Dr Jean-Marc Kespi
Honorary President of the French Association of Acupuncture (AFA)
After finishing my medical studies with enthusiasm, I established myself as a General Practitioner in 1962. I discovered acupuncture that same year and began to learn a second medicine, Chinese this time. This point of view was fascinating for me: It is an approach where one observes, listens, feels and touches the patients. This permitted me to remain faithful to the clinical approach that had been transmitted to me by my old masters of occidental medicine, during my years of studies.
Chinese medicine was then considered at best poetic and outdated. After reading Soulié de Morand and Choain, I had the privilege of being in close contact with my masters in acupuncture Albert Chamfrault and Nguyen van Nghi. I was struck by the fact that they kept questioning the texts of Acupuncture, punctuating their readings by numerous « whys », signifying that this particular approach could teach us a different grasp of medicine and life in general. The goal here was to treat an human being beyond the symptoms, to accompany and to intervene if its somatic and psychic defenses were outdated, finally remind the body of a normal functioning he had known but that been obstructed.
It is important to understand that, in terms of the foundations of its civilization, China puts the emphasis especially on “relationship” and not on “being”, which means that the “are away from a Western perspective where an isolated analysis of separate elements have led to the view of the atom “or the cell (F Julien). Also, the vision of traditional Chinese medicine is not anatomical, but functional and symbolic. This approach proposes an original vision of the body, which represents the scenery of all physical and psychological memory: the bodily symptoms being its language. Furthermore, this medicine permits us, by puncturing one or more specific acupuncture points, to address ourselves to that part of the body, which memorized various sufferings. Puncturing these points sets the blocked Qi in motion again and thereby permits its liberation. The scar, always, but is less painful or not at all.
I gave and give credit to the traditional Chinese approach; little by little I was able to discover its depth and validity. I also accepted quite soon that I would never be a traditional Chinese doctor. I had not “drunk the Chinese language, the rituals, and the mythology through my mother’s milk”: I was not familiar with Chinese life, the writings, practices and customs. Being a « barbaric » was a disadvantage, but also allowed me to ask questions that only a foreigner would ask. I understood that my reflections, coming from outside the Chinese boundaries, could potentially enrich the understanding of this medicine – on the condition that i ceaselessly deepen the understanding of the tradition, the civilization and the symbolic language of Chinese medicine.
Over the years, the continuous study of Acupuncture led to a journey, which has greatly enriched my way of practicing medicine and my vision of life.
On July 13th 2015, the Grand Chancellor of the Order of the Legion of Honor nominated me to the grade of Knight, as a general practitioner and honorary president of the French Association of Acupuncturists. Beyond myself, the practice of general medicine and acupuncture were so honored.