We sat down with Ghost Flower's Chief Scientist, Dr. Daniel Keown (MD, MCEM, LicAc) to talk about his background and how it brought him to Ghost Flower
Most activewear brands don't have a "Chief Scientist" -- why did you join Ghost Flower?
My life's two passions are surfing and helping people in the Western world learn about acupuncture.
When the Ghost Flower team approached me with the idea to create activewear built around the body's energy channels, it seemed like a great way to empower lots of people with this incredible knowledge. I immediately said "Yes!".
It didn't hurt that the surfing is much better in California than the UK...
What does a Chief Scientist do?
My main focus at Ghost Flower is to make sure that everything we do -- from the clothes to the movement practice to our blog content -- is informed by and grounded in science.
From the beginning, the Ghost Flower founders have insisted that we build the brand on deep, proven knowledge about the body's energy network. My job in the company is to make sure we do that!
What in your background helped you uncover the connections between Eastern and Western medicine?
My life and career have been shaped by a mix of Eastern and Western influences.
My maternal grandmother was an avid Sinophile, who even wrote a book about her travels through China. She taught me that the West mistook Chinese medicine as primitive, when in fact it was incredibly sophisticated: its unchanging nature over thousands of years was testament to its truth -- not its irrelevance!
My father was a surgeon and I went to a traditional Western medical school. There I learned the scientific rationale behind modern medicine, but was also met with constant skepticism about Chinese medicine. It troubled me that I could not explain the basics of Qi or acupuncture channels to my colleagues.
I went on to earn a degree in acupuncture and Chinese medicine. But at the end of a 4-year study, I still had little grasp of what Qi or channels were. Nor could I explain them in any greater detail to my skeptical colleagues.
By good fortune, I came across a book written by American Jason Robertson, who translated the work of the (late) great Professor Wang Ju-Yi, a master of acupuncture theory.
I went to Beijing to study with Wang Ju-Yi. Even though he spoke not a word of English, I learned more from him in two weeks than four years of study in college!
His knowledge of acupuncture was so simple yet so profound. The Chinese "meridians" (what acupuncturists use on a daily basis) were not ‘meridians’ at all but ‘channels’ -- and these were simply the spaces in the body where Qi (intelligent energy) flows.
My mind was blown. After 20 years of searching and study, I had finally opened the oyster of Chinese medicine. Inside were truths that were more profound than even I imagined: a radical new way of looking at the body that opened enormous potential with our modern scientific tools.
How do you think Ghost Flower can help people?
I can speak from personal experience about how much Chinese medicine and acupuncture has helped elevate my health and wellness to a higher level.
Chinese medicine gave me a breadth of understanding that taught me that the smallest symptoms, even emotional ones, are important; and a way to help fix them. My health improved, I listened to my body more and fixed myself with massage, stretching, yoga and Qi Gong (a wonderful exercise system whose gentleness belies enormous healing power).
Key to this is understanding is how Qi flows in your body -- the location of the channels, and what happens when it goes wrong. These channels are intuitive once you have learned where they are... but how do you teach people who don’t have a spare lifetime to learn them?
Our founder Susie’s idea was brilliant: Create activewear where the seams follow the channels, with visual cues guiding you to acupressure points. And offer a movement practice that helps people put this knowledge into action.
With Ghost Flower anyone can understand and activate their body's energy network. (Not to mention look amazing doing it!)