Have you heard the term “protocol” before?

For our purposes, I will explain it as a series of acupuncture points that have been researched or prescribed as a “one-size fits all.”

In fertility medicine, we see a lot of protocols because Western medicine is quickly researching acupuncture and how to use it to benefit women going through fertility treatments. One of the most classic protocols is one commonly known as the German protocol, and it is always used on the day a woman transfers an embryo in her IVF treatment. It is a series of points done before the transfer and after. This protocol was published in 2003 and was documented to make an IVF embryo transfer more successful, if done exactly as prescribed.

The Good.

I am a scientist at heart and I SUPER love that Western medicine is researching the heck out of acupuncture. They look at researching acupuncture for hundreds of health issues such as fertility, arthritis, mental emotional disorders, Parkinson’s and so much more. Ideally, as acupuncture gets more documented proof of its efficacy, then it will become a more utilized tool as part of a patient’s treatment plan, which is so exciting.

The Bad.

Because scientists don’t have time to research the millions of possible acupuncture point combinations, they must pick just one series to look at. If it is successful, then it is published and doctors are happy to share that info with patients. But they often warn against going to an acupuncturist who uses points out side of this prescription, as they are not researched and the effectiveness is unknown. This creates a very limited world for acupuncturists to really strut their stuff and help our patients.

The Ugly.

Ultimately acupuncturists know acupuncture best, and Western medical doctors know Western medical medicine best. When an acupuncturist is forced to stick with a researched protocol, then we eliminate one very important fact: We often know you and your body well enough to know how to tailor a point prescription to you and dump this whole one-size-fits-all mentality.

Moral of this soapbox rant is this:

If you trust your acupuncturist, then trust that they are up on the research and know what is scientifically proven to work. But they also probably know your body pretty dang well, and you should let them do what is best for you too! Soapbox OUT! 

Jana Royer-Morian
Dr. Jana Royer-Morian is a practitioner of Chinese medicine and is focused on providing her patients with thorough, individualized, and comprehensive care treating a variety of specific conditions and symptoms.  She is the owner and provides acupuncture at Inspired Wellness Center to the Denver, Arvada, Westminster, Golden and Lakewood communities.  In addition to treating diseases, Dr. Jana promotes preventative health, wellness and patient empowerment utilizing a combination of techniques that may include acupuncture, bodywork, cupping, moxibustion, Chinese herbs, dietary and self-care recommendations. Her recommendations are based on her current knowledge and clinical experience.