Patrick John Finster - an American practitioner of traditional and alternative healing

He is currently completing his certification studies on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and therapeutic massage at the East-West Healing Arts Institute in Wisconsin, USA. Online interview by Team Maramba's Jose Dante (Dave) Albao, Jr.

Team Maramba: Why is the West turning to Eastern traditional healing practices?

Patrick John Finster: The cost of being treated and the difficulty to be treated at a Western facility has driven people to look for alternative healing. And the Obama administration is opening things up so more and more insurance companies are now paying for preventive medicine such as massage, where as before it was shunned.

TM: Why was it shunned?

PJF: Massage and TCM was purportedly all quackery. This being reported by the drug companies and the doctors getting kickbacks from them.

TM: In some cultures, people will consult the community healers first. What is in the Western culture that drives people to seek doctors and pharmaceutical drugs?

PJF: Big money. The companies spend billions on propaganda.

TM: Now, studying at the East-West Healing Arts Institute, how long is your program and how much did you pay?

PJF: To be nationally certified [in the US], I think the requirement is 650 hours. My school is 800+. And all said and done I will have paid approximately 14,000 USD for the 10-month program. And a trip to China for another 4,000 USD. While there, I will receive certification in 2 more modalities and be more intensely exposed to acupuncture.

TM: So you have to take a licensure exam to practice, correct?

PJF: Not just yet. Like, I am a massage practitioner already. But by July [2010], in the USA, we'll have to be licensed to wear that hat. By the way, the going rate here for most massage averages 1 dollar a minute. Thought that may be interesting or important as well.

TM: Here in the Philippines, you can get 2 dollars for an hour. Usually Thai.

PJF: Thai is one of the last modalities I learn. This Monday I start sports massage.

TM: But question still running in my mind - why TCM?

PJF: Who you gonna trust? Thousands of years of Chinese practice or 150 or less years of greedy capitalists?

TM: But not that you were a practitioner of modern medicine before you went to TCM. I knew from your background you previously worked for the auto industry.

PJF: I had a need to go back to the basics. At heart I was a healer but just got misguided at a pivotal juncture of my life. So now I am blessed with the opportunity to get back where I belong and my feedback forms say it all!

TM: Great! Well can you say something about TCM as a parting word?

PJF: TCM is a complex and difficult concept to wrap your mind around. What with the reading deficiencies and surpluses and all.

TM: Right. Thank you for your time and insights. Xie xie.

PJF: You're welcome.