These Six Things are Circular Motions

In the previous post, we looked at how the Three Yīn and Three Yáng are described as great movements.  Like Russian Matryoshka dolls, we saw that these Six thing-a-ma-jigs are circular images within circular images.

Let’s now contemplate this a bit further.  I hope you are enjoying yourself as much as I am!

In Sùwèn Chapter 6, Treatise on the separation and unity of the Three Yang, after describing the placement of the Six in heaven and earth as well as in our bodies, Qi Bo states “Hence, this is the separation and unity of the Three Yang.”  The three Yáng are one Yang.  This is the unity. We divide them into three, Tàiyáng, Yángmíng, and Shàoyáng. This is the separation.  He then goes on to say that Tàiyáng opens, Yángmíng and Shàoyáng pivots.”  This description is followed by, “These three Jīng 經,  they must not lose each other.  They come together in a circular fashion, instead of floating away.  This is named the One Yáng.”

He is saying that we divide them into three but they are actually one circle.  What are these three divisions?  In this chapter, he tells us they are actions.  They are the actions of opening, closing, and pivoting.  These are movements he is talking about.  If we imagine a […]

What are These Six Things?

Translation of Chinese into English must be a conversation, not a conclusion.  This is something I learned from my friend Sabine Wilms.  Her book, Humming with Elephants, is a 340-page book on a single, short chapter five of the Huángdì Nèijīng which models this translation-as-conversation.  In this text, she discusses her word choices and the context of her word choices.  She also translates historic commentary on the lines in the chapter.  In this way, the text invites the reader into the contemplation of the text rather than just telling us what it means.  I love this!  A translation is a conversation between readers past and present and the text itself.

In this spirit, soon, Sabine and I will be offering a short, four-part class on Chapter 1 of the Huángdì Nèijīng Sùwèn. This class will be a live discussion between the two of us as well as with participants as a way to, not just translate the chapter, but to bring it alive for practitioners.  If all goes well, we will continue on in the text together.  This way, the text is illuminated through a conversation between the two of us and the text as well as between all of us and the text.  Stay tuned!

It is in the spirit of this conversation I […]

This Year, Rothenburg!

Getting to Rothenburg is not easy.  The flight is bound to have at least one stop and then there are several trains to take and finally a taxi from the train station.  I was there teaching two years ago and I was pooped by the time I arrived.  And yet, it is so worth it!  The city itself is spectacular and it is surrounded by farms and forests full of hiking trails.  The TCM Kongress is always held in May which is an exquisite time to be there. The Kongress itself is, I think, the largest and most prestigious in the world with esteemed speakers from all over the world.  It is well worth the long trip.

This year, I was invited to teach again and had it on my calendar.  Alas, the live Kongress cannot happen this year.  This is sad as so much of the Kongress is about meeting old friends in stone cafe’s and making new ones.  However, for those who don’t like to or can’t travel that far, paying for flights, hotels, and meals, it is an incredible opportunity.  Rothenburg will be done all through live streaming and video.  In another way, this is better in that you can watch and attend classes that in real-time overlap, which is […]

By |2020-05-13T09:20:47-07:00May 13th, 2020|Classic Formulas, Our Courses|0 Comments

Missing Sa’am

Toby Daly

Last autumn, I decided to take a sabbatical starting April 8.  At the time, little did I know that my clinic would be closing by mid-March anyway.  My practice barely became telemedicine when I handed it over to Daniel Eng for the duration of my sabbatical.  At this point, it’s been two months since I’ve done acupuncture, save a few treatments on myself and the group I live with.  I find myself missing it.  This is especially true since I fell in love with Sa’am acupuncture, after studying with Toby Daly.  Sa’am acupuncture is so refreshing in its simplicity and effectiveness.  A year of practicing it only served to make me hungry to do and learn more.

I want to let people know that Toby Daly, my own teacher, will be teaching an introductory course on Sa’am through healthy seminars.

June 13 and 14, 2020.  This is a great time to learn these principles so you can restart your practice with this powerful form of medicine.

Toby is also teaching a class a one hour class on Structuring a Food Therapy Consultation on May 17, from 1-2 through Qiological.  I’ll be in that class for sure.  Toby is a delight to study with no matter what he is teaching.

By |2020-05-12T09:23:51-07:00May 12th, 2020|Acupuncture|0 Comments

A Formula to Keep in your Pocket – You Could Save a Life

When I take the train from my home area to New York City, I like to sit by the window and watch the changing scenery.  Along the way, there are large tracts of the marshland filled with all manner of birds.  Much of this marsh is made up of phragmites reeds.  The way the bend in the wind is oceanic and beautiful.  These reeds and their rhizomes are a medicinal herb.  The part of the reed growing out of the water is called Wei Jing and the rhizome is called Lu Gen.  Since Wei Jing is meant to be used fresh, often the dried rhizome is used in its place.  Zhang Zhong-Jing named a formula after this herb called Wei Jing Tang.  Today, I will be giving a free lecture on this potentially life-saving formula, that has even more relevance during the time of the coronavirus.

