Women Legislators 161

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Dr. Ralph Coan: a hero in establishing acupuncture as a profession in the United States

Journal of Integrative Medicine: Volume 11, 2013   Issue 1


1.         Arthur Yin Fan (McLeanCenter for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, PLC. Vienna, VA22182, USA )

2.         Ziyi Fan (McLeanCenter for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, PLC. Vienna, VA22182, USA )

DOI: 10.3736/jintegrmed2013007 Fan AY, Fan Z. Dr. Ralph Coan: a hero in establishing acupuncture as a profession in the United States. J Integr Med. 2013; 11(1): 39-44. Received July 23, 2012; accepted August 25, 2012. Open-access article copyright ? 2013 Arthur Yin Fan et al. Correspondence: Arthur Yin Fan, PhD, MD, LAc; Tel: +1-703-499-4428; Fax: +1-703-547-8197; E-mail: ArthurFan@ChineseMedicineDoctor.US

Figure 1  A recent photograph of Dr. Ralph Coan This photograph was taken during the interview. He had recently partially recovered from a stroke while also suffering from heart disease.

1 Introduction

Dr. Ralph Coan is not well known to the general public. Originally, we had wanted to interview him as he was the medical director of the first acupuncture center in the United States that opened in the early 1970s[1]. We wanted to know more about that center’s history. Prior to visiting Dr. Coan, we found an article written by Dr. Sherman Cohn that mentioned Dr. Coan. The article noted that Dr. Coan was the founder of the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, which is the national association of acupuncturists and Chinese medicine practitioners in the United States[2]. While interviewing Dr. Coan on February 18, 2012, it became apparent that he truly is a leading light in establishing acupuncture as a profession in the United States.?Dr. Coan is 75 years old and retired several years ago from his busy medical practice in Kensington, Maryland, USA. As he had recently partially recovered from a stroke while also suffering from heart disease, he could not talk much (Figure 1, Dr. Coan was in the interview). To collect further information about him, we also consulted his former colleagues and relatives, and researched articles written about him.


2 An acupuncture believer

“I put an advertisement in the Washington Post stating Looking for a Physician Position. To my surprise, I immediately got a call in the same day. He said, ‘Are you interested in working in an acupuncture clinic? If so, please come.’ I was not familiar with acupuncture before this. However, I had to get a job to support my family after I left the United States Army. At that time, most of the medical doctors (MDs) and politicians did not believe in acupuncture; some media treated acupuncture as a ‘quack’ profession. I started the work with great suspicions. It was at the beginning of 1973.” Dr. Coan recalled 40 years later.

Dr. Coan graduated from the Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. in 1963 as an honors student, had a one-year internship in the University of Chicago Hospitals, and completed his residency at WalterReedArmyHospital in Washington, D.C. He joined the United States Special Army and served at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in the Canal Zone, Panama, at Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado, and Walter Reed in Washington, D.C. In 1972, Dr. Coan left the Army after serving for eight years due to the end of the Vietnam War. He was one of the three earliest staff physicians, with six Chinese medicine doctors or acupuncturists, to work for the Acupuncture Center of Washington, the first legal acupuncture center in the United States[1]. At that time, Western-trained MDs performed the diagnoses and decided which patients needed acupuncture, and the Chinese medicine doctors would perform acupuncture treatment under the MDs’ supervision. The first MD director of the Center was Dr. Arnold Benson, a New York internist and one of the three founders. Dr. Coan became the second MD director a year later, since Dr. Benson was busy and could not work full-time. As the staff director and co-founder, Dr. Yao Wu Lee recalled that Dr. Coan worked part-time initially, then became a full-time doctor, and at last, served as the MD director, while Dr. Chingpang Lee, a Chinese medicine doctor, served as the office manager.

“I was not sure whether acupuncture was safe and effective, so I wanted to do a little research by myself before I finally decided to work there. I collected the contact information of the first 50 contiguous patients and examined them — the Center had an official copy; I collected by myself secretly. Over approximately two months, I called all of those patients. The results were very encouraging: more than 80% of the patients told me that they got better without any obvious adverse effects. I became a believer, so I decided to work full-time there. I stayed in that Center for approximately 10 years.” Dr. Coan said.

