Categories
Cultivation

Soul Pilgrimage, Death, and Loss • Tamsin Grainger • Qi173

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Our western world hides death. We are taught to avoid it. Avoid thinking about, do everything medically possible to prolong life, and focus on “more time” without regard to more of “what.”

In this conversation with Tamsin Grainger we look into how death is inextricably entangled with life. How we care constantly dying to one moment as we emerge into a new one.

Listen in to this conversation on living into the surprising unfolding of life and how the mindset of pilgrimage helps us to transition through the seasons of our lives.

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In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • We are always dealing with little deaths
  • Thoughts on a good death
  • Sympathy and empathy
  • The influence of pilgrimage
  • Sitting in and being moved by qi
  • Not knowing is part of the clinical encounter
  • The wisdom that unfolds within the field of collective qi

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When in the presence of death, never assume you know what is needed. Listen to the qi – theirs and yours – and allow time for the simple as well as the complex.


I am a Shiatsu practitioner, teacher and writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. I learned the depth of Shiatsu touch on receiving my first session – I felt I was being danced by her. The result was good too – the curse was lifted! In 1989, I started a course and have been learning and giving Shiatsu ever since. My practice began around the time I became a mother and focused on Shiatsu during pregnancy and with babies.

I began to walk pilgrimage in 2016 as I neared menopause and my daughters had left home. There, I realised that I should write about death because the subtle and varied touch of Shiatsu can support people on all levels when facing this greatest of challenges.

 

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Links and Resources

Purchase your own copy of Working with Death and Loss in Shiatsu Practice, a guide to holistic practice in palliative care.

Read Tamsin's blog on the book, grief and Shiatsu.

A short discussion on coherence, quantum physics and shiatsu.

 

 

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

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Categories
Acupuncture Cultivation Herbal Medicine

The Resonant Hum of Yin and Yang • Sabine Wilms • Qi164

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Chinese is not that easy, and the 文言文 (wen yan wen) the classical Chinese, that stuff is a whole other order of magnitude in challenge to the modern Western mind. 

And yet if we are going to practice this medicine with deep roots into a long gone time and culture, we need access to the stepping stones that have been handed down to us over centuries through books and writing. 

Translating language is one thing. But translating culture, bringing something of the mind and perception from another time, that is a whole other task. 

It helps if you can understand the poetry, the stories, the world view and beliefs of the time. And it helps if you can track the changes in the meaning of words and ideas across the centuries of commentary. 

In this episode we are sitting down for tea with Sabine Wilms, a self described “lover of dead languages,” for a discussion of Resonance from chapter five of the Simple Questions.

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  • Sabine loves dead languages
  • Medicine is a powerful way into culture
  • Farming is about fertility
  • Why Su Wen Chapter?
  • The importance of commentary on ancient texts like the Nei Jing
  • Thinking of the Five Elements as Dynamic Agents
  • Connecting macro and microcosm
  • The paradox of how not-knowing helps us to understand
  • Types of change
  • Understanding change is the key to being a doctor, a sage, a farmer or a ruler
  • Some clinical examples of Bian and Hua type changes
  • Treatment as interference
  • When you think of the element “earth,” think “soil”

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text admin_label=”About show guest” _builder_version=”3.27.4″ text_font_size_tablet=”51″ text_line_height_tablet=”2″ header_font_size_tablet=”51″ header_line_height_tablet=”2″]Clinic Tip: Slow down, breathe, smell the roses, pay attention to the messages in your dreams, and make it a habit to regularly do something you love.


Sabine Wilms 

Even though I don't have a license to practice medicine and don't stick needles into people, I consider myself a practitioner of Chinese medicine in the true and grand sense of “medicine” as expressed in the Chinese classical literature: the harmonizing of Heaven and Earth in our pivotal role as humans. While I do have a serious academic background, with a PhD in East Asian Studies and Medical Anthropology, I have always been more interested in exploring the practical applications of what I read, study, and translate, both for myself and for clinicians. As a biodynamic goat farmer in the mountains of northern New Mexico, I learned many valuable lessons on agriculture in my younger years that I find eminently relevant to my ability to comprehend the classical medical texts. Managing waterways, ruling a country, freeing blocked flow, distributing moisture and nutrition, fending off external invasion, restoring fertility, or simply “nurturing life” (yangsheng)… all of these are reflections of the sage’s ability to attune yin and yang and to align her- or himself with the ever-changing transformations of qi that occur in the various microcosms in resonance with the macrocosm. 

