Old Medicine: A Conversation with Lorraine Wilcox

by Njemile Carol Jones | Guest Interviewer

This is Qiological's first episode with a guest interviewer. Njemile Carol Jones pulls out her old radio day skills and sits down with Lorraine Wilcox for a conversation on what has caught her attention over the years, and the various projects in which she is currently involved. 

Njemile and Lorraine knew each other from back in the day when they both worked at NPR. Since then they've both traveled their own paths into Chinese medicine. 

Listen in for a delightful discussion on what happens when you follow your curiosity and internal leanings.


Lorraine Wilcox, guest

I studied Chinese medicine in the 1980's and immediately became bored with it. But after self-studying Chinese language for a short while, I felt like the blacks, whites, and grays of TCM transformed into brilliant color. I began trying to decode some ancient texts, especially those of the Ming dynasty. I also tried to absorb the philosophical and cultural background that a Ming dynasty doctor would possess. Eventually I understood that the goal was to try to build myself a virtual Ming mind (impossible to perfect, but beneficial to try). If one ancient statement could summarize what I have learned, it is:


The human body is a small heaven and earth. Zhāng Jièbīn, from Lèi Jīng Fù Yì ( Míng) 

One of my favorite things to do is to search the old books for a procedure or type of recipe, something that is not commonly used today, and try to work out how to do or make it. Many of them are no longer practical or usable, but some are quite marvelous and I wonder why they fell into disuse. I have replicated various ancient methods of moxibustion, and made recipes for syrups, ointments, plasters, medicinal incense, medicinal snuff, and so forth. Some of these are quite useful today. I like to teach them, write about them, and document them.


Njemile Carol Jones, interviewer

I have had a deep interest in East Asian medicine for 30 years. In the late 1980’s, I turned to acupuncture to heal my own very painful menstrual periods. I was so impressed with the immediate results, and amazed to discover that each month, I could have periods without cramps, food cravings or debilitating pain.

I wanted to know more about how this medicine worked. For years I read every book I could find on acupuncture & Chinese herbs, while studying tai qi & qi gong regularly. In the mid-90’s I left my career in broadcast journalism, for formal study. And been practicing since graduating from PCOM in 1999.

After almost 20 years of practice, I still love studying and learning about our medicine.  I am currently a student of Engaging Vitality, with Dan Bensky, Marguerite Dinkins, and the late Chip Chace.  And a longtime student in White Pine Institute's Graduate Mentorship Program.