After several years working in sales and other business-related areas, Dr. Richard Browne, Acupuncture Physician, decided to pursue his true passion to work in the fields of Oriental medicine, homeopathy and other natural health care modalities. He completed a three-year graduate program and additional postgraduate studies, training in the traditional Chinese style of acupuncture, traditional Chinese herbal medicine, homeopathy, and massage therapy.
Dr. Browne’s approach to treatment includes a strong emphasis on patient education.
He believes patients should actively participate in the healing process and wellness maintenance and often recommends lifestyle changes and Chinese herbal formulas in his treatment plans.
Knowledgeable within both Western and Eastern medical paradigms, Dr. Browne often works with conventional medical providers to ensure that patients receive complete care and positive results from treatment.
Dr. Browne’s professional perspective is that balance in the body can be restored and improved through the use of acupuncture, Chinese herbal formulas and patient education. Dr. Browne maintains a strong belief in the integration of traditional Chinese medicine and conventional therapies as a future medical model within our health care system.
Dr. Browne practices traditional Chinese acupuncture, cupping therapy, moxa therapy, ear acupuncture, tui na and Shiatsu massage therapy, homeopathy, and Reiki energy healing.
An interview with Dr. Browne:
Can you tell us about your background?
I was born in Trinidad in the land of calypso, I came to the US when I was twelve old and lived for 18 years in NYC. As a young man I was very practical, my major in college was accounting. In the beginning of my working career I learned about business and I was very fortunate to work with some of the best salesmen in NYC.
In 1975, I gave up business to pursue my spiritual development. I moved to Denver to live in a spiritual commune (Divine Light Mission) where I met my wife Nancy. After two years living in the monastic order we both moved out and in 1978 together we migrated to Miami.
What made you move to Miami?
After spending three years in the spiritual commune I decided to concentrate on a health career. At first I was considering going to a chiropractic college. Then in 1978, my wife met Richard Zukoswki, a student of the famous Japanese acupuncturist/Shiatsuist professor Tometzo Hoshino. I came here to study with him; it was supposed to be for one year. it took two years. Well, it has been over 31 years and we are still here in Miami, I love it.
Tell us about your education in traditional Chinese medicine.
It’s really too long a story for this interview. To make it short I’ll say I had a wonderful education with some of the nicest and eclectic teachers in America. I studied everything that I could, from aromatherapy and herbal therapy to homeopathy, a variety of massage techniques, and Bach flower remedies.
Then one day my mentor, Dr. Luisa Beatty, a Chiropractic Physician with a deep spiritual practice, gave me two books on Chinese medicine. “I have been saving these for you for some time, go home and study them from cover to cover,” she said.
She didn’t have to say it twice. One book was on the theory; the other was on the practical applications of the theory, in short an acupuncture cookbook. The books were based upon a one-year seminar, it was the practical application of acupuncture and it had treatments for a variety of ailments.
Six months later, I moved to Miami to study Shiatsu with Richard Zukoswki and the professor. I was a readymade student for the professor. Instantly, I was able to understood everything he was teaching.
What factors should prospective students consider when choosing a school?
How dedicated are you, to enter into this endeavor. I know people are always saying things like: What is the passing record of the school? How good are the teachers? Etc., etc. That’s all nonsense. Adult learning is all about you, and your commitment to learning. Once you get out of high school the responsibility is upon you to do the work.
Nowadays I hear students complaining like babies. When you decide to take on the challenge to learn something, success or failure is in your court. If you get an “A” it’s because you did some good work, on the other hand if you get a “C” it shows how much you didn’t take the subject seriously enough. I say look inside and ask yourself, “Do I really want to dedicate myself to this endeavor and will I seriously put in the necessary time and effort.”
What are considered some of the strong TCM specialties developing presently?
In reality, TCM does not need specialties. The Masters degree program prepares the individual with a well-rounded education in health care. Upon graduation, you should be well prepared to handle most health problems. On the whole, for the most part, we see people who say “You are my last hope.” So let’s say we specialize in “Last Hope Patients.”
I know there are orthopedic specialties, gyn, cancer, infertility, etc. Yes, there are some acupuncturists making a living in such specialties. There is no need at this time for us to divide up the medicine. What we do is to help the human body come to balance. The name of the disease is unimportant, in the end we bring the body to balance.
What is your biggest inspiration in your practice and teaching of Oriental medicine?
I love this question. What I like the most about my practice is listening to people, and from that being able to help them. If you ask yourself, what does the average medical doctor do, the answer is: a) not listen to the patient and b) to give a physical exam.
This is usually followed by sending the patient to another doctor, or sending them out for expensive tests and/or sending them to the drugstore. That is what they do. Acupuncturists, on the other hand, depend on listening, looking and observing skills to determine what is wrong with the patient. Thereafter we administer the treatment ourselves. There is no greater reward than the look on a patent’s face after his/her treatment.
In regards to teaching, I no longer interview the prospective student but some time ago that was my main hat. It was really fantastic to have that first interview and then three years later to have a conversation with that individual. We change peoples’ lives and their outlook on living.
Any interesting patient care anecdotes you would like to share?
After 30 years in practice I could write about two books on this subject. I‘ll pick a really unusual one. As you may know, the practice of acupuncture is the practice of energy medicine. The entire universe is made up of energy. Sickness is an energetic problem. Knowing how to change the energetic level of a being is an art unto itself.
Patient X was 63, a retired teacher with severe sciatica for three years. He came to see me as a referral from one of my graduates. She called me and said, “I do not want to treat this man anymore.” When I asked why, she said, “He comes for two or three treatments and then he disappears for a few months only to return in a worse condition.”
When I interviewed the man I confronted him with her complaint. He laughed and said, “Oh yeah, that’s me and I’ll do the same thing with you too.” OK, we had an agreement. He’d stay for a few treatments only to run away before the condition was stable. I can handle that. He was a dirty old man; in homeopathic terms he was a sulfur.
We talked much and enjoyed each other’s company; I am also a sulfur type. After the second treatment I gave him sulfur 200c. He returned three days later, smelling clean and wearing clean clothes, including clean underwear. Something had changed dramatically in his life.
At that point he asked me to really get him better so that he could go play with his buddies. He was a banjo player. So I gave him a homework assignment, of playing scales on the banjo starting with the key of F and working through the circle of fifths from C to G to D to A to E to B, and finally to F#. He loved the idea.
Three days later he returned 90 percent better. He could now walk without the need of his cane. So using acupuncture, homeopathy and music I got this old dude to give up his cane and to walk upright in just three treatments., marvelous.
What advice would you give to prospective students thinking about an education and career in TCM?
Think long and hard. It’s a lot of work to get there, but once you are there it is a lot of fun. And they actually pay you to do what you do. Also, consider coming to Miami; our school is small with small classes, and I promise you you’ll meet some of the nicest people in the world.
To learn more about acupuncture for health and wellness call Dr. Richard Browne, Acupuncture Physician, at (305) 595-9500.