Chinese Medicine a Ilula, Tanzania: An Experience in Learning
Elisa Rossi EJOM Vol. 7 No. 2 (2012)
A fascinating account of a Chinese medicine training course given by the author and a colleague, Giovanni Giambalvo Dal Ben, to a group of health workers in rural Tanzania, on behalf of Agopuntura Senza Frontiere (Acupuncture Without Borders). In a journal-style report, the author shows how the group, who knew nothing of Chinese medicine and who had very limited experience of studying, got to recognise the basic pathological patterns without any previous knowledge of wu xing, jing luo, zang fu. In her view, it was deeply reassuring that Chinese medicine is so close to reality that a theoretical model is not strictly necessary to be able to use it, at least in the first steps of the learning process.
Arnaud Versluys - a passionate and charismatic advocate of the clinical use of classical formulas from the Shang Han Lun and Jing Gui Yao Lue - answers questions about his education in China (right through to doctorate level) and his insights into the study and practice of Chinese medicine.
Acupuncture and Physiotherapists - A Personal View
Val Hopwood EJOM Vol. 6 No. 2 (2009)
This article, written by a well-known physiotherapist and acupuncturist, traces the growing adoption of acupuncture by physiotherapists in the UK, dating back to 1982 when it was approved by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists as an adjunctive skill for pain relief. She outlines the development of the educational frameworks which have enabled this process to the point where there are now nearly 6,000 UK physios who use some form of acupuncture. The tensions between physios and professional acupuncturists which arose during this process are mentioned. She argues, however, that it has been good not just for patients and for the physios themselves, but also, somewhat more controversially, for professional acupuncturists as well, because it has increased the respectability of the therapy and facilitated its inclusion in National Health Service provision.
Prepared for Practice? An EJOM Poll of Recent Graduates
EJOM Team EJOM Vol. 5 No. 6
A poll was conducted of graduates from UK acupuncture teaching institutions in the UK who had joined the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) in 2005-2006. The e-mail survey examined graduates’ views on how they had been prepared by their teaching institutions for the ‘business side’ of acupuncture, particularly setting up, running and building a practice. The findings of this informal ‘finger in the wind’ poll, which elicited responses from about ten percent of those contacted, suggest that these graduates appeared to be dissatisfied with this aspect of their training and are finding it hard to make a living in their new profession.
Holistic Medicine and Holistic Education: Radical Side Effects of Acupuncture Accreditation
Paul Hougham & Allen Parrott EJOM Vol. 5 No. 5
Since 1990 the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAB) has been accrediting licentiate and degree level acupuncture professional courses in Britain. Its success as a rigorous regulator has been celebrated by government and even noted by other healthcare professions, but its accreditation processes have also had beneficial educational effects. The work of the Board has been helping the acupuncture profession to move purposefully towards a sophisticated framework of educational practice that is marked by the same holistic world view as the practice of acupuncture itself. In the main acupuncture traditions, holism is the starting point for all theory and for all practice. In medical contexts, holism entails the integration and interpenetration of the life of the spirit with that of the mind and body, requiring always that the whole person be treated in sickness and in health. There is nothing irrational or anti-empirical about this holism, even though it takes practitioners into areas of reality and knowledge uncharted by mainstream medical science. This article tracks the central rhythms of the holistic education vision developed by the British Acupuncture Council, explains the role of its Accreditation Board, and suggests how the vision might speak to a wider audience.
