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About Course Chariman

Introduction of course chairman: Tsun-Nin Lee, M.D

Dr. Lee's Philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) -- Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine

Graduates' Comments on Dr. Lee

Sample Publications of Dr. Lee
Thalamic Neuron Theory: A Hypothesis Concerning Pain and Acupuncture.
Thalamic Neuron Theory: Theoretical Basis for the Role Played by the Central Nervous System (CNS) in the Causes and Cures of All Diseases.
Thalamic neuron theory: meridians = DNA. The genetic and embryological basis of traditional Chinese medicine including acupuncture
Treatment of Rhinitis with Acupuncture
Injection of Single Acupuncture Locus in Treatment of Posterior Shoulder Pain
The Principle of Symmetry in Acupuncture

Dr. Lee's Philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM):
Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine

As the course chairman, I would like to share with you some of my personal views on TCM, a vitally important body of medical knowledge.

1 .Integrating modern medicine and TCM

Integrating modern medical sciences and traditional Chinese medicine is more than just mixing them together in a haphazard fashion. There now exists a theoretical framework supported by scientific evidence to resolve the apparent conflicts between modern medicine and TCM (please refer to the video clip entitled The Untold Story on this website). The missing link appears to be the heretofore poorly understood functions of the central nervous system and their multidimensional relationships with all aspects of physiology, including the body's immune functions and its genetic makeup. True integration of these two important systems of medicine should result in a modern biomedical explanation of the seemingly abstruse principles of TCM. Likewise, some of the apparently inexplicable modern clinical observations can be elucidated by the principles of TCM. The marriage of these two powerful healing systems will yield handsome dividends for health care, leading to substantially improved outcomes accompanied by tremendous cost savings. For instance, the concurrent use of appropriate Chinese herbal formulas will not only mitigate the many side-effects of chemotherapy and radiation in cancer treatments but will also enhance the therapeutic efficacy of these modalities, improving the cure rates as well as long-term survival. The judicious use of acupuncture can also significantly reduce the need for long-term drug therapy and surgical interventions in chronic pain.

2. The theories, principles, and practices of TCM ought to be embraced by modern physicians regardless of their specialties

TCM should be included in the core curriculum of all medical schools to help future generations of physicians understand medicine in greater depth and breadth. This idea has in fact been echoed by quite a few of our course participants, some of whom are medical school professors. Unfortunately, the lack of understanding, or worse, the persistent misunderstanding, of TCM by medical educators in this country has not been conducive to the implementation of meaningful efforts to teach TCM in American medical schools, unlike their counterparts in China. To be fair, how can we expect medical educators to embrace TCM concepts that are so foreign to their own educational experience? That is why our training programs have been specifically designed for physicians, with the hope that the correct ideas will percolate through our medical community to eventually become a cornerstone of medical education.

3. All licensed physicians should be allowed to perform acupuncture without restrictions

Needling a point between the nose and the upper lip known as Renzhong or the human center can be quite helpful in reviving a patient following syncope. Needling a point known as Hoku (Con Valley) in the web space between the thumb and index finger and a point known as Sanyinchiao (tri-Yin merger) in the leg can be used to induce labor. Heating an acupuncture point at the lateral tip of the small toe with moxa (a powdered herb) may correct fetal malposition such as breech presentation. These relatively simple techniques can be learned by physicians quite easily in a day or so instead of the hundreds of hours of training required by some states, even though in many states the laws governing the practice of medicine consider acupuncture to be within the scope of a physician's medical practice, thus requiring no additional licensing. More physicians and their patients will therefore benefit from the more widespread use of acupuncture without such restrictions. Unbeknownst to most health practitioners, the famed physician Sir William Osler himself was rather familiar with the technique of acupuncture and had many positive things to say about it. Osler would not have been able to perform acupuncture, had he been required to complete the two to three hundreds hours of training deemed necessary by some states.

While physicians should be encouraged to use acupuncture in accordance with their levels of training and experience as the clinical situations may call for, they should also be encouraged to expand their knowledge by attending formal training courses. With few exceptions, physicians are already well trained in needling techniques, which include lumbar puncture, thoracocentesis, joint aspiration or injections, arterial puncture, trigger point injections, and paracentesis, among others. So for them, learning to perform basic acupuncture requires no giant leap in training. A current valid medical license and a commitment to set aside a few hundred precious hours to complete the course are already strong indications of the desire to learn. That is why no essay or statement needs to be submitted as a prerequisite to participate in our courses.

4. Addressing some of the political issues

I am reluctant to use the term "medical acupuncture." For thousands of years, acupuncture has been used exclusively for medical purposes, so the word medical seems extraneous as it would in medical gynecology or medical pediatrics. The term further implies there is some kind of nonmedical acupuncture when there is not. "Medical acupuncture" is generally construed to be acupuncture performed by physicians. In reality, however, the needles used, the technique employed, the points to be punctured are no different from those of licensed acupuncturists. The term denotes who is doing it rather than what it is. Personally, I would much prefer to use the term physician acupuncturists to differentiate them from licensed acupuncturists.

Naturally, knowledge in modern medicine can often afford a broader view of disease processes, perhaps enhancing the clinical outcome. On the other hand, much can be gained by working closely with licensed acupuncturists while caring for patients, especially when the physicians themselves are familiar with basic knowledge regarding this modality of treatment.

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