San Diego Channel Series Begins


Thank you all for coming, and contributing to the start of what I hope will be a great series! Enjoy working with the ideas we discussed, and post questions and comments relative to the Sunday seminar — the first day on the primary channels — after this posting. I’ll respond to some of them online through this blog, and others I’ll address next time we meet. We still have another day on the primary channels. Can you believe it? I’m hoping to learn some more names, so we’ll be able to have more “connected” communications in this forum.

I’m particularly interested in hearing ideas on how you believe this series will work best for you. I have a lot of ideas to discuss during the second day on the primary channels, and can certainly make some room for responding to your questions. Have a good time experimenting with “pulse feedback,” and using that process to better understand how to read the specific struggles of the embodied spirit.

Grace: I’m sorry I wasn’t able to complete the communication with you after reading your pulse. Staying completely present with that during breaks is a little challenging, as I have other things on your mind. I do have some thoughts (which I won’t share in this forum — probably with just the class, but not on the internet), and you may end up as a workshop “demonstration model” for the second weekend.

Desiree: It’s entirely possible that you could be a demo case for the third weekend.

I’m open to discussing. Who wants to start?



  1. OK Steve, I guess I'll be the first to comment. Thanks SO much for coming down to SD this weekend and for your generosity with us. It was thrilling to take a seminar that discussed medicine and philosphy – b/c let's face it, this is why many of us went into oriental medicine in the first place, and much of that had to be sacrificed in favor of memorizing points and herbs. Feel free to expand upon any and all references to the daoist texts particularly in terms of psychological fitness, e.g. reclaiming your own projections, etc. since these aspects are not covered in grad school at all, and seldom addressed even in the conventional therapeutic process, and let's face it… The psych part is a deeply challanging part of private practice. If we are not clear, if we project onto our patients, then we will often see clincal signs that are not even there…. I look forward to how much we are going to grow as practitioners and itinerate philosphers this year…

    • You’re welcome Jennifer, and thank you for your enthusiasm. I enjoyed sharing these teachings on the channel systems with such an open and attentive group. The issue of projection is certainly an important one, and is specifically a core topic of the third weekend of the series on the channel distinctions and divergences.

  2. Hi Steve! I'm sorry I didn't see your comment about me until just now. I do appreciate your taking the time out during class to read my pulse and give me your assessment. I have always thought that the Chinese medicine we learn in school is so devoid of the spiritual aspect and it's a wonderful opportunity to be able to learn more about this side of the medicine. Especially challenging for me has been knowing how to apply this spiritual side into practice, and of course it goes without saying that the first step is to understand the self. I am definitely looking forward to the next series!

    • Hi Grace. No problem about not seeing the earlier posting. Email me if you’d like to hear some more of my impressions on your pulses, or we could just wait until the end of March. I’m glad you enjoyed the first weekend of the series. It seems from your comment that you’ve been looking for something like the Lingshu approach to acupuncture that I’m sharing with interested members of our profession.

  3. Hi Steve,

    Thanks again for another action packed weekend with a lot of information, annd in such a rich format. I had some questions about the Divergent channel treatments that we started working with this weekend that we didn't really go over, both about the gua sha and the needling itself.
    1) In terms of an emotional release following the gua sha over the zonal divergences, several patient have reported irritability which presides any type of emotional release, e.g. by 12-20 hours. This was for the tai yang treatment region. You mentioned that any type of emotional release would generally be reflective of the type of channel and usually matches the classic emotional associated with the channel. Is the irritability normal or simply a coincidence, and is there usually a delay like that?
    2) My other question has to do with frequency of treatment and also how many treatments would we expect to see changes for the patients. I have a good feel for prognosis with primary and sinew type channels, but am flying blind when it comes to advising patients about how long we expect this to take. Many thanks, looking forward to more, Jennifer

  4. Hi Jennifer et. al.,

    I'm sorry about my delay in posting this response. I wrote a really good one, which disappeared into "cyber purgatory" when I tried to post it. I didn't have time to rewrite it until this morning, and copied it so it wouldn't be lost when I was informed that my session had expired. I've learned that the system is set up for such extensive and carefully thought out responses should be new postings (because "comment sessions" expire).

