A Brief Professional Autobiography

Jonathan KlateI am privileged to be among the most senior practitioners of traditional acupuncture in the United States, having commenced practice in 1975. All of us in this field stand on the shoulders of generations of wise and compassionate masters of the art of healing who have developed this marvelous system of medicine over hundreds of generations and bequeathed the legacy of their art and science to us. I follow in their footsteps with reverence and humility. I am one of very few second-generation practitioners of traditional acupuncture in the United States, having followed my father, Dr. Reuben H. Klate, into this profession.

I was drawn to the serious study of acupuncture after becoming aware of the profound patterns of energy that animate human life as a consequence of extraordinary spiritual experiences in my young adulthood. Searching for understanding of such phenomena, it became clear that this system of medicine had developed the most sophisticated knowledge of these dynamics. Here was a way to cultivate a deeper and broader understanding of human nature and the patterns of health and illness while serving people in predicaments of suffering — a way which did not try to separate the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions of human beings as so much of Western medicine does. My first teacher, Professor J.R. Worsley, the President of the College of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture at Oxford in England, who was also my father’s teacher, became an inspiring mentor during my early years of study and practice.

My education includes the Bachelor’s degree with a major in Philosophy and a special concentration in Buddhist Studies from the University of Wisconsin (magna cum laude), the Ph.D. in Comparative Medical Science and Human Development from The Union Institute, two post-graduate degrees from The College of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture of the United Kingdom, and additional studies with master teachers and clinicians from Europe and Asia, including the completion of a clinical residency at the Yue Yang Hospital in Shanghai, China. I have also completed a multi-year certificated training in traditional Chinese Herbology. I am an original Diplomate of the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncturists and was a member of the founding Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Acupuncture Society.

I began my practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1975 when traditional acupuncture was nearly unknown in this country. At that time there was only a handful of practitioners in the northeast and perhaps a few dozen in the country. I relocated to western Massachusetts and established the Acupuncture Center of Amherst in 1978, introducing this practice to the area. There were at that time no acupuncture practitioners in the states of Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, or New York outside of New York City. It was common for patients to travel hundreds of miles to avail themselves of treatment here. To the present day, some still do.

I completed my book The Tao of Acupuncture in 1979 and it has influenced the education of many acupuncturists. I have contributed many articles to professional journals, and served as a Contributing Editor of The Journal of Traditional Acupuncture. I have been an adjunct faculty member at The University of Massachusetts and Lesley University and a lecturer at New York Medical College, M.I.T., The College of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture, U.K., The New England School of Acupuncture and other highly regarded colleges, universities, hospitals, conferences and symposia. I was the developer of the ACUQUIT® method of smoking cessation, a trademark I still hold.

After decades of practice in clinics and office buildings, in 2006 I moved my practice to the peaceful and charming facility adjacent to my home, in a nurturing and healing environment surrounded by my beloved meditation gardens. I continue to offer post-graduate education, consultation on difficult cases, and supervision services to practitioners while devoting myself to research, writing, as well as direct patient care.

I have had the opportunity to encourage and witness the growth of acceptance of this system of medicine in our society, and to guide younger practitioners while striving to honor the legacy of my own revered teachers. I am fascinated by complex presentations and I enjoy consulting on unusual cases with colleagues in my field of specialization as well as with physicians and practitioners of alternative and complimentary approaches.

I am most interested in treatment from an expansive holistic perspective. After more than 30 years of study and practice I remain fascinated by the spiritual implications of this system of medicine in which the physical, psychological and spiritual dimensions of human beings are understood to be inseparably interrelated.

I have studied in a number of traditions and internalized various methodologies from the many theoretical strands on the grand weave of Oriental medicine. I strive to meet each person in their wholeness and uniqueness, rather than trying to fit people in all of their complexity into one particular analytic system. I understand that appreciation of the differences between patients is as crucial to successful treatment as the similarities among diagnostic conditions.

Chinese medicine has for centuries explored the interweave of pathology and personality, and is capable of addressing such dynamic subtleties. It is particularly fulfilling to work with patients who aspire to more optimal wellness in pursuit of spiritual integration and fullness of life and living, as well as the resolution of specific symptoms. Every day in my practice I am reinspired by the power of this system of medicine, and every day I am humbled again by the trust of my patients as they continue to help me to grow and learn more.