Small Formula Series 1: Xiǎo Bàn Xià Tāng

6474782.bin_Some of the least known formulas in the Shang Han Lun, Treatise on Damage from Cold,
are  tiny, 2-herb formulas.  When I taught the course on Knotty Diseases, I was not surprised to find out that most practitioners did not know about the formula Gān Cǎo Gān Jiāng Tāng.  Perhaps the most commonly known 2-herb classic formula is Sháo Yao Gān Cǎo Tāng.  Jié Gěng Tāng and Zhī Zǐ Chǐ Tāng are also somewhat commonly known.

The wonderful benefit of studying these teeny tiny formulas is that they can teach us so much about how more complex formulas work.  For example, understanding Sháo Yao Gān Cǎo Tāng tells us so much about an aspect of Guì Zhī Tāng and especially Guì Zhī Jiā Sháo Yao Tāng.  This is true of Guì Zhī Gān Cǎo Tāng and Gān Cǎo Gān Jiāng Tāng.  We see that larger formulas are made up of the teeny tiny formulas.

So, I thought I would do a series Continue reading

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Upcoming Classes and Diagnosis Presentations

This past winter I traveled to 6 cities to teach a class on understanding physiology through classic formulas.  The 7th and final city in which I am going to teach this course is the city of my birth, San Francisco. This class will be live and streamed this weekend, May 3-4, 2014.  This tour has been very successful with about 200 students being able to attend the course so far.  I hope some of you can attend!
Recently I also taught two consequecutive Medigogy webinars online.  You can view the first part  on diagnosis here.  The second part will be available very soon.  This is all in preparation for the upcoming Graduate Mentorship Program 2014 which starts May 23rd, 2014.

You can see from this picture that we are all getting in shape for the course!

Please contact me if you have any questions about any of these courses.



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Engaging Vitality with Dan Bensky and Charles Chace

Hello Everybody, 

This is a reminder about an exciting course that will be taking place at White Pine Institute in just under two months.  The course is:
Jack Radner is organizing the course, and you can read the blog that he wrote about the course here:
There was also an article in the latest issue of the Lantern by the same title, “Engaging Vitality, An approach to more effective engagement of qi” written by Dan Bensky and Charles Chase. The article is available for purchase on the Lantern’s website,, and may be available through the White Pine Student Library Subscription.
So, if you are interested, the time to register is now!
We’re looking forward to seeing you in June.
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It’s April 1st! Spring is here!

I posted this article 2 years ago and got so many comments!  Quite a few people wanted me to sell them some of this herb.  One person scolded me for encouraging people to hike in the land around the Quabbin Reservoir.  It’s hard to believe that some people didn’t believe the information!

Can an herb actually improve a patient’s luck or Karma?  Let’s take a look at the amazing Giant Milky Milk Weed…..


This past autumn I had the chance to do some fascinating field research in Chinese herbology.  This is a picture of me climbing the giant milk weed near the shores of the Quabbin reservoir.  Treacherous as this work is…it is so worth it.

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Key Sign for Gui Zhi Gan Cao Tang

Most practitioners of Chinese medicine have learned to ask the 10 questions as the “asking” part of our diagnostic process.  We may go through the questions this way:

“how is your urination?
” fine.”

“how are your bowels?”
“fine.” etc.

However, as I have practiced and studied, I have learned that I will miss out on crucial information if I go through the questions this way.  I have to have in mind what I am trying to discover through asking the question.  When I ask about urination I am looking to see if water and heat are able to leave through the bladder properly.  When I ask a question in a more directive way, I discover that what some people consider “fine” is actually not so fine from my point of view.  So, for example, when I ask about urination I ask questions like “Do you ever have to pee but when you go, you have to sit there and wait for urination to begin to flow?”  or “Does your urine flow start and stop?”   You will be amazed at how many people have inhibited urination if you inquire a bit more deeply!

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Heart Disease and Water Pathologies

I love Professor Liu Du-Zhou.  Really, his teachings have and continue to have such an impact on my practice of Chinese medicine and my understanding and use of Classic Formulas.  Professor Liu was not only a busy Classic Formula doctor with a long long career, he was luckily also a prolific writer.  Below I have a short passage from one of his books on the essence of his own clinical experience, 刘渡舟验案精选.

This text is rich with case studies that are organized around theoretical discussion.

I translated the passages below in preparation for the last 3-day weekend of the 2012 Graduate Mentorship Program.  During this weekend we cover illnesses of aging, a broad concept that I use to lead us into topics such as heart diseases, hypertension, cancer, menopausal issues, obesity and metabolic illness (diabetes, syndrome x etc).  Of course we use a very classical approach in our understanding and treatment of these illnesses our patients are often diagnosed with.

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Date Changes for Programs


For reasons beyond our control, we have to change the start date for the 2014 Graduate Mentorship Program from April to May 23-25, 2014.

For more information and for registration, please visit the Graduate Mentorship Program website here.

In addition, the Classic Formula – San Francisco weekend with Sharon Weizenbaum has been moved from March to May 3-4, 2014.  This program is also streamed live!

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Cyclic Movement of Yin Yang and Gui Zhi Tang

In a past blog post it was proven by none other than my father, that the sun revolves around the earth.  It is this cyclic movement of Yang that is the foundation of the physiology described in the Shang Han Lun.  I’ve described this relationship of the Sun’s movement around the earth to the Shang Han Lun structure in a past post.

In this post I am sharing two case studies that describe the cyclic movement of Yin and Yang in relation to the Ying and Wei and Gui Zhi Tang.  I hope you enjoy!

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Engaging Vitality: a Guest Post

We have 4 practitioners working here at White Pine Healing Arts.  One practitioner, Jack Radner, has been studying with Dan Bensky, Charles Chace and Marguerite Dinkins on the west coast and is now organizing to bring them here to White Pine Institute.  The course is:

Engaging Vitality:  A Palpation Workshop for Effectively Working with Qi in the Clinic, with Chip Chase, Dan Bensky, and Marguerite Dinkins.

We are all very excited about this course happening right here!  Jack has written about this course below and you can click here for more information:

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Questions Answered!

Since I’ve been traveling around teaching the course on Treating Knotty Diseases: Understanding Physiology with Classic Formulas, (still 4 more places to go!)  I’ve received a lot of questions and requests for information about the Graduate Mentorship Program.  Below is a summary of the course, the syllabus and FAQs for the 2014 program that starts in April of 2014.

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