East Coast Engaging Vitality Course

One of the practitioners at White Pine Healing Arts, Jack Radner, is offering the Module I of the Engaging Vitality course here in Amherst this October.  You can download the  Engaging Vitality Flyer here.  You can get more information at the website, www.EngagingVitality.com and also contact Jack directly with any questions at jackradner@gmail.com.
EV Flyer

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Engaging Vitality: A Guest Post

th-5White Pine Institute has been lucky to have hosted the Engaging Vitality series in our old barn – now clinic and class space.  The  series here was organized by one of our practitioners, Jack Radner.  Now a long time student of the Graduate Mentorship Program and the Engaging Vitality series, Jennifer Spain, is hosting the program, April 23-24, in Raliegh, NC.  Below is her description of how the work has influenced her.  You can download the flyer here.

Engaging Vitality, A Palpation-based Approach to Treatment: Revisited

In 2014, I was fortunate enough to be a participant in the three-module course, Engaging Vitality (EV), held at White Pine Healing Arts. The teachers, Marguerite Dinkins, Dan Bensky, and Chip Chace, presented a way to integrate palpation techniques based on osteopathic methods into the practice of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Jack Radner organized the course, and I invite you to read his blog post to get a feel for the class material.

th-6Over the past year, I have been applying the techniques I learned, and I have continually been both surprised and inspired by the way EV has deepened my practice. I have been so inspired, in fact, that I have decided to host the first module of the course in my hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina. You can find more information about the curriculum here.

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Formula Families and More

1bb6f5aa718011e2417a54870f16c043Happy New Year!

May your aspirations blow through and fill you like the wind in a sail, taking you where your heart wants to go!

Practitioners have begun to register for the upcoming 8th White Pine Institute Graduate Mentorship Program (GMP).  It is important to let you know that, when you register, you obtain access to our GMP student library.  Our library is full to the brim with excellent free study opportunities that can help prepare students for the autumn start of the GMP.  So what is there?


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Seeing the Doctor in Taiwan

IMG_2196Other than the visit to the KPC factory, I had a couple of other interesting medical adventures while visiting Taiwan.  One is that I went to see the doctor for a chronic cough I experience.  We were visiting a city called Chiayi and found a small herb shop while we were wandering around.  There was a young (looking) doctor there to Ba Mai, meaning to feel pulses, meaning to see patients.  So, I decided to see what he could offer me.

2015-12-12 15.27.22

My nearly fluent daughter

We did the intake (with my nearly fluent daughter helping us communicate as her Chinese is SO much better than mine).  I decided to get the herbs in a powder form since I was traveling and couldn’t cook them up for a while.

I remember reading a blog post by Michael Max several years ago in which he described doctors in Taiwan prescribing powder formulas as single herbs.  The doctor I saw did the same thing.  He gave me 3 different formulas along with some other herbs and each formula was dosed as a single herb.  The formulas he gave me were Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San, Zi Su San and Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Tang. Continue reading

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Visit to the KPC factory

IMG_1368I just returned from a whirlwind (10 days) trip to Tainan, Taiwan.  My daughter is living there with her boyfriend studying the Chinese Language at the National Cheng Kung University.  In addition to having lots of adventures with her while I was there, I also had a chance to visit the KPC factory, which is also in Tainan.  It was a very worthwhile and interesting visit!

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Awakening Authentic Presence Course

Last spring I graduate from a three-year program that is part of the 3-Doors Academy.   Marcy Vaughn is one of my teachers and mentors from that program.  I can’t tell you how beautiful and rich her presence is.  I am so pleased that she is coming to Massachusetts to teach this course.  These precious teachings have made a huge positive difference for me in my personal as well as professional life. So read on and let me know if you have any questions.  You can also read about this and register from this link.


Awakening Authentic Presence:

Meditations with Voice and Silence

A 4-day residential meditation retreat with Marcy Vaughn

February 4-7, (arrival and dinner, evening of February 3,  2016)
The Center for Cultural Evolution
68 Van Nuys Road ~ Colrain, MA

Resting our attention on the stillness of the body, inner silence, and the spaciousness of being, we connect with the source of healing and creativity within. Sitting in circle, in fellowship with other practitioners, you will be guided to enter and abide in the sacred architecture of the channels and chakras within your body. Resting your attention in each energetic center and journeying into that center with sound and silence, you are supported to release and rest, to allow your experience fully, and to honor any injuries that need tending. As the sacred space of your being opens while resting in the power and warmth of the collective presence of others, the emergence of healing qualities and a freshness of vision can arise to inspire and guide your life. Awareness is embodied as your authentic presence spontaneously emerges.

