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Acupoint Injection Therapy Poney Chiang and Scott Richardson


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The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to this Week’s American Acupuncture Council’s Live, Facebook podcast show. My name is Poney Chiang your host for today, I’m coming to you from Toronto Canada. I’m an engineer’s vacation pro provider from Newark radiant.net. Today. My special guest is Dr. Scott Richardson, who is joining us from Denver, Dr. Scott Richardson, and is a doctor of acupuncture and Oriental medicine who competed his master’s and doctorate degree from Pacific college, went into medicine in San Diego while attending Pittcon. He was able to study abroad. I changed to university in China, and later did some apprenticeships in connects in Taipei Taiwan. He’s an NCCR credentials, acupuncture, CU provider. He has lived in Colorado since 2012. We have served as the vice president, president and letters that have a chair of the agricultural association of Colorado. He worked on the legislation that put acupuncture, injection therapy written into the scope of practice for Colorado acupuncturist.

He teaches acupoint injection therapy at Colorado school of TCM and in various institutions around the world. He’s the owner of Denver acupuncture and sports medicine, and prolotherapy of Denver, where you continue to see patients with a wide variety of concerns. Thank you for joining us, Scott. Absolutely. So the reason why I wanted to, uh, interview an expert in acupuncture point ingestion is because this is something that more and more patients asking about and more and more jurisdictions in the, in the West and in Europe and in North America are starting to explore. For example, the Ontario in Canada, where I’m located, we are currently unable to do daily injections. However, we are working on a doctoral class of a, of a, of licensure and we’re exploring things like injection therapy as a potential scope of practice. I personally think that is going to be super powerful and super beneficial for our patients. So I can’t wait to have this conversation with you Scott today. Can you tell us, how did you get interested in point injection?

Sure. And like you said, it’s really important to make sure that you are aware of what you’re able to do within your own state or jurisdiction. if you are unclear then, you know, contacting your local governance board would be a good way to make sure. but, uh, this is really an amazing tool that we have within a TCM. again, like you said, I started my program, I learning out in, uh, San Diego that Pacific college of Oriental medicine. I moved to Colorado in 2012 and that’s where I first got exposed to acupoint injection therapy. I studied from Michael Young, pretty much that first year, uh, within a few months of moving there. and then just took off from there. I’ve also studied with, Jeff Harris out of Bastyr university. Andrew Taylor who’s also up in Canada is an amazing teacher. I’ve studied with him and, and even had him come out to Colorado to teach some advanced classes. but, uh, it’s been an amazing tool to add to my practice and to help my patients.

Wonderful. And, can you tell us for those of you are, those of us are not familiar with it a little bit about the history of acupuncture point injection and what is it exactly

Sure. And this is something that I’ve been kind of been a hobby of it I’ve been trying to find more literature, more research about how this all started and what has been injected traditionally. from what I’ve been able to understand, this really started, around the 1940s or even pre 1940s, when China started experimenting with doing and they were actually herbal formula injections, they would do single herb extracts or herbal formula injections. And a lot of times they would use it for things like flu influenza. and then it kind of expanded from there and has continued to be used in China quite a bit, including with, uh, some of the SARS outbreaks. it is something that has been around, for quite a long time and within the, and I’m going to mess up the name, it’s the Shanghai acupuncture compendium.

I believe the Shanghai acupuncture texts, uh, within that textbook, they actually talk about, acupoint injection therapy, substances that can be used where it can be used and how to use it. And so, uh, that was a required reading for our text. And, uh, I think a lot of people, or a lot of schools use that text and it’s something that is part of that tradition, substances that can be used again in China. A lot of times they’ll be using herbal extracts and even herbal formulas. in the United States, I am not aware of any FDA regulated facilities that are doing single herb extracts or herbal formula extracts. A lot of what we’re using are homeopathic formulations. Hiebert is one of the companies, that is local here in Colorado. they have, uh, a very, they have five main formulas that they sell, here in the United States. But again, uh, internationally, they have a wide range of homeopathic formulas. heal is another very popular one. If you’re familiar with Traumeel for acute injuries, they actually make an injectable form of true meal. So when you have bruising swelling, when you have a localized heat, you can use that formulation to help to speed the recovery and it works amazingly well.

