Having completed the course, my expectations were far exceeded. I am left with a sense of confidence and certainty in my ability as a practitioner and inspired to continue down the route of fertility and female health.
I feel honoured and privileged to have had the pleasure of hearing Jamie lecture. The topics discussed were delivered in a captivating and straightforward way. Most importantly, practical treatment approaches and fundamental principles in TCM and 5E were covered.
From day one there has been an emphasis on practice as much as on theory. Most days consisted of a lecture combined with demonstrations and student practice relevant to the day’s teaching.
We were introduced to a wide range of acupuncture techniques and equipment such as electro-acupuncture, moxa, cupping and various complimentary massage techniques to name a few. This allows us to practice and experience with confidence all that acupuncture has to offer.
During the post grad part of the course, we participated in lectures on topics such as sport injuries, auricular acupuncture, gynaecology, cancer and facial rejuvenation given by acupuncturists who specialize in those fields. The lectures were insightful and incredibly interesting.
In clinic (post grad) we treated patients under supervision. This allowed us to put what we’ve learned into practice and discuss and adjust treatment plans with Jamie’s guidance as needed. Throughout the course he was great for giving constructive feedback tailored to the individual student’s need and was always welcoming of questions.
As previously stated, my expectations of this course were far exceeded. I recommend this course to anyone interested in Acupuncture and healing. Sierra.
Inner talk CD’s are subliminal recordings of affirmations that you play in the background. We have found them really very effective for children and to a lesser extent for adults as well. You put one on quietly in their bedroom whilst they are asleep and the changes can be quite dramatic. For example our son was not participating in sports at school. He said everyone else could run and he could not keep up. He got the idea into his head and would not try. After the CD’s we were out for a walk when he suggested running, he said “we are running, we are on the running team” it was great. Now I have bought and used these (for over £20 each) I have no further use for them so Im selling on e-bay, have a look here or on the Inner Talk website if you are interested: LINK to e-bay
At the Cardiff show I will be offering seated massage, doing a talk about the study of acupuncture (11.30am) and chatting to anyone who passes by, hope to see you there, Jamie.
Program: See this link
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Whilst it seems that acupuncturists do become more present/conscious with experience I am going to suggest that ultimately acupuncture is an obstruction to conscious development. When we say conscious in this context we mean exactly the opposite of what I was conditioned to think it means. I thought to be conscious was to be “compos mentis” and know who I was as an individual person and that my thoughts were real. Now I understand that consciousness means to be conscious of the whole and that nothing perceived by thoughts is real including all the things that I identify with as being me. Even if we choose not to acknowledge it the main reason we come to study acupuncture is because we are interested in ourselves. In fact that is the main thing all humans are interested in. But this does run the risk of taking us on a narcissistic journey via acupuncture theories where we can end up further deluded. We have all kinds of ideas about things like our past lives, our energy fields, the chakras and more. Five Element Acupuncture is particularly prone to this because it is such a good story that it’s easy to get sucked in. People love finding out what their element is so they can indulge in even more naval gazing. One chap I remember did this through three of four elements before settling for Earth, which kind of confirmed it. Another seemed to think that declaring himself Fire would make him the life and soul of the party. It didn’t, it made him an embarrassment and showed up more of another element. If you accept the idea that who we think we are is a composite created out of influences throughout our life experience you can see the risk in this. Once we, or our practitioner have decided what our element is and we start to talk about it, read about it and attend workshops where we act into it and indulge ourselves. There is a genuine risk that we are going to start to create something out of that. Especially when we put ourselves into a like-minded peer group with charismatic teachers. Life is a creative process and we cannot help doing this, but we need to stay aware of the monster we are creating as we do.
