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Ask Dr. Scott – Is acupuncture real medicine?

Dr. Scott Cuthbert takes your questions. This month he answers the question, “Is acupunture real medicine?”



Dr. Scott Cuthbert is the chief clinician at the Chiropractic Health Center in Pueblo, Colorado, as well as the author of two recent textbooks and over 50 peer-reviewed research articles.


If you would like to ask Dr. Scott a question, email him at: 

[email protected]

Q: Dr. Scott, you’ve talked a lot about alternative medicine. What about acupuncture. Do you recommend it? 

A:  Acupuncture (or TCM, Traditional Chinese Medicine) is a therapeutic approach for balancing the flow and distribution of energy in the meridians of the body by natural methods. It has been used for thousands of years all over Asia. A report in Science stated that a 5,000 year old mummified man from the Ice Age was found with tattoos corresponding to acupuncture points. This evidence suggests that a form of acupuncture may have originated in Eurasia at least 2,000 years earlier than previously thought. 

Acupuncture or TCM today not only garners the attention of the world as a vitalistic philosophy of health but also in terms of pain and pain control. It has been shown repeatedly that acupuncture is effective in treating pain; it works 70% to 85% of the time, far greater than the placebo, which only has about 30% efficiency. (Cherkin et al., 2009) This compares favorably to the effects of potent drugs in treating chronic pain (morphine helps in 70% of these cases). (Beecher, 2005)

Acupuncture has been used for a great variety of illnesses, but it began to fall into obscurity in the 1940s in the United States as people turned to newly emerging, potent, increasingly ailment-specific antibiotics and pharmacology to treat their health problems. (Rubik, 1995) George Soulie de Mourant lists thousands of conditions that are responsive to acupuncture in his opus Chinese Acupuncture. (1994)

Stux & Pomeranz (1989) give detailed reviews of over 200 controlled clinical studies about acupuncture in the West. Pomeranz suggests that “the neurological mechanisms of acupuncture analgesia” are rapidly becoming apparent. A systematic review of acupuncture for the most commonly occurring forms of chronic pain (back, knee, and head) published between 2003 and 2008 found that acupuncture showed significant superiority over sham treatment for back pain, knee pain, and headaches. (Hopton & MacPherson, 2010) In 1973, The American Medical Association Council of Scientific Affairs declared acupuncture an experimental medical procedure. By 1983 the American Osteopathic Association endorsed the use of acupuncture as a part of medical practice.

The American Chiropractic Association’s College of Chiropractic Acupuncture polled 60,000 U.S. chiropractors and found that over 80% are using acupuncture in some form. Acupuncture is now a post-graduate course through 75% of the chiropractic colleges, and is board-approved around the country.

Many Western-trained physicians see the benefits TCM has to offer patients and include acupuncture — at least on a limited basis — as part of their practice. In modern Western natural health care, we find many similarities between complementary and alternative medical approaches and that of TCM physician. In functional health care we are concerned with the control of organs, glands, and tissues, primarily by way of the nervous system. Rather than give a patient a drug to influence an organ, we find out why the organ is not functioning as it was designed to and then release that interference. This correlates with the TCM doctor’s attempt to balance “Chi” within the body. 

Q:  But how does acupuncture work?

A: The National Institutes of Health on Acupuncture (JAMA, 1998) stated “there are other situations, such as addiction, stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low-back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma, in which acupuncture may be useful as an adjunct treatment or an acceptable alternative or be included in a comprehensive management program.” 

The NIH Consensus Panel also spoke to acupuncture’s ability to relieve pain:

“There is clear evidence that acupuncture is efficacious for…various pain problems. There is evidence for efficacy for postoperative dental pain. There are reasonable studies (although sometimes only single studies) showing relief of pain with acupuncture on diverse pain conditions such as menstrual cramps, tennis elbow and fibromyalgia. This suggests that acupuncture may have a more general effect on pain.”

Dr. Bruce Pomeranz, working at the University of Toronto, offers detailed summaries of modern research into the potential mechanisms of acupuncture. Pomeranz also discovered a relationship between acupuncture and the naturally occurring chemicals in the body known as endorphins. This relationship between acupuncture pain-relief and endorphins caused a great deal of excitement in the field of the scientific investigation of acupuncture. (Kaptchuk, 2000)

In acupuncture, the treatment points for a meridian imbalance are frequently found on the opposite side and even the opposite end of the body from that of the diseased organ or area of symptoms. In a number of research studies one of these distant treatment sites can have an effect in one or two seconds. (Cuthbert, 2014) This speed of conduction leaves the nervous system as the primary mechanism of TCM. Acupuncture points may actually be areas of high-density nerve endings. The neurological theories of TCM – and the relationship of TCM with the muscular system — suggest themselves. (Mann, 1992) Much of the neurological research done by Pomeranz and colleagues brought acupuncture methodologies and outcome studies into the mainstream scientific world. 

