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Our new article was published recently on Journal of Integrative Medicine: Volume 12, 2014   Issue 4

http://www.jcimjournal.com/jim/FullText2.aspx?articleID=S2095-4964(14)60035-2

 

“Obamacare” covers fifty-four million Americans for acupuncture as Essential Healthcare Benefit
Arthur Yin Fan (McLean Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, PLC, Vienna, VA 22182, USA )

http://www.jcimjournal.com/jim/currentIssue.aspx

 

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Jun 3, 2014 A Madam e-mail To ArthurFan@ChineseMedicineDoctor.US
Dear Dr. Fan,
I spoke with you recently over the phone about my diagnosis of oromandibular dystonia. You had asked that I send you some background, as well as my address to send an herbal remedy to that you have found works well for dystonia patients.

I was diagnosed around 9 years ago by two neurologists (Lahey Cliinic, Mass General) with task-specific oromandibular dystonia. I was doing radio broadcasting (weather reporting) for a couple of years, which involved repetitive phrases and likely- at least in part- brought on the condition. I first developed symptoms while doing the reports in a recording booth, although my conversational speech was normal (behind the microphone I had symptoms, and stepping away from the microphone I had no symptoms). The symptoms intensified over time and I eventually had to quit the broadcasting. My conversational speech eventually became impaired, and it took at least a year (or more) for the condition to go mostly back into remission. I stayed away from the broadcasting until around 10 months ago, and have only been doing a small amount of broadcasting (two hours or so) a week. I started noticing symptoms returning while working in a research lab (that is my primary job and where I spend most of my time). It was a stressful year for me, as I was trying to get a couple of projects finished so I could publish the work- I had invited a colleague of mine to be a co-first author on this work, and we ended up having many stressful, intense conversations about the work that involved constant voice projection (the lab is loud because of background noises). I’m not sure if it was a combination of stress/anxiety coupled with voice projection, and perhaps also coupled with the little bit of broadcasting I had started doing again that brought the condition back. I was also volunteering for a couple of hours a week at a preschool- which involved more voice projection. I first developed symptoms while in the lab, talking with my colleague.

Years ago when the dystonia first appeared, I received scalp acupuncture treatments based on a protocol published in a Chinese journal that showed success in 19 early Parkinson’s patients. This was successful in relieving my symptoms. I’m on the same protocol again and am receiving treatments three times a week. I had published an article in Natural Solutions Magazine (formerly Alternative Medicine Magazine) in collaboration with my acupuncturist. Below my signature is an excerpt from the article.

I was wondering if you could send me information that I could pass along to my acupuncturist that details the protocol that you use with your dystonia patients? I would also be grateful to receive the herbal remedy that you have found works well for oromandibular dystonia. My address is(omitted in this article):

Thank you kindly for your time.
Best wishes,
E
(Excerpt from the published article):
I had been placed on a Bell’s Palsy acupuncture protocol for several months, since this was- at the time- the only neurological disorder my acupuncturist was familiar with, and unfortunately one that is characteristically very different from dystonia. I was about to quit the acupuncture since it wasn’t bringing me any real benefit, when I asked her if she knew of any protocols used to treat Parkinson’s disease- the closest disorder to dystonia that I knew of. Although researchers have not found a direct link between dystonia and Parkinson’s disease, there is great interest in some of the symptom crossover, and research groups are actively trying to better understand the overlap between the two movement disorders. Since Parkinson’s and Dystonia are both neurological and result in similar signs and symptoms, it was possible that a Parkinson’s acupuncture protocol could be adapted to a dystonia patient.

My acupuncturist found a journal article that outlined a protocol that involves both body and scalp acupuncture, and which is used to treat Parkinson’s patients.1 Acupuncture can help relieve symptoms by altering blood hormone levels. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Parkinson’s and dystonia are believed to be caused by genetics, aging, damage from excessive emotions, faulty diet, and chronic disease. Parkinson’s and Dystonia in TCM are seen as an inability of the blood and yin to nourish sinews and vessels, resulting in contraction, stiffness, and rigidity. The liver in TCM is what governs the sinews, and if the blood and yin become deficient, yang can become hyperactive, resulting in liver wind. These disorders mainly take root in the liver, but can lead to more complex presentations such as phlegm accumulation, qi and blood stagnation, and spleen and kidney deficiency. In TCM, you treat the root cause; in this case, treatment would involve settling the liver and extinguishing wind, and the manifestations, such as phlegm, stagnation, and/ or deficiency. One small study, An Acupuncture Protocol for Parkinson’s Disease,2 showed a total amelioration rate of 84.2 percent when scalp acupuncture was incorporated into an acupuncture treatment.