The emphasis on individuality is endemic within our culture and arguably this is the route of many problems. Every other TV show seems to re-enforce the message as we admire and venerate the ego. We celebrate our uniqueness, our talent and all that makes us so special. Although at one level this may well be true it runs the risk of imprisoning us in a dream state of separation. Sometimes we even celebrate those who are psychopathic or able to dominate others and accumulate vast quantities of wealth or power. This mind-set tends to re-enforce the ego and convince us that separation is normal rather than draw us to experience the truth of unity. If you can see that this delusion is the madness that is gripping humanity you are getting somewhere (although that is obviously an opinion advanced from a position of separation). The best healers show us there can be an ending of this perceived separation. They see themselves as equal to their patients, not as superior or more knowledgeable but only as more consciously aware. What they do for you they do for themselves and it is actually quite a simple thing, its no thing. They don’t do they just are and when you see this too is when healing occurs. The more you are healed the less you see yourself as an individual or care about your ego and the less you see your healer as healing you. Do you see that since there is no separation the very best thing you could ever do for others is to do the best for yourself? What you do for yourself you do for everyone so long us you understand that yourself is everyone. Next time a cynic asks why you bother with recycling, buying fair-trade food, preying for peace or whatever you choose to do you could point out that everything matters. Every thought carries energy and every emotion and action will influence everything and everyone. Life is not happening to us, it is being created by us. This is the very essence of holism and it goes beyond the individual experience to the ultimate realisation of oneness.
The point about individuality verses separation is very relevant to how acupuncture works. I heard a programme on Radio 4 recently where they were discussing memory. It was suggested that some of our memory may not be within us but outside. As if our brains were like a computer that could link in and out of an external network. Many of us would not be surprised by this idea just as we are not surprised by the evidence that every cell has memory. Any idea we have that we are independent individuals separate from every other living thing is an illusion. We are not only stardust we are the same stardust and we are part of the same interconnected energetic field. Acupuncture works precisely because we are connected in this way and conscious practice is how we encourage and use that connection therapeutically. The connection is always there so we are actually never disconnected but our level of awareness of that connection is variable.
So why not see if you can suspend unconscious thinking for a while and start to be an acupuncturist now. You will need to have faith in the process and to understand that this is not about scientific methodology or evidence gathered in the usual ways. Supposing you treated six patients using a simple points combination and got good results would that help? Some people might need a fancy title or a brass plaque in Harley Street before they were convinced and this wont work for them. But for others some simple theory and practice with patients can be enough. It is simply a question of how easy you find it to accept that acupuncture is what you are rather than what you think you know. Once that moment of stopping is felt you can become more present with your practice.
If the best way to benefit yourself and everyone else alive is to raise the level of your consciousness the question must be how do we do it? In simple terms we emphasise presence over thoughts and pay more attention to feelings. We probably also need to have a conversation with ourselves about the things or circumstances we desire and what we hope they will bring us. I am putting forward various observations and ideas that may help but that is all they are because this is essentially a very personal journey. As I have said, unfortunately there is no guarantee that the study and development of acupuncture skills will help. On the contrary, an over emphasis on the story of acupuncture may engage us in too much thinking and do the opposite.
Many of us are familiar with the phenomenon whereby we find ourselves thinking about someone and then the next minute they phone us. But this is not something you can force. Its no good thinking that by wanting someone to phone you can make them do so, they either will or they wont. In fact it seems that it is when you stop wanting them to phone and just accept the situation it is more likely. This is because what you have done by accepting is to take your desire, need, thoughts and mind out of the equation. You are still ready and responsive if they do, there is still an energetic connection between you, but you are no longer blocking that connection. I think this gives a clue as to how we bring consciousness to our acupuncture. We don’t try too hard but we make it possible by our awareness of the potential. We are not hoping or wanting because those things are about us, but we are allowing by being aware. We need to open up to the part of ourselves that knows things that can only be accessed by being. Sometimes I have found that it is when I give up on my ability to do any good with acupuncture that it starts working. I think this is because by doing so I have taken myself out of the equation and this allows for healing.
There is unconscious behaviour around us all the time so we can learn from that too. We can look at what people are doing everywhere and choose not to join in. Forming views of good and evil and killing those who disagree is an example of unconscious behaviour. Thinking that your name, class, race, beliefs, status or other delusions mean anything at all is also unconscious. Emphasising yourself and your specialness or your greatness are things that will perpetuate the dream of a separate ego. Even an apparently positive thought such as to hope for the best for someone else is unconscious because it is about your hope for a future that does not exist. It may also be about your desire to be the great acupuncturist who cured them. The most effective form of any therapy is that performed by a practitioner who has some of this conscious awareness. Some acupuncturists do have a bit of which explains why they are sometimes so good. But even being on the phone with a more conscious person is potentially an experience of awakening and healing. This is because their presence recognises itself in another and the barriers to perception are relaxed. If you are fortunate enough to look into the eyes of such a person what you see is yourself. The result is some growing realisation that there is only one and that you and they are one. We can only give someone else what we already have and some insight into conscious presence is the greatest gift of all.
