Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Boulder, Colorado - Acupuncture Bus Review

Acupuncturists are always looking for the newest and greatest thing for their clinics.  This is not any different than most people and their company, trying to enhance the presence and comfort of their business.   Noah Goldstein, licensed acupuncturist in Boulder, Colorado, has found a creative yet old school way for patients to experience acupuncture.  The Acupuncture Bus.

While in Boulder for a weekend getaway I decided to visit Noah and his Acupuncture Bus.  Besides the obvious, it's mobile, the greatness of it lies inside.  As an acupuncturist myself, I've experienced all my acupuncture treatments in brick and mortar clinics.  Open door, walk in, visit briefly with receptionist, wait for acupuncturists, walk into treatment room, get acupuncture, walk out, drive car away.

With The Acupuncture Bus, a patient experiences something much different.  You still have to park (well in Kansas City we park, in Boulder you ride a bicycle, run, jog, hike, unicycle, tricycle, roller skate, skate board, so on and so forth).  Keep in mind this is not a food truck, this is a mobile health clinic with all the bells and whistles.  The inside is remolded with beetle kill pine.  The walls are accentuated with natural soft cork to insulate and sound proof the clinic.  The waiting room is separated from the treatment room to allow privacy.  Inside the treatment room is a community style chair for people who have coughs, colds, neck pain, knee pain, basically anything that can be treated in a chair.  There is also a traditional massage table for patients who are more comfortable laying
down.  I personally chose the massage table because I wanted to relax and take it all in.  Above my head was a large 2x4 skylight where my view was of the changing fall leaves of aspen trees.  After the needles were inserted I became instantly relaxed listening to the fall leaves bristle and the wind gently blow by.  During my hour treatment people waited outside the bus asking questions.  Eager to experience acupuncture in this unique environment.

Noah's fees are on a sliding scale.  Noah's philosophy, because of his background in community improvement in the non-profit sector, is that people are honest and will pay what they can afford at the time.  Me, being skeptical of the this, asked "What if everyone only pays $40 even though they could afford much more?"  Noah with a quick smile (as though he's been asked this question more than a few times) says,  "It's really important to me that more people have access to this medicine."

I believe him.  His confidence in what acupuncture can do for the well being of a patient and what it can do for the Boulder community is steadfast.  Not every city is lucky enough to have an acupuncturist who practices on a sliding scale.

Noah's skills as an acupuncturists need also to be examined in this article.  Because what is an acupuncture bus without a skilled acupuncturist to right the ship?!  In observation of quality of treatment all patients should look for these few traits.

  • Art of the Intake - this is where any doctor or physician examines and asked questions to to further deduce causation of chief complaint.  In Chinese medicine the practitioner should also analyze radial pulse and examine tongue coating and color.
  • Needle Technique - there should be little no pain upon insertion of an acupuncture needle, hundreds and thousands of hours are required to learn this technique.  Believe me, its not as easy as just putting in needles.  If the needle is in the wrong place it will hurt, if the needle isn't inserted at the right speed, it will hurt.
  • Bedside manner - this is where the patient experiences if they are comfortable around their physician or acupuncturists.  Things like, do they ask the right questions, are they concerned about your well being, are problems and concerns you communicate understood and not brushed aside.
  • Follow up and advice - after the treatment are you left to just wonder what now?  Are you given advice on how to improve your health and well-being?  Because you should be given this advice, you're paying for it!

Surprisingly, even though Noah has not been practicing for 10-20 years, the quality and care he provides is remarkable.  The only recommended improvement is Chinese herbal remedies.  But alas, a bus only has so much room.


Previous Podcast Interview With Noah:

Friday, October 10, 2014

32 Reasons to Get Acupuncture

"To succeed in life, you need two things:
Ignorance and confidence."
-Mark Twain

Mark Twain describes Yin Yang Podcast perfectly.  One year and 32 episodes later it is still amazing to us that listeners, like you, let us deliver stories and news about acupuncture.  It is an honor and a joy.  We have heard comments in full support of what we discuss, suggestions of whom to bring to our show, and ideas of where we can go with our show (or at least where to shove it!).  We have had nothing but the best time interviewing some fantastic people both in our field as well as peripheral areas of interest. Below is a small snapshot of the past year, or you could say, 32 reasons to get acupuncture.

