Dr Stephen Gascoigne M.B., Ch.B., C.Ac. (Shanghai), Dip. CHM.
I completed my medical training in 1976 in Liverpool and worked for over 6 years in hospital and then general practice. It was during my time in general practice that I began to see methods of treating people that were quite different to my experience and understanding.
There were homoeopaths, acupuncturists and osteopaths working locally who were clearly, in many cases, doing more for patients than I could with my knowledge and training in conventional medicine. This aroused my curiosity and I began training in methods of holistic medicine, particularly allergy work and nutrition.
For a time I was medical advisor the the Morecambe Bay Cancer Help Centre which was run by someone who had recovered from cancer by using natural methods of diet and relaxation. I was privileged to hear and see amazing stories of recovery from cancer.
I did several weekend courses as a GP in homoeopathy and acupuncture and I used these methods with some success. However, when I met someone who had trained in acupuncture for six months in China, I quickly realised that a weekend course was not quite enough to enable me to call myself an acupuncturist! At the same time, I was becoming increasingly disillusioned with conventional medical practice. Consequently, I left general practice to focus solely on holistic medicine.
I spent a couple of years at the Northern College of Homoeopathy in the UK and had a great time beginning to understand the philosophies of holistic medicine, specifically homoeopathy. However, I felt that I had a closer connection with Oriental philosophies and, in 1985, I went to China myself to study acupuncture. I was completely inspired, particularly by the fact that a whole system of holistic medicine is state supported with hospitals and clinics dedicated to Chinese medicine.
Following my return to the UK I practised acupuncture and subsequently trained in London in Chinese herbal medicine with the esteemed master of Chinese medicine, Tinh Thong Nguyen, a third generation Vietnamese practitioner of Chinese medicine.
I now work in West Cork, Ireland practising Chinese medicine and in Bath, Somerset. I am a fully registered medical practitioner with the UK General Medical Council and the Medical Council in Ireland. I am also registered with the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine in the UK, the Irish Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine and The Acupuncture Council of Ireland.
I am keen to support practitioners of holistic medicine in their practice and offer supervision to individuals as well as seminars and lectures to students, practitioners and colleges. I have written three books with these aims in mind. 'The Chinese Way to Health' (Connections, 2000) is an introduction to Chinese medicine and its methods for the general public. It is full of practical self-help advice. Two textbooks are for students and practitioners of holistic medicine - 'The Clinical Medicine Guide (2001)' and 'The Prescribed Drug Guide (2003)'. In addition, there is a distance-learning study guide to accompany 'The Clinical Medicine Guide' - 'Pathology & Diease for Alternative Practitioners' by The School of Health. This enables people to study at their own pace with support from other resources as well as a tutor. In 2006, I wrote a booklet 'Natural Alternatives to Depression (2006)' which was accompanied by a public launch and talks at Neal's Yard Remedies throughout the UK.