“Emergency” Acupuncture Treats Sick Students on Airplane

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Many people are surprised at the breadth and scope of disorders that can be treated with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  However, I generally tell people that acupuncture and TCM are not appropriate for emergency or life-threatening conditions.  If you break your leg or are having sudden chest pains, for instance, go to the emergency room.  This is where Western medicine excels.

The truth is, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine traditionally have been used for an even wider range of conditions, including many that we would consider emergencies.  For example, ancient texts include acupuncture and herbal prescriptions for treating drowning and stroke.

For another case of TCM being used for an urgent condition, read this article from the Arbroath Herald, a Scottish newspaper.  A few months ago, a Chinese doctor trained in TCM was aboard a flight from China to the UK.  When several teenagers began suffering from fever, diarrhea, and stomach pain caused by food poisoning, the pilot considered an emergency landing.  Using acupressure and massage (acupuncture needles are not allowed in carry-on luggage), Dr. Qin was able to relieve the symptoms and make the students comfortable enough to tolerate the four hours remaining in the flight.

While my original recommendation remains, for emergencies please seek care from an MD, Dr. Qin shows us that TCM can provide some care when Western medicine is unavailable – and by using just his hands and his knowledge!

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