Professor J.R. Worsley (1923 – 2003) is credited with bringing Five-Element Acupuncture to the West.
Jack Reginald Worsley, known as “JR”, was born on September 14th, 1923 in Coventry, Warwickshire. The son of an engineer, he was first introduced to acupuncture through his father’s interest in ancient Chinese philosophy. Educated locally, he left school at age fourteen to work in a factory but joined the armed forces when war broke out in 1939.
After the war Worsley practiced physiotherapy and began to study osteopathy, naturopathy and acupuncture. In the early 1950s he traveled to Taiwan, Singapore and Korea to further his studies and was awarded a Doctorate in Acupuncture. It was during his time there that he first came across the Five-Element system of acupuncture and was drawn to the way it looked at every aspect of a person’s physical, mental and spiritual well-being in order to diagnose the root cause of his or her imbalance.
After studying under his Five-Element teachers Ono and Hsui, in 1955 Worsley was awarded the title of “Master” of Five-Element Acupuncture. The following year he returned to Britain and founded the College of Traditional Acupuncture in Kenilworth, Warwickshire. This was followed by the setting up of a number of institutes in America, including, in 1988, the Worsley Institute of Classical Acupuncture in Miami, Florida.
In 1971 acupuncture became something of a cause celebre in the United States after the official visit to China of President Nixon’s then Secretary-of-State, Henry Kissinger. James Reston, a journalist covering the trip had developed appendicitis and during an emergency operation, Chinese surgeons used acupuncture to anaesthetize him. Suddenly it was all the rage.
While there was a great deal of attention given to symptomatic treatments, Worsley’s methods were rooted in the study of anatomy and Chinese philosophy, which he taught and practiced all over the world in conjunction with countless hospitals and western doctors.
Throughout the 1970s Worsley’s popularity grew and he traveled extensively, conducting seminars and consultations. His teaching inspired many others to adopt the Five-Element system which he taught, could benefit people of any age.
Despite two heart attacks, Worsley continued to travel to and from the United States and was still seeing patients two weeks before his death in Miami, Florida, on June 2, 2003.
As well as his numerous articles for medical journals, Worsley published many books including Is Acupuncture for You?, Talking About Acupuncture in New York, Meridians of Ch’i Energy-Point Reference Guide, The Five Elements and The Officials, and Traditional Acupuncture (Traditional Diagnosis).