A few years ago, I was treating a patient with afib, who was putting off getting a pacemaker. (FYI, afib is short for atrial fibrillation, a condition where the heart has an abnormal rhythm.) He was very into holistic health, and he was in great shape, aside from this condition. Great shape or not, the guy really needed a pacemaker. I referred him to a doctor repeatedly, but he insisted on putting off the procedure and taking the route of alternative medicine. The acupuncture treatments did keep his heart under control for a while, but one day he came in for his appointment in the throes of arrhythmia. I refused to treat him, and told him I wouldn't treat him again unless he went to the emergency room. He wasn't happy, but he went.
My point? If you are on the verge of heart failure, you should be in an emergency room, not at your acupuncturist! I love that people are starting to realize the potential of acupuncture, and to see that it can be used for much more than just pain. I'm happy to educate the public on just how much this medicine can do for them. However, as a health care provider, I have a responsibility to also educate about what acupuncture can't do. Any of the conditions below should be checked by your physician, before you come to see me. They can be signs of more serious issues that would be better addressed through Western medicine, at least initially:
If you do have any of these symptoms, make an appointment to get checked out, but try not to get too nervous about it. All of these issues can point to something that isn't very serious at all. That chest pain can be heartburn; the GI bleeding can stem from a hemorrhoid. See your physician, have anything serious ruled out (or taken care of), then set up an appointment with me for an hour of relaxation after all this stress over the doctor's visit!