Categories
Acupuncture

Researching Attitudes Toward TCM • Brenda Le • Qi170

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In this conversation with Brenda Le we both explore how TCM is seen in our Western Chinese medicine world, and how doing this research opened her up to aspects of medicine and practice that she did not previously see.

Listen in to this conversation on inquiry, exploration and discovery.
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  • What drew Brenda to doing this research
  • The purpose that research serves
  • That is TCM?
  • How this research changed Brenda’s perspective
  • First look at the person, then attend to the illness (先看人,後看病)
  • Unruly medicine

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Follow an experienced practitioner. Their first-hand clinical insights are invaluable.


Sometimes, the best medicine can be a simple, home-cooked meal. A quiet moment in nature. Or a laugh shared with loved ones.

I believe wellness – and illness – are often related to dietary and lifestyle factors. As a dietitian and Chinese medicine practitioner, my goal is to help patients not only restore their health, but also maintain their health over time. Although I am very, very far from being a “superior physician” (上醫 shàng yī), I am inspired by the philosophy of treating disease before it arises (治未病 zhì wèi bìng).

I am learning that our medicine can be full of surprises. I started out thinking that Chinese medicine needed validation from scientific research – only to realize that this complex, dynamic system does not conform to linear or reductionist modes of reasoning. Now, I am exploring how to practice dietetics in a way that respects and celebrates the Chinese medicine worldview.

 
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Links and Resources

Read Brenda's research paper both for inspiration and to get a nuanced view of TCM.

And see what she's up to over on her website.

 

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Leave a comment on Qiological's Facebook page.

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Categories
Acupuncture

Treating Cancer with Acupuncture • Yair Maimon Qi165

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Jing, Qi and Shen— the three treasures. Like so many of these pithy quotes about Chinese medicine there is a lot here if you have taken the time to investigate it and see how it fits within your experience of practicing medicine.

In this conversation with Yair Maimon we touch on the three treasures as they relate to treating cancer with acupuncture, immunology from Chinese medicine perspective, and ways of working with research that help us to further our understanding of our medicine here in the modern day.

Listen in to this discussion that touches both on the classics and modern day perspectives in health and healing.

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In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • How Yair got in to treating cancer patients
  • What kinds of things is TCM good at treating
  • Prevention of recurrence and the treatment of cancer
  • Researching acupuncture and Chinese medicine
  • Immunity from the Chinese medicine perspective
  • Numbers in TCM
  • The importance of good communication

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Dr. Yair Maimon is an internationally renowned figure in the field of Integrative and Chinese Medicine with over 30 years of clinical, academic, and research experience. He is the president of ETCMA, the European TCM association.

Dr. Maimon has been leading a unique research in herbal medicine and acupuncture at Center of integrative oncology at the institute of Oncology, in the largest hospital in Israel and the middle east- Sheba Medical center. Director of Refuot integrative medicine center.

He has published several outstanding research articles in prominent scientific medical journals showing a unique, promising results on the effect of herbal medicine in cancer care and prevention. And is the President of the International Congress of Chinese Medicine in Israel (ICCM).

Founder of the eLearning: TCM Academy (TCM.AC), which is an innovative online platform for expanding the knowledge of Chinese medicine worldwide.
Over the years, Dr. Maimon has developed a special insight in diagnosis and treatment of variety of psychological, autoimmune disorders and cancer, stemming from a deep understanding of Chinese medicine.

In addition to being a man of research and a teacher Dr. Maimon is a fully active integrative and Chinese medical clinician, treating numerous patients and devoted in order to ease suffering and promote healing.

 

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Visit Yair's website
And here's where you can read about the research he's been involved with

 

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Leave a comment on Qiological's Facebook page.

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Categories
Herbal Medicine

Tracing the Wind Part II, Implementing a Research Study for Covid19- Practical Application • Qi152

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The Chinese say 活到老學到老 hou dao lao, xue dao lao, which can be translated as “continue learning for as long as you live.” It’s good advice, and when it comes to the practice of medicine, it’s essential. Our work gives us an endless opportunity to learn and deepen our understanding.

In this conversation with Kathy Taromina, Craig Mitchell and Dan Bensky we discuss what they have been learning about using Chinese herbal medicine in responding to the symptoms of Covid-19, as they carry out a study that is being done at the Seattle Institute of East Asian Medicine.

Doctors of the past have left us a treasure trove of ideas and clinical strategies for treating epidemic illness and all of these methods are coming into play in our modern world, as we learn more about how the Coronavirus affects different people.

Listen into this conversation on how experienced herbalists are learning from the wide range of presentations that are showing up in the clinic. And how you can access the information that is being collected from this study for your own learning and use in the treatment of infectious illness.

