Professor J.R. Worsley
14 September 1923 – 2 June 2003
Professor Jack Reginald Worsley (“JR”) died in the early hours of June 2, 2003 in Miami, Florida. Born and raised in Coventry, England, JR was an internationally renowned and revered Master Acupuncturist, author, consultant and teacher. In the early 1950’s he journeyed to Taiwan, Singapore and Korea and received his Doctorate of Acupuncture. His Classical Five-Element Acupuncture® teachers Ono and Hsui bestowed the rare and honored classical designation of “Master” upon him. He
founded the College of Traditional Acupuncture (UK), the Traditional Acupuncture Institute (TAI-Sophia) (USA), the Worsley Institute of Classical Acupuncture (USA) and the Master Apprentice Program (MAP) and was associated with many schools and organizations internationally.
There are are so many stories of Dr. Worsley, or JR as we knew him. He was an extraordinary man who brought love, insight and depth to all his encounters. He saw each patient , each student as an unique individual, and he treated them that way. If you were a patient, he was there one hundred percent for you. Hundreds of patients relate the extraordinary feeling they had of being “seen” by this man in a way no one had ever seen them before. After a 15 minute consult you would feel connected to his warmth, love and kindness for years and years to come. Those who studied with him over the years were given the same undivided attention.
As his student, you had the fortune to be given just what you needed (not perhaps what you wanted) to move forward in your work. And he would be there again and again, with precious pieces of learning perfectly timed for your next step. In addition to more technical information, these treasures were often keen insights into your life and what needed to change within you in order to be the best practitioner you could possibly be. He modeled for us the knowledge that a master acupuncturist is made from within.
He was captivated by the Asian philosophy and wisdom of life and health and its’ understanding of the power of nature to heal. He was a believer in this power and reminded us often that we don’t heal, only nature does. He fought fiercely to preserve a tradition that saw each person as more than an assembly of parts or symptoms. JR was a patient advocate in the deepest sense. His whole system of acupuncture revolved upon their needs. He was not satisfied with helping only a part of a person, he wanted everything for them. A complete, vital, full life. He wanted the best from them as well. They responded as we all do when our deepest selves are addressed with genuine love and concern; they got better.
It would be hard to imagine acupuncture in the west without his contributions. He stood alone thirty years ago insisting that acupuncture could treat the spirit and mind of the patient as well as the body. He was advocating for the study of the names of the points, the spiritual connotations of the points and teaching that the intention of the practitioner had everything to do with the effect of a treatment. Now these strongly held traditions are part of the acupuncture conversation in the west and again now in the east.
Strangely, it’s hard to feel sad at his death. He lived a full life doing what he loved the most. He gave fully. He touched the hearts of thousands of people. He traveled around the world seeing patients and teaching students, the last four years while suffering from debilitating heart disease. Until the very end, it was hard to tell he was ill. For a man who gave so much it would be selfish to want one more day from him.