Finding The Way Through: Treating Psycho-Social Trauma With Acupuncture

With Guest: Will Morris

Episode Qi034

Physiology does not forget. Our experience in life effects and shapes our body, our habits and perception. We develop ways to compensate for the difficulties wrought from traumas and unmetabolized experience in life, but when stressed those compensations don't work so well. That's when symptoms and long held patterns of dysfunction show up asking for our attention.
In this episode we discuss how the work of Wilhelm Reich is helpful when considering the treatment of emotional trauma, along with perspectives of Dr. Hammer and Dr. Shen. We also touch in on the importance of having a tolerance for ambiguity and paradox, the various aspects of 神 Shen (Spirit), and some ways of using the pulse to better understand the differences between a patient’s agitated and compensated state.
Listen in to this discussion that bridges East Asian medicine and Western psychology.
In this conversation we discuss:
  • How Will got started with treating trauma
  • Willem Reich and the power of breath
  • Take the pulse during an emotionally charged moment to get a clearer sense of how the patient’s physiology is communicating about that experience
  • Considering the spirit aspect of the zang in treatment of trauma
  • Attending to pulses with an eye toward the five spirits
  • Seeing through our disbelief
  • Are we using the pulse to guide or to confirm?
  • Eight extraordinary pulses lay outside the usual trajectory of the radial artery
  • Cozying up to ambiguity and paradox
  • Being cautious about basing our identity on clinical outcomes
"Follow the pulse during intake so that as issues arise, the physiological response to that issue can be mapped. If you are conversant with the pulses of the eight extraordinary vessels, it is a great help! It is important to know how the patient is responding at a deep level to their experience, but also, the way they are responding to our treatments"
Will Morris
I love working at the intersection of music, medicine, and magic. I was playing drums in a jazz-funk band on the road where I was exposed to astrology and decided to leave the road for another adventure. Met Ron Teeguarden and was exposed to Daoist three treasures and tonic herbalism. I am a huge fan of where western herbalists live in conscious communication with the plant teachers who bring about wisdom and healing to humans who have been on this planet for a fraction of the time that our plant brothers and sisters have.

Along the lines of plant communication – I record music and improvisation with plants using a biofeedback-to-music converter. Here is an example: https://soundcloud.com/33-music/aloe. I use these sounds to enhance plant spirit journey work combined with acupuncture. I also just moved to British Columbia interior to be with my wife who is a sound healer. BC also allows me to be in a more direct relationship with the plants I use for healing.

I love theory and transdisciplinary works. My practice feeds into teaching and writing. Oh – I have two earned doctorates, developed to IRBs and led the AAAOM to a single national association and led AOMA Graduate Education to regional accreditation as a level IV doctoral degree-granting institution.
Links and Resources


Kootenay Sound Healing
, the website of Theresa Lee.

Will's writing, over on the big river of books.



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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.