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Acupuncturist and herbalist David Molony uses an integrated approach to understand the role of Chinese medical practices in Western medicine.

Medical students, physicians and researchers from Penn assembled in the John Morgan Building on Tuesday afternoon to listen to Molony talk about acupuncture. Molony, assisted by his wife, has practiced acupuncture for 23 years at their Lehigh Valley Acupuncture Centre.

Molony, quick to seek participation, asked about participants' experiences with acupuncture.

First-year medical student Mark Hoffman described his experience as "pretty freaky at first." However, the technique was eventually able to reduce inflammation in his knees when Western medical modalities had failed.

"It is important, as future physicians, to know about acupuncture," first-year medical student Elana Katz said, "so I've come here to learn about acupuncture."

Shaomin Zou, a senior scientist in the Medical School's Anesthesia Department, was eager to hear this particular lecture. Zou attended the Hubei College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China, where he witnessed the use of acupuncture-type "needles" to provide anesthesia for patients undergoing surgery.

Molony did not talk about specifics of acupuncture in terms of the actual application of needles. Rather, he detailed the fundamental ability to help "the body to heal itself" by increasing blood flow in disease and decreasing muscle spasms in cases of pain.

Molony also described the theory behind acupuncture.

The cornerstone of acupuncture is the concept of balance along with the aspect of Qi, which refers to the "energy that results from the interaction" of opposites.

Emergency Medicine professor Iris Reyes, along with her colleague, School of Medicine Special Educational Projects Director Lynn Seng, organized this event as part of the ongoing Culture and Health seminar series.

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