My journey to become a (World Health Organization recommended standard of training and British Acupuncture Council registered member) Traditional Acupuncturist involved studying on a 3 year full-time Bachelor of Science degree course. My inspiration for doing so as a mature student followed an amazing turnaround in my own health having had acupuncture treatment, but that’s another story!
Back to this one – towards the end of my third year of study I had to produce a business plan. At that time I had already found what would be my first treatment room and the actual writing of the plan was flowing quite well. However, the one sticking point (pardon the pun) was the name of my practice. As a Traditional Acupuncturist in a modern world, the training ensures a thorough understanding of the human body from the Western medicine perspective as well as the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) view. I wanted the name of my practice to convey something of the traditional roots of my art.
I came across the term ‘An Shen’ in a book* I was reading. It jumped out of the page at me, grabbing me and resonating in that ‘eureka’ type way! Many Chinese words have multiple meanings so here are the seven reasons that it just had to be An Shen Acupuncture:
1 – An = calm, Calming, peace, peaceful.
2 – Shen = mind, Spirit, magical, supernatural, god, divinity, “the eternal dimension of life […] the magical or heavenly aspects of being alive” (*Zhang Yu Huan & Ken Rose: Who Can Ride the Dragon). Shen is the human spirit, emotions, intellect, soul, intuition, feelings, expression, appearance, and the whole gamut of things non-physical.
3 – Over the years many people have told me that I have a calming nature and influence plus intuitive empathic skills that help others to feel at ease. An Shen/Calming Spirit describes me and what I do.
4 – Acupuncture treatment is (surprisingly to some) a wonderfully relaxing experience, restoring peace and calm where there is disturbance or disease. An Shen/Calming Spirit describes what acupuncture does.
5 – In Chinese medicine we do not separate the body from the mind and spirit. We treat the whole person holistically and recognise that even the most physical pain can have emotional roots and/or effects. An Shen/Calming Spirit describes what Chinese medicine does.
6 – I have always done my best to make wherever I am seeing my clients somewhere that is calming, relaxing, safe, comfortable, and as non-clinical as possible (whilst maintaining the necessary codes of hygiene and safe practice). An Shen/Calming Peaceful Spirit describes the ambience of my treatment room.
7 – A well balanced body with rooted peaceful Shen makes for a calm and happy whole human being. And that is the most I could wish for my clients to be. An Shen/Calm and Peaceful Spirit describes my desired outcome for every one.
You’ll be pleased to know, I’m sure, that I got pretty good marks for that business plan graduating and setting up my practice in the summer of 2010. Six years on and many things have changed, but the guiding principles at the Heart of An Shen Acupuncture remain the same – a calm and peaceful spirit for everyone.