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Acupuncture: An Anatomical Approach

2nd Edition, October 24, 2013

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ISBN: 978-1-4665-8192-0
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Product Details:

  • Revision: 2nd Edition, October 24, 2013
  • Published Date: October 24, 2013
  • Status: Active, Most Current
  • Document Language: English
  • Published By: CRC Press (CRC)
  • Page Count: 250
  • ANSI Approved: No
  • DoD Adopted: No

Description / Abstract:

Preface to Second English Edition

In 1970, I was offered a tenure track faculty position in the Department of Anatomy, University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio, and arrived in July of that year to accept that position. By October of 1972, I began to receive inquiries from medical students about learning acupuncture. The timing was not coincidental; after nearly 30 years of Cold War era tension between China and the United States, President Richard Nixon had reopened the diplomatic doors to China.

Many Americans of myriad professions, physicians included, began to arrive in China, discovering new methods and practices almost completely unknown in the western world. When the travelers returned to the United States, they shared what they observed with their fellow countrymen. One astonishing technique that came back with a few physicians was acupuncture anesthesia. Patients received operations on surgical tables while totally awake. To doctors trained in the tradition of sedatives, acupuncture anesthesia appeared to be magic, sparking a quick and sudden soaring of interest in acupuncture, to which my medical students were no exception.

At the time, there were very few faculty members at the school who were ethnically Chinese. Although I was born in Taiwan and have absolutely no relationship with China in any sense, I do possess a certain degree of sophistication in relation to China's cultural heritage (including acupuncture). I did not hesitate to share the knowledge I have of acupuncture, and thus, I ultimately became infamous throughout campus as "the acupuncturist." So when San Antonio Express/News reporter D. Dreier was looking for someone who would know something about acupuncture, my name was suggested to him. He came to interview me and wrote a lengthy article that was published in the local newspaper on Sunday, February 27, 1972. The next morning, when I arrived at my office at the school, there were more than a dozen telephone calls awaiting me. All of the callers wanted to know if I could use acupuncture to relieve their pain. For the next few days, the phone rang off the hook with people asking the same thing. At that moment, I came to realize that acupuncture had marketing potential as a therapeutic modality for pain management, although I didn't yet know if acupuncture would indeed be effective to stop any pain.

Eventually, I agreed to offer an elective called theoretical acupuncture for students who were curious about the ancient Chinese practice. The registrar form shows that on October 25, 1972, Jeffery W. Jordan was the first student to enroll in the course. However, the elective didn't last long; after teaching theoretical acupuncture to a few students for just 2 years, I canceled the class. There were four reasons for making such a decision. First, I was a junior faculty member without tenure in the department. I had a family, and I needed the job security that only tenure offered. To better my position, I needed to devote all my time to research activities. Second, teaching an elective such as theoretical acupuncture doesn't help one advance, in terms of either promotion or salary. Why waste my valuable time doing something for nothing in return? Third, like many events or phenomena in medicine, there was always the looming possibility of acupuncture becoming another passing fad, destined to disappear in time from people's memory. If, indeed, acupuncture turned out to be another temporary trend, my effort would become an unattainable dream. Fourth, because the class focused on only the theoretical, the elective consisted only of oral presentation, without any practical applications. There was not a single patient available for bedside clinical training. Without a sensible purpose, the words I preached about acupuncture were useless. It took many more years before the teaching of anatomical acupuncture would be meaningful, with real patients to treat.

To my surprise, 10 years later, I still regularly received regular inquiries from medical students across the country who wanted to learn acupuncture. Such a fact drew me to conclude that interest in acupuncture among medical students in the United States was more pervasive than I had previously realized. By then, I was a tenured associate professor with a secure position, and I didn't have to worry about my livelihood.

There was another reason that I had to offer acupuncture. In the intervening years between 1978 and 1982, one freshman student, Shari Thomas, suffered from acute and severe neck pain because of an automobile accident. After different medical procedures failed to eradicate her pain, she approached me for help. One acupuncture session stopped her neck pain completely. She was so impressed and inspired that she begged me to teach her acupuncture. I promised that I would teach her during her senior year. Three years later, Shari came to knock on the door of my office and immediately asked, "Dr. Dung, do you remember me?" Without excuses and obligated to keep my promise to Shari, I indicated to my Chairman, Edward G. Rennels, PhD, that I had decided to give up my endeavors in scientific research and would like to devote my time to the study and practice acupuncture. He was not only sympathetic to my decision, but fully supportive of it. My elective was renamed "anatomical acupuncture."

That year, I ended up teaching anatomical acupuncture to eight medical students. The following year, in 1983, the number increased to 12. Soon, anatomical acupuncture, without exaggeration, became the most popular elective on campus. At that time, it came to my mind that I needed a suitable textbook to teach my elective. That was when I conceived the idea of writing a book on anatomical acupuncture.

Student evaluation forms from the end of the course always had inspiring comments. Here are just a few examples:

"Wonderful opportunity. Please, continue this elective. Great for anatomy and physical examination." (Joyce Mauk, May 1983.)

