On Community Style Acupuncture

I consider myself to be practicing Community Style.  It is a little hard to pin down exactly what that is.  This is mostly because everyone so far has started out learning something else first.  Depending on the practitioner,Community Style may contain elements of 5E, TCM, Kiko, auricular, tan, tung and so on.  Community Style can't be considered any of these things in a pure sense because it breaks a lot of their rules.  That is what upsets people.

Community Style is a modern style of acupuncture designed to treat the common illnesses of regular people in the west.  It also takes into account limited time and resources.

Some community acupuncturists are not practicing Community Style.  They are practicing a derivation of Tung (as taught by Dr Young, Susan Johnson, Dr. Tan, Miriam Lee and so on).  Tung relies heavily on distal strategies and so they can get away with this.

I learned 5E is school but am not practicing 5E now.  3 major treatments of 5E- IDs, EDs and AE all rely on needling the torso.  Couple that with not treating symptoms and practicing 5E in a CA setting becomes very difficult if not impossible and limits how successful a CA practice will be.  So IMO it is best for 5E acupuncturists wanting to practice in a community clinic to learn Community Style.  They will have to go through some extra special twists and turns to make this work.  It seems like it maybe slightly easier for TCM folks to learn Community Style.

Someone who is practicing Community Style is happy to get inspiration and strategies from a tung source and then break those rules too.  That is why it doesn't matter HOW Miriam Lee treated or what she intended ML10 to be used for.  ML10 has been appropriated by Community Style for our own purposes.

Community Style works and is very safe.  There are tons of people getting Community Style treatments everyday and they are getting better.  This is not coming from me (a punk who has been out of school for close to 2 years).  This is info I have put together from paying attention to the folks who are the pioneers of Community Style.  This is knowledge is based on 100s of thousands of treatments over many years by hundreds of punks.

Someone who practices 5E style has no business saying a TCM practitioner is "doing it wrong."  Someone who is practicing tung style has no business telling a punk doing community style that they are "doing it wrong." 

If you want to know about 5E ask a 5 element practitioner.  If you want to know about Tan ask a Tandinista.  If you want to know about Community Style ask a punk!

This story was posted on May 12 2012 by Nic.

Comments

  • May 13 2012 at 10:10 AM
    ETCA writes:

    My issue is throwing Dr. Miriam Lee out in front as an inspiration/legitimization for simple treatments used in CA acupuncture (because, like Master Tung, Dr. Miriam Lee WAS a community acupuncturist) while simultaneously not really wanting to know what she was actually doing in her clinic.

    ML10 is a lot of needles.  I know for a fact that Dr. Miriam Lee and Master Tung did far fewer “lots of needles” treatments than they did “a few needles treatments”.

    Why?  Because they had no other choice in order to keep up (treating the weekly numbers of most CA practitioners in a day) and because they worked out how to use fewer needles while simultaneously getting amazing outcomes.

    Of course this is verified by her book on Master Tong’s acupuncture and her own treatment protocols listed there as confirmed by Susan, who worked alongside Dr. Miriam Lee for many years.

    To take on the personal choice to ‘redefine’ ML10; a treatment that Dr. Miriam Lee crafted after 20 years of working as an acupuncturist is fine, but why would you not want to actually know how Dr. Miriam Lee used it?

      1 likes
  • May 13 2012 at 3:20 PM
    ellengrover writes:

    too busy needling.

      3 likes
  • May 13 2012 at 3:29 PM
    Nic writes:

    do you know of any living acupuncturists who are seeing 100 people a day?

    how many people do the main tung teachers see?  are THEY doing community acupuncture in a real sense?  from what I have heard Dr. Tan is the only one who sees a lot of people… but his prices are not exactly affordable to most regular people. 

    It is my understanding that the only people in the west who are seeing lots of patients and not charging much are right here at POCA.  Therefore the senior POCA folk are the people who know about Community Style.  If your motivation to do acupuncture is to see lots of people and charge them a small amount then they are the ones to learn from.

