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Ethan Borg on April 29, 2016

I want to thank the Swarthmore Bulletin for writing a story about me and my work. Of course, I feel it is important to respond to my geographical albeit not philosophical neighbour, Benjamin Mazer '10, who wrote a message above disparaging my vocation and shaking an angry finger at the Bulletin for giving my work attention. One of the great things about Swarthmore is its encouragement of dialogue and its respectful openness to the ideas of all of its community members. There clearly is a large divide in Dr Mazer's mind between Eastern and Western ideas of health and healthcare. I do not feel this divide is universally accepted among all people and not even among all practitioners of Western medicine, who, like Dr. Mazer, also no doubt interface with patients on a regular basis engaging in non-Western methodologies for their healing. There is actually no more highly studied alternative medicine than Chinese medicine and specifically acupuncture by Western researchers. For instance, here is an article publicized just this week about Western inquiries into Eastern successes (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24961568). In this study, the success of acupuncture itself was not questioned, instead, the question before the researchers was "how exactly does acupuncture work?" This is one of hundreds of articles published every year by the National Institutes of Health, which, along with the WHO, have recognized Chinese medicine and acupuncture as being scientifically proven beneficial for a wide host of issues. My personal methodology highlighted in this article is based on a practice known as Medical Qi Gong which has been used for well over 3000 years on a daily basis across a landmass far larger than the United States. So, while Dr. Mazer may hurl insults at my trade, instead of hurling insults back, I would strongly encourage him and anyone else who agreed with him to load up Pubmed and read the wide array of Western studies on Eastern practices. I, for one, applaud the Bulletin for doing something that is difficult -- shining light on something that is esoteric in a world that mostly highlights round pegs that fit in round holes. Nonetheless, there are many Swarthmore alumni who are practitioners of Chinese medicine and far more alumni who seek it out for their own personal supplementary care. I would also like to point out to Dr Mazer that I too am a Swarthmore alumnus. I work hard every day like all Swatties I know, trying to do good in this world. I am as passionate, concerned, and considerate about my work as I imagine he is about his. So thank you Swarthmore College for giving me and my work a moment. I cannot tell you in words how much I truly appreciate it. If it does nothing but increase the dialogue between East and West, then I have served my class of '94 well, as that was how my first year started -- with messages plastered all along Parrish Hall between people expressing their opinions across what appeared to be a vast political divide. The type of wall may have changed, but here I am once again plastering my feelings on this wall hoping only for this one thing, that someone on the other side of the divide will listen to it respectfully.