    Your first question goes to the issue of how guasha works. It stimulates the patient's wei qi to:
    1. raise the sha (sedimentations), which are blood/fluid stagnations that have been allowed to settle into the flesh and accumulate (in the channel divergences)
    2. stimulate the breaking up of deeply habituated patterns of wei qi activation, which are stored in (and projected by) the channel distinctions onto all of an individual's experiences.
    The somatic results of guasha a clearly visible in the apparent sha. The emotional/spiritual impacts are just as profound, though they are also influenced by the individual's previous process of suspending and storing unresolved emotional conflicts (IPF's). Sometimes the individual experiences no emotional impacts from guasha, because sometimes the sha had been formed by suspending external pathogenic factors, so the apparent blood stagnation has been holding EPF's rather than IPF's.

    Raising sha that had contained unresolved IPF's brings them "out of the closet" into the flow of wei qi, where they are engaged by one's present flow of wei qi. Whatever stagnations they have somatized are now "charged" by the individual's current qi, yet that process cannot force the spirit to be aware. Individuals express whatever degree of resistance (generally somatized as dampness) they have toward conscious awareness of their deep emotional and/or spiritual conflicts.

    People often feel irritability when there is a build up of "pressure" in their IPF's, but not sufficient conscious awareness to specifically identify them. While the process of raising sha (and the IPF's contained in them) is initiated by guasha, there is still a process to work through. In cases with a delay of more than a few hours (most often individuals are aware of irritability by the next morning), I'd look for dampness impeding that movement.

    While wei qi moves/changes immediately, when we treat the channel distinctions/divergences (aka divergent channels), we are treating deeply habituated wei qi activation patterns rather than simply wei qi (as in treating the sinews). That imparts a "snow ball rolling down the hill" quality to many treatments. While many of the patients with musculo-skeletal pain that I've treated over years with these channels have gotten off the table feeling substantially better, some patients have said the effects of such treatments build over several days. One regularly says that the fourth day is the strongest.

    I often tell patients that treatments stimulate their embodied spirits to move (and hopefully release blocks), rather that blocking the expression of symptoms. I encourage them to just watch what happens, and that whatever happens we can learn more about the specific nature of how their embodied spirits are struggling with life. I enlist them in helping me gather data to refine my understanding of their struggles, including asking them to observe what comes out of their bodies, as a way to supplement my efforts to learn pulse-reading. I guess I can get away with what some might consider a "non-prognosis" because of my reputation as a "bulldog" who won't let go, until I figure out a case. See you next month,


  5. charles77777 says:

    Hi Steve,

    I am not sure this is an applicable patient, but I am trying to research before seeing him for the first time. The patient is a young kid age 11 with Tourettes syndrome. His 'tics" happen all the time, but I don't know what activates them, probably stress amongst other things. Without knowing anymore do you think the luo vessal seven star hammer treatment of the yang ming is something to think about?

    • Thanks for the question, Charles. Of course, such queeries are very challenging to respond to with any definitive answers, though I can make a few comments here. Perhaps we can talk about it more during the last day of the series, which will focus more specifically how to integrate the info we discussed in the series in clinical practice. I suspect that Tourettes syndrome is more a matter of wei qi uncontrollably floating out (with less of a ying qi component) than is typical of fullness of the yangming luo. I don't particularly see that condition as a mild form of "madness," as can be treated with the stomach luo, but more as an uncontrollable expression of wind caused by inability to contain wei qi. Yet, that expression of wind is very deeply embedded, so I'm thinking it important to evaluate this patient's extraordinary vessels that regulate the expression of yang, especially yangwei. We'll discuss that topic in a few weeks, during the last weekend of this series. There are also several channel divergences that I'd consider evaluating more carefully from that syndrome presentation, especially the third and fourth, though also possibly others.


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