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新华社华盛顿11月20日电通讯:针灸在美迎来发展好时机  新华社记者郭一娜 林小春 胡友松

http://us.xinhuanet.com/2017-11/21/c_129746359.htm

莎伦又一次躺在熟悉的床位上,针灸师樊蓥轻、稳、准地在她肩部和颈部的重要穴位扎上了细细的针。莎伦的耳边响起了柔和温馨的轻音乐,她慢慢闭上眼,呼吸均匀,心情平和,享受着45分钟的美好时光。

樊蓥是美国弗吉尼亚州与华盛顿特区持照针灸师,他的诊所——美京中医院位于弗吉尼亚州梅克林小镇。300平方米左右的诊所内共有15个床位。身为一名职业律师的莎伦·希普勒已经忘了这是她第几十次来到诊所接受治疗。

喜欢运动的莎伦今年60岁,她与针灸的缘分始于3年前。当时她得了肌腱炎,西医告诉她最快也要几个月才能恢复。有朋友向她推荐了樊蓥,后者仔细查看了腿伤后告诉她:“两周来做一次治疗,3次后就能康复。”

西医的数个月康复和针灸的3次就好,这差距大得让莎伦有些不敢相信。面对莎伦的怀疑,樊蓥只是笑笑说,咱们试试看吧。

出乎莎伦意料,一个疗程下来,肌腱炎竟奇迹般康复,她矫健而轻盈的身姿很快又重现跑道。

“太神奇了!”她在接受新华记者采访时禁不住多次感叹。此后,莎伦对中医从信赖到依赖,身体稍有不适,首先想到的就是看中医。

律师工作压力大,导致莎伦睡眠不好。多次针灸后,她感觉睡眠明显改善;每次莎伦感觉有感冒前兆,或者美国将有流感,她就赶紧来找樊蓥。莎伦相信,针灸疗法帮她提高了免疫力。最近她肩部受伤,又是针灸让她免受了手术折磨。

如今,莎伦不仅是针灸的粉丝,更成了针灸的传播者。亲朋好友生病了,她会向大家推荐中医。85岁的老母亲经常背疼,她正力劝母亲尝试针灸疗法。

莎伦对中西医治疗差别感触很深。“樊蓥和他的助手对我十分耐心、细致,我感到很放松,恢复得也快。如果是去看西医,幸运的话,医生会给我10分钟,然后就开药,或安排更多检查。看到我肩痛或脚痛,西医会给我打止痛针。我可不喜欢打针和手术。所以,我会来针灸诊所。我虽不知道针灸原理,但我知道它有效。”

“美国的医疗体系有很大问题,”莎伦说,“不少人在寻找替代疗法。我坚信今后会有越来越多人看中医。”

正如莎伦所说,当前,美国阿片类止痛药物滥用与成瘾危机日益严重,在这方面针灸大有可为。

阿片类止痛药包括杜冷丁、吗啡等,镇痛作用强大,但有极强成瘾性。官方数据显示,每天平均有91名美国人死于过量服用阿片类药物,年均超过3万人。10月底,美国总统特朗普向阿片滥用现象宣战,称“阿片类药物滥用是美国历史乃至全世界范围内最严重的药物危机”。

严峻现实迫使西医接受非药物疗法。而在各种非药物疗法中,针灸以有效和廉价脱颖而出。中国数十年来持续进行的中医机理研究形成大量成果,此时成为有力佐证。美国国家科学、工程和医学学院7月发布题为《疼痛管理与阿片类药物流行》的报告指出,近几十年来针灸止痛已成为普遍做法,包括针灸在内的一些非药物干预手段是止痛的有力工具。

不少旅美针灸师预感,针灸在美国可能迎来了发展的好时机。目前,经过业内人士长达40多年的努力,美国50个州中有46个州以及华盛顿特区已立法让针灸行医合法化。而在这个过程中,樊蓥的诊所,从15年前的无人问津到如今每周稳定在150位左右病人。个中改变,反映了针灸在美国从举步维艰到逐步受到认可的历程。

正是看到针灸治疗的良好效果和较大的市场空间,美国一些理疗师也开始学习针灸,但这也带来了一些干扰。美国的针灸与东方医学硕士需要学习2000小时以上,而美国部分理疗师将针灸改成“干针”,只需学习50个学时就可行医,且未接受中医针灸的完整训练,更缺乏中医针灸处理多科疾病的全能知识和技能储备。所谓干针是指理疗师用针头对激痛点进行针刺的方法。

