How did a Finnish woman end up being a teacher and Clinical Supervisor at the ICTCM in Dublin?
I have always been drawn to teaching – my younger sister knows this well. When I first went to Primary School, after coming home in the afternoon I would sit her down and try to teach her everything I’d learned that day. She may not have appreciated this much – I do hope that my current TCM students are able to make better use of my efforts of imparting knowledge!
Originally, I started out in General Linguistics at Helsinki University. Language and grammar were my first love. I had hoped to arrive at some kind of deeper, more profound understanding of human cognition, perhaps even human nature, through the languages that we use as the interface with the world and with each other. But as I progressed with my studies, I begun to realise how theoretical and book-bound a career as a linguist would be, and that seemed daunting. So I took a break and went traveling, left for an adventure.
I had always been into theatre and literature and there were a great many Irish authors and playwrights that I was fascinated by, James Joyce of course, Oscar Wilde, John Millington Synge, and others. That is what brought me to Ireland and to Dublin. I wanted to know more about this place that had produced such incredible writing.
What attracted you to the Acupuncture TCM profession in the first place?
While in Dublin I had acupuncture treatment with Professor Tom Shanahan. I had never even heard of acupuncture before, but it worked so well that I really wanted to understand what it was, and not just understand at a theoretical level but I wanted to be able to do it myself. He pointed me to this great little book called ‘The Web that has no Weaver’ by Ted Kaptchuk. I read it and it gave me the first little glimpse into the medical system that is TCM and soon after I enrolled into the Acupuncture Training Lic.TCM course at the ICTCM.
As I learned TCM I could see that, compared to General Linguistics, it had one huge advantage. When I studied linguistics, my very accomplished professor said to us students:
“Listen, don’t think you will ever make a difference by being a linguist. If you want to bring about a political change, if you want to bring about a social or individual change, you need to do it elsewhere, you will not do it through linguistics. This is a theoretical endeavour, this has no practical relevance”.
Well, Acupuncture TCM is hugely relevant. It can make a difference. It can make a difference at an individual level, and through the individual it can change the family, the neighbourhood, perhaps even the society. TCM is not just an elegant, pretty theory – it works, and it can be applied directly to help people. And there is no better feeling in the world than to be able to help somebody, especially when other things they’ve tried have failed.
Also the medical tradition that is TCM is so old and vast, that you never really run out of things to learn. Your patients prompt the search for a better understanding and you go back to the medical theory to be able to better help them. Then you go back to your patient and back to practice and apply what you found in your research. It never becomes stagnant, or boring.
Editorial Note: Titta is one of the Acupuncture TCM Teachers and one of the Acupuncture Clinical Supervisors working with third year students in the Teaching Clinic.
What’s it like being a Clinical Supervisor?
Being a Clinical Supervisor in the ICTCM’s Teaching Clinic is incredibly demanding but also incredibly rewarding. You have to keep track of everything, be on top of multiple things all at once, and be able to diagnose and devise a treatment strategy and points selection on the spot, all the while overseeing the running of a busy student clinic. However, it is doubly rewarding in a way. Not only do you get to see patients getting better, but you also get to see students transitioning from a TCM student to a TCM practitioner, learning how to put the theory into use. It can be very exciting and the Clinical Supervisor himself or herself also learns a lot from each clinic.
Do you run a clinic of your own?
I run three clinics in London, in three different locations although one of them is now closed until the Autumn due to the Covid-19 lockdown. I also work with vulnerable women through a charity in London’s Kings Cross. Practising in different clinics is interesting because different sorts of people with different kinds of problems find their way to you depending on the location and type of clinic you’re in.
Editorial Note: Titta is a fully qualified and insured Acupuncture TCM practitioner and also has a Diploma in Chinese Herbal Medicine. She is also qualified as a Medical Qigong practitioner.
What do you do for enjoyment?
I am a passionate swimmer. There is no such thing as a bad day that a few lengths of butterfly-stroke could not wash away! This year because of the lockdown, I set up a little pool in the back garden where I could swim with the use of a “tether”. That means being tied to a pole with a bungee and swimming stationary. I’ve also been traveling out of London to lakes and the sea because the pools have not been open, and that is actually great. Less chlorine, more fresh air and much better scenery.
Happy Christmas and a joyful New Year
Wishing all our friends, colleagues, students and staff a wonderful time during the festive season.
