Immunity and Resiliency

by Michael Max | With guests: Laura McGraw, Toby Daly and Chris Powell

With the novel coronavirus spreading through the world, health care practitioners of all stripes are offering treatments and methods to “boost immunity.” Patients and consumers are also keen to find and purchase products with this claim as well. Is immunity what we are looking for, or would it be better to cultivate a vital resiliency?

Chinese medicine does not have an immune system in the same way that we think about it with modern bio-medicine. It’s not that there is a lack processes that help the body to maintain its integrity and function— there are. But those processes are less about identifying and killing intruders, and more about helping the body to adapt and respond.

Each individual will response a little differently to infections or external invasion, and the state and strength of our vitality also plays a key role.

In this panel discussion with Laura McGraw, Toby Daly and Chris Powell we take a look at the “immune response” from the Chinese medicine point of view.

In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • It’s a western point of view that we have to kill the attacker
  • Importance of taking care of things when in the Taiyang layer
  • Considering a patient’s constitution, areas of weakness as well as blockage
  • We are permeable beings and so treatment needs to be focused on helping the pathogen to pass through
  • Don’t make a nice home for the pathogen
  • Immunity can be seen as the six conformations moving well and working properly
  • It’s important to understand the progression of disease so you can prevent problems before they happen
  • Using Shi Gao to vent the lungs
  • Use of Gan Cao Gan Jiang Tang to moisten and nourish the Lung, and strengthen the zong qi
  • Eating in a way that makes you less friendly to a coronavirus
  • Infection at the psycho-social-emotive level
  • Modulating fear
  • Considering the recovery society and individual will go through after months of insolation
  • What the guests of the show are doing for themselves to stay healthy

I have been in practice for 23 years, graduated from the International College of TCM in Vancouver Bc Canada in 1997, then practiced in Canada for 11 years before moving and starting a new practice in Portland Oregon in 2004. I have studied with many mentors who have helped me gain great insight and knowledge along the way.

The past 8 years I have been studying with Sharon Weizenbaum and am currently a TA for her Graduate Mentorship Program. Working with Sharon has changed the way I think and feel about our medicine. I have come to understand physiology in a very clear way, how this takes me to a clear diagnosis, and how this looks in terms of the 6 conformations.

I received my undergraduate degree in Food Science from the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. I began studying Chinese medicine in 1997 with Sunim Doam, a Korean monk trained in the Saam tradition. I earned a master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine in 2002 upon completion of training at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco and Chengdu University in China.

During my four years of training in San Francisco, I interned with the prominent acupuncturist Dr. Angela Wu and learned to apply the lofty theories he was studying in school into the pragmatic setting of a busy clinic. In 2013, I developed the Chinese Nutritional Strategies app to provide digital access to the wealth of Chinese dietary wisdom. In 2016, I completed a PhD in Classical Chinese Medicine under the guidance of 88th generation Daoist priest Jeffery Yuen.

My current focus is on sharing my 20 years of clinical experience with the Saam tradition.

Chris Powell is a graduate of the doctoral program in Chinese medicine at the International Institute of Chinese Medicine in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Before becoming a practitioner of Chinese medicine, Chris attended the University of Missouri-Columbia. There he worked on his undergraduate degree in biology and medical anthropology. He also worked on his Masters and Ph.D. in epidemiology and medical anthropology. His research took him to the Caribbean islands for two years where he studied the geographic distribution and spread of infectious disease

Chris is an herbalist specialized in Canonical Chinese Medicine™, a style of herbalism based on the Chinese Han-dynasty classics, and is certified as a Diplomate and a Fellow of the Institute of Classics in East Asian Medicine.

He lives and practices in Kansas City, MO


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