Teaching Neijing Acupuncture

Nearly six years ago, I was ask to develop a short series of seminars to introduce the five systems of channels and vessels of acupuncture. I tried in good faith to organize such a series, and the plan ended up including eighteen weekends, most of which were conceived as three day meetings. My continuing education contact at Golden Flower, John, chuckled and noted that I wasn’t known well enough to attract people for such a long series. He concluded, “I wasn’t looking for the ‘master series,’ I just want an introduction.”

I looked back with a firm gaze and said, “Eighteen weekends IS the Introduction; you must want the Cliff’s Notes for the Introduction.”

John’s smile faded to reveal determination, “we can package and enroll a few weekends; just keep it down to a few.”

So, I set about writing a SHORT series to organize and convey the fundamental theory and some key clinical practices for using the five systems of channels and vessels. The result was a four weekend series, which eventually grew to five. I taught that series three times (2010-12), and prepared handouts that grew to nearly two hundred pages. I shared a huge amount of information, including instruction and guidance on using it. It was a massive undertaking, and it turned out to be far too much. By the end of my third time through the series (2012 in Santa Cruz), my participation in the usual information-based approach to teaching acupuncture felt a bit like putting a fire hose into the mouths of participants and turning it on, while inviting them to drink. Although I had tried to fulfill what I’d been asked to do, I finally realized there was a fundamental flaw; I’d allowed the direction of my teaching to be focused by the wrong question. I needed to find the right question(s).

Had I been among a select group of literate Chinese doctors more than thousand years ago facing such a challenge, I would simply have turned to Nèijīng for inspiration. While the texts of Nèijīng are now readily available for purchase, they are certainly not easy to study. My path has necessarily included study of classical Chinese, which is difficult, even for native speakers of the modern language, which I am not. Yet, I’ve worked with experts in classical Chinese who have helped me explore the language of these challenging texts, which were originally conceived only as companions to the oral transmission of teachings. How can one hope to understand them without receiving such practical teachings?

This apparently separate stream of work delving into Nèijīng during the past few years coincided with this quest for clarity around my teaching. I’ve been eyeball deep in various chapters from Nèijīng, both Língshū (which was long known as “Acupuncture Classic”) and Sùwèn, including its classical language and writing style. I’ve considered layers of connotation implied in Nèijīng, reflected on my experience, and frequently recalled seemingly random comments from a couple hundred weekends of classes with Jeffrey Yuen, during more than twenty years. In my search for the right question(s) about acupuncture, and I’ve been particularly inspired by ‘unpacking’ the first chapter of Língshū.

My confluence of many years of experience using lineage-based acupuncture teachings with study of the texts has begun to bear fruit. My experience with methods like the 鑱 (chán, chisel) needle technique from my lineage allows me to understand the frequently vague and suggestive language of the Classic differently from sinologists, even though I depend on them to help me understand the meanings of the characters, grammar and syntax. I believe my sensibilities as a practitioner will allow me to share topics from the classical language of Nèijīng particularly well for practitioners. This seminar grounds study of Nèijīng in experience, by sharing the chán needling technique, which simulates the first needle of Nèijīng, at the beginning of the weekend. We will learn about at least two implied hierarchies of needling, when the ‘small needles’ are introduced in the first chapter of Língshū. Do they remain important: why or why not?

Practicing the chán needling method is a wonderful clinical exercise, which is fundamental to studying Nèijīng acupuncture. The chán is the first of the nine ‘small needles’ introduced in Nèijīng, so it is naturally the first to master. The first chapter of Língshū clearly suggests mastering the chán needle to communicate with the channels and vessels, before moving on to more sophisticated applications, such as attuning points to various functions, as we see taught in acupuncture texts throughout the past five hundred years. Yet, practitioners who begin with the chán needle can deepen their relationships with the entire art of acupuncture.

After participants have learned and experienced this exercise, we will see that much of the beginning of the first chapter of Língshū is a shockingly literal and accurate description of its key principles. Yet, this seminal chapter is not a clinical textbook; while it share standards and values, it does not provide a description of how to practice needling this way. Such instruction was considered the exclusive purview of personal transmission from a teacher. Instead, after a few brief remarks to inspire practitioners to greatness at the beginning of this chapter, its theory and thinking process grows complex. This immediate shift indicates we must be ready to pay careful attention and work diligently to uncover the many layers of meaning in Nèijīng.