    Here are some things I have learned about Community Style:
    Acupuncture is safe and simple.
    Theory doesn’t really matter all that much.
    Frequency trumps cleverness.
    Frequency trumps style.
    The way to get better at acupuncture is to do a lot of acupuncture.
    Heart, hands, head.—thinking about acupuncture is last.

      6 likes
  • May 13 2012 at 3:48 PM
    melissa writes:

    ugh, I’m going to be a bulldog again.
    Eric, what in the world is your point in beating this dead (language) academic horse relentlessly, all over the POCA site, when the real work attempted here is to help people run successful acupuncture businesses that offer low cost affordable care to as many patients as possible by closely following a simple model proven by hundreds of clinics? It was the whole point of the speech, Nick’s blog, so many of the responses. Less talking academic minutia, more simple practice.

    We know, without any doubt whatsoever, that you have worked tirelessly with Susan Johnson, and are working to be published. Honestly: Respect, big props, wonderful, great, fantastic, scholarly work—look forward to seeing it eventually.

    In the meantime, if at all possible, could you think of the many very real POCA goals in the works here, the real people looking for clear, useful information, (instead of the rhetorical, “just for the sake of scholarly argument” tangents) and focus on ways you might help us in promoting the model that is obviously working and, as you yourself have said, saved you from the brink of quitting acupuncture practice altogether? I, among others, would be eternally, hugely grateful for practical, focused help in saving others from quitting also. I know, haters will hate the “tone” here but it just feels like there’s so much good getting done, why always the need to talk it down and around?

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  • May 13 2012 at 6:11 PM
    ETCA writes:

    I am working to help other acupuncturists survive as practitioners.  The difference is that I am contributing ‘scholarship’—a practical instruction guide that I hope many future acupuncturists will find of great use.

    I’m already guessing that many of you are not interested, one bit.  If it helps my name probably won’t be on the book.

    It is of little concern to me.  I know that the desire to learn more about how Dr. Miriam Lee actually practiced and managed to run such a busy clinic while also having amazing clinical outcomes, will be strong in others who eventually run a CA clinic of their own.

    I don’t agree that frequency trumps technique, namely because I have enough experience to know that all techniques are not created equal and hoping for positive outcomes is less productive than actively seeking the best technique to produce them.

    A sentiment that Dr. Miriam Lee shared.  That’s why she constantly travelled trying to learn new techniques, and spent hours studying before and after her clinic hours.

    I’m not presuming that Master Tung is better than any other style, I use a mix of what I’ve learned from multiple sources. 

    Another thing that Dr. Miriam Lee believed. (see above).

    I am a CA practitioner and my numbers are climbing and will continue to climb—but I am practicing not only to treat a lot of people.  I actively strive to do the best treatment every single time and seek where I fall short. 

    YMMV.

     

      2 likes
  • May 13 2012 at 9:14 PM
    Spartacus writes:

    Before I was a punk I was a carpenter, professionally.  I know how someone used a tool by using it myself.

      0 likes
  • May 13 2012 at 10:18 PM
    jencorbin writes:

    “My issue is throwing Dr. Miriam Lee out in front as an inspiration/legitimization for simple treatments used in CA acupuncture (because, like Master Tung, Dr. Miriam Lee WAS a community acupuncturist) while simultaneously not really wanting to know what she was actually doing in her clinic.”
    Sounds similar to saying you practice “community acupuncture” without really wanting to know what and why community acupuncturists do what they do in their clinics.