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Tiny Formulas: Gan Cao Gan Jiang Tang

licorice_root-gan_caoLicorice and Ginger Decoction (gān cǎo gān jiāng tāng) is a most useful tiny formula to understand.  I hope readers take some time with this post so that this a real relationship with this little building block of so many formulas can sink in.  In another post, this formula is mentioned as part of the formula Cinnamon Twig, Poria, Schisandra, and Licorice Decoction, remove cinnamon, add Ginger, Asari, and Pinellia (guì líng wǔ wèi gān cǎo qu gui jia jiang xin xia tāng).  Although the proportions are different, the two herbs, Gan Cao and Gan Jiang are in many formulas such as Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang, Gan Cao Xie Xin Tang, Si Ni Tang, Li Zhong Wan and many more.  Below we see that Pao Jiang is sometimes used in place of Gan Jiang when there is bleeding.  This combination can be seen in the formula Sheng Hua Tang (click to read a post on this formula). Many formulas include Sheng Jiang and Gan Cao.  It is not uncommon in my practice to substitute Gan Jiang for Sheng Jiang in certain formulas such as Wen Jing Tang, thereby integrating the ideas of Gan Cao Gan Jiang Tang. Continue reading

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Another Small Formula: Zhi Shi Shao Yao San

pr-hx0081bWow, it’s Autumn here in New England and it’s been a year since I last posted on this blog!  I now have a blog challenge going with Eran Even so I’m motivated!

I’m continuing by revisiting the long lost series on tiny formulas from the Shang Han Lun and Jin Gui Yao Lue.  I believe that it is extremely important to know and understand the tiny formulas because they are the building blocks of bigger formulas.   I’ve explained how understanding small formulas helps us understand the power of larger formulas, using Wen Jing Tang as the example in this lecture.  (You have to have a free account and login to medigogy to view this).

The next tiny formula, made up of just two herbs taken with barley gruel, is:

Zhi Shi Shao Yao San

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Growing Chinese herbs organically in the US

Hu zhang photo Sally Rappeport

Hu zhang photo Sally Rappeport

Guest Post by Sally Rappeport

More frequently than ever before our patients express concerns about pesticides in the herbs we sell to them. As practitioners we need to both educate ourselves and support various efforts that counteract these concerns. In China, regulations are slowly emerging but perhaps not as quickly or as effectively as we might prefer.

In the US, there are several farming endeavors that are being established around this country that are expanding the scope of possibility for us to choose where we source our herbs.

More needs to happen, but as a practitioner who has been aware of these issues for 10 years, it is notable to see how much is in the ground at this time. Most significantly, these efforts will not be able to continue growing without our demand for the final products – the herbs.

Harvesting Huang Bai Photo Jean Giblette

Harvesting Huang Bai Photo Jean Giblette

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Tiny Formulas 4: Bàn Xià Gān Jiāng Sān

ganjiang.gif半夏干姜散证案Bàn Xià Gān Jiāng Sān (Pinellia and Dried Ginger Powder)

Bàn Xià Gān Jiāng Sān
Bàn Xià
Equal amounts
Gān Jiāng

Discussion from the 100 Case Studies from the Jin Gui Yao Lue:

“Dry retching and vomiting with vomiting of saliva” is due to stomach Yang deficiency with cold fluids gathered on the interior. Bàn Xià Gān Jiāng Sān is Xiǎo Bàn Xià Tāng with Gān Jiāng replacing Shēng Jiāng. The aim of Xiǎo Bàn Xià Tāng is to stop vomiting and scatter fluids and so it uses Shēng Jiāng. The aim of this formula is to treat deficiency cold of the stomach Qi and the principle aim is to warm the middle. This is why this formula uses Gān Jiāng. The formula is a powder that is boiled in water to increase its function of regulating the middle and stopping vomiting.

Frozen_LiquidChapter 17 of the Jin Gui Yao Lue discusses “Pulses, Patterns and Treatment of Vomiting, Hiccough and Diarrhea.”  Line 21 gives us the formula Bàn Xià Gān Jiāng Sān.  This is the 3rd formula to use just the two herbs Ginger and Pinellia.  It illustrates the difference between the use of Shēng Jiāng with Bàn Xià and Gān Jiāng with Bàn Xià.  In the earlier formulas, there is vomiting due to fluids in the stomach.  In this case the cold is more predominant, indicating the use of Gān Jiāng.  Of course, Shēng Jiāng and Bàn Xià are both warming themselves and the indications for their use together does include the presence of thin fluids, i.e. cold fluids, in the stomach.  So, what tells us that we should use Gān Jiāng instead of  Shēng Jiāng?  The clause itself gives us a clue:

“For dry retching, vomiting with counterflow, and droll foaming at the mouth, Bàn Xià Gān Jiāng Sānis indicated.”

hedy-bach-photography-x100-frozen-water-1Here, not only is there vomiting, there is also drool foaming at the mouth.  This shows us that the cold is more extreme.  In addition, there is dry retching.  Why dry?  When the fluids get cold enough, they freeze and this can cause dryness in the stomach.  The same patho-phyisology is apparent with the use of Gan Cao Gan Jiang Tang for thirst.

From my own experience, there are a couple of other indications for using Gān Jiāng here: First, the presence of epigastric or abdominal pain that is better with warmth.  Secondly, when tapping the stomach area, one hears a hollow tympanic sound rather than a watery sound.  This sound often appears when the fluids have been frozen.

This combination of herbs is also found in the formulas Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang, Sheng Jiang Xie Xin Tang and Gan Cao Xie Xin Tang.  In these formulas Gān Jiāng is used to open the middle.  The pungent heat of Gān Jiāng is better at opening the blocked epigastric area than Shēng Jiāng would be.  In addition it works to balance the bitter cold ingredients in these formulas.

In general, we can say that Gān Jiāng melts frozen fluids, stops pain and opens the middle, while stopping upward rebellion of the stomach.

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