by David Salanki, DC, Anthony Lombardi, DC, Michael Prebeg, DC, Lecturers and Clinical instructors, McMaster Contemporary Acupuncture Program
How many chiropractors could predict with certainty what our practice environment would look like 10 to 15 years into the future? Imagine for a moment traveling back in time, perhaps one hundred years or so, and envisioning the current mosaic of chiropractic techniques and procedures that we currently have available to us today. It would have been more than daunting, in fact, it would have been an impossible task for our forefathers to envision the current scope and direction of chiropractic practice. As practicing chiropractors, it is equally difficult for us to know what lies ahead as the chiropractic paradigm unfolds into the future. When we enrolled in our respective chiropractic colleges, as first year students, it never crossed our minds that acupuncture would be a part of our day- to-day chiropractic practices. Even more surprising would be the thought that we would someday, be sharing our coupled clinical chiropractic and acupuncture experience as lecturers and clinical instructors in the postgraduate division of one of Canada’s leading institutions responsible for educating medical doctors, dentists, chiropractors, physiotherapists and other regulated health professionals in Contemporary Acupuncture. The two themes that have taken our careers into this direction are the themes of this issue; the current research and the evidence based practice of acupuncture and continuing education.
For all of us, working in today’s competitive and complex health care environment makes continuing education much more than a mere administrative requirement by our licensing board; it is both an ethical and a professional duty we acquired the day we joined the ranks of committed contemporary chiropractors practicing in an evidence-based manner.
We all experience in our early years in practice, the excitement and enrichment that comes whenever we are exposed to new knowledge, a new chiropractic technique system or a new practice management tool. It is true that these experiences are exciting as they enrich our intellectual universe, but soon after we implement many of these so-called “clinical truths,” reality often sets in and offers a harsh way to evaluate—and fail—many of our theoretical approaches and techniques. Being frustrated by those patients that couldn’t be helped with all of the varied chiropractic techniques that we had available and despite our best-intentioned interventions, we had no choice but to challenge and expand our knowledge, and to look for new tools to be able to offer effective help to those who had put their trust on us and our skills.
Even though each of us had a very different kind of practice (from sports injuries, MVA and subluxation-based practice), all of us felt at some point the imperative need to have a more effective tool with which to treat pain and musculoskeletal dysfunction. Then, somehow we all found our way to the McMaster University Contemporary Acupuncture Program, and we have remained associated with it ever since.
After our extremely successful experience integrating contemporary acupuncture into our very different chiropractic practices, we all can state that continuing education programs of practical nature—offered by reputable teaching institutions—are the most cost effective way of accessing new knowledge and developing new skills.
We could now tell you about our significant income increase since offering contemporary acupuncture to our patients but we know you will be much more excited to find out about the many patients we have been able to help and about our greatly expanded ability to handle musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction as well as neurological problems.
We could also tell you about the competitive edge that contemporary acupuncture has given us over many of our colleagues and other practitioners but we know that you will care a lot more about the significantly better clinical outcomes we regularly achieve when treating our patients.
We could finally tell you that our practices are now recession and competition proof but instead we prefer to disclose to you our renewed passion and enthusiasm to both the chiropractic profession and our patients, as now we feel better equipped than ever to carry on our missions of helping others with a more specific functional approach and improved clinical efficiency.
From the beginning, we found the contemporary approach to be very easy to integrate in our practice. The language and the clinical concepts belong to the most updated body of knowledge on neurophysiology of pain and neuroanatomy, which greatly increases the acceptance of the intervention among patients and the ability to explain it to other health care professionals.
We are pleased as committed chiropractors all running very successful and busy practices to have the opportunity to give back to our profession by being involved in acupuncture-related teaching and research. On the formal academic side, our program, McMaster Contemporary Acupuncture Program for Health Care Professionals, provides a certificate for 300 CME hours, significantly above the 200 recommended by the WHO. As a result, the program has been recognized by the American Board of Medical Acupuncture and the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture among others, as well as it maintains institutional relationships with other university based programs abroad, and professional medical acupuncture associations in several countries.
Published in Canadian Chiropractor Magazine