I wanted to let you know I’ve chosen to not renew my AHPRA registration and as of the 1st of January 2022 I’m no longer registered to practice Chinese Medicine.
I’m sure it would be more comfortable to stay quiet regarding this decision, but given the 25 years I’ve dedicated to Chinese Medicine, the 11 years it took to achieve my double degree in Applied Science in Chinese Medicine and Human Biology (with Distinction) through pregnancy, breastfeeding, with two small children in tow, through divorce, death, single parenting, travelling hundreds of kilometres every week back and forth from Bendigo to Melbourne and the sacrifice made by both my children and parents whilst I completed my semester internship at Nanjing University in China, as well as 15 years clinical practice and thousands of hours spent with clients, and the hundreds of additional hours of continuing professional development training, it doesn’t seem right to let this moment go without speaking to WHY I’ve made this choice.
Whilst there’s a lot of emotion in this decision, I know it’s what I need to do. Unfortunately, AHPRA’s failure to advocate for the right of choice regarding the non-evidence-based vaccine mandate for health workers has made it clear this governing body isn’t aligned with one of the most fundamental principles of Chinese Medicine – that every individual is unique and therefore health treatment must always be specific to the individual.
The one size fits all approach of the non-evidence-based vaccine mandate for all AHPRA registered health workers violates this basic principle and therefore, as a doctor of Chinese Medicine, it no longer seems ethical for me to maintain my AHPRA registration while this situation remains.
When the Chinese Medicine Registration Board of Australia (CMRBA) joined AHPRA and the national registration scheme in 2012, many regarded this as a win for raising the public profile of Chinese Medicine. Although Chinese Medicine can claim to over 5000 years of practice and experience, the perception in Australian culture can be that this is an alternative medicine, lesser than and even ‘un-scientific’ compared to modern Western Medicine. Being AHPRA registered was seen to give the profession credibility, validation and approval by the mainstream.
However, the problem with Chinese Medicine trying to fit in with the Western Medicine model is that it’s impossible to retain the essence of Chinese Medicine using scientific standards of evidence-based medicine. The reason for this is that evidence-based medicine demands that results be replicated. This requires a uniform approach, as well as the ability to control parameters, where one treatment (such as a pharmaceutical patent) can be prescribed to all who fit the bill. So, everyone who has a headache takes the same drug.
Chinese Medicine doesn’t work like this. As mentioned, the most fundamental principle is that every individual is unique and therefore health treatment must always be specific to the individual. No treatment is ever the same. Whilst everyone might have a headache, the underlying imbalance will be unique dependent on the individual and therefore treatment for the headache will vary. This is a holistic model, acknowledging the multi-faceted complexity of the human experience and therefore the need to be fluid, flexible and ever-changing and to respond accordingly.
From this perspective, the moment you try and fit Chinese Medicine into the parameters of evidence-based medicine, you’re no longer practicing Chinese Medicine. This is such an important distinction and I hope more Australian Chinese Medicine practitioners recognise that the push to ‘legitimise’ Chinese Medicine using scientific standards of evidence-based medicine actually threatens the holistic integrity of Chinese Medicine and all it stands for.
The irony here is that over the past 18 months this scientific ‘gold standard’ of evidence-based medicine has been completely thrown out the window anyway! I don’t need to go into this. I know you’re intelligent and it’s getting more and more obvious that things don’t add up. It’s enough to say we are where we are because unfortunately the ‘gold standard’ of evidence-based medicine lost its way somewhere around the 1980’s when it became possible for the same companies funding the clinical trials necessary for evidence-based-medicine to have vested interests in the results (ie. profits), and things have been on a slippery slope since. Pharmaceutical intellectual property is BIG business, and as much as we might not want to admit it not all people, corporations and even government bodies have our best interests at heart.
So, this isn’t a criticism of Western Medicine. The technology available here is awesome and needed. Nor is this Chinese Medicine versus Western Medicine. I truly look forward to a future model of Integrative Healthcare that incorporates all healing modalities in order to offer every individual treatment dependent on what’s best for them in any given moment on their healing journey. This is the point.
This is why I’m voicing my concern over the power and authority given to those that govern our healthcare system and the narrative that demands a one size fits all approach when this is non-evidence-based yet there’s no room for question, as well as going against the basic principles of Chinese Medicine. AHPRA’s failure to advocate for the right of choice regarding the non-evidence-based mandate for healthcare workers, or even the right to question, indicates this governing body is too limiting and restrictive and isn’t aligned with the holistic values needed to take Australia’s healthcare system forward to what’s possible in this next phase of humanity’s evolution.
For this reason, I’ve chosen to not renew my AHPRA registration. This is a very big decision for me as so much of my identity is invested in being a Doctor of Chinese Medicine. For me it’s not a job, it’s a way of life. I sincerely hope the situation changes and if so I’ll be happy to again be an AHPRA registered health professional. Either way, it’s time to break free and find a path that allows me to be of service guided by the principles I hold sacred.
Please note, I’m still in service to those looking for natural and holistic solutions to your healthcare I’ll just be calling myself a Women’s Wellness Specialist (or something like that) and speaking in terms of Eastern Wisdom rather than Acupuncturist or Chinese Medicine Practitioner. I’m still working out the details and need to find out more about how this decision changes things moving forward. I’ll let you know.
If you’d like to know more about working together, how I can help you or any of my services CONTACT ME.