can you give us a sense of what type of situations would you, uh, would you think about acupuncture in, in point injection therapy compared to quote unquote standard acupuncture? And a lot of it is a case by case

Spaces, and I am really hoping that as this starts becoming more mainstream, especially here in North America, we can start doing more research to figure out, you know, when is this better than doing acupuncture by itself? and when is acupuncture, going to be just as effective? one of the, research studies that was recently done, this came out of, uh, North Carolina university. There’s a medical doctor that was doing, procedures to try to do injections for back pain. And he was doing it on mice. And one of the things he was finding is by doing it on mice, he had a high rate of injuring the nerves or the spine. And so he wasn’t getting good results. He is not a TCM practitioner. He didn’t practice acupuncture before this study, but he found out about you before he doesn’t call it that.

But he found out about an acupuncture point behind the knee, and he started doing his injections there and he got amazing results with his, uh, research trial. he went on to later state that, uh, doing an injection at an acupuncture point can last 100 times longer than doing traditional acupuncture alone. So it’s a situation where we can have longer lasting results, and do it in a shorter amount of time. now when to do it versus when not, it can be a little bit more tricky. And again, a lot of that comes with personal experience. I do a lot of sports medicine. so when I have an athlete that comes in with a chronic muscle, not a, an area of tissue, that’s just not recovering. I go in, I needle it and it’s not releasing. one of the benefits I see with acupoint injection therapy is that I can go in and hydrate locally at that muscle tissue.

what does that mean in terms of TCM? I am literally adding in fluids or in fluids to that local area to help it to and recover, common solutions, uh, a 5% dextrose. It’s a sugar water, very easy to use, as something that is a sugar that’s sweet. I see that as, as a spleen tonic, another very easy, uh, thing to, to get ahold of is normal saline saline as assault. it’s a kidney tonic, as a mineral, it clears heat as something just as simple as normal saline into a hot localized area. It can help to clear heat out of that area. And again, can be very effective. you know, we don’t have to get overly complicated again with yin deficient patients or in deficient patients. It works extremely well on adding those that nourishment adding, helping to tonify the spleen to nourish the muscles and sinews. and it’s something that, uh, is a great way to either use standalone or in conjunction with an acupuncture treatment.

Oh, okay. So it sounds like not only is it using for that a chronic problem that you’re nourishing like a year influenza, like blood, the red blood for the seniors, when there’s actually something acute you can use, like something like sailing to actually combine with the injection to get an immediate results. I didn’t know that that’s really powerful.

Absolutely. And, and I I’ve, I’ve done it a couple of times. I, I I’ve had patients come in where they’ve gone to their doctor, they had a cortisone shot. and one patient, she spent over $1,800 on this cortisone shot because she didn’t have insurance to cover it. So she had to pay $1,800 out of pocket. She came into my clinic, we did one shot, uh, and she immediately felt relief. it wasn’t a cure, but immediately felt relief and felt benefit at less than one 10th. The cost of seeing her, her dog. Right.

That’s fantastic. Not to mention, you know, there’s some recent research showing that there’s actually a long term, uh, wear and tear associated with the stair usage injection of cortisone injections, the knee. Right. Yeah. so can you give us an example of a particular case in your own practice, private practice that was particularly memorable that you felt, you know, I probably wouldn’t have gotten this resolved if I didn’t practice acupuncture, injection therapy, something to just kind of wet our appetite a little bit.

Sure. And again, I do a lot of sports medicine, and so a lot of what I’m seeing are muscular skeletal conditions, had a patient come in with frozen shoulder. and so, uh, had very limited range of motion, had trouble even just going into the rotator cuff and needling some of those muscles. our first treatment we, we did, Eastern, and we were going into subscap. and then kind of like an [inaudible] 10. Sometimes I call it OSI nine and a half house. as I 11 area, and we were doing some East them to try get to those muscles to release and help. We saw some improvement. There are some reduction in pain. The second time she came in, I actually did an injection and it was, again, very simple. It was normal saline, 5% dextrose and B12 combined. and we injected into the subscap and there were multiple trigger points all throughout that area.

