Journalist: Àngels Gallardo
For 20 years she has practiced traditional Chinese medicine, an approach that says that by lightly placing needles in points on the body, it is possible to untangle the nucleus of a problem.
Does Acupuncture Cure?
One of the mistakes we Western acupuncturists have made was to not spread the word in terms of which cases this type of medicine can solve, and which ones are ancillary to the medicine that exists here. Acupuncture can cure when it is treating diseases that are not caused by an organic injury, those for which Western medicine has no explanation. Patients who are suffering uncomfortable symptoms the Western doctor does not know how to deal with and treat them with drugs that suppress symptoms but do not resolve the issue. Acupuncture cures ailments that would be considered chronic.
What pathologies does it treat?
Chronic digestive disorders, migraines, cystitis, candidiasis, dizziness, insomnia or repeated conjunctivitis without the doctor finding a cause. That is the optimal field of acupuncture. Recently, I have treated with increasing frequency neurosis, anxiety or depression, and very young people, even teenagers. Also, in China and Vietnam, acupuncture is used for anesthesia, but I do not know anyone who uses this practice here.
You describe a field of use much wider than what is usually applied by the majority of your colleagues.
The most commonly reported among Spanish acupuncturists is the symptomatic treatment of pain caused by an organic injury. It's a shame, because acupuncture could contribute much more to solving the health problems in our country.
How does acupuncture work?
First, you have to attempt to find which channel (meridian) resonates a disturbance and then by applying needles to the point that represents it. I begin by taking a long history on the patient's past, examining the tongue and the pulse and then I cross check this data.
What are meridians?
Meridians are supposed energy lines that run linearly along the body in its circulation. These channels do not follow anatomic pathways or nerves or arteries or veins, but have been shown to exist by injecting a marker isotope, technetium 99, which described some of the channels that match the ones laid out by the ancient Chinese.
What about the points?
In the body there are, symbolically, 365 points. They are areas with a sensitive resonance that you can stimulate with a slight pinch of a needle into the skin. A point is an intermediary between the interior and exterior. How does the needle does this exactly is a mystery. What motivates me is figuring out what effect each point has. Many people have a global blockage that resonates at a single point, and if you find it and activate it, there is a huge change in their body.
Is the solution at one point?
Exactly. In France there are acupuncturists working this way, studying the oldest form of traditional Chinese medicine. In my opinion, acupuncture is better today in France than in China.
How long does a treatment last?
As a guide, an illness with six years of evolution will take three months to be resolved. Meaning, in half the time, in months, compared to the number of years. Not only do you have to know what a person has, but also how their ailment is organized. You have to take apart a puzzle or untangle a ball of yarn. The needle is looking for the point to do its work, but there are many other areas to disentangle.
What makes Chinese medicine and Western different?
Western medicine uses logical thinking and is based on the scientific method. It says: if you cannot show me that something works, I need not believe it. The burden of proof is on the side of the proposer. Chinese medicine began in the pre-Christian times, when scientific thought did not exist. It is a tradition that applies analogical thinking, which has its own logic.
Yes. This kind of medicine infers internal phenomena based upon external observations. That is the law of analogy: if you're sick, you look sick. Logical thinking cannot relate the color red to joy or black with fear. Many chronic digestive problems are due to situations in your life that you do not swallow.
Can you demonstrate the value of acupuncture in scientific terms?
Sure. It would not be difficult to do scientific studies demonstrating the irrefutable efficacy of acupuncture. But research requires funding and this medicine is not supported by economic interests. Studies of Western medicine are funded by work in laboratories.
Which of the two types of thought addresses the patient's need?
First, think like a Western doctor and seek to rule out any organic disease: acupuncture does not cure cancer, for example. But usually, I hardly have to rule out anything, because I get people for whom western medicine has failed.