Saturday, January 5, 2013

Five element distance learning course

I am very much enjoying working on a distance-learning course for my Chinese students. It is quite an intellectually demanding challenge to shape the course, and decide what to include and what to omit. Luckily I have my Handbook of Five element Practice (Mandarin version) to base it on.  I wrote this some years ago, rather quickly, to help my SOFEA students, and on re-reading it now, I’m glad that it will provide a good foundation for those in China wanting to expand their acupuncture skills to include five element acupuncture.

I have completed 10 lessons so far, with suggestions on practical work to accompany selected studies of the text.  I will expand this to about 16 - 18 lessons so that by the end of the course I hope that those who are already acupuncturists will feel sufficiently confident to start practising five element acupuncture, and those who are just interested lay people, of whom there are many in China, will know enough to decide whether they want to start studying it themselves.

I have to keep on reminding myself to remember what we take for granted in our approach to our practice and what my Chinese students have found so intriguingly different.  And here the word “compassion” springs to my mind whenever I think of their surprise.  What represents the warmth and closeness of my relationship with my patients is something that they find surprising and, in many ways disturbing.  One of my students asked, ”But how will I learn to deal with my patients’ emotions?”  Our approach is so different from the standard TCM approach they have been taught at acupuncture college.  What they find most surprising is what we as five element acupuncturists take for granted, which is that we are there to support our patients emotionally.

In the West, with our years of emphasis (over-emphasis some of us would say) on self-development and “finding our inner you”, it comes as a surprise when we encounter cultures where introspection of this kind is a luxury or even frowned upon.  So not only do Chinese students have to learn the technical aspect of five element acupuncture, they have also to make a major emotional re-adjustment inside themselves as they approach a practice which demands empathy as the most important quality in a therapist.

And if all goes well, and I am happy with the course, I may well think if publishing it in English, too!  There are many people all over the world, and not just in China, if readers pf this blog are anything to go by, who may be interested in learning more, and who have no access to any kind of five element teaching.




  1. Thanks Nora. I'm very glad to hear that Five element distance learning course in Chinese will be soon available. Last month when I was back to Beijing, I read The Handbook of Five Element Practice (in Chinese), and found it very inspiring, especially the emphasis on patient’s spiritual health related to the elements and the close relationship between acupuncture practitioner and the patients ,which is often missing the in nowadays acupuncture in China.
    Although I’m not a specialist in the Traditional Chinese Medicine field, I have strong interest of learning the traditional Chinese health methods. I believe five element method not only is useful in the medical field, but also would help people to understand better oneself and others, and to improve the relationship with others.

    Very keen on your Five element distance learning course in Chinese.
    All the best,

  2. Dear Bin
    I'm so glad that you enjoyed reading my Handbook. I will announce in my blog when the Chinese edition of the distance learning course will be available.

    Best wishes

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