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