      0 likes
  • May 13 2012 at 10:19 PM
    bottley writes:

    I’ve been in a lot of discussions with other acupuncturists that ultimately come around to some version of “You guys only think about social justice and you don’t care about THE MEDICINE” (Caps mine). I can’t speak for anyone else, but that’s never made any sense to me because it’s always seemed to me that becoming the most skilled acupuncturist I can be was simply and obviously implicit in the definition of our mission as social business owners. We are in the business of helping patients, and becoming as good as we can be is an important part of that picture. However, I think what a lot of folks here are saying in one way or another is that there is one hell of a lot more to it, and our profession has become unsustainable not because of a lack of scholarship or skill, but because of the lack of attention to sustainable mechanisms for practitioner training and delivery of services, and most of all because of a lack of attention to the actual needs of patients. There is a wealth of scholarship and history already out there, and for geeks like me, it’s an inexhaustible playground (and by the way, Eric, when your book comes out, I will be jumping on the first copy I can find). I don’t put much stock in pulling rank, but those who know me will confirm that I at least have standing to comment on matters related to treatment frequency. I have no doubt that a master like Miriam Lee had all kinds of mad skills that the rest of us lack, but what I think Lisa is trying to bring forward is that one of her greatest contributions is that she never forgot that her treatments, no matter how elegant, also had to be AVAILABLE before they would be any good to anyone. I can’t wait to see materials that give me a deeper understanding of what Miriam Lee actually did and felt. I have read Master Tong’s Points and regularly review Insights, and I will be eagerly watching for Ms. Johnson’s book, but It is also true that I know, and depend every day on the fact that acupuncture offers a profound amount of help to actual patients at vastly simpler levels than that attained by masters like Dr. Lee and Dr. Young and Dr. Tung. Those profound benefits, FOR PATIENTS, kick in at levels of skill and understanding that can easily be delivered by new practitioners. The overwhelming emphasis within POCA at present is on creating sustainability in the form of hugely greater numbers of treatments and living wage jobs for acupuncturists. This will be accomplished by many new practitioners who begin practice at a modest level of skill and experience. They will help many more people at that level of practice using CA models than even the most skilled private room practitioners, because of the simple fact that the energetic structure of the body, and by extension, acupuncture is in itself much more powerful than any of the theories we have about it, and that power can cannot be tapped for the benefit of patients if treatment, regardless of the reason, is not available to them often enough.  And further, it is precisely the acquisition of the abundant experience offered by CA that will create the natural evolution of the skills that create master practitioners. I’m also an eclectic who finds value in the gems of many traditions, and thank the powers for all of them.  That in itself is the very essence of, to use Nick’s term, Community-Style. We use what helps. Heretical pragmatism rules here in the Church of Whatever Works!

      14 likes
  • May 14 2012 at 8:21 AM
    ETCA writes:

    Bottley,

    I don’t disagree with you at all.  I take issue with the fact that when I put out factual information about Dr. Miriam Lee the curiosity you describe is seemingly not shared by others (or at least they are writing that they don’t actually care what she did, ‘cause they are going to use it however they want’). 

    Knowing how she used it is better than not knowing how she used it, even if you are going to bend the tx to your will, because she used it a hell of a lot more than anyone else on more patients—and was willing to share that experience if you want to learn it.

    Knowing how Dr. Miriam Lee treated does not mean you have to duplicate or clone Dr. Miriam Lee.  She was a great inspiration, but she wasn’t a mythical figure like the Yellow Emperor.

    We have two of her books (or at least, with the right searching, can have both of her books) and I am fortunate to also have all of Susan Johnson’s accumulated teaching materials, which includes further insights into Dr. Miriam Lee and expands the amount of information that is in Dr. Young’s books exponentially.

    In my FIRST treatments using the points that Dr. Miriam Lee used in the way that she used them (which, unfortunately, is the worst part of her Master Tong book—you could never figure it out from the instructions she provided there) I was getting the same kind of instantaneous results she wrote about.  Granted I had been needling patients for 10 years prior to that, but I was pretty skeptical that acupuncture could be as effective for resolving so many issues so quickly.  It obviously has made a believer out of me.

    That does not mean ‘Master Tung’ right, everyone else wrong. 

    I don’t practice that way—as I’ve written before I blend my 5E diagnostic skills and some 5E treatment principles into my personal Master Tung style, along with some other clinical tricks I’ve picked up over the years.

