Kampo – When are Shells and Bones used?

As promised, here is the first installment of a short series of entries on Kampo.  These next three entries are all taken from a written conversation between Nigel and myself, in the form of questions and answers.  I hope you all find this as interesting and useful as I do!

In a deficient person with a tight abdomen and pulsations – how would you differentiate whether to use Gui Zhi Jia Long Gu Mu Li Tang vs. Zhi Gan Cao Tang?

Firstly on the abdomen the location of the pulsations will be different for each formula. Gui Zhi Jia Long Gu Mu Li Tang will often have pulsations along the midline in the upper portion of the abdomen especially around Ren 12/13/14 (though they can also occur lower down at the navel area). In the case of Zhi Gan Cao Tang Continue reading

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Kampo Questions and Answers with Nigel Dawes

When I was in acupuncture school more than 30 years ago and after – I had the opportunity to study Hara diagnosis (The Hara is the abdomen)with Kiiko Matsumoto and Stephen Birch quite intensively. They wrote Hara Diagnosis: Reflections on the Sea (Paradigm title)

In my own practice I have consistently felt the tummies of all my patients in every session, finding the abdomen an invaluable source of clear diagnostic information.  When I first heard about the use of abdominal diagnosis in relation to herbal diagnosis I was excited to find out how I could integrate this.  Then I met Nigel Dawes.   Continue reading

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White Pine Year-End Newsletter

Winter is coming.  My horses are getting fluffy – the better to keep me warm. Here at White Pine Institute we had a busy year.  Here is an update on what we have completed and what is to come!

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Posted in Classic Formulas, Dr. Fu Yan-Ling, Huang Huang, Liu Du-Zhou, Newsletter, Our Courses | 3 Comments

Da Qing Long Tang to Treat Beng Lou

As a follow-up to my last blog entry, I thought I would share another “cool” case in which there is heavy bleeding due to heat.

If you’d like to know more about how to very successfully treat bleeding disorders – here’s another reminder that I will be teaching a two-day course on this topic January 7th and 8th of this year.  This course is streamed live so you can take it from anywhere.  For more information on this course click here.

As I wrote in the last entry, excess heat is almost always the body’s own physiological warmth building up due to blockage. This blockage can take place in all sorts of places which means we have to have a wide variety of methods so that we can accurately address the correct location of the block.  In the last entry, the blockage was at the Shao Yang and the pressurized heat moved into the Jue Yin. Continue reading

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What is Heat in the Blood Chamber?

Dr. Qíu Xiào-méi

I recently gave a talk on Medigogy as a way to introduce the course I am giving in Vancouver in January on bleeding disorders in women. During the class a student/practitioner asked what I meant by “heat in the blood chamber” as a cause of bleeding.  So, I thought I would write a bit about this and share a couple of cases.  If you are interested in watching the 1 hour medigogy talk it is available here

We all know that heat can induce the blood to run reckless.  However, because there are many reasons for heat to develop, there are many methods for clearing heat in order to stop bleeding.

It is very important to differentiate the cause of the pathological heat so that the method hits the mark.

In Dr. Qíu Xiào-méi’s case below, we can see that the patient was treated improperly with several clearing heat methods before the patient came to Dr. Qiu.  She recognized the cause of bleeding as heat in the blood chamber.  Once she did, a long term condition resolved quickly.

I started with a case from my own practice to help illustrate this important concept.

Before going to the cases let’s look at the patho-mechanisms of heat in the blood chamber as well as the key signs and symptoms for the diagnosis of it.

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Posted in Gynecology, Our Courses, Qiu Xiaomei | 1 Comment

八綱 Bā Gāng: The Eight Guiding Principles – Once the key links are grasped, everything falls into place


This is a comic which tells of the importance of the Eight Guiding Prinicples.  The fisherman is exclaiming “Once the key links are grasped, everything falls into place”.

When Dr. Fu Yan-Ling was here two weeks ago, one thing he said that stood out for me was

“Dr. Liu Du-Zhou felt that the bā gāng, Eight Guiding Principles were extremely important”.

Indeed, Dr. Fu, as an official successor of Dr. Liu, consistently steadied us throughout his teaching with these eight guiding principles.

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Posted in Classic Formulas, Dr. Fu Yan-Ling, Eight Guiding Principles, Liu Du-Zhou, Pediatrics, Theory and Practice | 4 Comments

Four Great New Courses

Today 4 new White Pine Institute courses are being launched.  These courses represent a range of what we are interested in here at the institute.  Below I go into some detail about the course on Pregnancy, Labor and Postpartum and it’s origins in theGraduate Mentorship Program – but before that, here are links to find out more information or purchase the 4 spanking new courses as well as a link to short excerpts form each of the courses for you to check out:

Link to view excerpts from each course

Information about each course

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Posted in Cancer, Classic Formulas, Famous Doctors, Gynecology, Huang Huang, Obstetrics, Our Courses, Pediatrics, Pediatrics, Theory and Practice, Yan Xiaoping | Leave a comment

What classic formulas can teach us about physiology

This coming November 19 and 20th I am traveling to Chicago to teach a course I am very excited about. Here is a blog entry to describe what I will be teaching. I hope I see some of you there!

Learning how the body works through the study of classic formulas and case studies

Organized by the Illinois Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Chicago, November 19-20, 2011

For information and registration click here

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Gui Zhi Tang: A digestion formula?

When studying classic formulas, it can be exciting and even mind blowing to read a case study in which a formula you think you understand is used for something you never would have thought of it being used for.  Recently I listened to Dr. Zhang Wen-Quan (another protégé of Dr. Liu Du-Zhou) describe observing Dr. Liu with a patient suffering from 3 years of Amenorrhea.  She had been given formulas by other doctors to nourish blood, vitalize blood and warm the Kidney with no results.  Dr. Liu used Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang – unmodified!  The woman got her menstruation within a week…of course, Dr. Zhang gave an in depth discussion as to why this was the correct formula.  Through this discussion, I learned to understand Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang, it’s function, mechanism of action and presentation on a much deeper level.  Hint:  For Dr. Liu Du-Zhou the tongue presentation was a primary key

What is even more exciting is to learn material such as this and then apply it successfully in your own clinic.

Recently I had such an experience with a patient.   Continue reading

Posted in Classic Formulas, Dr. Fu Yan-Ling, Famous Doctors, Liu Du-Zhou, Our Courses | 1 Comment

Why and how to study Liu Du-Zhou?

Professor Liu Du-Zhou was born in 1917 and studied Chinese medicine from the age of 16.  He was the student of two famous physicians, Dr. Wang Zhi-Yuang and Dr. Xie Si-Quan.  His passing in 2001 was a loss to the world of Chinese medicine though he does live on, both through his prolific writings and through his disciples.  At an early age Professor Liu was smitten with the power of studying the classics, especially the Shang Han Lun.  He was thoroughly familiar with all the major classics and also involved in study, research, writing and teaching on the Shang Han Lun.

Some proponents of the use of classical Shang Han Lun formulas adhere to a rather simple lock and key way of working.

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Posted in Classic Formulas, Dr. Fu Yan-Ling, Famous Doctors, Liu Du-Zhou, Our Courses | 3 Comments