While I recognize the value of reading Língshū 1 from the beginning, I don’t want to get bogged down with those complexities from the outset. So, we’ll just skip over a few lines this time, and come back to study Língshū 1 from beginning to end, after we’ve ‘unpacked’ the peculiar ideas and worldview of the Classic. This seemingly arbitrary choice to skip those lines is supported by a phrase in the first line of this chapter, which we will discuss during this initial weekend seminar. That phrase can be construed to tell us the key topics of the lines we’ll skip are beyond the beginner. My pedagogical choice appears to align with the texts’ own suggestion for study. The sequence of each day of the seminar is fundamental to the teaching strategy:

Reflect on the Art (術, shù) of Acupuncture, by asking some penetrating questions about our work as practitioners
Learn and experience a new way to do, and thus to understand, acupuncture
Discuss some carefully selected passages from Nèijīng, which are both accessible and clinically relevant

On Saturday afternoon of this seminar, we will see how the needling exercise we learned and practiced during the morning is described quite precisely in selected lines from the first half of Língshū 1. Sunday morning, we will palpate for temperature changes in the skin, and learn a needling technique from Língshū to release superficial cold. The clinical skills we will explore during this initial weekend seminar all focus on identifying and releasing blocks in wèi . Sunday afternoon we will look at some passages from Sùwèn 13 and Língshū 47, which relate to the morning’s clinical exercises and build upon the material we studied from Língshū 1 the prior afternoon.

We will see that the còulǐ (anatomically, the skin) is an amazingly rich terrain for acupuncture. It is MUCH more than just the initial painful stage of insertion, which we learned to penetrate as quickly and painlessly as possible. Indeed, many practitioners choose to avoid it almost entirely, by using insertion tubes with very fine needles. Might we instead learn something important about acupuncture and human life, by learning to work with wèi qì in the còulǐ?

Yet, I don’t blame members of our profession AT ALL for using insertion tubes. I understand the impulse to decrease the pain of needle insertion. We are not taught to work with wèi qì, and especially the còulǐ, when we learn to needle in acupuncture school. What other choice does a compassionate practitioner have, especially when many experience thin Japanese needles inserted with tubes working as well as the contemporary Chinese needling methods we learn? Typical contemporary needling practices, either with or without insertion tubes, skip the concentration of wèi qì at the còulǐ. This oversight is particularly tragic, because it is exactly where the first chapter of Língshū tells us to start!

Might some practitioners and students of acupuncture wish to begin cultivating the art of acupuncture as Língshū suggests? Does such focus generate a substantially different service from the modern Chinese acupuncture we have learned? In a very practical sense, learning to free up wèi qì can allow practitioners to make many of their treatments effective, without having to draw on yuán qì through deep needling with long retention.

I believe we will advance the profession, by going past single-minded focus on finding effective treatments to explore how they work. If a patient’s condition dictates that we elicit yuán qì to make his or her treatments work, doing so well is a wonderful gift. On the other hand, if we can learn to use wèi qì effectively, so we draw on yuán qì only when truly necessary, we will preserve that precious resource. The first chapter of Língshū (line 11.7, included among the handouts for this first seminar) instructs that our treatments will weaken the patient, if we needle very deeply before releasing blockages of wèi qì (with perverse ) to the outside.

Língshū clearly suggests a hierarchy for engaging a patient’s , and it starts with wèi. Alas, the commonly taught modern Chinese needling practice for needle insertion and 得氣 (déqì, achieving the ) fails to recognize the profound nature of this ‘layer’ of an individual’s life. This seminar might be understood simply as a remediation, which introduces this critical first stage of acupuncture. I believe this seminar represents a step forward for our profession, by seeking wisdom from its classical roots.

Rather than trying to organize and convey a lot of theory, most of which is rather different from what we learned in acupuncture school, we start this seminar exploring the practice itself. We will discuss fundamental topics, and then launch directly into the first clinical workshop:

What is acupuncture? What are we doing with needles?
What is 得氣 (déqì), and why is it important? Who feels it? How does it feel?

During this first weekend seminar, I will share about fifteen (15) pages of my renditions from Nèijīng, and we will discuss both the language and clinical application of the text. Most of the theory I’ve tried to teach in the past, derives from working with my lineage’s transmission of Nèijīng, and I now realize one must develop a relationship with it over time. I still use all of it, I’ve simply realized that I can’t lead with that STUFF. If I want to share my understanding of acupuncture, I need to start from the beginning — as a healing art, based on ‘playing with’ the  and eliciting its response.

