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MicroAcupuncture™ uses 48 acupuncture points located in the hands and feet that are allegedly non-traditional acupuncture points. These "newly discovered" points are said not to be associated with any other acupuncture system, according to their discoverer Freddy Dahlgren, D.Sc., D.Ac., M.Ac.F., M.D. (In some languages, those letters spell "BEWARE.") The M.D. was apparently bought from Lord Pandit Prof. Dr. Sir Anton Jayasuriya (1930-2005) of Sri Lanka. Jayasuriya created Medicina Alternativa International in Sri Lanka and claimed to be affiliated with The Open International University [presumably to be confused with the Open University of Sri Lanka]. He sold diplomas for various fields. I have a copy of his charge list for 1962. For $3,750 USD one could buy any of the following degrees: M.D. (M.A.), M.D. (T.M.), Dr. Ac., or Ph.D. These letters stand for Doctor of Medicine (Alternativa Medicina), Doctor of Medicine (Traditional Medicine), Doctor of Acupuncture, and Doctor of Philosophy. Registration was an extra $1,000. The M.Ac.F. cost $100. The letters stand for Membership of Acupuncture Foundation. The D.Ac. cost $145; those letters do not stand for Doctor of Acupuncture, as you might think, but for "International College Diploma," whatever that might be.
Dahlgren's discovery was allegedly made in Denmark in 1984. He has since moved on to produce ointments to which he adds frequencies. According to Dahlgren, these frequencies "detoxify and clean the facial lymph and microcirculation. Furthermore, frequencies of important vitamins, oils and minerals have been added." What he means by frequencies is unclear. But his real claim to fame is curing eye diseases with needles in the hands and feet. He treats "glaucoma, AMD [age-related macular degeneration], age related reduction of vision, and retina porosity."
According to Dahlgren's Web site, each potential patient is given a test that "shows whether the patient is receptive to our treatments. If the test does not show an immediate positive result, our advice to the client is not to continue treatments, since the outcome will probably be dissatisfactory. In fact, only patients whom we are sure to benefit from the treatments will be invited to continue in our clinic."* (This is called the better-safe-than-sorry approach to selecting patients.) In addition to acupuncture, Dahlgren gives his patients "drops" that he has developed. All his remedies are made of "water and alcohol in the proportion 70/30, to which are added frequencies."
Dahlgren also offers SCIO, which is a "computer program treating the body with frequencies." He says it is especially good for back problems and that "many patients experience renewed energy and a better mood" after SCIO.*
Dahlgren shares the discovery of microacupuncture with fellow Dane Dr. Per Godsk Otte, D.Sc., D.Ac., M.Ac.F., who now practices in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. (To say Otte "shares" the discovery might be overstating the case. Dahlgren makes no mention of Otte and Otte makes no mention of Dahlgren on their respective Web sites.) Otte is another naturopath who got an M.D. from Lord Pandit Prof. Dr. Sir Anton Jayasuriya. Otte also treats various eye disorders with acupuncture, including macular degeneration, diabetes, glaucoma, and retinitis pigmentosa. On his Web site, he claims to be "licensed by the State of Arkansas as a Doctor of Oriental Medicine." (Nevada and New Mexico are the only other states that grant this title.*) However, his license to practice acupuncture was revoked in 2001. Before that, his license to practice acupuncture was revoked in Texas.* On March 31, 2005, Otte lost an appeal in the Supreme Court of Arkansas to have his license reinstated. Even so, Otte has advanced the field of microacupuncture by finding a new point to stick in the forehead. On his Web site, Otte claims that "there are only a few doctors in the world who are performing this procedure which is approved by Medicina Alternative, which [he claims] is a department of the World Health Organization (WHO)." He says he's also certified by the "Academia Sinica Peoples Republic of China." (There is an Academia Sinica in Taiwan.)
