By Dr Jeda Boughton
(Oringally printed in our Autumn 2009 Newsletter)
In Canada, as our knowledge has grown, opinions about the use of acupuncture have changed dramatically. Today, midwives are calling on acupuncturists to assist with difficult pregnancies, acupuncturists are working next to obstetricians in hospitals helping women through labour, and family physicians refer to acupuncturists to help with post partum care.
Today’s reality reminds me of one story shared by an instructor at a seminar on pregnancy and acupuncture. Years ago when he first started practicing, doctors and nurses were not sure how to integrate his work with theirs. One day, he was called into the delivery room to help with a difficult labour—both mother and baby were in distress. Their heart rates were up and the labour was not progressing. My instructor used a few well-known acupuncture points and instantly the monitors showed both the baby and mother’s heart rates return normal. The medical team was amazed. It has been instances like this that have helped legitimize acupuncture to the Western medical establishment. Today, Jean Levesque works with a team of over 20 acupuncturists who specialize in pregnancy in the province of Quebec. His team has helped hundreds of women through the birthing process.
For me, it has been a great opportunity to learn from sage healers like Jean Levesque, Bob Flaws, Debra Betts, and Raven Lang who have been treating labour and pregnancy with acupuncture and Chinese medicine for decades. It was not easy for them—pioneers of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture in the West—to pave the way for practitioners such as me. It used to be that for someone to learn acupuncture and TCM, and to learn it well, they first had to learn how to speak and read Chinese. This is not the case today. These doctors have translated information and made it possible for the next generation to also become talented doctors of TCM.
I have been practising Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture for over eighteen years and have observed an incredible increase in interest in acupuncture. Working with women before, during, and after pregnancy is a large part of my practice. Fewer are the days when I am asked “Once I am pregnant, is it safe for me to continue with the acupuncture?” My answer remains, “Absolutely, and your body would prefer if you did.”
By no means has acupuncture and Chinese medicine become “mainstream”. However, with family physicians and reproductive specialists referring patients for acupuncture, I am confident that medicine is moving in that direction.
Dr. Jeda Boughton is a doctor of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. She practices with a team of specialists at BodaHealth in Vancouver, B.C. You can learn more about her practice at bodahealth.com