Is Acupuncture for You?

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“Is Acupuncture for you?” By J.R. Worsley

Anyone who is interested in Acupuncture on any level should read this book.

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Five Element Acupuncture in particular.

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Dr. Worsley covers a lot of ground on a basic level. Before anything can be judged one has to understand the source on the subject. J.R. Worsley is a great source and the following is a list of some of his lifetime achievements and honors:

  • Professor of the College of Chinese Medicine, China
  • Master and Doctor of Acupuncture, China
  • Honorary Professor of the Department of Oriental Medicine at Won Kwang University, Korea
  • Vice-President of the World Academic Society for Acupuncture
  • Founder Principal of the College of Traditional Acupuncture, UK
  • Founder President of the Traditional Acupuncture Institute, USA
  • Founder President of the Norwegian School of Traditional Acupuncture
  • Founder President of the Traditional Acupuncture Society, U.K.
  • Professor of the Medical Acupuncture Society, South Africa
  • Honorary President Compagnonnage d’Acupuncture Traditionelle, France
  • Professor of the Argentine Medical Acupuncture Society
  • Founder President of the Worsley Institute of Classical Acupuncture, USA
  • Founder President of the Master Apprentice Program (MAP™)

I am grateful to say that my learning experience will be coming straight from one of J.R. Worsley’s successors, the well known (amongst the acupuncture community) Dirk Hein M.Ac.* (*As of September 2011, I no longer learn under this successor as I transferred schools and continued my studies of Classical Five-Element Acupuncture from J.R. Worsleys daughter/former student, his wife Dr. Judy Worsley and other students of J.R. – all of whom are acupuncturists as well.)

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Alternatively, people will make judgments of the foreign Eastern medicine called acupuncture based off of blind interpretations, experiences, pre-conceived notions, word-of-mouth, etc.

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It caused me to have a sort of anxiety when reading this book at first. To me it all made sense, and on that side of the coin it was a very pleasurable experience for me to begin learning about what I will be studying, on the other side of the coin is where I thought about how much knowledge is coming to me and how little it’s going to other people. My friends, family, loved ones alike all came to mind and part of me just wants them to see and understand what is beginning to truly resonate in me so they can live their best lives. Everyone is different and has different paths, I know this. Then I think about all of the people that do not understand what acupuncture is, are scared of needles, are scared of pain, and are focusing on all of the things that really has minimal to do with the system of medicine. As contradictory as that may sound. I know that upon telling people about my going to acupuncture school alone it has been 50/50 in feedback between “Wow I want you to treat me someday!” and “Does it hurt? I hate needles, oh my god.” It bothers me that in the lader 50% the focus is directed to the potential negative and their is no further investigation or inquiries of the subject. I understand that through school I will begin to learn how to properly explain it to them. It is my desire that I will encounter less and less hopeless, unwilling people because of my ability to explain well my perspective which will open them up. As proof manifests as a result I would like to encounter more hopeful people, looking hopeful toward acupuncture and I as a true guide and source for wellness.

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In matters of your personal health and life it is not wise to simply seek out and trust a health-care provider. Doing this is a unnecessary risk which may impede your progress to better health and even cause you to have even more health problems down the road.

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Acupuncture, a form of Eastern Medicine, in the U.S. is like a candle light flame in comparison to Western medicine which is like a florescent light bulb in terms of overall public recognition. The light waves in a flame of fire are no more or no less real than the electrically charged light waves in a bulb. One thing that is mentioned in this book and I think is important to say off the bat is that we do not believe acupuncture is above all the ultimate healer, cure, treatment, medicine, etc. It can be used alternatively in some cases, but in others it can work in addition to other forms of medicine. It all depends on the person and situation. Sometimes it is true that acupuncture is not the best choice for someone, in this case a good and properly trained Acupuncturist will tell the patient this and advise them on who they should talk to.

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Anything foreign can be hard for people to understand or believe and the best example of this is language. It’s easy to misunderstand someone speaking a foreign language, it’s easy to tune it out because the sounds they are making do not register as words in your mind. There is much to be learned in this world and equally much to be offered to you if you’re open and receptive.