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In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • How the treatments are done and the challenges of telemedicine
  • The full range of infectious illness models is showing up with Covid19
  • Dampness is an element that seems to tie together disparate symptoms
  • Apparently there are some issues with blood stasis with Covid
  • Studying Chinese medicine on Chinese medicine’s terms
  • The importance of differentiating pattern and differentiating disease
  • Chinese medicine is not industrial medicine
  • All methods of medicine are noticing that Covid causes serious problems with the fluids
  • It’s important to keep close tabs on your Covid patients, things can change quickly
  • One of the issues with using Chinese medicine is that we don’t fit so well in a factory/industrial world
  • Telemedicine can give us the opportunity to treat more infectious illness and get better at it
  • We need to be more prepared in terms of treating infectious illness
  • Learning to treat infectious illness is something that is within any practitioner’s grasp
  • Before the 1930’s any Chinese medicine herbalist worth their salt could treat infectious disease
  • Recovery is a problem for many people
  • Surprising things can happen with telemedicine. 

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Katherine Taromina, DACM, L.Ac
 Katherine is the Academic Dean and faculty for the Seattle Institute of East Asian Medicine (SIEAM).  She has been in clinical practice since 1998, practicing in both private practice and hospital-based settings.  

After 20 years of studying and eventually specializing in treating adults and children with cancer both on-therapy and into survivorship, she now teaches advanced classes and continuing education for practicing acupuncturists on topics relating to Chinese medicine as supportive care for cancer patients.  

Kathy is also a clinical researcher with an interest in the conducting clinical trials that will expand patient access to East Asian Medicine.

Craig Mitchell, P.hD, L.Ac
Craig Mitchell received a Master of Science degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco (1993). Craig completed his PhD from the China Academy of TCM (Beijing) in 2006. He has written numerous articles and translated several Chinese medical texts, including On Cold Damage: Translation and Commentaries. Craig has been in private practice since 1993 and has been actively teaching since 1997. He is the President of the Seattle Institute of East Asian Medicine, where he is also a clinic supervisor and teacher. Since 1997, Craig has taught classes on Chinese herbal medicine, internal medicine, medical Chinese, acupuncture techniques, and tuina.

 

Dan Bensky, D.O.
I’ve been interested in things East Asian since I was a boy and stumbled into Traditional East Asian Medicine [TEAM] by chance in the early 1970’s. At the time it was not only very hard to find a place to study, it was even hard to know what or how to study. This sense of wonder has stayed with me for the past 45 years. My experiences, in Taiwan, Japan, China and the US have shown me that the greatest thing about this medicine is that it has so many tools that aid in being open to paying attention to and helping our patients on a multitude of levels. Similarly, engagement with the medicine demands that we dive into the traditions without being stuck in them so that we can connect to and be a part of them. I have been helped along this path when, again by chance, I became interested in osteopathic medicine in the late 1970’s and had the good fortune to go to Michigan State University where I was able to work with some amazing teachers. It became quickly obvious to me that TEAM and osteopathy were complementary on many, many levels and I’ve been working on integrating them and attempting to understand how each illuminates the other ever since.

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All Fruiting Body, No Grain Filler

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Intro to Saam

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Categories
Acupuncture

What’s Going on Here? A Researcher Explores Acupuncture • Richard Hammerschlag • Qi149

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The prolific science fiction write Issac Asimov wrote “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” (I found it!) but “That’s funny …”

The wonderful thing about research is that it invites delicious questions and opens avenues of inquiry that lead us beyond the borders of our maps of the world.

In this conversation with Richard Hammerschlag we hear about how his curiosity with how acupuncture was helpful lead him to a shift in career that has had him in the forefront of acupuncture research for a couple of decades now.

Listen in to this discussion on the process of inquiry, and how it’s hard to go wrong when you follow what’s interesting for you.

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In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • Comparative effectiveness research
  • Belief and the scientific process
  • Myth of the objective researcher
  • The researcher effect
  • Unconventional medicine
  • Chinese medicine is not a noun, it’s a verb
  • Biofields
  • The biofield of the heart is 10x the size of the biofield of the brain

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While I’ve often fantasized about waking up one morning and finding myself transformed into a practitioner of Chinese medicine, the reality is that I’ve always been more fascinated with how to test acupuncture’s effectiveness, and especially, to understand ‘how it works’. In short, I have always loved research… through a 25-year career in neurobiology, a 10-year career directing a research department at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in Portland, and, at present, helping to grow the Consciousness and Healing Initiative (CHI) and to define a new East/West synthesis of health and healing that I call Biofield Physiology.

