I have since thought a lot about this, and added my own understanding as to why I think acupuncture, or five element acupuncture in particular, needs to stand alone as a discipline. In acupuncture we work from the inside out, stimulating a patient’s own energy back to health and relying only on this energy to do the work. Herbs, on the other hand, are foreign substances entering the body from the outside, and have a different action. To offer both herbs and acupuncture is therefore, to me, a bit like a Pushmi-pullyu approach (a two-headed animal familiar to me from my childhood reading of Doctor Doolittle), as though we may be tugging a patient’s energies in different directions. And, even if I considered it necessary, which I don’t, I certainly haven’t had available to me the years of study required to reach a competent level equivalent to that of my study of acupuncture.
Interestingly, Liu Lihong, my host in
This blog has been prompted by questions from a fellow practitioner who had heard a herbalist “who also does acupuncture” talking about the need always to add herbs to acupuncture for infertility treatment. Many herbalists do a bit of acupuncture, as many acupuncturists feel they should add a few herbs, but in my view you can’t add little snippets of other disciplines into your practice without confusing the elements and, as a five element acupuncturist, that is the last thing you want to do.