Monday, October 28, 2013

Exciting news!

I am making the big time soon in terms of my publications!  Singing Dragon Press is about to publish three of my four books in mid-November.  From that date onwards I will not be selling any more of my books through the SOFEA website.  As Jessica Kingsley, the Managing Director of Singing Dragon Press, so succinctly put it, I will thankfully no longer need to pack up my own books but can now pass this job on to somebody else to do.

Below are details for how to order the first three books:

(this was formerly called The Pattern of Things)

Simple Guide to Five Element Acupuncture\;

These three books are the same publications as before, but in an exciting new format. 
My fourth book, The Handbook of Five Element Practice, has, however, been greatly revised, and now includes an appendix which is a Teach Yourself Manual for all those who have no opportunity to obtain some formal five element training or find a five element tutor.  I have also updated much of the information about point selection, adding a list of my 60 favourite points.  It is in its final proof-reading stage, and should be published by the end of the year.

You are the best acupuncture textbook you will ever read

Following on from my blog of 17 October about practitioners being sure of their element, there is another important reason for this.  In our lifetime each of us will only get to understand one element out of the five deeply from inside as it were, that of our own guardian element – that is, unless we believe, as I do not, that we change elements during our lifetime.  That being so, we need to use this insider knowledge to our advantage, by studying ourselves closely.
I think we think we know ourselves, but I have found that, even after 30 years of close study of myself and my element Fire, I can still surprise myself with my reactions to a situation.  It is only when I look closely at a particular response of mine that I realise, often to my own amusement, how typical of the Small Intestine it is, and therefore how much new light I myself continue to shed on this aspect of Fire.
Of course, being the Small Intestine part of Fire, and therefore only too happy to sort everything which comes my way, it is inevitable that I will be particularly concerned with constantly analysing my reactions in that endlessly busy way the Small Intestine, the “sorter”, always does, but there is a lesson here for practitioners of other elements.  We are all walking textbooks teaching us in detail about one of the five elements.  By knowing ourselves well, we will therefore gain a deep understanding of at least one-fifth of the five element circle.
So to help those of you who are not of the Fire element, but who would like to understand how Fire, and Inner Fire in particular, reacts to different situations, I will keep on doing what I have done in previous blogs, and give you insights into the busy workings of my Small Intestine.  At the same time I will try not to neglect the other elements, but what I write about these will always be slightly coloured by my own element, and therefore be slightly from an outsider’s point of view rather from the inside.  Those of other elements will have to be their own textbooks for these.
Rather frivolously, I have been thinking how very convenient it would be if all five element acupuncturists could find four other practitioners, one from each of the remaining elements, so that together they can form the complete circle of the elements and give themselves the opportunity continuously to share their personal insights with each other.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Mixing business with pleasure: an example of the Metal element, particularly for those in Australia

I was watching an Australian cricketer talking on TV, and wondered, as I always do, what element I thought he was.  Suddenly I realised that his eyes reminded me of somebody.  “Who was it?”, I thought, and gradually pinned it down to the eyes of that famous English actor, Laurence Olivier, who I had always thought of as definitely being Metal, particularly because of his voice.  So was this cricketer Metal, too?  Luckily the interview was quite a long one and I had plenty of time to watch and listen to him carefully.  And yes, I decided to diagnose him as Metal, a preliminary diagnosis, of course, which was only my first hypothesis, but one that I felt as happy with as I could be after only 10 minutes listening to him and watching his interaction with his interviewer.

His eyes were definitely sad, and had that far-away, serious look I associate with Metal.  And the way he talked, too, was familiar to me as pointing me towards some of the Metal people I know.  He spoke carefully, as if he had been working through things very systematically, and he was keen to answer the interviewer’s questions in as clear and straightforward a way as possible.  There was no attempt to try to engage the interviewer in any kind of relationship, as Fire or Earth might have done.  At the end of the interview I was left with a feeling of having been in the presence of somebody very self-contained.  All of this pointed to the Metal element, I thought.

Of course you will have to be somebody as keen on cricket as those in India or Australia to track down any interviews with this particular cricketer, but for those who want to have a good example of Metal to add to their library of Metal characteristics look for anything about the Australian cricketer, Ryan Harris, that you can find.  And, whilst you are doing that, if you want a good comparison with the Fire element, you can do no better than watching the Australian cricket captain, Michael Clarke, who is an excellent example of a contrasting approach to being interviewed.

I have always enjoyed watching sport since I was a little girl and we were taken by our father to see many of the events in the 1948 Olympic Games.  Now I can enjoy this from an additional angle, not only from the point of view of the sport itself, but adding to it a bit of spice by trying to work out the athletes’ elements.  This makes my TV watching both an enjoyable and an instructive exercise.  As the saying goes, it is a good way of mixing business with pleasure.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How important is it that a five element practitioner is sure of their own element?

