Natural Leaders: Leaving family expectations behind to create a thriving career in Chinese medicine

Written by Endeavour College of Natural Health | 15 December, 2021

headshot of a chinese man

From humble beginnings, Endeavour academic Jeff Lou has built a successful career in traditional Chinese medicine. Despite extensive qualifications and years of practitioner experience, Jeff still dedicates one morning a week to study, helping him to stay on top of his game.

“I once received a useful piece of advice,” Jeff said. “It was, ‘if you think that you have reached your destination in learning, you haven’t gone very far at all.’ I am fortunate to love the work that I do every day and to continue learning.”

Jeff grew up in a family that always looked to natural medicine when needed. His grandparents on both sides were farmers who worked extensively on the land and maintained a close and respectable relationship with the natural world.

“Their vast knowledge of natural medicine fascinated me,” Jeff said. “For their generation, it wasn’t natural health, but a natural way of living. My grandfather would look to the sky and understand when and for how long it would rain in the coming weeks, or he would stop bleeding from a deep wound by applying chewed-up herbs that he picked up from the ground.”

“From these humble beginnings, my parents wanted their children to go into business and be financially successful. We were taught to be entrepreneurial and business-minded. When I began my MBA at UTS, I realised it wasn’t the kind of life I wanted.”

“While finishing my Masters, I enrolled in a Cert. IV in Remedial Massage & Remedial Therapy. In the back of my mind, I thought, ‘one day in the future, when I’ve made enough money to fulfil my family’s expectations, I’ll start my journey as a natural health practitioner.’ It turned out the universe had other plans. One study led to another, and I ended up with a PhD in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

After his studies, Jeff spent about ten years in Europe and China before returning to Australia in 2017. “My travels were a much-needed time of self-discovery and learning that helped me appreciate life as it is today. While setting up my TCM business in Sydney, I did a lot of volunteer work and yoga teaching.”

One day Jeff stumbled upon an Expression of Interest for Sessional Academics at Endeavour. He left his CV and never forgot about it. In June, the College contacted Jeff, and he jumped at the opportunity to teach TCM at the Sydney Campus.

“Endeavour has a flexible learning model that other universities don’t offer,” Jeff said. “The course content is fresh and cutting-edge. The TCM faculty has progressive and knowledgeable industry experts who are always ready to share their knowledge and support each other and the students.”

“University learning requires a lot of self-directed inquiry. My advice to students is to be voracious collectors of knowledge and fearless champions in asking pertinent questions. Lastly, don’t be afraid to try everything you learn on yourself, your friends, and your family. The more you do, the more that knowledge becomes a part of you.”

Jeff is also a TCM practitioner with his own thriving clinic.

“I love that I never know who is going to walk through the door. Human beings were born to live, and the body can heal itself with the right stimulation and support. The trick is to find out precisely what that is for each client. No two people are the same, and no two treatments are the same.”

“As a TCM practitioner, you learn a comprehensive set of tools to treat everything. However, your patient group will shape the direction that your work takes. At the moment, fertility treatment, depression/anxiety, and musculoskeletal problems make up the bulk of my practice. Every once in a while, I get a case that baffles western medicine or things that people didn’t think can be treated. These are the challenges that I really enjoy.”

Jeff is philosophical about the future of natural medicine. “Natural medicine has always been a part of humanity, long before the discovery of western medicine. As public awareness starts to re-awaken, over time, it will likely overtake what is considered mainstream medicine today.”

Endeavour College of Natural Health

Endeavour College of Natural Health is Australia's largest Higher Education provider of natural medicine courses.

The College is known as the centre of excellence for natural medicine and is respected for its internationally recognised academic teams and high calibre graduates. Endeavour offers Bachelor of Health Science degrees in Naturopathy, Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine, Acupuncture Therapies and Chinese Medicine, Undergraduate Certificates, a Diploma of Health Science and massage courses.

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