If you don’t know where you want to go, it’s fine not to know where you’re going.
Not all journeys have a destination– at least, not in the beginning. In the beginning you’re opening to options, surveying the landscape, getting a feel for who you are in the territory. It's the Open part of “Open, Close, Pivot.”
Rick Gold, one of the founders of the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine did not start out to found an acupuncture school. He started out aiming at being a hermit in backwoods Kentucky. But as with most things in life, where we start and we end up– it can be surprising.read more
Li Shi Zhen and Sun Si Miao, they shared an interest in alchemy. Often enough in our clinical work, patients will describe what happened with them as being magical, but as practitioners we know its not magic, its medicine. But it’s a medicine that works outside the parameters of Western thought, and the consensus of settled science.
In this conversation with Peter Firebrace we explore being a Zhen Ren, a True Human, and internal alchemical practice. The journey to Emptiness through the three Dan Tian, and the process of returning to source, unity and simplicity.read more
Chinese medicine looks to the perspectives of the past to understand the unfolding present. And for sure, there are threads of connection and perspective that come down to us through the curious tides of history. At the same time, there is this unique moment.
What we hold, what we discover, these are yin yang aspects of how to make sense of a medicine patinated with history and lore.
In this conversation with Volker Scheid we discuss continuity and change in Chinese medicine. And the starting point is not the deconstructivism so popular in our present moment, but rather the inquiry of Chinese poets in the 12th century.read more
I still remember the moment when I realized that the character for Listen in traditional written Chinese was composed of the characters for Ears, Eyes, and Heart. Twenty two little strokes that unambiguously describe what is required to genuinely listen.
Deborah Woolf has spent the past year teaching a course on basic Chinese for East Asian medicine practitioners. And while the content of her course is of interest to me, in this conversation what I’m more focused on is what it is that she’s learned in the past year from teaching this material.read more
If you’ve studied Traditional East Asian Medicine in English, you no doubt have benefited from the work of today’s guest.
Dan Bensky has translated, written, published and taught for more years than most students entering an acupuncture school now have been alive.
He set off for Taiwan in the early 70’s to follow his interest in learning Chinese. Taiwan was still under martial law and the mainland… the mainland was going through the horrors of the Cultural Revolution. Chinese medicine, not even on the radar for him, but something happened in Taiwan.read more
The book we used for studying acupuncture points at the Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine was Foundations of Chinese Acupuncture. That along with Grasping the Wind were my entry into the study of channels and points. Both of those books had the handiwork of today’s guest, Andy Ellis.
Listen into this conversation on learning, finding teachers, and how putting yourself in front of what you’re curious about will open 緣分 Yuan Fen like opportunities, you can’t get any other way.read more
Often enough at the beginning of a sea change, you don’t know what’s coming next. You’re already part of a current, a flow, and while you can steer within current, you’re caught up in a flow that is beyond your capacity to fully understand.
In this conversation with Malvin Finkelstein we take a trip in the Wayback Machine to 197xx and his first encounter with acupressure, acupuncture and the potency of nutrition. We visit the early years of acupuncture education, the challenges of making a living when most states did not offer licenses to practice acupuncture, and crafting of standards and valid testing that would become the foundation for licensure.read more
What you grow up with, that’s what becomes normal. You could be smack dab in the middle of something extraordinary, but it’s simply everyday life for you.
In this conversation with Yvonne Lau we reflect on her experience of growing up as the daughter of immigrants from Southern China who ran an herb store in San Francisco’s Chinatown. It was a time when a few dedicated young people from the mainstream culture began to show a respectful and insatiable interest in Chinese medicine.
The interest of those young people was part of what would become a growing acceptance of Chinese medicine in the west. And the herb store; it too has grown through the years.read more
What you do you if you’re interested in learning and practicing acupuncture, but there are no schools, standards or licensure?You built it yourself; with help of other spirited colleagues. In this conversation with John Myerson we go back to the...read more
The transport points are rich in story, function, connection and seem to have a capacity for engaging qi in profound ways as it flows from the tips of the fingers and toes, up to the elbows and knees. Lou points are particularly interesting as they both connect yin and yang channels.
In this conversation with Sean Tuten we investigate the capacity of the luo channels to act as a first defense against overwhelming experiences that come from the outside. How they both protect against and can storage pathogenic influences. More importantly, the kind of treatment that removes these obstructive influences.read more
The heart of our work, often enough, leans on the connections and capacity of the heart.
In this conversation with Ross Rosen we explore the importance of the patient-practitioner relationship, the concept of negotiating a diagnosis and some Daoist practices in medicine.
Listen into this discussion on practical clinical strategies and how traditional medicine intertwines and overlaps with our everyday lives.read more
East Asian medicine is a nature based medicine. And nature… nature is weird, and mysterious. And as much as we like to come up with “Laws of Nature” they are more like approximations. Useful for sure. But you’re asking for trouble if you confuse the map with the territory. And with nature, the territory is always changing. How do you keep your senses open and unencumbered with habit and belief? How do you stay present to what your patient might need in this particular moment? How do you wisely use knowledge in such a way that it doesn’t become dogma?