So, I wouldn’t necessarily say it was a heart one because we were aiming specifically for that muscle, but going in hydrating the muscle. And then we did a couple more again [inaudible] when she got off the table, after that second treatment, she had noticeable improvement about 20 degrees range of motion improvement. just following that injection, the next 24 hours, she got another about 5% range of motion, uh, after the treatment, but it was something where again, it was kind of a, she was definitely a yin deficient patient. but going in and hydrating, nourishing those muscles, we were able to get significantly better improvement than just doing our first acupuncture and Eastern treatment.

Yeah. And was the patient impressed?

Oh yeah. And she loved it. Cause sometimes especially when the muscles are chronically tied and they can’t get that relief, getting that nourishment in there, you get that, uh, that satisfaction. I mean, not so many times that like, yes, that’s what I needed. And, and, uh, a lot of times I’m seeing that I can use less number of treatments and get faster recovery with them.

I know that, there are some people that are a little bit more, conservative when it comes to, uh, uh, embracing new new techniques or perceived new techniques on that I’m hearing is may not actually be dine you. uh, but for those people that, that, uh, do you have a, an encouragement for them, they will have, why would I, why should I acupuncturist and learn this? How would this be able to allow them to do things or take care of their patients better than they were otherwise?

Well, and I think that this is one of the areas where us as acupunctures can really help to, benefit the medical community. Uh, when we go through our training, uh, four years master’s program, we’re required to have a minimum of 660 supervise clinical hours and 700 didactic hours learning how to puncture the skin in a safe and effective manner. Other medical professions don’t have this type of training. I worked inside of a family practice for about eight years and the PAs were constantly coming to me, asking me how to do an injection on a different area of the body because they couldn’t get the needle in and knees. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a provider, tried to inject a knee with the leg straight out. and so I think that, as a profession where we, have much training on how to do this safely and effectively, uh, the patients appreciate it because it’s much safer.

but then as far as being TCM, again, we’re still applying those same principles that we learn, you know, fluid deficiency, yin deficiency, heat, excess deficiency, all or these things are, are what we apply to our treatment protocols. And then again, learning where we inject, you know, can we combine the properties of what we’re injecting to the therapeutic properties of the point that we’re injecting? So a common example I bring up is, you know, if we use the Harare point on the kidney channel and inject water there, you know, can we have a stronger effect than if we’re just needling there? B12, I consider B12 a blood tonic. you know, it actually helps in the production of red blood cells. So if we use a B12 injection at the influential point of blood, you know, can we have a stronger therapeutic effect then, you know, if they’re just popping B12 pills and, and, and trying to, you know, eliminate symptoms that way.

so I think with our training, we really have a strong foundation that we can provide these types of techniques. like you mentioned, with cortisone, we can provide safer solutions to people where they are lasting more longterm, uh, without a lot of the side effects. A lot of what we do in our profession is to help to facilitate that healing in the body, make the person stronger after our treatments with minimal side effects. and so, yeah, I think that this is a perfect addition, for people to learn about and train with. And, you know, again, if this is something that’s not currently in your area or your jurisdiction, uh, reach out to your local, association and, and see what steps need to be taken to, to help get this in there.

Hmm. Yeah. I like, I like what you have to say about that because, obviously, uh, as decent practitioners, we have a competitive advantage. We can apply what we injecting to the point specific functions that you inject into. So that’s, that’s a scope of practice that, that, uh, the other professionals can do. But what I hadn’t realized was that we’re actually better at putting needles into their joint and a new joint because I do it all the time, large intestines and the theme that she end or something 35, we’re really good at that. Hopefully we can, we can, you know, deliver the substance more effectively. And so, and this way it’s kind of building on the skills that we’ve already had. It’s not really relearning anything. We actually going to be able to pick this up faster than, a comparable, uh, biomedical, uh, practitioners to injections. the, can you, you know, give it down, you got to excite as though.

