Illustrated lessons and demonstrations with Julian Scott Published by The Journal of Chinese Medicine, 2011 3-DVD set Running time: 4hr 22min DVD box set price: £40-£48 Digital download from JCM website: £30
(Reviewed by Nicholas Haines, EJOM Vol. 7 No. 1)
Julian Scott has a wealth of experience both as a leading expert in the treatment of children with acupuncture and as someone who has had a lifelong professional interest in the treatment of eye diseases. Although these two fields of expertise may seem disconnected, they both very much rely on a need for precise diagnosis and a confidence in one’s own ability and knowledge to tackle these areas.
Julian Scott, from the start of the first DVD, sets a reassuring tone as he lays out his philosophy for treating eye disorders. Within this he draws from what is clearly a large body of knowledge and experience, looking at how eye disorders are driven by systemic problems as much as they are local.
This reassurance of the efficacy of acupuncture and adjunct treatments sets the tone for the rest of the DVDs. Unfortunately within this Julian falls into the classic mistake that you see with many such videos and DVDs of letting the energy drop while speaking to camera. It is really hard to keep the pace going without a live audience, but this slightly slower presentation style weakens the impact of earlier sections.
Having said that, he covers the basic Western anatomy and disease categories well and the video allows the use of multiple illustrations. Although this section didn’t claim to be anything other than basic information it felt quite basic and may be more relevant to someone either refreshing their knowledge in this area or just starting out in practice. This is not a problem and is useful information.
Julian draws from the classics, and his experience when discussing the zang fu and the eyes again brings home the holistic nature of Chinese medicine and the difference we can make to our patients. There is a nice section on the nature and naming of acupuncture points that illustrated well the concepts of treating eye disorders.
The use of video comes into its own when Julian moves on to the sections looking at local needling. This is an area that often unnerves practitioners. So watching an expert at work was both instructional and reassuring and the slower pace plays to his and our advantage. I found in clinic I was using a wider variety of points, as is so often the case when one is exploring a subject in greater depth.
We are then taken through a section looking at principles of treatment and treatment strategies for common diseases. These include: open angle glaucoma, optic atrophy, retinal bleeding, diabetic retinopathy, dry eyes, cataract, short sight, crossed eyes in children and conjunctivitis.
I found myself making notes for reference later, realising I was to a certain extent wishing I had the book as a reference rather than writing my own notes. Again Julian showed why he is regarded as an expert within this field.
These common diseases were really well presented and Julian’s experience with treating children was clearly evident. The session on qi gong massage for the eyes gave a useful set of tools to show your patients, and the ability to leave my patient watching the DVD was an added bonus.
Although the sales material mentions that the DVD is designed for domestic players, the playback on my laptop didn’t cause any sound or picture issues.
Overall the material and content was good, the use of video was put to good use in the needling section, but the speed of delivery and the fact that you then had to take notes for reference later made me at times wish I had the same content in a book, especially as it would undoubtedly be cheaper.
I would recommend the DVD, but it would probably be most relevant for the slightly less experienced practitioner, which is no bad thing, and not a criticism. I would probably buy the digital download for £30 rather than spending £40 for the DVD set in physical form.
It was worth it for the needling section and the overall confidence building that Julian does so well.
Nicholas Haines Nicholas Haines trained in America, China and the UK in the early 1980’s. He co-founded the Northern College of Acupuncture in 1989 and runs a busy practice from his multi-disciplinary Health Centre in Nottingham. He has had for the last 18 years at least a six-month wait to see him as a new patient and teaches the art of practice building,