One of the problems I face now when teaching students about five element acupuncture is that they are all too often unsure of their own element, and this casts a shadow of insecurity over their belief in five element practice as a whole.  I think that this has a lot to do with there being so few five element teachers around now confident enough to make a diagnosis (see my blog of 11 September), plus the understandable reluctance of even experienced practitioners to venture a diagnosis in case they step on the toes of a colleague who may be treating the student.  So there is now greater timidity about moving into the area of diagnosing than there was in the good old days when we all clamoured to have JR Worsley diagnose us with the heartfelt approval of whatever practitioner we happened to have at the time.

Gone are those days and with them is gone the certainty which this led to.  As I have often said, our particular guardian element shapes the whole of our life, including how we interact with our patients.  Not to understand the nature of that interaction is to lose much essential information about our patients and may also cloud our judgement.  It can certainly undermine our faith in what we are doing.

So I plead with all those who practise or are studying five element acupuncture to persist in their efforts to work out what their own element is, and, if they feel their treatment is not supporting them in the way they hoped, to dare discuss this with their practitioner  A practitioner must always listen if a patient, particularly another practitioner, is unhappy with the treatment offered.  As everybody knows, it will always take some time to find the right element, and all of us five element practitioners should welcome any input from our colleagues to help us in any way reach a correct diagnosis, rather than, as is all too likely, feeling threatened.

If a practitioner is unsure of their own element, how effective do we think the treatments they offer others will be, based as they will be on an underlying feeling of insecurity?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Translator's note to Mandarin version of revised Handbook of Five Element Practice

Mei Long has just sent to the Chinese publishers her translator's note to the revised edition of my Handbook of Five Element Practice which is just about to appear both in England under the label of Singing Dragon Press, and in China.  Here is what she has written:

“In the autumn of 2011, my translation of The Handbook of Five Element Practice was published for the first time in China.  This was the first time that people started gradually to learn about what at the time was still a quite unfamiliar school of acupuncture.

In the past two years, Nora Franglen, at the invitation of Professor Liu Lihong, has visited Nanning four times to teach five element acupuncture to students from all over China and the world. During all these visits, I was privileged to be able to assist and accompany her.  It was through such close contact with her that I was able to receive the personal transmission of her teachings which I will always cherish.
Nora has always said that the transmission of five element acupuncture is her calling.  There are, however, only a limited number of students who are able to receive her teachings in China.  And other considerations, such as her age and the distance between London and Nanning, certainly do not make things easier.   In order to help as many people as possible to learn five element acupuncture, Nora therefore decided to compile a Teach Yourself Five Element Acupuncture Manual, which is intended to be used in conjunction with the Handbook.  She has also revised the Handbook quite extensively, adding a whole new chapter relating to treatment and point selection.  The revised Handbook enables us not only to catch glimpses of the beauty of a long lineage and its personal transmission, but also to enjoy the inspiration which illuminates it.   The Teach Yourself Manual, added as an appendix to the Handbook, is quite simple to use, but forms part of a profound level of transmission. I believe that those who truly follow her teaching will gradually start appreciating the amazing beauty of five element acupuncture.”


Thursday, October 10, 2013

What's in a name?

I have often been asked why I call a person’s element their Guardian Element.  And my answer to this is always the same.  When I first learned about the elements and each person’s attachment to one element, we called that element the person’s CF, an abbreviation for the Causative Factor of Disease, coined by JR Worsley.  During my years of study under him it was clear that he regarded the CF not simply as the cause of disease, the place of weakness in the five element circle where illness might strike, but as the focal point for a person’s life, both as regards ill-health and health.  In other words, this element was just as much the causative factor of good health as of disease.

I like to move away from the emphasis on disease implied by the tern CF to a wider and more positive interpretation, and coined the phrase Guardian Element, because that is how I see the element we are endowed with in its widest sense.  When weak it may well cause illness, but when strong it defends us, sheltering us under its wings, like some guardian angel watching over us - hence the term.

But whether we call an element our CF, our Guardian Element or, another phrase often used, our Constitutional Element, matters not one jot, provided that we recognise that our individual character is shaped, body and soul, by that element’s features.  So you can take your pick!


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Making a book out of my blogs

My next project is to re-read my 3 years of blogs, and decide whether they would fit well into a book format.  I have read through about a third of them so far, and am surprised at how happy I would be with drawing them together into a book. 

Blogs are for a quick glance and an even quicker read-through.  They are more in the nature of offering readers a snack, a bite of information, rather than the sustaining meal of a book.  At least this is how I see them.  Since I feel what I have read so far merits as much time spent on it as readers of my books must have done, I think assembling them as a book will not only be enjoyable for me, but worthwhile, I hope, for my readers.  I always feel it is much easier on the eye to page through a book than to scroll down a computer screen, but then, as you know, I am not a great fan of Kindle and other e-books, however practical they may be.

The only other book of blogs I have read is that by Mary Beard, called It’s a don’s life.  She has written some interesting things about the advantage of a blog in the shape of a book which have encouraged me in this particular venture.  I will make a final decision when I have read all my blog posts.