And do you mind if I share another story real quick? Oh, of course. Yeah.

So I was, uh, I was teaching at CSTC and this was our first time that we were doing live classes after we were shut down for Corona and, you know, same type of thing, that one, I had three hours to go over clean needle technique. And by the way, injections are a part of clean needle technique. Again, we have all these, competencies that we already go through to show that we’re safe and effective, but had a three hour class and the last 45 minutes or so is when the students really get to start trying this out and injecting. And again, this is a, an acupuncture student, and they’re testing this out. He did an injection at bilateral, bladder 23, and then y’all tongue sway on, on the opposite of the effected side and started moving it around and immediately had relieved. And so this is, you know, again, uh, an acupuncture student, that’s starting to play around with this and can already see how there’s benefit to this just from doing, you know, his traditional acupuncture classes and how, you know, again, with our training, we just build on that to get better results. And I, I just love it. I get excited as well. I think it’s fantastic.

Can you, I know, you know, obviously we haven’t learned how to do injections and, and a, I hope to do that in the very near future. but are there any lessons you learned little curls or advising you give us, like using the approach of acupuncture, injector, maybe, or assessment, whatever that you think would be able to be, that we would benefit from looking at the body or approaching the patient the way you do

Well. And, and again, I always try to get people to build on the, on the tools that they already have, you know, feeling the pulse and seeing if this is someone who feels like their fluid division or the tongue usually is my biggest assessment tool. And right now it’s difficult because, uh, you know, we’re not looking at patients tongues, but if you see a yin deficient tongue, that’s one of the big, indications for me of saying, okay, this is something that could benefit from using an acupoint injection therapy. if you feel a really thin pulse, then, you know, B 12 is something that’s readily assessable to help to build the blood. And again, use those on, yin channels or blood building points to help to amplify that effect. I am not a huge fertility. Specialtist a specialty person. I generally will refer out to them, but, again, it’s a going stray, I’m doing acupoint injection therapy over to going Shea and, and, uh, spleen six.

there’s lots of ways where we, again, take what we learn from our schools, what we practice, what we see, and then this can help to accentuate that. And, you know, again, assuming that the MD, the scientists that I mentioned at the beginning of it, he was able to validate that, you know, we can have a stronger stimulation lasts 100 times longer without having to need leave needles in for a long period of time or doing intro normal intradermals and having the patients take that home. but, uh, yeah, I, I get excited about it and I, I do, I see people just pick it up. I, I do the same time. I use guide tubes and I know studying in China guide tubes, you’re not supposed to use them, uh, freehand dealers pick this up very quickly, but, I do the same, uh, muscle memory doing injections as I do with guide tubes and, and, yeah, it, it works well.

I, something pop into my mind, about, uh, people that have some concerns about practicing injection, you know, is it TCM or NY? I wanna, I want to just mention that when, uh, back when I was a student, had a teacher that told me that, uh, told me, told me these fantastic stories, but as soon as to me out there, the doctor who made it easy and physician code of conduct, and that the person that document that 13 goes points just in case, uh, you know, the name of the case, our listeners and [inaudible] was really a role model about sincerely. I would say he was very embracing of different styles approaches. He was the one that brought peer visitor Kerbal materia Medica into TC. So he didn’t care. It was Chinese medicine, or not as long as somebody help people. I mean, he also dabbled in a lot of our chemical and spiritual practices, as long as you can help people.

So I had teachers that would tell me, you know, I bet you if, since I was alive today and he had access to point injection therapy, he probably would have used it as well. Okay. So, uh, that, that was always a story that I thought was, you know, helps me feel comfortable. I don’t know about other people, but it helps me feel that it’s okay to, to use new new techniques because, just because Chinese medicine is not, uh, no longer merely a classical textual medicine, it doesn’t mean that it hasn’t had a history of always evolving. I want to finish with, a question. That’s a really big question. I know it’s probably not going to be something we can cover in the span of today’s little interview, but a lot of us are, living in a jurisdiction where we are not able to, we are not yet able to practice injection on our patients. And I know you have a lot of experience with that. So is there some general, I know this is a lot of work. It probably takes a lot of time, but, you know, we have to start somewhere, right. So if you don’t start in, it’s never going to happen. So give us some advice on how, how you help transition your state from a state that that was not part I could punch his scope of practice into the wine that is now almost well known for being able to do that

