Once again I have left updating this a long time. A lot has been going on. So much I have not had a chance to train for 3 weeks and have to plan my evenings weeks in advance. Some of it has been work and some of it has been social engagements and some of it family commitments but they all seem to have come along at once. I have been having a few thoughts going around in my head recently that I wanted to get out and I thought I should update my blog about the results of my presentation too, so I have returned to the keyboard once again.
So I guess I should start with my presentation about tui na to the Hillingdon Therapies Group where I finished off last time. That seemed to go well and everyone was saying complementary things afterwards. At least 5 or 6 people were making enquiries to me afterwards and I think it has helped me overcome some of my fears of public speaking. I may try to do more things like that, offering presentations to organisations in my local area, for example. The handy thing with tui na is that I could do it anywhere, as a preventative to back and neck problems, migraines, etc. in an office first aid room at a certain time each week and then if anyone needed acupuncture refer them to my clinic where I have sharps facilities.
Finally, I wanted to mention a curious article I was pointed to, the editors choice for the British Medical Journal on Balancing Benefits and Harms. In it the author says “it is an uncomfortable truth that most drugs do not work in most patients” and that “Instead of restricting treatment options to one or two drugs, less restrictive guidance centred on the interaction between patient and clinician may do better.” This seems to be making a striking point that the medical profession is recognising that the interactions between patient and practitioner may have a strong influence on many of the drugs they prescribe, perhaps even stronger than the drugs themselves! They also recommend that the minimum effective dose of any drug should be used to minimise side effects.
How does this relate to Chinese medicine? Many ancient Chinese prescriptions would utilise herbal prescriptions and acupuncture at the same time. Even the most ardent skeptics explain the effects of acupuncture being down to a powerful placebo induced by the complex ritual encounter. Could they have been doing exactly what the author of the BMJ article suggested and could acupuncture find a place as a complementary practice in precisely this way: maximising the effects of prescribed drugs through improving their effectiveness in a way with minimal side effects? Another article related to this was published in Acupuncture in Medicine this month demonstrating the effect of acupuncture on target tissue distribution of Schisandra lignans appearing to support this suggestion.
Unfortunately the acceptance of acupuncture is always going to be more subject to politics than efficacy. The sheer impossibility of ever proving the results independent of the practitioner make it debatable and as long as it is debatable it will be the argument that has the strongest political or economic support that will win. I have long thought that all forms of manual therapy will never be scientifically proven due to the fact that their tools are inert and deny the possibility of providing another inert control treatment that does not simply become an alternative method of manipulation that can achieve the same result. Instead manual forms of therapy should focus on economic proofs: treatment vs. non-treatment and which group avoids time off work, injury or complications, to justify their existence. Which brings me back to my presentation and where I should focus my approaches to local businesses: economics of increased productivity from workers, reduced absence and prevention of common ailments.
Just have to research and write it now…