At that time, there were very few acupuncture clinics, and patients came from throughout the United States as well as from many other countries. The Center was immensely popular and had to split into two separate clinics: the Acupuncture Center of Washington and the WashingtonAcupunctureCenter. At their peak popularity, both clinics saw about one thousand patients per day. Within one year, there were thirteen acupuncture clinics open in Washington, D.C., leading it to become a capital of acupuncture. The acupuncture business was so successful that buses full of patients came from New York, New Jersey, and other cities daily to visit the Center[1]. Such scenes and the effectiveness of acupuncture amazed many open-minded MDs like Dr. Coan[2]. However, the booming acupuncture business aroused anxiety and unease within conservative Western style medical institutions and drug manufacturers. In 1974, the Washington, D.C. Board of Medicine gave the Center orders to close acupuncture offices six times. To save the acupuncture profession, as well as the Center, the directors decided to respond. From mid-1974 to the early 1975, they were involved in two lawsuits in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The court conducted a serious hearing on acupuncture. Judge Fred Ugast listened to the testimonies of the Washington, D.C. Board of Medicine, the Acupuncture Center of Washington and WashingtonAcupunctureCenter, as well as the public for three months. Dr. Coan was one of the key MDs who attended the hearing and played an important role[2,3].

Dr. Coan remembered very clearly, “One day I was in court. I testified that in Washington, D.C. there were no MDs or dentists trained in acupuncture. It is impossible to get rid of acupuncturists in an acupuncture practice, because they are the experts. Then, Judge Fred Ugast let the doctor who was in charge of the Washington, D.C. Medical Board in. The judge asked him, ‘Dr. Robinson, your regulation wants to limit the right to practice acupuncture to licensed physicians and dentists in Washington, D.C. Do you know how many Western-trained doctors in Washington, D.C. were trained in acupuncture? How many patients need acupuncture everyday?’ The doctor replied, ‘I don’t know.’ Then the judge said, ‘Oh, you can go now.’”

“I predicted that we would win the case. At last, the judge announced that the new Washington, D.C. regulation which wanted to limit the right to practice acupuncture to licensed MDs and dentists is unconstitutional. The rights of physicians to choose proper treatment based on his best judgment, acupuncturists to perform acupuncture, and patients to get professional acupuncture services have been protected. So, acupuncturists could continue to perform acupuncture as long as it is under a MD’s supervision.”

Dr. Coan was a diligent doctor and held at least six qualifications in subspecialties of internal medicine, such as endocrinology and infectious diseases, which is many more than what doctors today may have. He worked with those acupuncturists in his office from 1972 until late 1990s. He said, “I am a believer of acupuncture, although I did not insert any acupuncture needles into any patient. When my family members were sick, I always suggested them to use acupuncture first. Acupuncture works!”

3 A pioneer in acupuncture research

There was very little acupuncture research reported in the 1970s and 1980s, Dr. Coan was one of the pioneers in conducting acupuncture clinical trials. When I mentioned his name to Dr. Lixing Lao, a well-known researcher in acupuncture and Chinese herbology, and a Chinese medicine doctor at the Center for Integrative Medicine of the University of Maryland, he gave Dr. Coan very high praise, “Dr. Coan was an important acupuncture researcher with historical status. His two papers in acupuncture clinical trials on neck pain and low-back pain have been cited by many researchers today.”

In mid-September, 1973, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) held a special workshop for acupuncture scientific study. Dr. Benson and Dr. Coan reported their clinical observation of acupuncture’s effectiveness in 36 cases of rheumatoid arthritis (RA)[4] which was conducted by Dr. Coan.

The presentation at this NIH meeting showed that during the first six weeks after the center was established in December 1972, there were 64 patients with RA who were treated with acupuncture. The first follow-up was conducted three months later. They were able to contact 55 patients, of whom 36 had been given 5 to 24 acupuncture treatments (average 6.6). Of the 36, 25 patients (69%) reported improvement, including less need for pain medications and in some cases, reduction of the nodules which occur on arthritis sufferer’s joints. Of 19 patients who had fewer than 5 treatments, only 5 cases (16%) reported improvement. The second follow-up was conducted six months later, which showed continued improvement by 16 of 27 patients (59%) from the original group. The average age of patients in this study was 55 years, and they had been suffering from RA for an average of 11.5 years.

Many newspapers in the United States reported this news, which encouraged more patients to try acupuncture.

