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.
Intention: Embodying the Moment, Transforming Disease
Lee Moden EJOM Vol. 6 No. 1 (2008)
Sun Simiao once said: ‘Medicine is yi. Those who are proficient at using yi are good doctors.’ Zhao Xuemin said: ‘Medicine is yi. It is not as good to use medicinals as it is to use yi…’ (Scheid and Bensky, 1998). This article grew out of a passion to explore the root of statements such as these, from an interest in the inner orientation of the practitioner and from the subtle, dynamic interactions between patient and practitioner. It also arose from a belief that from understanding the wisdom of the ancient guiding principles contained within the Chinese medical classics, we may find significant relevance of that wisdom in contemporary practice. It is only by exploring (both cognitively and experientially) these concepts for ourselves that we might avoid dismissing potentially rich information that offers the possibility of deepening our understanding and informing and transforming our practice.
This brief piece clarifies the position on patient confidentiality raised by a reader in response to the author's article ‘Build Up Your Practice With New Patients’ which was published in EJOM Vol 5 No 6.
In this article, an extract from the author's new manual Build a Successful Practice and Retire in Comfort, Rouse discusses the importance of recommendations, the use of incentives, giving talks, writing articles and other methods of building a busy practice.
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
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
Nei Guan: The Inner Gaze - Reflective Practice in Acupuncture Traditions
Richard Blackwell and Paul Hougham EJOM Vol. 3 No. 5
The authors review aspects of what has been termed ‘reflective practice’ and go on to identify its themes within acupuncture traditions. They cite hua (transformation) as our point of origin for education, medicine and spiritual practice; they examine the nature of engaged awareness and the path of the heart; they explore the concept of reflection itself and its role at the core of Daoist alchemy; they develop the notion of acupuncture traditions forming a body of knowledge rather than mere intellectual knowing, and explore the challenges inherent in working from somatic knowledge. They conclude by revisiting reflective practice in the light of Scheid and Bensky’s work on yi - signification, or intent - (published in EJOM Vol. 2 No. 6; Winter 1998/99), and argue for a wide interpretation of reflective practice within acupuncture traditions that honours their roots and diversity and embraces bodywork and the cultivation of inner stillness as much as it does intellectual knowledge. Read the whole article
Western Psychotherapy: An Introductory Overview - Whither the Yin and the Yang?
Kevin Baker EJOM Vol. 2 No. 5
Baker describes the development of modern Western psychotherapy, and Core Process Psychotherapy (CPP), which integrates eastern spiritual traditions with psychotherapy. From this psycho-spiritual perspective, patterns within one's life situations, as well as deeper existential issues including impermanence, insubstantiality and the truth of suffering are explored. The qualities of the therapist are also discussed.
Angela Hicks, John Hicks and Peter Mole EJOM Vol. 5 No. 1
This article is an extract from the book Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture. The authors point out that throughout the history of Chinese medicine, it has been understood that the individuality of the practitioner has an enormous effect on the efficacy of acupuncture treatment. They suggest that because the emphasis of Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture is on treating at the subtlest levels of the person’s qi, it is natural that many practitioners of this style of acupuncture place a great deal of importance on their internal state. A number of issues relating to inner development are discussed including, the practitioner’s inner state, focusing attention, intention, maximising rapport with the patient, compassion, empathy and cultivating linghuo or virtuosity.
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.
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.
The Sculpting of Yi Shi: Alchemical Acupuncture and the Imagination of Dragons
Paul Hougham EJOM Vol. 4 No. 1
This article explores the nature of intention/intent (yi) in acupuncture traditions with reference to some of the classical discussions of intention and in relation to contemporary developments of acupuncture in the West. Its central thesis is that the intention of the practitioner is the principal 'active agent' of acupuncture and is cultivated through the development of the practitioner's senses as embodied in their qi field, this awareness being 'sensory intent' (yi shi). The qi field, with its various shapes, patterns and rhythms (unique to the individual practitioner), is also proposed as the primary diagnostic instrument in acupuncture, operating through the mechanics of resonance (gan ying).
