Advanced Classical Acupuncture – what is it?

A style of acupuncture that is gaining popularity in recent times, especially since the Covid pandemic, is Advanced Classical Acupuncture – following the teachings of Jeffrey Yuen and his students. Advanced classical acupuncture uses a much broader range of channels and acupuncture points than the standard approaches taught at undergraduate level in the UK. Advanced acupuncture is potentially beneficial for addressing psycho emotional spiritual problems and blocks – and also for stubborn musculo-skeletal conditions, especially those involving pain. Advanced acupuncture aims to deal with all levels of dis-ease and especially more severe levels of depletion and overwhelm in a person’s mind body and connection with spirit – i.e. supporting people with serious illness or chronic conditions that are hard to treat.

The history of acupuncture is that in the 11th and 12th Centuries CE, Chinese Medicine became standardised by the Imperial authorities. 46 out of the 68 channels were omitted from the official approved practice of acupuncture. Advanced classical acupuncturists make use of these channels. Modern day Daoist Master, Dr Jeffrey Yuen, is an 88th generation lineage holder who has dedicated his life to passing on his knowledge. and his students, practitioners like Ann Cecil Sherman and Sean Tuten, who I am learning from, share their clinical knowledge and experiences in the advanced classical approach.

The approach of advanced classical acupuncture has huge resonance with biodynamic craniosacral therapy, which is why I felt drawn to it. The idea is that the body is constantly trying to maintain health. This is done by either fighting off a pathogen or dealing with the new stress or trauma, or, if this isn’t possible, storing it in the body in such a way that it causes minimal damage. However, when a person, who for whatever reasons (lack of strength/resources,  overwhelm, chronic ill health) cannot cope with the new challenge it must deal with, or if there isn’t any more storage space left or capacity to keep the new challenge under control – illness manifests. The theory is that illness and trauma can be stored in the body in a state of latency where the internal organs that are necessary for functioning will be protected – unless the pathogen or trauma is too strong or the body is too weak.

Life can be really tough and there is an endless amount of adversity and injustice in the world – as well as immense joy and beauty. There is so much that is beyond our control. All we really can control is our responses to life’s challenges – and therein lies one of the biggest conundrums – as the way we respond may be unhealthy and harmful. We end up storing problems for the future to get through the challenges of the present day. What I like about the approach of advanced classical acupuncture is that there is no judgment about a person’s responses to life. Instead, there is recognition about what it is they are trying to keep at bay. What they are carrying and how heavy their burden is.

Medicine is hard and and going in too deep too quickly can upset the body rather than help. Healing work must be at the right pace. If not, there may be a healing crisis. If a client has put their trust in me then I am going to do my utmost to help them find their path to healing. I don’t fix my clients – they fix themselves – and it is always their body mind and spirit that does the work.

Regaining health is about far more than the absence of disease. As a practitioner it is a privilege to walk alongside my clients, listening deeply and trying to work out what can unlock their healing potential. The advanced classical acupuncture approach is a phenomenally powerful and incredibly sophisticated way to help someone – and to support a person’s unique healing journey.