I do love to teach and to share my understanding of Chinese medicine, and of classical Chinese culture, philosophy, literature, and religion, with modern Western clinical practitioners and students. So until last year, I was teaching full-time in the doctoral program at the College of Classical Chinese Medicine at the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. These days, though, I prefer a much quieter simpler life and am happy as a clam in my new home on magical Whidbey Island north of Seattle where I write, translate, and publish (as Happy Goat Productions), and go for a blissful swim in the sea when my brain needs a break. In addition, I do some traveling for lectures and retreats and am in the process of building a mentoring program (ImperialTutor.com) for the more personalized instruction style that I love best, to teach Western practitioners of Chinese medicine how to read the classics.
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Links and Resources

Visit Sabine's website for her books, blog and speaking schedule.
Looking for some mentoring? The Imperial Tutor is at your service.
Did I mention in the podcast conversation that Humming With Elephants is a delicious read?

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

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Become a Qiologician and Help to Support the Show

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All Fruiting Body, No Grain Filler

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Categories
Acupuncture Cultivation

Spirals, Stems and Branches: The Structure of Unfoldment in Time and Space • Deborah Woolf • Qi162

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Stems and Branches are old Chinese science. Our medicine touches on it, but most of us rely on the more modern perspectives for our clincal work. The Stems and Branches speak to a perspective of the universe and our place in it that is foreign to our minds not because of language and culture, but because we live a world that focus more on humanity than cosmos.

In this conversation we touch on the influence of numbers, the spiral nature of unfoldment and change, a few things about the Hun and Po that will surprise you, how time and space give us different glimpses into reality and how a sense of playfulness wtih medicine and philosophy just might be a most wise approach.

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In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • How Deborah found her way to studying the Stems and Branches
  • Closing of the heart septum and its relation to Imperial and
  • Ministerial Fire
  • Are we looking from heaven or looking from earth. From the creative or the created?
  • Chinese medicine and philosophy is numbers based
  • 五運六氣 five movements and six qi, Su wen 66-74
  • A deeper look at Hun and Po
  • The three in one
  • Orienting in Time and Space
  • How to read the Su Wen
  • Considering the extraordinary fu
  • Latest interests and projects
  • Advice to new practitioners

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Keep it simple; if you can immerse yourself as much as possible in classical Chinese way of seeing the cosmos/body then you will always do things better!

Keep going back to the basics: what everything is based on gives you ALL the clues… that's why theory and study of classical Chinese history/culture/language helps acupuncturists to be much better practitioners


Deborah Woolf, L.Ac

I am crazy keen acupuncturist and super enthusiastic lecturer, who, by chance, have discovered and loved the cosmology and numerology inherent in Chinese Philosophy and Medicine. I was lucky to start studying (10 years after I know I wanted to be an acuouncturist) at the UK college that teaches the most philosophy and theory, based on Five Phases, wuxing 五行, and Stems and Branches, wuyun liuqi 五運六氣. My course was a 5 year long extravaganza, and I came out the other side, exhausted, changed and driven. Since then (20 years ago) I have not stopped treating, teaching and studying: these three activities interact fruitfully with each other, allowing me to deepen my understanding and practice of this amazing approach to health, the body and the cosmos.

As I am the daughter of academics I took what I was taught and read around the subjects, so that I was able to immerse myself more fully in ancient Chinese culture. I have followed Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallee for 25 years, and have studied classical Chinese for at least 15 years. I may not be able to ask for soup, but I can make a stab at translating very obscure classical Chinese texts! This immersion and reading and teaching has allowed me to apply my ‘apprentice' style learning to my practice. I thoroughly appreciate and love what I do and am grateful daily for the opportunity to learn more and more and so be able to help my patients even more!

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Links and Resources

Number six in the Umbrella Academy is Ben, the dead one. Or is he?

We talked in this episode about the magic square, here's more intel on it. We also discussed other ways of divining the cosmos.

Su Wen 11
“Brain, Marrow, bones, vital circulations (mai), Gall Bladder, Uterus: these six are produced by the qi/Breaths of Earth. They store the Yin and they reflect the image of the Earth. Their name is ‘the extraordinary and permanent fu’ (qi heng zhi fu).

