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Acupuncture Today – April, 2010, Vol. 11, Issue 04

Planting Our Feet

By Marilyn Allen, Editor-at-Large

I have just returned from a visit to Taiwan and the interior of mainland China. There was a saying that I discovered in the SuHo Paper Museum in Taipei, Taiwan. It reads: "We understand we have to plant our feet on solid ground to practice our dreams, little by little, to make them last for good." Of course, this made me think about acupuncture and Oriental medicine, both through it's connection to the past and where it is going in the future.

Do you remember when you first dreamed of going to school to learn Oriental medicine? Do you remember when you first started to practice the medicine you had learned? How far have you moved from your dream? Now seems to be an appropriate time to revisit your dream. Let's all go back to the beginning to see how far you and the profession has progressed.

On my trip, I visited an Oriental medicine clinic in a village that was 1,000 years old. The clinic was open and somewhat dark. I was able to recognize the large jars of dark brown herbal formulas, as well as snakes, which have many medicinal uses within TCM. There were also large sticks of moxa dangling from a rod, looking like candles hanging in a row. I found out that almost everyone in the outskirts of the cities uses this medicine on a daily basis. This clinic was certainly getting "back to the roots" of traditional Chinese medicine.

In contrast, I then visited two modern herbal manufacturing facilities in Tainan, Taiwan and realized how far this medicine has also progressed. Tons of herbs are processed through these two factories and distributed throughout the world, yet, there are only a few million people in the culture of the United States who have tried Oriental medicine and use it regularly.

This raised even more questions for me. What would we have to do in the United States to get almost everyone in our cities and towns to use this medicine? How would we have to package it, and what would we have to say to get Americans to use and understand the healing power of acupuncture needles and herbal remedies? What would this profession have to do to make Oriental medicine a household word?

We have use of the Internet, cell phones, television and radio, yet we cannot seem to get the information about acupuncture and Oriental medicine to the public in an understandable message. I recently read an article about companies that are hiring individuals to blog and tweet for their products. Would it be possible to use these technologies to tell others about the success stories brought about by this medicine? Could we plant our feet in the roots of this medicine while using the latest technology to tell others of the healing benefits of acupuncture and herbal remedies. What would each one of us have to change or add to our lives to talk about this medicine on a daily basis?

This medicine is a living, breathing way of life. We hear so much today about wellness and healthy living. What does all of this mean? These are new words that describe the art and science of Oriental medicine. We tend to focus on just the word acupuncture, but we need to embrace the entire scope of the medicine. It is a healthy way of life. It encompasses prevention, wellness and maintenance. It is time to share this with everyone we know and meet. We must become the bloggers, the tweeters and the spokespeople for this medicine. We must be the bridge between that rural clinic and that modern processing plant.

There is strength in numbers, and we must join together to create strength for this profession. There will always be differences of opinion. There will differences in styles. There will be differences in techniques. There will differences in opinions about herbal formulas. Nevertheless, we still all belong to the same profession. Can we unite to strengthen the very pillars of this medicine and go forward for the good of the many millions of potential patients that need our help and treatments?

What can you do in your town, community and state that will help to make this dream of Oriental medicine come true for the good of the millions of people in need of your help? We have planted our feet. We have our roots and we are on solid ground. We must now grow, little by little every day, to share and tell to make it last for good.

Click here for more information about Marilyn Allen, Editor-at-Large.

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