Have all of Chinese Medicine in your pocket – interview with Richard Bertschinger

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100 Richard Bertschinger is a practising acupuncturist, teacher of the healing arts, and translator of ancient Chinese texts. He studied for ten years with the Taoist sage and Master, Gia-fu Feng. He talks to Singing Dragon about his groundbreaking translation work, ‘the oldest book in the world’, and having all of Chinese medicine in your pocket.

Thanks for agreeing to talk to us, Richard, about your five books.  I wondered if you could tell our readers something briefly about each and how they came about?

Well these books are really a summation of my Taoist studies over the last thirty years.  The titles are worth repeating:  The Secret of Everlasting Life, Yijing: Shamanic Oracle of China, Everyday Qigong Practice, The Great Intent and Essential Texts in Chinese Medicine.  I was fortunate to meet a Chinese-American Giafu Feng in the ‘seventies who introduced me to the Chinese world of the Tao – really it was from Giafu that I got the inspiration for this work.  He was brought up in Shanghai during tumultuous 1920’s in China.  In his last few days (he died in 1986) he spoke to me about alchemy – in fact it was his overwhelming concern that I should work on making the idea of alchemical practice available to the West.  And I knew nothing about it!  So I dived into what was in translation at that time.  There was actually very little.  The oldest work, written in the 2nd century AD was this text – which I have presented asBertschinger_Secret-of-Everl_978-1-84819-048-1_colourjpg-web The Secret of Everlasting Life. It is primarily a Qigong manual, in fact the very first to be written, anywhere in the world!  So I cut my teeth on this and its Chinese commentaries.  All my work is based upon my reading of the Chinese commentaries – and on how they were explained to me by Giafu.  In this I think I was blessed, in having the ‘key’, as it were – his oral instruction – to unlock this extremely intricate puzzle.

What do you mean, then, by this ‘intricate puzzle’?

Actually this puzzle is just the Chinese Mind!  I feel strongly that the Chinese ideas and skills, knowledge and techniques (including acupuncture) should be taken within their own context – you cannot just import techniques and not understand the background teaching and philosophy.  It really will not work.

You are referring to acupuncture perhaps?  Where more ‘medical’ acupuncturists, such as doctors and nurses use acupuncture without a full apprenticeship?

Bertschinger_Great-Intent-Ac_978-1-84819-132-7_colourjpg-webNot really, I think that acupuncture can survive any usage.  It is resilient enough!  But certainly without the dedication of a three year training you are not going to be using its full potential. And you are not giving patients the best either! Anyway, this leads on to The Great Intent, which is actually a re-working of The Golden Needle, a book published earlier in 1991.  Singing Dragon was quite keen to reprint this, so I expanded and rewrote the introduction.  This is a first translation of many of the odes, song and poems which have, for centuries, been used in teaching acupuncture theory and technique.  Again I was keen to get all these ideas out to medical practitioners, who wanted to begin exploring some of the greater subtleties of needling – as well as brush up their theoretical knowledge.  I know these poems have proved an inspiration to many.

Now tell us a little about Yijing: Shamanic Oracle of China.  I understand the Yijing has been referred to as ‘the oldest book in the world’.  How can you justify such a statement!

Bertschinger_Yijing-Shamanic_978-1-84819-083-2_colourjpg-webBecause the Yijing has its origins, and no one would deny this, in the oracle bones, the scapula of oxen, tortoise shells and the like, which have been unearthed recently in China.  These prove that an oracle much like the Yijing (or ‘Book of Change’) was in use some 3000 years ago, in Bronze Age China.  The Yijing is all about communicating with the unseen and unsaid.  It is an oracle, yes, but also has a philosophy around it of Yin and Yang, the flux within the universe, light and dark, day and night, winter and summer, and the life and death of all living things.  It is thus at the threshold of putting an understanding of these things into words – it uses images to communicate ideas, on the borderline of thought, as it were.  And this was all happening 3000 years ago, before there were any books!  So unlike the Dead Sea Scrolls or Egyptian Scriptures, the Yijing was trying to be useful – not trying to hand down a received wisdom, or deal of concepts.  It was about meaning.  About the meaning of life, about greatness – about what it is to be human!  Like so much of Chinese philosophy, it told us how to live.