Two Kinds of Scholarship

One challenge modern people face in studying classical Chinese medicine is recognizing, appreciating, and eventually participating in the peculiar nature of classical Chinese scholarship. While modern scholarship has contributed substantially to our understanding of Neijing (Inner Classic) by establishing the ‘provenance’ of the received texts, its value wanes substantially beyond that. Literary reading of classic texts like Neijing can only recognize a portion of their teachings, because they were designed as contemplation companions rather than textbooks.

The texts of NeijingSuwen (Simple Questions) and Lingshu (The Soul’s Pivot) were recorded approximately a thousand years before the advent of mechanical printing. When those texts were conceived and initially codified, a student could not simply buy them. They were only available to individuals who found a teacher that would convey their teachings and allow the seeker to copy the written texts by hand. They are not textbooks; rather, they are poetry intended to stimulate contemplation and creative problem solving. Specifically, nearly all chapters of Neijing are snippets of dialogue, which together present a conceptual tapestry of an approach to classical Chinese medicine.

The Written Texts of Classical Chinese Medicine are NOT their Entire Teachings!

As a student or practitioner contemplates his or her experience, he or she can find more meaning in the classical texts of Suwen and Lingshu. Of course, this is true for any profound text, either ancient or modern. However, in addition to finding multiple ‘levels’ of meaning in this relatively common way, the texts of Neijing have another process of encoding ‘secret teachings’ into their text through ambiguities and alternate reading of various passages. The language of these texts is subtle and beautiful, and most importantly poetic. The text invites contemplative reverie in one’s experience, both as an embodied spirit and as a practitioner who considers the trial and tribulations of many embodied spirits. The words can be translated, and one can tell a few stories to share A BIT of one’s experience, but the breadth of one’s experience cannot be shared in words. Each individual student of Neijing must grasp for oneself the ability to identify and work through its conundrums. Learning classical Chinese medicine is so much more than simply learning to differentiate the expression of distress into diagnostic categories.

Perhaps the greatest confusions concerning the meaning and import of classical Chinese medical texts arise from modern scholarship, which organizes and categorizes the information conveyed in the language of the texts. This ‘HAVING’ (in Chinese, 有 [yǒu]) of information gives the impression that one knows Chinese medicine, but it is divorced from practical knowledge of the material, so it fails to truly understand the texts. The texts of Neijing invite practitioners to cultivate a dynamic and responsive ‘NOT HAVING’ (無 [wú]) approach to practicing Chinese medicine. What the heck is that?

‘HAVING’ (有, Yǒu) and ‘NOT HAVING’ (無, ) in Chinese Medicine

Clinical doctrines of Chinese medicine contain bits of discrete information. We learn associations for a fairly large number of symptoms and diagnostic signs. Then, we learn that when a patient presents with a few of the key symptoms and signs of various “imbalances,” that person HAS that syndrome. Most often patients are identified with a few syndromes, and then a treatment strategy is determined. It is relatively easy to project the clinical associations of a clinical doctrine of Chinese medicine onto a patient, and that is only the first step of diagnosis. It is a 有 (yǒu, ‘having’) approach to medicine, and thus represents only the grossest of beginnings.

Classical Chinese thought, especially inspired by Daoist perspectives, was focused on 無 (, ‘not having’). Relative to medicine, that means keeping all the theory and information one knows IN THE BACK GROUND, while one is simply present with the patient — following the flow of life. The ‘goal’ of this process is NOT to attribute the patient to a group of symptom-sign complexes, but to identify his or her blocks in life. While that may just seem like ‘just language,’ these are profoundly different activities. 有 (yǒu, ‘having’) knowledge projects it onto phenomena which are then differentiated according to the categories of one’s knowledge. On the other hand, 無 (, ‘not having’) knowledge allows the symbolic imagery of Chinese medicine to be elicited by what one sees and feels in examining a patient, so one can make key differentiations to discern the flux of the individual patient’s life.

