We enjoyed the November 2002 issue of Acupuncture Today here at the Five Branches Institute. I'd like to correct the number of hours in our curriculum that was printed in the table on page 36. Since the beginning of 2000, Five Branches' curriculum hours have been 1,952 didactic and 848 clinic, for a total of 2,800 hours.
Director of Public Relations
Five Branches Institute
Santa Cruz, California
Update on Master Tong's Acupuncture
In response to part one of Brain Carter's interview of Robert Chu (editor's note: see the December 2002 issue), I would like to alert your readers to the fact that the current Blue Poppy edition of Master Tong's Acupuncture is a revised and corrected version which was just printed a couple of months ago. We believe that many of the several mistakes mentioned by Robert Chu in that book have been rectified. Further, point locations in this edition were not simply based on Miriam Lee's teachings and commentary, but on a Chinese-language copy of Master Tong's own book published in Taiwan.
Honora Lee Wolfe, Dipl.Ac.
Blue Poppy Press
FITCM - Focus on the Positive
I am a graduate of the Florida Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I feel that the education I received was invaluable. It was, and continues to be, top-notch in the education and clinical training of serious students of traditional Chinese medicine.
Let's face it: all of the problems listed in the article (editor's note: see "Florida Institute of TCM Placed on Probation" in the November 2002 issue) are fixable. I suggest we focus on the positive instead of the negative, and pray that God's hand will be upon FITCM and Dr. Su Liang Ku.
Zoe Joy, LAc
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
"Acupuncture Is Effective in Managing the Gag Reflex"
I am a dental practitioner (oral surgeon) practicing in Britain, who is also an avid practitioner of acupuncture. I also happen to know Janice Fiske, who is quoted in the article on the gag reflex.
The gag reflex is a significant problem to patients and practitioners alike. It can be so severe as to prevent patients from attending treatments, and certainly causes significant distress. The difficulties encountered also meant that (dental) treatment outcomes may be poorer, and diagnosis may be less accurate, particularly the use of X-ray films in the mouth, which are often impossible for these patients to tolerate.
Traditionally, many of these patients are sedated with inhaled nitrous oxide/oxygen mixture, or with intravenous midazolam. While these techniques are safe, there are costs and other implications to both the health service and the patient (e.g., a whole day off of work following IV sedation).
Acupuncture is effective in managing the gag reflex. Point CV24 is as effective as the ear point mentioned by Dr. Fiske, and is my preferred option. The interesting thing is that these points do appear to have a specific function not replicated by other points in the peri-oral tissues.
In this age of clinical audit and improving techniques, it is hard to ignore the potential benefits acupuncture may bring to these patients, with a reduction in postoperative morbidity. (That's problems associated with the technique, not mortality!)
Tom Thayer, SDO
University Dental Hospital of Manchester
Manchester, Great Britain
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