    In any case, if a CA punk does not care about treating more quickly while getting as good or better outcomes for their patients they aren’t seemingly as driven as you and I seem to be.

    As far as this comment:

    “Sounds similar to saying you practice “community acupuncture” without really wanting to know what and why community acupuncturists do what they do in their clinics.”

    It is bogus.  I attended a CA training, and have visited a couple of clinics and will visit more as I travel. 

    I believe in the CA movement and have adopted many of the business practices that I learned here.  I have a growing CA clinic and have referred patients (who are visiting) to their local CA clinics. 

    Before POCA introduced their policy I was waiving the new patient fees for folks who dropped in who had been at other CA clinics. 

    I also have a sliding fee scale that keeps a $15 entry fee, but as I learned from Susan via both Dr. Miriam Lee and Master Tung,  I encourage patients who cannot afford that to pay less.  I am as passionate about CA as I am about Master Tung—I just find there is a natural correlation between having good patient outcomes (as reported by them, no what I wish or hope or dream for them) and getting more and more patients referred to me.  I am personally focussing on quality, and letting quantity create itself.

      2 likes
  • May 14 2012 at 8:49 AM
    Skip writes:

    Lisa here, hacking Skip’s account because we’re in Philly and we only brought one computer.

    Brent, thanks for saying it better than I have. The crucial point is, as you said, in the huge spectrum of what acupuncture does, where do the benefits kick in for patients? For most patients? In my experience, those benefits mostly kick in at a point that is pretty far removed from where most acupuncturists think the medicine gets interesting. But if we are really concerned with being useful to a lot of people, the distance between those two points is something we are going to have to talk about a lot.

    It’s hard. It’s excruciating when you can’t help somebody who comes in to the clinic looking for help. But in my experience, that doesn’t happen that often. And when it does happen, most of the time, it’s clear that the reason we can’t help them is NOT because we are not brilliant enough. It’s something else, usually something about what’s going on for them. Sure, there are probably some cases where if we were more brilliant it would make a difference, and I do wish I were brilliant enough to help everybody. 

    But I don’t spend all my time trying to become more clinically skilled, I spend all my time trying to figure out how to create more jobs for people who can deliver benefits to patients at that sub-interesting point where they mostly kick in. Because, at least for us at WCA, we do help most people. And we are mostly treating people as opposed to treating CONDITIONS. That’s an important distinction, I think. There are an awful lot of people out there who are dealing with chronic conditions that even Miriam Lee could not fix. We can offer them a lot of support, a lot of solace. We do that better, I believe, when we are not focused on fixing them and THEY are not focused on US fixing them. There is a lot about life that can’t be fixed. That stuff tends to show up in community acupuncture clinics, and that’s good.

    Finally, I just want to say clearly, in NO way am I trying to use Miriam Lee to *legitimize* what I do in my clinic or what anybody else does. There is a huge difference between inspiration and legitimization. The point of the keynote speech was to nudge us acupuncturists to be inspired by Miriam Lee’s example of practicality and engagement in the face of overwhelming obstacles. I’m not interested in legitimizing community acupuncture to the acupuncturists who are obsessed with clinical brilliance, with my-teacher-is-better-than-your-teacher. If you want to play the legitimization game, please look elsewhere. We tried to set up POCA to be the opposite of all that.

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  • May 14 2012 at 9:33 AM
    ETCA writes:

    Lisa,

    You are clear in what your focus is.  You seem to think I am focussed completely on symptom remediation using clinical brilliance,

    That you would preach that to me (a 5E trained practitioner none-the-less—a major criticism of 5E schools has been that all they focus on is support and solace and cannot treat their way out a paper bag) simply means you don’t know much about my practice or are making false assumptions.

    I fully understand that I cannot ‘fix’ many things, though I also understand that many aches and pains that are transitory can be dismissed with a couple of well placed needles—not because I ‘think so’ but because often I put the needles in and my patients go “wow”.

