Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Acupuncture, Part III

Being the open-minded SNAG that I was (am), I was determined to give acupuncture one last try.  A patient of mine sang the praises of Dr. Z, who had cured her temperomandibular joint pain she claimed, so I again consulted my shortlist of Alberta acupuncturists who were MD's, found out what I could about the guy, and somewhat skeptically booked an appointment.  Upon my arrival I was pleasantly surprised.  Nice, modern professional building near a major shopping mall, an adequate medical history, pleasant staff, and a business card with a reassuring list of professional accomplishments.  Z explained the therapeutic limitations of acupuncture and said that only time would tell if it could benefit me.  In went the needles painlessly to my back and legs, on went the soothing classical music, and out went the lights for 15 minutes.  Hey, I can handle this, thought I.  "One appointment a week for six weeks, $75 per appointment, and we should know if this is going to help you", sayeth Dr. Z.  So that's what we did.  I felt comfortable with Dr. Z; I liked him, I had faith in his abilities, and I wanted his treatments to work.  But they didn't.  The inescapable lessons for me after three acupuncture experiments, one of which was 7 weeks in duration, are: a) there are many ways to practice acupuncture, b) find a practitioner you're comfortable with, and c) acupuncture doesn't work.  Perhaps as a placebo, perhaps on some psycho-something level, but not in any scientifically significant way.  Save your dough for beer, it relieves the pain temporarily - or at least shifts it to your head the next morning.