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Oriental medicine was not developed in a laboratory. It does not advance through double-blind controlled studies, nor does it respond well to petri dish experimentation. Our medicine did not come from the statistical regression of randomized cohorts, but from the observation and treatment of individuals in their particular environment. It grows out of an embodied sense of understanding how life moves, unfolds, develops and declines. Medicine comes from continuous, thoughtful practice of what ...
 
In this first presentation of "Your QIO Answers Your Questions," Howard Pitluk, MD, MPH, FACS, and Mark Michelman, MD, MBA, discuss the Surgical Care Improvement Program VTE Quality Meaures and answer questions from the audience. This Webinar, conducted on November 5, 2009, was conducted for physicians and hospital staff in Arizona, California, and Florida by Health Services Advisory Group, Inc. (the Medicare Quality improvement Organization for Arizona), Health Services Advisory Group of Ca ...
 
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Research when done well is an inquiry that can shift the foundation of your cognitive model. And that’s exactly what it is for. In this conversation with Brenda Le we both explore how TCM is seen in our Western Chinese medicine world, and how doing this research opened her up to aspects of medicine and practice that she did not previously see. List…
 
My initial introduction to moxibustion was the classic Chinese mugwort cigar. I hated it. But only because my lungs are the weak link in my chain of being. The smoke was intolerable. Japanese rice grain moxa, that was a whole other universe. It’s not that less is more, it’s that the focused and directed aspects of Japanese moxibustion invite a comp…
 
The medicines and martial arts of Asia have long considered the lower belly and back to be of significant importance in health, wellbeing and as a kind of seat of power and presence. In this conversation with long time practitioner Jeffrey Dann we explore the structural powerhouse of the Koshi, the dynamic lower abdomen with all it’s energetic and …
 
Ethics is never a simple black and white calculation, but rather the inquiry into proper relationship in a world filled with variability. It’s about considering the relationship with self, other, and society. And it’s a way to check ourselves for blind spots and to consider how our actions affect others, as well as ourselves. In this conversation w…
 
There is a kind of poetry to Chinese characters. They gives hints and clues about the names we give to the world. They tell a story. In this conversation with Elisabeth Rochat we explore, like you’d explore bottles of fine wine, some of the meaning and nuance in the characters 意 yi, 通 tong, 命 ming,and 理 li. There are some delicious surprises in thi…
 
Jing, Qi and Shen— the three treasures. Like so many of these pithy quotes about Chinese medicine there is a lot here if you have taken the time to investigate it and see how it fits within your experience of practicing medicine. In this conversation with Yair Maimon we touch on the three treasures as they relate to treating cancer with acupuncture…
 
Chinese is not that easy, and the 文言文 (wen yan wen) the classical Chinese, that stuff is a whole other order of magnitude in challenge to the modern Western mind. And yet if we are going to practice this medicine with deep roots into a long gone time and culture, we need access to the stepping stones that have been handed down to us over centuries …
 
We venerate the masters, hold them up as shining examples of what we would like to be one some day, but let’s be honest here— most of us will never be masters. Those rarified characters are few and far between. And the process it takes is not one most of us would willing sign up for. We do however have a good shot at being a fine journeyman or jour…
 
Stems and Branches are old Chinese science. Our medicine touches on it, but most of us rely on the more modern perspectives for our clincal work. The Stems and Branches speak to a perspective of the universe and our place in it that is foreign to our minds not because of language and culture, but because we live a world that focus more on humanity …
 
There are many ways to attend to our patients in clinic. We can work through mental models that we’ve acquired from our schooling, study, and clinical experience. We can also use our innate human ability to touch, palpate and sense. In this episode with Chip Chase we discuss the importance of down-regulating our nervous system. Along with the use o…
 
We often consider the Five Phases when doing acupuncture, and the Six Conformations when treating our patients with herbal medicine. In this conversation we consider the interplay of “wu yun, liu qi” the five movements and six climatic qi from the perspective of diagnosis and understanding not just what problem a patient has, but also its progressi…
 
We give a great amount of respect to the Classics in Chinese medicine, but understanding these foundational texts of our medicine can be challenge, even if you do understand the old form of Chinese. Just as many of struggle to get through the brilliance of Shakespeare, the classics of Chinese medicine require a particular kind of attention. And it …
 
Medicine is a curious business. The “agreement” is that the patient has a problem and we as practitioners are going to fix it. It’s not an unreasonable expectation in our fee for service world. And after all, we are the experts that are supposed to know how to resolve a medical condition. But what often gets left out of the conversation is the ques…
 
Nothing new about city and rural life being very different. But what about when it comes to having an acupuncture practice? What’s it like to practice to practice away from the bustle of big city? Are country folk really that different from city slickers? And what about non-mainstream medicine like acupuncture, how’s it accepted in the hinterlands?…
 