The St, Co, Si, Th, Bl, these 5 are produced by the Breaths of Heaven; their Breaths reflect the image of Heaven; this is why they make flow and do not store. They receive the unclear Breaths of the 5 zang. Their name is ‘the fu for transmission and transformation’. They cannot keep for a long time without transmitting so as finally to flow out/evacuate… Thus the 5 zang store the essences/Breaths [Jingqi] and do not make flow… The 6 fu transmit and transform and do not store.”

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Become a Qiologician and Help to Support the Show

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The Power of Concentration

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Categories
Cultivation

Listening, Non-doing and Appreciative Attention • Alice Whieldon • Qi158

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Medicine is a curious business. The “agreement” is that the patient has a problem and we as practitioners are going to fix it. It’s not an unreasonable expectation in our fee for service world. And after all, we are the experts that are supposed to know how to resolve a medical condition.

But what often gets left out of the conversation is the question of “what is healing?” Along with “who” is responsible for that and “what” is to be done?

Healing is a curious business. And while patient and practitioner both play a role, more often than not, it’s an inside job.

In this conversation with Alice Whieldon we explore what is helpful, the invitation that arises from dropping expectation and agenda, and the connective resonance that arises from simply seeing how it is for another.

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In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • The World of Sei-Ki
  • Looking for the experience of deep change
  • Clearing practices
  • Sei-Ki Soho, guidance and harmony
  • Kishi's background and brilliance
  • The relief of being in a safe, expanse and solid presence
  • What are we when we stop applying theories?
  • Connecting clearly and well
  • The prison of diagnosis
  • What is help?
  • The medical model is a trap
  • Dropping expectation and agenda so as to “just see”
  • “I see how it is for you…”
  • The power of appreciation
  • You don’t have to be a fulltime xxx patients
  • We have to unfix ourselves
  • Letting it be
  • Intention vs Agenda

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Things are never quite what you think they are.  So the discipline of remaining open to your client and listening acutely to how it is for them, is crucial. Diagnosis, naming the condition, works against this and should be approached with caution.


Alice Whieldon MA PhD SFHEA, worked with Kishi from 1997 until his death in 2012.  Together they collaborated on a book, Sei-ki: Life in Resonance, the Secret Art of Shiatsu 2011 Kishi & Whieldon, Singing Dragon, London, with the assistance of his wife, Kyoko.  Alice offers Sei-ki workshops and sessions internationally. 

In addition, since the 1980s, she has been involved with the work of Charles Berner and Lawrence Noyes in Clearing and the Enlightenment Intensive workshop – a fusion of the zen sesshin and western communication techniques – see Mind Clearing: the key to mindfulness mastery 2016, Whieldon, Singing Dragon, London.  Alice was Senior Faculty Manager in Arts for the Open University and remains an Associate Lecturer in Arts and Humanities.  She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and Chair of the Shiatsu Society (UK) 2016-18 during which time she oversaw a major restructuring and renewal.  With degrees in philosophy and religious studies, Alice is adept at offering the explanations often welcomed in learning Sei-ki.

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Links and Resources

Visit Alice's personal website 
For more about Living in Resonance 

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

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Become a Qiologician and Help to Support the Show

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Supporting Your Clinic & Our Community

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The Medicine You Love 

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Acupuncture of Wandering Monks

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Take Your Learning to the Next Level

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Categories
Acupuncture Cultivation

The Dao of Communication • Margot Rossi & Nick Pole • Qi144

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You’ve noticed in the treatment room, that moment when something “lands” for the patient, and there's a palpable internal shift. You’ve noticed this in yourself, that a question can be inviting as a whisper, or make you bristle like a growling dog.

In this conversation with Margot Rossi and Nick Pole we explore Embodied Language, a way of connecting that is friendly to both the body and spirit.

What we say, and how we say it can have a profound impact on the experience of both patient and practitioner. Listen in for how you can use language as skillfully as you use your needles.

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In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • Learning to use body friendly language
  • Creating a container that is safe, secure and playful
  • Inviting a sense of possibility
  • Connecting with the experience of the body
  • Can you remember a time when?
  • What was it like when that happened?
  • What would you like to have happen?
  • Inhabiting the perspective of a beginner
  • Using questions that lead patients to themselves
  • Asking what’s needed? Rather than what’s wrong?
  • Allowing patients to hear what they are already saying
  • Accidently causing harm with the language we use

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Margot Rossi, L.Ac
It's not an exaggeration to say that Eastern medicine and philosophy saved my life. They have rocked my world for over thirty years. Along the way, here and in China, I've learned much from remarkable teachers, including my family, peers, patients and students. My mission is to share that bounty of wisdom with my community.