From all at the Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Dr Deng Tietao was a great friend and supporter of the Irish College of TCM. He died, earlier this month, at the age of 104, although as explained in his Wikipedia entry, this would be calculated a little differently in China. In the West, he would have been said to be nearly 103 at the time of his death.
We first met him in 2000 when he was already 85 years old. He came to teach us during one of the specialist Medical Qigong Courses that was being run exclusively for staff and graduates of the ICTCM.
Professor Deng was a kind, refined and enlightened man who understood the importance of being healthy on all levels – body, mind and spirit. He was a much published author of books on many aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine and his seminal book on Chinese Medical Diagnostics has been published in English. When only in his 50s, his students published a book (in Chinese) as a sign of respect for his excellence as a medical practitioner and teacher, which outlined his regimen for a healthy life and longevity. This included his daily practice of one of the most famous traditional Qigong forms, called Baduanjin.
During the subsequent years we met him a number of times when he gave guest lectures to groups from our college and met the Director of the College Tom Shanahan to discuss the most important attributes of a Traditional Chinese Medical Practitioner. Both agreed that it was kindness to one’s patients.
The last time we met was in 2011 after he had been awarded the very highest award by the Chinese Government in 2009. He was named a “Master of National Medicine” of China, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the China Society for Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology, and won the Guangdong Science and Technology Award (First Class).
During our last meeting in 2011 he brushed a unique calligraphy for the Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine showing that he gave his great support to our efforts to spread high-quality, authentic Acupuncture and TCM across Europe and the world. Further information can be found in our 2011 ICTCM news item.
News of his death was announced by the Guangzhou Daily on 10th January 2019. Their article gives an interesting extract from an interview with Dr Deng, who will be much missed by his friends, family and students.
The ICTCM was one of the first independent colleges in Ireland to get a website. So many years ago!
Now we are in the process, yet again, of updating the look of our site to make it more user-friendly for those using mobile devices.
We want it to be easy for you to find out about the courses we offer.
- Profession Acupuncture Training and
- Postgraduate programmes.
During our recent visit to Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Macao we were delighted to meet old friends in the TCM and Qigong field, and to make new ones.
At a conference on Health and Longevity the Irish College of TCM’s Director Tom Shanahan received a special award for presenting an outstanding academic paper.
Senior college staff have been training in Medical Qigong with their Chinese Qigong Master Professor Song Xinhong since 2000 and are happy to announce that another Qigong weekend workshop will be running in the college in June.
Book your place now to get the early bird offer.
Professor Song Xinhong was one of the event organisers for this very successful international conference.
The Irish College of TCM (ICTCM) first visited Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine in 1999. We have returned to our sister University in Guangzhou, with whom we have had a formal Affiliation since 2002, almost every year since then.
Many ICTCM graduates have attended month-long specialist post-graduate courses. The photo above is from the first Medical Qigong visit in 2000 and the photo below shows the 2002 group.
Later this month ICTCM staff will be meeting University officials in Guangzhou to discuss possible advances in the cooperation between the two TCM teaching institutes.
Happy Chinese New Year of the Earth Dog to all our students, teachers, friends and colleagues in Ireland and across the world.
We wish you all a prosperous and healthy New Year.
Tom Shanahan and Mary Plunkett
Irish College of TCM
The Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine wishes a very Happy Christmas and a joyous, healthy and prosperous New Year 2018 to all our staff, students, friends and colleagues in Ireland and across the world.
and Mary Plunkett
The Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine enjoyed a sociable and yet profound start to the academic year when Tom Shanahan shared his 40+ years of experience as a TCM teacher, professor and clinician at the Shen Dao Seminar held in early September.
Professor Tom Shanahan and Registrar Mary Plunkett have each been invited to make a presentation at the Nei Dao Qigong Symposium being held in Rome in October 2017.
Each presentation will reflect our experience of practising Qigong as a Medical treatment option of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) within the wider and generally more well-known context of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
Tom and Mary have been practising and subsequently teaching Qigong for Health and Well-being and Medical Qigong since 2000 and regularly visit China presenting papers at conferences and supporting the promotion of authentic, traditional Medical Qigong as taught to us by our Qigong masters in China.
We look forward to meeting fellow Qigong Masters and Presenters from around the world at the Symposium in Rome.