I joined the Australian Army at 18 years of age in 1984. I became an Infantry Soldier in the 2/4th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment where I spent 4.5 years learning the skills of a soldier. I represented my battalion in military skills competitions, received awards and became a Marksman. The Army is where I got my first experience of Acupuncture; after grueling long marches, fatigue, discomfort, pain and then to experience peace, calm, pain relief and the pure stress reduction of Acupuncture therapy. I knew I had a feeling that I would pursue this in the years to come.
After the Army, I studied the many ways the body heals. I became certified in other modalities and practiced these therapies in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, for over fifteen years. These included: sports massage, kinesiology, muscle testing, reiki master, spiritual healing and various other hands on healing modalities. These therapies paved the way for me to sensitize my touch in order to be a better acupuncture therapist. I studied at the Upledger Institute of Cranio Sacral Therapy in 2002 and got certified in Cranio Sacral I, II, III, IV and Advanced. This therapy helped also helped with the subtleness and sensitivity of touch.
In 2003, I started studying Chinese Medicine and in September, 2006 I graduated with a Master’s Degree of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine with the distinction of the Academic Excellence Award from the Atlantic Institute of Oriental Medicine, Ft. Lauderdale. This was a 3-year fulltime course which equated to 4 academic years.
A new Doctorate level degree was stablished called the D.A.O.M. or Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. I could not resist. So, I signed up for this 2-year program and received a Clinical Doctorate in completion of my studies in 2016. This program gave me the opportunity to work with practicing Doctors of Acupuncture that are professors actively practicing in China. It also allowed for my broad knowledge base to be expanded upon by experts. While delivering my final thesis, faculty members from the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine were present and on the review board. After defending my Thesis, I was offered a scholarship to practice in China for 3 years.
I was given an opportunity by Professor Yang Jun of the Anhui University of Chinese Medicine in Hefei, China, to be a candidate for a PhD. in Acupuncture from the (PRC) Peoples Republic of China. One of the requirements was to have a published study in a peer reviewed scientific journal. This was challenging due to the fact that in America it is difficult to conduct studies in acupuncture for a variety of reasons. I was lucky enough to develop a study with Professor James Galvin, a Neurologist at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, conducting their first ever acupuncture study. This study was on the Effect of Acupuncture on Mild Cognitive Impairment. It was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinsonism. You can see this study here.
I learned advanced skills in Acupuncture treatment and diagnosis all while in the setting of the traditional hospital clinics. Travelling the region and treating patients in many hospitals, including the countryside of Anhui province, with a population of 62.5 million people, there was no shortage of unique experiences with the many varied patients and all their conditions. The culmination of this process resulted in me defending my dissertation successfully and receiving my PhD.
I have spent nine years of study with Acupuncture and Chinese medicine and in comparison this collates to the amount of time to be a Medical Doctor with a Specialty. I am a firm believer there is a time and stage for all types of medicine that may be needed at different times. The calling for me was to use and study natural medicines and therapies that are non-invasive and provide the opportunity for minimal side effects. I am devoted to my profession of healing and I am thrilled to be offering this therapy of Acupuncture to South Florida residents. With over seventeen years of clinical acupuncture experience treating patients in my 7-treatment room practice, I invite you to open up to the healing benefits that this space that Acupuncture Zen provides.
Peace and Blessings
Dr. Tony Willcox PhD.