As a relative new comer to the world of acupuncture practice I've been a bit surprised by the variations/styles/approaches......, call them what you will, to acupuncture. It sometimes seems that beneath the title of acupuncture, which I suspect the majority of prospective patients have a far simpler viewpoint of, there exists a labyrinth of ideas, theories and devotees. The public I think really only sees the tip of the iceberg in being aware of "Acupuncture" in its widest meaning. The term Traditional Acupuncture gets a lot of use but I for one am never clear as to what that means any more. Even more fuzzy to me is the term TCM. The boundaries and scopes of these widely used terms seem to bend and assume a different form depending upon where the practitioner has received schooling. Perhaps one persons meat is another persons poison and the patient may feel more at home with one practitioner than another. As a for instance see the article at:
One might argue that the results the patient experiences, hopefully a permanent relief from whatever is troubling them, is what is important and how this is realised via whatever variation/style/approach of acupuncture is then irrelevant. But perhaps not as there seems to be more and more interest in applying research to understand how acupuncture works. Then perhaps the 'flavour' of acupuncture utilised may look more favourable.
It strikes me that some practitioners are mixing and matching various protocols, techniques etc. from various sources as they feel they are most appropriate to various conditions.
Initially I felt uneasy about sticking to one 'approach' in case I was possibly not serving my patients as best as they could be served. A few years on I'm more at peace within myself now about using as clear a transmission as I can of Classical Five-Element Acupuncture. It is, in my opinion and experience, in many ways a simple, but powerful system of medicine. One can never stop learning nor always have something new to learn. One of the main reasons for this is that each patient is seen as a unique creation and therefore a combination of Qi and experiences that no-oneelse can claim. Treatments are therefore unique to and for the patient.
So I've come to recognise there are many paths up the same mountain. My journey is along the Classical Five-Element Acupuncture path. To paraphrase what I heard a master practitioner say "It's not the only way, but its the way we love!". Amen to that.
For those who wish to learn more about how various approaches/styles, concepts etc. to acupuncture, evolved in the West, the following book provides a robust and objective background:
Eckman, Peter (1996) In The Footsteps Of The Yellow Emperor.San Francisco: Cypress Book Company.