The nervous system offers another physiological possibility for explaining the clinical phenomena and effects of acupuncture treatment, further bridging eastern and western and specifically chiropractic approaches. Acupuncture is by no means a panacea or a cure-all; however, it is an important part of the total energy pattern, control mechanism, and normal health maintenance picture. It places in the doctor’s hands one more tool for promoting and maintaining normal health. There are many superb acupuncture physicians in Pueblo…you might call their offices and ask questions about this approach to healing.

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Denver’s Wes Watkins dynamic new future-funk EP is from another planet




Future-Funk Party Starter | Wes Watkins

Dreams Out from Denver’s best kept secret Wes Watkins wears so many musical hats it needs a rack; downtempo G-Funk homage and sweltering nee-Soul / Rn’B are all over this release, all covered with a thicc pop glaze and a penchant for electronic-sonic experimentation that keep every song fascinatingly adventurous while maintaining a danceability and groove that easily, easily warrants multiple listens. Don’t sleep on this one.

Lo-Fuzz Folkie | Hoi Ann

The beauty of Hoi Ann’s Tangenier lies in both what you can hear and what it may want you to not hear. Lo-fi folk and bedroom-pop are easily tangible on its surface, but the buzzy electronic tones that sparingly flourish the 5 songs of this release lie low and create a unique aural atmosphere for listeners, like hidden secrets for your ears only.

Indie-Punk Sweeties | Gestalt

The pop-punk shred-bois in Gestalt are back at it again; The irresistible combo of the Get Up Kids earnest midwestern-emo and smart pop-punk wit of the Wonder Years is strong on the tracks that encompass LongBoix, as is an acute fondness and growing appreciation for the finer indie rock of yesteryear. Well I guess this is growing up.

Psych-Rock Screamcore | Gone Full Heathen

On their criminally good self titled EP, Fort Collins heavies Gone Full Heathen friggin dare you to try and trap them in a single genre. Nice try, but they’ll just chew right through your puny ropes using a gnashing blend of crushing stoner-rock laced hardcore punk and overdriven psych-rock / post-metal induced bite like the righteous rock and roll wolves that they are.

All releases available for purchase now thru Bandcamp. Go Local!

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The Haze Craze for Lazy Days



There are many different styles of beer. Ranging from light lagers (think Bud Light) and ales to sours, stouts, and IPAs.

Within those styles, however, are varying styles.

For example, one would think a sour beer is a sour beer, right? Wrong. According to the Beer Judge Certification Program, which defines every style of beer, there are six recognized European sour styles.

For IPAs, there are seven. American beers have four; stouts have three… You get the point.

Even with viewing the list of recognized styles, it’s not a complete list.

Take New England IPAs (NE IPA), as a prime example. Many breweries are currently mass producing this style of beer, and it’s selling like crazy.

You may have heard one of your annoying beer loving friends talk about drinking a “juice bomb,” or a requesting a “hazy IPA” at the pub, and shrugged it off. It turns out, they (sometimes) know what they are talking about.

What makes NE IPAs so popular when compared to a more traditional, West Coast IPA? NE IPAs have all of the hop flavors, without an overabundance of bitterness.

Instead of constantly adding hops throughout the boil to achieve a fruity flavor balanced by bitterness, the NE IPA has a small hop addition at the begging, and then nothing else until after the boil has finished.

That translates into a beer with very little bitterness, and plenty of hop aroma and flavor. Hops like Citra, Mosaic, Mosaic, Galaxy, and El Dorado are most common in NE IPAs, according to the Homebrewers Association. Those hops tend to impart a fruity, and dare I say, juicy flavor profile.

Between the juicy flavor and the seemingly natural haziness to NE IPAs, it’s not far fetched for an NE IPA to look like a tall glass of orange or grapefruit juice, only carbonated and full of alcohol.

NE IPAs are starting to gain momentum here in Colorado, with breweries turning their focus to the haze craze. Specifically, Odd13, WeldWerks, and Epic Brewing coming to mind.

Odd13 is based in Lafayette, Colo. and has a long list of NE-inspired IPAs constantly rotating through the tap room and distributed throughout the state. Codename: Super fan and Noob are two beers that are found in cans, and both offer a different approach to the haze craze.

