After spending the summer working in ICOM’s clinic, I went to work in the spa of a cruise ship that was in the Caribbean. That experience was very intense in many ways. First, as an acupuncturist, the fact of having to explain to passengers how they might benefit from acupuncture was a very rewarding challenge as they were on-board for only a week, so every 7 days 2,000 new faces! So that was a lot of training opportunity to present well and succinctly, and to improve the seminars given in the spa on specific topics (pain, digestion, arthritis, etc). A great factor for the amazing results in clinic was, in my opinion, the fact that people were there on holidays, so very relaxed, and also the possibility to see them more than once within a week. Many would come for a ‘package’ of 3 sessions. Another intense aspect of ship life is the interactions with the crew. We live together in confined spaces, so friends become close very quickly. During my spare time I would go to heavenly beaches, with amazing sun and water, altogether a great balance.
After that, I went to Ecuador and practiced there for a while, before going to Geneva, Switzerland to join a project at the World Health Organization on traditional and complementary medicine, and have been working here since then. That was already 3 years ago! Initially, part-time to be able to practice in town, but gradually as the project got busier I ended up full time in this public health setting, far from my original plans! I have been participating to the development of a list of diagnoses of ‘traditional medicine’ that is included in the International Classification of Diseases, produced by WHO for health statistics and used in hospitals, reimbursement, etc. This is one step closer to having a health system where ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ medicines are integrated for the benefit of patients. Overall, I would say that working here, despite its challenges with sometimes complex political environments and administrative procedures, is inspiring by the impact of global projects that are developed in collaboration with so many countries, experts, and the interaction with such a diversity of people and cultures.
Graduating from ICOM enabled all these wonderful experiences, and more to come, no doubt!