Before writing this post, I want to let you know about a precious Sa’am learning opportunity. You can learn about it here. This course will be such a profoundly good investment in your acupuncture practice.
In my clinic, I’ve been practicing Sa’am acupuncture pretty exclusively for almost a year. I learned about it first from an article in the Journal of Chinese Medicine and then by hearing a Sa’am practitioner, Toby Daly, being interviewed by Michael Max on the Qiological Podcast. It was listening to this interview that really started to get me intrigued by the ideas behind Sa’am acupuncture. In my own work, I had been studying the relationship between the Wu Xing and the Liu Qi, the 5 phases and the 6 Qi in relation to herbal medicine and classic formulas. Toby’s discussion brought the two together for me in relation to acupuncture in an exciting way. Each Zang and Fu is related to both a phase and a Qi. For example, the kidneys are of the water phase and of the fire Qi (the Qi of Shao Yin). The liver is of the wood phase and wind Qi (the Qi of Jue Yin). Based on the characteristics of these combinations, one diagnoses, and treats. I won’t go into it here but please learn all about it in the article and podcasts, and of course the class!
I started working with Sa’am, as I understood it, right away. The treatments are simple and straight forward. I started noticing minor miracles right away, in spite of the fact that I was a beginner and, I learned later, misunderstood much about it. I’ll give an example: I had been treating a patient with acupuncture for about a year. She is afraid to take herbs because she has multiple food sensitivities and is super careful about everything she puts in her tummy. She had improved in many ways and loved the acupuncture I was doing. She is thin, pale and very very cold all the time. There is more but I’ll leave it at that. For my first Sa’am treatment on her, I decided to supplement her heart because it is double fire – fire element and fire Qi. While I put the tonification needles in, Heart 9, the wood point on the fire channel, and Liver 1, the wood point on the wood channel, I imagined adding wood to a fire in order to really stoke it. While I put the dispersion points in, Heart 3 and Ki 10, I imagined backing off cold water so that the fire would not be dowsed. She began to get warm on the table and by the end of the treatment, she was baking inside in a very good and comfortable way. That was in the dead of last winter and she stayed warm up until now. Her digestion improved immensely as well.
Now, after almost a year of working with Sa’am, having Toby visit my clinic for three days and getting better at Sa’am diagnosis, these kinds of dramatic results are not uncommon. But what is really cool is how REAL the elements and Qi have become for me! Sa’am is the first form of acupuncture where this became so clear. The clinic is so fun when I am building fires, putting out fires, banking up the earth, drying wetness, moistening dryness, dimming brightness and brightening the darkness. I see the results so clearly. Now that it is the middle of summer and very hot here, it is wonderful to treat bladder, double cold, and see how comfortable people become. There are psychological and spiritual aspects to Sa’am as well. I’ve come to know beyond a doubt that supplementing gallbladder builds a meek person so that they have the inability to make decisions and stand up for what’s right. In fact, I supplemented gallbladder for treatment with this same woman when she came in and began to complain about how victimized she feels by her daughter and was really wishy-washy about how to deal with it. After the gallbladder treatment (Yang wood phase/fire Qi). She came back the next week having set clear guidelines for her daughter and stuck with them and the relationship felt much better to her. Cool! That is the power of Sa’am. A class with Toby will give you what you need to start safely. You really need this as a foundation because it is not as simple as I am making it sound and the power of it means it can throw people off as well.
Toby is teaching this August 10-11 in the Hudson Valley, not far from New York City. You should come.