We would never have guessed that somebody as incredible as Helene Langavin, the Harvard researcher, would come on our show to describe in incredible detail how acupuncture works. Her research tells us that what the ancients in our field taught about twirling the needles and the direction to twirl those needles DOES make a difference. She answers it with pure physiology (Connective tissue, including myofibroblasts, change their physical structure due to torque provided by the twisting of an acupuncture needle.  This structural change allows tissue to make a physical bond with the needle that can last between 25-28 minutes.)

It changed how we practice acupuncture. It certainly made us use BIG crunchy needles! Want an appointment?

We also did a story about the cardiologist Dr. E. Gray Dimond. Don't remember what he did in our field? He most certainly opened the doors for acupuncture and Chinese medicine to come to the West. Many of us always heard the story about Nixon going to China and the New York Times reporter going to the hospital with an appendicitis. Great part of the story of acupuncture's impact on western minds, but Dimond's research, as well as the work by his friend, Nobel Prize winning physician Dr. Lown, truly influenced the acceptance of acupuncture in the Western world.  Dr. Dimond's book "More Than Acupuncture And Herbs" published in 1973 described in detail how acupuncture was being used in hospitals as a form of anesthesia in open heart surgeries. He also went on a lecture circuit in the United States presenting his findings to the American Cardiology Association. Dr. Lown's experienced acupuncture on a trip with Dr. Dimond.  There he received acupuncture for severe lower back pain and sciatica. Dr. Dimond took a picture of of this experience for Dr. Lown, that being of his bare ass exposed to the world with a very large needle in GB-30.  This gluteus maximus picture would be presented to the world.  In a short phone interview we did with Dr. Lown he agreed that indeed his ass was famous. 

Dr. Lown

Open heart surgery using acupuncture

Drinking soup during open heart surgery

Then we ventured out to the weird side! We went with Lee Likens, notable parasitologist and evolutionary biologist, who not only amazed the audience with his stories of parasites and what they do to us, but he beat us down with questions about biology, histology, and the like. He was schooling us. He succeeded. However, it was the longest podcast we have done thus far, and yet the time flew by as we learned the gruesome details of the parasite world. The real parasite world, not the one envisioned by those that assume we are all infected with parasites that are causing a host of maladies that have no true biological connection. But we digress...

Arnaud Versluys

The people that have graced our show have made the past year an interesting foray into the intellect behind Chinese medicine. Our very first guest, whom we also had in the "studio," was Dr. Arnaud Versluys. He likes to blow peoples minds by teaching how Chinese medicine was truly taught over the past 2100 years. His knowledge of the Classics is unprecedented and his candor makes his show fun and enlightening. We will have him back on the show because he was our first guest: our sound was terrible, we were ignorant of the whole podcast format, etc. Check back for Arnaud!

Ken Rosen, practitioner from Thailand by way of Long Island, taught us about bee venom therapy and nutrition. Ken's own personal story is powerful and a testament to the power of Chinese medicine. Also, we had Stephen Bonzak come on the show to talk about the state of Chinese Medicine education in the United States. Stephen has a rapid fire delivery and he delivers his message much like Mike Tyson...right to the face.

Acupuncture or Bee Venom ?
Stephen Bonzak

Then there was TJ Hinrichs. Noted historian, Chinese medicine historian, bad ass Martial Artist, kung fu movie aficionado.  She holds the key to our history. Where our medicine began, the legends and the make believe, the process of cultural change within a society and how the use of the printing press and early on epidemiological protocols for dealing with infectious disease. Her presentation had us on our seats as she told story after story and then answered our ridiculous questions. What a sport!

Our year has covered many topics with many noted practitioners. Our presentation on Kidney disease by Travis and Breast Cancer by Chris gives the listeners some insight into what we do in our own clinic setting. Our presentations are meant to foster intellectual debate and we spoke about what our specialties are in Chinese medicine. It doesn't mean we are the authorities by any means, but are truly humbled by those who have written expressing their appreciation for our experience.

Thank you most of all to everybody whom we have had on the show. We hope that everybody will catch every episode and learn from it as we have. We also thank you for listening to our show and supporting us by sharing our podcast with others in our field or even others in various fields of health care.

Those not previously mentioned in article: