Is it a Fairy Tale?

The conceptual model of physical “reality” articulated by modern scientific medicine is powerful and compelling. It appeals to our naïve experience of living in, and learning to manipulate, a mechanistic physical world that submits to our control according to fixed “laws of nature.” The ideas of scientific medicine are deeply satisfying to many, especially relative to their fear of suffering and/or untimely demise. Yet, we KNOW from our experience that the universe is not entirely physical and mechanistic, especially the universe of human experience. [My essay on the Sengai Scroll discusses the limitations of physical models of “reality” relative to the clinical practice of Chinese medicine.]

Each individual is a complex transducer between physical and spiritual “realities.” Physical and spiritual factors influence each other in myriad ways. The study of that relationship lay at the core of the classic text Lingshu (The Spiritual Pivot); the title refers to the deepest link between an individuated spirit and its physical embodiment. Lingshu and Suwen (Simple Questions) together comprise the fundamental Chinese medical classic Neijing (Inner Classic). My practice of Chinese medicine and the story of healing discussed on this site are primarily based on Neijing, as I’ve learned the key principles from Jeffrey Yuen.

I find the story inspired by my practice of classical Chinese medicine compelling, even when it differs dramatically from the more widely held scientific story about the “physical realities” of life. Yet, I’m also clear that it’s just my STORY.

From my classical Chinese perspective, modern (western) medicine focuses on:

  • descriptions of the physical nature of disease
  • the search for the proximal and precipitating cause
  • dramatic rescues through (externally) controlling a “broken” body

In contrast, classical Chinese medicine focuses on:

  • descriptions of the individual’s experience of disease
  • the search for multiple contributing causes, both external and internal
  • finding ways to stimulate and facilitate the embodied spirit to realize its natural potential to heal

The CCM Story, based on the Neijing (Inner Classic), Consists of a Few Key Principles:

  • The apparent decline of aging is due to accumulations that block the free expression of an individual’s vitality.
  • Those accumulations primarily consist of external and internal pathogenic factors, which have been suspended and stored in the body:
    • External pathogenic factors arise from the individual’s failure to adapt and effectively respond to changes presented by the environment. Neijing refers to this as “perverse wind.”
    • Internal pathogenic factors consist of the individual’s failure to resolve emotional conflicts.
  • Unresolved pathogenic factors stagnate, and thereby impede the free flow of vital physiological function (qi) and blood.
  • When the embodied spirit is no longer willing or able to suspend unresolved pathogenic factors, they are overtly expressed in symptoms or signs of disease.
  • True healing comes from the inside, and is available to ANYONE (regardless of disease manifestation) who resolves previously suspended pathogenic factors. That resolution generally involves both transformation and release or expulsion of previously accumulated pathogenic factors.
  • Suppressing or controlling the embodied spirit’s expression of distress doesn’t facilitate healing; those efforts simply displace distress from one place to another.

Which story is true and which is a fairy tale, intended to keep one’s inner child from being frightened in the middle of the night? Who among us knows for sure? While we’re discerning the truth among these stories, I’ll keep sharing mine on this site — its different and hopeful, by asking individuals to take responsibility (physiologically) for their lives. I believe that a free exchange of ideas will help us find truth.



  1. Hey Steve,
    Many thanks for the D/D Seminar in Albuquerque, NM, I'm in awe of your years of detective work thus far decoding the, “dance of the Embodied Spirit”, and wish you great success on your budding teaching path!

    I can't help but start exploring this Channel D/D with my patients. Do you consider using the 'looping method' a viable way to drain a Primary Channel? Case Study example:
    left sided knee pain. Using Pulse feedback I determined that the GB channel Jing-Well and Shu-Stream points on the RIGHT balanced the pulse picture the most. The patients pain wasn't active so I couldn't use that as a feedback method; so I used the pulses.
    Then I used the Painful side as the 'Jing' side needling on the GB and LR channels locally and added source points/He-Sea Points. I used Ren 2 & 3 as midline points – 'the bridge'. Then used the right side as the Wei-Qi side. Using the Jing-Well, Shu-Steam, and Sourse points on the GB channel, Plus some sinew channel binding areas on the right, plus Liver 5 (Luo-Pt) as a way to address 'bringing over the stagnation on the left to the right' so it could be released.

    Thanks! Safe Travels to your Homeland! Cheers!

    PS I forgot my login info, and didn't save it in my usual locale for such info. How can I retrieve it?

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