In private practice, I see myself primarily as an educator, aka wizard of possibilities. Creating a clinic environment conducive to learning and being a neutral sounding board, I use the interview process as my main modality for diagnosis and treatment. Patients and I explore the fabric of reality and build an awareness of experience and perceptions. Along with mindfulness, using nature's systems to understand ourselves helps us feel right at home and capable of shifting with self-compassion, confidence and resourcefulness.

Another essential in my repertoire is movement therapy either Dao Yin or yoga. I find mindful movement and breathing can influence all issues regardless of where they're housed, just like water can flow in places nothing else can or wants to go. This medicine keeps reminding me: there is wonder here, simply awaiting our presence.


Nick Pole
I've been practicing, teaching and writing about shiatsu since I graduated from the Shiatsu College in the UK in 1989. I spent the first ten years of my shiatsu studies trying to find the best teachers I could and then doing my best to copy them. It always worked for a while, but then I would come back to the same intangible sense that something important was missing. Meanwhile, to improve my skills as a shiatsu teacher, I studied NLP in some depth and that led me to Clean Language. That was it! – a way to bring language into my sessions by asking questions that make sense to the body. With its Zen-like simplicity and rigor, Clean Language invites both practitioner and client to listen to themselves in a truly mindful way.

How could someone who loved language as much as I did come to be practicing shiatsu, which in its original Japanese form at least is done almost without any words at all? Bringing this subtle and elegant questioning process into my sessions helps my clients listen to themselves, and helps us to come to a shared understanding of what they want to achieve. When you invite the bodymind into the conversation like this, painful and frustrating symptoms can rapidly turn into signposts on the path towards the kind of life a person really wants to be living. And in researching my book Words That Touch (2017), I found the neurological explanation for Lao Tzu's great riddle: the Tao that can be spoken of is not the “constant/eternal/real” Tao because speech traps us in the left brain hemisphere's abstract world of names, concepts and categories, at one remove from reality.

It's only through the right hemisphere and its wordless but deeply embodied way of knowing, that we can ever get a sense of what the unspoken Tao is really all about. This is how I love to work, integrating gentle and respectful questioning with the meridian-based bodywork of shiatsu. That way, we invite the two sides of the brain to have a better relationship with each other and our patients to have better relationships with themselves.

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Links and Resources

Read Nick's book Words That Touch, on the practice and use of Clean Language

 

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

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Share this podcast with your friends!

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Become a Qiologician and Help to Support the Show

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PURE, SIMPLE and EFFECTIVE

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How to craft an effective food therapy consultation

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Categories
Cultivation The practice of practice

Listening • Michael Max • Qi137

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Listening is not a skill that I expected to develop. I thought I’d get good with palpation or pulse reading. After all, the masters are said to get what they need with the pause and a few questions. That’s what I was aiming for, however it did not work out that way for me.

I’ve found over the years that there is a way of listening to a patient that has allowed me to both uncover what I need to know to treat them, but more importantly, help me to better understand innate resources they have that they either are not in touch with, or curiously enough think are deficiencies or problems.

Listening is not passive, nor about just hearing what the patient says, it also involves an inner ear to our own experience.

This episode is a solo show in which I share some what my clinical experience has taught about an often overlooked yin aspect of our work— listening.

 

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In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • Talking to podcast guests is just like talking to patients
  • Listening for a patient’s strengths, weaknesses and resources
  • Unpacking 聽 the character for Listen
  • Listening is not passive, to goes both outward and inward
  • Listening is more important than knowing
  • Energetically leaving some space
  • Using your confusion to authentically connect
  • People have a hard time tracking their own experience
  • The power of silence
  • The difference between “you’re right” and “that’s right”
  • Listening patients into their own wisdom
  • Empathy

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There is a big difference between “you're right” and “that's right.” When you hear the former, you've lost the connection with your patient. When you hear the latter, you've touched in on something deep and essential.


Michael Max, L.Ac

I didn't set out to create a podcast show, in much the same way I didn't set out to learn acupuncture.

Those were not decisions that came from a flash of inspiration or childhood longing, but more like how something at the periphery of your vision catches your attention.

More like a hunch or decisive whisper. Those hunches have lead me through learning acupuncture, acquiring enough Chinese to allow me to engage texts in their original language and share some of that with our community of practitioners. And my practice has lead me to the expansive nature of questions and listening.

