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Acupuncture Today
March, 2004, Vol. 05, Issue 03
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News in Brief

By Editorial Staff

Oscar-Winning Actress Credits Acupuncture With Her Finding Love, Balance

At age 31, Gwyneth Paltrow has achieved more notoriety than many people do in a lifetime.

The daughter of producer Bruce Paltrow and actress Blythe Danner, Paltrow began acting at an early age and was quickly recognized for her style and devotion to her craft. In 1999, she became one of the youngest Oscar winners in history, taking home a Best Actress award for her performance in "Shakespeare in Love."

In October 2002, however, Paltrow's life went into a tailspin when her father died while they were vacationing in Rome. Devastated, Paltrow retreated to Great Britain, where she turned to an acupuncturist to help get her life together. The acupuncturist's advice, Paltrow claims, enabled her to "reach a new level" in life.

"I never knew I could suffer so much," Paltrow said in an interview in the January 2004 issue of Vanity Fair magazine. "Then at the same time you think, now I'm ready to open myself up to life in another way, to make it worth something and make it about the right things."

Through the acupuncturist's care, Paltrow said was able to cope with the grief of her father's death, and to choose the right life partner - Coldplay singer Chris Martin - after a string of disastrous high-profile relationships. Paltrow and Martin married in a quiet ceremony in December 2003, and are now expecting their first child.

Vancouver Hosts Symposium on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Cancer

This past fall, the British Columbia and Yukon Territories division of the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) held the country's first-ever symposium to explore the impact of traditional Chinese medicine on the treatment and prevention of cancer. Held at the Oakridge Centre Auditorium in Vancouver, B.C., the event featured more than 20 local practitioners who spoke on a wide range of subjects.

Mason Loh, QC, chair of the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia, hosted the symposium, along with co-chairs Dr. Stephen Lam and Michael Chung. The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Bian Zhao-xiang, an assistant professor, coordinator, and expert in clinical internal Chinese medicine from Hong Kong Baptist University School of Chinese Medicine. Presentations included "Chemical Analysis on Herb Evaluation," by Paula Brown from the British Columbia Institute of Technology, and "TCM: A Different Approach to Cancer Treatment," by Philippe Bernard Riviere, a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine from Kitsilano, B.C.

CCS spokesperson Cheryl Rill said that while some medical associations may question the science behind traditional Chinese medicine, the society sees itself as a progressive group that encourages dialogue from several points of view.

"We are an evidence-based organization, but we also appreciate that there is much to be learned around the treatment and prevention of cancer," Ryll said. "While current Western medicine is making advances all the time in the area of cancer treatment, every individual is encouraged to explore their own options with their caregivers."

Plans for a 2004 conference have yet to be announced. For more information on the CCS, visit or call (604) 675-7306.

Nothing "Fishy" About Tai Chi in Scotland

Fish farmers in western Scotland have never been known for their willingness to embrace traditional Chinese medicine. A new tai chi-based exercise program is helping to open their minds - and avoid serious injury.

"Fish farming involves a lot of physical work," explained Shona Miles, an occupational health nurse with Marine Harvest, one of the country's leading fish farming companies. "There's a lot of heavy lifting and carrying ... so it's important that we should look at ways of helping them avoid back and limb ailments at work."

Miles consulted with a physiotherapist to design a specific exercise program suited to the demands of fish farming. The program is based on the principles of tai chi, using slow, stretching movements designed to loosen the muscles and increase flexibility, with emphasis placed on helping the back and upper torso.

"It's all about prevention," Miles added. "Doing the exercises helps people to prepare for work, so that when they begin doing demanding physical tasks, they're much less likely to injure themselves."

The exercise program appears to be paying immediate benefits. Since the tai chi exercises were implemented in December, Miles reported there has been a significant drop in the number of back problems and other ailments, and days lost to illness or injury.

Some fish farmers were unsure about the benefits of tai chi, but became believers after trying the program. "I was skeptical at first, but I feel a lot better for it now," enthused Joe MacLeod, a technician at a fish farm in Loch Eil.

PCOM Board Member Elected President of Bodywork School

Richard Gold, LAc, PhD, a board member and cofounder of Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego, Calif., has been elected president of the International Professional School of Bodywork (IPSB, also in San Diego). As president of IPSB, Dr. Gold will work primarily in the areas of faculty development and expansion.

"I hope to be able to represent IPSB positively in the community with my work as a teacher, practitioner and author," Dr. Gold declared. "IPSB is a cutting-edge school and personal growth institute. I am proud to be in a leadership role there."

Dr. Gold has played a critical role in the development of both schools for almost two decades. He has been on IPSB's board of directors since 1983, and was named chairman of the board in 2001. He has been an instructor at Pacific College since 1986, and was also a founding board member of the college's New York campus. He is also a published author, and maintains a busy private practice in San Diego.


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