 

Arthur Yin Fan,CMD,PhD,LAc Jun 3,2014(E-mail) To A Madam (e-mailed me above)

Hi, E,

You may still use scalp and body acupuncture you mentioned. Take time. And also use some local points.

For herbal medicine, we have two:
(1) Pattern based herbology, heal tea.
(2) Dystonia focused herbal pills. It is called Liu Jun San capsule (100 capsule/per bottle, use 3#, 3 times a day).
It was a Chinese FDA (local branch) approved for hospital use (my former hospital).

 

A Madam Jun 3,2014 To Arthur Yin Fan,CMD,PhD,LAc

Dear Dr. Fan,

Thank you very much. I would like to try the dystonia focused herbal pills (if this is what you would recommend for my condition). I had seen a Youtube video of a gentleman with oromandibular dystonia that you had helped, whose symptoms looked (and sounded) identical to my own (lower left lip spasms, pursing of the lips, difficulty speaking). Did he take the dystonia focused herbal pills, or the pattern based herbology, heal tea?
Thank you again,

E

From: A Madam To: ArthurFan@ChineseMedicineDoctor.US
Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2014 8:19 AM
Subject: Request for more dystonia-specific herbal capsules

Dear Dr. Fan,
The herbal capsules that I received from you (Liu Jun San, 3 bottles in early June) seem to be working very well for me. My condition within two weeks of taking them went into a near remission. I still have symptoms, however my conversational speech has dramatically improved and I am even still able to do some radio broadcasting each week. I have also been doing scalp acupuncture, which might be synergistic with the capsules. I was also taking herbal teas prepared by my acupuncturist for several weeks prior to taking the capsules- She said there was some overlap in the ingredients in the teas versus what is in the capsules.

I would like to order another shipment of Liu Jun San for next month. I would actually be interested in continuing to take these capsules indefinitely, as I believe they might be effective in suppressing my symptoms. Is it possible for me to receive an automatic shipment every month, with the money taken out of my credit card each month automatically?

Thank you kindly.
Best wishes,
E

  • Jul 11 at 9:46 PM  To  Arthur Yin Fan,CMD,PhD,LAc
Wonderful! Thank you so much!
I was at a party this evening, by the way, and I was discussing my condition with someone. She said she never would have known if I hadn’t told her. I really am doing so much better- Thank you!
E

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To date, there are 1,035 active acupuncturists in MD. Acupuncture Today indicated the members in Maryland is 752(72.6%). And currently VA active acupuncturists  about 485. In Acupuncture Today, is 352(72.6%).

Total acupuncturists in Acupuncture Today is about 25,000. So in 2014, actual active acupuncturists in USA should be 34,435.

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

Journal of Integrative Medicine: Volume 11, 2013   Issue 1

http://www.jcimjournal.com/jim/FullText2.aspx?articleID=jintegrmed2013007

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.

References

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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Acupuncture helped the mother overcome the migraine and hypertension during pregnancy

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Mr. D. N.,80 years old,  had a stroke in last November (year 2011), the stroke affected  function of his celebellum and stem.  The main problem is dizziness and hearing loss. He had ten acupuncture treatments and’several months physical therapies, did not feel significant improvement.

On August 21,2012, patient started to see me. When he came, he was very dizzy, even the position change, such as  lying down and/or sitting up, causing severe dizziness. He had to use a cane to help the balance, his daughter or son helps his walk too.  For his hearing loss, he said he could answer the phone only when the speaker is on; he could not hear the door-bell ringing and the touch-tone sound of the phone.

After our 4 acupuncture treatments, his dizziness decreased at least 50% and walking much better, faster and balance better,don’t need other to help him; and hearing better.

After 6 treatments, he could hear the door-bell ringing and touch-tone sound of the phone. Very happy and said at least 50% improving. Currently, he is still under extensive acupuncture treatments in our office.

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Dr. Fan,
I hope you remember me, Simara. I used to go to your office for my bad back pain every weekend. I had an emergency at home with my father who got really ill and eventually passed away. I had to stay at home to take care for some things with my mother and the stay I had envisioned prolonged for a little bit. I just wanted to tell you thank you from the bottom of my heart beacuse you really made me feel better and whenever I couldn’t walk whenever I came into your office, an hour later I felt like it never happened. You really care for your patients and you are a really sweet man. I can honestly say you’re the best doctor I’ve ever had and I think you cured my back pain because thru all this time I haven’t been in Virginia, my back doesn’t bother me anymore. I will be back but I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am for basically curing me.
I also want to say that your assistant April, she is the sweetest, most attentive and professional person I’ve ever met. I miss you guys very much and hopefully I will be back very soon. I will go by the office to say hi.
Dr. Fan, thank you so much for being the man that you are and I hope you keep working healing people for a long, long, long time. Xie Xié.
Simara C.
Dr.Arthur Fan notes: acupuncture is one of most effective therapies in low back pain management, according to clinical trials and long term clinical practice.

