In 1991, having just graduated from Acupuncture College I managed to secure the first ever NHS-funded acupuncture service at Kings College Hospital, London. It was my baptism of fire as all of my new patients were dying on the AIDS ward.
In the absence of a cure, my treatments were focused on helping my patients find some peace with their terrifying situation. This experience confirmed to me that Five-Element acupuncture has a profound effect on the ‘person’ by reinstating a deep sense of ‘self’. Many of us in the gay community have struggled to retain a connection with the truth of who we are as we have dealt with oppression, aggression and at times, self-loathing. This ancient, spiritual tradition of healing addresses these issues at their core and for many of my patients at that time this glimpse of truth was enough to give some respite during that very dark time.
Five-Element acupuncture as a means to find peace and restore balance of body and mind has always seemed an obvious treatment for our community but for some reason there seems to be a disproportionately low number of gay men and women seeking treatment and working as Five-Element acupuncturists. Having been involved in the professional community for almost 30 years, until very recently, I could only recommend two other gay practitioners – and I am based in central London.
Why are there not more gay men and women queuing round the block to be trained? Haven’t they realised that this is the best job ever? Isn’t it sexy or glamorous enough? Maybe they don’t believe acupuncture works. Is it assumed to be too ‘scientific’ or too ‘hippy-dippy’? Perhaps people think it won’t pay enough? Whatever the reason, my partner (also an acupuncturist) and I decided to address this issue, challenge some of the myths and take it directly to our fellow gay brothers and sisters and encourage you to join our exciting and expanding community no matter your cultural or educational background.
Three years ago we purchased a beautiful old house in the South of France that is now a five-week intensive (over six months) residential training site for Five-Element acupuncture. We have groups starting in May and September of this year. We are also conveniently located opposite a stunning Gay Only holiday resort – so there’s plenty of fun to be had aside from the intense nature of the study.