Singing Dragon attends the annual British Acupuncture Council conference

The annual British Acupuncture Council conference, this year held for the first time in Daventry in Northamptonshire, took place on 26-28 September and was a great success.

Franglen, NoraEckman, Peter (photo by Marina Chentsova Eckman)This was my first trip to the conference representing Singing Dragon as Senior Commissioning Editor and I was thrilled with our strong presence at the conference and to witness the real buzz around our books, particularly those authored by conference speakers. Our authors Peter Eckman and Nora Franglen spoke at the conference; Nora delivering the Keynote lecture on Saturday and Peter delivering a two-part lecture on ‘Resonance and spirit’. This was Peter’s first visit to the UK since 1997 so it was a privilege to hear him speak and the British Acupuncture Council were delighted to welcome him to conference.

Kevin Durjan, Conference Manager, said last year that he was trying to bring back the spiritual side of acupuncture to the BAcC and this was clearly evident in the choice of the theme of ‘Shen‘ for this year’s conference. The lectures, sessions and workshops ranged from very practical sessions with skills which practitioners could immediately take back to their practice (Andy Harrop’s wonderful two-part ‘The treatment of scars using Japanese acupuncture’ is a prime example) to excellent insights into classical theory relating to spirit (Peter Eckman’s talks, and those of Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallee).

Buck, CharlesBuck_Acupuncture-and_978-1-84819-159-4_colourjpg-webSinging Dragon’s expansive book list was commented on by many visiting the stand and we sold many books, particularly Peter Eckman’s The Compleat Acupuncturist, Nora Franglen’s series on Five Element Acupuncture, and of course Charles Buck’s new book Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. Singing Dragon sponsored the wine reception on Saturday evening and we had a fantastic book launch of Charles Buck’s book. Charles and I enjoyed introducing the book to all those assembled in the evening sunshine and he then signed copies afterwards. The book is an accessible and engaging journey through the history of Chinese medicine that explains how modern practice has evolved and, importantly, reminds us that it will continue to evolve and adapt to modern circumstances.

As Charles says in his introduction, ‘We will see that classical Chinese medicine is really not a single tradition but the constant reinterpretation and adjustment of classical doctrine to meet the changing clinical challenges of different times, and yet supported by the structure that the ancient truisms gave‘.

By Claire Wilson, Senior Commissioning Editor for Singing Dragon

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.

Making your acupuncture sessions unique, personal and amazing

Solos_Developing-Inte_978-1-84819-183-9_colourjpg-web

Making your acupuncture sessions unique, personal and amazing – by Ioannis Solos

As acupuncturists, we all wish to provide quality treatment and patient satisfaction, and each time a patient praises our healing abilities it reaffirms our belief that we are doing something right.

However, what makes a patient happy is not always our level of competence in meridian diagnosis, but also various interpersonal and esoteric skills that some tend to identify and cultivate better than others.

In this article, I will speak about the patient-doctor connections as described in the classical theories of Chinese acupuncture.

According to the early Confucian traditions, when doctors exercise compassion and benevolence, they can become not only successful healers but also restore faith in the medical field. This is why a doctor-scholar should embark upon a meticulous study of the classics, and as Chen Shi Gong advised: “learn the contents by heart and understand them with the eyes”.

The Confucian ideas about benevolence, compassion and seeking deeper understanding, were also evident in the early theories of Chinese acupuncture.

One of the central and most esoteric concepts in Chinese Medicine is the theory of “Controlling the Spirit”.

The term “Controlling the Spirit” or “Zhi Shen” [治神] is made up of two characters, zhi 治 and shen 神. The character zhi in this term is used in the context of control and recuperate. The character shen is made up of two parts: the radical shi 礻, which means worshiping; and the character shen 申 that stands for the ninth earthly branch, meaning “to extend” or “to expand.” In the oracle bones, the most ancient version of the character shen appears as depicting a man and a woman having sexual intercourse. The same character is also included within the character dian 電 for lightning, as the outcome of the “intercourse” between heaven and earth. This sense of “closeness,” “intimacy “and “connecting” is perhaps one of the most beautiful concepts of our medical tradition, although it should always be followed by the rules of etiquette and propriety.