Bertschinger_Everyday-Qigong_978-1-84819-117-4_colourjpg-webWell, that is quite a topic.  The last two books you mentioned about are Everyday Qigong Practice

That one ‘does what it says on the tin’.  It is a simple introduction to Qigong exercises, with brilliant diagrams by Harriet Lewars – you can pick it up, and seconds later be practicing qigong, and circulating the Qi.

And the last, Essential Texts in Chinese Medicine: The Single Idea in the Mind of the Yellow Emperor?

Bertschinger_Essential-Texts_978-1-84819-162-4_colourjpg-webThis is my latest book. It is a digest of the medical writings contained in the Huangdi Neijing, or Yellow Emperor’s Book of Medicine, the great compendium of medical studies produced during the Han, and which has provided the backbone of all traditional medicine in the East for the last two-thousand years.  I was fortunate, again, to pick up a copy of a condensed version of this book in 1981 at Stillpoint, Colorado, where I was studying with Giafu Feng – and he started me off with some tape recordings, he would get up 4 am, make a large pot of Earl Grey tea, which we  would share and off he would go, extemporising a translation ‘on the hoof’ as it were of this book.  Page One, Chapter One.  It took him perhaps three months to finish, and I had to leave before it was done, but the next spring I remember him arriving at Heathrow airport with a large carrier bag in his hand, ‘here you are Richard the Book of Medicine, finished!’  There was no way I could turn down a commission such as this!  So I have been working at producing a readable version of this text.  Firstly I translated the Chinese commentaries, most from the Ming and Qing, then I collated them with his version.  Then I also interleaved my own acupunc­ture studies and notes from Jack Worsley’s teachings and finally, after many years work, I have a version which I think is just about ready to go to press.  It grew in the making, but from quite early on I saw that there was one thread running through the whole – this is obvious to anyone who begins to read the book.  This one thread I rather grandly name ‘the single idea’ – really it describes the workings of Yin and Yang and the Five Elements.  Once you can get a handle of what they are talking about and how they work, you really do have Chinese medicine ‘in your pocket’, as it were.

Emotional Freedom Techniques – an interview with Lawrence Pagett

When did you first become interested in EFT?

Pagett-Millward_Principles-of-E_978-1-84819-190-7_colourjpg-print

Many years ago I witnessed my next door neighbour in his garden tapping furiously on top of his head and I wondered what on earth he was doing. He enthusiastically told me about Gary Craig the founder of EFT and rushed us into his house to give me one of Gary’s introductory training DVDs explaining the EFT basic recipe and how to conduct an EFT round. In fact, he insisted that we watch the DVD together there and then.  I was impressed by Craig’s presentation. I was also fascinated that this simple tapping procedure was said to be able to treat a wide range of serious conditions such as traumas in a matter of minutes. Sometime later I visited a fellow hypnotherapist friend who told me that he was a big fan of EFT and he successfully used tapping to treat all his clients’ fears and phobias.

What inspired you write a book about EFT?

In 2012 I had the opportunity to train with Dr Silvia Hartmann in Advanced forms of EFT and to gain the Master Practitioner in EFT I ended up writing a staggering 60,000 words. Additionally, I did plenty of hands on EFT on myself, my family, friends, my cat and clients. To write a book about EFT seemed the most natural next step so I approached Singing Dragon and within two hours they had accepted. I was excited because it had always been a lifelong ambition of mine to be an author. To get a book deal from a highly acclaimed international publisher like Singing Dragon seemed fitting and miraculous. I was overjoyed!

Why did you co-write it with Paul?

For lots of great reasons. If I had written it solo, then it may have turned out as a subjective account – EFT according to Energist Lawrence Pagett; whereas bringing in a writer, like Paul from a non-therapy background, to my mind gives the book depth bringing with it a wider perspective.