I said in an earlier story that the resolution of the issue for the friend with joint problems was another story and this is that story. He found someone to help him raise the level of his conscious awareness. It helped him to accept, relax and allow the pain to just be there. Gradually pain became less of a problem as he began to see it for what it was, just pain. He could see that what he had always thought was his body, his identity and his life was ultimately unreal. Somewhere in that story was the cause of the pain that no intervention had yet been able to find or transform. Slowly he became more aware of the moment he was in and of what was happening but with less desire for a particular outcome. He was a little more like an observer of life and a little less invested in participation in a separate life story. His joints are almost normal now although occasionally pain will return. If it does he simply accepts, observes and allows it to be. As he sits with it and does not try to do or expect anything at all it goes away again. He knows that if it does not it is because he is allowing desire for a future change to block his present moment awareness. This is the only way to resolve those deeply rooted problems that no amount of ordinary unconscious treatment is able to touch. Sometimes practitioners can get depressed about cases like this and start thinking that they don’t know enough or that they have not worked hard enough to understand them. They try all kinds of things like reading more books, consulting their peers or referring people on to “experts”. This may work but when it does not its because the person can only get better if they make the core change my friend made for themselves. The healer gave conscious guidance but letting go of the story of his pain was something that he had to do for himself. It has to be seen that pain is only real when we identify with it as our pain. I am convinced that without this help and transformation he would have spent the remainder of his life in a spiral of drugs, side effects and then stronger drugs until he died. Obviously what he did is a lot easier said than done, but most practitioners will have met with people it appears nobody can help. In such cases some version of the transformation he made is the only way through. The good news is that it tells us there is no human condition that cannot be helped. There is nothing to prevent you doing what that healer did as you develop your own conscious awareness. If you have decided to do it through the medium of acupuncture then Id suggest you stick to easy acupuncture.
Acupuncture almost always works no matter what method you use and most practitioners do help their patients. We can explain how and why it works in terms of Qi and various CM theories or in terms of science or even the placebo. All explanations are valid if people value them and use them. However, if you think that being an acupuncturist is all about the rational mind you will end up chasing your tail. Some of acupunctures effectiveness cannot be analysed or explained unless we embrace consciousness. As we practice we may find that sometimes changes we can’t explain in conventional terms will occur. If we wish to help people with apparently incurable conditions we may need to embrace this and move beyond acupuncture as we know it. Keeping it easy is the first step because a complex hypothesis is more likely to engage the mind and the ego and these are the very things we need to let go of. Healers sometimes describe a hologram where time and matter do not exist and everything can therefore be seen and accessed simultaneously. Maybe this is what we could all see if our thoughts were not creating their own story to distract us. It is ironic that the most profound thing to say in a book about acupuncture is that you need to know it does not exist, but ultimately this is the case. The trend to professionalise acupuncture may have positive aspects to it but the downside is that its more of the same thing we have too much of already. It is more indoctrination into a belief that healing is about knowledge and systems rather than consciousness and presence. In fact that indoctrination is so engrained that we think these methods are the only way to acquire something we cannot understand. The best thing we can do with acupuncture is to use it to get to a point where we can stop. Because although it may be a method that gets us started on a road to consciousness at some point it will get in the way because it is still a story.
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Here I am on a blog about acupuncture and alternative health putting Donald Trump into the headline, is it just to catch your eye? Well, regular readers will know that I do not see acupuncture as an isolated subject in its own right. If you subscribe to a holistic view of life and the natural flow of energy how could you? Nothing exists in isolation, everything is connected and interrelated, and for that reason, Donald Trump is absolutely relevant to a blog about alternative healthcare.
