As you begin to read this month's column, summer is just around the corner and the year is almost half over. The midterm elections of 2006 are approaching fast and will be here before you know it.
Now is the time to meet those running for office and educate them about our profession and our medicine. This medicine is for everyone, with incredibly low costs and virtually no side effects. How much better could it be? We have a message to share with the American consumer. It's time we got out there and started sharing.
As I write this column, I have just returned from attending the annual conference of the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association in Tucson, Ariz. It was so nice to see many of my former students. The NADA protocol is such a great method for introducing this medicine to the 92 percent of Americans who have never tried acupuncture and may never have heard of Oriental medicine. Big thanks go to Dr. Michael O. Smith, the founding chair of NADA in the United States, for all of his great ideas and insight. Last year, the NADA protocol was introduced into Nigeria; this year, it has been introduced into India. There are many great programs going strong in the United States. Thanks to NADA President Carol Taub, Secretary Mark G. Farrington, Training Director Claudia Voyles, Training Representative Rachel Toomim, David Eisen, Nancy Smalls, and Phyllis Spears for all your dedication and hard work to help this protocol spread throughout the United States. I am NADA-trained and certified, and I feel this is an invaluable protocol for the times in which we live.
The months of March and April found me traveling to Bloomington, Minn., Columbus, Ohio and Washington, D.C., for various conferences and workshops. In late March, alumni from several schools in the Minnesota area gathered together for the Great River Symposium, which was hosted by Northwestern Health Sciences University's Minnesota College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and headed by Mark McKenzie, MAOM, LAc, the college's dean. It was a great time of learning and socializing. Everyone went to sessions together, ate lunch together and enjoyed breaks together. The school supplied wholesome refreshments, and the vendors enjoyed everyone who attended. All of these great events helped to build unity and professionalism.
The next stop on my journey was the American Institute of Alternative Medicine in Columbus, Ohio. Thanks to Diane Slater and Helen Yee for their hospitality and arranging a great class. We enjoyed a walk in the woods under beautiful skies, and I was honored to meet all of the practitioners in Ohio.
Washington, D.C. was the final stop on my cross-country adventure, where the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture held its annual symposium, this year in conjunction with the 12th Medical Acupuncture Congress of ICMART, the International Council of Medical Acupuncture and Related Techniques. More than 400 research papers were presented by practitioners from around the world. While talking with many of the attendees, it was apparent that acupuncture is growing on a worldwide scale, and that the medical acupuncturists are learning various new techniques.
I know that I have said this before, but now is the time to get involved. Many states, provinces and countries are still struggling to recognize acupuncture and create legislation that will allow us to provide the appropriate level of care to our patients. This profession has a mission of serving humanity and easing suffering. We must find a way to build a grassroots effort to educate our elected officials on the value of Oriental medicine. We must educate them about the conditions that can be treated effectively with acupuncture and Oriental medicine, and the education and training our practitioners receive.
We must do more than just this, however. We must be vocal. We must speak for sick patients. We must lobby for increased insurance coverage. We must lobby for Medicare coverage. We must lobby for coverage of acupuncture services under the Veterans Administration. And we must train more practitioners. This profession is growing and expanding, and we must insure the rights of patients to have access to acupuncture and Oriental medicine. We owe it to our patients just as much as we owe it to ourselves.
Finally, I want to thank Michael Devitt and the rest of the editorial staff for their work producing Acupuncture Today since its inception in 2000. For those of you who don't know, Michael has left MPAmedia, publisher of AT, to relocate to the Midwest, settle down and start a new life for himself. (He will still contribute articles periodically.)
It has been my privilege and pleasure to work with Mike, and I wish him all the best. As managing editor, he has worked tirelessly on behalf of the acupuncture profession to dispense accurate, timely information to the rest of us. Peter Crownfield, executive editor of MPAmedia, will appoint a new managing editor of AT in the coming months; I have no doubt that the publication will continue to set the publishing standard for the acupuncture and Oriental medicine community.
Click here for more information about Marilyn Allen, Editor-at-Large.