Paul, how did you first hear about EFT and why did you want to help write this book?

It was when Lawrence was doing his course. He came round one evening to try doing some EFT with me and within seconds of my first round of tapping I was in a state of ecstasy and bliss! It was then that I realised how incredibly powerful and amazing EFT could be. I wanted to write the book with Lawrence because I could see from my own profound experience how life changing EFT can be and it seemed to fit so well with my own personal spiritual beliefs.

What is so special about this book?

That’s a great question: The book is a must read for anyone who is genuinely interested in learning about, or advancing their EFT skills. Principles of EFT works on many levels. It is written by two writers, one from an educational and therapy background, the other from a more left brained orientation (Paul is a qualified accountant). Both are on the frontier in terms of spirituality. The book is well researched and has a plethora of tapping techniques for the reader to try EFT out for themselves – It is also humorous in places and contains within its pages an energy that lovingly takes the reader by the hand and leads them throughout their EnergyEFT adventure.

What do you consider to be the most important part of the book?

Chapter two is our “tour de force”, it is Pagett and Millward’s take on the deficiencies of the western scientific world view and why the West has been so doggedly slow at grasping Eastern energy concepts like EFT. Our notions around spirituality seep deep within Principles of EFT and serve as a backdrop for the spiritually aspiring reader to grasp concepts of Enlightenment. We suggest, as Dr Hartmann asserts, that EFT can be used to help take mankind to the next level of development and beyond. If Dr Hartmann’s contribution to EFT is EnergyEFT, then our contribution is SpiritualEFT.

That sounds fascinating, if not a little highbrow?

Whilst Principles of EFT is accessible to everyone, those that will appreciate it the most are likely to be more spiritually discerning. Some of the concepts might be challenging for the western mind to fully grasp; yet as we have already mentioned it’s a fun and easy read too. As Silvia Hartmann says “EFT should never be dour!”

Finally, what is the future for EFT?

It is our hope and prayer that people will enjoy and gain tremendous value and insight from Principles of EFT. EFT has traditionally been concerned with remedial EFT. The future lies with Silvia Hartmann’s positive EFT and a further exploration of what we call spiritual EFT – moving people into the bliss and bringing people to enlightenment.

To find out more about Principles of EFT, visit the Singing Dragon website.

Singing Dragon New and Bestselling titles Autumn-Winter 2014 and 2015

This fully interactive brochure has all of the new Singing Dragon titles for the Autumn and Winter of 2014 as well upcoming titles for 2015. In here you will find books on Chinese medicine, complementary therapies, martial arts, nutrition, yoga, ayurveda, qigong, Daoism, aromatherapy, and many more alternative therapies and ancient wisdom traditions.


Click on the covers or titles to be taken to the book’s page on the Singing Dragon website. If you would like to request hard copies please email hello@singingdragon.com with your details and the number of copies you would like.

The right path in acupuncture needling: putting your soul in it – by Ioannis Solos

Solos - Hua TuoWhen you look through paintings of ancient acupuncturists, you can’t help noticing that most of them hold long walking sticks or calligraphy brushes, swords, or bottle gourds. Of course, these “objects” were included in the paintings for a special reason. The pole, the sword and the calligraphy brush share many common core theories, but ultimately these instruments are intended to become extensions of the hands, and connect with the inside, or as the Chinese say: 内外合一 (the internal and the external become as one). Only then, the energies can flow unobstructed and the Intention (意) can reach the tip of the instrument, like is demanded in the calligraphy or martial theory. The bottle gourds often represent the “dantian”. The ancient acupuncturists would often hang bottle gourds at the door of their clinics, as a sign that they are medical specialists and have entered the gate of the Tao.

Most specifically for the pole, in basic Yiquan training, one first should pay attention in holding the body of the stick firmly, always looking at its tip, while seeking the forces in the six directions (up-down, left-right, back and front). At this stage these rules would ensure the establishment of a correct frame and the ability to exert whole body power towards one point, which is the tip of the pole (点) where the intention and spirit should always project towards.

