Thinking about my profession and the public’s understanding of it, I became interested in how acupuncture is presented by the press. And what kinds of treatments catch the attention of health reporters. Treatments for fertility, particularly when used in conjunction with state-of-the-art Western procedures, seem to be the clear winners for shear numbers of reports. (Here’s another AP story on the subject to add to those I posted last month.)
Acupuncture for pets also catches the attention of news organizations. This recent article in the Oregonian tells the story of how an aging Labrador Retriever was successfully treated by Dr. Kelly Jenkins Nielsen. That’s right – Dr. Nielsen. After 20 years as an orthodox Western veterinarian, she decided to study acupuncture as an alternative treatment for the pets that came her way. Now it’s Dr. Nielsen, DVM LAc. (She is featured in an article in the Lake Oswego Review.)
Well, my sorta-half-Lab Otis is in good health and I have not yet entertained the idea of treating any non-human animal. But who knows? If he rolls in one more smelly thing, I may just start some sort of treatment program on him.
I had never heard of Buzzle.com before, but their news summaries include an article about how complementary modalities (acupuncture and chiropractics) have entered the world of veterinary medicine.
I don’t know why, but animal acupuncture seems to inspire a lot of humor. When browsing on-line organizations, for example, you find sites such as More Pets Get the Point, and the The “Paws-itive” Effects of Treatment. And some great cartoons are based on animals. My favorite has a woolly mammoth in it, and my vote for the animal most likely to show up in future cartoons is the species in this one.
The rest of the story
Although this article on the treatment of back pain is a notable exception, most acupuncture stories dealing with humans will not reach the threshold for being newsworthy. There’s nothing unexpected about that, I suppose. It’s probably the same for all healthcare providers — the big story is preventive medicine. The big unwritten story, that is.