Acupuncture and Health Care in Mexico
By Julie Shillabeer, R.Ac
When you pack up and head down to Mexico, you may ask if your allopathic and alternative health treatment needs can be met in the resort/city you’re staying in. We all know digestive issues may plague our systems, or simply our Liver’s may need some help after a few days away. Many people may not think twice about getting a Masaje (massage), but what about Acupunctura (acupuncture)? Also, what if you become ill on vacation? What is the standard of Western medical practices?
By talking with many locals within the state of Jelisco, most Mexicans aren’t extremely educated with Chinese Medicine. In fact, many don’t believe in the ‘powers’ of acupuncture. They have heard that it can help with weight loss predominately, and the marketing is focused on how it was a ‘miracle’ treatment. We may look at many individuals improperly advertising how Chinese Medicine may help with this concern. It should be focused on treating the root behind it, which predominately is a Spleen Energy Deficiency among other root imbalances. Those who do understand the complexity of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), mainly integrate it with homeopathy.
Talking with an older local gentleman, who spends his days selling tours on the beaches, was kind enough to relay his experience with TCM. He mentioned that a friend of his started a Chinese Medical business within the main part of Puerto Vallarta, and encouraged him to come in to get assessed. The older gentleman left with $80 US dollars less in his pocket, and a bag full of herbs. For someone who makes much less than this per day it was quite overwhelming for him. He was unsure how to take the herbs and nonetheless said the experience left him feeling skeptical. Furthermore, the ‘herbalist’ did not mention that he should come back to see if the herbal treatment he had prescribed had in fact been effective.
In Mexico, there is now more of a regulated framework for the discipline of Acupuncture as of 2006. In early days of Acupuncture, it was not required to have any specific training as there is now, hinting that there are still practitioners out there with a lower quality of knowledge and lack of proper diagnostic techniques as well as practical training. The Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN) was the first institution to teach acupuncture as a speciality. Now it is taught at numerous universities, including Universityof Guadalajara, the Autonomous University of Chapingo, Autonomous University of Puebla, Autonomous University of Veracruz, The UNAM in the FES of Acatlan and Iztacla.[i]
It is important to know that as there is now a higher standard for Chinese Doctors and Acupuncturists, but as important to ask the right questions before receiving treatment. Questions such as, how long and where did you train? Do you reuse needles? Do I need more than one treatment?
Mari Torres De González, who specializes in holistic healing (including having over 900 hours in Acupuncture practice, Herbal therapy, Natropathy, Biomagnatisim and Hypnotherapy) was kind enough to discuss specifics of her treatments. She states that “Acupuncture is becoming more and more known and accepted by all kind of people inMexico. It is a health resource people look for specially in chronic problems when long term medical treatments have not given satisfactory results.” When asked if her clinic focus was more with locals or tourists, she mentioned “During the winter months I am busy with both locals and tourists. The rest of the year I am fairly busy mainly with locals.” Finally, she was kind enough to talk about cost, as this is important to know what a base treatment from an educated practitioner would be. She says that “First appointment is 45$USwhich includes an acugraph study. First appointment would take about one and a half hour. Following appointments are for $35.00 US, and last an hour minimum.”
Then there are those few individuals that like in any Country, try to give false pretenses to how Chinese medicine works. More so, try to scam people into believing it is a ‘quick fix’. These individuals may perform the exact same treatment, mostly on the ear, on everyone that comes through their doors, while at the same time selling herbs without spending time diagnosing their patient as an individual, which is at the base of Chinese theory.
It may be a good idea before you head down to Mexico to look online for practitioners and email them prior to heading to this beautiful country with specific questions.
Please see the list of recommended practitioners at the bottom of this article!
If we look to the origins of Western Medicine in Mexico, the first Hospital in Mexico originated in Guadalajara, Jelisco, Mexicoin 1791. Today the medical community as a whole in Mexico is one that is extremely educated. When the Swine Flu epidemic hit, the CDC’s flu director Nancy Cox mentioned that Mexico’s response “impressed the entire world”.[ii] Public health care is provided to all citizens, and depending on their employment status much of this can be subsidized by the government.
Many say that Mexican health care is very affordable while being excellente! Interestingly, some California insurers sell health insurance policies that require members to go to Mexico for health care where costs are 40% lower.[iii]Some of Mexico’s top-rate hospitals are internationally accredited.[iv] Americans, particularly those living near the Mexican border, now routinely cross the border into Mexico for medical care.[v] Popular specialties include dentistry and plastic surgery. Mexican dentists often charge 20 to 25 percent of US prices,[vi] while other procedures typically cost a third what they would cost in the US.[vii]
Many Physicians from the States have received their training in Mexico, and many Mexican Doctors have received at least part of their training in the States. It would be safe to say that the quality of Mexican health care would be comparable to that in the States or Canada. Many people might say that because healthcare in Mexico is so cheap, compared to the US, the quality in Mexico must be lacking. This is completely false! Mexican hospitals are equipped to a high standard including modern equipment and hygienic practices.
So when you travel down to Mexico, it is possible to receive affordable and qualified medical treatment in either traditional modalities or alternative!
1)Puerto Vallarta: Krystal Frost, Acupuncturist www.bodyandsolvallarta.com
2)Mexico City: Teri Johnson, Acupuncturist firstname.lastname@example.org
3)Mexico City: Mauricio Carlos Quintana, Acupuncturist email@example.com
4)Playa Del Carmen: Drew Godenick, Acupuncturist firstname.lastname@example.org
5)Puerto Vallarta: Mari Torres De González, Acupuncturist email@example.com
7. [i] http://www.sanar.org.mx/en/acupuncture/acupuncture-in-mexico.html
[ii] ^ Mexico Wins Praise for Swine Flu Response. Associated Press, by Maria Cheng (London) and Vicente Panetta (Buenos Aires) Retrieved July 4, 2009.
3. [iv] ^ Some Hospitals are Internationally Accredited Retrieved July 10, 2009.
4 .[v] a b Philip J. Hilts, Quality and Low Cost of Medical Care Lure Americans to Mexican Doctors, New York Times, November 23, 1992, accessed July 10, 2009
[vii] ^ a b Philip J. Hilts, Quality and Low Cost of Medical Care Lure Americans to Mexican Doctors, New York Times, November 23, 1992, accessed July 10, 2009