    You don’t need to focus on clinical brilliance.  You have your work to do, I have my own.  If you want to kick me out of your organization because what I offer is somehow offensive to your mission just refund the money I paid last week and tell me to go away.

      1 likes
  • May 14 2012 at 10:27 AM
    Skip writes:

    Eric, for God’s sake. I did a keynote speech, posted it, and you started this discussion. I responded, and other people did too. I don’t know anything about what your practice is like—I’m responding to your *comments*.

    The suggestion that I was referencing Miriam Lee in order to legitimize community acupuncture did, in fact, make me really mad. I brought up Miriam Lee because I think that her contributions to establishing acupuncture as a profession in the West are seriously underappreciated by that very same acupuncture profession—probably in part because she was a woman, in part because she was not white, and maybe largely because she practiced personal humility as much as she practiced acupuncture. She’s a great role model. What I don’t like about the acupuncture profession now is how desperately it tries to be legitimized, in all kinds of ways. What I love about Miriam Lee is the way she just got to WORK.

    I do think some interesting stuff came out of this discussion, particularly Nick’s statement: “Community Style is a modern style of acupuncture designed to treat the common illnesses of regular people in the west.  It also takes into account limited time and resources.” Maybe that kind of definition is something that POCA should consciously pursue.

    But a bunch of this conversation seems like it’s happening because you are deliberately ignoring the point of what the rest of us are trying really hard to do, as Melissa said. For example: if *I* want to kick you out of *my* organization? WTF. Do you have any idea little time I actually put into POCA compared to, oh, 50 other extremely hardworking people? Come on.

      2 likes
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  • May 14 2012 at 10:58 AM
    ETCA writes:

    Well I did just vote to elect you to the POCA board so I don’t consider it far fetched at all that you could speak for POCA. 

    I’ve never read a single critical thing about Dr. Miriam Lee with one exception:  It relates to the reason her book Master Tong’s Acupuncture was pulled out of circulation and is out of print, and that was an accusation of copyright infringement based upon her use of Palden Carson’s translation of Master Tung’s point book (by the way, the documents I am referring to have been removed from Palden Carson’s site since Dr. Miriam Lee’s death).

    In discussing this situation with Susan I learned that indeed they had obtained a copy of an English translation of Master Tung’s point book back in the early 70’s but no one knew where it came from, and Dr. Young (who still teaches in Chinese) never confirmed or denied that he had it translated so they assumed it had come from him (or one of his students).  There wasn’t much if any material available at that time so when they found the translation they started to use it.

    After Palden Carson threatened legal action against Blue Poppy Press her book was pulled.  It was a source of great grief for her, based upon a misunderstanding.

    On a side note I am not trying to be a troll or just provoke (pick, prod, provoke).  I am quite serious about my desire to help further acupuncture and CA in particular, perhaps a little fist pump that I put in the book will remain?

    On a side note I want to thank you for prompting me to revisit ML10 because the couple of hours of research has improved the book I am working on.

    If you could elaborate more about your comment “that she purposely sought to get arrested” which makes sense to me, I’d like to include that as well in my material that I send to Susan.  If not, I won’t include it.

      0 likes
  • May 14 2012 at 11:56 AM
    bottley writes:

