Although acupuncture has been used for thousands of years in China, it has taken the Western world much longer to embrace its many benefits to health. In fact acupuncture still remains largely out of the realm of most traditional hospitals and clinics and the secret of how it works is still a mystery to many in the medical community.
In November of the year 1997, the National Institute of Health (NIH) held a conference to discuss acupuncture and they attempted to make sense of it from a scientific point of view. Western medicine has always been highly scrutinized and the research into whether this treatment or that treatment works is very well documented. Health problems are classified into particular categories and from there diagnosis are determined. Patients are treated according to specific criteria that define a particular diagnosis of a problem.
In acupuncture an individual is treated according to his or her own particular symptoms and there is no diagnostic manual to consult. An acupuncturist treats every person on a uniquely individual basis. In Western medicine the treatment of a health problem is based on a diagnostic evaluation, which is based on symptoms and signs of the problem whereas acupuncture seeks to evaluate and assess the present situation and diagnosis comes about through its own merit. To explain it a simpler way, Western medicine makes health decisions according to research studies and statistical analysis that form the basis of standard approaches to getting rid of diseases, infections and disorders whereas acupuncture strives for a sense of individualization of each and every one of its patients.
Everyone wants to have the absolute best care available to him or her when they get sick but in the western world we have been led to believe that there is only one approach to medicine that is worthwhile. Conventional medicine is based on a “traditional scientific model” and medical doctors tend to follow the same format from person to person. When a patient visits a doctor he will ask questions regarding the symptoms of the problem as well as find out about the person’s medical history. Then tests will be ordered and once the results are in, treatment will recommended. Some conditions will have the option of more than type of treatment of therapy.
Being based on a tremendous amount of research, a great deal of education as well as practical experience most people lean towards Western medicine to cure them of their health problems. They make the assumption that any kind of treatment that is alternative or falls under the heading of “natural healing” is akin to something a witch doctor from the backwoods would prescribe. However many patients who choose not to turn to acupuncture as a form of healing will consider experimental therapies or treatments that are still in the research stages and have not been approved for medical consumption.
The conference found however that more and more medical practitioners are broadening their views to include acupuncture and other forms of natural healing. While Western medicine has its pluses, it also has its limitations and often times the two kinds of medicine can work together in a harmonious way to help patients improve their levels of health and quality of life.