It’s surprising the unexpected paths we trod that lead us to our destiny. Especially when you’re headed into a profession or line of work that does not yet exist. 

In this conversation with Jake Fratkin, we meander through tales of back pain, bitter herbs, beginner's luck and crooked judges. We reflect on the joys and uncertainties of following your fascination to wherever it leads, and making a go of life on the edge of the establishment. 

Listen into this discussion on photography, monkey behavior, apprenticeships with Chicago masters and being involved with a call to standards in an emerging profession. Jake took an eccentric path to Chinese medicine in an era when it was still a fringe pursuit. It would seem you write your own destiny when following your interests and curiosity, and keep on going.

In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • Introduction to Jake and discussing his interest in biology and science
  • Jake's exposure to acupuncture through James Reston's appendectomy
  • The influences that lead him to study Chinese language and tai chi
  • Beginning the  study acupuncture with Dr. Moon in Chicago
  • Starting acupuncture practice in 1978 and attracting the attention of the “Authorities”
  • Learning herbal medicine through apprenticeships in Chicago
  • Jake's involvement in establishing national standards and exams
  • The influence of Ted Kaptchuk's The Web That Has No Weaver book
  • Using computer diagnosis and acupuncture techniques
  • The need for acupuncturists to study Western biomedicine
  • The lack of acceptance from Western medicine and ways forward
  • Reflecting on starting acupuncture practice for $10 a treatment

I practice Meridian Balancing, a Japanese approach. The best foundation for this its doing meridian qi gong, following the sequence of the acupuncture channels. In herbal medicine, when confronted with excess and deficiency, prioritize the excess first, and the deficiency later.​

JAKE PAUL FRATKIN, OMD, L.Ac. trained in Korean and Japanese acupuncture since1975, and Chinese herbal medicine since 1982, and has studied and taught qi gong and Yang family Taijiquan since 1974. He is the recipient of Acupuncturist of the Year 1999,by the AAAOM, and Teacher of the Year, 2006, American Association of Teachers ofAcupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AATAOM).

Jake lives and practices in Boulder,Colorado.

He is the author of Essential Chinese Formulas, 225 Classical and Modern Prescriptions (2014), and the co-author of Case Studies in Autoimmune Disorders with Zeng Shengping (2014), and Practical Therapeutics of Traditional Chinese Medicine with Wu Yan, (1997)


Links and Resources


Visit Jake on his website, and also check out his photographic work.


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