Most of us know that all meds have side effects. For example, something that seems so useful and common such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) (think of Advil, diclofenac, ibuprofen) can cause gastro-intestinal bleeding and is responsible for about 12,000 hospital admissions and 2,600 deaths annually in the UK.
In the Chinese clinic we often see patients with chronic conditions, for whom acupuncture might be their medicine of last resort. They might have been taking a variety of drugs for many years. And just like the T-shirt says, side effects of one type of medication might lead to a prescription for another type of drug, and so on and so on. Chinese medicine diagnoses by looking at a patient's entire set of signs and symptoms -- but what were the original symptoms and what were caused by the meds?
One thing for sure, and that is acupuncture in the hands of properly trained practitioners is a relatively safe modality of medicine. Side effects are mostly minor (bruising, soreness and tiredness), and serious adverse events are rare. What can be better medicine than that?