I have been asked to give the keynote address at the British Acupuncture Council’s Annual Conference at the end of September 2014. I hesitated a little before accepting, since giving public talks is not what I wish to do now (except in China!), but then I decided to accept because what I have been asked to talk about is my role in the return of five element acupuncture to China. And that is something I feel very passionate about.
I have to provide a title for my talk, and two have so far occurred to me: “Five element acupuncture comes full circle” and “The return of five element acupuncture to its roots in China”. Probably I will decide on a title which brings these two thoughts together.
The real impetus to my accepting the BAC’s invitation is my strong belief that everybody involved in acupuncture, particularly those practising what I call modern Chinese acupuncture, commonly known as TCM, should be aware of how little of the spirit is involved in its practice, whereas how much of the spirit is there in the classics which all Chinese acupuncturists still learn as though by rote. This leads to a kind of subtle schizophrenia in relation to their practice, where, my Chinese students tell me, no attention at all is paid to the spirit, despite it being so heavily emphasized in classical texts.
I feel the return of five element acupuncture to China is an important step towards bridging this unnecessary divide. And it is regarded as such by all I encounter in China. As one very senior regional official told me as I treated him, “We have lost our soul in China. We need you here.”