Dr. Kim Le's article "Sickness: A Blessing in Disguise" was beautifully written and profoundly important.
As a student of TCM, I and several of my fellow students have been searching for the Tao of this medicine.
Coming from ayurvedic medicine, where the spirit of healing is a significant portion of the medicine, I have been waiting for a ray of light which would illuminate the spiritual aspect of Chinese medicine which we know existed prior to Chairman Mao's "Cultural Revolution."
It seems Dr. Le has a strong grasp of this most fundamental aspect of the art. How important is this? I am only a student. Yet, now that I have begun to see patients, I hear their soul stories. It seems that supporting the soul's journey gives the patient the courage and the purpose to complete their healing. It is not easy to change.
One of my patients, for example, who is making difficult transition from coffee to green tea, said that this new beverage tasted "virtuous!" But she smiled, for the first time, and promised to continue on her path.
I look forward to Dr. Le's book. She has precious wisdom to share.
Peace and Light,
Raven Sara, student Santa Barbara College of Oriental Medicine Santa Barbara, California
A Matter of Degrees
With all due respect, I am questioning your use of the title "Doctor" for persons who hold no doctoral degree.
I wish to extend congratulations to Bryn Clark on his appointment to the NCCAOM board (editor's note: see the April 2003 issue). He is not only an asset to any group he joins, he is a delight to work with - and to my knowledge, he holds no doctoral degree. I wouldn't normally have any problem with the loose use of language in your newspaper. However, since our profession is currently discussing the various points of view regarding the educational entry level we should require, it is inappropriate to use such titles incorrectly.
I think this situation demonstrates quite nicely the main reason we seek to increase our entry level to a doctoral degree. It is certainly a desire to show respect for Bryn Clark that the title was used in the article. Some acupuncturists seem to be seeking just that sort of respect from the current Western medical model.
In fairness, and with a desire for accuracy, I request that you do not use titles lightly. Please use them appropriately in your publication.
Sandy River, Dipl.Ac., MAc Ellicott City, Maryland
Herbal Patent Medicines: A Cautionary Tale
I am writing to commend and comment on the article "Everything You Know is Wrong" by Messrs. Leonard and Newman in the August issue. Their contention about confusion in names in traditional Oriental medicine is indisputable. I deeply appreciate their addressing the issue of raw herbs, which, of course, needs a solid address. I take no issue at all with the article, except that I might suggest that the problem is slightly wider than possibly suggested. Of course, we must be familiar with the precise herb issued to clients, but we also must be very clear of what we are doing with Chinese herbal patent medicines as well. If there is confusion in raw herbs, there is also a shaky ground in patented medicines.
I refer to one situation which I have encountered personally: there are at least two preparations containing differing substances, going by the name An Shen Bu Xin Wan. I have taken this preparation for a long time in tablet form, and have bought it from a generally reliable grocer. One day, I became rater uncomfortable after taking some of the tablets, and examined the label more carefully. As you guessed, someone had created a new formula and sold it in a package very similar to the one I was used to. My business shifted to a more reliable grocer for a while, and I discussed my problem with the former grocer, who promised to inform me of his actions in the future.
Caveat emptor is indeed the byword in this area, and I hope that you can pass this cautionary tale on about compounded medicines.
Robb Thurston, LAc Seattle, Washington
Propsed Licensing Law Ruffles Feathers in Kentucky
With regard to the passing of acupuncture laws in Kentucky (editor's note: see the August issue), I remain baffled and frustrated. What are the "good ol' boys" in this state thinking. At first, only medical doctors could practice acupuncture -- and that was with no training. Now, the state proposes that we acupuncturists be overseen by naturopaths. Naturopaths should not be allowed to practice acupuncture without having the same training and requirements that acupuncturists do. After all, how would they like it if we practiced naturopathy without the proper training? It is plain to see that good old Kentucky is not only filled with fine thoroughbred horses, but plenty of "bull" also.
Sharon Southwood, LAc Lexington, Kentucky
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