In fact, Otte has advanced the field of acupuncture itself by providing his insight into meridians, the alleged pathways of chi. Otte says:
Acupuncture does not work through nerves. It works through pathways called meridians. I think that meridians are leftovers of the nerve system that monitored our development as the fetus, which was controlled by the mother through the umbilical cord. That system was shut down at birth, and the pathways are now changed to what we now call meridians, which distribute energy from the production to the area of use. The more active the tissue is, the more energy is produced (arms, legs, hands, feet, where there is the most mobility). The thought is that acupuncture might be able to reactivate the original function of that nerve system to build new cells, which would explain the effect of microacupuncture on rebuilding the cells of the retina.*
The world awaits the evidence that microacupuncture rebuilds the cells of the retina. Nobody awaits the evidence for the claim that meridians are umbilical leftovers, since it is based on nothing more than fantasy.
Another Dane claiming to be performing miracles with microacupuncture is John Boel. On his Web site there are stories of nine blind people having their vision restored by acupuncture. There are many other miracles attested to by Boel. The stories are heartwarming but sound too good to be true. They go beyond testimonials of feeling better or seeing better, which might be due to a placebo effect. There is no placebo effect in a story of a person blind for thirty years who now has vision after acupuncture treatment. I suppose there has been a conspiracy on the part of the medical profession and government agencies to prevent the world from knowing about this miraculous practice and its miraculous cures.
In any case, there have been no clinical trials of microacupuncture. All the evidence is in the form of testimonials from patients and doctors. There is, as yet, no compelling scientific evidence that sticking needles in the hand or foot or forehead is an effective treatment for any eye disease or diabetes. This fact, of course, will not prevent many desperate people from seeking treatments from the likes of Dahlgren, Otte, and Boel.
Microacupuncture as practiced by the likes of Dahlgren, Otte, and Boel should not be confused with micro-acupuncture as created by Ralph Alan Dale, Ed.D., Ph.D., C.A., Dipl. Ac. According to Dale, a former conductor and composer, he learned acupuncture in 1972 from "a young Chinese man in Florida who had just graduated from an acupuncture college in Hong Kong." The following year he studied the work of "Dr. Paul Nogier of Lyons, France, who first discovered that the ear is a complete energetic system, and that it can be used to treat the whole body." According to Nogier, the ear is an "energetic hologram of the body." The ear is the only organ, says Nogier, that has acupoints for the anatomy of the entire body. Dale's claim to fame is that he discovered that "every part of the body functions as an energetic microcosm of the Chinese traditional acupuncture system." In other words, you can stick a needle anywhere in your body and get the same results as if you had stuck it in your ear.
Dale is the director of the Acupuncture Education Center in North Miami Beach, Florida. He claims to have evidence of
eighteen different microacupuncture holograms in the body, including one in the hands, feet, arms, neck, tongue, and even the gums. Dale feels that these microsystems are "holographic reiterations of the gross anatomy," and believes there are still other such systems waiting to be discovered. In a notion reminiscent of Bohm's assertion that every electron in some way contains the cosmos, Dale hypothesizes that every finger, and even every cell, may contain its own acupuncture microsystem.*
Then again, it may not. With all the diplomas and degrees these fellows have amongst them, you'd think at least one of them might have taken a course in anatomy somewhere along the line. Dale's background is in music. Otte was a peat moss farmer, electrician, and welder before he became a multi-diplomaed microacupuncturist.
In the 1980s, Jayasuriya was asked by the Nobel Foundation to cease and desist with his creation of an "Alternative Nobel Prize Award for Natural and Traditional Medicine." In 1984, the WHO asked the government of Denmark to stop Jayasuriya from claiming that his World Congress on Lasertherapy, Magnetotherapy, and Electrotherapy was affiliated with the WHO. Apparently, whenever Jayasuriya put on a conference, he falsely claimed that it was affiliated with the WHO. This is the fellow who sold Dahlgren, Otte, and Boel some of their diplomas. Meanwhile, all these fellows except Otte are plying their trade legally and with the blessings of various government licensing boards. I suppose we could say that such is one of the unpleasant side-effects of complementary medicine.