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September 6, 2012

Doctor Fan,

I want to thank you for using your expert acupuncture techniques to solve my long lasting Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS).

Traditional medicine did not work and your remedies have allowed me to sleep well at night.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

P. A.

Dr.Arthur fan notes: after acupuncture, patient feels no longer have restless leg syndrome, and migraine gone, sleep very soundly.

And, very important the mood much calm.

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This morning, a lady reported her pregnancy test strong positive–got pregnant. This is no.65 patient got pregnant, since 2007, by our acupuncture treatments.

She is 33 years old, married for 6 years, and tried seriously to get conceive for over one years. According to her, her husband is healthy and the sperm test was good. She also has a lot acne, so she hope we could adjust her hormones for both acne and fertility.

When she first saw me, she was in day 14 of her period cycle (she had  28-days-cycles before). I gave her acupuncture according to our protocol, and herb pills. after 8 sessions acupuncture, she felt her cervical mucus is slippery and very stretchable, better than before. after another two weeks, her period didn’t come. Then her pregnancy test became positive.

 

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J Sex Med. 2010 Feb;7(2 Pt 2):981-95. Epub 2009 Nov 12.

The ACTIV study: acupuncture treatment in provoked vestibulodynia.

Source

Elements of Health Centre, Victoria, Canada.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Provoked vestibulodynia (PVD) is a distressing genital pain condition affecting 12% of women. Treatment modalities vary and although vestibulectomy has the highest efficacy rates, it is usually not a first-line option. Acupuncture has a long history in the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) system and operates on the premise that pain results from the blockage or imbalance of important channels. The main principle of treatment is to move Qi and blood to cease genital pain.

AIM:

To explore effect sizes and feasibility in a pilot study of acupuncture for women with PVD.

METHODS:

Eight women with PVD (mean age 30 years) underwent 10 1-hour acupuncture sessions. Specific placement of the needles depended on the woman’s individual TCM diagnosis. TCM practitioners made qualitative notes on participants’ feedback after each session. Main Outcome Measures. Self-reported pain (investigator-developed), pain-associated cognitions (Pain Catastrophizing Scale [PCS], Pain Vigilance and Awareness Questionnaire), and sexual response (Female Sexual Function Index) were measured before and after treatment sessions 5 and 10. Qualitative analyses of TCM practitioner notes were performed along with one in-depth case report on the experience of a participant.

RESULTS:

A repeated measures analysis of variance revealed significant decreases in pain with manual genital stimulation and helplessness on the PCS. An examination of effect sizes also revealed strong (though nonsignificant) effects for improved ability to have intercourse and sexual desire. Qualitative analyses were overall more positive and revealed an improvement in perceived sexual health, reduced pain, and improved mental well-being in the majority of participants.

CONCLUSIONS:

Effect sizes and qualitative analyses of practitioner-initiated interviews showed overall positive effects of acupuncture, but there were statistically significant improvements only in pain with manual genital stimulation and helplessness. These findings require replication in a larger, controlled trial before any definitive conclusions on the efficacy of acupuncture for PVD can be made.

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My patients and many others sometime want to know what is the difference between IVF and acupuncture in infertility treatments.

Actually, the difference is significant.

1. IVF, using artificial procedure to help the infertility couple to get baby(s). It is a procedure with the external help(doctors) and get “pregnancy”, like a game.  And, sometime, using donor’s egg or sperm. The result could know in one month. If you see the patient has bleeding after some days post the procedure(embryo transferring), the IVF is failed.

2. Acupuncture, adjusts the hormones and improving the function, which makes patient become a normal people. And then she could get pregnancy in any cycle.

Yesterday, one patient told me she got pregnancy after our acupuncture treatments.

 

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Fertil Steril. 2012 Mar;97(3):599-611. Epub 2012 Jan 11.

Effects of acupuncture on pregnancy rates in women undergoing in vitro fertilization: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Source

Institute of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, People’s Republic of China.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the effect of acupuncture on in vitro fertilization (IVF) outcomes.

DESIGN:

Systematic review and meta-analysis.

PATIENT(S):

Women undergoing IVF in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) who were evaluated for the effects ofacupuncture on IVF outcomes.

