According to a 1998 survey in the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately 42 percent of all Americans are using complementary therapy , spending more than $27 billion annually. The fastest growing of these treatment options is traditional Oriental medicine. Americans have begun to recognize that Oriental medicine provides great insight into many health problems not dealt with completely or satisfactorily by modern Western medicine. This interest has generated the need for more qualified practitioners and informational resources for patients about the benefits of complementary therapy.
If you haven’t already seen it, The Pulse of Oriental Medicine (http://www.pulsemed.org ) is one of the internet’s latest such resources. The brainchild of a TCM student, the site was created to educate the public about Oriental Medicine and complementary therapy and provide tools to the field’s practitioners. The site’s name was chosen for its double meaning. The pulse is a very important physical examination method in Oriental medicine. While biomedical practitioners note only the rate of the pulse, for acupuncturists, factors such as depth, strength, and quality are significant indicators of both health and disease. In this way, “Pulse” signifies character, depth of information, and what is going on right now.
The Pulse site features more than 100 articles about common diseases and conditions, complementary therapy, Oriental medicine, acupuncture, vitamin and herbs, and massage. Each article contains links to web resources and books. Topics range from diabetes, weight loss and depression, to addiction, impotence, and menopause. The Pulse site is broken down into consumer-friendly sections covering Diseases & Conditions A to Z, Oriental Medicine Basics, Chinese Vitamin and Herbs , Books and Herbal Products, and Products and Services for Acupuncturists and Herbalists. The site also includes a discussion board, quick links to relevant books from www.amazon.com, a free monthly e-newsletter called “Being Well”, internet links to sites with related information, and practice management resources for practitioners of complementary therapy.
The Pulse site encourages article contributions from students and practitioners wishing to write for the public. Because the site’s diverse audience is steadily growing, it provides practitioners an opportunity to educate the public as well as promote themselves and their practices. For students, it presents a great opportunity to become comfortable communicating about Oriental medicine, complementary therapy , and vitamin and herbs and prepares them for future practice building.
Since the site’s launch in March of 1999, it has received more than 60,000 hits by over 20,000 unique visitors. “Our growth has been phenomenal. We are definitely on the upswing.the possibilities are immense,” commented the site’s Founder and Editor, Brian Carter.
Why a website and not a newsletter or magazine? Carter wanted to combine his skills in writing and web-design with his passion for Oriental medicine. ” Oriental Medicine has an unbelievable amount to offer, particularly in conditions where Western medicine has failed. Many people don’t grasp that Oriental medicine is a comprehensive medical system in its own right, addressing every aspect of life. This is what I want to share with people through the Pulse”.
What can we expect from the Pulse site in the future? In addition to updates including new articles, pop-up features, web links, and alternative and biomedical resources, a number of long-term developments are in progress. For patients, an Acupuncturist Locator, informational brochures, and quizzes to learn more about one’s zang-fu diagnosis or constitutional type are planned. For practitioners, an Herbal Prescription Suite will provide access to custom and patent powdered and tincture vitamin and herbs formulas.
Carter, an intern in his final semester at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine , has also authored several articles for www.acupuncture.com and www.the-vu.com. In May 2002 Carter authored the first student column in Acupuncture Today, which reaches all 18,000 registered Acupuncturists and some 3000 students in the U.S.