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ways, Qi may flow freely and restore health to the mind, body and spirit. In the late 1970s, reports Acu-

puncture Today, “the World Health Organization recognized the ability of acupuncture and Oriental medicine to treat nearly four dozen common ailments, including neuromusculo- skeletal conditions (such as arthritis, neuralgia, insomnia, dizziness, and neck/shoulder pain); emotional and psychological disorders (such as depression and anxiety); circulatory disorders (such as hypertension, an- gina, arteriosclerosis and anemia); ad- dictions to alcohol, nicotine and other drugs; respiratory disorders (such as emphysema, sinusitis, allergies and bronchitis); and gastrointestinal condi- tions (such as food allergies, ulcers, chronic diarrhea, constipation, indi- gestion, intestinal weakness, anorexia and gastritis).” This declaration was very convincing to many Americans. As early as the mid-1980s, national accreditation standards had been established for acupuncture education programs in acupuncture colleges and schools.

The Expansion of Acupuncture

in America Statistics show that our enthusiasm for acupuncture continues to expand. Currently, acupuncture and Chinese medicine are legal and regulated in 46 states. Over 45 accredited acu- puncture colleges and schools exist in the U.S., and over 11,000 licensed acupuncturists are certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), an organization from which practitioners in most states must pass via exam. According to the State of Arizona Acupuncture Board of Ex- aminers, currently 135 active licensed acupuncturists practice in Tucson, and 435 practice throughout Arizona. Alex Holland is a licensed acu- puncturist and President of the Asian Institute of Medical Studies in Tucson. Alex cites several reasons why more Americans are visiting acupunctur- ists every year. “Acupuncture is a gentle, relaxing, therapeutic method of inviting change and healing to oc-

medicine, more individuals promote acupuncture through health fairs, seminars, public education forums and in alternative clinics.” In January 2011, at the Northwest

Medical Center, Hardesty presented a talk about “Living With Cancer and Beyond” that focused on how TCM has been used successfully to treat the side effects of cancer. “I cited many studies and had two pages crammed with references related to the ef- fectiveness of acupuncture, Chinese medicine, tui na and qigong.” The National Center for Comple-

“As the American public continues to seek treatment from acupuncturists, the mainstream medical community has begun to listen.”

cur. Numerous research articles over the last few decades have confirmed the healing benefits of acupuncture. There are virtually no side effects. And acupuncture is relatively inexpensive compared to many biomedical thera- pies that treat the same conditions.” Jean Hardesty-Prater, licensed acupuncturist, instructor and Dean of Admissions for the Arizona School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, agrees that the American public is gradually becoming more aware of the benefits of acupuncture. She notes that “Patients understand its use for physical pain, i.e. backache or knee pain. Through education by practitio- ners, the World Health Organization and marketing materials, acupuncture has become more accepted by society.” Alex Holland adds that, “As more acupuncturists graduate from accred- ited colleges of traditional Chinese

mentary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), part of the National Insti- tutes of Health (NIH), reported that 3.1 million people tried acupuncture in 2007 (an increase of one million people since 2002) as a means of re- lieving discomfort caused by fibromy- algia, chemotherapy-induced nausea, low back pain, and other ailments.

Acupuncture Meets Allopathic

Medicine As the American public continues to seek treatment from acupuncturists, the mainstream medical community has begun to listen. Though many traditional Western doctors continue to view acupuncture with suspicion, there is evidence that the trend is changing.

At the University of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine, physicians completing their two-years of coursework spend several weeks studying the theory and principles of TCM. Alex Holland notes that the course has been very popular. “Physi- cians develop an understanding of the therapeutic benefits of acupuncture and generally become advocates when they understand how it can be utilized within the medical paradigm. They take this knowledge back to their respective communities through- out the United States. Also, because these doctors have realized the health benefits of this technique, courses have been developed that teach basic acupuncture techniques to other phy- sicians.” Jean Hardesty-Prater believes there is still room for improvement in

March 2011 19

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