So, I’m sad to report that I go under for yet another surgery tomorrow. Admittedly, surgery along with the appointments that come along with it, are a drag and an inconvenience. Especially when this surgery was a surprise. I absolutely abhor cancelling and rescheduling patients. It makes me cringe. But, alas, I have to have surgery. I don’t have a choice.
But I am excited about one thing: being a patient. I actually love it. I love asking questions, learning about new procedures and learning about technology in the Western conventional medical world. It was even exciting for me to get an ultrasound! Science and technology are simply amazing. We have come so far in a short amount of time. Conventional medicine saves lives every day and is able to do so much to improve a person’s quality of life. That may sound strange coming from an acupuncturist but I truly believe that there is a place for both Chinese medicine and conventional medicine. They can be used cooperatively for the patient’s best healthcare. How do you do that? Well, let’s use an example.
Take Fred. Fred is in his late 40s and has a very demanding work life. To relieve stress, he runs 3 miles every day. In spite of this exercise routine, Fred has high blood pressure. Fred tries to eat well and get enough sleep but he is under such intense stress and pressure every day that sometimes those things aren’t prioritized.
Fred started suffering from dull and achy knee pain about 1 year ago. He thought it would go away so he didn’t think he needed to do anything about it but wait it out. Finally, he went to see his primary care provider to ask for help. His PCP gave him options including a cortisone injection and over-the-counter pain medication and then told Fred that acupuncture could help with inflammation and pain.
Fred started seeing me for help with his chronic knee pain. At our first visit, Fred also mentioned his high-stress job and that it takes him about an hour to fall asleep every night. So, in addition to reducing Fred’s knee pain and inflammation, we are working on decreasing Fred’s stress and helping him fall asleep faster. Surprisingly, that has been helping him reduce his blood pressure.
Fred continues to see his PCP for follow-ups and to monitor his blood pressure and blood pressure medication. Fred and his PCP would also like to reduce Fred’s medication at some point in the future. I will continue to support Fred and support his doctor so that we can all give Fred a better quality of life.
This story is brought to you by an inspiring encounter yesterday with my anesthesiologist at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU). Knowing that I am an acupuncturist, he pointed excitedly to his wrists and said, “Oh, we use PC 6 for nausea and vomiting post-op. We put press needles on the patient before surgery and because the press needles are sticky, they stay on well. They work great.” I was floored. It is so exciting that acupuncture is being utilized in hospitals in the U.S. The more that doctors and acupuncturists know about each other and their respective specialties, the more our patients will benefit.
For more information on PC 6 and modern research, check this out: http://www.trialsjournal.com/content/15/1/292