Beyond Styles of Practice
Over the last fifty years, our understanding of what Chinese medicine is has fundamentally changed. If we once thought it was a single system of medicine, we now know that Chinese medicine is a family of many different styles of practice. In acupuncture, for instance, there are the Tung style, the Tan style, the various styles of Japanese meridian therapy, five element acupuncture, stems and branches acupuncture, Korean hand acupuncture, TCM acupuncture, and various types of scalp acupuncture to name just a few. In herbal medicine popular styles include the various styles of “classical formula” practice, TCM (which really is a type of “modern formula” style), Japanese Kampo, Korean constitutional therapy, as well as many types of specialisation.
So what should we do? Study all of them? Some of them? Which ones? Why those and not others?
In the long history of Chinese medicine, there are many physicians who promote their own style, many others who try to synthesise difference, and as many who tell us that effective practice must be tailored to the individual patient not the disease or pattern. Only a few explicitly teach us how to become meta-physicians.
Meta-practice is a method for working systematically with different styles of practice in East Asian medicine without seeking to reduce them to a single system. In fact, the ultimate goal is for you to develop your own style of practice that suits your patients and who you are. To get there demands dedication and, if possible, guidance based on a deep and intimate familiarity with the East Asian medical tradition. This is what my training programs in Advanced Chinese Medicine provide.
Meta-practice revolves around three core elements: knowledge of how things like bodies are constituted, how they work and of how such knowledge has changed over time, sometimes referred to as principles (li 理); a toolbox of diagnostic and therapeutic tools, strategies or methods (fa 法); and an ability to constellate knowledge and methods in a clinically effective manner by developing appropriate skills at intention/attention/judgement/meaning-giving (yi 意). Put all of this together and it flows (tong 通) in both you and the patient.
My courses ar designed to help you develop such knowledge, tools and skills by providing you with
a deeper understanding of Chinese medicine anatomy, physiology and pathology
a deeper understanding of key concepts in Chinese medicine and their change over time
diagnostic and therapeutic methods that build from the simple to the complex
skills for putting it all together
To this end I draw on my extensive knowledge of Chinese medical history and literature, almost forty years of clinical practice, and more than two decades of teaching in Europe, the US and Australia.