Biofields, simply stated, are a family of non-biochemical regulatory mechanisms used by the body. EEG and ECG, as electrical fields commonly examined in allopathic healthcare, are well known examples of biofields produced by the brain and heart. Biophotons (particles of light) are a less understood but increasingly researched type of biofield. My interest in biofields developed in part, from an introduction to external Qigong. How, I wondered, can the body respond to a procedure that may not involve physical touch?

Other questions I am exploring, in the luxury of ‘retirement’, also arose initially from aspects of Chinese medicine: Since acupuncture and other modalities of East Asian medicine are often described as rebalancing the body, is there a whole body system that mediates such ‘homeodynamic’ regulation? Also, since acupuncture is often said to act via Yi (practitioner intention) as well as via physical effects of the needle, is intention a portal through which to explore effects of consciousness on healing?

 

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Links and Resources

Richard is a co-author of Acupuncture Research: Strategies for Establishing an Evidence Base

Visit www.chi.is to see the work Richard is doing with biofields and other related endeavors with qi

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Become a Qiologician and Help to Support the Show

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Medicine Unfolds in Relationship

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Categories
Herbal Medicine

Tracing the Wind- Designing and Implementing a Study on the Treatment of Symptoms from Possible Covid19 with Chinese Herbal Medicine • Lisa Taylor-Swanson & Lisa Conboy • Qi145

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The scientific method is useful. It helps us to better understand the world by screening out our biases, beliefs and wishful thinking. The process of crafting a good hypothesis begins not with a great question, but first the more yin process of observation. Seeing what is present, and from there we can begin to distill out questions worth asking.

Much of traditional research is not that helpful in understanding Chinese medicine, as our medicine does not lend itself to the binary world of double blind studies. Our medicine requires research methodologies that can handle emergent dynamic systems. And lucky for us, those models exist and one of the researchers who is keen on these models also happens to be a Chinese medicine practitioner.

In this special podcast episode researchers Lisa Taylor-Swanson and Lisa Conboy share with us the design of a study that is currently being carried at the Seattle Institute of East Asian Medicine on the treatment of symptoms that may be related to Covid19 disease using Chinese Herbal Medicine. This study is geared toward collecting data that will help to guide further research. It’s a study that considers Chinese medicine on its own terms. And this study’s design principles are not unlike the principles of our medicine.

Listen in for a look at how this study is being structured, and then check back in a few weeks as we’ll have a conversation with the practitioners at SIEAM who are treating patients and collecting the data.

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In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • Gaps in evidence base of knowledge
  • Researching Chinese medicine on Chinese medicine’s terms
  • Using pragmatic design
  • Need for clear observation before deciding what questions to ask
  • Truth vs Emergence
  • Information is alive
  • Empathy and observation
  • Is there a perfect state of health?
  • How the SIEAM study is constructed and what we are looking for
  • Emergence and living systems are inherently unpredictable
  • The exqusite beauty of a big dataset
  • Who we ask, how we ask and cultural assumptions

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Lisa Taylor-Swanson, Ph.D, L.Ac
 I am a happy geek who has fallen in love with both clinical practice and with research. Let me tell you a bit about each part of my career, and how they connect with one another. I started out as an undergrad investigating mother-infant communication. At about age 21, I discovered dynamic systems theory. That theory pretty much sums up how I see, think, and feel. It's the idea that the whole is not merely the sum of its parts and that to best understand any phenomenon, we must study the whole. It was a natural fit, then, for me to study traditional East Asian medicine (TEAM) given the holistic framework we use to diagnose and treat people. It was with this whole systems, whole person framework that I moved from Utah to Washington to study at Seattle Institute of East Asian Medicine.

Research is fun. It is creative, generative, and dynamic. I am interested in discovering how we can more fully experience our body – embodiment, or embodied self-awareness – and live less in our heads.

We are inherently social beings and that social context, re-created in healthy and nurturing clinical contexts, supports embodiment and being present in one's lived experience. My research is investigating these topics, and a few others. I've been so incredibly fortunate to complete at PhD at the University of Washington and most recently join the faculty at the University of Utah (my undergraduate alma mater!). I'm one of a couple of handfuls of acupuncturist-researchers and I'm happy to live my dreams.


Lisa Conboy, Sc.D
Lisa is a social epidemiologist and a sociologist with an interest in the associations between social factors and health. 

She is published in the areas of Women's Health, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and qualitative research methodology. An Instructor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, she is also the research director and faculty at the New England School of Acupuncture where she teaches research methodology and oversees multiple projects. 

