FWD 2 HerbalGram: Jing Nuan Wu 1933-2002

Issue: 57 Page: 66

Jing Nuan Wu 1933-2002

by Holly H. Shimizu

HerbalGram. 200357:66 American Botanical Council

Jing Nuan Wu 1933-2002

Jing Nuan Wu

Jing Nuan Wu, O.M.D., a noted leader in Traditional Chinese Medicine in
the Washington, D.C. area, passed away on December 3, 2002. He was well known for his pioneering leadership in acupuncture and herbal medicine in the Capital area, and for helping a broad spectrum of patients � from those with drug addictions and terminal illnesses, to prominent politicians and celebrities.

Dr. Wu was born in Tai Shan, in the province of Giangzhou, China and immigrated to the United States from China as a small child. He was a laundryman's son who graduated from Harvard University to become a successful venture capitalist on Wall Street.

Reconnecting with his Eastern roots, Wu journeyed to Hong Kong to study Chinese philosophy and healing. He received his degree (Oriental Medical Doctorate) from Hong Kong University in 1956.

He then practiced acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for over 30 years in Washington, D.C. at the Green Cross Clinic and the Taoist Health Institute, which he founded in 1973. The Green Cross Clinic was a pioneering, multi-ethnic clinic that was the first to provide acupuncture detoxification treatment in Washington, D.C. and one of the only clinics in the U.S. that provided care on a sliding scale. Dr. Wu translated the book of Yi Jing (I Ching), the ancient Taoist book of Divination as well as Ling Shu (Yellow Emperor's Inner Classic), the first known inner treatise on acupuncture. In addition, he prepared the first fully illustrated English version of the Chinese Materia Medica that is being published by Oxford University Press and will be available in 2003. He was widely known and loved for his energy, exuberance, vision, wisdom, and healing skills.

The band Steely Dan named a song after him on their 1975 album, Katy Lied, the lyrics of which may be found in their entirety online at <www.steelydan.com>:

Are you with me Doctor Wu

Are you really just a shadow

Of the man that I once knew

Wu began creating art to interpret the holistic ideas of the traditional Chinese healing system. His vision for the artwork grew when a patient who was ill with cancer asked him to paint a picture for him. Suddenly Wu realized that he had found a way to heal more people than the number he could see in his office every day.

His paintings and sculpture are therapeutic devices, used to promote health, balance, and relaxation by communicating with the inner aspects of one's being. Traditional Chinese Medicine says there are three levels of energy that interact in a continuing dynamic. Externally, the three are heaven, man, and earth. Internally, they are shen (spirit), jing (essence), and qi (energy). All of these resonate with each other. When they are in harmony, there is health. When in dissonance, there is illness.

In Wu's words, "I attempt with my art to change the clockwork of our inner being to the most beneficial and health-inducing rhythm. When reset and unburdened from the ties of anxiety, stress, and social pressure, one's being enters a calm field where new patterns of behavior can develop and take hold."

A recent show at the U. S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. featured Dr. Wu's large works that he called "Gateways to the Soul."His aim was to show that art may be used as a device to help alter the normal sensory processes and connect with the deeper side of existence. His paintings came as visions with certain meanings, but they are experienced uniquely by each person. Like prayer, meditation, nature, and even flowers, they capture the attention and reveal that which is usually unseen. They are portals to the sacred dimensions � the domain of the soul. When one gets in touch with this realm, powerful transformation and healing can take place. As a doctor, this was always his goal. As an artist, he helped people create their own sacred connections.

His work was most recently on exhibit at the National Institute of Health, Gallery 1 Clinical Center, in Bethesda, Maryland. To view or purchase his art, please go to the website: <www.wushealingart.com> or call Lifepaths Health Center at: 301/897-8090