Monday, March 30, 2009

More Acupuncture vs. Chiropractic

I got a message the other day from Elie Goldschmidt, the administrator of the Medical Acupuncture Facts group on Facebook. Here it is:

I occasionally receive hate mail or email from MD's DC's who 'think' they are superior to us L.Ac.s in acupuncture and often try to spew out propaganda.

For example, here are a few things I just received from a chiropractor. If you could answer a few of his comments I will try to make a great blog post out of it. Just email it to me. Thanks!

What follows is attributed to an anonymous chiropractor:

In responce to your description of the difference between medical acupuncture and tcm style...obviously you are ill informed.

1. the training of a TCM style acupuncture actually includes roughly 300 hours of acupuncture (I did a nationwide survey of acupuncture school catalogues and phone survey).

2. the remaining hours is dealing with learning how to diagnose, qigong, tui na and of course herbal medicine which historically is thought to be superior to acupuncture.

3. I can only speak for chiropractors... I teach acupuncture at a texas chiropractic college... we have 4400 hours of medical training prior to taking the required 100 hours for the state of texas...and then an additional 300 hours that we offer. We offer acupuncture and nothing but acupuncture. we do not offer tui na, qigong or herbal medicine.

4. we study the broad spectrum of chinese acupuncture and japanese along with a 50 hour course on the ear alone. Roughly 1/2 the course is lab time practicing acupuncture techniques.

5. We do a typical medical examination with the use of labs and xray, blood tests etc and combine things like the 8 diagnostic criteria, 5 elements, etc.

6. We are in complaince with the World Health Organization regulations regarding physicians who are already trained in medicine.

7. If you are an acupuncturist..then you know as well as i do that 300 hours is more than what you would need to be competent in acupuncture.
Please stop attempting to fool the public. I have a full time acupuncunture practice in Houston and make many people well.
By the way there are 48,000 chiropractors trained in acupuncture in the U.S. practicing safe and effective acupuncture.

In the past I've said there's nothing to be gained from getting into some sort of tug-of-war with chiropractors over who can do acupuncture and who can't, and I still believe that's true.

Compared to Traditional Chinese Medicine, chiropractic is a piecemeal medical system, using the modern Western diagnostic system but treating in a different way. Modern TCM as practiced in China is much more advanced in integrating Western diagnostic tools such as blood tests, X-rays, ultrasound, MRIs, but retaining all the other traditional diagnostic tools - observation, palpation, listening/smelling, and inquiry. TCM diagnosis and Western diagnosis exist side by side, with both systems being used to deliver the best care.

The chiropractor who wrote the list above has some wrong ideas which I'll address in the coming days. But let's keep an eye on the bigger picture. Is it unsafe for chiropractors to do acupuncture? No. I'm sure they have adequate training to do it safely. As a profession, we can't credibly support the Pan-African Acupuncture Project, which gives short training courses so that local doctors can use acupuncture, and then pretend that there's something unsafe about chiropractors doing the same thing.

Is it better to visit an L.Ac (Licensed Acupuncturist) rather than a chiropractor for acupuncture? Certainly. L.Acs have much more training than chiropractors, or M.D.s, or PTs doing "dry needling" - Chinese medicine is what we're about. For us, acupuncture isn't just some side line we picked up to increase the revenue stream in the clinic.

Should you stop seeing your chiropractor, physical therapist, or M.D.? Of course not! Everyone has their place in this patchwork quilt of American health care, and there's no reason to try and put down others.

1 comment:

gpounder said...

MD's and Chiros with only a few 100 hours of theory are the reason Acupuncture gets a bad name. I think if Acupuncturist are giving basic adjustment classes then they should be legally allowed to practice. MD's and Chiro with only 300 hours of training is just a joke. we need a stronger lobby to stop this, or they need to loosen up their laws and allow qualified acupuncturist who take advance classes in MD or Chiro courses allowed to practice what they learn, such as xray reading, blood work, this should be part of every medical practice. Medical science has made great leaps in surgery but when it comes to non surgical treatment, acupuncture and herbs are just as useful or sometimes better than western medicine.