SETTING:

Not applicable.

INTERVENTION(S):

The intervention groups used manual, electrical, and laser acupuncture techniques. The control groups consisted of no, sham, and placebo acupuncture.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):

The major outcomes were clinical pregnancy rate (CPR) and live birth rate (LBR). Heterogeneity of the therapeutic effect was evaluated with a forest plot analysis. Publication bias was assessed by a funnel plot analysis.

RESULT(S):

Twenty-four trials (a total of 5,807 participants) were included in this review. There were no significant publication biases for most of the comparisons among these studies. The pooled CPR (23 studies) from all of the acupuncture groups was significantly greater than that from all of the control groups, whereas the LBR (6 studies) was not significantly different between the two groups. The results were different when the type of control was examined in a sensitivity analysis. The CPR and LBR differences between the acupuncture and control groups were more obvious when the studies using the Streitberger control were ignored. Similarly, if the underlying effects of the Streitberger control were excluded, the LBR results tended to be significant when the acupuncture was performed around the time of oocyte aspiration or controlled ovarian hyperstimulation.

CONCLUSION(S):

Acupuncture improves CPR and LBR among women undergoing IVF based on the results of studies that do not include the Streitberger control. The Streitberger control may not be an inactive control. More positive effects from using acupuncture in IVF can be expected if an appropriate control and more reasonable acupuncture programs are used.

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Acupuncture Today, April, 2012, Vol. 13, Issue 04      http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/mpacms/at/article.php?id=32551

Real Acupuncture or Real World Acupuncture? Deciphering Acupuncture Studies in the News .  By Matthew Bauer, LAc

Recent studies have concluded that acupuncture is no more effective than various forms of sham or placebo acupuncture, and these conclusions have been reported in the media and used by skeptics to discredit acupuncture.

The Oriental medical (OM) community’s response to these reports has been ineffective, perhaps counterproductive. These studies, and the resulting media coverage, can serve was a wake-up call to the OM community, alerting us that we need to be more proactive in our public education efforts and rethink some long-held beliefs regarding the efficacy of traditional theories.

In the News 

In the last few years, several studies sought to measure the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating common conditions.1,2,3 The findings of these studies were widely reported within the media.4,5,6 The good news for the Oriental medicine (OM) profession is that these studies found that acupuncture was not only effective, but often more effective than conventional therapies. The bad news is that these studies also found that traditional acupuncture techniques – based on the point/channel theories taught inOMschools – were no more effective than what is termed “sham” or “placebo” acupuncture.

The most recent of these studies, published in the May 11, 2009 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine and sometimes referred to as the “Seattle” study, built on other recent studies and is a good example of current acupuncture research. One of the conclusions this study’s authors reached is particularly striking:

“Collectively, these recent trials provide strong and consistent evidence that real acupuncture needling using the Chinese Meridian system is not more effective for chronic low back pain than various purported forms of sham acupuncture.”

As someone who has treated thousands of people with chronic low back pain using the Chinese meridian system, my first reaction to this statement was to feel the researchers were mistaken. But, I also respect scientific research and feel it would be a great mistake for those of us in the OM profession to criticize these studies just because they tell us something we don’t want to hear, without looking critically at both the studies and our own beliefs.

Real Vs. Real World 

The only evidence these studies actually provide is that so-called “real” acupuncture is not more effective than sham acupuncture in a controlled, clinical trial environment. I believe this detail is of critical importance. But, before I explain why this detail is of such importance, I want to critique the response to these studies from within the OM profession.

Up to this point, the sparse response from theOMfield to these studies has been limited to pointing out that there are many acupuncture points including hundreds of extra points, so “sham” acupuncture is still hitting acupuncture points. Regarding studies that use “placebo” techniques in which acupuncture is simulated with the skin unbroken, some acupuncturists have pointed to tapping techniques, common in Japanese acupuncture, that never pierce the skin. While there is some merit to these arguments, they ignore the greater problem with these studies and make theOMprofession sound to the public like we are grasping at straws and making excuses. If researchers can’t help but hit useful points no matter how hard they try to avoid them, why should anyone bother seeking treatment from people trained in the complex traditional theories that stress diagnosing qi imbalances to identify the best point prescriptions?

The primary problem with these studies is not that researchers inadvertently performed real acupuncture when they attempted to do sham or placebo acupuncture, but that the real acupuncture seriously underperformed. Most of these studies show the real acupuncture groups to be somewhere in the 45-60% effective range. Only 45-60%? If I was only getting 45-60% positive effect for my patients, I would never have been able to build my practice and support my family for the last 23 years. Ask any clinically successful acupuncturist, and they will tell you for common pain problems like low back pain, the average range of effectiveness is somewhere between 75-85%.

