Wednesday, April 13, 2011

First Aid . . . for Pets!

I was reading an article online this morning and a caption caught my eye: "If your dog was choking, would you know what to do?" No, despite getting trained regularly in First Aid and CPR as a healthcare professional, I wouldn't know how to stop a dog from choking. Dogs do have a habit of eating like wolves, that is, gulping down whole chunks of food without chewing. Choking would not be a hard thing to imagine.

I clicked on the link and it took me to the American Red Cross website where they were selling books, one on First Aid for dogs and another for First Aid for cats. As a lifelong pet owner, I realized that I didn't know how to do the Heimlich Maneuver on a pet. Now I do.

So for those of you whose family includes a beloved furry-faced, four-pawed member, you might want to read up on pet First Aid.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Alchemical Acupuncture, from Jeffrey C. Yuen

I was reading through my notes from a class in Chinese Philosophical Thought that I took with Jeffrey C. Yuen in the Fall of 2009. It was a wonderful class (well, I'm a philosophy nerd), and found this wonderful section on alchemical acupuncture:

One of the most important doctors of the Tang Dynasty, Sun Si-Miao, started using salt moxa on the navel. Sea salt represents the taste of Water, place it into the navel, then put moxa cones on top of that. As the salt absorbs the heat, it drives it into that area that is mysterious, the connection back into the source, Source Qi. That Fire will transmute that Source Qi, that Jing in your navel, and will allow you to do visualizing. If I am to go back to the formless, what form do I want to be in? The person is visualizing what they want out of their life. From the formless created the formless spark to generate form. You have to do this with “clarity, simplicity and purity, which brings completion.”

Begin with the "passage to the spirit" (Ren 8). Once this is activated, you have the "great meeting," the idea of Jiao, Exchange, between Yin and Yang (Fire meets Water). Then needle where Yin and Yang exchange, which is Ren 7,bringing Yang to Yin. Yin Jiao is right underneath the navel, and distally GB-35, left and right, emanating from that single point, nothingness giving birth to somethingness, Yin, and that somethingness gives birth to everything else. In Daoist cosmology, The One divides in two, the two give birth to a third, and the three give birth to the Ten Thousand Things (all the forms that exist in life).

Alchemical acupuncture is for patients who are stuck in their point of view. You’ve tried everything with them, but things just aren’t changing. They feel frustrated and don’t know where to turn next.

- Salt moxa on Ren-8
- Silver needles on Ren -7, and then GB-35 bilaterally. The needles will become tarnished by the impurities of patient’s life. (Silver is a much more powerful conductor of Qi, of electricity, than the stainless steel or copper needles we usually use.)
- During the needling, the patient is visualizing what they want in their life, who they want to be.

Best candidate for alchemy is a patient who thinks nothing is happening in their life. Patient cannot perceive any change, cannot feel anything happening. They may not be allowing changes to occur. They don't see any options for themselves, a very common state of mind. We have to open up their portals to help them get outside of their usual point of view, to open them to the possibility of change.

Practitioners, please let me know what results you get if you decide to try this with some of your more difficult to treat patients. Thank you. And thanks, Jeffrey. What a privilege to learn from you!

Monday, April 4, 2011

FDA Hearings on the Effects of Artificial Food Dyes on Children

Having just returned from testifying before an FDA committee considering whether to put a warning label on foods that contain FD&C synthetic food dyes, I am happy to report that although we lost the vote, it was close. Eight members of the committee voted against warning labels, and six members voted in favor. Not bad, considering how rich and powerful the chemical companies are. I'm considering it enormous progress in the fight for pure foods.

If you or someone you know of has ever had a reaction to a food additive of any sort, there is a webpage where you can go to report it. The FDA argued that so few people had reactions that they did not feel compelled to add a warning to food labels at this time. I know that isn't true. Just since posting on my Facebook page that I was going to testify about my own severe reaction to Yellow No. 5, a slew of people responded saying they knew of someone.

So here is the link:

I was happy to get an email from a lawyer who testified about her four year old son's extreme reaction to food dyes. Apparently top chefs are getting onboard, stating that they never use artificial ingredients of any kind in their foods, and recommend eating only pure foods. I have thought for several years now that approaching famous chefs might be a great way to get the word out about the harm that artificial food additives can do, from MSG to texturized vegetable protein (TVP) to artificial colors and flavors, to citric acid. This list is nearly endless.

My advice? Don't eat anything from a package. Eat fresh vegetables and meats and grains and nuts and seeds and fruits. Simple, right? And so delicious!!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Influence of the Earth School . . .

Life is short, so I want to blog about Taoist medicine, not so much about the intersection of politics and medicine in general, though I'm sure from time to time there will be things I think worth saying about that intersection.

But the utter passion of my life is the medicine brought to this country by Jeffrey C. Yuen, Taoist master, medical genius, and my teacher.  That is what the Transformative Medicine blog is primarily going to be about in future.

I noticed a single paragraph in my notes from the Third Weekend of the two-year herbal course I'm taking with Jeffrey:

"The question revolves around Ming Men. If you go back to the Nei Jing, there is no mention of Du-4 as Ming Men. There is a concept of Ming Men, but no specific location is given. According to CCM, the constitution should not be toyed with, you don’t use those points casually, represent sacred aspect of body. Irresponsible to go straight to pre-natal level when you can work with post-natal. So don’t treat middle back because you will arouse the lower back, refers to relationship of KI supporting the SP. Some people say Du-3 is really Ming Men! You would instead work with Du-14 instead."

This is an unexpected interdiction. I and most of my colleagues think nothing of applying moxabustion to Du-4, thinking we can tonify the Original Qi very directly that way (well, at least KI Yang).  But he's saying that it could be considered irresponsible to work with pre-natal qi when you can work with post-natal qi. I do a lot of Eight Extra treatments in my private practice, it's just the sort of patients I get, people who want to go in and work out all the kinks from their childhood and family relationships, and the various imbalances in their relationship to the world at large as well. Yet, Jeffrey here is pointing out that we should work with Du-14 instead of directly affected Ming Men.

Food for thought. Yes, why not use Du-14 instead of Ming Men?  It would allow the deepest energies of a patient's body draw from that well of Yang energy, rather than imposing my will as a practitioner on something so profound, so . . . personal as a patient's source of their deepest, most cosmic self.  The principle of non-interference. Jeffrey here is suggesting that we consider carefully whether it is the best choice to directly affect the gate through which a person's soul enters into this body, into this incarnation.  It is a sacred gate, Ming Men, and ought not be used to treat everyday issues.

We Westerners are so quick to take action, to DO something, to have an effect, to change things quickly and strongly.  Perhaps it behooves us as practitioners of an Eastern medical art to approach healing with less force, with less need for things to change quickly or obviously.  Developing a softer approach will require some self-cultivation for most of us in the U.S. Patience. Trust. Gentleness. Acceptance. These subtle qualities take time and attention to develop, but what a lovely thing to be working on!