TCM – International experiences from Germany

TCM – International experiences from Germany
photo: TCM WORLD repro/MUDr. Ivan Erben
flag 24 / 11 / 2020

When using ear acupuncture, we often observe a sudden and clear subjective improvement, says the Czech doctor MUDr. Ivan Erben

Version in CN language below


MUDr. Ivan Erben described what the career and work of a student of the Czech Medical Faculty, who remained working in the neighbouring state of Germany (Bayreuth) immediately after graduation. He also actively uses ear acupuncture at the clinic, and has experience that it is also very beneficial in his field, ie intensive care medicine and anesthesiology. Read about acupuncture in German healthcare in our interview.


When did you first encounter acupuncture and other TCM methods?

In essence, immediately after joining our department. We offer an acute pain treatment service for the entire hospital. We use a comprehensive range of techniques from invasive peripheral nerve catheters and neuroaxial block, through intravenous pumps to additional modalities such as oils, aromatherapy and acupuncture. However, ear acupuncture as such did not experience a real boom at our clinic until 2017.

Do you evaluate them as an effective support for Western treatment, good prevention, placebo ...?

We almost always use acupuncture in the treatment of acute pain in combination with other modalities, and mostly in the second line. Typically in patients where the standard treatment of pain in terms of grading analgesics according to WHO I., II. and III. degrees do not appear to have an optimal effect. In these cases, we will be happy to try additional treatment, with the patient's informed consent, even due to less dangerous side effects. And it is often just ear acupuncture that we observe a sudden and clear subjective improvement.


Is there an accredited acupuncture education in Germany?

Yes, there is a German professional society for acupuncture. It offers various graded courses G1 to G15. To successfully complete it, you must reach a certain credit level (I suspect it is 200) in at least 24 months. The vast majority of it is filled with theory, the rest is focused on practical skills and presentation of case studies. Finally, you must pass an exam at the medical chamber.


Is acupuncture and other methods official part of medical care, operated in hospitals, resp. medical centers?

Yes, as I have already mentioned, we perform ear acupuncture to treat mainly postoperative pain and PC 6 stimulation on the wrist to prevent postoperative nausea (vomiting).


Is it covered to any extent by health insurance companies? 

As part of outpatient practice, I know that the insurance company pays for acupuncture for pain caused by degenerative diseases of the lumbar and perhaps also the thoracic spine. If the patient is privately insured, the range covered is even larger.


Do you continue to study sources on how to use TCM methods? In Munich, for example, there is a renowned course.


Not yet. My field of activity is mainly intensive care medicine, anesthesia and emergency medicine. However, from this year on, they are gradually focusing on the field of palliative medicine, and I am convinced that there could be potential for some TCM methods in this area.

How often do you encounter an interest in acupuncture and TCM methods in Germany?

Both for doctors (to provide, study) and for patients (to supplement treatment). There is interest from patients. Of course, we tell them that this is an invasive type of treatment, which has both side effects and contraindications. The whole process necessarily requires the informed consent of the patient. But in case of pain, people often do almost anything to relieve them. That is why we seldom encounter categorical rejection. Among other colleagues, including our head, there is a fundamentally positive view of the benefits of ear acupuncture. Some of them are real fans, they also deal with the issue outside of working hours. And mainly thanks to them, we managed to introduce this treatment method in our department.





























 Translantion: Mgr. Vaclav Laifr, PhD



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