Obviously, something about the design of these studies does not capture what happens in the real world when using acupuncture to treat these conditions. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough studies that reflect what happens in the real world because most of the money for research has gone to the “controlled” studies using sham and placebo controls, and the type of patient contact that happens in real world treatment is not allowed. None of these recent studies allowed the acupuncturist who did the needling to consult with the patient and choose points and techniques.

In most of these studies, a set of points were prescribed and used repeatedly regardless of the patient’s progress, or lack thereof. TheSeattlestudy was the only study that attempted to mimic actual practice by having a diagnostic acupuncturist see one group of patients before each treatment. This diagnostician chose the points to be used based on traditional diagnostic rationale, but then these points were passed along to the treating acupuncturist who did the actual needling.

Qi Interaction

Will it affect the outcome if the acupuncturist who inserts the needles is not allowed to interact with the patient and choose what points and techniques to use? It shouldn’t matter, if acupuncture only stimulates specific nerve endings, causing mechanical neuro-chemical responses within the body. But, if acupuncture actually works by manipulating qi, as its founders and supporters have claimed for more than 2,000 years, then there is very good reason to believe that the qi dynamic between the acupuncturist and the patient is an important factor that must be considered.

The first day I interned in the private practice of my school’s clinic director, he asked me to take charge of treating a very difficult case. When I balked and said I thought I was too inexperienced to manage such a difficult case, my teacher told me that my sincere enthusiasm created a positive qi that helped to offset my lack of experience. Over the years, I have come to believe the acupuncturist’s qi can be as important as the points themselves. Points do matter, but the effect these points elicit is influenced by the qi of the one stimulating them. Like yin and yang, there is a combination of both factors at play: different points have different tendencies regarding how they influence a patient’s qi dynamics, but that tendency is influenced by the qi of the person manipulating the points. Because this fact is rarely discussed in acupuncture circles, researchers have not taken this into account in their studies.

Skeptics have long contended that acupuncture only works if the patient believes in it (ignoring the effects of veterinary acupuncture or animal studies), but it may be more important that acupuncturists believe in what they are doing. The best practitioners with the highest success rates put everything they have into every treatment – into every needle or patient contact. We choose points and techniques because we believe they are very best for our patients, and that belief influences the effects of the points. Any acupuncturist who puts needles in a patient not believing it to be the very best they can do is inserting those needles with less than optimal qi.

Unlike administering drugs or performing surgery, which manipulates the body in a more mechanical fashion, influencing qi dynamics is more dependant on subtle factors, including the qi of the one doing the manipulating. This may sound like what skeptics call “woo-woo” – irrational, new age mysticism — but it is a key part of acupuncture’s traditional foundation and deserves consideration. Before jumping to conclusions about traditional concepts, we should encourage studies using acupuncture in a way that reflects what takes place in the real world. Let’s study what happens to patients when treated in actual clinic conditions with no blinding or controls, in which the acupuncturist does whatever their years of training and experience leads them to believe is the best they can do for each patient. Don’t limit them in their techniques and communication with the patient, because such limits are not imposed in real world practice. And don’t refer to acupuncture being done under research constrained controls as “real” acupuncture, because it does not resemble the manner in which acupuncture is done in actual practice.

These studies point to sobering realities theOMprofession needs to face. We cannot ignore the fact that in study after study in which researchers stimulated points in a manner that seemed incompatible with traditional Chinese medicine protocols, a respectable percentage of test subjects experienced significant improvement. So while it may be fact that the best trained and most experienced acupuncturists will obtain 75-85% effectiveness rates for their patients, it may also be a fact that poking some needles virtually anywhere will get 40%-50%, sometimes even 60% effectiveness. (See sidebar.) If that is the case, then the value of comprehensive traditional training and years of experience may be in getting that extra 20-30% of successful outcomes.

I am not surprised that poking needles anywhere can help a decent percentage of pain-related cases because I believe any acupuncture stimulates the body to produce anti-trauma chemistry such as pain modifiers and anti-inflammatory compounds. That is why I was never strongly opposed to other health care professionals being able to legally do some acupuncture. I have long felt that rather than fighting to prevent other health care professionals from having the right to perform acupuncture, theOMprofession should be trying to educate these other professions that the more comprehensive training allows for that additional 20-30% effectiveness. In a spirit of mutual respect, we could encourage other health care professionals to refer their more difficult cases to us. This suggestion may not be welcomed by some, but theOMprofession must be open to evolve with the times.

