I have been practising Chinese medicine for nearly 40 years now, and currently practice n Bath. As the years go on, I find it more and more interesting. I feel very privileged to be a member of the great tradition which spans so many centuries, and which is of so much benefit. I finished my first training in acupuncture with Dr. van Buren, at the International College of Oriental Medicine in 1976, and went on to study in China in 1982-3. I was lucky to work in an extraordinary hospital with a very special teacher. The hospital was the Jiangsu Hospital for Traditional Medicine. It was enormous, and had two wings, one for herbal medicine and one for acupuncture, and it had a number of research projects. One of them was on the expulsion of gall stones using acupuncture alone. The hospital was in-patient, based entirely on Traditional Chinese Medicine, except for one small room for ‘Western’ medicine. They dispensed antibiotics there, but most people did not want to take them.
My teacher was Dr. Jiang Cai-Yun (pictured here with her daughter and granddaughter), to whom I owe a great debt. She was one of those rare people who are both clever and compassionate. One day she told me “There are many people who do not come to acupuncture because they fear the pain of the needles. I will show you a needle technique that does not cause pain.” It is this technique which has made it possible for me to treat children, and is the subject of the DVD ‘The Gentle needle’. I have been happy to teach it to many of my students worldwide.
On coming back from China I at last learnt to read some Chinese, enough to be able to translate the medical texts which form the foundations of two books Acupuncture in the Treatment of Children and Acupuncture in the Treatment of Eyes. These are specialist books for the practitioner, and are available from Eastland Press, and their stockists.
I started my practice in Brighton where I started the Foundation for Traditional Medicine Children’s clinic, and after a brief spell in Cambridge (England) went to Seattle USA. I came back to live in Bath in 2002, and have been practising here ever since.
I have two great interests in practice one is treating children, and the other is the treatment of eye disorders. I also love the diversity of a general practice, with the vast range of conditions and problems that people have. It is a constant source of amazement to me how many people can be helped by Chinese medicine.
My Interest in treating children
Not surprisingly, my interest in this area was kindled by having children, who inevitably became prey to the normal childhood illness, and the specially vicious bugs that go round kindergardens. The success I had with my own children, and with others in their class soon gave rise to a stream of children coming to my door. This led me to find out more about this neglected area, and to study Chinese texts. Since then about half my patients have been children. I devote a lot of my energy to teaching parents and practitioners, for I am certain that if more people used natural methods of healing, our children would be healthier.
My Interest in eye diseases
I first became interested in eye problems when a family member was diagnosed with optic atrophy (as it was then known), and was progressively going blind. Fortunately I was able to help him through a combination of acupuncture and herbs, and he retained his eyesight for the rest of his life. Since then I have become interested in many different ways of healing eye conditions for which there is little or no conventional treatment. The underlying assumption of all these alternative methods is that the eye is a living part of a living being which has its own healing powers. By bringing energy to the eyes, they are vitalised, and the healing process can begin. The Chinese have recognised this from the very earliest times, and ophthalmology has been a recognised speciality of herbal medicine for many hundreds of years.