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22-Feb-2013 01:35 PM
Zu San Li
I wanted to get your view on injection therapy and it’s place in the acupuncture/oriental medical clinic. I know it is only legal in a few states, but here in Florida it is and there are practitioners who really tout it as beneficial to their patients and to their business practice. I have mixed feelings on this topic. I do know that you mentioned somewhere, maybe in your book that the medicine is in our bodies and the acupuncture needles stimulate and boost our own natural healing abilities. I have reflected on that statement and there is something very harmonious about it with the qi flowing properly as the various needles are placed about the body in a meditative state of relaxation.
I have heard of practitioners charging in the range of $250 for injection treatments of various remedies including homeopathics, herbs and even vitamins. Is this a modality that you are familiar with and would it be something that you would encourage adding to the clinic practice? To encourage discussion if there are any practitioners who use injection therapy or any other modalities I would be interested in hearing.
Zu San Li
22-Feb-2013 05:56 PM
Another good question. I am not familiar enough with the clinical benefits of injection therapy to comment on it but I would like to make some general comments. First off, I think those doing acu-injection therapy may find themselves in a vulnerable position if they ever get sued for malpractice. There is just not enough of it being done in the U.S. to be able to establish a “standard of care”. Even though it is within the Scope of Practice in a few states and it is done in China and some other countries, it still is used in such a limited way in the U.S. that the protection from litigation that a medical care provider has if they stay within the standard of care is thin at best. I do not know just how malpractice insurance companies address this – I think some have an additional rider fee for those using that therapy, but even having it in one’s insurance coverage does not necessarily give sound protection.
Secondly, I have long felt uncomfortable with providers of care charging patients for therapies that are essentially in the experimental stage of development. Some will argue that acu-injection therapy is safe and is done a lot in China but compared to the mainstream traditional methods we use in this more than 2,000 year old healing system, there is no comparison. So, if a patient goes to an “Acupuncturist” they probably do so expecting to get “acupuncture”. If the acupuncturist then gives them some other type of therapy that may have a relationship to 2,000 year old acupuncture but is something only recently developed, that patient is really not making an informed decision. They will mostly assume the care they are getting is the way it is done when it is not the main way it is done. This is true not only for acu-injection therapy but the many, many other techniques that have evolved in recent years.
I don’t mean to sound like a prude about this or am I the type that thinks we should never be open to new ideas. It is just an ethical issue of when your right to practice (licensing) is based on a standard of care and someone with that license is practicing something outside the standard of care and charging for it just like they do for things within the standard of care, this is a sticky wicket.