Regardless of how we approach the issue of other health care professionals using acupuncture in their practices, the recent studies and media reporting of their findings should make one thing very clear: The OM profession needs to be much more proactive both in encouraging research that better reflects real-world acupuncture and in educating the public and media about OM and the OM profession. TheOMprofession has never mounted a comprehensive, multi-year, public education campaign. We have never seen fit to make such a campaign a priority. This must change. We cannot continue to leave the manner in whichOMis perceived by the public and portrayed within the media to outside forces. For too many years, our profession has acted as if all we have to do is raise education standards and do the good work of helping people and the rest would take care of itself. The conclusions of these studies and the media reports that followed should be making it clear that this is not the case.

Conclusion

If it were true that getting successful results does not depend on where one puts the needles, then every first-year acupuncture intern would get the same results as their most experienced teachers, which is not the case. While it seems to be true that having positive qi can make up for lack of experience, almost any acupuncturist will tell you that they get better results with experience. After training and licensure, acupuncturists typically spend the next several years of their careers learning more techniques and theories to add to their arsenal. Why do we do this? Because we learn that sometimes your Plan A or Plan B does not get results, so you better have a Plan C, D, and E as back-up if you want to get the highest degree of success. If it did not matter where you put the needles, no one would bother to keep learning additional techniques and the robust continuing education offerings out there would cease to exist.

We OM professionals, who work our tails off helping our patients, know how valuable our services are and we know that points do matter. We are buoyed by the gratitude of our patients, even as they tell us how they wished they had known aboutOMsooner and wonder why more people don’t take advantage of this safe healing resource. We don’t have to manipulate the facts to educate the public, media, and policymakers about what we have to offer, but we do have to guard against allowing the facts to be manipulated against us. There are acupuncture researchers who have a greater grasp of the subtle dynamics of clinical acupuncture, including the Society for Acupuncture Research, and the OM profession should do more to familiarize ourselves with their work and to encourage that the real-world effects of OM is given its just due.

References

  1. Haake M, Mueller HH, Schade-Brittinger C, et al. German acupuncture trials (GERAC) for chronic low back pain. Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(17):1892-1898.
  2. Cherkin D, Sherman K, Avins A, et al. A randomized trial comparing acupuncture, simulated acupuncture, and usual care for chronic low back pain. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(9):858-866.
  3. Moffet HH. Sham acupuncture may be as efficacious as true acupuncture: A systematic review of clinical trials. J Altern Complement Med. 2009;15(3):213-6.
  4. Bankhead C. Acupuncture tops conventional therapy for low-back pain. MedPage Today, 2007. www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/AlternativeMedicine/6770. Accessed October 11, 2009.
  5. Doheny K. Acupuncture may ease chronic back pain. WebMD Health News, 2009.www.webmd.com/back-pain/news/20090511/acupuncture-may-ease-chronic-back-pain. Accessed October 11, 2009.
  6. Park A. Acupuncture for bad backs: Even sham therapy works. Time.Com, 2009.www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1897636,00.html. Accessed October 11, 2009.
  7. Amaro J. Is most of acupuncture research a “sham?” Acupuncture Today. August 2009;10(8).www.acupuncturetoday.com/mpacms/at/article.php?id=32013. Accessed October 11, 2009.

About the Studies 

The two main trials referenced in this article are the German Acupuncture Trails (GERAC) for chronic low back pain and that carried out in both the Center for Health Studies,Seattle,Wash.and the Division of Research, Northern California Kaiser Permanente,Oakland,Calif.that is sometimes called the “Seattle Study.”

In the German trails, 1,162 patients were randomized into groups receiving “real” acupuncture, “sham” acupuncture, or conventional therapy. Participants underwent 10 30-minute sessions usually at 2 treatments a week for 5 weeks. An additional five treatments were offered to those who had partial response to treatment. The “real” acupuncture groups were needled at points traditionally believed to be beneficial for lower back pain while the sham acupuncture involved superficial needling at non-traditional points. At 6 months, positive response rate was 47.6% in the real acupuncture group, 44.2% in the sham acupuncture group, and 27.4% in the conventional therapy group.

In theSeattlestudy, 638 adults with uncomplicated low back pain of 3-12 months duration were randomized into four groups: individualized acupuncture, standardized acupuncture, simulated acupuncture, and conventional care. In the individualized acupuncture groups, a “diagnostic acupuncturist” considered the patient’s progress and prescribed points according to traditional theory. The prescribed points were then needled by the treating acupuncturist. The standardized group employed a set of points traditionally considered helpful in treating low back pain that were used throughout the treatment series. The simulated group had the same points as used in the standardized group but toothpicks were used to simulate the feeling of acupuncture. The treatments were done using back points so subjects could not see the needles. Treatments in the first three groups were done by experienced acupuncturists and consisted of two treatments a week for three weeks then once a week for four weeks.

