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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

Jonathan Gilbert Seeks to Bring Clarity to the Field of Acupuncture

Dec 04, 2014 03:44AM
by Samantha Hudgins

Acupuncture is a medical procedure with a lot of myth and misunderstanding surrounding it in the United States. Jonathan Gilbert, head of The Gilbert Clinic, is working to bring a greater understanding to this medical field.

The most prevalent misunderstanding about acupuncture is its comparison to a drug. Acupuncture is actually a medical procedure more closely resembling surgery and, according to Gilbert, is “most likely the safest procedure that involves breaking the skin.” Knowledge that acupuncture is not a drug may seem obvious since it does not add anything into the body, but when tested in medical studies, it is currently treated as such. This may account for another common misconception that acupuncture is just a placebo.

Acupuncture is not a placebo, and in some cases, may be a patient’s only chance for pain relief. A majority of The Gilbert Clinic’s patients come in to treat peripheral neuropathy, a painful tingling in the extremities that is often associated with diabetes. There is no cure for peripheral neuropathy and the only drugs prescribed for those suffering from it are formulated for other illnesses and can have terrible side effects. Acupuncture has few to no side effects. Other ailments The Gilbert Clinic treats are stress, arthritis, headaches and pain.

Though acupuncture is a narrower field and less of a broad cure-all than most realize, there are still boundaries to be pushed. Recently, Gilbert successfully completed an acupuncture protocol for dry mouth (xerostomia) that was a result of radiation treatment for throat cancer.

The Gilbert Clinic has adapted one of its practices to fit acupuncture into our culture. Acupuncture is meant to be performed more than once a day for several consecutive days, but busy schedules and the western belief that doctor’s visits occur once a week to once a month have most clinic patients receiving treatment only once or twice each week.

However, the idea that acupuncture is meant to treat an ailment and be done has been kept. Once The Gilbert Clinic has restored a patient, they won’t be instructed to return. This is because—as Gilbert puts it—the focus of acupuncture is on giving the patient the best lifestyle possible—not the practitioner.

To help further dispel the mistruths and shed more light on acupuncture, Gilbert has begun hosting free seminars at the clinic. These seminars are relaxed and intimate sessions where up to 10 guests can sit and ask questions. This benefits potential patients by allowing them more time than just an appointment to get the information they need.

To provide even more information to the public about acupuncture and Chinese medicine, Gilbert has begun his own blog. Every one to two weeks Gilbert will publish a new post. A few posts will be very technical and some potentially controversial but overall his goal is to “make it relevant to the general public.”

The Gilbert Clinic is located at 7315 Wisconsin Ave., 760 East Tower, Bethesda. For more information or to follow Jonathan Gilbert’s blog visit

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