Wednesday, January 18, 2017

#18 / The Over-Promising Acupuncturist

Nick Hoppe writes a column for the San Francisco Chronicle. His column on January 3rd was titled, "Body's falling apart in all the right places." The purpose of the column was to document Hoppe's efforts to remediate a diagnosed case of biceps tendinitis. As he pursued his quest for a cure, Hoppe  decided on trying out treatment by an acupuncturist, and he described the treatment he received as follows:

Off I went to see an acupuncturist. I was a little skeptical, but the practice of acupuncture had been around for more than 2,000 years. It must have worked for someone. 
“Biceps tendinitis?” asked the nice acupuncturist, when I told her my malady. “I can fix that in two sessions.” 
Now, that’s confidence! I had been a little skeptical, but no more. This woman said it with such assurance that it left me no doubt I would be cured once and for all. 
“Anything else bothering you?” she asked before beginning the treatment. 
“Well, I’ve got some tendinitis in my right knee, but it’s not too bad.” 
“No problem. I’ll take care of that. Anything else? You get one more.” 
I couldn’t think of a third ailment, so I made one up. She said she could help. Then the treatment began. 
“I’m going to put some needles in your ankles, which will help sedate you.” 
I felt a sharp prick when she inserted the needle, but I didn’t feel the sedation. But she immediately began inserting needles everywhere, sedation or not. It didn’t really hurt much, so maybe the sedation was indeed working. Within minutes, I had needles in my knee, my wrist, my shoulder and for some reason, my head. 
Then she left, leaving me in the room for 45 minutes to let the needles do their work. When she returned, she quickly removed the needles and asked how I felt. 
I now had no needles in me, so the answer was obvious. “Better,” I said. 
“Great!” she chirped. “It usually takes up to 24 hours before you feel improvement. You’re ahead of the game.” 
As noted, acupuncture works for many ailments and many people, but not in this case. I tried two more sessions and showed no improvement. I then saw a physical therapist, who suggested (surprise!) rest. 

Since my son will soon be an acupuncturist (by next summer, I'm told), I naturally paid attention to this less than encouraging story. 

My conclusion?

Acupuncturists shouldn't "over-promise." 

Neither should politicians, for that matter! 

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