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One of the things that are important to be aware of when choosing an acupuncturist in the U.S. is if the person uses L.Ac at the end of their name. This stands for Licensed Acupuncturist and means they are recognized by the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine). People with this qualification have undergone at the very least three years of training and clinical experience at an ACAOM (The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine) accredited (including candidacy for accreditation status) institute prior to taking and passing the NCCAOM board exam.

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This system for recognizing and licensing acupuncturists is fairly new here because acupuncture awareness and popularity is still fairly new to us. The purpose of this process is to better ensure and weed out quality practitioners from those that are truly unqualified and unseasoned in this complex Eastern medicine. Their are some kinks left to work out in this though.

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You may notice that more and more business signs for acupuncture are popping up left and right in certain places. Unfortunately for everyone this doesn’t mean that all these people were working hard learning Eastern medicine for the last five or ten years and have finally emerged as skilled healers. What is happening is that some Doctors (and Chiropractors) of Western medicine, who have undergone several years of a medical school are taking a quick course or seminar on acupuncture. They are taking the most surface knowledge and applying it in their treatments. Some Doctors use L.Ac on their names for effect. There is currently no agency that scouts out these Doctors  and goes knocking on their door crying “You can’t use L.Ac you’re not really licensed!” That wouldn’t make for positive change anyway. Everything needs to go through the state. For instance, in Connecticut where I am from, this has been brought to the attention of legislation and a law has finally been passed stating that Doctors may still practice acupuncture but they may not use the title L.Ac unless, of course, they did take the necessary years of extra work to properly earn the title.

The foundation of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is primarily to treat the cause of symptoms or disease on a physical, mental and spiritual level.  Symptoms people have are acknowledged by professional acupuncturists and are definitely useful as one of the many signals in finding the true cause of imbalance. Most untrained Doctors use their acupuncture knowledge, which is mostly just the technical aspects – the needles- and treat patients for and by the symptoms based on specific meridian locations for pain. If the same case was presented to someone who was trained and experienced through an acupuncture school (Especially a Five Element one) they would most likely take a completely different approach to treatment.

As Doctor Worsley explains in the book, treating the body based on symptoms will perhaps temporarily aid in a pain or ailment but what is actually happening is they are suppressing the problem at hand. The needles have an effect and it is important that they are used properly.

These doctors have begun practicing a whole new science on their patients for the wrong reasons. I accuse them of doing it for the wrong reasons because anyone that is truly interested in the depth of the use of acupuncture in its historical, timeless form as a healing tool- would not dare to practice on patients with this little amount of experience/knowledge. It’s a selfish act and can make for negative experiences in acupuncture. This is dangerous for people seeking treatment as it is an obstacle for the professional acupuncture community.

The positive side of this situation happening with the Doctors is that it implies that their is an increasing awareness of acupuncture as a useful form of medicine. This may be what some previously unreachable population of skeptics may need to notice in order to validate the concept of this form of medicine.

This needs to be stated somewhere in this blog and as it is something that bothered me upon my first knowledge of it. I personally have no problems with Doctors and Chiropractors using needles as a form of medicine, that’s there prerogative and their patience trust that they hold. We live in a country of titles and rules. It’s easy to get pulled into battles when your cause is involved. The last thing I want to do is expel too much of my energy fighting against something I don’t believe in instead of living what I believe in.

With that said, I will state this here once and only once. If I could make one change happen in the US acupuncture community it would be that anyone unqualified (as defined above) simply be obliged to label their treatment as something different, or like in CT – they cannot use “L.Ac” after their name.  The small difference may not even be noticed by some patients and in others, who are looking for true/deep help, it may be just enough to guide them away from pursuing treatment from them. Their would be an outright acknowledgment of a difference and that’s what’s important. Not only is this important for the success of acupuncture as a profession but for the rest of society it should be a right that the people are clearly presented with the difference in such important matters of choosing health care.

If this were actually presented to Doctors in hopes to form an agreement its probably safe to assume that it wouldn’t go over easy. There is a power in being a licensed acupuncturist, that they know, this power lies in its history which goes back close to 5,000 years. It has proven time and time again to be effective for an astonishingly  wide variety of issues in a person. I recognize all this now, at the age of 24, as I only just begin the never ending journey into understanding and honing this ancient science of medicine.

Let’s just be honest with each other and ourselves here.

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One response »

  1. Pingback: Five Element Acupuncture Schools

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