Everyone knows the world is going through a time of great change, it’s all around us: politically, economically, environmentally, in the media, in technology, and the ways we communicate. There is a lot to be afraid of and also a lot to be hopeful about. But the pace of change is so fast it is overwhelming for many of us. One thing I am clear on is that its no good hanging on to the past. We need to be ready to challenge every assumption and belief we have in light of the rapid changes taking place. Take for example Darwin’s theory of evolution and what it says about the “survival of the fittest”. It has long been accepted as the “truth” but did you know that has been disproven? Competition is not the key to survival, it turns out that cooperation is. Do we really think that to continue to compete with each other for the world’s resources, squander them, and hope to “Make America Great again” is going to work as a long-term survival strategy?
Donald Trump is the antithesis of all that is good, he is about the most objectionable and uncooperative person on the planet who just happens to also be the president of a dying empire. He got there through lies and deceit. Trump’s electoral success (and brexit here in the UK) represent the desperate hopes of people who are lost, fearful and confused and cannot embrace change. This is to look back rather than forward and to dream of returning to an age of simplicity and clarity that probably never existed. The only positive thing to say about Trump is that he may be accelerating the pace of change at such a rate that a big implosion and reset may come sooner rather than later. How that actually pans out we will not know until it happens.
All of us need to embrace change and to see ourselves and the world differently. Nothing is not relevant to this including our attitude towards health and health care. That’s our own health, our patients’ health and the health of the planet which are ultimately one and the same.
I suggest that we think globally while working to do good locally.
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Acupuncture has a very good safety record and this is reflected in low insurance costs. The cost of insuring yourself to practice acupuncture in the UK is about £150 a year and this is the same whether you have a certificate from a five-year degree course, a one-year part-time course or possibly an even shorter course. Insurers do ask for details but what their requirements are is not always clear and tends to vary. We have an arrangement with Balens (the best-known CAM insurers) that our graduates can obtain cover.
Critics of shorter courses in acupuncture (most of whom actually have their own agenda) often claim that a short course will not allow for sufficient health and safety training. Yet they fail to explain what it is that takes so long or to supply any evidence to support their contention. In fact since most practitioners have done longer courses and treat more patients overall one could argue that statistically longer qualified practitioners are more likely to have an accident.
Of course, health and safety is number one priority and every acupuncturists first consideration. But it is actually quite straightforward and so long as you adhere to the rules it is simple to implement and maintain. There are essentially 3 parts to acupuncture safety:
Needles/disposal and good hygiene.
Needle depths and needling technique.
Knowing when patients should not have treatment until they have been referred to a GP or hospital.
In fact, most accidents with acupuncture involve things not related to needles or needling. Like falling off couches, falling down stairs or coincidental problems caused by pre-existing and unrelated conditions. One of the most important tips I give my students therefore is to keep an eye out for the unexpected.
Find out more about our one-year acupuncture course by downloading our guide: Click this Link
A quick reminder to anyone considering our Cosmetic Acupuncture Day that we will be running again on 8th August in Bath. This is open to acupuncture students and practitioners who wish to add this extra skill to their repertoire.
Theory: How Cosmetic Acupuncture forms part of your practice and draws on the underlying principles of holistic medicine.
Show and discuss: Tools and equipment including electro-acupuncture machines, derma rollers, oils etc.
Demonstration: The full procedure on a patient including use of specialised equipment and Tui-Na face massage.
Practical: Students practice on one another.
Certificate: of attendance.
Do you want to join an acupuncture course that will include Cosmetic Acupuncture? Click here to download our guide to training and sign up for future mailings.
Water is very special and in fact, its hard to overemphasise how special it is. Without water, there would be no life because life was born out of water and water forms the matrix to sustain life. Our body contains more water than anything else and this is why everyone knows about the importance of hydration now. Some people say that almost all headaches are either directly due to dehydration or that it is a significant contributory factor. But it has also become clear that in some cases even when people do drink enough water they are still not hydrated properly, why not?
Well, it may due to the body’s ability to hydrate using the water you drink and that may depend upon the water itself. If you are interested in energy (Qi) and energetic imprinting just give a moments thought to where water comes from. Down miles of pipes, through pumping stations, past electricity cables, through storage tanks etc. Then it has chlorine added and of course, it also contains all kinds of impurities including hormones and heavy metals. Compare that to the water our distant ancestors drank and remember that in terms of evolution our bodies have not really changed that much in the last few hundred thousand years. We evolved drinking clean, pure, energised water, not this stuff coming out of our taps now.
