How I came to study Acupuncture – and why you might too.
I was chatting with a girlfriend the other day, and she said to me, “You know, I don’t know the story of how you ended up being an acupuncturist”.
I get asked this a lot by clients.
I think it’s a safe way to get to know your therapist, and to also respectfully find out just how long they have been practicing!
It feels like such a short story that I often neglect telling it, as I fell into the health sciences very early in life and almost by pure accident.
It was also a VERY long time ago!
I was an absolute baby at 18, it was the early 90’s and I was studying a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Writing, when I went to the student clinic of what was then the Academy of Natural Therapies in West Burleigh on the Gold Coast.
What I think about from this time is really that I must have had some sort of deep knowing or calling. Which sounds naf but it’s the only way I can explain it.
This was before the internet, and I had no exposure at all to alternate health care.
I mean I guess I sort of new that something else existed, but growing up in a small country town in North Queensland the only experience I recall was my high school best friends mum one day asking me to hold the orange before she juiced some for us and then did what I now know to be kinesiology and said to me that I didn’t actually want orange juice and that was that. Ha!
(It was all pretty weird to me at the time and they were German and did all this amazing recycling that was going to take another 20 years to land in Qld… I mean we really are behind the times)
I also recall my absolute fixation with the one and only crystal book shop in town. I still have a book that I bought at 16 from that shop called the Green Witch, on herbs.
We really do come into this life with knowledge beyond that which we are exposed to.
Anyway, off I pop to this student clinic which was really hard for me to get to without a car, I think my boyfriend drove me and it kick started my curiosity.
If I could have one super power from my youth I think it would be this kind of trusting leaping ability that I reflect upon at this point, because I just up and leapt into what was at the time an Advanced Diploma of Applied Science in Naturopathy.
In high school I had avoided studying any of the sciences with a straight art and humanities curriculum (English, Ancient History, Dance, Drama and Music), so this also involved a Chemistry Bridging Course which I actually loved!
By this point I had put myself through driving school and my Great Aunty had bought me a $3000 dollar car which was born the same year I was and I was paying her back by actually going into a bank and making cash deposits. (It’s like a history lesson isn’t it!)
She would of course at the half way mark tell me that I was all paid off bless her. That’s us up there looking a bit faded and super cute.
I couldn’t have done this phase of my life without her and I mention this here as she sponsored by course fees the whole way through my degree.
I don’t know what I would have done here at this point if she hadn’t. The course was at the time through a private college, with no HECS or fee help, and I was 19 living in a share house working part time at a children’s Fairy Shop telling kids stories at birthday parties. (please don’t act like you’re surprised by this)
I often wonder what alternate life path Keri might have ended up doing.
One year into my degree in Naturopathy I had an acupuncture treatment with one of the lecturers.
I’m not even sure how this came about, but once again I leapt.
I loved the idea of working with my hands and I liked the practicality of the work (nothing has changed there) and of course with my love of art, ancient history and languages it was always going to be a match made in heaven.
I recall these years being hard but also fun, I can’t imagine doing this sort of study now, in fact the mere thought of it makes me want to cry! But living on the most basic living allowance, shopping in op shops and keeping life simple was just how it was. It was also the 90’s and grunge made this whole situation seem a lot more acceptable.
And so it was that 3 years later in 1998 I graduated at 23 with 4 years of health study and 2 years of Arts under my belt off into the wide world.
I would wait another 2 years before travelling to Japan to study with my Sensei in Imabari.
This was on the way home from 2 years of world travel with my now husband. In hindsight I wonder at just how much I managed to squeeze into my 20’s.
I’ve administered acupuncture in the Peruvian Jungle, working in Spa’s in Ireland and pretty much every place in between.
Once back in Australia I upgraded my qualification to a BA in Health Sciences in Acupuncture with a further year of study now that the course was a nationally recognised qualification.
And in all that time, it’s essential to also know that we are required to log a minimum of 21 hours of ongoing education each year, to maintain our qualifications and registrations which is no mean feat now that Acupuncture is registered with AHPRA.
So perhaps that story isn’t a short as I thought, but it’s one that brings me a lot of joy in the retelling. A feeling that supports that I made the right decision all those years ago.
I look forward to seeing where the path continues to take me.
I also ADORE chatting to people contemplating studying acupuncture. Please feel free to comment on this post or get in touch.