I graduated from a 3-year Oriental Medical College in Japan and passed the national certification boards. After that training I did a 1-year graduate course in herbal medicine. I worked at two famous Oriental Medical Clinics in Kyoto and Osaka and worked part-time at a National Hospital which had a wing dedicated to combining both Oriental medical and Occidental medical treatments. I also ran my own clinic out of my house in Kyoto where I treated my patients with acupuncture, moxibustion, shiatsu and herbal medicine supplied by a local pharmacist. My clinic was called the “Integrative Medical Clinic”.
But my medicine was far from integrative and I decided to study modern medicine to make “integrative” mean something. So I returned to America with ambitions of combining Oriental Medicine and Western Medicine. I entered Duke University’s Physician Assistant program with hopes of eventually finding a physician group to pair up with to forge this alliance of two medicines.
My training in Japan showed me that many herbal formulas are helpful for autoimmune diseases. So I bought about $4,000 worth of herbs and set up relations with Japanese pharmacies to get ready to import and export. But over the next three years I could not find anyone who was interested in taking Japanese herbs. People who tried them complained that they were too bitter or too much effort to prepare. Also, the people who were drawn to having acupuncture were very strange. People who were interested told me about how they really believed in acupuncture — but I didn’t care, either it worked or it didn’t. Clients wanted to talk about past lives, auras and the mystical experiences they had.
Of course the more exaggerated their magical world, the more dramatic the effects of my first treatments. This was not the people I wanted to treat. I soon became very disillusioned with treating these people. I could not get anyone to take herbs and had to throw away my investment.
My patients in Japan were not weird. They were from the normal population. They did not look at acupuncture as magic, did not talk about auras or past lives. They just wanted their arms better or their rashes gone. But here in American (back in those days), alternative medicine drew a strange crowd.
Then I jumped out of the fire, into the frying pan. After giving up on acupuncture, I then studied Homeopathy and became a certified practitioner working with two MDs in a clinic. The types of clients drawn to that sort of clinic had disproportional more personality disorders and neuroses than other medical practices I worked in. It seemed that alternative medicine drew nuts. OK, there were lots of cool, mentally-healthy folks there too but the wacky folks really shined. So after 3 years, I stopped Homeopathy.
Weirdos are not the only reason I stopped practicing alternative medicine but it was part of the reason. In future posts I hope to describe other reasons.
Other related posts:
- My Alternative Medical Posts: My index post of all alternative medicine posts