The Power of Story

With Guest:  Jason Robertson

Episode Qi092

What we tell ourselves might be more powerful than our actual experiences. Not only that, our thoughts shape our bodies. Practitioners of East Asian medicine have hard-won, clinically derived tools for conceptualizing how biography affects physiology.

Importantly, this is not limited to counseling our patients. Instead, through palpation and other components of East Asian medical physical exam, patients can physically experience how emotional patterns affect structure and function.

Effective treatments can then help shift that monologue running between the ears to change the state of our sympathetic tone, organ function and blood chemistry in order to ultimately shape the way our sensorium interacts with the world.
In this conversation we discuss:
  • What drew both Jason and Michael into considering “story” in clinic
  • What shows up at the edges of your perception
  • Narrative medicine Rita Charon
  • The answer to a stubborn case of hip pain
  • The heart recognizes truth
  • Considering the influence of 經 jing (this is the jing of channels or classic, not the jing of essence)
  • The stories that we bring to the clinical encounter
  • Letting the story unfold at that pace of the patient’s experience
  • Nodules at PC4 when there is grief
  • The relationship of medicine and literature
  • Biography is biology
  • The power of “I don’t know”
  • Peeling layers away, instead of adding one
  • What we bring in and what we leave out
  • The stories we tell ourselves also effects clinical work
  • Valuing curiosity
  • The long tradition of interacting with the medical literature in Chinese medicine
“Listen to your patient. They tell you a lot about themselves, but what they say consciously is often not the most important thing they tell you.”
 Jason Robertson
Dr. Wang Ju-Yi was ever curious about why some treatments worked and others did not. He deeply studied the classical literature along with his own clinical experience, and somewhere along the way started putting his hands on patients to simply see what the channels had to say.
For those practitioners who find palpation to be a key part of their practice, the work of Dr. Wang opens a whole new way of interacting with patients. And for those who are interested in how to puzzle through confounding clinical cases, Dr. Wang has some ways of clarifying complex situations.

Pull up a cup of tea and listen in to this conversation that gives you a personal view of Dr. Wang and his work through the eyes of his apprentice Jason Robertson, co-author of Applied Channel Theory in Chinese Medicine, Wang Ju-Yi's Lectures on Channel Therapeutics.


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I’ve heard it said that for something to be heard — it takes someone to speak and another to listen.

Michael Max

Acupuncturist, Podcast Host
About me
I've always been more drawn to questions than answers. And the practice of medicine seems to more lively when infused with a sense of curiosity and inquiry. It's been delight and honor to be able to discuss our medicine with so many thoughtful and skilled practitioners.