In April of 1973, the Nevada State legislature declared Traditional Chinese Medicine as a “learned profession” by unanimous vote. The lawmakers legalized acupuncture and other Chinese medical practices. This state acupuncture situation was “neither Nixonian nor the thought of Mao” (Time, 1973). A free clinic established by special permission was open for three weeks and treated many legislators across the street from the State House in Carson City.
Time reported that half of Nevada’s 60 lawmakers put themselves under the needles of acupuncturist Lok Yee Kung. Several people claimed that their conditions were cured. Assemblyman Robert Hal Smith reported that his 20-year sinus condition disappeared, and equally as gratifying to his wife, the treatment silenced his snoring. Another legislator said that he had been cured of pain from a knee he injured in his childhood. In addition, the West Journal of Medicine quoted a letter that was received by the Board of Medical Examiners on November 13, 1972 recommending a temporary special license be issued to Dr. Lok of Hong Kong for a demonstration on acupuncture. It took less than six months for Dr. Lok to be licensed as an acupuncturist in the State of Nevada.
I personally practiced acupuncture with Dr. Lok in Kow Loon, Hong Kong from 1960 until 1971. In 1972, I traveled to New York, California, and the nation’s Capitol in order to promote and explore legitimate acupuncture practices. Unfortunately, due to political controversy, and AMA influence, my plan was delayed for many years. However, Dr. Lok successfully achieved his goal, and acupuncture was first legalized in Nevada due to his work. He became an acupuncture hero in the U.S.
Acupuncture spread rapidly throughout the United States after Nixon visited China. States did not have acupuncture regulations, nor did they have licensed acupuncturists, but practitioners still practiced under ground during this time. From 1972 to 1974, many states tried to pass acupuncture laws but without any results. For example, the California Acupuncture Bill passed through the State Senate and the House in 1972, but the Governor did not sign the bill. It was not until 1975 that the new Governor Jerry Brown finally agreed to sign the Bill and it became a law. In New York, the law passed in 1976.
Since the State of Nevada passed the law in 1973, now, 38 years later, more than 90% of states have licensed acupuncturists, but several states do not have laws for this profession. Dr. Lok’s efforts proved that one person can make a difference.
Even though they are “built to last a lifetime,” foot problems are one of our most common medical ailments. It has been estimated that 80-85% of the general population will suffer from a foot complaint at some time in their life. This is second in frequency only to dental problems.
A hammertoe is a bent toe (either rigid or flexible) that makes the top of the toe very prominent. The toe bends at the joint area and the tendon which connects the muscle to the bone tightens. This is noted by the prominence of the band-like structures on the top of the foot that run to each toe. If the toe is allowed to remain bent, bone changes may occur, and the toe may become rigid at the joint. If the toe is corrected while still in the flexible stage, a simple soft tissue tendon release will eliminate the problem, and no bone work may be necessary. As the toe becomes more bent and less flexible, the abnormal growth of bone will be removed during the correction. This will allow for straightening and often more normal function of the joint. Since the bony prominence is gone and the toe is straightened, the shoe pressure will be alleviated and the corn will disappear permanently.
A corn is a thickening of the skin, usually over the prominent part of the hammertoe, but corns can occur over any bony prominence on the toe. A corn can be hard or soft depending on the location. If it is located on top of the toe, it is usually hard; and if it is located between the toes, it is usually soft and is often confused with athlete’s foot. A corn develops due to friction and rubbing of the bony prominence or bone spur on a shoe or on the adjacent toe. It is important to note that while shoes aggravate a corn, the actual cause is the malfunctioning of the toes.
As the corn gets thicker, it produces more pressure on the underlying bone and soft tissue, which increases pain. If the pressure gets severe enough, an ulcer or infection may occur under the corn, especially in a person with impaired circulation such as a diabetic.