Learning Acupuncture during the Beginning of AIDS

With Guest: Susan Paul

Episode Qi068

It’s not hard to study acupuncture these days. A quick internet search will bring up plenty of choices. But back in the 1980’s, it was a different story.

Our guest, like many of us, did not set out to become an acupuncturist. It was a process of fortuitous circumstances that opened those doors.

Listen into this conversation that covers some of the early days of acupuncture in New York City at the beginning of AIDS epidemic.
In this conversation we discuss:
  • Medicine was in the family
  • The influence of Michael Smith and his work at the Lincoln Hospital
  • First experience with acupuncture
  • There was this training program for doctors and nurses
  • Early schools of acupuncture in the New York area
  • The influence of AIDS on Susan’s acupuncture education
  • A practice based on treating AIDS in the early years of the epidemic
  • Using Chinese herbs in the treatment of AIDS
"If you find that as a practitioner, you have more of your qi involved in the patient's motivation than the patient has, something is wrong with that picture.
AND, equally important…always remember that it is a great honor and privilege to be trusted with another's most private thoughts, concerns and feelings."
Susan Paul
I was born raised and lived in NYC for 50 years.
I learned, in the first 20 years, that I didn't want to be a cog in an allopathic system where the doctor was the God/father figure, the nurse a powerless slave, and the patient, a dependent infant. I discovered Oriental Medicine by chance and quickly saw its' potential to change my personal health and professional life.

I “retired” five years ago after 35 years of intense involvement in Alternative Medicine, AIDS and HIV treatment as well as almost every other diagnosis under the sun of New York City, India and Asheville, NC. I consider myself lucky to have been in 1982, facing some of the first undiagnosed AIDS patients in NYC, as an RN…and following that slim thread into 35 years of profound medical experience, tragic as well as totally compelling.

I have learned that a sound academic foundation provides freedom for creative thinking which often works, amuses, satisfies and keeps the mind moving forward. Even when the consciously desired result is not realized, there is a special joy in a self-determined inner mission, over many years duration.
Links and Resources


Susan spends time in India providing Chinese medicine services at Snehalaya



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I’ve heard it said that for something to be heard — it takes someone to speak and another to listen.

Michael Max

Acupuncturist, Podcast Host
About me
I've always been more drawn to questions than answers. And the practice of medicine seems to more lively when infused with a sense of curiosity and inquiry. It's been delight and honor to be able to discuss our medicine with so many thoughtful and skilled practitioners.

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