She is also a founding member of the Kripalu research collaborative which examines the mental, physical, and spiritual benefits of yoga, meditation,

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Become a Qiologician and Help to Support the Show

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Categories
Acupuncture

Researching the Essence of Moxa • Alice Douglas • Qi133

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Moxibustion is one of the more interesting methods in toolbox. Stunning in its simplicity and often brings deep relief for those who are a good fit for this method. It’s curious how the burning of this particular herb can bring about healing.

Alice Douglas has loved moxa since before she became an acupuncturist. In this conversation we discuss her survey of research into moxibustion. There is a lot you probably heard about moxa in acupuncture school and might have wondered, “is that really true?” Listen in and get the answers!

 

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In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • The beginning of Alice’s love affair with moxa
  • Smoke and smokeless, there are differences
  • Heat, infrared radiation, smoke and particle size
  • Traditional and modern perspectives
  • Using moxa smoke to treat inflammation
  • Concerns and research around long-term exposure to moxa smoke
  • Different grades and storage of moxa
  • Some surprising uses of moxa

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Putting your patients at ease and how you make them feel is just as important as the treatment. That's what keeps them coming back


​Alice Douglas, L.Ac

My journey with acupuncture began when I was very young. I was a patient from age 12, needing help for a serious chronic condition that was ruining my life. Acupuncture changed everything. Within 6 weeks things were significantly improved and within a year I was healed. After being exposed to the power of acupuncture first hand, I left my dreams of being a doctor behind and after finishing school, went to study acupuncture.
I believe this ancient medicine must be used uniquely for each individual, understanding old theory and current science equally, creating tailored treatments for modern people.
Every day, in both my private practice and my community multibed clinic, the power of acupuncture amazes me as much as it did when I first learnt of it.

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Links and Resources

You can read Alice's research in the Journal of Chinese Medicine  
Visit Alice's website and her Facebook page

For all you moxa fans, Alice recommends:
The Moon Over Matsushima – Insights Into Moxa and Mugwort, written by Merlin Young, the guest of show #82

Join the discussion!
Leave a comment on Qiological's Facebook page.

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Categories
Acupuncture

Weird Science, Bioelectricity, Consciousness and Biology • John Hubacher • Qi131

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We often think of the bioelectricity of the nervous system as a signaling system for the body to communicate with itself, but it might serve an even greater function of allowing us to interact with our larger environment.

This conversation with John Hubacher started off as an inquiry into electro-acupuncture, but it quickly took a hard left turn into neuro-psychiatry, parapsychology as well as the importance of using standardized measures in research so we can build a common language around treatment and experimental findings.

Listen in to this conversation on the perspectives of a long time researcher into bioelectricity, and how he sees this interacting with biology and quantum fields.

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In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • The history of science is non-linear
  • John’s early interest in neuro-psychiatry and parapsychology
  • Thelma Moss and Soviet research
  • The early days of red light laser research
  • The need for standardized to make research meaningful and reproducible
  • There are over 20,000 studies on electro-acupuncture, only a handful contain useful standardized information
  • Quantum Biology
  • Morphogenetic fields
  • Mike Levin bioelectricity on YouTube
  • The connection between bioelectric fields and the neurology system

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A classic clinical tip to maximally produce endorphin release for chronic or acute pain using electroacupuncture is to use Mixed Mode with both 2 and 100 hz. This has been shown with blood assay to create maximum endorphin release from the CNS for three endorphin types.


John Hubacher, Ph.D

I mainly have a research interest and background, and have come to the field of acupuncture through an interest in biofields, systems of electrical physiology, and the role of the ostensible etheric body in both physics and biology. Currently, my company, Pantheon Research is in the 38th year of producing fine electroacupuncture equipment for the medical profession. This biomedical electronic background is a context I bring to my synthesis of the mechanisms of acupuncture as both physiologically based and endogenous electrical systems based.

My recent research has been published, and topics include the role of electroacupuncture to stimulate neural stem cells in skin on acupuncture points, standards of reporting for more complete data replication within electroacupuncture studies, the demonstration of data that supports the observation of the biofield as a system that resides independent of the physical biology ( replication of the phantom leaf effect), and the physics of the biofield with an emphasis on it potential relationship to quantum biology processes.

I have learned that we are entering a new paradigm of medicine that combines both physics and biology, in a new synthesis that provides huge breakthroughs in both theory and practice. There will be a new physics and a new medicine that emerges. Acupuncture is an expression of this synthesis. I think one of the essential elements will be the verification that living things do possess an electrically based, perhaps with new forms of electricity, true physiological system, that controls and regulates conventional physiological processes. This system is primary to the biochemical systems, and the source of this system is independent of physical cellular process. My interest is to research and document these hypotheses experimentally.