"If the medical school or MCH had an acupuncture clinic, students could practice acupuncture skills and would probably learn more." (Gail Scott Hovorka, April 20, 1983.)

"This may be one of the most useful courses I've taken in all the 4 years. Good review of anatomy." (Susan Joerns, February 14, 1983.)

"Based on what I observed, acupuncture can be very useful and should be researched much more extensively." (Mark Johnson, May 9, 1983.)

"After taking this elective, I find that there are certain cases when acupuncture is very beneficial. I was surprised at the level of pain relief, for example, some patients with chronic pain received. My suggestion is that the pain clinic at our hospital should use this mode of treatment in patients who are refractory to medicines or for some reason or another can't tolerate pain medications. I feel that acupuncture needs to be fully researched in a scientific manner in order to give it an objective evaluation as to its ‘real' value for the treatment of pain. Our school has the opportunity and the acupuncturist to do this work." (Josue Montanoz, May 24, 1983.)

"Excellent course, good didactic and clinical instruction. Look forward to completion and publication of Dr. Dung's book, which will be an invaluable aid in the course." (Chris Wahlberg, May 5, 1983.)

"Dr. Dung was one of the most concerned teachers I have had at this medical school. Wellorganized. Continue having students practice on one another." (Anna C. Miller, March 23, 1983.)

Unfortunately, the school hierarchy had a different opinion toward acupuncture than my students and I. One day in April of 1987, Erle K. Adrian, Jr., MD, PhD, Professor and Deputy Chairman of my department, handed me a memo addressed to him from Peter O. Kohler, MD, Dean of the Medical School. The memo stated: "We finally had a meeting of the Executive Committee. This was the first since you and I discussed acupuncture. As you may have anticipated, we decided that we do not want an acupuncture elective in the medical school. I will inform Doctor Grant and the Dean's Office so that no further elective forms are signed." And that was officially the end of my elective. I often wonder what acupuncture would be today if I had been allowed to teach anatomical acupuncture in the medical school through the years.

Although anatomical acupuncture as an elective for medical students was officially killed and dead, the teaching and writing of acupuncture stayed alive and thrived because no one, not even a school bureaucracy, could terminate the desire to learn something that someone wants to know. Students who didn't care if the acupuncture course came with academic credits kept coming to take the class. I have no idea how many students ended up taking the course, as it was difficult to take a precise tally. Some of my students are listed on the pages of acknowledgments in the first edition of Acupuncture: An Anatomical Approach.

Apprentices of anatomical acupuncture were not limited to students in our medical school. There were medical doctors from several other countries, including Edwin Falconi (Philippines), Teruko Tashiro (Japan), Andreas Lee (Argentina), Jorge Villalobose (Venezuela), Stanley Chang (Taiwan), D. Embey-Isztin (Hungary), Dumele Andreea (Hungary), Abudul Chen (United Arab Emirates), and several others. Through my personal effort in teaching and in writing for publications in acupuncture journals, it seems that anatomical acupuncture has gradually become known inside and outside the United States. Still, denial, rejection, and refusal to acknowledge acupuncture as a legitimate pain treatment persisted in the medical mainstream, and medical publishing companies refused to print my research and findings.

I completed writing the first edition of Anatomical Acupuncture, the predecessor to Acupuncture: An Anatomical Approach, in 1996. I spent almost a year attempting to find an established printing company to publish the book, without avail. They all replied to my inquiries with a uniform answer: that the book had no potential market. Finally, in 1997, I financed the publication of Anatomical Acupuncture myself. Antarctic Press, a publishing company based in San Antonio, Texas and owned and operated (even to this day) by my sons, printed the book. Two thousand copies were printed; approximately 20 copies are in my inventory to this day. All others were either sold directly to the readers or given away as complementary gifts.

It is hard to say if what happened next to Anatomical Acupuncture was sheer luck or preordained destiny. On April 9, 2001, I received a copy of an e-mail sent to Mike Morse by Steve Zollo, both of whom were strangers to me. Steve asked Mike for my name and e-mail address so he could contact me.

Contact indeed occurred. After brief discussion during the spring of 2001, we decided to form a team of three coauthors to rewrite the book. Dr. Curtis Clogston began his career as a reporter for the Houston Chronicle before attending and graduating from the medical school where I taught. Not only did he possess a firm comprehension of the medical information in the book, his early years as a reporter guaranteed a proficiency in English that I lacked, so I left the writing to him. My son, Joeming Dunn, completed our team. By 2001, he'd already had a few years of acupuncture practice on his own. He proofread the book to make sure that there would be no mistakes like there were in the first edition, in which the writing was all my own.

Acupuncture: An Anatomical Approach was published in 2004. Despite the use of a different title, in my own mind, it is still the second edition of Anatomical Acupuncture. I have no idea how well the book has sold. All I know is that every so often, I receive a small royalty check for it. However, money was never my motivation for writing the book; what pleased me was the knowing that somewhere, someone was reading our book, and thus the knowledge of anatomical acupuncture was propagating.

