the boy in the bubble

I recently taught a course on advanced therapeutics at a nearby acupuncture college.  The request to teach was short notice so I did not have much time to plan, but essentially it was a crash course on community style acupuncture.   The experience has given me much to ponder in terms of my own training, how student are currently taught acupuncture, and how the culture of TCM school shapes the  perceptions of us as acupuncturists and those of our patients.  Here is a brief introduction to my first class:  

Imagine you have been placed in a self contained sealed bubble.  For the next 3 to 4 years you will live and work inside a large dome, you will have little to no contact with the environment directly outside your bubble.  Your task will be to build a house.  You have every possible tool and material at your disposal.  The design, shape, size and materials used are entirely up to you, however when the project is completed, the dome will be removed and will become your residence.  As I said you are cut off from the world outside your bubble, but there are always rumors..You have heard from one person, who is close to completion, that the ground is really hard, from another that it is really cold, from one that there is an abundance of fresh water, and still from another that it is like a desert.  Your teachers — those assisting you with the project, are able to give you guidance in basic construction methods, design, knowledge of how to work with specific building materials, etc.  They have no knowledge of the world outside the bubble but they do have a grand vision of what it will be like once you have completed your structure.  

It struck me that this is the current state of our acupuncture training.  The day we step outside of our learning institutions we are confronted by a reality that bears little resemblance to the one we have trained in.  We emerge into a culture that has little interest in our exotic medicines and at the same time we willingly participate in the creation of barriers of that, which we so proudly boast, will revolutionize health care.  We don our white coats, stare into our clip-boards, and proudly display our stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs, oblivious to the fact that our patients have long since become disenchanted with our current medical system and do not wish for some glamorized version of it.  From our pseudo doctor plateaus we then justify charging fees that are beyond the reach of the vast majority within our community, claiming that it is essential to value ourselves and that this value must be equated with dollars and cents.   At the same time many of us struggle to insert a needle, or come up with a simple and effective treatment strategy.  

Perhaps its time we all took a good look around before we being the process of building our dream house!  

Author: michael

<p>Michael began having visions of community acupuncture several years ago as he was sitting in an acupuncture class. The visions continued until he saw them come to life during his first visit to Working Class Acupuncture in Portland. He returned to Canada (his new country), inspired to take this movement into Canada, and construct his vision <a href="">hemma</a><a href="" target="_blank"></a> in Victoria, BC, where he lives with his wife and two children. Michael is a true renaissance man, a teacher, carpenter, yoga instructor, farmer, acupuncturist, and flute player to name a few of his avocations. Although no doubt community acupuncture was the one true thing he has been searching for all along! </p>

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  1. I just want to add that for

    I just want to add that for some the bubble is translucent, for others it is opaque,

    and for others still it is lined with mirrors.  I think those who can see a world outside the bubble are more apt to opt for something that may break them out of the bubble, in fact those are the ones who languish in isolation (all of us really).

    The most dangerous ones can only see reflections of themselves and suffer because no matter from what angle they’re all there is… and then there is so much out there marketed to add mirrors upon mirrors…. and the lure of infinite self-reflection feeding the ever hungry ego.