Author Archives: Jason Tutt
Is acupuncture a popular therapy? Is it becoming more or less popular? How does it compare to other therapies? Let’s look at the statistics for the available data that has been collected over the years.
A 1998 paper reported on two surveys for complimentary and alternative health usage in the United States. In 1990, with a population of 249 million, 0.4% of Americans had reported acupuncture use within 12 previous months. In 1997, 1.01% of Americans had reported acupuncture use within 12 the previous months. In 1990, massage was most popular at 11.1% with in chiropractic in a close second at 11.0% but by 1997, chiropractic went to most popular at 10.1% and massage dropped to 6.9%.
This is a 250% increase in acupuncture use over a 7 year period from 1990 to 1997.
Mel Hopper Koppelman holds a masters in Acupuncture and is currently undertaking a second Masters in Nutrition and Functional Medicine from the University of Western states. She has a multi-disciplinary clinic in Leicester, UK where she practices. She also seems to have developed the habit of arguing with strangers on the internet (usually fully referenced). She is a regular guest author for the Journal of Chinese Medicine and she is on the executive committee of the Acupuncture Now Foundation.
Why you should listen – Mel Hopper Koppelman comes to Needle Chat to discuss her chosen path to respond to the skeptics about whether acupuncture works, or is nothing more than a useless placebo treatment without any benefit. She talks about what drives her to respond to the skeptics, what she has learned in dealing with skeptics, and what she has learned about acupuncture while researching for her responses. Mel also talks about whether acupuncture is ready to be placed under the microscope, and if acupuncturists should be open to the scrutiny given to their profession over the past couple of decades.
Public safety should be our number one priority as health care practitioners. The term “first do no harm” comes up time and time again, that we should use the least dangerous methods of treatment first. And whenever we begin to use treatments that may increase risks of adverse events, the patient should always be fully informed and allowed to give informed consent to that treatment.
When looking at acupuncture and pregnancy, we should be looking at all aspects of pregnancy. This includes prior to pregnancy, during pregnancy and during labor. Based on the available evidence, I present a review on both in vitro fertilization and pregnancy, as well as the safety of acupuncture for common conditions during pregnancy.
IVF and pregnancy rates
A 2014 study comparing acupuncture to no acupuncture in women who underwent fresh embryo transfer found that no treatment resulted in significantly higher pregnancy rates compared to the acupuncture group (64.8% vs 43.6%) and higher live birth rates (56% vs 36%).
I talked about in a previous post that improper training in needling of any kind, whether Acupuncture, dry needling/IMS or injection therapy can be dangerous, and here is another piece of evidence to prove it. A massage therapist, who received his Acupuncture training from a continuing education institute called the Acupuncture Foundation of Canada Institute, offers training to health care practitioners such as physiotherapists, chiropractors, medical doctors and massage therapists.
But when compared to an acupuncturist who receives an average of 450 to 600 hands-on clinic hours in order to write the licensing board exam, this institute only requires 200 hours of total training, which is mostly online work and 50 hours of on-site training. In my opinion, this is not enough training to be working on real patients without direct supervision from an instructor or person licensed to perform Acupuncture to make sure your needle depth and angle are correct.
A San Diego woman has filed a lawsuit against a Chula Vista chiropractor accusing him of collapsing her lung during an acupuncture procedure that he is not licensed to perform.
The problem here was obvious, when you aren’t trained properly, you can’t get a license to use acupuncture on patients. Acupuncture can be very dangerous if not used properly, an improperly placed needle can penetrate arteries, organs with the lungs being at the highest risk, even the brain!
Even somebody such as a chiropractor who has extensive anatomy training can make a potentially fatal mistake if they are not properly trained on depth, angle and length of the needle.
What are the risks of Acupuncture?
1) A 2001 survey of Acupuncturists practicing in the UK reported no serious adverse events, and 43 minor events out of 34,407 acupuncture treatments. The most common of these 43 minor events were severe nausea and fainting. Three avoidable events—two patients had needles left in, and one patient had moxibustion burns to the skin—were caused by practitioners’ errors.
Practitioners also recorded 10,920 mild transient reactions occurring in 5136 treatments, 15% (14.6% to 15.3%) of the 34 407 total treatments. Some local reactions at the site of needling were reported—mild bruising in 587 (1.7%) cases, pain in 422 (1.2%) cases, and bleeding in 126 (0.4%) cases. Patients experienced an aggravation of existing symptoms after 966 (2.8%) treatments, 830 (86%) of which were followed by an improvement, possibly indicating a positive “healing crisis.” The most commonly reported mild transient reactions were “feeling relaxed” in 4098 (11.9%) cases and “feeling energised” in 2267 (6.6%) cases, symptoms that often indicate an encouraging response to treatment
According to a recent article published in JAMA Internal Medicine, when the FDA finds significant departures from good clinical practice, those findings are seldom reflected in the peer-reviewed literature, even when there is evidence of data fabrication or other forms of research misconduct.
Now, I know what you’re thinking…. that I’m just quoting the conclusion from the abstract and hijacking title of the article without actually reading the full text. So let’s go over the full text together shall we?
As part of the drug approval process, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regularly inspects clinical trial sites involved in FDA-regulated research to determine the degree to which these sites conform to regulations. They are basically allowed to audit any and all aspects of a clinical trial including the data itself, if they see fit.
As a result, the FDA inspections can result in three outcomes.
- No action indicated (no substantial violations)
- Voluntary action indicated (inspectors have found violations, but not serious enough for sanctions)
- Official action indicated (OAI) (inspectors have found violations enough to warrant regulatory action)
John McDonald is an Acupuncturist with a Masters of Acupuncture with Distinction and is currently a PhD candidate awaiting his results on his submitted thesis in Acupuncture and Allergic Rhinitis. A former psychiatric nurse, who transitioned into Acupuncture and became an influential figure in the Chinese medical world. Having spoken at dozens of conferences over the past 10 years including the World Federation of Acupuncture-Moxibustion Societies and Australasian Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Annual Conference. He has authored or co-authored 4 articles published in peer reviewed journals, including one recent article published in the British Medical Journal. He’s also authored or co-authored 12 articles in non-peer reviewed journals, has written six books, and is a lecturer at several universities in Australia.
Why you should listen – John McDonald comes on Needle Chat to be our first guest ever and discuss his transition from psychiatric nursing to acupuncture, how he got involved in acupuncture research, what he has discovered during his research on the subject of acupuncture and it’s interaction with the immune system as well as suggest better study designs for the future of acupuncture researcher. Finally, John talks about dry needling, his involvement in the Acupuncture Now Foundation and what he would like to see for the future of acupuncture as a field.
During a hands-on workshop, a practitioner, who happened to be a medical doctor that was very experienced in deep dry needling (45 years), was demonstrating how to needle into a deep muscle called the illiocostalis. By using his hands, he intended to use his fingers to block the intercostal spaces (the space between the ribs) and direct his needle towards the rib below. Once hitting the rib, this would be his depth indicator.
Unfortunately, this practitioner chose a 50mm needle that was too long in length for the task at hand. As the needle was inserted, it deviated to the side and went around the rib and further penetrated the patient’s lung. The practitioner then, without knowing the damage he had caused, lifted the needle and redirected it, into the rib, which is where he intended it to go the first time.
If you pay close attention, you can see the excessive depth the needle travelled the first attempt in comparison to the second attempt. To read the full story, visit the link provided below.
Full text article in British Medical Journal: Pneumothorax complication of deep dry needling demonstration