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Acupuncture Today
March, 2002, Vol. 03, Issue 03
 
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By Editorial Staff

Alarmed about using research protocols

Dear Editor:

I am alarmed about using research protocols to establish the validity of traditional Chinese medicine and associated health modalities.

This theme keeps coming up in every issue of your newsletter, as well as similar publications in massage therapy. Your publication cited a report of research showing that acupuncture was superior to massage therapy in treating chronic neck pain (editor's note: see the September 2001 issue of Acupuncture Today). Another study (Archives of Internal Medicine, 2001) reported on research showing that massage therapy was superior to acupuncture for lower back pain. The logical progression would be to cut up the human body and dole out the parts to whoever wins a particular research contest.

"Evidence-based treatment protocols" are only the tip of the iceberg in a broader trend to Americanize Eastern methods of health and the healing arts. Two associated areas of concern are: 1) the regulation of clinical practice through state licensing, which empowers one group or guild over others to have the exclusive rights to practice specific treatment techniques; and 2) questing membership on health insurance panels, which involves another level of regulation and bureaucracy to determine who has exclusive rights to patient referrals.

Do TCM practitioners really want to go in this direction?

George A. Rhoads, PhD
Westboro, Massachusetts


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