An article entitled The acupuncture treatment of low back pain, a randomized controlled study[5] was reported by Dr. Coan and his colleagues in 1980. The study was conducted within the Acupuncture Center of Washington and Acupuncture Center of Maryland.

Acupuncture treatment was effective for the majority of patients with lower back pain, which was shown by the use of short-term controls and long-term controls, although the latter were not intended in the study design. After acupuncture, there was a 51% pain reduction in the average pain score in the immediate treatment group. The short-term controls and the delayed treatment group showed no reduction in their pain scores at the comparable follow-up period. Later, the patients in the delayed treatment group were also treated by acupuncturists, and 62% of patients reported less pain. When these two treatment groups were compared at 40 weeks with long-term controls (inadequate treatment group), the inadequate treatment group still had the same pain scores, on the average, as when they enrolled in the study. Both treatment groups, on average, had 30% lower pain scores. Furthermore, 58% of patients in the treatment groups felt that they had definitely improved at 40 weeks, while only 11% of the inadequate treatment group felt definite improvement at 40 weeks. There was a significant difference between the groups.

Another article entitled The acupuncture treatment of neck pain, a randomized controlled trial[6] was reported in 1981 by Dr. Coan and his colleagues.

Thirty patients with cervical spine pain syndromes, course of disease 8 years on average, were assigned randomly equally into treatment and control groups. After 12 weeks, 12 of 15 (80%) of the treatment group felt improvement, some dramatically, with a mean 40% reduction of pain score, 54% reduction of pain pills, 68% reduction of pain hours per day and 32% less limitation of activity. Two of 15 (13%) of the control group reported a slight improvement after 12.8 weeks. The control group had a mean 2% worsening of the pain score, 10% reduction in pain pills, no lessening of pain hours and 12% less limitation of activity.

Such study design may be seen as flawed if judged by today’s criteria. However, they were considered impressive by the researchers at that time, especially the studies were the first time in history endorsed by NIH, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the American Medical Association (AMA), whichis the main stream medical society. The reports had been documented in the United States Congress in 1979 and was one of key documents used for FDA relabeling acupuncture needle as a medical device from an investigational device in 1994. The later two studies were conducted by local acupuncturists and MDs using their own money, time and labor, with great difficulty, and totally followed the restrict NIH clinical trial rule (control, and random) at that time, which might be the only case in the United States medical research history. Dr. Coan was invited to give lectures throughout the United States. Such studies do therefore have some value. Dr. Coan said, “Acupuncture is a process of a needle piercing the body, to some extent, it is similar to a small operation. As a clinical doctor, I strongly believe it cannot be compared with so-called ‘sham’ acupuncture (which is used as a placebo, mimicking that in medication’s clinical trials; however, it is a real piercing or similar to that). We used the methods of comparing the effectiveness and adverse effects before and after acupuncture in the same patient group, or between the treatment group and waiting-list group. Like an operation, how can we compare the cut of a scalpel with the ‘sham scalpel cut’?”

I agree with him. Indeed, acupuncture is very different from medication; the design of the study should not be the same as the drug model, the so-called “golden criteria”.

4 A key person in establishing acupuncture as a profession in Maryland

“I was an MD who had witnessed so many patients getting better after acupuncture treatment and became an acupuncture believer. In the 1970s, I had strong motivation — I felt that I should do something to push the acupuncture profession forward in the United States. I decided to change something at the local level first. I convinced ten more local acupuncturists, and established a professional organization Acupuncture Association of Washington Metropolitan (AAWM). I was its president for more than 10 years. We met every Saturday morning to share news with each other and discuss the role of the acupuncturists. One day, we met in SuburbanHospital (which was the affiliated hospital of NIH). We were aware that the first quarter of each year is the legislation season in every state, so we decided to remove the obstacle in law for acupuncture in Maryland.” Dr. Coan recalled.

The members of AAWM included local acupuncturists mainly from Hong Kong and Taiwan of China and Korea, such as Grace Wong, In-Su Kim, Hansheng Gu (Hanson Koo) and Sumei Zhang. They met once a month in China Garden Restaurant on Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. The basic procedure was: ate lunch together (about half hour), and then discussed something new and what needed to be done — like most societies today but we met more often and sometimes held seminars. Maryland was one of the earliest states that allowed acupuncturists to practice acupuncture (Fan notes: similar to the nurses working under the supervision of MD, without license) in the United States in 1973. However, in the early 1980s the Board of Medicine with the conservative Western-trained doctors did not want acupuncturists to have a license and wanted to deprive the acupuncturists’ rights. During 1981 to 1982, Dr. Coan and his colleagues were involved in acupuncture licensing legislation in Maryland.

