1. First of all, who are you and how do you fit into the Village Remedies team?
My name is Brendan Smith and I am the owner at Village Remedies. I try to ensure that Village Remedies is a happy, fun and healing place for both our clients and staff.
2. What got you into Traditional Chinese Medicine?
For me it started with the movie Bloodsport and playing Street Fighter with my brothers which led to an interest in martial arts. Through my training in martial arts I grew a love of how the body works and the healing side of the martial arts which led me down the path of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
3. What keeps you passionate about health?
I had a lot of issues growing up such as migraines and stomach issues as well as injuries from sports and martial arts. So I love and am able to appreciate the thinking and physiology behind Traditional Chinese Medicine and I have seen it help both myself and others. I also really enjoy helping people and the process of solving the puzzle to get people back to health.
4. Tell us a story about your time studying in China.
I have been to China three times and spent over nine months in total training and studying as well as traveling around. I even made it all the way along the silk road and into Pakistan and back.
My first two trips to China were to train in meditation and Qi Gong (Chinese breath exercise) for health. The most recent third trip to China was as part of my Traditional Chinese Medicine degree, in which I was able to do an internship in an integrated Traditional Chinese Medicine and western medicine hospital in Beijing. I then followed this up with a Chinese language course. It was really incredible to see how Traditional Chinese Medicine can be used alongside western medicine to achieve great results.
5. Where did you grow up and how did it bring you to where you are today?
I grew up outside of a country town in the Hunter Valley then moved to Newcastle when I was sixteen. After school I studied and then ran my own massage clinic straight out of high school, but after I met a Chinese medicine health master, I gave that away and began to train with him and his students while doing an electrical apprenticeship making mine safety gear.
Following this I started travelling through China and then drove around Australia before starting university at UTS in Sydney and studying Traditional Chinese Medicine.
I guess growing up in a small town really made me interested in the outside world and generated a strong curiosity in me to see and appreciate different points of view. Once I was able to, I went to see them for myself.
6. What would you be if you weren’t an acupuncturist and Chinese herbal medicine practitioner?
I almost became a gold miner in Kalgoorlie. I was heading there to see about becoming a miner. I was one day away, when I found out that I was accepted into the B Health Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine course. Instead of turning left I turned right and drove to Sydney to start the course.
7. What is your vision for Village Remedies?
I would love to see it at the level of what we saw in China where people can come and get holistic quality care from people with a sound knowledge of both western and eastern approaches, that leads to optimal results.
8. Do you take herbs and get acupuncture treatments yourself?
I sure do, I even needle myself still to this day. I dislocated my hip when I was a kid plus I have severely injured my knee over three times, all from wrestling (I don't think I will ever learn) so i used acupuncture and Chinese herbs to manage that, but for me the best benefit is helping to manage my stress levels and improve my sleep and digestion. Being a small business owner particularly through this last year has brought some major challenges and the herbs and acupuncture have been life savers.
9. Where will the next Village Remedies clinic open up?
That is a really great question, I'm hoping for Newtown, Marrickville or Parramatta, but if I decide I want to live near the beach Clovelly and Bondi are still strong contenders.
10. What sets the Village Remedies clinic apart from other Traditional Chinese Medicine clinics?
We have worked hard at our internal training so that whichever practitioner you see not only will they understand your condition but can provide you the same quality of care. I feel like our team approach to helping people sets us apart and I'm hoping means we can help more people in more places in the future.
11. Outside of Chinese Medicine, what are your other hobbies/interests?
Running a business has been a big part of my life lately but I do love BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) and beer, whisky and BBQ, and of course bitcoin, expect to see us accepting bitcoin in the future!
12. Where did you study? And what would you tell someone interested in learning more about Chinese Medicine?
I studied at the University of Technology, Sydney in B Health Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The thing I love most about Traditional Chinese Medicine is its rich history and its physiology from which it has strung from. My first tip would be to read the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, The rest is just details after that.