Acupuncture treatment is an alternative medicine for everybody because it is affordable but remarkable in treatment effects.
By David Park, Founder, South Baylo University
Acupuncture treatment means treatment sessions through acupuncture needle and herbal medicines. In America, most people understand acupuncture as a needling technique. In Korean, in comparison, the majority of people understand acupuncture treatment is treatment by herbal medicines.
Decades earlier, acupuncture treatment was more prevalent in Korea, but recent trends have been changed to weigh more on prescribing herbal medicine than practicing acupuncture treatment. As I recall my childhood, every small village had at least one acupuncturist, and acupuncturists took care of minor symptoms such as sprain and strain, burn, even removing furuncles. And most married Korean women used a traditional hairpin to tight their hair. The end of the hairpin was sharp enough to draw blood and used to perform emergency treatment for symptoms like acute indigestion or stroke.
Back then, in Korea, acupuncture treatment was for ordinary people who could not afford pricy herbal medicine. The affordability of acupuncture treatment is still accepted as one of the benefits of medicine in the US. Also, in China and Japan developed their own traditional medicine using acupuncture and herbal medicine. If I have a chance, I will discuss the difference and similarities among traditional medicines in Korea, China, and Japan later.
The most significant difference between Western and Asian medicine is the way to understand the pathology and physiology of the human body.
Asian medicine understands and treats a patient as a whole body. It means a human’s body, mind, spirit, and emotions are in quest for optimal health and wellness. Therefore, body, mind, spirit, and emotions cannot be separated and treated. If one part is not working correctly, all the other parts will be affected.
Asian medicine also understands that the human body represents the whole universe, and all parts of the body interact and affect the other part. Therefore, to improve and enhance health and wellness, treatment should be focused on enhancing the homeostasis of the whole body.
Acupuncture treatment represents Asian medicine. There are also moxabustion, cupping, and scratching techniques, but acupuncture makes Asian medicine distinctive.
Conventional medicine also uses needles to inject medicine into the human body. But acupuncture needles are not for injection. Acupuncture needles are designed to stimulate specific acupuncture points to treat a symptom by enhanced Qi and blood circulation.
Another benefit of acupuncture is easy to learn and to reach a basic level of acupuncture treatment. Even basic acupuncture techniques could be performed by people who have not been trained professionally. As we can easily see that the first and second year of an acupuncture school student can treat simple symptoms, and conventional medical doctors who do not understand Asian philosophy are using acupuncture to treat their patients.
Acupuncture treatment has been considered alternative medicine that helps chronic symptoms and side effects of conventional medicine. It could be understood that acupuncture treatment has been recommended to replace prescribing opioids at hospitals throughout the US. Even twenty years ago, no one possible thought acupuncture treatment was accepted by major health insurance companies and even the federal government. I believe that acupuncture will be more accepted in the US than now in the future.
I have concerned that acupuncture and herbal medicine have been seemed to be separated in licensing and education in schools. .In Asian medicine, acupuncture and herbal medicine cannot be separated. Each modality helps its strong and weak points. In general, acupuncture works faster for acute symptoms. Herbal medicine treats chronic symptoms efficiently than acute symptoms.
Even in California, the acupuncture license allows practicing acupuncture treatment and prescribing herbal medicine but lecture hours for acupuncture are a lot more than the education of herbs. But other states in the US using NCCAOM as a licensing test issue separate license for acupuncture and herbal medicine. The states issuing separate licenses for acupuncture and herbal medicine do not understand Asian medicine properly.
I have the other concerns for Asian medicine. In the US, herbal medicine is not considered as a form of medicine. It is considered as food. There is not enough scientific evidence to support the pharmaceutical benefits of herbal medicine in the US. In contrast, herbal medicines have been controlled by the government as medicine in Korea, China, and Japan.
I have a new goal to educate Asian medicine appropriately. My first goal was to introduce Asian medicine to Americans. It seems successful so far. I will do my best for the education of herbal medicine along with acupuncture treatment. I would like to see more Americans have benefited from acupuncture treatment and herbal medicine altogether.