“美国国内一些理疗师的做法是在混淆视听,给针灸在美发展带来挑战。”谈起这些“干扰”,樊蓥皱起眉头。

目前,莎伦所参加的医疗保险覆盖针灸治疗,可报销80%。10月,美国参众两院议员同意在老年人与残疾人联邦医保的一个补充项目中包括针灸。如果该法案最终通过,相信将进一步推动针灸在美国的发展。

11月,多个美国中医针灸团体在学术期刊上正式发布《针灸应对阿片类药物危机白皮书2017》,樊蓥也是作者之一。这份白皮书被送交美国卫生与公众服务部,并得到积极回复。

也是在初冬,作为全美中医药学会(ATCMA)副会长的樊蓥参加了首次在美国国会举办的针灸推介会,向议员推荐和介绍针灸在止痛与治疗阿片类药物滥用与成瘾方面的作用。现场气氛热烈,40多人还尝试了耳针。“在国会和联邦政府层面,我们还将继续推动,为针灸在美迎来真正春天不懈努力。”樊蓥说。

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46 reviews of McLean Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, about Dr.Arthur Yin Fan, from http://www.bookfresh.com
Simply Amazing
3/2/2016
Deborah L. says: Dr. Fan is simply amazing. Regular PT failed my daughter and both. Dr. Fan far exceeded expectations. Love the atmosphere in the office
Thankful
12/30/2015
Kay S. says: Dr Fan is a super amazing Acupuncturist.. His Chinese Herbs have helped to save my life.. Dr Fan’s acupuncture opened up my meridian to the point where I even got pregnant. I had a healthy baby girl. Dr Arthur Fan knows exactly what he is doing when it comes to treating his patients with Acupuncture . He not only listens , but he treats his patients according to their diagnosis w his super excellent Chinese Herbs💗
PERFECT
11/28/2015
Gwen D. says: Dr. Fan is wonderful. He listens and is very patient and understanding of your issues. I highly recommend him.
Amazing
10/19/2015
Abdou Y. says: I have just started a treatment for a knee pain that has been threatening my ability to work out. Just after 2 visits to Dr. Fan’s center, I can only say that I feel way better than before as I don’t feel anymore about 70% of the pain. I can’t wait for the next sessions as I now hope for a complete healing. I was skeptical at first since I was stranger to acupuncture but not I can say it works.
Excellent
9/1/2015
Lynn D. says: I saw Dr. Fan yesterday for the first time and already feel like I have some improvement in my mood and stress level. Wonderful.
Doctor who cares
8/26/2015
Kasandra M. says: I just started seeing Dr Fan and I appreciate that he is looking at finding the cause of medical issues rather than masking symptoms. I have seen countless doctors and this one finally gives me hope. I have started feeling some relief with my various conditions and I know I have a long road ahead but Dr Fan is very kind, explains things and really targets where the issues are. I am so happy to have found him.
Great insight
7/24/2015
Barbara B. says: Dr. Fan listens more than most conventional doctors and is more attuned with what is going on with your health. His treatments are specialized and individualized to you. He has addressed specific concerns ranging from back discomfort, swollen joints, headaches, and colds, to helping to guide you to an overall sense of quiet and calm. Regardless of what ails you, a cupping session is a must.
Dr Fan Is Amazing
7/3/2015
Yuuna K. says: Dr. Fan is an outstanding doctor. He is trained in both western medicine as well as Chinese traditional medicine. He brings years of experience practicing both disciplines. He is amazing with acupuncture, diagnosis, and treatment suggestions. My body responded very positively to his acupuncture treatment. I would recommend him to other patients considering Chinese Traditional Medicine.
Post-Stroke Dystonia
6/9/2015
Sameer Y. says: I have an odd condition, and Dr. Fan is handling it with patience and success.
Excellent Doctor
4/7/2015
Robin S. says: I am fortunate to have found Dr. Fan who has helped me with a variety of issues: poison ivy, arthritis and allergies among them. His medical expertise is evident as he explains what is happening in the body and how acupuncture can support healing. His knowledge is balanced with kindness and compassion supported by an office environment that provides positive energy. I highly recommend Dr. Fan, particularly if other approaches to a problem have not brought relief.
Incredible!
4/6/2015
Eileen W. says: I was diagnosed with dystonia which affects my neck movement ability. Specialists such as neurologists, rehabilitation doctors suggest Botox injections which has side affect and not a long term solution. I had acupuncture in nearby NYC area and not much improvement. I found Dr. Fan and had great improvement under his treatment. And Dr. Fan is extremely kind and patient. Many thanks to Dr. Fan! Eileen
Very Helpful
4/6/2015
Gwen D. says: Dr. Fan amazes me with his ability to help me with multiple things. I have seen him in the past on other issues, and he has helped me greatly. I tend to be very stressed out and when I am with Dr. Fan, I feel my anxiety level drop. He is kind, understanding and extremely knowledgeable. Dr. Fan his assistant, Sarah, are excellent.
Very astute in diagnosis and treatment
