In this conversation, our guest Efrem Korngold said, “the definition of a good paradigm is that you can apply it effectively to new problems.”
You know how sometimes you hear something and it stops you dead in your tracks, it rings true in a way that you can feel in your bones, muscles and blood. I heard this and felt the truth of it. What’s more was his further comment that Chinese medicine; it’s good paradigm.
Listen into this conversation on the early days of Chinese medicine emerging into the mainstream in California, the way fearlessness helps to develop you as an acupuncturist and why imagination is so vitally important to the craftsperson.read more
“My Po made the decision.”
I’m usually skeptical about most explanations of the “Spirit” of the five Zang viscera. Not that I don’t indulge speculation myself, I most certainly do. But given these ideas come down to us from another time, language, and culture. Given they’ve traveled through through the millennia I’m mightily reluctant to stake a claim on what the ancients might have intended.
That said, the guest of today’s conversation Karine Kedar said the above quote towards the beginning of our discussion and it landed with an in-the-bones sense of “that’s right.” Which is an interesting place to start when the topic is polyvagal theory and East Asian medicine doesn’t even recognize a nervous system.read more
You don’t need to practice acupuncture for very long to realize that people frequently slip into a deep state of quietude and repose. Often enough, they come out of a session with a completely different look to their eyes, they move slower and with a more integrated coordination, they’re focused less on the noise in their life, and more on the potency of the present.
In this conversation with John Myerson, we explore acupuncture and non-ordinary states of consciousness. This was part of a PhD dissertation he did in Psychology, but what’s more interesting is how he has evolved this exploration into his clinical work. A practice which looks quite different from his original inquiry of using needles and music to induce non-ordinary states.read more
I’ve often enough equated the word Alchemy with Magic. Hoping for something that would quickly and painlessly transform the troubles dogging me.
Perhaps this is possible with magic, but alchemy, that is a process of preparation, distillation and attentiveness. It’s a undertaking that requires a kind of containment and the transformative power of time is a key ingredient. Maybe not unlike the process of learning medicine by practicing medicine.read more
It’s surprising the unexpected paths we trod that lead us to our destiny. Especially when you’re headed into a profession or line of work that does not yet exist.
In this conversation with Jake Fratkin, we meander through tales of back pain, bitter herbs, beginner's luck and crooked judges. We reflect on the joys and uncertainties of following your fascination to wherever it leads, and making a go of life on the edge of the establishment.read more
There are several foundational texts that lay the groundwork for Chinese herbal medicine. Usually when you think about the Shang Han Lun, you’d immediately think of herbs. And when you think about the various herbs that make up the classic prescriptions, you’ll realize they all have a flavor, direction and character. In essence— a kind of qi.
In this conversation with Maya Suzuki we discuss the dynamic of Gui Zhi Tang. How it leaves palpable traces in the body. And how to use acupuncture in a way that speaks to the action of each of the individual herbs, and the overall character of the formula.read more
We have plans, but our destiny usually is not found in the maps we make of the world. It shows up in unexpected, random and often unguarded moments. There’s a lot we “do.” It does not come from knowing, but we can spin up a story in retrospect. In...read more
Read those words and let the sound echo into your head, your heart and body. Ghost points. Just the words carry an energy. An energy of spirit, of embodiment, or not. The words suggest something of the spirit that can go astray. Like a decision to never let a particular bad experience ever happen again, or on the other side, the addictive desire to recreate again and again something of the sublime.
In this conversation with Ivan Zalava we consider the realm of spirit, ghosts, embodiment and psycho-emotive states that can generate a reality of their own..read more
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