At eight weeks, mean dysfunction scores for the first three groups were 4.5, 4.5, and 4.4 points compared to 2.1 points for conventional care. Symptoms improved by 1.6 to 1.9 points in the first three groups and 0.7 in the conventional care group.

While I emphasize the need to distinguish what both of these studies refer to as “real” acupuncture from that which is practiced in the real world of clinical acupuncture settings, the Seattle Study did make note that its design had limitations, including restricting treatment to a single component of TCM (needling), pre-specification of the number and duration of treatment, and limited communication between the patient and acupuncturist. While I applaud this study’s authors for mentioning these limitations, the conclusions they reached regarding the “strong and consistent evidence” that real acupuncture is not more effective than sham acupuncture indicate they did not consider these limitations too significant.


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Dear colleagues & Friends,

A Spring seminar will be hold by Virginia Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine (VITCM) on April 1, 2012, Sunday. Hope everyone will arrange time to attend, and share your knowledge and experience.

Topics: The Western Diagnosis, TCM Treatments and Research Updates of Common Skin Diseases; Yellow Emperor’s Classics of Internal Medicine.

Location:Potomac Community Center, 11315 Falls Road,Potomac, Maryland 20854;Tel: 240-777-6960.

Skin problems, which affect more than 10 million Americans, can be one of the most frustrating and stubborn group of symptoms to successfully treat. Many pharmaceutical solutions offer quick relief but do not provide a lasting solution, and come with risks such as toxic build-up in the body and weakening of other organ systems. Therefore, more and more people are choosing alternative solutions such as Chinese Medicine, which can be safer and which intends to address the root cause of the symptom instead of covering it up each time it appears. In fact, dermatology is a recognized specialty in traditional Chinese Medicine. Treatments for skin disorders have been described as early as 1100-221 BC in China.  Acupuncture and Chinese herbs offer a natural solution to improving skin conditions with its sophisticated system, both external and internal administration. There are hundreds of herbal formulas available for skin disorders such as herpes, eczema, and psoriasis.

Fee: $208. (Mail check before March 15, 2012, discount rate at $188).

Contact Person: Dr. Arthur Fan,Tel:(703)499-4428, e-mail: ChineseMedicineInstitute@gmail.com. Address: VITCM,8214 Old Courthouse Rd,Vienna, VA 22182.

Lecture Details (included in lecture and discussion):

8:00AM-9:30AM: Tai Chi and Medical Applications. By Drs. Eugene Zhang, Arthur Fan (Outside, in Parking lot; if rain or snow, cancel). 

9:30AM-1:30PM: Western Diagnosis & TCM Management for Common Skin Diseases. By Dr. Yongming Li (this special lecture outline is available in the Blog part)

1:30 PM- 3:00PM:  TCM and Skin Disorder: An Update on Clinical Research. By Dr. Lixing Lao.

3:00PM-5:30PM: Yellow Emperor’s Classics of Internal Medicine: Four Seasons, Five Organs, Yin Yang and Related Experiments. By Dr. Quansheng Lu

Instructors

Dr.Lixing Lao,  CMD, PhD, LAc, Professor of Family Medicine, Director of Traditional Chinese Medicine Research, Center for Integrative Medicine,University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore,MD.

Dr. Lao graduated from Shanghai University of TCM (MD in Chinese medicine) and completed his PhD in physiology at the University of Maryland at Baltimore. He has practiced acupuncture and Chinese medicine for more than 20 years, and has been awarded numerous grants from the NIH and the U.S. Department of Defense to conduct research on acupuncture and alternative medicine. He presents frequently at national and international conferences, including the seminal 1997 NIH Consensus Development Conference on Acupuncture and the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. He was board cochair of the Society for Acupuncture Research, chief editor of American Acupuncturist, the official journal of American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

Dr.Lao was one of funders and professor of former Maryland Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine (MITCM), which was a well-known school in TCM education during 1990s to 2000s. Currently, he is the honor president and main lecturer of VITCM.

Dr. Eugene Zhang, CMD, PhD, LAc. has been practicing acupuncture for over 15 years, and is a graduate of famous oriental medical school in the world: the Beijing University of TCM.

