My anatomy study goes in cycles. During term time I am busy with the ATP programme and the Post Graduate Diploma, during the summer I can catch up on the other related courses that I am doing in the background. I tread a path between the Western medical interpretation of anatomy and other subjects where the detail is not so great, some might say accurate.
This is how I find myself writing a piece for my sports massage course on releasing tension in the neck and upper back and having to relate to acupressure points LI4 and LI11. At this point I need to reflect on how westernised my anatomy learning is. I’m very much a ‘need to see it’ sort of person. If I can see that that blood vessel connects those two points then I can accept it. Once we get into meridians and invisible lines of energy flow I begin to get very sceptical and have problems retaining the ideas – fundamentally probably because I don’t believe them.
Now Eastern medicine has been around a lot longer than Western medicine and there must be something in it or it would have disappeared by now. I struggle with believing in something I cant see, which is essentially faith. Did you cure me because of the pressure on the meridians or did you cure me because I believed you were going to? Very hard to differentiate and I would love to see the scientific paper that distinguishes between the two.
However, I’ve produced a paper that explains how the neck tension is dissipated. I’ve researched the concept and I can see in the learning objectives what it is that I am meant to be able to understand and I have produced a high merit level paper on it. Does that make me a fraud? As the teacher you would look at that paper and think ‘job done’. That student has taken on a complete understanding of how that works, but I haven’t. I am a complete imposter.
Or am I?
I know how it’s meant to work. Is that fact that I don’t really believe it an issue? is there a difference between superficial learning and just not really believing what you learn. If I don’t believe it then have I not understood the argument put forward for it. Is it just because I can’t see it that I struggle?
This brings me nicely around to my upcoming ATP year where I am studying neuroscience. Look at the brain and it’s impossible to differentiate some of the things I’m being asked to learn about. You can’t see them, you have to believe that they are there and there are some things we just don’t know about.
Will I struggle with being able to retain facts about things I can’t see?