Docs and researchers tend to ask questions like, “what are the effects of acupuncture during labor and delivery?” But as any practicing acupuncturist knows, our “effects” differ greatly depending on what’s going with the patient who’s getting the acupuncture. This study was conducted in Iran, where patients are routinely given very high levels of Oxytocin to induce labor. Lo and behold — the effect of acupuncture in Iran is that it reduces the amount of Oxytocin used. We’ll discuss the study, and a couple of important conversations that come out of it — how to use acupuncture in relation to Oxytocin (differently, depending on the patient’s constitution!) and how to use a study like this to open up a conversation that will engage and linger in Western providers’ minds, rather than just listing acupuncture’s many benefits.
At hospitals and schools, Journal Club is one of the most important ways that health professionals learn how to communicate about the relationship between research and clinical practice. After years of teaching young acupuncturists to function in a hospital, it’s crystal clear to me that a big barrier to our effectiveness in communicating to physicians what we have to offer, is a simple language issue: if we don’t take the trouble to become fluent in their language, then we are waiting for them to learn ours. (Never say never, but I wouldn’t hold my breath). My goals in hosting this online journal club are: 1, to highlight interesting studies that may prove useful in talking to docs about what you do, and 2, to model and teach some of the concepts and verbal habits that I find lead to greater openness and interest from the medical staff in my work.