Although the acupuncture needle is a much smaller instrument however, similar rules apply. For example, in the Neijing we learn that:

The Tao of grasping the needle requires holding it firmly, like it is a precious treasure. Insert [the needle] with the finger straight [perpendicular], and not angling towards either the left or right. The spirit is at the tip of the needle. Focus on the patient. Be careful to avoid blood vessels, and then needling will bring no harm. (Ling Shu—Jiu Zhen Shi Er Yuan)

Traditionally, acupuncture training was inseparably connected to the training of spirit (shen 神) and intention (yi  – 意). This was accomplished through rigorous Neigong training. It is not by accident that besides the Imperial Palaces and the cities, traditional medicine often flourished around Taoist and Buddhist centers, where people trained martial arts and required realistic tuina, traumatology and acupuncture skills. Taoist and Buddhist Doctors were able to make martial and medical connections early on and strongly enhance the efficacy of their treatment, eventually reaching high levels of mastery. The ability to develop good body frame (in agreement with the internal and external harmonies), concentrate the spirit, train the mind and intention, were also vital for acupuncture, and could strongly influence the outcome of the treatment:

A continuous failure to induce curative effect is due to the acupuncturist’s inability to concentrate his spirit essence. When one pays no attention to the mind and intention, his internal and external [harmonies] will be in disagreement, and this will give rise to doubt and may lead to danger. (Su Wen— Zheng Si Shi Lun)

The [correct] method for using the needle demands to [completely] understand the physical form and qi, and their position. Left and right, upper and lower, yin and yang, exterior and interior, and whether [the amount] of qi and blood is sufficient or scanty, [or] if the movement [of qi] obeys or counters [the normal flow]. [If one completely] understands whether the [qi movement] obeys or counters [the normal flow] then they can establish how to best offer treatment. Examine the roots and branches, check about cold and heat (i.e. chills and fever), derive the location of the evil, and acupuncture needling will not cause any harm. (Ling Shu—Guang Neng)

Acupuncturists who have practiced Yiquan, can often use their understanding of the art to direct the intention-yi (意) towards the tip of the needle, and strongly influence the movement of qi.

Zhan Zhuang is the most direct way to reach such a goal because it’s simple, flexible and literally to the point. Connecting the inner with the outer, consciously controlling your every movement and progressing in your training daily will enable you to reach beyond and above all written instruction. You learn in the void, and that’s where the best things come from. But after reaching that point, that’s when you become your own teacher, or a “universal teacher” as is described in the martial classics, and then everything is possible.

The true qi follows tranquility and nihility (i.e. the void). If the essence and the spirit are guarded internally, how can illness develop? (Su Wen—Shang Gu Tian Zhen Lun)

Because of the way standard TCM is practiced these days, this training is something that many seem to neglect. I hope that through my latest book, western acupuncturists have a rare chance to develop this understanding, and refine their practice towards eventually reaching higher levels of mastery.

Ioannis Solos studied Traditional Chinese Medicine at Middlesex University and the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. He enjoys researching, teaching, practicing and critically interpreting the ancient philosophy and culture of China, internal martial arts, health preservation practices, classic medical texts and lesser-known Chinese esoteric traditions. He is the author of Developing Internal Energy for Effective Acupuncture Practice and Gold Mirrors and Tongue Reflections, both published by Singing Dragon. 

Request a copy of our 2014 Singing Dragon new and bestselling books

SD logo 300 x 300 pixelsOur brand new catalogue of books and resources from will be available soon.

Click here to sign up for a free copy.

Our new catalogue has essential new titles from Charles Buck (Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine: Roots of Modern Practice) and Clare Harvey (The Practitioner’s Encyclopedia of Flower Remedies).

This is a great opportunity for parents to get a hold of Damo Mitchell’s newest book, The Four Dragons as well as Ioannis Solos’ Developing Internal Energy for Effective Acupuncture Practice.