2/8/2015
Scott B. says: I daresay, Dr. Fan has added years to my life. Very early in my chronic lymphocytic leukemia Dr. Fan intervened with a combination of herbs and acupuncture that has kept my cell counts stabilized since 2009–and at a juncture where it is too early for western medicine to intervene. From my vantage, Dr. Fan is most astute for both his skills of diagnosis and week-by-week treatment. Incidentally, for anyone with an interest, I recommend the book “Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine,” by Beinfield and Korngold.
Magical Doctor
1/23/2015
Deborah L. says: I have been going to Dr. Fan now for years when I have a medical issue I’m confident he can treat. When I experienced back issues years ago, I saw a orthopedic doctor, tried a chiropractor, physical therapy and pain medication. It was then I decided to give acupuncture a try. How fortunate that I found Dr. Fan. A very informed physician who was gentle and caring. After only a few treatments which included cupping, I was cured. To this day years later, I have not had any back issues. He is now treating me for acid reflux. I so recommend his treatment – just amazing.
Alternative medicine treatment for hypertension,insomnia and others
11/26/2014
May T. says: Dr Fan treated my hypertension and a myriad of other aches and pains. His knowledge of western and Chinese medicine blends a wholistic approach in his treatment. He is patient and gentle as a doctor. Determined to avoid getting on medication to treat hypertension, I started a diet and exercise regime but only to limited results. Only after I began accupuncture did my blood pressure begin to normalize. My husband also sees him for insomnia which has helped.
Dr. Fan has done wonders!
11/2/2014
Al P. says: Dr. Fan has done wonders for both my wife and me. My wife had lingering multiple small blood clots in her lower leg area. Her vascular surgeon had told she needed to be on blood thinners for the rest of her life. Plus, she would have to wait for the clots to reobsorb back into her blood. Inside two weeks of treatment from Dr. Fan, the clots were gone. After my knee replacement the swelling was not going down. I was told that at my age it would take a much longer time frame. Three weeks of visits to Dr. Fan the swelling was completely reversed. We both whole heartedly recommend Dr. Fan.
Larry A
9/12/2014
Larry A. says: I believe I am very fortunate to have found Dr. Fan. I could not be happier and I am a severe critic, so I believe Dr. Fan is tops. Dr. Fan took his time to explain the procedures before they happened and made sure I understood the message he was telling me. Thank you Dr. Fan
Feeling much better
9/4/2014
Phannee W. says: Having been a patient of Dr. Fan for a while, I am very grateful that he has cured most of my ailments and I would highly recommend him to other patients for acupuncture treatment..
Great Service and Very good doctor
9/2/2014
Maryam Z. says: I have really bad leg pain and I went to see Dr. Fan and explained him my situation. He took great interest in my leg pain and overall health issues and gave me a treatment plan which will help me to deal with my pain until its treated completely. He was not interested in money aspect of my treatment but was more keen to find a cure for my leg pain. I am very happy with his treatment strategy and after 3 sessions, I already to start feeling better.
Great!
8/13/2014
Gwen D. says: Dr. Fan is a wonderful doctor. He is interested in his patients, listens carefully to your issue, and proceeds with the treatment. I have seen Dr. Fan before and he was concerned about the symptoms I had experienced previously; making sure that was cleared up. His assistant is also very committed to the patients and practice. The office has a lovely peaceful aura, I felt good just walking in.
Good oriental medicine and doctor
7/23/2014
Eric T. says: I had went to see Dr. Fan because of pain and numbness in my hands, elbow, and wrist. The doctor at urgent care could not do anything but give my anti-inflammatory. But after seeing Dr. Fan and being treated with acupuncture and medicine he gave me, the symptoms have lighted and is decreasing daily. I would recommend that people with issues that most western medical doctors cannot treat to at least pay Dr. Fan a visit to see if anything can be done.
Five Star
4/27/2014
Al P. says: Both my wife and I have been seeing Dr. Fan for almost a year. He has been able to allow me to delay a total knee replacement for almost a year. And I am certain he will allow me to delay the operation until I am in a better position to have the operation on my terms. He also, in one treatment cleared my Carole tunnel node that was sticking out over an inch and stop the pain entirely. Dr. Fan has saved me from a repetitive operation on my wrist.