“At that time, there was a five-person committee representing the Governor and State of Maryland in the hearing. The MD’s representative who attended that hearing was a very, very famous neurosurgeon from JohnHopkinsHospital, a ‘top guy’ in the Western medical field, who did not like acupuncture and tried to block the acupuncture licensing legislation.” Dr. Coan reminisced about the great achievement, “I am a nasty person. I knew him well and I knew he would oppose acupuncture. So I brought three local patients who had surgery from him, which is a secret weapon I used later all the time.” The neurosurgeon told the committee: “acupuncture is just a no-use therapy, especially for neurological issues, such as spinal disc problems that cause back pain and sciatica; only surgery could cure such disorders.” Then it was Dr. Coan’s turn. Dr. Coan brought out patients and asked them, “Do you know that doctor (the neurosurgeon)?” The patients replied, “We were patients of his and had operations from him.” “Did the operations help?” Dr. Coan asked. “No, after the operation, the pain got worse. However, acupuncture stopped the pain.” one of patients replied. The surgeon felt embarrassed and left the hearing immediately. And then Dr. Grace Wong, Dr. Coan’s partner and a well-known acupuncturist, made testimonies for acupuncture. So, acupuncture licensing legislation was passed very smoothly and successfully in Maryland in 1982 [Fan notes: due to the special political environment in Maryland, the Acupuncturist Licensing Act was changed to Acupuncturist Registering Act in 1982. So, the legislation passed in that year was the Acupuncturist Registering Act. The Acupuncturist Licencing Legislation was passed at last in 1994, 12 years later].

“You should understand it is so important to bring patients with you when you try to make testimonies in court and convince people about acupuncture. The patients will give you great support,” Dr. Coan said.

Dr. Lixing Lao once was Dr. Coan’s colleague. He recalled, “I participated in the events of AAWM, because I taught a point-locating class for National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) acupuncture examination preparation for the Tai Sophia Institute in 1986 as a part-time job, while I was a PhD candidate of physiology in the University of Maryland. Tai’s teaching, focusing on five-element acupuncture from England, is very different in content from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the main stream of current Chinese medicine. Dr. Yin-sue Kim attended that class and invited me to participate in Dr. Coan’s monthly events. I actually joined them in 1987. One day, we got interest to start an acupuncture school with focus on TCM in Maryland. So, several people became involved in this topic. After the normal meeting completed and other acupuncturists left, we discussed the school issue. The school was started in late 1991, and the first class was in 1992.”

The school was called the Acupuncture School of Maryland, and later, Maryland Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine (MITCM). After eight years of preparation, the school was initially started in a Catholic elementary school where it held lectures in the evening. After several years, it moved into a professional building in Bethesda, Maryland, which was very close to a metro station, and had all lectures during normal hours. “I was the founder and the first president of the school, and ran the school by myself for two years. My daughter worked there as a secretary.” Dr. Coan said. According to Dr. Lao, Dr. Coan spent a lot of energy, time, and even his own money for the school. Before the school could become financially independent, Dr. Coan lent his money to the school for support. The teachers at the school, mostly from mainland China and well-trained in TCM, included Drs. Lixing Lao, Jingyuan Gao, Eugene Zhang, and more. “Dr. Lao and Dr. Gao were fantastic teachers and scholars, when I was the president there, I attended their lectures for two years. I should give them my heartfelt praise,” Dr. Coan said. The first graduates were twelve students in December 17, 1994. MITCM was very sound in its academic and financial condition. It was a prestigious TCM school on the east coast. However, it closed at the end of 2002.

During the 1980s to 1990s, Drs. Coan, Wong, Lao and Bob Duggan (the founder of Tai Sophia Institute) worked as the main board members in the Acupuncture Board of Maryland for many years. The Board is a state government agency that is in charge of acupuncture licensing and administrates acupuncturists’ practice.