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Learn Saam Acupuncture Online

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Links and Resources

This is a serious read, but well worth the effort.
Marco Bischoff wrote a definitive history of biofield research and concepts, which John recommends for an indepth introduction to the extensive and generally hidden information which can integrate closely with future acupuncture research.

Join the discussion!
Leave a comment on Qiological's Facebook page.

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Categories
Acupuncture

Tracking the Void, Non-Linear Methods of Research • Lisa Taylor-Swanson • Qi127

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Humans have an innate drive to make sense of the world. To understand how things work and see if we can reliability influence the outcome on something. To find a way to get more of what we want, or less of what we dislike.

When you think about it, life is one big research experiment as we are constantly testing out ideas of how things work.

But often when we think about research we are thinking about laboratory controlled environments or double blind studies. And there is a place for those, but those models aren’t that helpful when it comes to using a researcher’s eye to better understand acupuncture.

Lisa Taylor-Swanson fell in love with research before she fell in love with acupuncture. She’s a researcher with the heart and eye of a clinician who is investigating the use of non-linear and complex adaptive systems theory to design research that helps us to go from “does acupuncture” to “how acupuncture helps.”

 

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In This Conversation We Discuss:
highlights go here

  • Non-linear and complexity friendly ways of viewing research
  • What non-linear research can tell us
  • Complex adaptive systems theory
  • The turbulence that arises around the “stuck stable place”
  • Things fall apart so as to be able to reconstitute at a higher level of order
  • Acupuncture is not just sticking needles into people, it includes the relationship between patient and practitioner
  • Current research models do not account for non-linear effects
  • Treatment is rarely just one thing, there are always multiple perturbations to the system
  • How to get into research

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I always found that my clinic shift went better when I took time for self-care in the morning. A short walk, some stretches, yoga, or meditation was a great way for me to start my day centered and present. I learned a wonderful Kundalini kriya that helps bolster one's boundaries and that was immensely helpful in ‘not taking on' people's energies or presentation when in the midst of being present with 12-16 patients on any given day. I invariably found that I was less available and less present with my patients when I was in a rush from dropping off kids at school, signing payroll checks, and then dashing into a treatment room with a patient. What a disaster!


Lisa Taylor-Swanson, Ph.D, L.Ac

I am a happy geek who has fallen in love with both clinical practice and with research. I started out as an undergrad investigating mother-infant communication. At about age 21, I discovered dynamic systems theory. That theory pretty much sums up how I see, think, and feel. It's the idea that the whole is not merely the sum of its parts, and to best understand any phenomenon, we must study the whole. It was a natural fit for me to study traditional East Asian medicine (TEAM) given the holistic framework we use to diagnose and treat whole people.

I've come to realize that in the nearly 20 years that I've seen patients that TEAM clinical practice is profound, transformational and revolutionary.

In a conversation a few years ago with Michael Max, I found myself gaining greater clarity and vocabulary about my clinical practice: for me, clinic is sacred. Not in a churchy or religious sense. But rather sacred given that I have the opportunity to fully be present with another human being as they walk along their journey of life.

It is sacred in the sense of all the amazing changes I've witnessed in my patients: both expected (we're treating pain and it is decreased) and unexpected (less pain, and et voila!, they quit their miserable job and follow their dreams…). Along the way I found after about a decade of practice that while I deeply appreciated what happened in clinic, the sacred space and delightful changes I was able to help my patients realize, that I needed more fun in my career: for me, research is fun.

Research is creative, generative, and dynamic. I am interested in discovering how we can more fully experience our embodied self-awareness,  and live less in our heads.

In research lingo, we've discovered that symptoms are described as less bothersome, interfering, or severe, when we're more present with ourselves, with greater embodiment. This translates to traditional East Asian medicine because I think that while people lay on the table, needles in place, they have the 20-30 minute opportunity to drop into their present lived experience, and to get out of their heads, if they choose to take that invitation to settle.

We are inherently social beings and that social context, re-created in healthy and nurturing clinical contexts, supports embodiment and being present in one's lived experience. My research is investigating these topics, and a few others. I've been so incredibly fortunate to complete at PhD at the University of Washington and most recently join the faculty at the University of Utah. I'm one of a couple of handfuls of acupuncturist-researchers.

 

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Links and Resources

You can connect with Lisa through this webpage at the University of Utah.
And here's a paper she co-authored on Complex Adaptive Systems and how it relates to Chinese medicine. 

Join the discussion!
Leave a comment on Qiological's Facebook page.

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