It’s all in the translation….Hidden attitudes toward women.

Below I have given two translations of a famous passage from the Neijing.  The first, along with its commentary reveals such negative attitudes toward women.  I’ve translated this myself and made my own commentary as a response to this.  It’s alway interesting to see the attitude of a translator illuminated in the translation and it is a lesson that we can’t take all translations at face value!

This is the passage from the Neijing Su Wen, chapter 1:

Here is the traslation and commentary of this passage by from Father Claude Larre from The Way of Heaven from Monkey Pres, 1994, pg 74.

At 7 times 7 years,
The Ren Mai is empty,
The Tai Chong Mai declines progressively,
Fertility dries up.
Nothing further passes through the Way of Earth.
The body withers and she no longer has children.

Oy Vey!

Commentary:  “The supporting current, ren mai, is empty and the coupled vital impetus current, Chong Mai, has fallen back to nothing.  The consequence is that what we have called fertility, the gathering of liquid humors from heaven, has dried up.  The body no longer draws to itself a surplus of essences, so no foetus is possible.  The spring of Ren Mai and its release in Chong Mai no longer occurs.  Can one still speak of spring?  With a sadness strictly related to the waning of her powers to transmit the life of Heaven and Earth through herself, the woman see that the Way of Earth is closed in her, and that there is no longer a way of communication with Heaven.”

Amazing!  According to this, post-menopausal women are sad and can’t communicate with heaven!

Redo by Sharon Weizenbaum:

At 7 times 7 years,
The Ren Mai is empty,
The Tai Chong Mai wanes,
The heavenly waters have put forth their full effort.
Nothing further passes through the way of Earth.
The form declines and she no longer has children.

Commentary: “The supporting current, Ren Mai, is empty and the coupled vital impetus current, Chong Mai is beginning the return journey back to spirit.  The gathering of the liquid humours from heaven have reached fulfillment and so the Way of Earth
closes.  Autumn has arrived with all of the abundant harvest there with.  Wisdom of the years allows woman to conserve her gifts while generously and thoughtfully sharing.  With a joy stricly related to the completion of her earthly tasks, the woma enters her well-earned time of power and spiritual wisdom.

Her community rejoices in her gifts!”

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Guest Post: Engaging Vitality in New York City

From Sharon Yeung:

The first module of the Engaging Vitality three module series will be offered in New York City on March 11-12, 2017. This palpation workshop is based on osteopathic practices and sensibilities developed by Dan Bensky, Chip Chase and Marguerite Dinkins.  It is an integral part of the core curriculum at the Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine. Marguerite will be teaching this workshop. Participants who have taken Module 1 are then eligible to take subsequent modules taught by Dan and Chip.

Marguerite Dinkins

In 2014, I was fortunate enough to take all three modules at the White Pine Institute hosted by White Pine practitioner, Jack Radner.  You can read more about his experience with this work here.  Since that time, putting these palpation techniques into practice have deepened and clarified my diagnoses, greatly informed my treatment plans and allowed me to connect with the patient in a more profound and sensitive way.  I use these techniques with every patient and have been amazed by the amount of feedback I receive and how it’s led me to use points and channels I would have otherwise overlooked.  I hope that the offering of Module I in NY will help to cultivate a local community of practitioners who can share in the development of this work.

In this workshop you will be introduced to very practical, accessible and easy-to-apply techniques to feel qi in your patient’s body.  You will learn to feel where qi is flowing and where it is stuck; which channels are most affected and which points on the channels are most available to access qi.  You will also learn to evaluate when you’ve done enough (or if you’ve done too much) and check the effectiveness of your treatment while it’s still in progress.  These techniques will amplify the listening capacity of your hands and allow you to create a true dialogue with your patient’s qi.  You will learn to be able to let the body guide you to where it most needs assistance.

For those of you who already practice a palpation-based form of acupuncture, this workshop will integrate well with whatever style you practice and serve to refine your diagnosis and treatment plan.  For those of you new to palpation, this workshop will provide you with a good foundation to start directly perceiving your patient’s qi.  Engaging Vitality can help enliven your practice and greatly improve results.

