Embracing the season of gratitude and thanks, it’s time for The Acupuncture Observer to take a step back and share some of her foundational beliefs about the medicine, the profession, and life.
- Acupuncture/OM works. The unique situation of the patient and the unique skills of the provider influence effectiveness. No single tradition provides all of the answers or benefits.
- Acupuncture/OM has fewer negative side effects and risks than conventional treatment for many conditions.
- Access is a necessary precursor to effective treatment.
- Effective treatment will increase wellbeing and could decrease health care costs.
- Every means to increase access carries trade-offs. Those trade-offs must be understood as we determine our path forward. We should learn from the experiences of other professions.
- Understanding and explaining the mechanism of acupuncture from the knowledge base of modern biology and physiology is useful and interesting, but is not necessary for acceptance by the medical establishment.
- The current “science-based” understanding of health is known to be limited. Insisting that Acupuncture/OM be taught, thought of, or explored only in the language of modern medicine/science is unscientific and risks centuries of experience and wisdom.
- Consumers should have significant freedom of choice in health care. Understandable and clear information about potential benefits and risks, as well as an exploration of the costs (financial and otherwise) is necessary for good decision-making.
- Self-serving thinking leads to hypocrisy. Special attention is needed when an argument for patient protection creates an economic benefit for particular providers.
- Simple, easily learned treatments can be effective and safe.
- There is the potential for growth and success within the acupuncture/OM profession.
- Many acupuncture programs do not provide sufficient or accurate information about post-graduation life and do a poor job of teaching business skills. This can be changed easily and inexpensively.
- The financial and karmic ROI (Return on Investment) of positively promoting our profession is superior to that of engaging in political/regulatory battles with others.
- The future of the medicine and of the profession are interconnected but not identical.
- Thoughtful and respectful analysis can identify areas of common ground.
- Focusing on areas of common ground decreases factionalism, and builds unity, understanding, and participation.
- The profession lacks venues for respectful dialogue on these issues. As a result, many scholars and potential leaders within the profession avoid involvement.
Do we agree on some of these? Can respectful dialogue increase the areas of agreement? What if we read the Tao Te Ching, the I Ching, and The Art of War first? What if we go deeper than our Wei level response to some of these issues? I believe it is possible that we’ll be able to find a new path forward, one we can walk together, with our hair flowing free. After all, I’m an acupuncturist.