Written by an acupuncture student, this article explores the space for education created by the educator being analogous to the healing space that the acupuncturist, or acupuncturist-educator, must create for the patient, this being the healing space. It is full of wonderful thoughts and insights.
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.
Ladder of the Soul: Ted Kaptchuk Seminar (December 1997; York, UK)
Charles Buck EJOM Vol. 2 No. 5
The author reviews Ted Kaptchuk's seminar that described his interpretation of the shen of the five zang, and his idea of medicine without form. This was described by a famous herbalist who said: 'in the most direct form of healing, the patient feels better before they have taken the medicine’.
Aspects of Clinical Reasoning in the Practice of TCM
Chris Zaslawski EJOM Vol. 2 No. 3
Clinical reasoning is an important aspect underlying the diagnostic methods of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Over the last four decades research has suggested that there are three different models that are indicative of the cognitive aspects of clinical reasoning. This paper examines these three processes, these being hypothetico-deductive reasoning, systematic scanning and pattern recognition and puts them in context of traditional Chinese medicine. It also examines the nature and characteristics of expertise and its role in the clinical reasoning process.
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.
Medicine in China is an exemplar of action that is informed by experience. Experience is important at the level of the archive - 'a two thousand year struggle against disease' - and at the level of individual doctors and their life in medicine. The ability to differentiate symptoms and to plan treatment comes above all from personal and collective experience. The article is reprinted from the author's book Knowing Practice (1993) with permission of the publishers Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, USA.
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.
An Exploration of Ken Wilber’s ‘Integral Vision’ and How it Might Relate to Acupuncturists
Gregor Joepgen EJOM Vol. 4 No. 3
This article explores the work of the American author Ken Wilber, especially looking at those aspects of his theory that might be important for those acupuncturists who are seeking to work as 'integral informed practitioners'. It was decided to use Wilber's term 'integral informed' rather than 'holistic practitioner', because it was felt that the word holistic has been used too often and in a fashion which encompasses all sorts of ideas making it often confusing and not descriptive enough any more. An integral informed practitioner, as Wilber puts it, is someone who is healed and 'wholed' first themselves, before helping others. As will be discussed by the author in more detail, Wilber describes development as a process of transcending and including. Here growth of consciousness therefore means transcending and including, and one might also call it transformation. If we become able through understanding to transcend our own limited views and then to include these views in a new and more spacious awareness and outlook on the world, then our experience will be one which is truly free, to both meet and engage with the new.
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.
In this article the author expands on the contribution that she sees mentoring making to the broader subject of Continuing Professional Development (CPD).She sees mentoring as being like Chinese medicine – it exists to promote 'healthy professional life', to prevent a build up of imbalance or disharmony in our practices, to diagnose the early signs of ill health in our work situations, to offer support and encouragement, to grow self esteem, and a sound structure inside of which we can develop our sense of accountability. Mentoring covers issues of confidentiality, boundaries, projection and transference, building support networks, contracts, time and money management, and how to prevent burn out.
Boost and Harmonise Your Qi with Tai Chi and Qi Gong
John X Zhang EJOM Vol. 4 No. 2
In this article the author share his experience of practising tai chi and qi gong.He also provides some suggestions on how to practise tai chi. He introduces in detail 12 qi gong movements and some meditation techniques which are easy to follow and which have beautifully named movements, e.g. To touch the sun, The playing tiger, Hands in the clouds, Fly in the moonlight.
This is a story of one acupuncturist who has recently graduated to a successful retirement. He writes: millions are not saving enough. Research reported in May 2002 found people were out of touch and had little idea of how big a savings fund they needed on retirement. 15 per cent thought a pot of between £100,000 and £200,000 was enough for a comfortable retirement. 14 per cent thought they would be able to retire with a fund of £20,000-£50,000. People are retiring earlier and living longer and are not saving enough to compensate for this. Experts think you need a pot of £700,000 for a reasonable pension plan. To attain this a 35-year-old would need to save £675 a month and a 45-year-old £1,490.
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.