Listening has allowed me to be of service to patients who are not sure how they got to where they are, or where to go from here. I guess you could say that listening has helped me to find a set of maps that helps me to navigate in clinic and to trust the compass when there is no map. While I crave the certainty of answers, I'm more enlivened by the catalytic nature of questions that's what fuels the clinical encounter.

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Share this podcast with your friends!

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All Mushroom, No Filler

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Warm Bamboo

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Categories
Qiologician Podcasts

Tidal Flows and Channel Resonance • Brenda Hood

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The 子午 zi wu, “Chinese Clock” that helps us to learn the flow of qi through the channels can give us a glimpse into many underlying dynamics of organ relation, influences of the six qi and the five phases.

In this conversation we take a deep gaze into what Brenda Hood likes to call the Tidal Flow Clock.

There is a lot here when you start look below the surface.

 

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In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • Originally the “Chinese Clock” was about the channels, not the organs
  • Are organs material?
  • Abstraction, embodiment and meaning
  • Function of the Yangming
  • Open, pivot, close
  • The Taiyang’s resonance with cold, qi transformation and connection to the Ming Men
  • Wind pushes, Fire draws
  • Internal and external weather
  • Being flexible enough to shift your point of view
  • Chinese medicine is not completely rational
  • Stems and branches
  • Thoughts on the Ming Men and Small Intestine

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Brenda Hood, Ph.D, L.Ac

I was born and raised in Peace River, Canada. Then wound up going to China to study Chinese medicine after I became disillusioned with a degree in psychology. I spent over twenty years there being completely enamored with the medicine and acquiring a few degrees. After returning to North America spent some years teaching Foundations of CM and other basic courses at NUNM. I’m back up in Canada now working on a foundations book to explain the energetic and philosophical bases of the medicine with an eye to using the classics and historical texts as my sources.

Clinically, I started out using the TCM system, but I couldn’t really get it to work like I thought it should. I stepped out of CM academia and spent a lot of time with “folk practitioners” and cultivators. There are a lot of hidden gems in China though living there and speaking/reading the language was definitely required. Through this, I discovered I could feel and sense the Qi in the channels and eventually began to get a sense of the Qi field of my patients. I learned to manipulate these with herbs and acupuncture to help my patients return to health. After returning to North America, I started taking courses in Japanese acupuncture, notably Kiiko Matsumoto style and further developed my diagnostics using the abdomen. I also began to explore sound healing and gemstone therapy all of which I now happily combine in clinic.

The study of CM is endless, it’s a puzzle I am determined to crack. My most recent course in CM (October of 2019) was with Qiological, Toby Daley and the Introduction to Sa’am Acupuncture course. Blew my mind and expanded my understanding of CM yet again. Yes!

For students of CM medicine, learn to understand the classic texts. Mostly, they don't say what you think they do. If possible, learn some written Chinese. Find some way to gain an understanding of the principles of abstraction and an opening into the abstract/integrative/creative mind. Once this opens up, it can re-integrate with the theories proposed by the rational mind and open up a whole new world of understanding. Cultivation, especially meditation and Chinese energy work — Tai Chi, Qigong — also support this way of thinking. Get out into nature and steep yourself in its presence. Nature and our mindful interaction with her was our first classroom. Most of all participate in your life and be happy. This is the medicine of the Heart whose medium is joy. When there is a quiet joy to what you are doing, it reveals a truth and integrity of being.

 

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Links and Resources:

Here is a link to the Tidal Flow clock that we discuss in this episode.

 

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Categories
Acupuncture

Attending to the Field of Healing • Esther Platner • Qi124

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There is something about connection that goes beyond words. There is a way of engaging with those who seek our help that goes beyond the ten questions. Connection is not something we do, it’s a way we are.

In this conversation with long time practitioner Esther Platner we explore the spaces that don’t quite fit into words. Tread into territories without maps. And sit for a bit with the curiosities and surprise that arise in clinic when we attend with an open awareness.

Beyond our theory, and beyond understanding there is a way we can meet our patients with a wide-open sense of inquiry that asks us to bring everything we have, and leave behind our preconceptions. Chinese medicine has its scholarly tradition, but we don’t so often hear from the poetic.

Here’s your opportunity.