There are useful new resources for every practice like Getting Better at Getting People Better by Noah Karrasch, and the new fully updated edition of A Guide to Living with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (Hypermobility Type) by Isobel Knight.

To request a copy of the catalogue please click here.

Click this link to see more forthcoming books from Singing Dragon.

New books coming up from Singing Dragon…

2014 has been an exciting year for Singing Dragon with the publication of some truly groundbreaking books; from The Spark in the Machine and Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches – TianGan DiZhi, to Rasa Shastra and The Compleat Acupuncturist. But we’re not finished yet! Here are some of the exciting titles coming to you in the rest of 2014:

Buck_Acupuncture-and_978-1-84819-159-4_colourjpg-webAcupuncture and Chinese Medicine
by Charles Buck

Charles Buck, the chairman of the British Acupuncture Council, draws on three decades of study, practice and teaching in this book to provide a relevant and engaging account of the origins of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. From its pre-Han dynasty roots to Chinese medicine as we know it today, Buck covers the key texts, the main scholars and the concepts they have contributed to the greater body of knowledge. With Buck’s lucid and engaging style, Roots of Modern Practice is going to be the new ‘must-read’ resource that will help practitioners and students deepen their understanding of this great medical tradition.

Hamwee_Zero-Balancing_978-1-84819-234-8_colourjpg-webZero Balancing
by John Hamwee

The definitive guide to Zero Balancing brings this increasingly popular therapy to life. It contains a clear description of the anatomy and physiology of energy which leads on to a compelling explanation of how and why this form of bodywork can have such powerful effects. Throughout, there are illustrations which convey the unique energy of a Zero Balancing session and John Hamwee provides fascinating examples of clients, their experiences and the outcomes of the work.

 

 

Tisserand_Aromatherapy-vs_978-1-84819-237-9_colourjpg-webAromatherapy vs MRSA
by Maggie Tisserand

Breaking new ground in the field of essential oils, this scientifically based but accessible book addresses the challenge of serious infection, especially MRSA, in hospitals, in the community, and in animals. Maggie Tisserand focuses on the scientifically proven effects of antibacterial essential oils, and their usefulness in managing infection, including the ‘superbug’.

 

 

 

Hellas_Yogic-Cooking-N_978-1-84819-249-2_colourjpg-webYogic Cooking
by Garuda Hellas

Yogic cooking is nutritious, easy to digest and free of toxins, allowing you to improve your health, keep your body strong and facilitate spiritual revolution. The aim of yoga is to cultivate a physical, mental and psychic balance so that higher states of being can be experienced. This can be achieved through a balanced vegetarian diet that includes all the essential vitamins and minerals. This books contains 56 delicious and easy-to-follow recipes, with something for every occasion it is the perfect introduction to the ayurvedic approach to life.

 

Quayle_Mouses-House-Ch_978-1-84819-247-8_colourjpg-webThe Mouse’s House
by Susan Quayle

A beautiful children’s book that combines reflexology with delightfully engaging rhymes and illustrations. Written by a specialist maternity reflexologist, it features easy-to-follow diagrams and instructions for giving basic reflexology to a child during a bedtime (or anytime) story.

 

All of these books are available for pre-order now. To receive notifications for new books in your areas of interest, sign up for the Singing Dragon mailing list.

Skin meditation – extract from Body Intelligence Meditation

In this chapter, Ged Sumner offers up a fascinating account of how the human body works in relation to the skin, and other collagen constructs of the body. He provides us with a meditation that allows us to feel every inch of our skin wrapped around our body and feel the wholeness of the organ.

 Read the extract…Sumner_Body-Intelligen_978-1-84819-174-7_colourjpg-web

This meditation is taken from Body Intelligence Meditation: Finding presence through embodiment by Ged Sumner. The book is available to purchase from the Singing Dragon website.

