Thoughts on the Future of Acupuncture

Jean Marie Exavier, 2010 Earthquake Survivor, Leogane, Haiti tells us....."After the disaster,I get many trouble, you know, because I lose many friends. When the first AWB team coming here, they explain me about the acupuncture. I take the first therapy. I feel so good. There's no stress, pain for me. I sleep well. After that, I explain this to the other people. They agree with me. ... But now I can tell you the truth. This is the best therapy that I ever know before."

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As everyone in the acupuncture field knows, acupuncture has been around in one form or another for a very long time. There is evidence that the practice of acupuncture may go back as far as the Stone Age in China (4,000 – 3,000 BCE) with the use of the bian shi, or sharpened stones. Hieroglyphs and pictographs have also been discovered that indicate acupuncture dates back at least to the Shang Dynasty (1600-1100 BCE) in China.

In the modern day, more and more people are accepting and using acupuncture as an alternative to allopathic medicine. A 2007 survey in the United States estimated 3.1 million adults, or approximately 1% of the U.S. population, had used acupuncture during the previous year. This was an increase of 1 million adults over the survey conducted in 2002, showing thatthe use of acupuncture is growing rapidly. Currently, the largest use of acupuncture in the United States is for the management of pain.

What is the future for acupuncture and Chinese medicine in the United States and in the world?

Acupuncture and protocols that are derivative of acupuncture will continue to become more prevalent throughout society in all parts of the world. AWB believes that there is tremendous value in the many ways that acupuncture is currently being practiced, and that more creative venues for acupuncture will develop over time.

Some of these methodologies include one-on-one private treatments, community clinics that use body points in group settings, and community treatments that use the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) protocol for healing substance abuse and/or trauma.

"Acupuncture is a medicine of peace that we can bring to every corner of the globe. With this work, we are helping to interrupt the cycles of trauma that get passed from one generation to the next, causing conflict, disruption of communities, substance abuse, violence and more," AWB founder and executive director Diana Fried B.
"We find an amazing openness and resonance with this medicine wherever we go. We also find that acupuncturists, when brought together in community, are great leaders in helping to bring about social transformation with our work. I can not think of anything more important that we can do to help heal the planet!"

Simple acupressure points are now being used in a variety of settings, for example by emergency medical teams in New Mexico to alleviate nausea. Nineteen states in the United States allow non-acupuncturist health providers to be trained in the use of the NADA protocol and subsequently to provide treatment in detoxification programs under the supervision of licensed acupuncturists or medical doctors.

International programs, such as the Pan African Acupuncture Project and the Guatemala Acupuncture and Medical Aid Project, have been teaching health care professionals in the use of acupuncture for healing in very economically poor and under-served communities.

Acupuncture has been shown to be highly effective in treating stress disorders and specifically post-traumatic stress syndrome. The military is currently using acupuncture extensively for this purpose.

AWB uses the NADA protocol, and at times other body points, in a community acupuncture-style setting to provide trauma recovery in disaster situations, nationally and internationally.
Patients report tremendous relief from pain and anxiety, and a dramatically increased ability to function again.

Amongst others, AWB has treated 8,000 survivors of Hurricane Katrina, approximately 4,500 survivors of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, hundreds of Ecuadorians who have been negatively impacted by environmental devastation to their forests, hundreds of monks and nuns in Nepal, and hundreds of nomads in Mongolia.

AWB Member Clinics are treating thousands of veterans, active duty military and their family members each year.

One of AWB's goals is to support acupuncturists in being prepared to respond to disasters in their local communities, and around the globe. To this end, the organization has provided training around the United States since 2006, and has trained close to 1000 acupuncturists.

Now AWB is training healthcare providers in different parts of the world in how to treat trauma survivors with the NADA protocol using auricular needles or ear seeds, as appropriate.
During the summer of 2010, WB trained 60 healthcare providers in Mongolia, six acupuncturists were trained in Nepal, and 30 healthcare providers in Haiti.

The organization believes that relieving trauma caused by disasters war, poverty, environmental destruction, and economic upheaval is key to bringing peace around the world.

California Journal of Oriental Medicine
By Diana Fried