Building and maintaining a positive doctor-patient therapeutic relationship is vital for healing and re-balancing. This is not only important in the social sense but also for therapeutic synchronization and treatment management. Timid and difficult patients are sometimes hard to treat. Helping them to relax, focus and take part in the treatment ritual is an art. However, this is also something that many need to re-discover, explore and apply with creativity and a sense of responsibility. Tailoring your approach in accordance to the needs of each patient will certainly ensure the positive outcome of each acupuncture session.

In the classic Chinese Medicine literature we read:

Therefore, when using the needle, one should examine and observe the patient’s bearing (i.e. posture and movement), and identify if the essence (jing), spirit (shen), ethereal soul (hun) and corporeal soul (po) are preserved or lost. If the five [spirits] have already been injured, acupuncture will be unable to provide treatment. (Ling Shu—Ben Shen)
If using acupuncture to treat, you should assist the [patient’s] spirit to focus and then needle. [This procedure does] not only [apply] for needling but [you should] also allow the [patient’s] spirit to become stable before moving the qi. If the spirit is out of focus, then don’t needle. If the spirit is stable you can treat [by both needle and moving the qi]. (Biao You Fu)
When needling, the patient’s spirit qi must be stable (focused), and his breathing even. The doctor should also do this (i.e. focus and adjust his breathing), and not be hasty. (Zhen Jiu Da Cheng)

In my new book Developing Internal Energy for Effective Acupuncture Practice, I tried to explain various ancient ideas that are rarely clarified in the current TCM literature, alongside a rigorous training regime.

Cultivating your overall health, increasing your spiritual awareness and making the right energetic connections with your patients will certainly enhance your understanding of the medical art and open your eyes to a much larger world.

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 Gold Mirrors and Tongue Reflections and the new book Developing Internal Energy for Effective Acupuncture Practice: Zhan Zhuang, Yi Qi Gong and the Art of Painless Needle Insertion.

Shōnishin: the many applications of non-invasive acupuncture – by Thomas Wernicke

Oppenheimer-Wer_Shonishin_978-1-84819-160-0_colourjpg-web

Shōnishin is a non-invasive form of acupuncture developed specifically to respond to the needs of children. Instead of needles gentle stimulation all over the body is performed with a tool, which is rather like a nail, by different stroking techniques. In addition to the stroking techniques, different tapping techniques are used in certain areas and vibration techniques on acupuncture points.

In the past few years a steadily increasing interest in Shōnishin has become noticeable outside its home country of Japan, especially in Europe, Britain, and the United States.

So what makes Shōnishin so popular with therapists, parents and children? There are many reasons:

  • Therapists see Shōnishin as a way of developing as a practitioner
  • The treatment is simple and effective, and the successes speak for themselves
  • Children love this treatment as it has a pleasant feel to them
  • Parents are very accepting of the treatment as it is gentle and non-invasive.

Another reason for the spreading of Shōnishin is that this treatment method can be used field-specifically. Depending on the therapist’s professional background, as a doctor, alternative practitioner, Shiatsu-practitioner, physiotherapist or midwife, the patient collective, and thereby the indications, are different.

By way of example, approximately 70-80% of all midwifes in Germany have an acupuncture education – and thereby are qualified to practice Shōnishin. For them, Shōnishin offers great opportunities to support newborn babies suffering from feeding difficulties, abdominal pain, developmental problems or even excessive crying. In the event of a needle phobia, Shōnishin is an alternative for pregnant women while preparing for birth or as a supporting treatment for women who have recently given birth and suffer from involutional problems or blocked milk ducts.

