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Acupuncture system and various strata of Practitioners

(A need for Survey)

Dr C K Raju – Editor, ASA Newsletter

Acupuncture system includes several methods of drugless treatment that activate sensitive body points that function like vortices to balance the body's energies to restore health in an otherwise sick person. Treatment approach is (W)holistic and uses 'Touch, Palpation, Pressure, Needling, Cupping, Massage, Seed embedding, Catgut embedding, Electric Stimulation, Moxibustion (warming up the points), Laser application, Herbal plastering and such methods'. Popularly known to have its origin from China as Traditional Chinese Medicine (zhēnjiǔ) this was a traditional wisdom within India and many Oriental parts in the long past.

ASA has emerged as a new milestone and a yardstick, to recognize and unify Acu-enthusiasts who had been attracted, to this ‘Traditional most efficacious system’ that had altered their life perspective during the earlier three to four decades. Such enthusiasts had discarded their past occupations, mostly due to the austerity and dedication that fructified very well into healing processes and a purposeful life-note scripted for the future of the healer as well as the sick counterparts.

This drugless system of treatment was equally exploited by some fans who had just stumbled into cheap tutoring markets and modern day gimmicks. Every such combatant had his own troops, barricades and arena to attract masses into this seemingly new system of the health-care industry since it was un-licensed and un-recognized.

ASA as an Umbrella association, its Leadership, Experience and Teamwork has a broad acceptance of all those enthusiasts who occupy various strata of knowledge and skills. A brief list of these practitioners at the outset can be ‘Single Needle Acupuncturist, Clinical Acupuncturist, TCM Practitioner, Su-jok Acupuncturist, Acupressure Therapist, Physio-Acupuncturist, Auricular Acupuncturist’ and so on.

ASA India's aspirations to balance the knowledge and skill levels of all the above strata through CME workshops and sustained growth of quality in Acupuncture across the nation with standardized member groups, with Ethical standards too – had been achieved through the 'Basic Refresher Training' sessions, where Practical approaches and Therapeutic skills were emphasized strictly and taught to all levels.

Certain certifying bodies (not universities at all) carry a strong stigma, while some members run schools on their own. Until the dawn of governing laws regarding this coveted system of treatment, ASA can suggest a qualitative platform in the form of this training and a much needed 100 hours / 200 hours regular training without any compromise.

Some of our members have already initiated this process of achieving a standardized skill base with the exchange of treatment protocols, sharing of experience and posting of case studies over media available to us.

ASA can also initiate a segregation process where different types of Acu Practitioners can be identified by their types of practice. For this purpose, a survey questionnaire should be distributed within members for honest self-evaluation and to identify their open arena and blind spots. The next step should be to include this survey form at the entry level for any fresh ASA member, life member, enthusiast or patron.

The appraisal form may include the following:

  1. Qualification /s prior to Acupuncture studies.
  2. Basic nature of Job /s prior to becoming an Acupuncturist.
  3. Type of Acupuncture practiced – TCM, Clinical, Classical, Touch, Su-jok, Auricular etc.
  4. Treatment methods applied apart from Acupuncture if any.
  5. Number of needles used in Acupuncture treatments.
  6. What methods of disposal of the used needles are adopted?
  7. Average number of sittings taken for most cases for a reasonable recovery / cure.
  8. Treatment offered at any Government / Private Hospitals / Health centers, if any.
  9. Micro systems in Acupuncture actually used for treatments.
  10. Whether they follow TCM or Clinical Acupuncture or Classical methods.
  11. Conditions that had been difficult to treat / relieve to the practitioner.
  12. Number of camps that had been conducted for public awareness and the details.
  13. Academic pursuits – Teaching, Writing Articles, Books, Offering Training courses etc.
  14. If Head of Acupuncture Program, the Certifying body / University if any.
  15. Noteworthy clients / supporters willing to promote the recognition move (mention).
  16. In which specific area training is needed - if at all.
  17. Whether Acupuncture needling had helped the person himself / herself; How?
  18. Any other membership occupied apart from ASA? Their details if at all.

Acupuncturists should be able to justify their role in health care delivery system. The economic justification needs to be balanced with the traditional uniqueness in the practice of acupuncture which is a safe and effective modality only when performed by well-trained practitioners.