    I find this conversation quite interesting. Eric, it seems to me that the issue that we’re really confronting here is the inevitable tension between competing enthusiasms and varying priorities within the structure of CA as it grows. One of the things I love most about this group is the fact that whether or not they are “legitimately” credentialed, we have people here who could easily be considered scholars in a variety of disciplines, both within and outside of Chinese medicine. To my mind, CA is in fact the first truly interdisciplinary application to include Chinese medicine as a main component, and as such, we have a roster of folks who, besides being qualified acupuncturists, have incredible expertise in all kinds of areas. Just off the top of my head, I can match faces with expertise in all kinds of medicine, business management (both small and corporate), social theory in all its forms, history, LGBT issues, organizational communication, and fine arts of every kind, and those are just the ones I know about. At our gatherings, one is as likely to hear articulate discussion of domination matrices and cultural competence in the context of acupuncture delivery systems as one is to hear lectures on practical clinical approaches based on the work of any number of our Acuheroes. Some of us are passionate about acupuncture and Chinese medicine and are happy to be practicing it in a way that strives to address the inequity and blindness of the established system. Others are passionate about the myriad social issues woven through the fabric of healthcare and see acupuncture as a highly effective vehicle for advancing that work. And some of us are in the middle, constantly working the balancing act between those two poles. In my life, the line between passion and nerditude is often pretty fine, and I spend a lot of time trying to stay on the right side of it, at least to the degree I can tell what the “right” side is at any given moment. For me, it always comes down to how much of what I’m learning is hitting the ground for the benefit of patients, and secondarily for my colleagues who are struggling to do the same. That’s the scale that I use, and the first thing that comes to my mind is that if you’re looking for a more enthusiastic response to, for example, Dr. Lee’s stuff and her history, that you contact, for example, the Clinic Success Circle and set up a breakout for the next POCAfest and see what kind of a project could be produced to help all of us get more access to the material you’re so fluent in. I think you’ll find there are a hell of a lot of us who are hungry for the work you’re doing. But I think you’ll also find that hunger will almost always be modified and transformed by the fact that as a collective entity, we also have a social purpose, and that purpose will always transcend and redefine any particular area of interest, acupuncture or otherwise,that any one of us has.

    AND PS. Next POCAfest I would love to sit down over a beer with you and go full out into the ML and Tung stuff, if you haven’t already scheduled a breakout session.

      8 likes
  • May 14 2012 at 12:35 PM
    ETCA writes:

    My first year in and I didn’t have a travel budget so POCA fest was not high on my possibility list, but I will take you up on the beer, eventually, I hope.  In exchange I will tap AE for you if you want to learn more about that tx from the inside, out.

    As far as I know no one else is trying harder to preserve Dr. Miriam Lee’s legacy than Susan is, and, by extension, me. 

    That isn’t ego, I am as eager as you to learn everything I can about her and keep her legacy alive.  In my particular case that included hours and hours of tedious work extracting all of her clinical teachings from the out of print book (PDF is not easy to cut and paste from) and then cross referencing all of it into the books we are working on (which is actually an ongoing process, when something new hits me in the face in my clinic or on forums like this one I spend hours more hashing it out.

    All for material that (due to copyright issues, and out of print copyright issues, and personal decisions between Dr. Miriam Lee’s family and Blue Poppy) I might have to take out of the book before it is published.

    That would be a shame, it is, in my opinion, the best part of Master Tong’s Acupuncture and also the most living example of Dr. Miriam Lee herself.

    I’m not kidding about wanting to know more about whether Dr. Miriam Lee ‘chose’ to be arrested to press the issue.  From what I know it seems to fit, but I never will pass something along to Susan without being able to say where I got it and how I think it fits.  She will probably know either way instantaneously, but I am doing my best to give her the most researched and complete material I can produce (now two years in).

      1 likes
  • May 14 2012 at 2:45 PM
    Demetra writes:

    I really like this blog; thanks for posting it! I agree with Nick about frequency trumping technique; it’s what I see in my practice, where I treat 80-100 people every week. Also, I find that my technique is naturally developing, adjusting as I go, simply because I spend so much time needling people and have the opportunity to see them so frequently that it’s evident quickly what works well and what works less well. I rarely have instances where nothing works at all, except the ONE time I tried a Tung treatment: I was seeing a regular weekly patient who had cartilage degeneration in both knees: lots of pain, with limited range of motion. I was treating her with both local and imaging points with pretty good results, considering her age and advanced condition. After attending a weekend Tung class, I carefully reviewed suggested treatment protocols, checked in with several experienced folks using my case study, and then proceeded to give as accurate a Tung treatment as I could to my knee patient, to try it out. She came in the next week and said, “I hate to tell you this, but whatever you did last week didn’t work at all.” I was very dismayed and went right back to my previously-successful treatments, and the patient cheerfully returned to gardening pain-free shortly thereafter.

