About John Aguilar, Jr., L.Ac., R.Y.T., M.S.TCM
Chinese medicine has been the passion in my life since late 1993, early 1994. I consider my love for the medicine one of the greatest joys I have ever experienced (and continue to enjoy every day).
I came to Chinese medicine through Taoist (aka 'Daoist') philosophy. My first introduction came by way of a fluorescent orange book in a bookstore in a mall in Minot, North Dakota. This book, The Tao of Physics, by Fritjof Capra, was truly the beginning of my life. It opened my eyes to a world I felt a deep and rare kinship with. This world, I learned, speaks through ancient Chinese philosophy, as well as the latest in modern physics.
The explosion of interest into Taoism, sparked by Capra's book, lead quickly to a deep appreciation for classical Chinese medicine. This 'medicine' incorporates theories of health, illness, physiology, pathology, etc. as well as physical diagnostics and treatments rooted in Taoist wisdom and experience. (To be fair, Chinese medicine, as a whole, incorporates much that is not of Taoist origin, but then again the parts of the medicine that I have been attracted to and employ in clinical practice are mostly Taoist in nature.) It simply struck me as beautiful that there was a medicine based on the wisdom of sages!
It was then that I started studying the medicine. At the time, I was in the Air Force stationed overseas. My study, therefore, simply followed my curiosity. I started with the bibliography in The Tao of Physics and, literally, started checking off the books that interested me as I bought them. My personal library grew as quickly as my interest in the Air Force waned. I spent my last couple years in uniform eagerly planning my new life formally studying and practicing this ancient sagely medicine.
I ended up studying at several different schools, as my passion for the medicine presented itself as a stubbornness to get exactly what I wanted from my formal training. I experienced a profound disillusionment at my first school, Yo San University, in California. The school, itself, was excellent. In fact, it was a direct result of the course of study that led to the awakening. For the required 'History of Medicine' course, I wrote a paper on Chinese medicine in the twentieth century. In doing the research, I discovered that modern Chinese medicine has undergone drastic alteration to fit into and be accepted by the Western world that operates under very different fundamental paradigms. This realization shocked me into leaving Yo San to seek studies that followed the pre-modern approach to the medicine.
From Yo San I ended up studying at several different schools covering different approaches and takes on the medicine. I ended up returning to my home state of Colorado to study at and graduate from the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine (CSTCM). Even after 'settling' on one school, I still felt the urge to supplement my formal education with extensive personal study. (In defense of CSTCM, and Chinese medicine schools and the standard curriculum in general, Chinese medicine is far too big to fit into any set of courses. It is also far too diverse to satisfy the individual curiosities of all students.)
My personal studies took me primarily to the foundational texts of the medicine, the 'classics' as they are referred to, as well as books emphasizing more Taoist approaches to the medicine. To be honest, though I love Chinese medicine, I am not a very good student. My inner drive almost always carried greater authority, in my mind. If I felt a class wasn't important, I'd give it little energy, if I showed up at all, and instead would go to my favorite local coffee house and study some aspect of the medicine I felt drawn to.
I graduated with the respect of my peers and professors and opened up a solo private practice in Denver, Colorado. My practice has varied in size and patient load over the years, as have the conditions I have treated. My practice is a very personal and direct reflection of my own studies and personal development. Truly, I can not imagine more rewarding work. It's a deep honor to have gained access to and exercise skill in this rare system of healing that has benefited from the wisdom and experience of generations of sage-physicians, and it is a great pleasure to make this available to the people around me.
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