Although science thinks it knows all about water it does not, which explains why it can’t understand or accept the efficacy of homoeopathy. Water has many mysterious, wonderful and unique qualities including the ability to take on human emotion and feelings and to remember them. So unless your water is coming fresh down a mountain in a stream from the clouds and the rain it may well contain the energetic or emotional imprint of other humans.
I know this may sound a bit far-fetched or “out there’ for some but I’m giving this consideration. I think that people who find themselves very sensitive to emotion and energy generally should try “structured water”. This comes either from a natural source up a mountain (not if it has been put in a plastic bottle though, water picks from up everything it is contained in) or by putting the water through a process to change its structure. Devices to do this are available, we have ordered one and I’ll report on my experience with it another time.
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Some people say acupuncture is a placebo but actually placebo is part of almost every kind of medical or therapeutic treatment dynamic. So we know it is an important factor for effective acupuncture just as we know it is important in a GP’s surgery or hospital.
Although I would contend that acupuncture is not only a placebo there are still many different views about how and why it actually works. Some people might even say that you don’t need to know and the fact that it does is enough. But a discussion can potentially help us to understand our own role in the process and thereby improve our effectiveness. The purpose of all the stories and observations I quote in my blog is to emphasize the diversity and range of acupuncture practice. What these very different experiences and styles show is that all the practitioners have something in common, that they are committed to their chosen method. It is this commitment that gives them the confidence to be acupuncturists.
So it seems that the type of acupuncture is unimportant, it’s the practitioner that makes the difference.
There appears to be no real verifiable evidence that any acupuncture system works better than another and you will always find exceptions to any rule or standard you try and establish. It also seems that many of the assumptions people make are open to question. We assume for example that extensive training followed by many years in practice will make you a better acupuncturist. I have seen lots of evidence to confirm this but I have also seen evidence to flatly contradict it. I remember one occasion when a student practitioner took on a patient who had previously been treated by someone well known and with a big reputation. Despite their lack of experience and status the patient preferred the student and got better results with them. This suggests that the patient/practitioner dynamic is critical for acupuncture. I have observed similar situations many times and have even seen students get their points in the wrong place and needle them with nothing approaching the correct technique, only to have the patient declare that its been the best and most effective treatment they have ever had. This probably also explains why a recent report on employment prospects said that therapists are less likely than most to lose their jobs to technology. I’m convinced that what makes acupuncture effective is the therapeutic relationship, confidence in the theory, the sensing of Qi and above all the practice. Acupuncture is a way of being first and a learnt system with skills to practice second and I believe that to some extent you could say the same about many other medical practices. This is not to suggest that what we are taught and what we can learn from the experience of others is invalid but that we need to put it into context. Its purpose is as a catalyst or a tool to allow us to bridge the gap between ourselves and the people we think are separate from us. My observations also suggest to me that methods that work well and resonate for some people do not work so well for others, just as some people like one practitioner or style of needling and others like another. Unfortunately since acupuncturists are trained to believe the theory is real they can tend to think that their particular brand or style is superior and therefore produces more effective treatment. Occasionally this can even lead to almost cult like behaviour if people are susceptible and needy of that. The acupuncture still works but such thoughts can take practitioners out of the moment where they are in practice and into the ego. Consequently acupuncturists have a reputation for being opinionated and there is even an account of someone being murdered for speaking his mind in China. Through the years I have heard many people including some very good practitioners make all kinds of ridiculous statements, here are some examples:
“You cannot treat gynaecological conditions without using herbs”.
“Only five element acupuncture is able to treat emotion”.
“It takes one month of treatment to regress for every year an illness has existed”.
“You cannot be safe and effective with acupuncture unless you study for three years”.
Self-limiting beliefs like these get in the way and I discourage my students from accepting any of them. We need to strike a balance between the things we need to believe and when to let them go. If people wish to make statements like these they should be expressed in first person to reflect their own reality i.e. “I use herbs to treat gynaecological conditions”. If there is one thing I have learnt in 25+ years around acupuncture it is that as soon as you are certain about anything it will be contradicted. Although all beliefs are ultimately just thoughts that we use to control our doubts and fears they are still powerful stimulants to energy. If you think that acupuncture can cause or promote cancer then for goodness sake don’t do any. But if on the other hand you think you can help people with cancer then there should not be a problem. I’m intending to argue that ultimately all beliefs and good intentions are actually limitations. But it is a bit difficult to practice acupuncture in the usual way without them, so I suggest we just bear this in mind for now.