Clinical doctrines that differentiate the symptoms and signs of disease into diagnostic categories exhibit a 有 (yǒu, ‘having’) approach to Chinese medicine, which can only be partially correct. Well, that’s quite a claim! There are at least two good reasons for that claim:

  1. By nature, pathologies progress. While that MAY be simply a matter of accumulating more of some pathogenic factor that directly stagnates the intrinsic flow of , most often the embodied spirit reacts to change pathogenic factors in some way. The expression of most pathologies evolve, so how they present is often not their original nature.
  2. Symptoms and signs ARE NOT the direct expression of pathology; rather, they reflect the embodied spirit’s reaction to pathogenic factors the individual has failed to resolve. Manifest ‘imbalances’ arise from both the ‘underlying’ pathogenic factors, and how 衛氣 (wèi qì) has activating to defend the individual. Thus, treatments that manage manifest imbalances suppress the individual’s 衛氣 (wèi qì), while they try to resolve pathogenic factors.

When practitioners 有 (yǒu, ‘have’) a clinical doctrine to project onto their patients, they gain a sense of security and empowerment. Yet, they limit their inquiries into their patients’ suffering to how that doctrine understands various diseases. Differential diagnosis from the perspective of 有 (yǒu, ‘having’) a clinical doctrine generally assigns patients to various diagnostic categories, rather than identifying specific individual blocks leading to their manifest imbalances.

On the other hand, as they continue to study Chinese medicine, practitioners who are willing to 無 (, ‘not have’) their knowledge can begin to use their experience creatively to discern each individual patient’s blocks. What the heck does that mean?

A Prolegomena to ‘Not Knowing’ Chinese Medicine

All perceptions are accompanied by questions, and every conclusion inspires several more questions than it answers. One’s ‘knowledge’ does not grow from a secure basis; rather, it is an ongoing inquiry:

  • From where do these symptoms and signs (as the expression of distress) arise?
  • What is the dynamic process of the pathology, rather than simply ‘what is the nature of its expression’?
  • How can I ‘sort out’ the pathogenic factors from the embodied spirit’s reactions to them?
  • How can I stimulate and facilitate the embodied spirit’s intrinsic response to pathogenic stagnation, rather than suppressing or ‘harmonizing’ its expression?

Seek the ‘subtle,’ (hidden) dynamic within any expression, rather than simply describing its manifest nature. This is the way of 無 (, ‘not having’)-type Chinese Medicine, which probes into the magical possibilities for profound healing of the embodied spirit.



Picking Fights with Luminaries?

A few weeks ago, a friend wrote an email to me after reading my initial posting on studying Neijing in Chinese. He was concerned that I might undermine my attempt to educate our profession by ‘picking fights with luminaries,’ before I was ready to make my case. I assured him that I’ve done my ‘homework,’ and am ready to share and defend (if necessary) my beliefs about Chinese medicine. While it’s true that I haven’t translated the entire Neijing, I’ve done some of it carefully enough to clearly identify how those two classic texts of Chinese medicine ‘encode’ their most profound teachings. Some teachings are clearly available for anyone to read, while others are ‘hidden in plain sight’ by means of some ambiguity or alternate reading. These obscure ‘hidden teachings’ can be found by readers who had already received practical instruction in the teachings represented by the text, but are generally glossed over by other literate readers. While this suggestion may shock our modern egalitarian sensibilities, and challenge our understanding of scholarship, it is also consistent with academic work on the transmission of classical medical teachings.

Yet, I wonder if he’s right that many readers may perceive my points as ‘personal’ attacks, rather than well reasoned scholarly arguments. I’ve discussed two fine examples of this ‘encoding’ process in some detail in my blog — one in that first long essay, and the other in a shorter essay on the challenges of studying Neijing about a week later. I believe those two examples alone suggest our profession look more carefully at Neijing. Might there be more to the classics than most contemporary practitioners realize? Might the classics suggest a very different approach to Chinese medicine than our contemporary clinical doctrine based on differentiating patients into symptom-sign complexes of the 藏府 (zàngfǔ)? How might our sense of Chinese medicine grow and even transform through studying Neijing?

And, I wonder…who are these ‘luminaries,’ and why would their followers be polarized by my comments and questions? I don’t believe I’ve attacked anyone, though I’m aware others — with different points of view — may see it differently. I don’t believe I’m ‘attacking’ anything that illuminates, but rather clarifying confusions and misunderstandings. Since most practitioner’s don’t study classical Chinese sufficiently well to study Neijing themselves, they must use the work of others. Whose reading of the classics does one trust, and what characteristics does one look for in a translation?