Wei Jing Tang was originally written down by Sun Si-Miao in his Bei Ji Qian Jin Yao Fang,  Essential Formulas Worth a Thousand Pieces of Gold.  It is now in the Song Dynasty Compilation of the Jin Gui Yao Lue, Chapter 7, Lung Wilt, Lung Welling Abscess, Cough, and Ascending Qi.  It is in the Lung Welling Abscess section of Chapter […]

By |2020-04-29T05:17:01-07:00April 29th, 2020|Classic Formulas, Corona Virus|0 Comments

Hu Xi-Shu, Jing Fang Doctor, on Wen Bing

Recently I was speaking to my friend and teacher, Andy Ellis about Wen Bing.  He told me about a book I had not heard of.  This text is by the late Dr. Hu Xi-Shu called

Understanding Warm Disease through Six Channel Differentiation of Patterns

Below is my translation of his introduction to the text with commentary. (Thank you to Sabine Wilms for helping me with the translation). This is also meant to give an introduction to two talks that are happening today in regard to working with people who are suffering from The Virus:  Caroline Radice is teaching on Huo Xiang Zheng Qi Tang.(12:00 pm EST) I am speaking on San Ren Tang and Huo Po Xia Ling Tang.  (3pm EST)

Dr. Hu writes:

For the purpose of elucidating the rules of transformation and the diagnostic principles of “10,000 diseases, one origin” Zhang Zhong-Jing wrote the Shang Han Lun.  Thereby making clear the range of tools.  (showing us our options) Therefore, I often say, “The treatment method of 10,000 diseases is already exhaustively covered in the single book, the Shang Han Lun; and yet, the treatment formulas for the 10,000 diseases , verily are not complete within this single text.

Dr. Hu is telling us plainly that, […]

Ma Huang and Gui Zhi in the time of Covid

I am now introducing Sally Rappaport’s Talk: which will be on Monday, April 6 at 12 noon, EST.  As a follow-up to my lecture from last Friday, April 3, White Pine Institute and the Shen Nong Society, with the generous help of Healthy Seminars, are offering a series of classes on the formulas mentioned in the original lecture. This free series is taught by a group of classical herbalists who are all approaching the crisis with similar foundational principles as discussed in the lecture.  These talks are free and are designed to help Chinese herbal practitioners hone their skills in working with the ill patients that come to you.  This is the point of view and methods we are using and having great results with.  Our group is in the process of gathering our clinical results.  We will keep you posted!

Sally will be giving a foundational talk on Ma Huang Tang and Gui Zhi Tang, As You’ve Never Heard Before.  Though these particular formulas will not be appropriate for most presentations of Covid-19, understanding them as Sally is teaching them, is key to understanding the logic behind other very key formulas.  I encourage all practitioners who are facing patients with coronavirus to register for this free lecture.  

There is […]

Classical Chinese Herbal Principles in Action in Response to Covid-19: Free Talk

Good Morning!

Today, at 12:30 EST (9:30 am PST) I’ll be giving a free, online talk called Classical Chinese Herbal Principles in Action in Response to Covid-19.  You can register free at this link:

This lecture discusses the foundational principles a group of us are grounding ourselves in as we work with patients with the coronavirus.  The treatments that follow from these principles are proving to be very helpful for those who are quite ill.  This talk will be followed by a series of talks that go into the specifics about the formulas we are using, when and why.

After the talk, the recording will be available for 48 hours.

I hope you can make it!


Coronavirus: Does the Exterior Still Need Resolving?

In my last post, I expressed why it is so important to know if the exterior still needs resolving and I promised to let you know how I evaluate this.

Since then, a group of us are starting to work collectively sharing and helping each other with our Covid cases and finding our methods to be working very well.  Without exception so far, all cases have turned for the better instead of getting worse.  The principles are sound.  This is very exciting.

I’ll be giving a free lecture on the principles I am referring to on Friday, April 3, at 1 pm EST.  Here is a link to register for this lecture:  A group of us are also planning to follow-up with a series of classes about the formula patterns we are finding especially useful.

When someone comes in with an acute upper respiratory issue that has clearly gotten stuck in their chest and is getting hotter and more stuck every hour, it may be easy to think that you just need to clear heat from the lungs.  However, as I discussed in the last post, it is super important to know if the exterior still needs to be resolved as well, before simply using cooling herbs, especially bitter cold herbs.

There are two important […]

Shang Han vs Wen Bing? What is Shang Han Lun Theory?

Shang Han Lun

Beware: Long Post, hopefully interesting and helpful!

To be able to treat the manifestations of Covid-19, one must understand, not just the nature of how a virus manifests in the body but also how the body works to process it and the outside world in general.  In a previous post, I discussed the two vectors that are involved with the way an illness like Covid 19 manifests in the body and the idea of using herbs to help the body process it.  I described health and a healthy immune system not as a function of being able to keep things or get things out, but as a function of being permeable and able to be in relationship with and able to process the things that come in from the outside world.  For me, the physiology that is inherently described within the Shang Han Lun is key to being able to help a body process the world in general and a virus in particular.

I want to start this multi-post discussion with transparency as to my own bias.  We all have a particular way of viewing the way the body works and how […]

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