Saplings: On the Path to Mastery in Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine

Carl Stimson

Published by Carl Stimson, 2012
ISBN 10: 0615626556 / ISBN 13: 9780615626550
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Synopsis: What does it take to grow from a sweaty-palmed new graduate who just hung out the shingle to an unflappable master who can diagnose a liver dysfunction while over the phone? In Saplings - On the Path to Mastery, sixteen acupuncturists and herbalists share their experiences of the challenging first years of practice. Written by practitioners while in the thick of the often-lonely quest to heal patients, run a business and adapt book-based theories to the real world, the essays in this book are charged with the urgency of the present moment. Saplings vividly describes the joys and struggles of being a fledgling practitioner of Oriental medicine, and illustrates the manifold paths that can lead from wide-eyed neophyte to full-fledged professional.

Where did the idea come from?

The first steps in any endeavor are rocky, but by the time one reaches a certain level of competency, memories of this period become hazy or glazed over with nostalgia. The short time I have treated patients outside of the intern clinic has been a fascinating and transformative period. Through it, I have completely revamped my technique, gone through enormous changes in my opinions toward the field of Oriental medicine, and been forced to face up to significant weaknesses. Thankfully I was not alone, and conversations about this process with fellow practitioners not only helped me regain stability, but lent this time a curiosity and sense of liberation that were absent in the prescribed curriculum of school.

This feeling of being understood is perhaps one of the most fulfilling experiences there is. This fellowship can be as casual as a conversation with a stranger about the baseball team you both follow or as intimate as a forty-year marriage, and is essential for a fulfilling career. Such conversations with fellow practitioners in my first years of practice, and the support and encouragement I received from them, were the inspiration for Saplings - On the Path to Mastery.

However, in school, I was also finding this sense of connection in sources other than live human beings. A few unique books expanded my understanding of Oriental medicine more deeply than the encyclopedic herbal and point tomes that filled my classroom hours. Through them I realized the incredibly personal nature of my new career; how treating patients would challenge and change me, and how I must be simultaneously a skilled craftsman, creative artist and consummate communicator. I looked for more reading that spoke to these deeper aspects of practice, but quickly saw that Oriental medicine has a dearth of such books. There is a wealth of good and useful texts, but in very few do the authors describe the influence their personal characteristics and circumstances had on their professional paths. Seeking to make a home in my new field, I wished others had taken more time to describe how they found theirs.

Eventually I decided to do something about this vacuity in the literature of the field. But with a career only several years old, I was not about to write a lengthy memoir on my medical journey. Nevertheless, I knew I possessed something valuable that people who have been practicing for thirty years lack: still-fresh intimate knowledge of inexperience. As my story is not yet rich enough to fill a volume on its own, I asked friends and colleagues I knew from school or had met while practicing and in my travels to contribute essays describing what they went through while transforming from a green new graduate into a polished professional. After two years of work and intercontinental communication, Saplings - On the Path to Mastery in Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine is ready to be shared with the world.

- Carl Stimson, editor

About the Author: The sixteen authors featured in Saplins are all practicioners of Oriental medicine. For details on individual contributors, see the book's website at www.saplingsbook.com.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Saplings: On the Path to Mastery in ...
Publisher: Carl Stimson
Publication Date: 2012
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Good

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