Thursday, May 7, 2009

More exciting developments. I have been mentioned in several more publications (e-zines and print). Tomorrow I have an interview with a TV personality to determine whether or not they would like to interview me on the air. I have set up two book signings and two library lectures, and was interviewed by AOL (let's hope they publish it). All this from my book, which I have to mention the name of or it won't be picked up by search engines "The Asian Diet: simple secrets for eating right, losing weight, and being well (

I am also now teaching a class in Intro to Oriental Medicine. It's 24 hours, eight hours a day for three Mondays in a row. I have taught and lectured many times in the past, but never for more than two hours. It'll be a great learning experience, I'm sure.

I have been thinking about skeptics to acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. I read message boards that say that acupuncture research is not valid because it does not adhere to the double-blind, randomized, controlled, experimental model. Some say that the only valid type of study follows this type of design; one where everyone receives the exact same treatment, or not, and the person administering the treatment does not know whether or not he/she is actually administering the treatment. Double-blind means that both the patient and the practitioner do not know who actually is receiving the real treatment. This design is best for pills. But the critics say that any benefit realized by patients, even if it's a 100% cure rate for hundreds of subjects, may be attributed to placebo if the study did not utilize the double-blind.

For one thing, this method does not evaluate Chinese Medicine. The forte of Chinese medicine is in treating everyone individually. If I have to treat everyone the same, I am not practicing Chinese medicine. I am evaluating one set of points for one common symptom. Any acupuncturist will tell you that using the same set of points for everyone doesn't work nearly as well as customized treatment. It's like giving a mechanic 10 cars to fix, but telling him he can only change the brake pads. Some of the cars may need brake pads, some might not. If the mechanic was able to use his diagnostic skills and full repertoire, he could fix all the cars; but if you limit his ability, you will limit his effectiveness.

For another thing, the double-blind study is very difficult. It's hard for a patient to not know whether or not they have had a needle inserted into them. It is also hard for me, as a practitioner, to not know whether or not I have inserted a needle. They can make machines that may or may not insert a needle when I pull a trigger, but that's not how needles are inserted. It is not just the insertion of the needle that has the effect, it is the connection with the healer through that acupoint and needle. Remove the practitioner from the equation and you are no longer evaluating acupuncture.

I would like someone to show me the double-blind study that showed the effectiveness of hip-replacements. Could someone go through surgery and not know whether or not they had a joint replaced? Could a surgeon do the surgery and not know whether or not he/she actually replaced a joint? Well, then that means that all the patients who benefit from jip-replacements are merely benefiting from placebo.

Another problem with ascribing placebo: if the benefits are all in your head, doesn't that mean that the ailment was all in your head as well?

Another problem; patients usually seek out acupuncture after several other things have failed. If belief and expectation are enough to make a bogus therapy effective, why didn't that work with the other modalities? Do patients expect drugs, PT, and surgery to fail when they undergo them? So either the only thing the patients' believe in is acupuncture, or the only thing that placebo works for is acupuncture.

That's all for now.

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