Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New ! Great Book about Community Acupuncture

Want to know more about the Community Acupuncture Movement?
Do you want affordable acupuncture to be available to more people?

This book explains not only how acupuncture works, but how community acupuncture clinics work. Acupuncture Is Like Noodles is written for patients, acupuncture students, prospective acupuncture students, licensed acupuncturists, other medical providers, and anyone else who is curious about the “calmest Revolution ever staged.” Your purchase of this book supports Sarana Community Acupuncture, the Community Acupuncture Network, and the emergence of affordable acupuncture clinics into communities throughout the world.

Please enjoy this delicious excerpt from Noodles

Just as nobody knows where acupuncture originated, nobody really knows why it works.

There are many theories about acupuncture. The ancient Chinese, while they may not have invented acupuncture, developed an elaborate theoretical foundation for it. More recently, Western medical research has suggested biomedical mechanisms for acupuncture. None of these theories, no matter how interesting they are, actually explain why inserting tiny needles under the skin stimulates the body’s ability to heal itself. None of the theories explain how they can all contradict each other, and yet all of them still work. Acupuncture is not like any other form of “alternative medicine”. It is unique. It is nothing like chiropractic treatment, or massage therapy, or naturopathic medicine. It is not like Western medical interventions such as surgery or physical therapy. It should not be compared or confused with any of these things.

Acupuncture is somewhat like prayer, in that sometimes you get a lotmore than you asked for, in ways that you never expected, through the action of forces that you can’t see. Acupuncture is also somewhat like food. Providing acupuncture is like cooking and receiving acupuncture is like eating. The ingredients are all contained within the body itself; the acupuncture treatment is a way of arranging them so that the body can use them better. Once the acupuncturist arranges the needles in the right combinations, the patient’s job is to sit quietly long enough to “digest” the treatment.

Acupuncture nourishes the body by helping it to relax.

Besides being like food in general, acupuncture is a lot like noodles, in particular. The oldest written accounts of noodles come from ancient China, but the Chinese did not necessarily invent noodles. Noodles are made from many different ingredients, all over the world, and prepared in widely different ways. Noodles and acupuncture are both flexible, nourishing, and potentially very, very inexpensive.

About Acupuncture in

Acupuncture probably first came to
America with Chinese immigrant laborers. Acupuncture began to “become mainstream”, which really means “become interesting to white people” after Nixon’s trip to China. In the 1980s it began to be possible to go to school and get a degree to become an acupuncturist, instead of becoming an acupuncturist by
apprenticing in a clinic. This is not unlike going to chef school to get a degree in culinary arts, versus learning to make noodles by helping your grandmother in the kitchen. Soon after this, it became possible to take out student loans to go to acupuncture school, and after that, the price of acupuncture education went through the roof. Many students now graduate from acupuncture school with $100,000 or more in debt. This is not unlike culinary students, who graduate from chef school burdened with huge student loans, when all they really wanted
to do was to learn how to cook. Unlike chefs, there are virtually no jobs for acupuncturists. This is partly a result of most Americans, including acupuncturists and acupuncture
schools, not understanding how acupuncture is like noodles. Like noodles,
acupuncture is most useful in the plural, not the singular. Although we do not know why acupuncture works, we do know a few things about how it works best. Acupuncture usually requires a series of treatments to work. For acute problems, such as a sprained ankle, it’s a
short series of treatments; for chronic problems, such as migraine headaches, it’s a long series, possibly requiring months of treatments. For severe, chronic problems such as autoimmune diseases, acupuncture is effective but might require regular, ongoing treatment for years or decades.

If acupuncture is like food, then a problem is like hunger, the body needing something. If it is a small, recent hunger such as a sprained ankle, a small amount of food will do the trick. If it is a deep, old, long-standing hunger, then the problem demands regular doses of nourishment as often as possible. A big reason that there are almost no jobs for acupuncturists is that, once acupuncture became interesting to white people, it began to be priced in a very unfortunate way. Although acupuncture requires frequent, regular repetition to be effective, most acupuncture treatments cost $65 to $150. Since a single treatment costs this much, a series of ten treatments costs $650 to $1500. Since almost no one can afford this, almost no one in
America gets acupuncture. This is like almost no one getting fed, when almost everyone is hungry. Almost everyone suffers from stress in some way, and almost everyone could be
helped by acupuncture. Some patients who try acupuncture stop after one or two treatments
because they can’t afford to continue and they aren’t getting good results. This is like eating only a single noodle for lunch when what you need is a bowl of spaghetti, or like taking only two pills out of a prescribed ten-day series of antibiotics. Of course there won’t be any good results.

What good to anyone is a single, overpriced noodle?

Since acupuncturists know how to give people something that they need, we believe that this means they have an obligation to do so. The knowledge of how to do acupuncture cannot be separated from a responsibility to use it unselfishly.

The great 6th century Chinese acupuncturist Sun Simiao, who was
known as “the King of Medicine”, wrote:
Whenever a great physician treats diseases, he has to be mentally calm and his disposition firm. He should not give way to wishes and desires, but has to develop first a marked attitude of compassion. He should commit himself firmly to the willingness to take the effort to save every living creature. If someone seeks help because of illness, or on the ground of another difficulty, a great physician should not pay attention to status, wealth, or age; neither should he question whether the particular person is attractive or unattractive, whether he is an enemy or a friend, whether he is Chinese or a foreigner, or finally, whether he is uneducated or educated. He should meet everyone on equal ground; he should always act as if he were thinking of himself. He should not desire anything and should ignore all consequences; he is not to ponder over his own fortune or misfortune and thus preserve life and have compassion for it. He should look upon those who have come to grief as if he himself had been struck, and he should sympathize with them deep in his heart.

Acupuncture cannot be understood correctly apart from the moral and social responsibilities that accompany it, but in
America, these moral and social responsibilities are widely ignored. It’s time to ask: what would Sun Simiao do?

Acupuncture is Like Noodles: the Little Red (Cook) Book of Working Class Acupuncture

by Lisa Rohleder, et al.


Printed on recycled paper, 100% post-consumer content, Ancient Forest Friendly and FSC certified.

Available at Sarana Community Acupuncture or here:

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