WeldWerks is based in Greeley, Colo. and has accumulated a cult-like following in just a few short years for its Juicy Bits NE IPA. The brewery just started self-distributing locally, so you’ll have to make the trip to the brewery and pick up a crowler or four. Be sure to check the WeldWerks Facebook page for availability and limits. Yes, they have to place per person limits on how much you can purchase.

Epic Brewing recently announced its NE IPA, which will rotate between four different flavor profiles throughout the year. The cans will look the same but will be different colors as a quick way to tell identify which version you have.

So the next time you walk into a brewery or liquor store, it’s OK to ask for a hazy or juicy IPA. It’s a thing, and, frankly, they are damn good.

On Tap: By the time this hits newsstands, ThunderZone Pizza & Taphouse will have opened on the CSU-P campus. Located at 2270 Rawlings Blvd., the ThunderZone features 32 taps, a carefully curated tap list, and is locally owned.

At the opening, the tap list includes tasty brews from the likes of Florence Brewing and Lost Highway.

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Senators upend GOP health care bill in true Trump style… Twitter



WASHINGTON — When Sens. Mike Lee and Jerry Moran decided they were in ready to disrupt the GOP rewrite of the health care law, they chose President Donald Trump’s favorite medium.

They could not support Senate Republicans’ plan, the somewhat unlikely pair of conservatives tweeted at 8:30 p.m. Monday night, giving no heads up to the White House or Senate leaders before pressing send.

The story behind the statement reveals two senators willing to be branded as bill killers and seemingly unconcerned with trying to soften the blow with party leaders.

The announcement, coming after some 10 days of conversations between the men, stunned official Washington and left Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at least two votes short in the closely divided Senate from being able to move forward with the GOP bill, effectively sinking the measure. It landed shortly after Trump dined with a group of senators to discuss strategy – unwittingly plotting a plan that would immediately become outdated.

Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican leader, found out about Lee’s defection after the White House dinner of rosemary-grilled rib eye and summer vegetable succotash. He “had no idea it was coming,” Cornyn said.

Another Republican, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, found out from TV news.

Moran, a second-term lawmaker from Kansas who isn’t known for making waves, and Lee, a two-term senator from Utah who has clashed with Trump, have been talking over the past 10 days about the health care legislation and agreed the GOP bill did not go far enough to repeal Obamacare or address rising health-care costs. They decided to announce their position to make the bill’s fate clear and allow senators to move on, Moran said.

“It could have been prolonged for days or weeks while no one said anything,” Moran said in an interview.

Moran, who oversaw the Senate Republicans’ 2014 election campaigns, concluded last week he wouldn’t vote for the latest version of the bill but “gave myself a weekend in Kansas to think about it,” he said.

Lee had helped draft an amendment, along with fellow conservative Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that would allow insurers to sell skimpy plans alongside more robust ones to lower costs. Cruz agreed to some changes in wording by GOP leaders, but Lee thought the new language allowed too many Obama-era regulations to remain in place.

After talking again, Moran and Lee agreed Monday night on a statement drafted earlier in the day. They issued their statement shortly after a White House dinner attended by seven GOP senators – all likely yes votes on the health care bill. Neither Lee nor Moran attended.

A Lee spokesman said the statement – and its timing – “had nothing to do with the White House dinner. It was not a reaction in any way.”

The statement was made public as soon as it was ready, the spokesman said.

Neither Trump nor McConnell received advance warning about the statement, although it’s likely that neither the president nor the Senate leader was completely surprised.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spent the weekend calling lawmakers, including Lee and at least seven other GOP senators, according to the administration. Trump talked politics, while Pence discussed policy.

Trump called Lee on Saturday, and Lee told the president he was leaning against the bill, for the reasons he later made public.

Lee told Utah’s KSL Newsradio that he had a great conversation with Trump, when he told the president his “consumer freedom” amendment had been weakened and that he wasn’t sure that he could support the bill.

“He was encouraging to me and said, you know, ‘Just see what changes you can make to it,’ ” Lee said.

Lee and McConnell did not talk over the weekend, but Lee spoke twice to Cornyn, R-Texas, the majority whip.

Trump, who frequently takes to Twitter to announce proposals or denounce opponents, was blindsided by, of all things, a tweet.

He told reporters Tuesday he was “very surprised when the two folks came out last night, because we thought they were in fairly good shape. But they did. And, you know, everybody has their own reason.”

Moran said while he remained committed to repealing the health care law, Congress needs to make a “fresh start” on writing a replacement bill in an “open legislative process.”

“We should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy,” he said, in a statement that followed the tweet.

In his own statement, Lee said the GOP bill does not repeal all the Obamacare tax increases and “doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations.”

Both explanations were issued on social media.

“Twitter is a nice medium to get your message out,” Lee’s spokesman said.

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