Clare Stephenson on Eastern and Western Medicine, Acupuncture and Complementary Therapies in Practice

Clare Stephenson, author of The Acupuncturist’s Guide to Conventional Medicine, discusses how knowledge of Eastern medicine can improve conventional medicine practitioner’s response to patients, if complementary therapies should be incorporated into routine medical practice and her background in Eastern and Western medicine. 

Clare, you trained as a doctor in conventional medicine. What led you to discover Eastern medicine, and Acupuncture in particular?

I initially had close contact with Eastern medicine over 20 years ago through attending an evening class in Tai Chi. Tai Chi is based on Qi Gong, the ancient system of movements for health. Qi Gong is considered one of the five pillars of Chinese medicine – both share the understanding that the physical body is a manifestation of an energetic foundation which can be manipulated by subtle and not-so-subtle means in order to promote health. The exposure to the practice of Tai Chi sparked my interest in learning more about Chinese medicine.

The more I understood about Chinese medical health philosophy and its integrity, the more I wanted to learn. I travelled to China where I saw acupuncture being practised as a front line medical treatment alongside western medicine. This then inspired me to undertake a three year formal training course in the practice of acupuncture at the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine in Reading.  All this was whilst I was also working in UK general practice and public health medicine, so I was continually being challenged to understand how these two approaches to describing health and disease might overlap!

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Behind the Scenes of: ‘The Yellow Monkey Emperor’s Classic of Chinese Medicine’ with Spencer Hill

In this blog post, Spencer Hill recalls the process of drawing the cartoons for The Yellow Monkey Emperor’s Classic of Chinese Medicine and how he met and came to work with Damo Mitchell.

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Dentistry, Orthodontics and Cranio-Sacral Integration

Thomas Attlee’s book “Face to Face with the Face” explains how Cranio-Sacral Integration can help a wide range of persistent and painful conditions involving the face and the cranial nerves – from trigeminal neuralgia, sinusitis, hearing loss and TMJ syndrome to autism, chronic fatigue and polyvagal disturbance – through a deeper understanding of quantum levels of health and the biodynamic forces which underlie the body’s inherent healing potential.

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Essentials of Cranio-Sacral Integration (and case studies)

In this blog post by Thomas Attlee, author of Face to Face with the Face, Attlee explains the ‘Essentials of Cranio-Sacral Integration’, providing an overview of the key points, and providing three case studies: Tooth, Jaw and TMJ Pain; Hearing Loss and  Trigeminal Neuralgia. 

Higgs-boson:

In 2013 Professor Peter Higgs received the Nobel prize for a concept he first proposed in 1964 and for which the experimental proof was finally provided at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland in 2012. Professor Higgs postulated that there is an invisible field pervading the whole universe.

Within quantum physics it has now been established that there is a universal field, a unifying matrix within which everything exists and interacts – every galaxy, star, planet, solid object, living being, molecule, atom, subatomic particle – a field from which particles take their mass.

In the quantum model of cranio-sacral integration, we also perceive a universal field or matrix, within which life on earth has come into being, and each one of us exists as an individual matrix within this wider matrix. We are formed embryologically, developed, maintained and sustained by the biodynamic forces within that field, and every cell, atom, and subatomic particle within our body is an integral part of that wider field.

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The Story Behind ‘Embroidered Cancer Comic’ by Sima Elizabeth Shefrin

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Here I am looking at my book, still holding the packaging.

 

It’s April 2016 here on Gabriola Island, British Columbia. The flowers are blooming, and I am looking for the first time at my new book, Embroidered Cancer Comic

“How did I come to write a comic?” I’m glad you asked. As soon as my husband Bob Bossin was diagnosed in 2011 with prostate cancer, we started making cancer jokes. Every time we could laugh about the situation, one of us would say, “That goes in the comic”.  At this stage the comic was completely imaginary.  But eventually I picked up my needle and stitched and stitched until I had over sixty embroidered squares… Continue reading

LESSONS FROM OUR MOTHERS

By Stephen Rath with Marcia Rath, certified Qigong instructors and writers of Qigong for Wellbeing in Dementia and Aging

Rath cover

The author Frank Herbert observed in Dune that when we ponder choices in the future we see doors, perhaps many; but when we peer into the past we see a long corridor. And so it seems with the journey that my wife, Marcia, and I took as we traveled through the corridor that led to the publication of Qigong for Wellbeing in Dementia and Aging. Continue reading

Some words about Dr. Schrott’s book: ‘Marma Therapy’

by Jonathan Hinde, qualified Sukshma Marma Therapist and an Aromatherapist, based in Cambridge, UK.

There are, broadly speaking, two contrasting ways of viewing the body, and two correspondingly different approaches to healthcare: Modern western medicine has its emphasis on the purely physical; while the approach exhibited by oriental and traditional healthcare systems sees the physical symptoms as the ‘precipitated value of consciousness’ and seeks to engage with the subtle imbalances (which may be emotional, spiritual, etc) which have given rise to physical symptoms. Continue reading

Gateways to Greater Health

Available 21st November 2015

Available 21st November 2015

In The Way of the Five Elements, John Kirkwood references a category of acupoints known as entry and exit points. Here, he elaborates on these points, the timely use of which can make big differences to treatment outcomes.