Regarding the ‘luminaries’ my friend was so concerned I had attacked, I mentioned the work of only two individuals in that essay. However, I’ve also been reminded recently that many teachers of Chinese medicine, especially ones trained in China, are rather touchy about having their approach to Chinese medicine characterized as “the modern clinical doctrine,” rather their preferred name of “Traditional Chinese Medicine.” There is an unspoken assumption among many contemporary practitioners that understanding of Chinese medicine has improved over time, and that we should trust the Chinese to provide us the theory and practice of Chinese medicine. Most practitioners simply trust the translators of historical material who step forward, because doing this work themselves would require they master another substantial specialty in the language. There has generally been an emphasis on ‘practical’ information, which accentuates the huge volume of works generated since the advent of mechanical printing, and virtually no discussion of philosophical exploration of the classics of Chinese medicine. Aside from practical their interest, relatively modern texts are much easier to translate than the classics, especially Neijing.

On Paul Unschuld’s translations and scholarship on the Chinese medicine classics:

The most highly respected translations of two of the three primary classic texts of Chinese medicine (Suwen and Nanjing) were done by the academic specialist Paul Unschuld, who considers the aspiration to practice ‘classical Chinese medicine’ foolish. While he can read the texts, he considers them only historical artifacts, rather than inspiration for a living inquiry. He doesn’t understand the medicine, and failed to mention there is clear historical evidence that classical Chinese medical texts were intended only for students who were also receiving their practical teachings. While Unschuld’s translations certainly help me with some of the difficult grammar and usage, I think he gets some passages very wrong, and his lack of interest in the use of the material in the classics prevents him from accurately understanding their content.

Suwen and Lingshu are primarily brief snippets of dialogue intended to stimulate thought, rather than complete discussions of theory. They stimulate practitioners to deepen their understanding of Chinese medicine by fermenting their practical teachings and experience, rather than describing the theoretical framework or thinking process. While they contain much important information, they generally fail to describe how to integrate it into one’s thinking process and practical work. That was left to the practical instruction one received from a lineage, so why would one trust the conclusions of someone who has only a literary relationship with the texts?

Unschuld’s work on these classics should certainly be consulted, but it should not be trusted uncritically, especially by practitioners seeking inspiration from the classics. Learn from his superior understanding of the language, but leave conclusions about the content and import of the classics to people who know them through use. Neijing is unlike more modern texts, and especially ‘western’ texts and references. While it contains much information, its purpose is not primarily to organize a body of doctrine. Rather, it is philosophical poetry intended to stimulate thought, especially contemplation on one’s experience. In that regard, it is much like Dao De Jing or Yi Jing; while these slightly older classics consists of brief poems, the medical classic consists primarily of short exchanges of dialogue.

On Ed Neal’s work with Neijing:

Dr. Neal is a medical doctor, who became interested in acupuncture more than twenty years ago. He studied with an Italian doctor, who had trained with a Chinese doctor that practiced a ‘pre-TCM’ version of Chinese medicine. The Chinese doctor frequently referred to Neijing, and Dr. Neal’s mentor consequently did so as well. While Dr. Neal refers to his ‘Italian lineage,’ those references primarily recall the leisurely and congenial lifestyle he experienced during visits with his teacher. He declares quite clearly that his methodology for studying the text is based solely on reading, compiling, and organizing the information, then experimenting with applying what it seems to instruct. As he reads the text, he recognizes there are many questions that will require further research and experimentation, and he shared the results of one example of that experimentation. Dr. Neal proudly characterizes his work to restore interest in Neijing starts by reading the classic from scratch to start using its teachings.

To his credit, Dr. Neal clearly taught that acupuncture based on Neijing is much more about needling the proper channel(s), rather than needling points according to functions and indications that were articulated much later in Chinese medical history. Unfortunately, his knowledge of classical Chinese falls short of a well-trained academic, and his reading of the classic includes some fundamental errors. Two of these ‘fundamental errors’ involve his translation of the names of two ‘secondary vessels’ in chapters 10 and 11 of Lingshu. Those mistakes are ‘fundamental,’ because they lead to secondary errors in attributing information about these ‘secondary vessels’ from many other chapters. While Dr. Neal claims his unique names for those systems of channels and vessels are evidence of his rediscovering the classic, they are errors that introduce pervasive confusions into his teachings.

