This morning I left the office of Dr. Christopher Wolter with a clean bill of health. Dr. Wolter is a urologist at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. After three years of being passed from physician to physician, and test to test without a diagnosis, I took it upon myself to travel from upstate New York to what I had heard was one of the finest medical facilities in the world. In April, after eight days of sophisticated medical testing and imaging, Dr. Wolter confirmed that I had a rare endocrine paraganglioma embedded in the wall of my bladder. This tumor was causing my blood pressure to spike as high as 260/140 for several minutes after urination. I returned in June to have DaVinci robotic surgery. I am healing quickly and my blood pressure spikes have been resolved with the removal of the tumor. Thank you Dr. Wolter and the technology of western medicine!
But what I was most surprised and pleased to learn was the level of integration of acupuncture and alternative medicine into the practice and philosophy of a facility as prestigious as the Mayo clinic. Their literature promotes acupuncture for the use of body pain, headaches, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, insomnia, anxiety, depression, weight loss, neuropathy and muscle weakness.
Not only are they integrating licensed acupuncturists and acupuncture trained physicians into their staff, the Mayo Clinic is becoming a leader in the field of acupuncture research and they are conducting clinical trials on various acupuncture protocols. The Scottsdale campus is now conducting a clinical trial in the use of electroacupuncture for the treatment of xerostomia in head and neck cancer patients following radiotherapy. Click here for more information on that clinical trial.
In 2006, the Mayo clinic conducted a clinical trial on the use of acupuncture in the treatment of fibromyalgia and concluded that acupuncture provided not only pain relief but also an improvement in fatigue and anxiety associated with fibromyalgia.
In 2009 results were published on the efficacy of acupuncture in prevention of postoperative nausea in cardiac surgery patients. Acupuncture was performed 0.5 to 3 hours before surgery on the acupuncture group. A control group received solely standard postoperative care The acupuncture group had a significantly lower incidence of nausea compared with the control group. The acupuncture group also had a significantly lower score of nausea severity than the control group.
According to the Mayo clinic website: “Acupuncture can be helpful as a stand-alone treatment to provide pain relief, as well as to help maintain general health and well-being, increase energy and improve mood in healthy individuals.” I see this as a welcome change to the disease based thinking of western medicine and a trend to promoting preventative medicine for which eastern medicine has always been best known for.
They have even come out with the publication “Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine”. Reviews are mixed as to whether or not enough in depth information makes this a viable tool for those educated in alternative medicine, but I see the effort as valuable in bringing the best of the east to the best of the west!
About the Author:
Joyce Marley is a licensed acupuncturist that provides acupuncture therapy in New Hartford, NY. She writes Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) health articles about acupuncture and Oriental medicine.