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

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

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Categories
Acupuncture

Rhythm and Motion: The Magic of Bamboo Moxa • Oran Kivity • Qi106

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The characters for acupuncture in Chinese, 針灸zhen jiu, literally translate as needle and moxa.

You surely were introduced to the cigar-like pole moxa and large cones of smoldering mugwort on slices of ginger or aconite in acupuncture school. Perhaps you also were exposed to the Japanese rice grain moxa techniques or burning balls of moxa on the head of needle. Not surprising there are a variety of forms of using Ai Ye to bring a kind of simulative heat into the body.

In this conversation we explore the use of moxa that is combined with touch, rhythm, warmth, and with an eye to the channel dynamics that Yoshio Manaka, one of the great masters of the 20th century, wrote about in Chasing the Dragon’s Tail.

Even if you don’t use much moxa in your clinical, you’ll find this percussive bamboo method goes beyond the simple induction of heat into the body. And indeed can be used in a variety of contexts where you’d usually employ a needle, but in this case, it’s motion, rhythm and moxa.

Listen in to this conversation that will have you looking at moxibustion in a whole new way.

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In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • What drew Oran to moxa
  • Moxa with rhythm
  • Old school acupuncture point tapping from 16th century Japan
  • Manaka and frequencies of the body
  • Treating a troublesome trapezius
  • All this takes is a hollow bamboo tube and wakakusa moxa
  • The Ontake Channel on YouTube
  • Dr. Manaka’s legacy in the west
  • Consider the (zi wu) Chinese clock
  • Ontake works well with Balance Method correspondences
  • Four channels sets
  • Following the line of least resistance
  • Using beats per minute to treat different meridian
  • Book, YouTube and classes

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Next time you have a patient or family member with a sore throat, try this neat piece of mirroring. Turn them over and warm up the midline on the sacrum. If you don’t have Ontake, use a moxa stick and keep pressing the heat in with your left hand. If you have a metronome, sparrow peck at 104 beats per minute. Keep going for a few minutes till the sacrum feels nice and warm. Then ask them how they feel!


Oran Kivity, L.Ac

I’m a British acupuncturist living and working in Malaysia. I graduated from a TCM college in the UK in 1987 but after about ten years I retrained in Japanese acupuncture methods, namely Manaka-Style Acupuncture and later, Toyohari. Dr Manaka’s work introduced me to ideas about meridian frequencies and studying with the blind acupuncture teachers of the Toyohari Association opened my eyes (and hands) to the information stream from channel palpation.

In 2009 I got introduced to a very simple moxibustion tool in Japan, a piece of bamboo stuffed with moxa, and this triggered a Eureka moment, integrating all my previous disparate learnings and setting me on the path to become that Ontake guy, balancing channels with meridian frequency moxibustion.

Japanese acupuncture is usually very light, meaning treatment is minimal and palpation is soft. I take this lightness literally. While it’s important to be present when people are in pain, it’s also important to be make sessions fun, where appropriate. This is also true of teaching. People should enjoy what they learn and enjoy what they teach. I’ve had thirty years of fun practising acupuncture. I’m looking forward to thirty more.

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It's not a microsystem, it's the macrosystem

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Links and Resources

Visit the Ontake Channel on YouTube for some video lesson on using this warm bamboo moxa method

Oran, Brenda Loew, Stephen Birch and Junji Mizutani discuss Japanese acupuncture and moxibustion

Visit the Ontake Facebook group for more discussion on this gentle and effective method of treatment

Oran's book Moxa in Motion is available on the big river of books in both kindle and paperback formats

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

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Timeless Classics of Chinese Medicine

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Categories
Acupuncture

Resonance and Vibration • Mary Elizabeth Wakefield & MichelAngelo • Qi103

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Resonance, 感應 gan ying, is an aspect of Chinese philosophy that runs through many aspects of our medicine.

We see resonance as we look through the unfolding of life through the five phases. The way we see east, spring, liver, green, beginnings and wood as having shared energies; the way they resonant the phase of wood.