Professional and curteous
4/25/2014
Dr. Jerome W. says: Just started, so far everything is fine. I will have more to say when I an further into my treatment.
Made huge difference!
4/23/2014
Takeo Y. says: I had a great experience with Dr. Fan. Aggravated shoulder pain due to lifting heavy stuff on top of the old pain I had been suffering for a while was removed mostly after 3 sessions of acupuncture and cuppings. Will definitely go back to seek for his treatment if the needs arises.
Excited to finally experience alternative medicine
4/22/2014
Carmela & Brent B. says: For me and my husband, it was all positive energy and results. I can’t wait to complete the recommended treatment (2 times a week for 4 weeks), I know Dr. Fan will make a difference! My husband was satisfied after his first time treatment yesterday (4/21/14). After his 40 mins session, he felt like he slept for days and no pain all day.
Always awesome
2/7/2014
Diane H. says: Dr. Fan is wonderful. He has helped me overcome a paralyzed leg (skiing accident), increased the mobility of a surgically repaired shoulder, relieved migraines, and relieved vertigo induced by a concussion. He’s amazing!
Highly recommended!
1/16/2014
Meschelle L. says: I have been seeing Dr. Fan regularly for about 8 months. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs were new to me and I have greatly appreciated Dr. Fan’s knowledge, skills, and approach/demeanor. He and his office team are highly professional and organized as well. Dr. Fan has helped me tremendously with both benzodiazepine withdrawal and rheumatoid arthritis. I plan to make acupuncture and Chinese herbs a regular accompaniment to my healthcare from now on.
Outstanding
12/19/2013
Caron D. says: Dr. Fan has been successfully treating me for something western medicine hasn’t been able to achieve. He is very knowledgable, gentle, thorough and runs a very sanitary and organized office. I highly recommend Dr. Fan.
Outstanding !!!!
10/20/2013
Phil S. says: My wife and I have been going to Dr. Fan for years off and on for various treatments, proof is in the treatment when the pain associated with the condition, goes away. Dr. Fan is extremely helpful and knowledgeable about how to treat a problem. Very compassionate and takes the time to explain the his treatment plan.
Great Experience
10/19/2013
Gwen D. says: This was my first visit, I too was impressed with Dr. Fan’s compassion, understanding and patience with me. Both Dr. Fan and his assistant were wonderful. I am so glad that my friend recommended him.
The best doctor of Chinese medicine in the DC areas
10/9/2013
Jane C. says: I had shingles and the pain was awful. After a brief antivirus treatment my primary doctor at Kaiser Permanente could only give me strong pain killers (generic Percocet) to dull the pain. I was warned that the pain could last for months. So I turned to Dr. Fan for help. Within a week, my pain was gone under Dr. Fan’s care. I am very grateful to Dr. Fan!
Professional and attentive
9/25/2013
Dianna P. says: I have seen Dr. Fan only once so far, but can report that my experience was very good. I had acupuncture and felt better afterwards. I will continue to see him as I believe in the holistic approach to staying well.
More than accupuncture…
9/3/2013
Bill S. says: I have been seeing Dr. Fan for amost 2 years. The accupuncture has helped in so many ways. But, Dr. Fan will talk to you and get to know you. He has recommended teas, herbs and lifestyle changes that have been so benefitial to me. He is a wonderful wholistic healer. WRS
Chinese Medicine works
7/21/2013
Ruth B. says: Dr. Fan’s thoughtful analysis of our conditions each week help us with everything from swollen ankles to allergies to getting greater function in a hip replacement area to blood abnormalities. He and his office staff are pleasant, welcoming, and reassuring.
Dr. Fan is the best!
6/8/2013
Karen D. says: I feel very fortunate to have met Dr. Fan; he is very knowledgeable and skilled in his art. I sought Dr. Fan’s care for what a previous doctor diagnosed as facial nerve damage. Dr. Fan assessed the situation as chronic inflammation, and I have had a remarkable reversal. I couldn’t be more pleased with my transformation, and I highly recommend Dr. Fan. His staff is awesome too; thank you so much, Dr. Fan!
A Real Treasure
4/17/2013
George L. says: I have been a patient of Dr. Fan’s for some time now, and consider him to be a real treasure. Based on the effectiveness of his treatment, he is obviously a master acupuncturist and herbalist. He takes care to explain the nature of the treatment and to answer any questions related to it. I can wholeheartedly recommend Dr. Fan to anyone interested in acupuncture.