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In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • Zero Field Theory
  • Landing on what’s true
  • A field is a region of influence
  • Sympathetic flight and flight lands us squarely in manifest reality
  • Recognizing outdate adaptations is the first step in releasing them
  • One way to strengthen and lengthen telomeres
  • Attachment is not helpful
  • Defining Health
  • How can I help today?
  • Grounding and practitioner fulcrums
  • Some words for new practitioners

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 Follow the scent of what sparks your Interest and Joy. Practice Presence. Along side the infinite study of our Medicine, is the necessity to cultivate deep listening from stillness.


Esther Plater, L.Ac
The calling to enter the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine came my way in 1982 as a result of being catapulted out of a professional dance career, due to a severe injury and even worse surgery.  What appeared to be a devastating blow was in fact the gift that directed my attention towards seeking help through acupuncture. During nine months of treatment not only did my body find a newly elevated equilibrium, my mind became enthralled with the natural beauty of this medicine and my spirit was reignited, recognizing that this was to be my path.

I graduated from ACTCM in San Francisco in 1986. Once licensed I zoomed into practicing and learning, which continues to this day.  Thirty three years down the road, my awe and appreciation for the depth, brilliance and mystery of our medicine continues to grow. Learning to be a Quantum Physician is an ongoing adventure! Currently I have an eclectic approach to treatment.

My central focus is assisting those whom I have the opportunity to work with in returning to their Essential Selves.  There are a number of windows of study that have become mainstays in my tool box including; SAAM, various Japanese styles, Worsley, Classical 5 Element, Cranial Sacral, Somatic Experiencing, and Nutritional counseling. What happens in the treatment room is a synthesis guided by the current need of each person, allowing for the creative process to unfold in the alchemy of presence.

At this juncture what I love the most about our medicine is that it is alive, informing us in all aspects of life, laying the foundation for living harmoniously whether working or drinking a cup of tea. It permeates my awareness that indeed, “everything is everything.”

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Links and Resources

We talked about the work of Lynne McTaggart.

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

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Share this podcast with your friends!

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Categories
Qiologician Podcasts

Practical Cosmology • Deborah Woolf

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In the study of acupuncture we learn about the Five Phases, the Six Conformations, all kinds of relationships involving three, and the pattern differentiation of illness. You could say we learn about the “user interface” of Chinese medicine, but we don’t much study the underlying mechanics. Much in the same way we use powerful computers without knowing a line of code.

In this conversation we touch a bit on the underlying code we are tinkering with when we work in clinic.

It’s not often that a mathematician turns to acupuncture, but when she does, you can be assured she will be looking for First Principles to explain all those aphorisms and empirical observations we all learn along the way.

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In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • Just because something is confusing, it does not mean it should not be taught
  • Health is when the organs resonate properly with each other
  • Looking at the four gates from a heavenly stems perspective
  • Stems relate to heaven and space, Branches are the seasonal relationships
  • A Stems and Branches view of the Saam counterbalances
  • The Five Phases without the influence of the Six
  • Conformations leaves out the possibility of transformation
  • It’s easier to create change in the body when you call on points that generate dynamic movement
  • With the Saam counter-balances we are working across both phase and conformation, it really stirs things up
  • Looking at the four duo-grams to understand how humans reflect nature
  • Each third of the Chinese qi flow clock is a complete circuit that relates to heaven, earth and human
  • The importance of first principles
  • Pre and post heaven trigrams
  • The importance of knowing your frame and working within it
  • The lack of confidence is a useful challenge

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I am crazy keen acupuncturist and super enthusiastic lecturer, who, by chance, have discovered and loved the cosmology and numerology inherent in Chinese Philosophy and Medicine.

I was lucky to start studying (10 years after I know I wanted to be an acuouncturist) at the UK college that teaches the most philosophy and theory, based on Five Phases, wuxing 五行, and Stems and Branches, wuyun liuqi 五運六氣. My course was a 5 year long extravaganza, and I came out the other side, exhausted, changed and driven. Since then (20 years ago) I have not stopped treating, teaching and studying: these three activities interact fruitfully with each other, allowing me to deepen my understanding and practice of this amazing approach to health, the body and the cosmos.

As I am the daughter of academics I took waht I was taught and read around the subjects, so that I was able to immerse myself more fully in ancient Chinese culture. I have followed Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallee for 25 years, and have studied classical Chinese for at least 15 years. I may not be able to ask for soup, but I can make a stab at translating very obscure classical Chinese texts! This immersion and reading and teaching has allowed me to apply my ‘apprentice' style learning to my practice. I thoroughly appreciate and love what I do and am grateful daily for the opportunity to learn more and more and so be able to help my patients even more!