Spiritual teacher Adyashanti says that a person who is truly enlightened is one who really “knows that they don’t know” what is real. In fact none of us do but we have been indoctrinated into believing that a uniform and shared reality exists outside of ourselves. To be enlightened would be to end that illusion and the dream of a life where we are separate from anything. To be truly in a state of not knowing would be to have no concerns over thoughts of past or future. This would be to be free of a time bound reality involving a life and death and even taxes. We go through life thinking that we know things but what do we really know without question? Most of us think and believe with absolute conviction that we are the product of an evolutionary process on a planet spinning around a Sun. But we are basing most of that conviction on what we have been told rather than our own experience and is our reality not only as real as our conviction that our beliefs about a world of any kind are real? Such strong convictions become especially difficult to question when shared by many others or when they form part of our culture or religion. Take for example the strongly held and collective belief of most of the scientific community that homeopathy cannot possibly work and is a load of rubbish. When you ask for justification for this assertion you get a lot of stuff about the placebo, double blind trials, known criteria and sub molecular solutions. They really think they “do know” and they are not in the least bit interested in what people who use homeopathy actually say. Wikipedia calls homeopathy pseudoscience because it does not adhere to scientific method. But scientific method is still only another belief that exists in the minds of scientists. What the scientific case ultimately boils down to is that since lots of people share the same story about the nature of reality it must be true. When you point out that religion does this too they deny any similarity and will come up with all kinds of reasons why science is not a faith or a belief system. They just don’t understand that reality is personal and that it is a product of our own creation. You can’t get them to contemplate the absurdity of the view that it can exist without us or the impossibility of ever proving it. No one knows any reality other than their own so how are you ever going to prove to someone else that the world you perceive is the same as theirs? Such a world simply does not exist! This means any “fact” is only a statement of opinion advanced from a position of separation. There is nothing wrong with that and it may be a valid opinion and one that makes sense to others, but it is still based upon only one level of perception. If anyone wishes to make any judgement of this kind they need to ask themselves how real their underlying assumptions actually are. Homeopathy does work because people say that it works for them and their children and this also applies to acupuncture. If we wish to argue against that we are doing so from a position of arrogance, as if saying we are the only one to know God.
So I can see what Adyshanti is saying when he says we don’t know anything we just think we do. We think things and through that thinking and our experience we create a reality that we call our life. But it is actually a self-created dream or a story born of our thoughts and our individual experiences. We may think that we know who we are but true authenticity only starts when we stop thinking. We are so habitually addicted to this thinking that we assume we can’t stop. But it is possible to change or even suspend our thoughts and to try that sometimes might free things up a bit. For example, you might like to consider the suggestion that all theories and traditions about anything, including Chinese Medicine are in fact part of the dream as well. We are making it up as we go along just as people have always done. Ultimately nothing is certain except the moment now and it’s as well to remember that when you are poised with a needle effecting an acupuncture treatment. This applies if you have 30 years experience and it applies in the same way if you graduated last week. Acupuncture is focused on the moment because putting a needle into a point does give that clarity. The real purpose of acupuncture theory and training must be to bring you to a point where you can come to a stop. In that moment there is no intention or desire, no dreaming, no thinking and you can “be” in what is sometimes referred to as the “hologram of consciousness”.
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There is a saying from one of classic Chinese Medicine texts “all pain comes from the heart” and this probably alludes to the fact that the heart as “supreme controller” reaches everywhere within our lives. Since from a CM perspective the spirit resides in the heart it is from there that we relate to consciousness and the totality of the moment that is.
Heart math acknowledges this but in its own way and using its own language. It tells us that not only are the heartbeats and heart rate important but the subtle differences in the beats and how well coordinated they are.
We have found that using a heart math device over a period of time is very helpful. You have to make a full commitment to use it regularly but after some time it does have a great calming effect and also seems to have more subtle positive effects in other areas, Ill keep you posted with developments.