Acupuncture and Me #1

Part One: How I got to study acupuncture.

These are long posts. They explain how I found acupuncture and how I developed my own approach to it.

During my 20’s I worked for a Christian youth and community work organisation called Fusion Australia. Around the end of my time with them I was doing office work and feeling that I wanted to do something with my hands. I started watching TV shows about craftspeople, doing an aerobics class, reading bodywork books and thinking about what a Christian physical spirituality would look like. During this time I enrolled in a Swedish Massage class in a local community college that used a school after hours.

Massage I found really enjoyable. It intrigued massage and other physical activity (like aerobics) made a difference to us. Thinking about this I formulated a question: if aerobics gives us more ability to handle everyday stresses, helps us be more patient – then what physical action would help us develop compassion? At this time I also discovered a body movement system invented by a Japanese christian,Hiroyki Aoki, called Shintaido (

It was by following my interest in massage that I eventually ended up at acupuncture. From Swedish Massage I tried out other types of massage. One course that was fabulous was run by FrancoisNovi and was called “Massage and Bodywork”. This combined western massage with eastern awareness of moving from our centre. I also tried Deep Tissue massage, eventually deciding that the sort I was taught was too much about enduring pain and so unhealthy. I eventually ended up studying Zen Shiatsu. The results from this were far in advance of what I had found with western massage.

At this point I moved from Sydney to Brisbane. My interests were clearly diverging from Fusion’s (by some people in Fusion they were regarded with suspicion) and I had fallen in love. In Brisbane through a friend I ended up being involved in organising a course inAmma massage. The person teaching the theory content of the course also taught an acupuncture course. His name was Geoff Wilson (, who now, like me once again, lives in Sydney.

Geoffrey taught an acupuncture course that had classes twice a week for a year. He had been trained by a Barefoot Doctor and so the course was practical and contained nothing we didn’t need. (This was before the government had started controlling training and the association had started their attempts to control the field.)

After this I studied a government approved course. It took more than twice as long and we didn’t learn as much as I had from Geoff. This was partly because so much that was irrelevant was taught. (There are colleges in Australia where the bulk of the “acupuncture” course is western.) It was also because some of the teaching was so bad. One teacher simply read a textbook out to us (Macioccia’s for those who know about acupuncture textbooks) and this was the course for that term. She did noting else! And we were paying for this! That this should pass for teaching, and that we were expected to pay for it outraged me. There was however one teacher who genuinely cared about teaching, students and acupuncture, Patsy Wilcox. We are still good friends. She runs an acupuncture and qi gong practise in Brisbane.

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