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Home > Newsletters > December 2005 > Acupuncture at Sea

Acupuncture At Sea

By Stephanie Kimber, L.Ac.

Chinese medicine is a healing technique that has existed virtually unchanged for thousands of years. Presently it is facing what I believe to be one of its greatest challenges, namely the twenty-first century, where the Western and Eastern worlds are converging. These are challenges that shake the foundations of both systems and yet hold out the great promise of a synthesis of the two. Nowhere is that convergence more apparent than on a luxury liner plying the sea routes of the world. Some of the great cruise lines have brought, in recent years, the ancient art of Chinese medicine aboard their vessels to keep pace with a growing trend of holistic healing. Many who take a week or two out of their lives to reduce stress, to be more in touch with their bodies, to have time to reflect and perhaps rehabilitate, have found not so much an alternative, but a complement to the only medicine they've known.

In April of this year, I had the good fortune of being the resident acupuncturist aboard a Celebrity Cruise ship, a floating village with all the comforts and accoutrements that this life has to offer. I was given the opportunity to practice what I had studied for the last four years, to travel to exotic ports of call, meet people from all corners of the world, and demystify Chinese medicine to a Western audience. Through informative lectures, private sessions, and casual encounters I discussed with the guests on board a new philosophy of healing.

After several months working on board dealing with a clientele from all around the world and having the great benefit of seeing many patients in a relatively short period of time, I was able to observe a very promising trend. Essentially, people were showing improvement and in a much shorter time than I had experienced on land. This at first seemed puzzling, especially because I was using such gentle techniques without much herbal supplementation. However after watching my patients leave the clinic, relaxed and unhurried, their main orientation being the calming serenity of the sea, I realized it was more than just the treatments that were yielding such great results. Away from their daily schedule, which in many cases proved to be the root of their problem, they had the time and the willingness to try something new. It was certainly a refreshing change from having worked with patients in L.A. who would leave my clinic to face the pressures and anxieties of urban life.

If Chinese medicine is to survive in the west, there must be a fundamental shift in how the Western Hemisphere looks at human health. Our society has historically been conditioned to expect immediate gratification, reacting to illnesses instead working to prevent them. Western patients tend to take a more passive role in their healing while Chinese medicine requires its patients to take a more active one in their health. The bridge between the two systems is education, which promises ultimately to shed light on a system of medicine that for centuries has been shrouded in mystery.

And thus, on the confines of a ship at sea, with a (captive) audience, we are in a unique position to present acupuncture in a way that the patients on board can accept. Our potential for ridding people of their fears and misconceptions about acupuncture is great. The ability to bring real relief to the many seeking it and put hundreds/thousands of people on a new path of healing is profoundly satisfying. Acupuncture at Sea is just one avenue to accomplish this. It may ultimately prove to be a very important vehicle, literally between continents, miles out to sea, but spanning them in a common pursuit of all humanity-the quest for wellness.     

For more information regarding acupuncture positions on Celebrity Cruise ships email


This Month's Articles

December 2005
Volume 3, Number 12

Ten Healthy Eating Habits for Better Fertility

Acupuncture for Cancer - Integrating Eastern with Western Medicine

Acupuncture at Sea

Recent Research

Ask The Doctor

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