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Dr Felix Mann
  1. Alexander Macdonald
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alex Macdonald, Bristol BS8 1BA, UK; alexmac{at}

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born Frankfurt 1931 – died Shropshire 2014

Dr Felix Mann, born in 1931, was an inspiration to doctors who wanted to find out more about acupuncture. He himself had gone from Malvern College to Christ's College Cambridge, to Westminster Hospital and on to Ottawa, to return to Europe via Strasbourg there to become medical assistant to Dr Jean Schoch, whose anthroposophical thinking encouraged a doctor to continue to observe phenomena faithfully even when no explanation or even the ghost of an underlying theory is on offer. Felix once showed me his library which contained part of his inspiration—the complete works of Goethe. This way of thinking was praised by Aldous Huxley in a preface to one of Felix's books: “From telepathy to acupuncture, unusual facts get ignored by the very people whose business it is to investigate them—get ignored because they fail to fit into any of the academic pigeonholes and do not suffer themselves to be explained in terms of accredited theories”.

Given permission to proceed in this way allowed Felix to cope with the apparently bizarre practice of acupuncture where, for example, recurring headaches can be relieved by a few sessions in which only one needle may be placed in the foot. This was the subject he studied in Munich, Vienna and Montpellier and finally China, where he learnt to read Chinese.

With a flair for timing, Heinemann published some of his work when President Nixon visited Chairman Mao Zedong in 1972. Before ordering American Universities to investigate acupuncture, President Nixon said, “There is no place on this small planet for a billion of its potentially …

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