The random thoughts of a sceptical activist

The unbelievable world of acupuncture

A brief interlude between posts on chiropractic.

I received an invitation to attend a conference on acupuncture: the British Conference of Acupuncture and Oriental medicine to be held at Royal Holloway University of London, in September. All I’m going to do is give you a few quotes from their blurb. Some of the workshop highlights include:

Heiner proposes that the diagnostic and therapeutic parameters of Chinese medicine are a direct outgrowth from a macrocosmic mother science that was used to describe all natural phenomena 2000 years ago. In an age where the transmission of Chinese medicine knowledge is diminished by the memorisation of elements, symptoms, patterns and point combinations, an exploration of formative strata (how? why?) can help restore intellectual depth as well as clinical efficacy to the profession.

Peacemaker or troublemaker? Central seat of stability or turbulent chaos? Heart open or broken? This session will focus on an exploration of the transformative fire of the heart and the search for the transcendent radiance of shen ming in love relationships and meditative practice. Peter will suggest key acupuncture points to assist in the process, looking especially at the acupuncture points in the chest area and he will give special focus to a study of the heart in the daoist tradition.

In the case of tuning fork therapy, according to the presenters, a beneficial process of resonance occurs. The frequency is applied by focusing the sound on various parts of the body, which can help to establish a new pattern of balance, erasing the detrimental patterns caused by the dissonance pattern of ill health. The application of the ‘vibrational’ frequency of a tuning fork is very similar in effect to a needle in an acupuncture point.

A large body of work now states that subjective ways of knowing are as valid as empirical evidence.

Written evidence dating back to the warring states period shows an intimate understanding of the five basic materials necessary for survival on the earth, and the need to understand their intrinsic nature in order to live sustainably. The five climates of cold, heat, dampness, dryness and wind were identified as affecting the human body, while Confucian scholars discussed the five virtues, or five ways to conduct our qi, wu xing, in order to live in community. The cosmology that developed from this world-view underpins our understanding of the basic premises of Chinese medicine.

David will present a historical account of how the awareness of flow within the body was fundamental to the early development of acupuncture and to theories of vessels and nerves in many different cultures. The tension between subtle energetic and physiological models of the body will be explored, in particular how the ‘sense of electricity’ as part of the awareness of being alive became an accepted metaphor in the literature of Romanticism, although in science it evolved into a disembodied ‘organising principle’ rather than a felt ‘vital force’. David will also explore how this relates to more recent trends in western accounts of acupuncture.

Tim will lead the experiential part of this workshop, based on his long-term explorations of energy as movement, the ‘real and tangible’ existence of qi.

Of course, the real attraction is their keynote speaker, Professor George Lewith on Therapeutic intent; how much does caring and how we care matter?.

Unmissable!

7 Responses to The unbelievable world of acupuncture

  • hello again,
    So are you going to go in September? How come they invited you? I did not get an invite. Funny that. You must be a Very Important Medical Journalist!
    Cheers, Anonymous For NOw
    PS so how does one put name to one's post if one wants to?

  • To the poster above me, where it says 'comment as' on the drop-down menu select name/url and put a name in, the url bit is optional.

    But you can always just sign your post with a name.

    Maria

  • Anonymous

    I must have signed up for a mailing list ages ago. However, the invite and programme are on their website — I've added a link to the post above.

  • i am always astonished how Acupunture helps in dealing with my migraine. it works wonders on other diseases like anxiety and allergy.

  • bodydetoxboy

    I don’t suppose you can point us in the direction of scientific trials that back up what you say?

  • Acupuncture helped me a lot in relaxation. It takes away some of my muscle cramps due to physical stress.

  • Pretty Girls Forum:

    If it works for you and maybe others, why doesn’t this show up in decent trials? Why is it, like so many other AtlMed ‘therapies’, despite the grandiose and fantastic claims made to their customers, is there no evidence that they work to any extent over placebo?

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