Contents include:
Preface. 1. What is Real? 2. Felt Sense Awareness. 3. Dynamic Stillness. 4. Peace and Autonomic Order. 5. The Amazing Connective Tissue System. 6. Diaphragmatic Wholeness. 7. Breath and Life. 8. Inner Volume and Depth. 9. Fluid Body and Bliss. 10. Being Centred. 11. Embryonic Mind. 12. Internal and External Circulation. 13. Inner Cell. 14. Hormonal Space. 15. Brain Balancing. 16. Life Continuum. 17. Integration.

Click here to listen to this meditation online

The rewards of using homeopathy with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Andrews_Homeopathy-and_978-1-84819-168-6_colourjpg-printThe rewards of using homeopathy with Autism Spectrum Disorder – by Mike Andrews

I have been practicing as a professional homeopath since 1990. I have an open door policy to referrals and most clients self refer to me. In the past I have had a special interest in working with clients with fertility problems, skin conditions and asthma.

I have over the years worked with many children, and their parents, with ADD, ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder. I find working with ASD children particularly rewarding as the changes that I have seen homeopathy bring about in their and their parents lives is immensely heart-warming.

As is common in the Autism community when parents find something that benefits their child they tell other parents about it. This is how my Autism practice has grown. The changes can be so obvious that other parents will ask ‘What you have been doing to help your child so much?’

The changes can be most observable in social skills in public, the changes that go on ‘behind closed doors’ are often dramatic in terms of improved family relationships, eating a wider range of foods and less repetitive or aggressive behaviour.

In my book Homeopathy and Autism Spectrum Disorder I wanted to look at the types of results homeopaths around the world were achieving and to see how they compared with my experience. Many positive small cohort studies have been published. I refer to these studies in the book and also chose to interviewed colleagues from around the world.  Homeopaths working in Australia, the US, Israel, India and the UK contributed generously to the publication.

Nutritional approaches or biomedicine are often the first step that parents take in to non-conventional medicine when they are dissatisfied by state provision of services. Myself, and other homeopaths, have found that significant further gains can be made even for those children that have been following a dietary regime and supplementation program for some time. Observing a seven year old boy, who had been on a nutritional program for a year when his parents first consulted me, significant cognitive and motor skill improvements followed the introduction of a homeopathic remedy. His nutritionist then suggested stopping the old program, and various tests, before starting a new revised program; at this point the child’s tantrums increased although other gains were maintained. He was then prescribed a different homeopathic medication which helped him greatly even before he started the new nutritional supplements.

Homeopathy is very much an individualised treatment modality which is both its strength and its weakness. Being so individualised it is hard to fit homeopathic treatment into conventional research protocols and it is difficult to give advice for self treatment. However with a choice of over 3500 homeopathic medicines to choose from the child, or indeed adult, with ASD can receive a remedy which takes full account of their individual characteristics and symptoms. Homeopathic treatment is not about de-toxing, although that can be part of the treatment plan, but more a holistic treatment. Homeopathy views everyone’s symptoms, whether autistic or not, as a dynamic whole mind-body disturbance and they are treated with a dynamic homeopathic remedy. Homeopathy works with the ‘vital’ force’, Chinese traditional medicine with the ‘chi’. The exact mechanism of homeopathy is still not fully understood, although it probably lies in the realms of quantum physics. Reading my book will give you as a parent or career for someone with autism, or a professional working with families, a good understanding of homeopathy and the results that have been achieved if you work with a properly qualified and registered Homeopath.

Mike Andrews DSH RSHom graduated from Misha Norland’s School of Homeopathy (UK) in 1990. He has taught at many UK homeopathic colleges: London College of Classical Homeopathy, Purton House School of Homeopathy and on the BSc (Hons) Health Sciences: Homeopathy module at the University of Westminster. He has been in full-time homeopathic practice since 1990 and has been a Registered Member of the Society of Homeopaths since 1994. He practiced in West Sussex for many years, but now works in London and Ludlow, Shropshire. Over more than twenty three years in practice, he has worked with many children and their parents, giving him a good practical understanding of child development. He has worked with children with diagnoses of dyspraxia, dyslexia, ADHD, ADD, Asperger’s and Autism. He is the author of Homeopathy and Autism Spectrum Disorder