I went to a routine appointment at the Stanford Pain Management Center this afternoon, and I learned something fabulous. In early 2011 (read here: sometime next month), Stanford Pain Management will begin offering in-clinic acupuncture. That’s right–acupuncture in a western allopathic clinical setting. One of the doctors–a for-real M.D.–has gotten certified as an acupuncturist. I’m super-excited about this for two reasons:
1. Because the acupuncturist is a board-certified M.D. who will be doing the acupuncture treatments in the Stanford clinic, insurance companies will be forced to cover the treatments as office procedures or appointments. (Not sure which–I’ll have to ask.)
2. By offering acupuncture in their clinic, Stanford Pain Management is saying to the whole world that top-tier allopathic doctors believe in the efficacy of acupuncture as a treatment for chronic pain.
For the last several years, Stanford has been fairly quietly working on the leading edge of what I call complimentary medicine. As a matter of routine, Stanford’s OB/Gyn surgery center offers a *free* hour-long mind-body session (with a board-certified gynecologist) to every surgical patient. Why? Because several Western scientific studies have shown that the meditation and breathing techniques taught in these sessions decrease surgical complications and speed up recovery time.
The Stanford Female Urology clinic has done clinical trials on meditation and gentle exercise as treatment for IC and other painful bladder conditions.
I feel blessed to be able to get treatment at an allopathic center that buys into the radical notion that alternative treatments may be seriously effective, and are worth studying in a western clinical setting to get some actual data. Then, should that data come back conclusively in favor of the alternative treatment, they take the next step and offer it to their patients.
The more different types of treatment options I have, the better I’ll feel, and the more and further I’ll be able to travel…