I started clinical practice in 1978. That's over 40 years! Yikes. There were no acupuncture schools when I started. I apprenticed with a Korean master for 7 years, in Chicago. He practiced meridian therapy, and and felt that all health problems can be fixed by “balancing the meridians!”. Later, I apprenticed with two herbalists, one a Chinatown doctor from Hong Kong, the other a well-trained TCM doctor from Lanzhou, China. I was fascinated by the colorful boxes of the patent medicines in the Chinatown pharmacy, and I wrote my first book on Chinese patent medicines in 1986. In 2001, that book got expanded into “Chinese Herbal Patent Medicines”, and then that book got completely rewritten in 2014 as “Essential Chinese Formulas”, concentrating on the GMP available products. It combined traditional indications, with commentaries from my own personal experience. I love this last book, it has so much practical information! I spent a year in Chinese hospitals studying herbal medicine in 1987-1988, which really developed my clinical skills, and then I taught herbal medicine since 1982 at various TCM colleges in the US, and to graduate seminars. In clinic, I specialize in internal disorders, respiratory, GI, pediatrics, and infections.
As for acupuncture, I still subscribe to the meridian balancing method as developed by Japanese practitioners. Currently I use a computerized meridian diagnostic program. I have synthesized the work of Yoshio Manaka, Shudo Denmai, and Miki Shima into the “3-Level Acupuncture Protocol”, which I discuss on my website. This is a great approach for internal disorders, immune enhancement, and stress reduction. I do not do much musculoskeletal work. My acupuncture approach is related to my qi gong practice, which I have followed even before my acupuncture studies. In conclusion, I am a great believer that East Asian medicine is far superior to Western medicine for most outpatient conditions, and I am so happy that you are also pursuing one of the many available pathways of our medicine and art.