Acupuncturists are commonly being used as a first stop for many ailments these days, which is pretty awesome.
But how do you know for sure that you are making the right choice of who to see first?
First of all, let me say that I am a big fan of Western medicine and have a primary care doctor that I really respect. So often I hear people complain about their doctors; frustrated that they just want to push pills or can’t help at all. You must remember that doctors have been backed into a tough corner because of healthcare insurance and liability issues. Their toolbox consists or blood tests or other diagnostic tests, and either pills or referrals to specialists (i.e, physical therapy). I have no doubt that they wish they had more answers or options to help their patients as well.
Somebody once said something that I have repeated over and over for 10 years: Western medicine was created during a time of war and plague; it is meant to keep us alive. If you’re in a pickle and have a staph infection, your gallbladder is failing or having any number of other emergencies you’re going to think they are amazing.
Now wanting to be healthy … that’s a different story.
I encourage patients to come in right away if:
- they have a sore knee or back
- they feel like they are coming down with a cold
- or if they have some health condition that IS NOT an emergency, and they want to see if something like acupuncture can help.
I also encourage people to try acupuncture AFTER they have seen their doctor and have information like a test result or a diagnosis. In Chinese medicine, we make our own diagnosis based on this 3,000-year-old medicine.. However, it’s still valuable to know what your doc thinks too. Acupuncture is also a great tool to add in with chiropractic care or while you are seeing a physical therapist. Acupuncture can be useful to do while coming off medications to treat issues such as depression, high blood pressure, or pain, BUT a good acupuncturist won’t even touch you unless you are also working with your medical doctor to do so.
To tie this all up, here are my thoughts: Western medicine is great to keep you alive; Chinese medicine is great to get/keep you healthy. But a good acupuncturist knows their limits and will help you make the decision of whether you should start with them or with your doc.
So, just ask!