Well. And a lot of it is building bridges. And, and again, the best thing that you can do is work with your state association, then build that, uh, that network within other associations. And that’s going to take a lot of education. That’s going to take a lot of reaching out. so we ran our bill in 2015, and we were lucky because we had a letter from our regulatory agency saying that it was their opinion that we could do, injections within our state. And that had been there, I believe since 1999. and so when we went to the, our state medical society, we were able to say, we’ve been doing this for a while. There haven’t been complaints. There haven’t been adverse events. but one of the big things is being able to communicate to medical providers, what it is that we want to do and why this is something that’s in our scope of practice.

You know, again, emphasizing how much training we have on being able to puncture the skin safely and effectively, uh, being able to educate them in a way that they understand that this is part of traditional Chinese medicine that, you know, we’re not trying to do injections so we can do, you know, Kenalog or pharmaceutical, injections, where we’re trying to use this from a healthy, safe aspect so that we can continue that tradition of TCM as it relates to our patient. And then using this tool to continue with those diagnosis and protocols. When generally you educate the different communities on what you’re trying to do, that you’re trying to use substances that are safe, that you’re not trying to do again, pharmaceutical or, or, you know, cortisone, Kenalog, uh, these types of injections. They’re generally very supportive because again, your MD, they’re not going to be doing, you know, a B12 shot.

You know, they’re not going to be doing these types of things. And so if we can take that population and we can help, or if we can help with these chronic pain patients in a way that we’re not using opioids or addictive substances, then they see this as a benefit. again, in Colorado, when we ran this bill, we sat down our state association, which, uh, at that time I was president of, we sat down with our medical society. I had a binder of over 300 pages of research and trials and everything that I handed to them. And we sat there and we answered all their questions. And the end result was that our state medical society officially supported this bill to help us put this in writing in our scope of practice. so talking with other States, the biggest thing you can do is to educate the other associations on what it is you’re trying to do, what substances you’re trying to use, and inform them on the training and the expertise we have in this field. And again, generally when that’s done in a collaborative and informative manner, then they see this as a positive thing and are willing to help with it.

Thank you for that. What encouragement and guidance, you know, uh, I’m inspired. I, I want, I want my jurisdiction to be able to do this kind of a procedure so that we can help our patients to the most of our ability. So to finish up, would you be able to tell us where we can get more information about nutrition P O L and how we can stay updated on your teaching schedule? Sure. And so I have a website where I have a few different types of classes that I teach. I have an introduction class. I have a class that’s specific to muscular skeletal conditions and, uh, trigger point injections. and then I briefly go into some of the cosmetics I’m using natural substances to fill in fine lines and wrinkles, and to give the population a, an alternative to Botox and, and some of those other kind of toxic chemicals.

my website that has my education classes is prolotherapy of Denver. so that’s www.proloden.com. and then on the upper right hand side, I have a tab for education and that’s where I keep my classes up to date. Great. Thank you very much. And even if you’re not somebody that sees a lot of athletes, I mean, but wheel, which I keep punches, doesn’t see a lot of pain, right. So if you, maybe if you’re more inclined to do stuff for aesthetic cosmetic stuff, you just heard everyone from Skype, you can also apply this to great results for, for rejuvenation, okay. For longevity anti-aging practices. So I like to thank you once again, Scott your time with us and share your knowledge and experience with us and to our listeners. I hope you enjoyed that. And that was very informative for you. Please. Don’t forget to join us next week. Our host for next week is Matt Callison and Brian Lau. And, and I thank you everybody for your attention. And, uh, if you have any questions, don’t feel free to post them. And if you found this, little interview useful, maybe let your colleagues know about it may be, uh, show some love. And, and, uh, and I look forward to speaking to everybody very soon. Thank you. Stay safe and stay strong. Thank you.

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