    Considering the cost, effort and time I put into my TCM education, earning top grades and a near-perfect GPA on the way, I have been very pleased to discover that I have plenty of information upon which to build my technique; learning a whole new system has not been necessary! I am generally much more inclined to continue treating folks using my rapidly-growing experience, sharing case studies with colleagues. At this point, for example, I have probably given close to 1,000 treatments for upper back/neck/shoulder pain in the past 18 months. For me to refute my own practical expertise and instead apply a series of points that I learned from a book or that are being explained to me by someone who does not have similar experience with such a large number of people, would be absurd. My treatments for this condition as they currently stand are incredibly effective; I am really happy with them and so are my patients. There are certainly other conditions that don’t respond as readily, and in those cases I do seek to continually refine my experience, by talking with my colleagues who also see thousands of different people each year, as well as referring to practical manuals by Dr. Tan. If Andy or Skip or Cris or Lisa or anyone who has been treating 75+ people/week for several years tells me that a certain treatment is effective, then I consider that information extremely reliable.

    But overall my biggest teachers are my patients, who give me feedback now at a scale that is reliable; when I treated less than 50 people a week, I still didn’t have a big enough sample of patients to really get an appropriate sense of treatment effectiveness and how it related to frequency versus technique/point selection.

    It bothers me that a casual reader of this blog might come away with the idea that someone like me, proudly practicing Community-Style Acupuncture, is somehow anti-intellectual, undisciplined, or deliberately dumbing down treatments. Poet-punks like Lisa write about Miriam Lee to give us a sense of our place in history, of scale, of connection, of metaphor. Folks like Eric wanting to make a distinction between CA and “clinical brilliance” are missing the point, or making an assumption about that “brilliance” that is not in line with what many of the rest of us are thinking.

    To my mind, the brilliance of our community acupuncture practices is that they treat SO MUCH MORE than the chief complaint. Can I quantify that? No, it defies definition. But anyone who regularly spends time in a big room filled with lots of napping people will know exactly what I mean. There is something happening there that is unbelievably Whole, that makes everyone in the room glow with some kind of brilliance that has absolutely nothing to do with point selection. It’s way bigger than the practitioner. It’s the Whole that is so much bigger than the sum of its parts. It’s what I hear when Nick says Community-Style Acupuncture- it’s the technique of getting people together, often, in a quiet place, where they can rest with acupuncture needles in, and heal, together.

      5 likes
  • May 14 2012 at 3:08 PM
    ETCA writes:

    Well if you tried something once, on one patient, and it didn’t work I can see why you would abandon any further interest in the subject.

    Seriously, if you are doing Dr. Tan’s balance method you are using mostly the same exact theory that Master Tung taught, albeit with some of Dr. Tan’s personal contributions.

    Holography/imaging/contralateral needling/dao ma…System 2 is Zang Fu Bei Tong that was the subject of a book by Dr. Young before Dr. Tan started teaching it.

    My take from watching one of Dr. Tan’s Master Tung lectures was his palpation style is a way to avoid learning Master Tung’s points so you can find your own.

    Considering the points work so well (instantaneous confirmation from patients, I don’t wait to see if their knee pain changed when they return the next week) I found it worthwile to use his points, instead of taking the time to find them myself.

    It does not take that much time to learn to use it correctly, but I never would give up on anything as not worthwile that I didn’t try more than once.  If I did that I would have never studied with Susan, because I had Miriam Lee’s book but when I used the points trying to follow the guidelines presented it didn’t impress me, either.

