Channeling the Moon

by Michael Max | With Guest: Sabine Wilms

Chinese medicine has a long, long history of puzzling through and treating women’s health issues. In this conversation we touch on clinical considerations that come to us from the Song dynasty.

Listen in to this conversation that just might make you question some of your assumptions about some things we consider to be true when it comes to our modern understanding of Chinese medicine gynecology.

In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • The play on words of Channeling the Moon
  • Sabine’s interest in translating this particular book
  • Any medicine powerful enough to heal, also has the power to harm
  • It takes a long time to learn Chinese medicine
  • Having a doctorate does not make you an expert
  • How we learn something new
  • Post-partum considerations
  • The small things that allow us to optimize health
  • Are there differences between men and women?
  • Questioning our own filters.
  • Some issues around the use of placenta
  • Some basics all practitioners should know about women’s health
  • Channeling the Moon, why Sabine choose a Song Dynasty text to translate
  • The female body is a force of nature

Even though I don't have a license to practice medicine and don't stick needles into people, I consider myself a practitioner of Chinese medicine in the true and grand sense of “medicine” as expressed in the Chinese classical literature: the harmonizing of Heaven and Earth in our pivotal role as humans. While I do have a serious academic background, with a PhD in East Asian Studies and Medical Anthropology, I have always been more interested in exploring the practical applications of what I read, study, and translate, both for myself and for clinicians.

As a biodynamic goat farmer in the mountains of northern New Mexico, I learned many valuable lessons on agriculture in my younger years that I find eminently relevant to my ability to comprehend the classical medical texts. Managing waterways, ruling a country, freeing blocked flow, distributing moisture and nutrition, fending off external invasion, restoring fertility, or simply “nurturing life” (yangsheng) all of these are reflections of the sage's ability to attune yin and yang and to align her- or himself with the ever-changing transformations of qi that occur in the various microcosms in resonance with the macrocosm. I do love to teach and to share my understanding of Chinese medicine, and of classical Chinese culture, philosophy, literature, and religion, with modern Western clinical practitioners and students.

So until last year, I was teaching full-time in the doctoral program at the College of Classical Chinese Medicine at the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. These days, though, I prefer a much quieter simpler life and am happy as a clam in my new home on magical Whidbey Island north of Seattle where I write, translate, and publish (as Happy Goat Productions), and go for a blissful swim in the sea when my brain needs a break. In addition, I do some traveling for lectures and retreats and am in the process of building a mentoring program ( for the more personalized instruction style that I love best, to teach Western practitioners of Chinese medicine how to read the classics.

Links and Resources:

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