Michelle Aris LLB BSc MBAcC, our in-house acupuncturist, has over 13 years of post-graduate clinical experience and training in Traditional and Classical Chinese medical acupuncture. She has been in practice since she completed her degree in 2007.
We asked Michelle a few questions so you can get to know her a little better……..
1. What were you doing before you started working in EFC?
2. Why acupuncture? What attracted you to Chinese medicine?
3. What do you like the most about being an acupuncturist?
4. What makes you stand out from other acupuncturists?
To understand what makes the acupuncture I practice so special, we need to look to history. In the 11th and 12th Centuries CE, Chinese Medicine became standardised by the Imperial authorities. For various reasons, 46 out of the 68 channels were omitted from the officially approved practice of acupuncture. These included the very channels needed to treat difficult illnesses. As printing became popular, this reduced curriculum of acupuncture became the foundation for the standard acupuncture widely taught and practiced today.
However, with an authentic line of transmission, where knowledge has been passed from teacher to student through successive generations, we can access the full rich body of knowledge needed to treat the full spectrum of diseases and disorders.
I feel very privileged and deeply grateful to have access to this knowledge through lectures presented by Dr Jeffrey Yuen, an 88th generation lineage holder and gifted teacher on all aspects of Chinese Medicine. I also attend lectures and study the work of his senior student Ann Cecil-Sterman. I continue the tradition of apprenticeship within Chinese medicine by apprenticing to my mentor within the lineage (and the only such mentor in the UK), Dr Hung Tran. These wonderful teachers strive to preserve the precious gift that is Chinese Medicine in its fullest form.
4. What do you do in your spare time? Your interests, hobbies?
I actually love Chinese Medicine so much that I often enjoy studying it in my spare time! One of my favourite ways to relax is listening to audio lectures about acupuncture in the bath! During lock-down I had a lot of fun creating an online study group for myself and my colleagues to discuss cases and the finer points of Chinese Medicine theory. Ok, I may perhaps be a bit of an acupuncture geek!
But apart from that, I enjoy the usual things…hanging out with family and friends, reading novels (very much enjoying “The Woodlanders” by Thomas Hardy at the moment) and I do like a gripping box-set. I love great food and I’m a pretty good cook, even if I do say so myself.
Another thing I did during lockdown was jump on the vegetable growing bandwagon. A neighbour wasn’t well and couldn’t manage his whole allotment and so I became a sharer on his plot. I’ve never really gardened before so it has been a massive learning curve and a huge amount of work but once you start being able to eat your own produce it becomes rather compelling. Plus it’s a real little community, everyone is so friendly and there is no lack of expert advice on hand for a novice such as myself. I recently harvested my first cauliflower. Apparently, it’s a rather tricky crop to grow so I was super proud showing it off to my allotment neighbours. Nothing beats the “Bob, Bob! Come and look at Michelle’s cauliflower”…” Oooh, that’s a lovely specimen that is…” conversation!
5. What are your plans for the future (career-wise)?