I agree that ‘modern’ Chinese medicine, since at least the Song Dynasty (960-1279), has moved a long way from its classical roots. We certainly have a lot of work to do in ‘rediscovering’ classical medicine, and I believe Dr. Neal’s methodology is fatally flawed. Beyond much of it being difficult to decipher, when Neijing was recorded the written text was understood to be a only companion for students who were receiving practical instruction in medicine. It provided ongoing stimulation and inspiration, by challenging the reader with many cognitive puzzles, which I’ve called ‘conundrums’ in other essays. Before the advent of mechanical printing, which allowed relatively broad distribution, the written texts were the source of ongoing inspiration that the student copied by hand and took with him (or her), after completing initial training with a teacher.

On other ‘luminaries’ of Chinese medicine:

I certainly don’t blame any particular individual for the sad state of contemporary acupuncture theory. The recent history of Chinese medicine has been tumultuous, and it has been profoundly impacted by modern ‘scientific’ thinking and worldview. I’m sure most acupuncture teachers are doing their best in this difficult situation; many seek out and find wonderful empirical acupuncture teachings such as those of many Japanese teachers or for instance Susan Johnson’s work with Master Tung’s lineage. None the less, I believe contemporary acupuncture education has severe systemic shortcomings, including its ‘professional’ focus with a strong emphasis on standardized and consistent information (that can be tested on licensing exams), rather than ‘academic’ focus that emphasizes students developing their critical thinking. Rich understanding of clinical Chinese medical relies on study of both Chinese ‘philosophy’ and the history of Chinese medicine, and especially through contemplating the meanings of various groups of symbolic images. It cannot be divined solely from organizing information in contemporary textbooks.

Yet, regardless of how wonderful or lacking one’s initial training may be, the depth of each individual’s understanding of Chinese medicine depends on both conceptual training and practical experience. Ideally, these two components ferment each other to deepen one’s relationship with Chinese medicine, and one learns throughout one’s entire career. The most important opportunity for profound learning occurs after a practitioner has five or ten, or even twenty or more years of experience — after one has a clear understanding of both the strengths and weakness of ‘textbook’ Chinese medicine. Yet, one of the key standards of our required continuing education is that the participant can apply what one learn over the weekend in the clinic on Monday. How can one hope to probe the depths of Chinese medicine, while fulfilling that standard?

Might it be time for a next generation of acupuncture education, based in study of Neijing and focused on stimulating participants to develop their Chinese medical thinking and problem solving?

It’s Great Having Acupuncture Students in the Series

… because students are SO studious, and want to be clear on the info. I think it was Sesame who showed me an illustration of the L.I. sinew channel that connected all the way to the upper thoracic spine. My comment at the time was that I use it all the way to the medial margin of the scapula, but was not really connecting it to the spine. A more complete answer is that it flows over the areas that either activate or restrict the yangming movement of the arm —  medial flexion over the chest with the arm extended. I’m now seeing that it can go further medial, but it does not connect directly to Dumai.

We plan and the Supreme Being Laughs

I realized shortly after the sinew release demo that I have to keep my hands on the demo model, just as I would with a patient. That’s what I get for using my hands to gesture when I present ideas. And, I’m not even Italian! Well, even my Jewish heritage has a fair amount of talking with one’s hands, so I guess I come by it honestly, so I’ll have to pay particular attention during clinical demos. It may work during the lecture, but definitely doesn’t while demonstrating those releases. Yet, it appeared that most of you were able to successfully use those sinew releases.

Some people (possibly including Desiree) will need channel divergence treatment rather than sinew treatments. Work with the sinews for now — both with the releases and needling approach we discussed, and see what you can do with them. That will prepare you well for the class on channel divergences in just less than three months!

I’m also glad Justin and Carrie encouraged me to do an actual demonstration of “chiseling” needle technique, rather than just explaining it and modeling the movement. I’d been a little concerned in the environment of the class it might be hard for demo models to feel the propagation of wei qi. So much for my thoughts… Practice that needling technique, and we’ll get into others in coming weekends. However, I must warn you. I’m not particularly focused on needling techniques — part of any technique is for the physical sensation in the patient, and part of their value is in focusing the practitioner’s intention. I’ll talk more about that during the second weekend.

I’m ready to discuss — to help you work with the sinews. Who wants to start?

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?