A doctor like anyone else who has to deal with human beings, each of them unique, cannot be a scientist; (s)he is either, like the surgeon, a craftsman, or, like the physician and the psychologist, an artist. This means that in order to be a good doctor a (wo)man must also have a good character, that is to say, what ever weaknesses and foibles (s)he may have, (s)he must love his/her fellow human beings in the concrete and desire their good before his/her own.
SO FAR the study and practice of East Asian Medicine (EAM) has taken 36 years of my life, and I have been in practice since 1981. I first studied acupuncture at the College of Tradtional Chinese Acupuncture in Leamington Spa, under the tutelage of Professor JR Worsley. The first style I learned was Five Element acupuncture. During the first years of practice I took further courses in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupuncture.
On my return to the UK I set up in private practice in South London, where I worked until 1999, when I relocated to Devon. In the late 1980s I was introduced to Japanese Meridian Therapy, a style of acupuncture which is rooted in the medical classics of the Han Dynasty, and Shiatsu, the Japanese massage therapy which is commonly incorporated into acupuncture practice in Japan.
Meridian Therapy is noted for its lightness of touch, and also for the use of moxibustion therapy. In Japan moxibustion, the burning of Moxa (Mugwort), is a complete therapy in its own right. Studying Meridian Therapy has taken me to Japan and the USA.
Acupuncture first came to public attention in the West when President Nixon visited the peoples' Republic of China in the early 1970s. Since then it has become increasingly popular and has earned a reputation as an effective remedy for a wide range of medical conditions. There has been a steady increase in the number of professionally trained practitioners in the UK, from just an handful of qualified acupuncturists in the 1970s to over 2500 registered with the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC).
Traditional Acupuncture, as practiced by BAcC acupuncturists is an holistic therapy, and is based on principles of vitalism; our health is maintained by the regulated, coordinated movment of Qi. Qi can be translated in many different ways, but broadly, it is our life force; the animating energy which gives us life and health.
Qi flows through a network of meridians, which flow throughout our bodies. These meridians animate our vital organs, circulating blood and regulating our vital functions (consciousness, memory, appetite, sleep etc). By the insertion of fine needles into points on the meridians, the strength and smooth flowing of Qi can be enhanced.
The flow of Qi can be disturbed by a number of factors. These include; emotional states such as anxiety, stress, anger, fear or grief; poor nutrition; weather conditions; hereditary factors; infections; poisons and trauma. The principle aim of acupuncture in treating the whole person is to restore the equlibrium between the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of the individual.
Members of the BAcC are bound by strict Codes of Professional, Ethical and Hygenic Practice.
Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) is one of the great herbal traditions of the world, with a recorded history of more than two thousand years. It has retained a strong presence in health provision in China today, where it is practiced alongside western medicine in state hospitals throughout the country, in the treatment of a wide range of conditions.
Treatment with CHM involves the use of combinations of herbs which are tailored to address the particular disharmony of the individual patient; the Chinese materia medica contains several hundred commonly used ingredients, including roots, stems, flowers, leaves and barks, togther with some non-plant materials. This allows the practitioner to create prescriptions which match individual patients' patterms of disharmony, and which can be adapted to meet each patient's changing needs as treatment progresses. The possible uses of CHM are wide and varied, and people of all ages and constitutions can benefit from it.
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