ACKNOWLEDGING MY TEACHERS
Chinese medicine is not a part of my heritage, and I am immensely grateful to study and practice it during this lifetime. For this, I thank the incredible teachers who shared its wisdom with me. These include Dr. Eran Even (Dr.TCM, PhD.), Dr. Kevin Hu (Dr.TCM), Dr. Jing Zhang (Dr.TCM), Jin Tripp (R.TCM.P.), Ted van Hemert (R.Ac), and Rory Knapp-Fisher (R.Ac).
I am fortunate to have the support of the most inspiring mentors in Chinese medicine and in life that one could ask for. They have each profoundly influenced my path and opened my eyes to my own potential. These women shows me it is safe to be powerful and that you will be supported when running full force after your dreams. My deepest gratitude goes to Jenett Ashley, Andrea Lamont (R.TCM.P.), Sabeeha Kurji (R.TCM.P.), Dr. Tanya Gee (Dr.TCM), and Dr. Paula Woodward (Dr.TCM). I sincerely hope that one day I can inspire someone the way you all have inspired me. Thank you.
ACKNOWLEDGING THE LANDS
As an individual of European descent, living on lands which are not my own and practicing a medicine which is not my own, I have a significant amount to be grateful for and pay homage to. I acknowledge that as a person of European descent, I am an uninvited visitor who is residing and practicing on the unceded, ancestral, and occupied, traditional lands of the Syilx (Okanagan) people. I acknowledge that my training in traditional Chinese medicine took place on the traditional territories of the W̱SÁNEĆ and Lkwungen-speaking people. It is on these lands that I live, learn, grow, play, and do my work, and for that I am very grateful. Thank you.
ACKNOWLEDGING PHYSICIANS OF ANCIENT HISTORY
Chinese medicine has a rich and vast history. For thousands of years, dedicated physicians, authors and teachers have cultivated and shared this beautiful medicine; it is because of them that we can experience it in the modern era. When we receive an acupuncture treatment or take a Chinese herbal formula, it is due to the lifetimes of sacrifices and the teachers who have handed down this wisdom over the ages. Below are a few notable names to acknowledge for their contributions:
Shén Nóng 神農 the Divine Farmer who used his own body to test plants for potential medicinal properties; this included poisoning himself routinely and finding an antidote.
Huá Túo 華佗 who is famous for his skill in acupuncture, the Huatoujiaji points, pioneering of surgery under anesthesia, and promotion of preventative medicine, such as through his Five Animal Frolics physical exercises.
Sūn Sī Miǎo 孙思邈 is known for his care for patients, discussing medical ethics, writing the Chinese version of the Hippocratic Oath, and using food as the first medicine when treating illness.
Lǐ Shí Zhēn 李时珍 is famous for his work in classifying medicinal substances, his book on pulse diagnosis, and his book on the eight extraordinary vessels.
Lǐ Dōng Yuán 李东垣 the founder of the Tonifying the Earth school in Chinese medicine, and author of the Pí Wèi Lùn 脾胃论. He was famous for his theories on internal damage, Yin Fire, and the herbal formula Bǔ Zhōng Yì Qì Tāng 补中益气汤.
Zhāng Zhòng Jǐng 張仲景 the author of the Shāng Hán Lùn 傷寒論 and the Jīn Guì Yào Lüè 金匮要略, which are among the oldest clinical textbooks in the world. His theory of disease and herbal formulas are still among the most used to this day.
ACKNOWLEDGING PHYSICIANS OF RECENT HISTORY
Today in the West we are fortunate to have access to Chinese medicine, but it has not always been this way. Below are two stories to recognize for how Chinese medicine came to the West and gained credibility:
Miriam Lee: In the late 1960's, Miriam Lee, a Chinese acupuncturist living in Singapore, immigrated to the United States. She worked in a factory assembly line to build a life for herself in California, where acupuncture was illegal. In time, she quietly practiced acupuncture out of her home until a medical doctor offered to share his office with her. She would treat between 75 to 80 patients per day in a community style with approximately 14 to 17 patients per hour. In 1974 she was arrested for practicing medicine without a license, but at the trial patients came and protested, stating that her treatments were the only thing helping their medical conditions. Due to the support of her patients, she was allowed to practice acupuncture as a research project at the University of San Francisco. In 1976, she became known as the pioneer of acupuncture in North America as it became legalized in California. Now, the majority of the North Americans have either heard of or received acupuncture and/or Chinese herbal medicine.
The Black Panthers and Young Lords: During the 1970's in South Bronx, there was an epidemic of heroin addictions. Community groups staged sit-ins at several hospitals to call for better medical care. After a 5-hour protest at New York's Lincoln Hospital by the Black Panther Party (a political organization challenging police brutality against the African American community), Young Lords (a Puerto Rican activist group), and their white supporters, the Lincoln Detox Center was founded. It focused on detoxing black and hispanic community members from heroin, however this was done by using another drug, methadone. Unsatisfied with becoming methadone dependent, they explored drug-free options. Acupuncture was one of these options as a few members had experiences with acupuncture in the local Chinatown. In 1973, The New York Times reported that a doctor in Hong Kong relieved the withdrawal symptoms of 70 addicts by inserting electrified needles in their ears. Some group members traveled to Montreal to study acupuncture, and then came back to practice it at the Lincoln Detox Center. Over 200 individuals affected by heroin addiction lined up on the first day to receive treatment. The famous NADA ear acupuncture protocol was created in this center, which is now used globally for addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder. Among the members facilitating acupuncture treatments was Dr. Mutulu Shakur, Tupac Shakur's stepfather. He became the co-founder and co-director of the Black Acupuncture Advisory Association of North America (BAAANA) and the Harlem Institute of Acupuncture, one of America's first acupuncture schools. By the early 1980's, this clinic was shut down by the U.S. government, thereby erasing the Black Panthers and Young Lords contribution to healthcare in American history. This is an abbreviated history; for a longer history, read this article.