Conversations: Eastern Medicine for Western People

This interview with Efrem and Harriet answers many questions about acupuncture. In Chinese medicine everything is linked with everything else – not just as an idea, but in actuality. Health and illness coexist and arise out of the same conditions. Disease doesn’t come from nowhere – it emerges from a lived life. Simply put: Chinese medicine not only focuses on the content (the disease), but also on the context (the person who has it). On the one hand, Chinese medicine is a method of restoration and recovery; on the other hand, it’s a systematic way of knowing, a medical epistemology that includes a method of self-exploration that helps people develop in less tangible ways than taking herbs, receiving acupuncture, or following a new diet. Complaints are what initially draw people to Chinese medicine, but what seems to keep them enrolled is that they feel they are being seen, heard, and helped within a broad frame of reference, and that everything they are and bring with them is relevant to the process.