Acupuncture Health Self Defense

Sometimes the least questioned assumptions can be misconceptions. As an acupuncturist I practice natural healing and I frequently exchange referrals with western doctors. I believe that modern western medicine is irreplaceable for some things.

With that in mind, here’s Thought Number One: Irreplaceable is not the same as untouchable and for health’s sake! it is time we medical consumers stop confusing the two.

Case in point: We all know the down sides of antibiotics and we also know their amazing power. A recent piece in the New York Times caught my attention because it tackled an untouchable assumption about antibiotics.

A typical course runs 7 to 10 days. That’s a lot of strong medicine. It’s really too bad we can’t take them for say 2 or 3 days with the same effect. Or can we?

Over 4 1/2 years ago in March, 2006 an article co-authored by 15 specialists presented an interesting study. In nine hospitals throughout the Netherlands doctors treated uncomplicated pneumonia with two different Amoxicillin regimes. One course of treatment lasted 3 days, the other for 8 days. The results? No difference at all. Period.

Potentially this could be a great breakthrough. Yet despite the multiplication of super bugs, individual resistance build-up to antibiotics, high costs, etc, it seems nobody has gone out of their way to spend big research dollars following up on this.

When Daniel Gilbert, the NYT guest contributor, questioned the number of days doctors prescribe for antibiotics he came up with something so unscientific I had to laugh. Suffice it to say the magic of seven days of antibiotics is pretty much just that.

Congratulations to Mr. Gilbert for questioning an untouchable assumption and thanks to the NYT for publishing it. Gilbert notes rather conservatively that if even one pill is unnecessary, on a typical antibiotic course: “…millions of people are taking at least 5 percent more medication than they actually need.”

Dare I compare this to acupuncture? No worries about over-prescribing, over-needling, or over reacting. No super needles will be formed, nor will you develop resistance to the results. Your body dictates how much treatment you need and how often you need it. Acupuncturists are trained to let your body do the work and then let it tell the practitioner the next right steps for you.

Which leads me to Thought Number Two. We are all experts on certain aspects of our own bodies. What if we used that knowledge and applied basic self-defense techniques to our own bodies? An acupuncturist could not hope for a better way for people to stay healthy.

This health ninja approach would lead us to trust our instincts and seek out nature’s preventive activities, cures and remedies. We would gather knowledge about our bodies, become aware of what can harm us, and when necessary, take preemptive action. We would empower ourselves and gain a new appreciation of natural healing modalities.

One reason acupuncture has lasted throughout the millennia is that it stimulates the body’s self-healing abilities. It functions something like our own immune system protecting us and supporting healing as needed.

If we became more ninja-like about our own healing, acupuncture would be right there in the front lines as we add a new twist to the ancient art of health self-defense.