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A New Orleans Chiropractor's View On Changing Perceptions Of Chiropractic In The US


The art and science of the chiropractor has often been maligned by the western health establishment. The historical animosity is mostly due to the fact that western medicine tends to employ a philosophy of reductionism, which states that the best way to understand how the human body works, how pathologies originate, and how to treat them can best be accomplished by reducing the body to its component parts. The body is classified into organ systems, then into individual organs, which are then divided into their component tissues, and finally individual cells themselves. Traditional western medicine seeks to localize the cause of pathology and then treat the disorder at the narrowest level of scope possible. This reductionism is in direct contrast to the holistic approach taken by the chiropractor. The chiropractor, much like the traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, realizes that the body can not be effectively reduced into component parts. The chiropractor views life as an emergent phenomenon that both encompasses and transcends its component parts. In recent years, many western science practitioners have begun to appreciate the holistic approach of the chiropractor and chiropractic treatments are starting to find their rightful place in the medical mainstream.

The chasm between holistic health care and traditional western medicine is narrowing. Just as physicians are beginning to appreciate the benefits of holistic approaches to health, some chiropractors are also employing some of the techniques and tools of conventional western medicine in their practice. Traditional spine manipulation techniques are combined with modern radiological diagnostic equipment to determine the most effective treatment for the patient. Chiropractors are also trained to recognize the symptoms of serious conditions, such as cancer, and when they detect such a disorder they refer the patient to a health care provider that specializes in that condition. Clearly, chiropractic practice is increasingly being seen more as a complement to traditional health care rather than a direct competitor.

The public has taken note of the changing relationship between the chiropractor and the physician. For this reason, many insurance policies now provide coverage for chiropractic treatments. Additionally, the United States Armed Forces now mandates that all service men and women must have access to a chiropractor while in active service. Many athletes also take advantage of chiropractic treatment, both professional and amateurs. The United States Olympic team keeps a number of chiropractors on staff and chiropractic care is now seen as an integral part of the modern athletic training regimen.

The increased acceptance of chiropractic along with other holistic therapies is not accidental. Scientific studies have shown that holistic techniques are highly effective at treating certain kinds of disorders, including some disorders that can not be easily treated using standard medical techniques. Holistic medicine, once viewed as a fringe pseudoscience, is enjoying an increasingly positive reputation among the general public as well as professional health care providers. Since chiropractic care is now more widely available than in days past, and since many insurance policies now cover the services of a chiropractor, the health care consumer finds that he or she has more options than before and is therefore able to take a more active role in planning his or her own health care.

Acupuncture For Asthma Fact Or Fiction


Acupuncture for asthma may sound like an odd combination. One is a common disease that affects approximately 20 million Americans; the other is a mysterious, esoteric, alternative medicine technique. Lots of people have asthma, but not many people have tried acupuncture.

But if you are an asthma sufferer, it can seem at times that anything - even something as mysterious as acupuncture - is worth trying. Breathing is something that most us never think about. It's an unconscious process and unless we're ill, we easily get the oxygen we need. But for people with asthma, breathing is always on their minds. There is always the chance that an asthma attack will leave them gasping for air. Sometime these attacks are predictable and sometimes they are not, sometimes they are minor and easily handled at home, and sometimes asthma suffers end up in an emergency room. It's no wonder that some asthma sufferers have turned to acupuncture for asthma.

Asthma is a chronic disease with no cure. There are different types of asthma, but they all produce the same signs and symptoms: rapid breathing, sweating, rapid heartbeat, and the uncomfortable sensation of suffocation. The exact cause of asthma is not known (there may be a genetic factor at work), but there is no doubt that environmental factors - cold, dust, pollution, etc - trigger the attacks. During the attacks, inflammation and constriction of the respiratory passages limit the amount of air that can be inhaled, the attacks can last for minutes or hours and as mentioned earlier, there is no cure. But although there is no cure, there are constant efforts to find new methods of treatment, and there are practitioners and patients who believe that acupuncture for asthma is the answer.

Acupuncture (the word comes from the Latin words acus, meaning needle, and pungere, meaning to puncture) is a very old system of medicine. It is not clear where acupuncture originates from, but it has been most closely associated with China. In acupuncture, very narrow needles are inserted into the skin (just barely penetrating the surface) at certain key points in the body. The needles are said to correct a disharmony in the flow of energy through the body, a disharmony that is said to be the cause of disease. Traditional, Western medicine has several theories about how acupuncture works (e.g., it may stimulate the release of natural pain relievers, endorphins) but has not yet completely explained how acupuncture.

Of course, the big question is, does acupuncture work? And can acupuncture successfully treat asthma? Well, not unlike the search for an explanation for how asthma works, the answers are not clear - and they depend on whom you ask. According to traditional acupuncturists, yes, acupuncture for asthma is an effective treatment, especially with asthma in young children. There are dozens of websites and thousands of testimonials that all attest to the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment for asthma. Acupuncture, they say, has worked where nothing else has.

But ask the same question - does acupuncture for asthma work - of doctors and scientists who have been trained in traditional, Western medicine and scientific methodology, and the answer will be quite different. Acupuncture, they say, is as interesting phenomenon, but the question of how it works is less important than the question does it work, and their answer to that is no. There is no conclusive evidence that acupuncture for asthma works, and a review of the scientific studies that have attempted to answer this question have not proven acupuncture to be a viable technique for treating asthma. If there are reports that it works, these can be explained by the placebo effect (The placebo effect states that medications or medical techniques/ procedures may be perceived by the patient as effective because they believe they are effective, but there is no measurable effect).

So can acupuncture truly help someone who suffers from asthma? That seems to depend on your point of view. If you feel that illness is caused by disruption in energy flow and you are convinced by anecdotal reports, the only reasonable answer is: try it and find out. Acupuncture for asthma is very safe; serious adverse effects are very rare. But if you are the type of person who needs proof in the traditional sense, it may make more sense to stick with the medications/therapies you are taking and wait for solid evidence that acupuncture can help treat your asthma.