“No Brain, No Pain”

21 Jul

Ha! The above is one of the the humorous assumptions drawn by Sean Mackey, MD, PhD, and chief of the Division of Pain Management at Stanford University School of Medicine. This quip came at the end of one of his fascinating talks about the current research being done by his lab at Stanford, such as using neuroimaging to view the brain during pain. For more information on Dr. Mackey and his research check here.

This talk was just one of the many exciting talks I heard today at the Integrative Pain Medicine Conference in San Francisco. This event was organized by Scott Fishman, MD of UC Davis. It was an excellent forum for practitioners of all types to discuss integrative pain management. In addition to the talks by Dr. Mackey, I heard from Robert Bonakdar, MD of Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine. He gave a talk on acupuncture and then ran a workshop, demonstrating acupuncture to western physicians. I was able to contribute a lot to this workshop being one of only two acupuncturists in attendance. Part of me felt a little sad that my field was not better represented! I mean seriously, here’s the perfect opportunity for us to share our knowledge, bridging the gap between western and eastern medicine, with the top minds in pain medicine. And how many acupuncturists are there? Two. And I’m still just a student! Okay, enough ranting.

It really was an awesome event and I feel lucky to have been a part of it. I truly feel that integrative medicine is becoming a reality. Everyone I spoke to today was very excited to be learning about eastern treatment modalities. The energy in the room was one of intrigue and curiosity. One MD, who had formerly considered acupuncture to be some sort of voodoo medicine, changed his tune entirely after receiving a treatment. The back pain that he had felt for years was improved 70% after just one treatment! Amazing. In addition, the doctors who did know a little about acupuncture were admitting that Chinese medicine cannot be summed up in reductionist terms. There was talk of the “mystery” of acupuncture, and the inability to measure it by western paradigms. To me, that’s such progress for a profession renowned for reductionist thinking. It’s an exciting time to be an acupuncturist!

Now as promised, here’s what the outfit I put together for today looked like. Although, I can assure you that I was back in yoga pants the second I got home!

Sashi makes an appearance too.

Sashi makes an appearance too.


One Response to ““No Brain, No Pain””

  1. pearsandplums July 22, 2009 at 3:23 pm #

    aw! cute outfit and cute little sashi! this blog is great, a very good mix of stuff. nice story about the MD too. they always change their tune after some experience.

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