We see it in the how the six conformations express health or illness through five phase relations that are emblematic of each side of the conformation. The way Tai Yang can express with the cold of the Urinary Bladder, or the heat of the Small Intestine. The way Shao Yang Gall Bladder and San Jiao tend to go outwards, while the Jue Yin aspects of Liver and Pericardium move inward.

Resonance is built into how we work. And in this conversation we explore how resonant nature of music and vibration can be used in our clinical practice. Along with a look at the kind of knowing that arises when you have the ability to cozy up to irrationality.

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In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • How Mary Elizabeth got from opera to acupuncture
  • Singing as a powerful way to move the qi of the entire body
  • Art and Science as being complimentary aspects of perception
  • Getting cozy with irrationality
  • The Chiron tuning fork
  • Presence, listening and receptivity are key to operating in clinic
  • Using the corpus colusum to balance the two hemispheres of the brain
  • Attending to the sound of the tuning forks as both treatment and diagnosis
  • Technology as a reliable but unimaginative way to offload certain aspects of our mental capacity, and how it
    reshapes the student-teacher relationship
  • Inviting not being right
  • Sometimes when things seem to go really wrong, keep going
  • Buckle up if transformation is on the menu
  • Presence to another in the midst of change is rooted in our own cultivation and healing
  • The perspectives of R.D Lange and Stanislav Groff on breakdowns and break throughs
  • Rites of Passage and transformation
  • Our society does not allow women to age in the same way as men
  • The unfolding of live under the influence of planetary influences is going to at times bring transition and transformation

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As a child who grew up in the Midwest with severe asthma, I am always conscious of breath, and consequently make sure that my patients breathe from their Dantien. This takes them out of their heads and into their bodies, and the present moment, which is magically healing and transformative.
I have discovered that, when needle-phobic patients make a non-verbal sound (like Ah!, etc.) and I insert the needle on their exhale, they access their right, non-linear, creative brain, and hypervigilance is alleviated. Do try it; it works!


I am Mary Elizabeth Wakefield, L. Ac., M. S., M. M., and I have authored two books to date, Constitutional Facial Acupuncture (Elsevier UK, 2014), which introduces the reader to facial and constitutional treatments, and, more importantly, highights the transformational aspect of facial acupuncture. This focus permits the individual to seek after “true” beauty, which is un-selfconscious, and reflects the most profound depths of the soul.

My second, more recent, book, Vibrational Acupuncture™: Integrating Tuning Forks with Needles, to be published by Singing Dragon UK in March 2020, has been co-authored with my life partner and colleague, MichelAngelo. This book is our “love child,” and, for me, it is enriched by the experiences and understanding that I gained during my musical life and background as a professional operatic soprano and flutist.
I have learned that every season of life is rich with significance, and the promise of rebirth. Every step of the journey is an adventure which challenges me to be present, vital and grateful for the gift of life!!

An opera singer, classical composer, pianist, astrologer, healer, diviner and writer, MichelAngelo will appear as a presenter at the 30th Institute of Vedic Astrology conference in Kolkata, INDIA in December 2020, where his topic will be “A Western Astrological Model of the Eight Extraordinary Meridians of Chinese Medicine for Diagnosis and Treatment”.
 
In spring 2019, he published a book containing some of his original astrological essays, entitled Random Ramblings of an Astrological Autodidact, in both paperback and e-book format.  A second volume, Miscellaneous Maunderings about the Starry Sky, is already in the works.  He also co-authored the book, Vibrational Acupuncture, with Mary Elizabeth Wakefield, L. Ac., M. S., M. M., internationally acclaimed expert in facial acupuncture, which was published in March 2020.
 
MichelAngelo’s article, “The King is Dead”, a medical astrological analysis of Elvis Presley’s birth chart from both a Western and Chinese medical perspective, appeared in Oriental Medicine Journal, along with several other articles.

 

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Tapping The Power of The Five Phases & Six Conformations

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Links and Resources

You can find Mary Elizabeth's book Constitutional Facial Acupuncture over on the big river of books.

 

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