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01/09/2007 - WHEN NUMBERS LIE? By Alan Jansson

Peta came to clinic last week.

Originally seeing me last year for chronic and severe lower back pain (bulging discs) she presented last Saturday with a strong, persistent cough (3 weeks) that had triggered extreme and violent pain in her lower back, she ached all over her body, her sleep was shocking and she was besieged by horrendous headaches.

Totally lethargic and becoming very depressed she was on her 4th course of antibiotics and understandably fearful for her health.

Two sessions later….. cough almost gone, head and body aches gone, sleep regulated, energy improving, lower back pain 70% better.

An extraordinary medicine?

Peta sure thinks so!

She was delighted as was I but her question of herself still rings clearly in my ear.

She repeated several times, ‘WHY DIDN’T I COME IN EARLIER?’

A question to which I had no reply?

Traditional Acupuncture arrived in the West with an inherent set of difficulties.

The limited awareness and understanding of the scope, power and flexibility and of ‘Traditional Acupuncture’ both within and without the profession is the greatest challenge we face today.

Clinical efficacy using this ancient medicine is extremely dependent on the skill of the practitioner and many of the limitations accorded our medicine are of our own making.

As clinicians we need to take full responsibility and be accountable for our results.

In too many cases mediocre clinical outcomes are blamed on the medicine and we assume that the classical point indications and functions as taught to us are incorrect because we do not achieve the prescribed results.

All practitioners are equal in skill and ability therefore it is the medicine that varies not the hand that delivers it?

I think not!

Any research program is subject to the limitations in skill and experience of the participating practitioners.

When research programs that rely on practitioners of limited education and experience declare that this or that treatment or point is effective or ineffective the results are fundamentally flawed, no practitioner fault is found and on most occasions any inadequacies are accorded to the medicine.

In this case numbers can lie.

Be careful, very careful of becoming trussed up in the academic rodeo and falling into the mistaken belief that this medicine can be homogenized and subsequently sanitized of its inherent humanity.

Traditional Acupuncture is the ONLY modality that I practice.

After close to 50,000 treatments I feel like I have just scratched the surface of this powerful and in many cases spontaneously effective natural medicine.

In almost a quarter of a century of practice I have studied with some extraordinary teachers and learnt much from many dedicated students but it is the strength, courage, persistence, good humour and goodwill of my patients that continues to inspire me on a daily basis.

And the reality is that as a practitioner it is their welfare that ultimately counts.

Not the least because our livelihoods depend on it!

Alan Jansson

Traditional Acupuncturist