Dr. Ivan Figueroa-Otero is a retired Academic Pediatric Surgeon (who practiced for almost 4 decades) now practicing Traditional Chinese Style Acupuncture. He has been a member of the Puerto Rico Medical Association, American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, American Pediatric Surgical Association, and Fellow American Academy of Medical Acupuncture. He is currently engaged in his private practice and continues in his role as an educator, trying to achieve full integration of traditional Chinese acupuncture courses in the curriculum of medical schools. He is also the author of a trilogy of books about the School of Life. Salonpas® sat down with Wellness Warrior, Dr. Ivan Figueroa-Otero, to learn how he migrated from traditional medicine to the world of acupuncture:
How did you learn about acupuncture? What was your first experience with it?
I first learned about acupuncture at a physical medicine office while getting therapy for carpal tunnel. The MD used it occasionally as treatment. My first experience with acupuncture was during a weekend course for physicians.
Today more and more prestigious hospitals are incorporating acupuncture and other non-traditional healing modalities. Is the work you are doing part of the catalyst that has created this acceptance?
Yes. I am a trustee of the American Board of Medical Acupuncture, which helps certify MDs in the field. I also was able to get privileges in my pediatric hospital for the first time in Puerto Rico.
What are the benefits of acupuncture?
- Effective nontoxic analgesia.
- Excellent sympathetic-parasympathetic harmonizer creating significant emotional and stress control
- Good support for infertility treatments
- Effective in weaning patients from drug dependency and smoking
- Almost painless in experienced hands
- More cost effective than other procedures
- Integrates the mind-body-spirit like no other therapy available (in my hands)
- Very insignificant complication rate
Do you face any criticism about your embracing this “new age” type practice from your former surgical peers? If so, how do you handle it?
Yes, I did. I used the ample scientific evidence of acupuncture’s effectiveness to quiet them, and many of them ended up coming as patients and referring them to me.
How can people find a qualified acupuncturist?
People can find qualified acupuncturists in physicians certified by American Board of Medical Acupuncture (ABMA) and in non-physicians OMD training and state certification. These guys know what they are doing!
Are there any people that should avoid acupuncture?
Those with coagulation disorders, severe immunologic deficiencies, severe psychiatric disorders. Also, patients who are pregnant should be cautious using acupuncture, and electro acupuncture should not be used with those who have electric medical devices.