Qi flows through the 12 organ meridians in a continuous circuit. It flows out of the exit point of one meridian and into the entry point of the next meridian in the Wei Qi cycle. For most of the meridians the entry point is the first point of the meridian. The exit point is either the last point or one close to the end of the meridian.

 

Entry-Exit Blocks

If work with a client is not holding, there may be a block to treatment and it is worth looking for a possible entry-exit block since these are the most frequently encountered blocks and the most easily treated. Acupressure is well suited to working with these blocks.

An entry-exit block arises when Qi is not flowing freely from one meridian to the next. The blockage of Qi flow between exit and entry point may be partial or complete.

Sometimes a block becomes evident early in treatment, but more commonly, the block occurs during the course of treatment and needs to be addressed in order for the treatment to proceed successfully.

Diagnosing Blocks

The most reliable way to detect blocks is on the pulse where there is a relatively full pulse on one meridian and a relatively deficient pulse on the following meridian. If the pulse is not used, signs and symptoms such as skin eruptions, swelling, pain, constriction, feelings of congestion, fullness or emptiness at the entry-exit points are all suggestive of a block.

In addition, if treatment suddenly becomes less effective or stops working altogether, an entry-exit block may be suspected. An unexpectedly strong reaction during the course of treatment can also indicate a block. This kind of block is caused when an existing block manifests itself as a result of the extra Qi that is made available.

Treating Blocks

When a block is suspected, palpation of the points can confirm the diagnosis. Holding the points, the practitioner may sense a numbness, deadness, emptiness and/or lack of movement either at the entry point, the exit point, or both.

Blocks may be bi-lateral or unilateral. To focus your intention, it is best to work on one side at a time. Begin by holding both the entry and the exit point. Stay with both if both are blocked. If only one is blocked, then hold the one blocked point.

Some points can take a long time to open, and even then reluctantly. When both practitioner and client visualise pulling Qi through, this can aid the process.

More than one treatment may by necessary to resolve a block. Even when the block appears to be resolved, it may reappear later in treatment.

Two Kinds of Blocks

Since there are 12 organ meridians, there are 12 possible blocks. Six of these flow from a meridian into its partner meridian (e.g. Gall Bladder to Liver). The other six flow from a meridian of one Element to a meridian of another Element (e.g. Triple Heater to Gall Bladder).

It is this second kind of block that I want to focus on here since it occurs more frequently, is the greater block to treatment and tends to produce the more serious symptoms.

Large Intestine to Stomach

LI 20 is slightly lateral and superior to the outside base of the nose. Qi flows to ST 1 which lies below the pupil at the orbital ridge. Signs and symptoms can include spots or rashes at LI 20, nasal congestion, sinusitis, difficulty smelling, spots or rashes below the eye, eye spasms, pain or congestion at the eye.

Spleen to Heart

This is one of the more common entry-exit blocks. SP 21 lies on the side of the body, below the armpit in the 7th intercostal space and roughly at the level of the xiphoid process. Qi flows from there to HT 1 which is in the depression at the centre of the armpit. Symptoms can include fullness of the chest, palpitations, pain in the ribcage, depression, fatigue, pain in the armpit, appetite disorders, and spots or rashes at the site of the points.

Small Intestine to Bladder

SI 19 is at the tragus of the ear, in a depression that appears with the mouth open. Qi flows from there to BL 1 which is located at the inner corner of the eye, just above the tear duct. Symptoms can include jaw tension, eye problems, tear duct issues, eye pain and headaches.

Kidney to Heart Protector

K 22 lies in the 5th intercostal space, 2 cun lateral to the midline, flowing to HP 1 which is 1 cun lateral and slightly superior to the nipple in the 4th intercostal space. On women, use HP 2 which is between the heads of the biceps 2 cun below the fold of the armpit. Symptoms can include tension or pain at the side of the sternum or in the breast; rashes, spots or lumps at site of points or in the intervening space; depression, fear and lack of joy for life.

Triple Heater to Gall Bladder

TH 22 is 0.5 cun anterior to the upper border of the root of the ear, on the posterior border of the hairline of the temple, flowing to GB 1 in a depression 0.5 cun lateral to outer canthus of the eye. Symptoms of this block may be frontal and temporal headaches, vision problems, tics and an inability to see the way forward or take action.

Liver to Lung

LV 14 is on the nipple line, in the 6th intercostal space, usually slightly above the level of the xiphoid process. Qi moves from there to LU 1 which is 6 cun lateral to the midline in the 1st intercostal space. Symptoms can be breathing difficulty or constriction, fullness of the ribcage, emotions of grief and anger (often suppressed) and a feeling of being tired and wired.

By becoming aware of the potential for these blocks and clearing them as they arise, practitioners can greatly support their clients’ treatment processes and promote swifter healing.

Learn more about John Kirkwood’s new book The Way of the Five Elements HERE.