In addition to two English editions, the book had one Chinese edition. Yun-tao Ma, PhD was doing his postgraduate work at the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Maryland at Baltimore. He had had some acupuncture training in China. During the Thanksgiving holiday of 1997, he accidentally had a chance to read the first edition of the book. After reading it, he sent me a three-page letter in which he said that I have "revolutionized the traditional acupuncture modality, both its theoretical concepts and clinical practice," that I "have reached a depth in understanding acupuncture that no one has ever reached so far." He further said that my book is "an epoch-making milestone in acupuncture history..." He urged me to translate the book into Chinese.

It turned out that he ended up doing the translation himself, and he did a superb job. The first edition of Anatomical Acupuncture was translated to Scientific Acupuncture for Health Professionals, and in January of 2000, it was published in Beijing by the company known literally as the Chinese Medical and Pharmacological Technology Publication Company.

How the Chinese edition has been received in China is impossible to know, because since the Beijing publisher sent me four complementary copies of the book, I have not heard a word from them. I did have two readers write me, at least reassuring me that the book had indeed been published. One of them was a student in a traditional Chinese medical school from Anhue Province. This student expressed bewilderment after reading the book, as he was not quite sure if he could fully believe what it said. One question puzzling him was why no one in the last two thousand years since acupuncture began had come out and said what was described in the book. I wrote to provide my answer and explanation, but I never heard from him again.

I was used to the disappointment and frustration of waiting for letters. Only five of my many students have bothered to get in touch with me, so I have no idea whether the majority of my students still believe that acupuncture is a valid therapeutic modality. My faith in acupuncture, however, hasn't diminished an iota so far. I became a globe-trotter, traveling to many different countries to find out as much as I could about using and teaching acupuncture. Whenever I have time, I write about acupuncture and its relation to pain, leading to the publication of two more books in the past few years.

The first is The Bipolar Nature of Pain, coauthored with Shen-Kai Chen, MD, Chairman, Faculty of Sports Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan. Yi Hsien Publishing Company in Taipei, Taiwan published our book in 2008. Only 600 copies were printed. Two hundred of them stayed in Taiwan, and the other 400 were shipped to America. All of them were sold.

The second book was written in Chinese, with a title which translates into English as Pain Quantification. It was coauthored with Yun-tao Ma, Tan Yuansen, and Fu Chuanghua. Pain quantification, which I will address later on in this book, is a new concept found to be used extensively in acupuncture. Pain Quantification was published in 2006 by Chemical Industrial Publication, based in Beijing, China. As usual, the outcome of any book published in China is unknown to me.

Previously, I mentioned that I cross the globe to learn about acupuncture. In traveling, I have had opportunities to meet health care professionals of different types in different ranks, and to understand their views toward acupuncture applications and educations. The newest person I've met as of this writing was just a week ago (June 15, 2012). His name is Orlando Alberto Escamilla, MD. His title is Medico Acupuncturist at U. Nacional Clinica del Dolor, located at Calle 22 B No.66-46, Bogota D.C. Clinica Universitaria, Colombia. He showed me his master's degree in acupuncture, which he'd received from Universidad Nacional de Colombia School of Medicine. I asked him what kind of acupuncture he learned, and in response, he pulled out a syllabus from a drawer. The syllabus contained traditional acupuncture indoctrination. This convinced me that an acupuncture textbook based on medical sciences, like Anatomical Acupuncture, is needed for medical communities throughout the world.

With the need evident and the hope that someday Anatomical Acupuncture might be used as a textbook in the teaching of acupuncture as part of a medical curriculum, the idea of a third edition was never far from my mind.

Eight years after the publication of the second edition, I began contemplating revising and publishing a third edition. Soon after, Barbara Ellen Norwitz, Executive Editor with Taylor & Francis Group/CRC Press, e-mailed me, asking if she could interest me in revising the second edition.

Acupuncture: An Anatomical Approach is needed because acupuncture practices have undergone substantial changes in the decade since the previous edition. The use of acupuncture has grown in the United States and around the world. This growth can be attributed to the demographic shift to longevity. As populations live longer, the number of people suffering from chronic pain can be expected to increase. Many of them will turn to acupuncture for help, and consequently, there will be a demand for more acupuncturists. Thus, more medical professionals will want to learn acupuncture, and a book such as Acupuncture: An Anatomical Approach, based on medical sciences, will be increasingly useful.

The revised edition has some new information added, especially in the area of quantifying pain. Pain is an enigma to health care providers, partially because there is no reliable method to measure or quantify it. This edition offers a proposal for the quantification of pain. If the method is verified, it could be a major step for a better understanding of pain, increasing our ability to predict the outcome in pain management.

Another difficult issue facing pain management is the lack of a meaningful way to differentiate acute pain from chronic pain. Most define whether pain is acute or chronic based solely on time duration, which can be misleading. In this third edition, I will explain a revolutionary way to enable practitioners to determine if pain encountered is already in a chronic stage or is still in an acute phase.

It is my hope that reading this book will help you understand the scientific nature and basis of acupuncture. If you want to learn more, I will gladly address any questions or inquiries you have about the book or about acupuncture in general.