My abiding interest is in the dynamic between clinical practice, textual analysis and palpatory experience. I’ve spent the past 30 years studying the pre-modern Chinese literature and trying to bring it to life in my practice. In the process, I’ve done a far amount of translation work, most notably the first textbook of acupuncture from 100 C.E., from 100 C.E., The Yellow Emperor’s Systematic Classic of Acupuncture and Moxibustion (Huang Di Zhen Jiu Jia Yi Jing) with Yang Shouzhong, and with Miki Shima, Li Shizhen’s Qi Jing Ba Mai Kao, the seminal text on the extraordinary vessels.
Textual study can be very abstract and intellectual. Palpation is a way for me to ground those heady ideas in something I can touch and feel. The first class that I took when I got out of acupuncture school in 1984 was in cranial osteopathy. It was immediately apparent to me that osteopathic palpatory sensibilities have a lot to offer the practice of Chinese medicine. I’ve been exploring that ever since, most notably in the Engaging Vitality work that Dan Bensky and Marguerite Dinkins and I have been developing. We now teach this approach in the US, Europe and Australia.
I’ve been a meditator since I was 18 and this has nurtured a long-standing interest the way that internal cultivation practices inform what I do in the clinic. The palpatory tools I’ve developed make accessible lot of material that would otherwise seem pretty abstract. That too is an ongoing area of research for me. Finally, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time alone in the back-country. That has been a life-long practice in its own right. The older I get, the more I’ve come to realize that it’s the soil in which all these other interests have grown.