President Obama’s Acupuncture Policy

President Obama
President Obama

Last week at President Obama’s Town Hall Meeting in St. Louis, a local acupuncturist asked him a question regarding acupuncture and national health care policy.

Here is the transcript from that interaction…

–Q I’m a licensed acupuncturist and licensed massage therapist in Florissant. And so —

THE PRESIDENT: I could use one right now. (Laughter.) My back is stiff. I’ve been working hard.

Q I’ll be happy to help you. (Laughter.) And this kind of fits into what you were just talking about as far as health care. I’m wondering, as a practitioner of Oriental medicine, knowing that the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization has discovered through their studies that alternative medicine often is more cost-effective and very effective, how will alternative medicine fit in your new health care program?

THE PRESIDENT:
Well, look, my attitude is that we should — we should do what works. So I think it is pretty well documented through scientific studies that acupuncture, for example, can be very helpful in relieving certain things like migraines and other ailments — or at least as effective as more intrusive interventions.

I will let the science guide me. We just swore in an outstanding new Secretary of Health and Human Service, Kathleen Sebelius, former governor of Kansas. (Applause.) It’s good to see that a Jay Hawk got applause on this side of the border here. (Laughter.) But she’s going to do an outstanding job. And my charge to her is, as we’re going through health care reform let’s find out what works…

He then goes on to discuss other aspects of his healthcare plan.

Okay, so it is not a policy…

But it is a start.

First off, he seriously answers the question instead of avoiding it or joking it off.  This is very important.  It shows that the President considers acupuncture as a legitimate and effective health care choice.

Secondly, President Obama actually knows, without prepping for this question, that there is evidence supporting  acupuncture’s efficacy for “migraines and other aliments.”  Not many people know that there is a lot of research about acupuncture.  In fact, many journalists and authorities often wrongly state that there is no evidence at all.  This is one well informed President!

Personally, I think President Obama should support acupuncture. Not only because I am an acupuncturist, but because he is a self described pragmatist.

Acupuncture is pragmatic- it is an affordable and safe answer that solves problems. And more and more insurance companies are covering acupuncture.

Photo: Change.gov

Joseph Alban, L.Ac.
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