Teaching Chinese Pulse Images: The Three Step System of Chinese Pulse Reading
Frances Turner EJOM Vol. 5 No. 4
This article starts by outlining the challenge of pulse diagnosis and the problems that can arise in getting to grips with the 28+ pulses of Chinese medicine. It goes on to offer a way of meeting this challenge: the Three Step System of Chinese Pulse Reading. It presents the Three Steps in a systematic and simple way, highlighting confusions that can arise in the translation of Chinese pulse images into English, and shows how the Three Step System can make accessible a subject that sometimes seems difficult and unapproachable. Read the whole article
Great Talents Ripen Late: Continuing Education in the Acupuncture Profession
Hugh MacPherson EJOM Vol. 1 No. 6
Hugh MacPherson, principal of the Northern College of Acupuncture, York, looks into the issue of continuing education, assessment of standards and competence, and the support of practitioners moving from dependency at colleges to autonomy in practice. He covers the future role of the professional body and the prospect of professional reaccreditation, and stresses the need for involvement of individual practitioners in future planning. Read the whole article
Essential Aspects of the Japanese Healing Arts
Miki Shima EJOM Vol. 1 No. 4
Many schools of thought have flourished in Japan since Chinese medicine was introduced 1,200 years ago. Unique evolved practice includes abdominal diagnosis and treatment - toxins in the abdomen are declared the source of all human ills - and point location by direct palpation rather than by visual observation of anatomical structures. Rigorous practical application is superior to book learning. Read the whole article
Reflective Practice, Professionalism and Acupuncture Education
Ann Hopper and Allen Parrott EJOM Vol. 5 No. 1
Although reflective practice has been adopted as an educational approach in a number of mainstream professions over the years, it would seem to have a special affinity with the emerging profession of traditional acupuncture. Like acupuncture, reflective practice encourages people to look at everyday experience in a different way. Both insist on the uniqueness of particular situations and the importance of context. Each shares a suspicion of ‘off-the-peg’ prescriptions and universal solutions to life’s problems. In these ways they act as a necessary counterweight to the current dominance in the western world of a narrow scientific and objectivist approach to life and knowledge. The authors carefully deconstruct the view that reflective practice means nothing more than a mental review or a rehearsal in the brain of things that have happened during one’s working day, and then move on to discuss the teaching and learning of reflective practice on professional degree courses. Read the whole article
A Day in the Life of a Reflective Teacher
Felicity Moir EJOM Vol. 5 No. 1
This paper seeks to explain the inner deliberations of a clinical teacher in an acupuncture clinic. The intentions of the research were twofold: to explore the method of reflection as a research tool within clinical teaching and through this to illuminate the personal filters through which I view my teaching. Reflection is a powerful tool that can help reveal the dissonance between our espoused theories of adult education and our theories-in-use. Being both patient-centred and student-centred generates tensions that impact on our teaching.
This article explores the challenges facing traditional Chinese medicine as it enters a new era of professionalisation. With its roots in a traditional master-apprentice model, and a concept of qi in its knowledge and skills, Chinese medicine might at first sight appear to be quite unsuited to today’s educational environment. Yet, examining some of the traits within the traditional learning styles, and with reference to the work of Roger Neighbour for the vocational training of general medical practitioners, the author finds that an ‘inner apprentice’ can be released when awareness-centred, student-led methods are used. The release of the ‘inner apprentice’ aids the capture of the indefinable ‘spirit of Chinese medicine – and a sense of qi’ by the student, but it can still escape assessment. The article examines this point of tension.
Language Referencing in the Teaching of Chinese Medicine
Frances Turner EJOM Vol. 4 No. 5
This article - subtitled 'How Teachers’ Use of Language Reflects Their Perception of the Characteristics of Chinese Medicine' - is a summary of an MPhil research degree, completed by the author at ExeterUniversity in 2003.The study, which was based on interviews with 20 practitioners, teachers and authors of Chinese medicine, examined respondent approaches to the importance of language in the teaching of Chinese medicine, ranging from the view that it is practice which is important, not language, to the view that theory and practice, like language and understanding, are inextricably linked in a circular relationship, and that language is central to the preservation of Chinese medicine itself.The non-standardisation of the language of Chinese medicine in the West reflects a rich melting pot of different approaches to the discipline itself. The author considers that one of the most interesting findings of this study was that since our understanding of what we do is expressed in the language we use, our language use is a reflection of what we perceive Chinese medicine to be. Read the whole article.
