Acupuncture, herbal medicine become more popular in U.S.
“More non-Chinese Americans begin to accept the Chinese way of treatment, such as acupuncture, cupping and herbal medicine. Another truth is, at least in California, nearly half of those who have acupuncture licenses and operate acupuncture clinics are not Chinese but Americans who do not know Chinese,” said Yu who owns his two-storied TCM Healing Institute in Arcadia in the suburbs of Los Angeles.
People turn to unconventional therapies and herbal remedies for everything from hot flashes and trouble sleeping to cancer and heart disease. They crave more “care” in their health care as more people distrust drug companies and the government.
California became the first U.S. state to license qualified acupuncture practitioners as primary care providers in 1978. As of2004, California has licensed more than 9,000 acupuncturists. Now the figure is estimated to exceed 15,000. California constitutes nearly half of the licensed acupuncturists in the U.S.
He said recently one American lady on her 40s came from Florida to treat her pain on the neck. But
She then recommended her friend, a 47-year-woman, to see
In California and other states, when a doctor has an acupuncture license, the doctor can give herbal treatment to the patients. Although traditional Chinese medicine is not legal in California , doctors with acupuncture licenses can treat patients with cupping and herbal medicine.
The legal use of herbal medicine was made possible 15 years ago when the U.S. Congress decided to allow dietary and herbal supplements to be sold without Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Since then the number of products soared, from about 4,000 then to well over 40,000 categories now.
The increasing acceptance of alternative treatment such as acupuncture and herbal medicine was also made possible by big healthcare insurances that cover expenses of patients who accept treatment of acupuncture, cupping and herbal medicine,
Increasing numbers of big hospitals and institutions, including Johns Hopkins Hospital and the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center, have established integrative medicine units that bring together conventional and alternative approaches to care.
The alternative treatment includes stress reducers like meditation, yoga and massage besides acupuncture and cupping.
Studies show that the number of Americans willing to try alternative treatments continues to increase. A 2007 survey by the federal government found that more than one-third of adults and nearly 12 percent of children in the U.S. used alternative therapies, including acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy and herbal supplements.
But many mainstream physicians continue to be skeptical of alternative therapies, alleging their efficacy has not been proven and their successes may be nothing more than variations of the placebo effect.
Concerns over the effectiveness and safety of herbal supplement have prompted the U.S. FDA to issue its first guidelines for good manufacturing practices to improve supplement safety.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is also filing more complaints about deceptive marketing in herbal supplements.