Thoughts on Acupuncture

Dear Reader,

Acupuncture has really been helping my son with chronic headaches. To sum up, he has basically had a headache for 11 months now. After 2 neurologists, lots of tests, and too many prescription meds, and physical therapy, acupuncture is the only thing that has made a difference. It hasn’t gotten rid of the headaches all together but it is definitely helping and each time shows a little more success.

I was sharing this with some old friends this weekend whom I don’t see often. In a couple of different conversations with medically trained people the attitude was “that’s great that acupuncture is working” But then when I would go on to talk about our acupuncturist’s diagnosis that my son has what is called in Chinese medicine “dampness,” these friends completely turned off. They seemed to think it was all crazy. And I have to admit that it sounds a little crazy to me. It is foreign to my thinking. But the acupuncturist is able to say, I think he has dampness. This is how we treat it. And then she does the treatment and it gets rid of the headache (just not permanently yet; it will come back the next day to varying degrees). So how is that any crazier than the neurologist who says “I think he has migraine (or tension headache or new persistent daily headache; they didn’t agree on his diagnosis), here is how we treat it” and they give prescription meds which not only have side effects but don’t do anything for his head. So if one works and the other doesn’t, who’s to say that it is not the western medicine which is crazy here? Why should I expect that these strong medicines which are always designed originally for some other problem like depression or seizures should be a better choice for my son than needles with no side effects? And if the dampness treatment works, doesn’t that give some confirmation to the diagnosis as well as the reliability of Chinese medicine?

Now, I am not completely sold that Chinese medicine is the way to go for everything. I think it probably has some things right and western medicine probably has some right (and I am very grateful for the insulin that keeps my daughter alive). And there is probably a lot neither really knows enough about yet. My objection is to people, particularly medical personnel, who dismiss what works out of hand in  favor of what they are more familiar with.



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