Acupuncture: Working Toward the Same Goal
by Paul Schlosser, MD DABMA, Two Rivers Clinic
Does medical acupuncture really represent a change in health care delivery in the United States? Absolutely, yes! This hybrid medical approach represents the best of both worlds—East and West: disciplined, rigorous science and a more philosophic, natural approach of ancient metaphysics.
The lyrics in a well-known pop song read: “After changes upon changes, as we are more or less the same.” I think that very aptly defines our current interest in health care alternatives. I would contend that the basic goals and premise of acupuncture and Western-style medicine are indeed very similar. We all strive for good health—to be enjoyed for as long as we can. I think that that is a given. The ultimate role of health care then is to maximize those chances while doing so without incurring undue risk. We all fantasize about a magic bullet that would achieve that goal. Worldwide, that magic bullet takes on different forms, but the ultimate goal remains the same. There are many avenues that attempt to attain this. Acupuncture is only one such avenue.
In my experience, which encompasses many experiences ranging from Western biomedical paradigms to Eastern medical approaches, acupuncture offers the greatest chance at accomplishing this goal. Offering medical acupuncture, I repeatedly see the same quest by patients: wanting to get better, without sacrificing safety, without incurring necessary personal financial or time debt.
The ultimate beauty of the acupuncture paradigm is that it relies heavily on the body’s innate abilities to heal itself. By re-establishing balance of, in this case, body energy as it travels throughout multiple meridians or paths, one can eliminate many of the symptoms of concern for any individual. These symptoms exist on multiple levels in the body, ranging from the pain of arthritis to the even more debilitating ravages of loss of body control, as might be seen in alcoholism or post-traumatic stress syndrome. My point is that virtually everything that can go wrong with a person can be approached and, to a greater or lesser extent, treated using acupuncture.
The safety of this approach is famously vast; in my opinion, the edge which medical acupuncture offers is that the practitioners of such, being medically trained, only help to make this a more safe exploration. There is no panacea, unfortunately. With that being said, I encourage us all to keep looking and keep trying to make this life as fulfilling as possible.