5 The founder of the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Almost ten years passed from the opening of the first acupuncture center of the United States in 1972. In more and more states, such as Nevada, Maryland and Massachusetts, acupuncture legislation got passed. More and more patients considered acupuncture as an option, and more and more students studied acupuncture and Oriental medicine in the United States and became acupuncturists. These led to the birth of a national organization for the acupuncture profession[2].

Dr. Coan and Louis Gasper, PhD, were co-founders of the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM). Dr. Gasper, who died in 2004, was a professor at Los AngelesInternationalUniversity. They sent letters nationally to invite people to attend the first AAAOM meeting at the Los AngelesInternationalUniversity on June 27, 1981. Neither Dr. Coan nor Dr. Gasper practiced acupuncture; however, they are acupuncture believers. The 75 attendees included MDs and dentists who used acupuncture, acupuncturists (non-MDs), and MDs who did not use acupuncture themselves but supervised acupuncturists, like Dr. Coan, as well as friends of acupuncture or those with interest in acupuncture, like Dr. Gasper. The first board was elected at that meeting, and consisted of seven members: two MDs, four acupuncturists, and another doctor without indicating designation. Dr. Coan served as the treasurer. At that time, MDs were the largest groups represented at that meeting. The second AAAOM meeting, held at the Del Coronado Hotel in San Diego in March, 1982, had a much higher attendance than the first. Most of attendees were acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) practitioners. In the third AAAOM meeting, held at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. in May, 1983, non-MD AOM practitioners strongly protested MD members’ intentional delay of AOM development, tension between the MD acupuncturists or supervisors, and the non-MD practitioners surfaced without resolution, resulting in all of the MD members walking out of AAAOM except for Dr. Coan. In that difficult time, Dr. Coan was elected as the new president of the AAAOM, which just became AOM practitioners’ own organization. “I was president of the second board and then vice-president of AAAOM for over ten years. During those years, I helped thirteen states finalize acupuncture legislations,” Dr. Coan said.

“I gave testimonies in person in twelve states’ hearings for acupuncture legislation, gave testimony over the phone for Alaska (I did not go there, it is too far),” Dr. Coan said. He wrote the name of thirteen states for us on a paper with his hand, slight-shaking due to the stroke: Alaska, Delaware, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

“In Utah, there were twelve MDs who were strongly against acupuncture that attended the acupuncture legislation hearing. A representative of the AMA came too. The side that is in favor of acupuncture had only two people in attendance: one acupuncturist and me. The MDs tried to make the law to block all non-MD acupuncturists to perform acupuncture. The reason is that such non-MD acupuncturists had not had the appropriate medical education as MDs. I asked, ‘In your MDs’ clinics, there are nurses who use needles. How many years were these nurses required to study in Nurse Schools?’ They replied, ‘Three years.’ ‘Acupuncturists have education and training for four to six years, longer than the nurses. If the nurses have right to use needles, acupuncturists should be overqualified to use the needles under the supervision of a MD.’ I protested. And then, a MD stood up and said, ‘acupuncture is not useful to treat carcinoma. Acupuncture will cause carcinoma patients delay in getting the right treatments. So, acupuncture will harm patients.’ I stood behind the sponsor who wanted to introduce the acupuncture legislation and gave him the reply of our side. He responded according to my words, ‘Okay, you said acupuncture harms patients. Could you call your clinic and let your secretary use expedited mail to mail me a real medical record which indicates that acupuncture harmed your patients by tomorrow? I will pay the shipping fee.’ The doctor could say nothing. So we won the hearing, and acupuncture legislation passed.” Dr. Coan smiled, “Acupuncturists should remember, never say you could treat cancer (by acupuncture only, although you may help such patients to some extent). In the hearings, the MDs always used this as an example to block acupuncture legislations.”?Regarding Vermont, Dr. Coan said, “During the hearing there were also only two people in favor of acupuncture: a local acupuncturist and me. We won. The weather there that year was extremely cold, and this lady (the acupuncturist) had no money to pay for a hotel for me. So, I stayed in her house, without any heating, for one night. I used ten cotton blankets. That is an unforgettable experience.”

