Regarding the recent articles on St. Luke's Integrative Therapies service, I applaud your coverage of this important and nascent program offering acupuncture, healing touch, weekly meditation, restorative yoga and two television CARE channels including guided imagery. As its medical director, I am fortunate to share inpatient acupuncture responsibilities with four other local acupuncturists. They are Joan Scheingraber, Jon Paul Morse, Sandi Hagel and Dana Henry, and we share a rotating call schedule. In our hospital, acupuncture requires a physician's order.
While the article left readers with the suggestion that acupuncture's effects are unknown, it is worth pointing out that numerous mechanisms of action have been documented in the medical literature (much of which is discussed in an educational Powerpoint on St. Luke's education Web page). Outcomes studies have confirmed that acupuncture is safe, effective for and has a role to play in the treatment of many forms of pain, gastrointestinal dysfunction, substance abuse, anxiety, depression, insomnia, fatigue, menstrual and menopausal disorders, some obstetrical problems, sleep apnea and chronic cough or asthma. Almost all of this literature dates from as early as the late 1990s, when American infrastructure and funding for acupuncture research began to appear.
The quality and volume of research in this area is expected to grow over the coming decades, validating its use and increasing the comfort of my physician colleagues in recommending this valuable service. I feel lucky to work with a visionary hospital foundation, administration and medical/nursing staff.
Tom Archie, M.D.