If you would like to register, you can do so here.  Class size is limited so students can have plenty of hands-on practice with direct supervision from the instructor.
Please check out their website for more information.

Engaging Vitality: Module 1
March 11-12, 2017
New York, NY
13 CEUs available
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Essay on Rou Gui – Cinnamon Bark

In the spirit of writing posts about teeny tiny formulas from the Shang Han Lun, I thought I’d share some writings about the use of Rou Gui as a single herb.  This herb will be discussed in detail as part of the class I am teaching on Shao Yin in women’s health at the IFS symposium this spring.

I was delighted when I found these writings on Rou Gui by the classic formula doctor Wu Peiheng.  I love his experiential formulas at the end of this piece: Continue reading

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What We Do When We Don’t Know How To Diagnose


View Presentation
Go to Graduate Mentorship Program Site
GMP 2016 Syllabus

Modern Chinese medical educations do not teach students the skill of diagnosis.  I know that is a radical statement but, over my 30 plus years of practice and 20 plus years of teaching, I have seen the evidence of this over and over.  We were taught to do an intake and then to “come to a diagnosis” based on the information we gathered.  However, how we process the information we gather has never been clear.  The way people process it fascinating to see.  As someone who reads many many case histories written by western practitioners of Chinese medicine, it is clear that most are very confused about how to work with this information.

This has been my area of study since I first really got it back in 1999: we are not taught to diagnose in our Chinese medical educations.

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From Jack Radner about Engaging Vitality

1bb6f5aa718011e2417a54870f16c043Engaging Vitality, Module 1
October 15-16, 2016, in Amherst, MA at White Pine Healing Arts
13 CEU’s Available
This will be the first weekend of a three-weekend series.  It will be a hands-on introduction to a variety of palpation techniques that put you directly in touch with your patients’ qi.  These techniques originated in the world of Osteopathic Medicine, and when incorporated into the practice of East Asian Medicine and Acupuncture, they allow you to get more information and understanding every time you put your hands on a patient.  They compliment pulse diagnosis and abdominal diagnosis, but give you a fuller picture, and more directly inform your choice of channels and effective points for treatment.
I was introduced to this material in 2000, by Dan Bensky, when I started as a student SIOM.  There are many palpatory tools that are part of the Engaging Vitality system  and though I worked with some of them from early on in my practice, they didn’t all come together in an organized and meaningful way until Dan Bensky, Chip Chase and Marguerite Dinkins reformulated their methods of teaching into the current three-weekend Engaging Vitality program in 2012.  That year, I attended all three classes in Portland, OR, and began to use the all of the material every day in my practice.  I have since hosted a three-weekend series in Amherst in 2014, and have more recently attended classes in Seattle and North Carolina.  I invite you to read a blog post that I wrote in 2014 to describe my experience with this material.   Jennifer Spain, a long-time GMP student, also wrote her own blog post about the Engaging Vitality series that you can read here.  I can’t overstate what this teaching has done for my practice!  At the most fundamental level, this class will bring new understanding into your hands.  You will know where, and how the qi dynamic in your patients bodies is stuck, and you will know when you have engaged that dynamic and created a shift, and when you haven’t.  Having these skills in your hands will deepen your practice, no matter what style of acupuncture you practice.  It will allow you to better assess your treatments, and to hone your skills.  It will also deepen your understanding of East Asian Medicine as a whole, as the findings in your hands will bring theory and physiology to life in new ways.
I am really excited to teach this weekend course!  The class size will be small.  It will be heavy on hands-on practice, and light on talk and theory.  There will be lots of time to practice!  You will leave the weekend having learned many different ways to connect with and assess your patients’ qi.  This is an introduction to the Engaging Vitality System, which will prepare you for the second module weekend, taught by Dan Bensky.  I look forward to hearing from you if you’re interested in registering for the workshop, or if you have any further questions.
You can find more information about the Engaging Vitality Curriculum at
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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, and also contact Jack directly with any questions at
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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