Time honored, ancient traditions exist all over the world. In herbal traditions there is something called the "doctrine of signatures", which means that if a plant looks like a particular organ, it treats that organ. I remember going to a lecture given at UCLA by the famous botanist Mildred Mathias. She spoke of the doctrine of signatures, showing a slide of a plant that looked like a heart. When she told the audience that people who believed in this doctrine of signatures believed that this plant could treat heart problems, there were audible laughs coming from the audience. Then she told us that the plant was digitalis - the plant which gave us the medicine digoxin, known to treat poor cardiac output. The laughter ceased.
Why do we believe that any one culture, one system, has "the" answer? The knee-jerk response to that is "science". All very well as far as it goes. According to Doctors Sanjaya Kumar and David Nash in their 2011 book "Demand Better", "Only a fraction of what physicians do is based on solid evidence from Grade-A randomized, controlled trials; the rest is based instead on weak or no evidence and on subjective judgment." (You can read an article about their book published in Scientific American by clicking here.)
Does this mean that you shouldn't trust your doctor? No, it does not mean that. Doctors generally go into medicine with the highest intentions of helping people, and they do their best with the evidence available to them. However, the same is true for those of us who practice so-called "alternative" medicine. The ancient traditions of China, India, Tibet, etc. have been around for thousands of years. (Long before they were labelled "alternative"!)
What I like to tell my patients is that the conservative way to practice medicine is to try a drug free approach first. If it doesn't work, you can always go to a western medical doctor and get drugs. As long as you're not having a medical or psychiatric emergency, this is pretty sound advice.
How do you choose an acupuncturist? If you don't know, call us first and we'll be happy to answer any questions you might have.