~ Acupuncture ~
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes a broad
range of common conditions that can be treated using acupuncture. WHO’s
recommendations are based on the results of controlled clinical trials
on the efficacy of acupuncture for treating specific conditions, and
is a helpful addition to the increasing body of research supporting
the use of Traditional Chinese medicine.
The limitations of such trials are that individual factors and patient
characteristics are de-emphasized, and individualized
treatments are not possible (i.e. all high
blood pressure subjects are treated with
an identical acu-point prescription).
The strength of acupuncture as it is practiced
is that treatments are individualized based
on the unique signs and symptoms of each
patient. For example, an obese patient with
a slippery-slow pulse (and other symptoms)
will be treated differently than a thin
patient with a floating, rapid pulse (and
other symptoms), even if they are both being
treated for high blood pressure.
Therapeutic protocols based on the unique characteristics and symptoms
of each patient are impossible to study using standardized Western-style
trials (a weakness of conventional Western Medicine is that it is generally
not individualized to the patient). Therefore, acupuncture patients
most likely achieve even better results in an acupuncturist’s
office than in clinical trials, as the treatments are individualized
to their unique constitution.