In this conversation with Edward Neal we discuss understanding nature’s patterns through East Asian medicine, the impact of technology on human consciousness, and how the Nei Jing helps us to map our way through nature and healing.read more
The story of the blind men exploring the elephant is alluded to often enough that it’s easily dismissed as cliche. And yet, the profound truth of how our senses and meaning making influence of our mind are worth pausing to consider.
In this conversation with Jason Robertson and Stephen Brown we consider the 理 Li, the patterning or connective coherence that runs through creation. As acupuncture and East Asian medicine are pattern languages, this concept touches on the core of our work.read more
Mind and body are inextricably entangled together. The effect of emotions on the physiology leave a palpable trace. It’s something that we as practitioners can acquire the capacity to discern and use as part of assessment and treatment.
In this conversation with Maya Suzuki we touch on how touch is a potent aspect of treatment. How it gives us direct access to a patient’s inner terrain, and how it gives us reliable information that stands apart from theory and protocol. We also explore unique properties of moxa and how it engages the adaptive healing process.read more
Is it the end of the world, or the beginning of a new one?
That is the question of the day when cultures go through seatide changes. Ever since the turn into of this yin water rabbit year in February, we’ve been hearing about power, potential and perhaps peril of ChatGPT and the other Artificial Intelligences that have burst into the digital landscape.
What is in store for us as acupuncturists? That is the question I put to Heidi Lovie who has been getting her hands dirty with various kinds of silicon based intelligence for quite a few years now. You might not know this, but she can make Excel spreadsheet datasets dance and sing.read more
The acupuncture channels are a curiosity that practitioners have puzzled, and argued, over for centuries. Even as these structures and processes so fundamental to life have been used for treatment and well being since Chinese medicine first began to emerge far beyond recorded history. In a sense, the channels are maps that help us to orient and navigate life, health and meaning.
In this conversation with Jason Brazil we discuss his voyage of discovery as he took his hand's on experience as a massage practitioner, and began to investigate the clock opposite organ pairs of the Chinese meridian flow clock. We'll touch on the importance of fostering a presence between practitioner and patient, the crucial role love and connection play in healing, the impact of self-cultivation on a healer's capacity to work and the way love creates a matrix of connection for healing and wellbeing.read more
It can be hard, impossible perhaps, at the beginning to know that you’re at the start of a tidal shift. It’s only in looking back and connecting the pivotal moments that you can see a challenging moment didn’t happen to you, it happened for you. It’s only later that you can see how attempting to solve a troublesome problem would take you down a path your imagination couldn’t dream up in that moment.
In this conversation with John Scott we take a trip in the Wayback Machine to a time when acupuncture was more of a curiosity than a career.read more
There’s a saying that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Maybe. I suspect that it has something to do with the capacity of your 意 Yi to make meaning, and the vitality of the 志 Zhi to take that meaning and marry it to the sense of what you’re here to do in this post-heaven formed world of the created.
In this conversation with Chris Shelton we hear how his troublesome childhood laid the groundwork for a qi gong practice that would not only help him to heal himself, but to be of service to others as well. We’ll touch on the impact of emotions on our physiology, the central practice of accountability and the importance of being both present and non-attached in the face of difficulties.read more
In this conversation with Danielle Weil we focus on the importance of understanding our patient’s needs, and developing the skill to be able to accurately describe their problems. We also discuss some basic copywriting frameworks that will help you both connect with your patients, and to invite them to take the next step in resolving their health concerns. Additionally we explore old school advertising and how to use AI to help with your marketing research and content creation.
Listen in for a lively discussion of marketing, copywriting and the effectiveness of mental shortcuts in decision-making and how to use them ethically to better get your message across to patients.read more
East Asian medicine uses a completely different map of physiology and function from that of modern biomedicine to understand health and illness. It’s a set of tools and perspectives that gives us a unique look at the entanglements of function and form. And when using acupuncture to help our patients it’s all about the qi, right? Maybe not.
In this conversation with Leah Fehres we consider the relationship between acupuncture points, nerve structures, and the body's intricate nervous and fascial systems. How the bifurcation of nerves is frequently the location of an acupuncture. And how traditional diagnostic methods might not reveal for us how we can consider neurophysiology in formulating an effective acupuncture treatment.read more
What’s more powerful, a whisper or a shout? What has more impact, a punch to the gut or an intended and targeted slight? Strength and power, these are two different things.
In this conversation with Bob Quinn we explore the gentle practice of using the Teishin, and the landscape that emerges as we attend both to the quiet sensitive aspect of the nervous system as it manifests in the skin, and our rooted sense of perception and attentiveness to the space we inhabit with our patientsread more