Can you remember in those first couple of years of puberty when your senses began to quicken and a new world began to open up and you started to question your place in the unfolding this world? Adolescence is a glorious and often troublesome ripening and as with so many aspects of our lives these days... it’s medicalized as pathology instead of bei…
 
It is surprising where life can take us. We follow a hunch or a nudge and somehow gain some momentum that in time generates wind for our sails. Not many westerners in the 1970’s started along the road of Chinese medicine. In this long ranging conversation with Jake Fratkin we discuss his perspectives over time and his current thoughts on medicine. …
 
Chinese medicine is not one medicine; it’s a kaleidoscopic plurality. There is no one true acupuncture; we have a rich ecosystem of perspectives and methods. The trouble with learning something new is that we have let loose of our current understanding usually acquired through effort and hard work. It’s hard to release what we’ve struggled to learn…
 
We often think of emotion as one thing. That we are sad, or angry, or frustrated, or joyous. But often it’s more complicated than that. Many times there will be an entanglement of emotion. Love and anger, grief and guilt, or excitment and anxiety. It’s when emotions get entangled people can really get stuck as it is hard to sort work through one em…
 
The Chinese say 活到老學到老 hou dao lao, xue dao lao, which can be translated as “continue learning for as long as you live.” It’s good advice, and when it comes to the practice of medicine, it’s essential. Our work gives us an endless opportunity to learn and deepen our understanding. In this conversation with Kathy Taromina, Craig Mitchell and Dan Ben…
 
The Chinese and people of East Asia deal with epidemic disease on a regular basis. And every time a new bug comes to town, they learn a little more. While we in the west have access to some of the classic materials on treating epidemics, we don’t have the same level experience. It’s not really our fault, epidemics don’t roll through here in the wes…
 
There are many ways to do acupuncture. Each method gives you a glimpse into the workings of the body, each one gives you a different map of the terrain. And each method allows us to understand and problem solve with a different set of both mental and physical tools. Susan Johnson studied with Miriam Lee, who was instrumental not just in bringing Tu…
 
The prolific science fiction write Issac Asimov wrote “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” (I found it!) but “That’s funny …” The wonderful thing about research is that it invites delicious questions and opens avenues of inquiry that lead us beyond the borders of our maps of the world.…
 
The airways are full of bad news, fear and conjecture it’s a hit parade of one scary thing after another. This alone would be hard our spirits if you ingest even a portion of the 24 hour media feed. Add on isolation and an unrelenting sense of an inescapable threat— it’s tough on one’s mental and emotional wellbeing. There is a pervasive sense of g…
 
These days pretty much anyone can have their own media outlet. The gatekeepers who used to control access to the airwaves and printing presses are pretty much gone. If you have something to share, especially something that focuses on or services a niche market, then this is the best time to be alive. And here in the midst of Covid-19 this just migh…
 
We have many different ways to view the body with Chinese medicine and each of these lenses gives us a different perspective on both physiology and functionality. It’s not unlike those old acetate transparencies you'd find in old encyclopedias that would allow you to overlay different systems of the body one on top of another. Each one has its own …
 
The scientific method is useful. It helps us to better understand the world by screening out our biases, beliefs and wishful thinking. The process of crafting a good hypothesis begins not with a great question, but first the more yin process of observation. Seeing what is present, and from there we can begin to distill out questions worth asking. M…
 
You’ve noticed in the treatment room, that moment when something “lands” for the patient, and there's a palpable internal shift. You’ve noticed this in yourself, that a question can be inviting as a whisper, or make you bristle like a growling dog. In this conversation with Margot Rossi and Nick Pole we explore Embodied Language, a way of connectin…
 
Listening is not a skill that I expected to develop. I thought I’d get good with palpation or pulse reading. After all, the masters are said to get what they need with the pause and a few questions. That’s what I was aiming for, however it did not work out that way for me. I’ve found over the years that there is a way of listening to a patient that…
 
Most of us are head’s down in our clinical work and focused on taking care of patients and running a business. It’s easy to forget that 40 years ago people were being arrested for doing acupuncture. As a profession in the West, we are new. Even without Covid-19 we often dealing with issues of growth, development, scope of practice, messaging and re…
 
We are being invited, both by our conditions and circumstances and by people in our profession to “get online and do tele-medicine.” However much of what we do as acupuncturists does not translate well, as our most critical tool cannot be used in a digital form. The questions that I’ve been noodling through for the past month plus are what is the e…
 
Maybe you were one of those people who learned in English class that you weren’t very good at the standardized form of writing they were trying to teach. Perhaps you thought you weren’t a good writer. And you might want to reconsider that, because copywriting is a lot like talking. And it is about being expressive. In this conversation with Iselin …
 
You’ve probably seen patients who are on thyroid medication and the numbers are “fine” according the their conventional doctor, but they just don’t feel right. We know from our experience as practitioners that often our patients are deeply frustrated because they’ve been through thousands of dollars of testing and yet they are told “there is nothin…
 