      2 likes
  • May 15 2012 at 1:32 AM
    Nic writes:

    Skill is real.  It just doesn’t matter that much.  The most important thing is a heart that can accommodate a lot of people and basic competence with a pin.  That is the bare minimum of a punk.  If those things are present then the punk can see a lot of people and seeing a lot of people they will learn more about acupuncture naturally.  They could also read books on acupuncture or go to some CEU classes but it is not necessary. 

    Heart Hands Head

      2 likes
  • May 15 2012 at 11:43 AM
    ireyna09 writes:

    Stop the banter! Get to poking people. Come on!

    My 2 cents! smile

      2 likes
  • May 15 2012 at 1:37 PM
    LarryG writes:

    Banter breaks barriers.

      2 likes
  • May 16 2012 at 8:36 PM
    StillpointCA writes:

    “There is something happening there that is unbelievably Whole, that makes everyone in the room glow with some kind of brilliance that has absolutely nothing to do with point selection. It’s way bigger than the practitioner. It’s the Whole that is so much bigger than the sum of its parts.”

    I just so love this.

    Another teacher of mine, at the beginning of his treatment protocol explanation says “The very first thing you must do to be effective is to turn your spotlight of love upon your patient. Then begin to treat.” I find this inestimably more valuable than This System vs. That System.

      8 likes
  • May 18 2012 at 1:32 PM
    mitylene writes:

    Perhaps this is just a random comment. But Master Tung’s legacy doesn’t require anyone to save it.

    There’s plenty of Asian acupuncturists practicing Tung style acupuncture. It’s just the flow of information and life. New teachers come and go. Nothing is ever “lost” nor gained.

    There’s a lot of styles and lots of grand masters out there. Just do your acupuncture and help lots of people.

      7 likes
  • June 1 2012 at 1:10 AM
    diwili writes:

    Wow.  So I’m new here, Hi ya’ll.  This post is inspiring.  Sure there’s characters I like more and characters I like less, like in any good drama, but the plot is amazing—- the healing, the Wholeness.

    To be relavent, seems obvi to me that any practice benefits from pioneer-sages sharing their brilliant theories just as even the finest theory is refined through practice to best fit current conditions.

    I’ve just started acupuncture school over in Berkeley, CA.  Now a month in, I’m overwhelmed by not only the idea of 4 years of school, but by the reality of beyond school: of patients, of practice, of delivering health care during the dark reign of Capitalism.  I just want to say that as I decide whether to stay in school or get out while I still can, the reason I’ll stay, if I stay, is because of POCA and Community Acupuncture and the very real possibility here of both affordable, accessible, effective health care for patients and a livelihood for practitioners.

    But I have to ask the question I’m struggling with: I’m 26, with minimal loans now but set to take on $60,000ish debt for the 4 years of acu-school.  Which is more work than fun, I’m finding.  If you were where I am now, would you put yourself through school for the goal of becoming a punk, or would you get out now and find another way to contribute to the world?  Maybe it’s silly to ask because no one else can answer this for me, but still I’d welcome any help with making this decision from ya’ll further on up the road.

      2 likes
  • June 3 2012 at 10:05 PM
    Lisafer writes:

    wiblyo, are you a POCA member? If so, this is the kind of question you can post in the forums, where folks are more likely to respond. If not, you should become a POCA member! Either way, I put your question in a post above, let’s see what everybody says.

      1 likes
  • May 27 2013 at 12:09 PM
    Presence_CA writes:

    Just bumping this post because i’ve been thinking a lot about this subject of late. Larry G made a very good comment on one of the FB threads about patients with previous acu experience who needed to be sort of introduced to the notion that this treatment was not going to be like those they’d had with their previous acupuncturist (unless they’d been to a CAP of course). Indeed, my own process over the last few years has involved coming to the realization that this isn’t a cheaper version of the private-room stuff i learned (and practiced, and taught), it really is a Thing in itself (to borrow from Lisa’s expression), and respecting and embracing that.

      0 likes

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