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Links and Resources:

Image of the duo-grams that Deborah talks about in this conversation

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Categories
Acupuncture Cultivation

Qi Anatomy • Brenda Hood • Qi116

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The way we make sense of structure helps us to understand function. Drawing lines and divisions helps us to understand parts. But a keen understanding of the parts does not always help us to see the whole of the functioning of those parts.

The anatomy of qi gives us a kind of bi-ocular view of function and form. It helps us to understand a system, even as we are part of that system. And it invites our western minds, which have been cultivated on carving the world into pieces, to glimpse the unity of those parts.

Listen in to this conversation on qi anatomy, Daoism and the influences of pre and post heaven influences.

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In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • The elegance of channel interactions in Saam Acupuncture
  • Micro system don’t work on channel theory, they work on resonance
  • There are channels, but there are also “fields”
  • The rational mind does not see integration, it sees divisions
  • Non-rational is not the same irrational
  • Thoughts on the pulse
  • Blood is expansive, Qi is containing, using SP6 to expand the blood pulse
  • Cultivating the non-rational
  • Pre and Post Heaven micro-cosmic orbits
  • What set Brenda off on the path of Chinese medicine
  • The rift between academic and folk Chinese medicine
  • Qi anatomy
  • Daoist practices to reactivate pre-heaven influences in the body
  • Be careful not to take the opinions of experts as truth
  • Discovering the empty space between words
  • Staying present with the discomfort of having things not go the way you expect in clinic
  • The way the Classics speak to us in different ways as we deepen our experience

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Use acupressure and the pulse to determine if a particular acupuncture point will be useful in a given treatment.
For example: as the right pulse reflects Qi and the left pulse reflects Blood; determine if one side is:
1. Stronger than the other (in which case draining/dispersing is called for) or
2. One side is weaker than the other (in which case, tonification/supplementation is required)

If you finder that the left pulse is weaker than the right, start by using acupressure on SP 6; if it strengthens the left pulse, use a needle to tonify the point bilaterally.

If SP 6 doesn’t strengthen the pulse, check SP 10; if that doesn’t work, check Sea of Blood points in the following order, ST 37, ST 39, and UB 11.

Just balancing the pulse left and right can be a treatment in and of itself; patients find it extremely relaxing and usually fall asleep.


Brenda Hood Ph.D, L.Ac
I was born and raised in Peace River, Canada. Then wound up going to China to study Chinese medicine after I became disillusioned with a degree in psychology. I spent over twenty years there being completely enamored with the medicine and acquiring a few degrees. After returning to North America spent some years teaching Foundations of CM and other basic courses at NUNM. I’m back up in Canada now working on a foundations book to explain the energetic and philosophical bases of the medicine with an eye to using the classics and historical texts as my sources.

Clinically, I started out using the TCM system, but I couldn’t really get it to work like I thought it should. I stepped out of CM academia and spent a lot of time with “folk practitioners” and cultivators. There are a lot of hidden gems in China though living there and speaking/reading the language was definitely required. Through this, I discovered I could feel and sense the Qi in the channels and eventually began to get a sense of the Qi field of my patients. I learned to manipulate these with herbs and acupuncture to help my patients return to health. After returning to North America, I started taking courses in Japanese acupuncture, notably Kiiko Matsumoto style and further developed my diagnostics using the abdomen. I also began to explore sound healing and gemstone therapy all of which I now happily combine in clinic.

The study of CM is endless, it’s a puzzle I am determined to crack. My most recent course in CM (October of 2019) was with Qiological, Toby Daly and the Introduction to Sa’am Acupuncture course. Blew my mind and expanded my understanding of CM yet again. Yes!

For students of CM medicine, learn to understand the classic texts. Mostly, they don't say what you think they do. If possible, learn some written Chinese. Find some way to gain an understanding of the principles of abstraction and an opening into the abstract/integrative/creative mind. Once this opens up, it can re-integrate with the theories proposed by the rational mind and open up a whole new world of understanding. Cultivation, especially meditation and Chinese energy work — Tai Chi, Qigong — also support this way of thinking. Get out into nature and steep yourself in its presence. Nature and our mindful interaction with her was our first classroom. Most of all participate in your life and be happy. This is the medicine of the Heart whose medium is joy. When there is a quiet joy to what you are doing, it reveals a truth and integrity of being.

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Links and Resources

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