Interview with Dr. Marshall Sager
Treating Allergies with Medical Acupuncture
Dr. Marshall Sager
April 4, 2000, 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (EST)
Moderator Today's chat will begin at 8:00 PM ET and will feature Dr. Marshall Sager. Dr. Sager is the Vice President of the AAMA. He also specializes in osteopathic medicine and has a private medical acupuncture practice in PA. And for all you ice hockey fans, he performs acupuncture on members of the Philly Flyers.
I'd like to open up the chat by asking Dr. Sager how as a practitioner of Western medicine he got interested in acupuncture?
Dr. Sager I had been in Family Practice for about 22 years when I began to notice that some of my patients reacted well to a particular medication, while others, with the same symptoms, failed to get good results. This led me to investigate why. I found out that there were other, ancient systems of medicine that offered promising, and often, remarkable results. I investigated many of them and became intrigued with acupuncture because it is ancient and treats the person, not the illness.
Dr., and the contrast is that Western medicine too often focuses on illness?
Dr. Sager Yes, Western medicine treats illnesses and symptoms that people have instead of PEOPLE who have illnesses or symptoms.
Maybe we should ask if any of our guests have ever had acupuncture. OK folks.. what about questions for Dr. Sager.. Anyone like to go first? Don't be shy! Anyone out there who has tried it? To see how many are familiar with it.
Dr Sager: I am interested in the relationship between the use of minerals and the effectiveness of acupuncture in fighting many disease condition. Do minerals help you read the meridian points
Dr. Sager I'm sorry kpm013, I really don't understand your question. Do you mean ingested minerals? Or minerals used in conjunction with the treatment process?
well, I have been told that the use of trace minerals actually help the healing process
Dr. Sager Yes, the use of trace minerals, especially when there is a deficiency, can certainly aid in the healing process.
Why has it taken so long to get conventional doctors to realize the effectiveness of acu? You'd think they would be elated, but it often seems just the opposite is true.
Dr. Sager Right you are, KPM013, however the pharmaceutical companies seem to be in control in this country.
Tell me about it. I am stunned that more sports teams do not use the broadest range of treatments available. I am gladdened that you are in a position to do so. Another ayurvedic doc I know is with the NJ Nets--a rare ayurvedic man.
I was not a "believer" until I took the UCLA course. Now every Friday my patients leave my office Euphoric, sleeping like a baby, relaxed and in far less pain !
Dr. Sager Yes, Ron, I'm sure our mentor, Dr. Helms, taught you well and that you are doing an outstanding job. It is wonderful to be able to help and to heal with such effectiveness, isn't it? which brings up the subject of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, the only national organization representing physicians who practice acupuncture in the USA.
Dr. Sager, can acupuncture help me with my allergy to cats?
Most conventional therapies don't cure allergies, they control them.. What does acupuncture do?
Dr. Sager Medical Acupuncture, that is acupuncture practiced by a Western trained physician, acts to fix the body's "software" program so that healing can occur and the symptoms can be eliminated or reduced. And, unlike Western medicine, treatments do not last indefinitely. I find most of my allergy patients experience substantial relief within 6-8 treatments. They then return every 9-12 months for a "tune-up."
Could you please explain for our guests how acupuncture "works'' for allergies?
Dr. Sager Again, we're not specifically treating allergies, but are helping PEOPLE who have allergies. By stimulating the "internal pharmacy" utilizing acupuncture needles and energy meridians, we can promote balance and facilitate healing.
And so it doesn't make a difference if you're allergic to cats or ragweed?
Dr. Sager Not especially. Although, we want to eliminate undue exposure to these allergens ...
So environmental controls are important as well...
Dr. Sager Environmental controls are important whenever you have a situation that is made worse by exposure to certain substances. However, if you want to be able to withstand the assault of these substances, upon exposure, Medical Acupuncture can certainly help you by recalibrating your system so that so that you are comfortable and relatively symptom free.
Dr. Sager is a Western-trained doctor who is also trained in medical acupuncture. We're here with Marshall Sager, VP of the American Academy of Acupuncture, for those of you who have recently joined us.
Dr. Sager Let me mention now that the American Academy can be accessed at www.medicalacupuncture.org. Or if you are looking for a physician in your area, call 1-800-521-2262.
Dr. Sager what do you think of this "electro-acupuncture?" Is this method as effective as the traditional "needles and pins version?
Dr. Sager kpm013, electro-acupuncture is an application of Medical Acupuncture that is used to facilitate the effectiveness of the needles. it is not a separate paradigm of acupuncture.
I know someone who is allergic only to cats owned by people he doesn't like. The allergy manifests quite visibly as a rash under his chin. How can recalibrating his system make a difference?
Dr. Sager Good Question HealthNut. While I note the humor in your question, it does present a serious side. Medical Acupuncture looks to the whole person. In this case a person who gets a rash when he is with the cats of people he doesn't like. By balancing his whole system, that is mind, spirit, and body, this problem could be eliminated.
L By the way, Dr. Sager, following our interview I was able to find a web site that lists insurance companies that do provide coverage for acupuncture. Just in case our guests are interested.. since paying for coverage is usually a big question. I'll check the link and let everyone know about it. Meanwhile, anyone else have a question for Dr. Sager?
Dr. Sager You're right. There are some insurance that may pay for acupuncture services. However, there are some limitations in many cases, such as payment for pain conditions only or the reimbursement may be so low that most physician-acupuncturists will not accept it. Don't forget, with a physician acupuncturist, you are getting the best of both worlds.
That's an excellent point.
What about children with allergies.. Can they be treated with acupuncture?
There was no response to this question.
Regarding payment, when a patient visits a physician-acupuncturist, is it not acceptable to provide the insurance company with the diagnosis (not the method of treatment)?
Dr. Sager HealthNut, regarding payment - a physician is usually required to provide evaluation services, which include the diagnosis and also to provide the patient with management options of his health problem. Treatment is not necessarily required for reimbursement. However, in the case of acupuncture, this is considered a separate service and if the insurance company reimburses for this type of service, then the patient is not out of pocket.
I have had the good fortune to work with an MD who also practiced Reiki, and his treatments were accepted on the basis of diagnosis only.
Hang on a second.. Dr. Sager lost his connection, but he's back on.
How about the utilization of acu for smoking an other addictions?...and I am interested in children's treatment too
Dr. Sager kpm013, acupuncture, especially auricular (ear) acupuncture is very effective for smoking and other addictions.
is that something with which you need to get tune-ups?
Dr. Sager Regarding tune-ups for smoking - occasionally people benefit from periodic tune-ups, thought not everyone requires them.
How do you view acupuncture for disease, e.g. Parkinson's
Dr. Sager Mondada, Parkinson's is a very difficult problem that is usually not healed to any significant degree
In Cleveland it is very hard to find a good acu doc, any suggestions?
Dr. Sager Try accessing the American Academy at www.medicalacupuncture.org.
Folks. We're out of time. The chat is officially over. However, if any of you would like to stay and chat, be my guest. And Dr. Sager, many thanks.. Great job.
Dr. Sager I appreciate it. Thank you.