With Covid-19 knocking the bottom out of our practices, there is a call from experts in the field to “get online.” Which isn’t bad advice as it does provide a channel to our patients in a time when we can't put our hands on them. But, and this is important, many of us don’t know what we would do online. Somehow the idea of teaching acupressure leav…
 
Listening is not a skill that I expected to develop. I thought I’d get good with palpation or pulse reading. After all, the masters are said to get what they need with the pause and a few questions. That’s what I was aiming for, however it did not work out that way for me. I’ve found over the years that there is a way of listening to a patient that…
 
The opinions we have about “doing business” can dramatically affect the kind of practice we have, the opportunities we recognize or are blind to, and how we feel about ourselves as we begin to generate some momentum and success in our work. Success brings its own issues. And it does not guarantee your insecurities will go away. The more successful …
 
For those of us in North America the world changed about three weeks ago as the Covid-19 began to make itself known. And as Chinese medicine practitioners begin to close their in-person practice and open up video visits with patients for herbal consultations there is an increasing interest in how we in the modern world, facing this particular pande…
 
Some of the difficulties faced by many of us in this time of pandemic are the disorientation, anxiety and fear that arise from uncertainty. But if you look more closely, you’ll see that there never is in this life the guarantee of certainty. It can feel that way because of habituation, but when you strip away the daily habits and sense of continuit…
 
Moxibustion is one of the more interesting methods in toolbox. Stunning in its simplicity and often brings deep relief for those who are a good fit for this method. It’s curious how the burning of this particular herb can bring about healing. Alice Douglas has loved moxa since before she became an acupuncturist. In this conversation we discuss her …
 
Ours is a portable medicine. In the 1960’s the barefoot doctors in China took Chinese medicine into the countryside. Over the years acupuncturists’ response to natural disasters has show us that acupuncture can be practiced in makeshift shelters or tents. It also has a place in refugee camps, churches of impoverished communities and rural villages.…
 
We often think of the bioelectricity of the nervous system as a signaling system for the body to communicate with itself, but it might serve an even greater function of allowing us to interact with our larger environment. This conversation with John Hubacher started off as an inquiry into electro-acupuncture, but it quickly took a hard left turn in…
 
The coronavirus has not only found its way into our bloodstream and mucus membranes, it’s worked its way into our social fabric, economic relations and political disagreements. In this age of global electronic connection news of this new virus creates perhaps more noise than signal. In this conversation with Craig Mitchell we discuss how the effect…
 
Many of us like to think we are connected with doctors throughout time, that we practice the same medicine in a continuous flow from the days of Huang Di down to this modern moment. It’s a lovely narrative. One that our patients often think about as well when they say “It’s been around 2000 years, there must be something to it.” But as Volker Schei…
 
The Saam tradition traces its roots back four hundred years to a monk who as part of his meditative practice received some insight into medicine that allowed him see and work simultaneously with the five phases and six conformations. But monks are not doctors, even if they can relief a lot of suffering with a few needles. And so the methods of Saam…
 
Humans have an innate drive to make sense of the world. To understand how things work and see if we can reliability influence the outcome on something. To find a way to get more of what we want, or less of what we dislike. When you think about it, life is one big research experiment as we are constantly testing out ideas of how things work. But oft…
 
The corona virus that emerged in Wu Han earlier in this year has disrupted travel and business and has been a deep cause of concern as doctors throughout the world, and especially in China, strive to understand the nature of this pathogen. Conventional medicine brings it’s modern research techniques to this inquiry. While those of us in the Chinese…
 
It’s easy to think of our skin as the outside wrapper, but really its a mirror of the internal environment. And while topical treatment of skin has it use, it’s learning to adjust that inner milieu that over time makes for the biggest changes with the skin. It’s quite in line with Chinese medicine that we work on the inside to change the outside. O…
 
There is something about connection that goes beyond words. There is a way of engaging with those who seek our help that goes beyond the ten questions. Connection is not something we do, it’s a way we are. In this conversation with long time practitioner Esther Platner we explore the spaces that don’t quite fit into words. Tread into territories wi…
 
The practice of medicine is not completely about what we do, it’s also informed by how we are. How our presence, perception and allowing ourselves to abide in that space between knowing, sensing and being can invite a quiet, non-rational part of ourselves into the clinical encounter. Michael McMahon, like many of us, did not initially set out to be…
 
The changes that come from an unexpected direction tend to be the ones that transform our lives the most. Chloe Weber did not plan on becoming an expert in neurology. She was on the path of providing herbs and acupuncture to low income populations. But when her son’s rare neurological condition invited her to move in a different direction, she took…
 
Just how do you locate an acupuncture point? Are you looking for bony protrusions, a palpable change on the skin, or a rule based measurement from a book? Locating acupuncture points is something every practitioner needs to do, and do well. And there are plenty of different criteria that can be used. This question about point location caught the at…
 
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