Still Life AcupunctureStill Life Acupuncture by Rodrigo Suarez

(My apologies for the late post!)

The SPARC symposium this year was all about "Highlighting Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research from Bench to Bedside." The meaning of this is that research begins at the "bench" or where it's planned, and the results end up at the "bedside," where the patients are treated with the results that were discovered. The focus of this conference was to share with those interested how much great research is being done right here in Portland.

Although there was so much great information at the conference (some of which I missed), here are the very basic points I'd like to share with you.

-The term "translational research," which is translates what is being researched into how we would actually practice in our clinics, leads to the improvement of patient care, and inspires the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for the treatment of chronic disease.

-The ultimate goal of improving public health is the driving force behind many of these trials.

- Acupuncture is not a "one size fits all" kind of treatment. We cannot follow the same structure as western medical when creating randomized controlled trials using acupuncture as a method. A placebo (fake) pill and placebo acupuncture (needling the wrong acupoint or a non-acupoint) are not the same thing. A large part of giving acupuncture to patients is the attention and intention the practitioner has been trained with. It's pretty difficult to fake it

Vinjar Fonnebo, MD, PhD, gave a very good presentation regarding the need to find 'common ground' of CAM practitioners and research results due to the kind of research that is being performed (such as real acupuncture vs sham acupuncture) he likened the battlefield. Check his brief statement on the Helfgott Blog for a better idea of what he discussed.

It was inspiring to see so many people excited about research, as I feel that it's something the CAM field needs to continue building on for the sake of the future of our practice. If you have specific questions about the SPARC conference, feel free to contact me here. If I can't find the answer you are looking for, I'm sure I can find someone who can!