Pillow Needles and C Scores as Reflections on Growing an Acupuncturist
Susanna Dowie EJOM Vol. 4 No. 2
This article is the author's exploration of what it means to be an acupuncturist, with reflections on how and why the profession has changed over the last 25 years, and the development of professionalism. The article examines how far an acupuncturist is born and how far they can be grown, with particular reference to the means whereby suitable students can be selected for training. Also considered are the roles of the therapeutic relationship in successful practice and that of continuing professional development in the never-ending journey towards mastery of Chinese medicine Read the whole article
Angela Llewellyn EJOM Vol. 3 No. 6
This article examines the elements of medical eclecticism revealed in the developing practices of eight acupuncturists working in the south of England. Further, a consideration of their different understandings and insights into the processes involved is undertaken, concentrating in particular on issues of change and continuity, attitudes to biomedicine, interactions with patients and their expectations, and the influence of practitioners' spirituality on their work. The article also hopes to throw some light on the dynamics involved when an ancient oriental medicine is transplanted into a competitive, multi-cultural western social and medical environment.
Continuing Professional Development: A Pilot Study
Emma White EJOM Vol. 3 No. 6
This paper presents the findings from a survey conducted on behalf of the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC). It was conducted among 121 members in June 2001. The aim of the survey was to assist the BAcC to prepare a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme for members which takes account of the CPD members are already doing as part of their busy practices, and which also takes into account the acupuncture tradition. This paper sets out the survey design and then goes on to report on three aspects of the survey.
The Personal and Professional Maturation of Acupuncture Students: The Lived Experience
Susanna Dowie EJOM Vol. 3 No. 4
The author writes about her exploration and research study of student motivation, maturation and development, comparing her findings with those of other writers in the areas of education, nursing, acupuncture, psychology and spiritual development.
In this paper it is argued that a proper balance between self-regulation and public accountability is essential to the development of a modern profession. Traditionally, the ancient professions have been strong on the first but weak on the second of these criteria. The emerging professions of complementary medicine are conducting their own struggles towards legitimacy. Accreditation of the teaching colleges is regarded here as a principal means whereby a profession might move towards self-regulation and public accountability. A review of the acupuncture profession's espousal of accreditation is offered together with some evaluation findings. It is suggested that there may be important discontinuities between the epistemologies of accreditation and holistic medicine. These tensions call for further and radical thought on the destiny of complementary therapies in a positivist world.
Chris Zaslawski, an associate lecturer at the College of Acupuncture, University of Technology, Sydney, discusses the need for the student acupuncturist to gain practical knowledge as distinct from theoretical or propositional knowledge. Working from an analytical study, he identifies a number of educational strategies that will enhance and enrich the development of practical knowledge within the context of clinical training.
Preparing Professional Practitioners: Two Approaches
Della Fish EJOM Vol. 1 No. 6
Della Fish, the accreditation officer for the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board and former principal lecturer in education at Brunel University, shares some personal thoughts about the complexities of designing educational programmes both to prepare students to become professional practitioners and to further develop their expertise. She discusses competency-based professional education and reflective practitioner philosophy.
Felicity Moir, principal of the London School of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, discusses ways in which her college has worked towards developing their students as reflective practitioners, with the introduction of problem-based learning, changes in learning methods and a re-education of teachers, so that they can assist these techniques.
Educational and Professional Developments in Acupuncture in Britain
Professor Mike Saks EJOM Vol. 1 No. 6
Professor Mike Saks gives a concise history of the development of acupuncture in Britain from the seventeenth century and looks at the modern day situation in which he believes that the level of educational and professional development in acupuncture could be pivotal to its future standing.
Dan Kenner, a Californian practitioner who spent six years training in Japan, describes the training by apprenticeship in Japan and pleads for the restoration of practical forms of internship and apprenticeship in western medical training. He also discusses his system for encouraging practitioners to develop their own formulae 'software'.
Developments in the Education of Medical Students: What it May be Useful for Us to Know
Gerry Harris EJOM Vol. 1 No. 6
Gerry Harris, a practitioner and teacher of acupuncture, who is involved with medical education at St. Bartholomew's and the Royal London Hospital School for Medicine and Dentistry, reviews four of the main recommendations made by the General Medical Council in 1993 aimed at improving the way in which medical students are educated, to make the system more humane for staff, students and ulitmately the patients.