Great, compassionate doctor
3/30/2013
Anastasia C. says: Dr. Fan understood my problem and approached it with the utmost care. I’m very appreciative of the wonderful experience being his patient has been.
Mike B says:
3/5/2013
Michael B. says: I have seen Dr. Fan but one time, received accupuncture and something new to me, cupping. The cupping seems to have made my lower back pain, that I have been experiencing 24/7 for about four months, disappear. I have no fantasies about this being a forever thing, but I am optimistic that future visits will have nothing but positive effects on the many trouble spots of my body. Thank you Dr, Fan!
Keeps me balanced
3/1/2013
Jan Y. says: Dr. Fan keeps me balanced and when I have congestion he opens up my sinuses. Doesn’t matter what I go in for, he always seems to have a solution.
Great Dr of alternative medicine
12/22/2012
Sarah T. says: Sarah T. says: Dr Fan is very professional and extreamly knowledgeable about alternative and conventional medicine. He takes time to fully interview me each time I see him, regarding my symptoms and progress. Dr Fan fully understands herbal medicines and I trust his recommendations. I am seeing some success for my balance issues and expect to see additional progress. Thank you Dr Fan.
Thank You Dr. Fan !!
12/3/2012
William S. says: Both I and my wife have been seeing Dr. Fan for most of 2012. We are thoroughly satisfied with Dr. Fan’s kindness, awareness and manner in which he works with us. We could not think of a better environment in which to receive this kind of help. I have recommended Dr. Fan to others and, they are very well satisfied as well. Thank you Dr. Fan!!!
Richard & Arlene
10/16/2012
Arlene R. says: Dr. Fan was recommended to us and my husband went first. Richard came home relieved of his pain so he than he took me in to see Dr. Fan. I been having back and hip pain for 20 years and now after 3 sessions I can sleep on my right hip with no pain. The best customer service to both of us, he gives us great advice on health care. I don’t know why I waited so long to see him!! I highly recommend Dr. Fan and my husband and I always feel very relaxed while getting our treatment together and we love the music that just soothes our whole being!!!
Great !
5/29/2012
Bill S. says: WRS – I am a new patient. I have seen Dr. Fan twice. My initial evaluation was very informative. Dr. Fan discussed alternatives and diet. My first few days were much better. On the second visit, I was complaining of back pain. When I wakled to my car after the accupuncture treatment I realized… “hey!! no more pain!!”. I recommend McLean Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine and Dr. Yin Fan.
THE BEST DOCTOR IN ALEXANDRIA
4/17/2012
Simara C. says: I have severe back pain and I have to say that everytime I come to see Dr. Fan, he really takes care of me and makes the pain go away. I usually get spasms where sometimes I can’t even move and/or walk straight. He is always concerned, he gives very good advice and is extremely skilled and helpful. His technique is amazing and I never feel whenever he puts the needles in. The cupping is also amazing- which most of the time are done by his great assisstant, April. Dr. Fan along with April give the best customer service and the best treatment. His office is very pleasant, always clean and organized and I always feel very relaxed while I’m getting my treatment with the chinese music he has in every patient room. I feel very lucky to be his patient and I plan to keep going to him as long as I need to.
Wonderful!
3/19/2012
Susan G. says: I am very happy to have found Dr. Fan over a year ago. He is very patient, gentle and understanding and uses his knowledge to help with various issues, like neck and back pain. His assistant is also kind and skilled.
Sarah & Scott
2/8/2012
Sarah L. says: I was very impressed at Dr. Fan’s level of organization and ability to handle multiple clients. He conducted a thorough interview of both my husband and myself and provided treatment. Dr. Fan was very knowledgeable and the things he suggested made sense. He and his assistant are very compassionate and thoughtful individuals and we feel fortunate to have found him.

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Today, a friend told me she had acupuncture in our center for two and half weeks, lost weight 6 pounds.

Acupuncture adjusted her appetite and mood.

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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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