wheels gearsResearch is a funny thing. On one hand, most of us think of it as the most dry and boring stuff you could possibly read. On the other hand, we see it as the Holy Grail of truth when it comes to understanding the effectiveness of medical interventions.

As with most things in life, the truth is much more complex and nuanced. In this episode our guest introduces us to nonlinear and complex adaptive systems approaches to researching medical interventions.

Listen in to find out why  double-blind studies are useless for understanding the emergent  outcomes and nonspecific effects of acupuncture.

3:07  How do you do research on acupuncture?
4:51   Research methodologies– this is actually way more interesting than you think it is!
8:55  Some of the effects of acupuncture, and why sleep and moods can change even if we are treating something else.
11:10  An aspect often overlooked by conventional research is the patient/practitioner relationship.
12:28  On resiliency.
16:47  Why using protocols to study acupuncture misses the big picture.
24:10  Using non-conventional approaches to researching medical outcomes does not mean sacrificing rigor.
27:23  Why do research when much of it does not actually help with our clinical practice?
32:53   Making sense of the vast treasury of Chinese medical writing through the centuries.
39:16   Models for looking at and understanding complex, ever-changing systems.
48:57   Measure your own medical outcomes.


Lisa Taylor-Swanson Dr. Taylor-Swanson has practiced Traditional East Asian Medicine, providing acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, since 2001. She completed an Honors Bachelor of Science at the University of Utah with a Psychology major and a Women’s Studies minor. After that, she completed a Master’s degree of Oriental Medicine at the Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine.

She has advanced post-graduate training in women’s health and male- and female-factor infertility. In addition to maintaining her clinical practice at Abundant Health in downtown Tacoma, WA, she recently completed a Ph.D. in Nursing Science at the University of Washington.

She’s working on several research projects related to complex and chronic illness, such as veterans experiencing Gulf War Illness and midlife women experiencing symptoms such as hot flashes, pain, mood and cognitive changes as they transition through menopause.

Her patients know her to be a caring, wise and present clinician and a trusted guide to help them obtain their own Abundant Health.

Clinic contact information:
Abundant Health Acupuncture & Herbs
2211 Pacific Ave
Tacoma, WA  98402
Ph: 253-383-8005

Abundant Health Acupuncture & Herbs
Lisa’s site on ancient medicine and cutting edge research

Resources and Links:
Lee Hullender Rubin’s research on acupuncture and IVF
Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences
Santa Fe Institute
Complexity explorer
Measure your own medical outcomes

Other researchers:
Lisa Conboy, New England School of Acupuncture
Mary Koithan, University of Arizona
Jonathan Butner, University of Utah
Scott Mist, Oregon Health and Science University




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