In China, Eugene Zhang was a Medical Doctor (MD in Chinese Medicine); here in  US he is one of the top Licensed Acupuncturists inVirginia,Maryland and Washington DC. area. He was a well-respected professor and Clinical Supervisor for the prestigious Maryland Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine (MITCM). Because of his years of experience, he serves as a consultant for the council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM).

Dr. Zhang is also a senior Taiji (Tai Chi) and Qigong Instructor, both in the United Statesand in China. He has written a detailed book, “The Ultimate Exercise for Mind and Body” that explains the benefits of Qigong and shows pictorially the different body postures.

Dr. Yongming Li, MD, PhD, LAc (in New York and New Jersey). Our guest speaker.

Dr.Li is a leading doctor in both Chinese medicine and Western medicine. He graduated from Liao-ning college of TCM in 1983, and got PhD, MD in USA.

He is a well-known doctor in dermatology, doctor and scholar in the field of acupuncture and Oriental medicine with more 20 years’ clinical experience. Currently, he also serves as a NIH grant reviewer. He was the president of American Traditional Chinese Medicine Society, which has more than 700 members in New York area.

He has published many academic papers and books,included in “Acupuncture Journey to America”, a new published book in acupuncture history.

Dr. Quansheng Lu, CMD, PhD, L. Ac. Dr.Lu is a licensed acupuncturist in Maryland. He graduated from Henan University of TCM in China and subsequently worked as a resident and attending physician of TCM at a general hospital in China for 8 years. During this period, thousands of patients recovered under his treatment.  Given his outstanding contribution in TCM, Dr. Lu was awarded the Outstanding Doctor Award from the Local government. Dr. Lu pursued his master degree in TCM at Beijing University of TCM.

He continued to expand his education and later received a  PhD in cardiology in Chinese and western integrated medicine  at the China Academy of Chinese medical science. He focused on exploring hypertension molecular mechanisms and looked for new anti-hypertensive natural herbs. His supervisor is Professor Keji Chen; president of The Chinese Association of Integrated Medicine, and academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Dr. Lu was a postdoctoral fellow at Georgetown University Medical Center and Children’s National Medical Center.

Dr. Arthur Yin Fan (Fan Ying),PhD, CMD, LAc, a leading specialist in Acupuncture and Chinese herbology, has more than two decades of clinical experience in both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Western medicine. In China, he was awarded an M.D. degree in TCM and a Ph.D. in Chinese internal medicine from famous Nanjing University of TCM. He completed additional one year’s training in the Western medicine diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders as well as a six-year medical residency combining TCM and Western internal medicine. He was a medical doctor in both TCM and coventional medicine when he worked in a University hospital in China. He was the funder of  Nanjing Stroke Center which is now a China national key center in Stroke rescuing and rehabilitation.

An evaluator of medical science research grant applications for many countries, Dr. Fan is currently a consultant for the Complementary and Alternative Medicine program at the University of Maryland medical school. He has also conducted CAM research for the Georgetown University medical school’s programs in nutrition and herbology.

Dr. Fan holds the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) certificate in Oriental Medicine, which comprises Acupuncture, Chinese Herbology and Asian Bodywork. Dr.Fan was awarded the third place prize in Taiji-quan (Tai Chi) in China first national health-sport congress (1985,Shenyang,China). Dr.Fan is the funder of VITCM.

Ron Elkayam, MSTCM, graduated from the Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences in Oakland,California in 2004 where he studied acupuncture and Chinese medicine. While still in school studying Chinese Medicine,  Ron studied with Robert Levine, L.Ac., in Berkeley, where he furthered his understanding of acupuncture, herbal formulas, diagnosis, and pulse taking. Inspired to take his learning to a new level, he moved to Taiwan in 2005 to learn Mandarin as a way of deepening his studies in Chinese medicine.Over the course of almost five years, Ron studied Mandarin in universities in Taipei, Shanghai, and Beijing, received advanced Mandarin language certification, and worked in hospitals (Guanganmen,Tonren hospitals) as interns, where he was able to communicate with doctors and patients in their native language and gain useful clinical experience.

Ron has a background in mind-body disciplines and has a 2nd kyu (brown belt) in aikido. He has also studied qigong (Wild Goose style), taiji (Wu and Chen styles), and Kripalu yoga. He also believes in the importance of diet and exercise in helping patients reach optimum health and happiness.

In late 2010, Ron finally returned to theU.S.to bring his clinical experience to American patients.  He has NCCAOM certification in acupuncture and herbal medicine, in addition to being licensed inVirginia,California, and Rhode Island. Ron is originally from Baltimore,MD.At present time, he works part-time to assist VITCM’s daily work.

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