The area of application of Shōnishin for orthopedics is completely different from that of midwives. Their focus is mainly on children with problems related to posture and the musculoskeletal system. On the other hand pediatricians apply Shōnishin with infants suffering from problems of the digestive system, the respiratory system or developmental disorders, whereas allergies and neurodermatitis are in the foreground with older children.

General practitioners are finding the technique useful for children or adolescents with concentration problems in school, ADHD or enuresis.

Shiatsu practitioners often apply Shōnishin in combination with baby-shiatsu or children-shiatsu, in order to support them in their development. Physiotherapists can show better successes in the treatment of hemiparetic children, as the usually increased tonicity can be decreased by additional treatment with Shōnishin and thereby the children become more treatable.

shonishinFor acupuncturists, especially for those who focus on treating children, a new field of action comes in appearance with Shōnishin, respectively an existing one can be widened. Furthermore, Shōnishin is an interesting supplement – or even an alternative for any therapist with acupuncture knowledge using manual methods.

Shōnishin is being used as an alternative to acupuncture in women’s shelters, mother-child facilities and nurseries. In this case women and children who are in difficult social or monetary situations, abandoned, without any obvious way out, are supported. These include traumatised women and children (for instance victims of rape), who are only able to permit touching due to the “interposed” Shōnishin instrument which means no dermal contact with the skin takes place.

Another field of application for Shōnishin will be in the treatment of the elderly. Particular parameters like skin conditions and mental conditions seem to show retrogression into childhood. First experiences with Shōnishin in residential care homes show promising treatment approaches. Even here it becomes obvious, that treatment with a Shōnishin instrument is advantageous: seniors often suffer from a shortage of physical contact. With Shōnishin the contact doesn’t take place directly, but indirectly with an instrument. For that reason seniors have no fear of contact and are willing to allow the treatment.  Another advantage of treating elderly people with Shōnishin is that many of them have to take blood-thinning medicines. Due to the non-invasive and gentle treatment technique with Shōnishin, there is no contraindication.

Conclusion

Shōnishin is about to play an important role in the treatment of children. Shōnishin finds its application in doctor’s or acupuncturist’s surgeries, midwife work and increasingly in clinics. During the last years we can observe in the framework of congresses (TCM, acupuncture, pediatrics) an increasing demand for Shōnishin lectures and events. An increasing number of doctors and non-doctors (alternative practitioner, physiotherapists, midwives, Shiatsu-practitioners) are discovering this exceptionally gentle and effective type of treatment.

 

Thomas Wernicke is a licensed General Practitioner with qualifications in complementary medicine, Chinese and Japanese acupuncture. He has been the Training Manager for Daishi Hari Shōnishin in Europe since 2004. His new book: Shōnishin: The Art of Non-Invasive Paediatric Acupuncture is now available from Singing Dragon. This complete and user-friendly guide provides everything practitioners should know about Shōnishin and how this therapy can be used with different age ranges, especially young children.

 

Singing Dragon complete 2014

This fully interactive brochure has all of the new Singing Dragon titles for the spring and summer of 2014 as well as our complete backlist. 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.

VIDEO: Why Western medicine needs Chinese medicine

In this Q&A session Dr Daniel Keown, author of The Spark in the Machine, explains why Western medicine can no longer afford to ignore what Chinese medicine has to offer patients.

Dr Keown’s book presents a radical new integrative model for looking at the human body which shows how everything Chinese medicine says about anatomy, including meridians, acupoints, and Qi, is backed up by Western embryology. The Spark in the Machine is available from the Singing Dragon website.

VIDEO: What are acupuncture points?

Emergency doctor and acupuncturist, Dr Daniel Keown, explains his groundbreaking theory that integrates western embryology with ancient Chinese knowledge to explain how acupuncture works in a way that lines up with both eastern and western medical tradtions.


This is part of the theory behind Dr Keown’s revolutionary new book, The Spark in the Machine, which could change the way we think about alternative and mainstream medicine forever. The book is available to order now from the Singing Dragon website.