Sibyl Coldham, a former school English teacher who is registrar of the London School of Acupuncture, discusses the preparation of a curriculum that implements an educational policy, development of the syllabus and assessment and evaluation of the students.
Paul Karston is director of the Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine and pursuing graduate studies in bioethics and medical education at the University of Washington. He discusses the changing style of medical education from classroom science instruction to working with patients in the clinic, a return to a 'problem-based' approach, and reports on the new teaching along these lines at Seattle Institute.
Consistency, Internal Coherence & Systematic Practice: Starting Points on the Road to Artistry in CM
Geoff Wadlow EJOM Vol. 1 No. 5
Geoff Wadlow, founding director of the London School of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, responds to an article in the previous edition (EJOM, Vol 1, No 4), called 'Home and Away' by Volker Scheid, who described his impressions during a year studying in Beijing. Mr Wadlow talks about his own visit to China and makes the point that 'diversity flows out of a common heritage...the spirit of which we can only glimpse at and fleetingly experience because we are not Chinese, born and bred in China.'
Korean oriental medicine is a natural medical science with theory and knowledge derived from an experience unique to Korean traditional living culture. It comprises treatment by acupuncture and herbal medicine based on orthodox medical theories.
As a medical anthropologist in China, the author paints a picture of Chinese medicine not necessarily visible from within the international training centres. He explores the changing nature of acupuncture in contemporary China and its relationship to western medical practice in that country. He then compares it with how Chinese medicine is presented in the west, often as a search for a systematic approach. His challenge to attempted integration calls for serious reflection.
The author addresses the lack of support for newly qualified acupuncturists. He begins by outlining some of the specific problems they face, and then suggests some of the possible ways in which a supervisory system could help. Based on the experiences of the Northern College of Acupuncture in the UK, he describes four stages in the development of a practitioner after qualification, leading ultimately to mastery. He examines the possible role of a supervisor in each stage.
There is an increasing tendency for professional organisations to adopt a more formalised approach to continuing professional development (CPD) suitable for busy practitioners. This article briefly outlines the accepted educational principles that describe how adults learn and demonstrates how these are put into practice when creating individual portfolios of learning (professional development plans). It also explains and gives examples of how to undertake learning needs assessment exercises in your practice, and how to write learning outcomes to give a flavour of the portfolio based learning approach. Finally, it raises some of the issues that the acupuncture profession needs to address before any system of CPD is adopted.
The author reflects upon his own professional development and growth as an acupuncturist and how the practice of acupuncture affects not only patients but how the activity also has an influence upon the practitioner.
The Role of Standardised Textbooks and Learning Acumoxa in Contemporary China
Cinzia Scorzon EJOM Vol. 4 No. 2
This article is an extract from the author's MSc dissertation. It examines the function of standardised Chinese medicine (CM) textbooks in contemporary China. In her thesis, she investigates how standardised textbooks of acupuncture and moxibustion1 were initially written, introduced and used in the TCM universities in contemporary China. The first edition of these textbooks was compiled at the end of the 1950s; since then they have been used as course material in CM universities nationwide in the teaching of undergraduate courses on which written examinations are based. The textbooks are regularly revised and updated and the most recent sixth edition was introduced in the late 1990s. What is the role, however, that these contemporary textbooks play in learning CM?
The author reports on a visit to three representative colleges of Oriental Medicine (OM) in Australia, two university-based and one a large private degree status college, as part of a fact finding mission which could inform future plans in the UK for providing OM education, curriculum planning and government/state regulation. OM is well established in Australia, backed by state support and stringently supervised by the Environmental Health Department, based on appropriate legislation and clear guidelines for acupuncture and herbal medicine education. There seems to be agreement amongst college principals in Australia in favour of state registration, with domestic curricular guidelines being brought in line across the English speaking world, and courses aiming at 2,400 hours (750 hours spent on Western science, 750 on acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine theory, 750 in clinical training and 250 in practitioner development).