Friday, March 5, 2010

"Remember, Nora, five element acupuncture has been going for 2000 years"

Isn’t it interesting how things come towards us, old or new acquaintances encountered, words written or spoken, as though intended to move us on just at the right moment? Just such a thing happened yesterday, when I read an interview with Arnaud Versluys in the latest edition of EJOM, the Journal of Oriental Medicine (Vol 6, No 3, 2009), which has just landed in my letter box. I went to a seminar given by him at the Rothenburg conference a few years ago, and remember listening as other TCM practitioners, not brought up in a five element tradition, showed their fascination with what were, to them, the new ideas in his talk on energy transfers across the five element circle, and thinking to myself, “but this is what I do every day in my practice”.

Some of what he says in this interview resonates so strongly with my thinking that it has helped reinvigorate my hope for the future of acupuncture.

“…… the structure of our medicine is a non-linear, very chaotic structure. It’s not even designed to be known completely. That’s why I strongly advocate that individual practitioners commit to one style of practice. “

“By virtue of practitioners focusing on one style, they would be really good at what they do and they wouldn’t be spread so thin. Because now everybody is spread way too thin.”

But again, on a darker note, “The future of Chinese medicine is dark, cold and basically one of death. We have a few generations left if we are lucky. I don’t see that there is a prosperous, bright future for Chinese medicine.”

His take on the future is understandable, given the acupuncture environment in which he received his training in China, in which a kind of sterile orthodoxy rules, unfortunately like much acupuncture training in this country. I am not so pessimistic, although I, too, have had many dark moments in my fight for five element acupuncture. My fears have dimmed somewhat over the past year, because I have seen evidence that the kind of teaching I received, and, I hope, passed on, has borne greater fruit than I at one point thought possible.

For I was fortunate, as Arnaud Versluys has been, to learn from a clinical teacher of the highest calibre, JR Worsley, with more knowledge in his sensitive finger-tips than any textbook could ever teach. And as I have seen the lineage to which he was heir strengthen and develop in the last years in particular, so my fears have lessened.

To encourage me in my hopes, I always hear JR saying to me, “Remember, Nora, five element acupuncture has been going for 2000 years. It won’t die out now.”

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