“In 1988 in Virginia, there were five surgeons in attendance who tried to block legislation which allows acupuncturists to practice acupuncture; I went there with In-Su Kim, a Korean acupuncturist, to fight with them,” Dr. Coan recalled. According to a report from a newspaper[7], at that time in VirginiaState, the law made by MDs only allowed licensed MDs to practice acupuncture. Such MDs only had 100 hours of study and 100 hours of practice in acupuncture training. The acupuncturists, mostly with 4 to 6 years extensive training, could not practice acupuncture. Dr. Coan protested in the statehouse, “This law is unjust, unfair, and immoral.”

Per the arrangement of Dr. Coan, on June 22, 1979, George Brown, Jr., an acupuncture skeptic, had acupuncture during a hearing in Congress of the United States. Dr. Grace Wong, Dr. Coan’s partner, did acupuncture on him for smoking cessation; it was very successful. At that time, Brown was the Chairman of the House Science, Research, and Technology subcommittee. It was a breaking news, reported in many newspapers[8].

As another pioneer in the acupuncture profession, Dr. Finando, commented on Dr. Coan[9], “He campaigned and lobbied anywhere and everywhere to lobby for acupuncture.” Not only did he campaign and lobby for acupuncture anywhere and everywhere, his mother influenced by him, also became a volunteer lobbyist for acupuncture.

It is true that Dr. Coan is a great hero of the acupuncture profession, even though he did not insert an acupuncture needle in any patient. He is an MD, but he has contributed his dedication and whole life to support and promotion of acupuncture; all of this as a volunteer.

6 Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Dr. Lixing Lao, Dr. Yick-chong Chan, Dr. Sherman Cohn, Ms. Judy Coan-Stevens and Mr. John Coan who provided some detail information about Dr. Ralph Coan, and Ms. April Enriquez for English editing. The interviewer was Dr. Arthur Yin Fan.

7 Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


1.         Fan AY. The first acupuncture center in the United States: an interview with Dr. Yao Wu Lee, WashingtonAcupunctureCenter[J] J Chin Integr Med, 2012, 10(5) : 481-492.

2.         Cohn S. Acupuncture, 1965-85: birth of a new organized profession in the United States (pt. 2). Am Acupuncturist. 2011; Spring: 22-25, 29.

3.         Superior Court of the District of Columbia Civil Division. Civil action No. 11005-74. Urie, Coan v. Washington. cited by the records: Lewis v. District of Colombia Court of Appeals (1978). [2012-06-26]. http://www.tx.findacase.com/research/wfrmDocViewer.aspx/xq/fal.19780427-0003.dc.htm/qx.

4.         Sawislak AB (UPI). Two-third of 36 patients treated with acupuncture had pain relief. Williamson Daily News, 1973-09-20 (15).

5.         Coan RM, Wong G, Ku SL, Chan YC, Wang L, Ozer FT, Coan PL. The acupuncture treatment of low back pain: a randomized controlled study[J]. Am J Chin Med, 1980, 8(1-2) : 181-189.

6.         Coan RM, Wong G, Coan PL. The acupuncture treatment of neck pain: a randomized controlled study[J]. Am J Chin Med, 1981, 9(4) : 326-332.

7.         Criticism of acupuncture laws called racist by Asian groups. Afro-American. 1988-08-16(3C). [2012-06-26]. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=LEpAAAAAIBAJ&sjid=WvUFAAAAIBAJ&pg=2980,674502&dq=ralph+coan+in+su+kim&hl=en.

8.         How to prevent mildew. The Spokesman Review. 1979-06-23(10). [2012-06-26]. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=yeURAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Ie4DAAAAIBAJ&pg=5438,3626027&dq=wong+grace+acupuncture&hl=en.

9.         Finando S. AOM pioneers and leaders 1982-2007, a commemorative book of challenge and courage. Vol. 1. AAAOM, NCCAOM, CCAOM & ACAOM. 2007: 29-32. [2012-06-26]. http://www.aaaomonline.info/docs/pioneers_and_leaders_vol1.pdf.

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只能称针灸师 美国加州业者推立法为中医师正名

2012年09月10日 10:48 来源:中国新闻网  http://www.chinanews.com/hr/2012/09-10/4171203.shtml

  中新网9月10日电 据美国《世界日报》报道,美国加州中医界将州参、众议会通过的SB628法案视为一大胜利,在该法案下,拥有博士(Dr.)学位的合格针灸师可改称为针灸医师。中医界表示,他们下一步是推动“中医师”头衔,中医师在美国一直以针灸师名义行医。








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