On March 21-22, 2020, Volker Scheid will be teaching on Developing Meta-Practice in the Treatment of Menstrual Disorders at the Shen Nong Society Conference.

In the world of gaming, the word “meta” is used to refer to the “most effective tactic available.”  Although there are several meanings of the word “meta,” in general it means to have a greater, more comprehensive view of a subject.  There is metaphysics or metamathmatics.  A metaphor gives us an understanding of a subject by standing back from the subject and seeing what it is like in the context of other things or phenomena.  Taking all this into account then, meta-practice can be defined as a practice that allows us comprehensively review medical texts and teachings and integrate that which is valuable.

These ideas so reflect my own approach to practice and teaching.  Although I teach primarily from the view of classic herbal medicine, for me, the practice is a living, breathing, open-source dance with available material.  For example, I studied with the late Dr. Qiu Xiao-Mei in Hang Zhou, PRC long ago.  She was highly influenced the Fu Qing-Zhu and wrote a text of her own experience as a Chinese medical gynecologist and obstetrician.  She created her own experiential fomula called Supplement Certainty Decoction, which causes a prematurely ruptured placenta to re-adhere onto the uterine wall.  Why in the world would I NOT use this when the situation was at hand?  Perhaps if I was a fundamentalist classic formula practitioner, who only used formulas from the Shang Han Za Bing Lun, I would not.  But what a shame!  I also think of Dr. Yu Guo-Jun’s use of Gua Lou San.  It is a stunningly effective formula for herpes zoster.  Since reading his text, I’ve used it several times successfully.  Yet, it is not a classic formula.  In practice it is so important to use “the most effective tactic available!”  There are so many extraordinary teachers, with mountains of experience, for us to learn from.  Being open to the experience of teachers and traditions, i.e. being meta-practitioners, does not prevent any of us from having a strong foundation in a single approach from which to expand.

When I read the course description for Volker Scheid’s upcoming course at the Shen Nong Society’s 2020 conference, I decided, “I’m in!”  He is teaching on Developing Meta-Practice in the Treatment of Menstrual Disorders.  Cool!  To have the opportunity to spend a day with such a scholar, historian, writer and clinician, and to see how he puts the diversity of Chinese medicine together to treat menstrual disorders sounds beautiful. He differentiates meta-practice from two other ways of approaching practice:  1.  sticking with one style or 2. synthesizing different styles into a single new style.  In contrast to this, meta-practice allows the practitioner to work effectively with different styles, gleaning the gems available from a variety of traditions.  Clearly, Volker’s ideas about, what he calls, meta-practice resonate strongly with me.

The day before this full day course, Saturday March 21,, I also have the privilege of sitting on a panel with Dr. Scheid and Josh Paynter where we will discuss the topic of “Ritual, Dharma and Treatment Method: Belief and Clinical Science in the EAM Clinic.”  In addition, Volker will introduce the concept of meta-practice in his afternoon lecture “Matters of Concern: Revisiting the Three Treasures (sān bǎo 三寶) as the Foundation of Meta-Practice in Chinese Medicine.”

Here is the description of the full day course I’ll be attending on Sunday, March 22, 2020:

Developing Meta-Practice in the Treatment of Menstrual Disorders

Building on the Saturday seminar this workshop will introduce you to the development of meta-practice in a clinically centered manner focusing on the treatment of menstrual disorders. To this end, it will provide you with:

  • A deeper understanding of the Chinese medicine anatomy, physiology and pathology of menstruation. (How, for instance, does the uterus relate to the liver, the sea of blood, the chong mai, ren mai and the other extraordinary vessels? What changes when we think menstruation through the vessels and not the organs? How does menstruation tie in with the physiology of qi, blood and body fluids and how does that impinge on treatment?)
  • A deeper understanding of how this knowledge has changed over time and how it differs from and links to biomedical knowledge.
  • Diagnostic and therapeutic methods that build from the simple to the complex to which you will be able to add further elements from you own individual therapeutic toolkit and as your skills as a practitioner develop.
  • An understanding of how meta—practice can help you in the development of clinical mastery over timeTo this end, I will draw on my extensive knowledge the historical development of East Asian medicine, experience from almost forty years of clinical practice, and a deep engagement with trans-disciplinary knowledge throughout my academic career.