Using Raw Herbs in Chinese Medical Dermatology

Sabine Schmitz (M. Med. TCM) is a graduate of the Zhèjiang Chinese Medical University in Hángzhou, China where she majored in Chinese medical dermatology. Her enormous knowledge treasures from China as well as her many years of experience benefit many patients with chronic and complex skin diseases – such as psoriasis and eczema – but also many other patients with various diseases. Sabine has a busy TCM practice specializing in skin diseases, gynecological disorders and infertility treatment. Her first book with Singing Dragon, Treating Psoriasis with Chinese Herbal Medicine (Revised Edition) was published in 2020 as part of a new dermatology series. Her second book with us, Treating Acne and Acne Rosacea with Chinese Herbal Medicine, will be published in November 2021.

When I look at social media these days, I see more and more reports from patients describing improvements in their skin diseases by using Chinese herbs. That is a good thing because it spreads awareness of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and gives other patients, who might currently be looking for a suitable therapy, options and ideas. Sometimes, patients upload pictures of granules, sometimes raw herbs or, in rare cases, I see pills. However, today I would like to discuss why raw herbs are best in the treatment of chronic and complex skin diseases from a therapist’s point of view, who sees difficult skin diseases every day.

Using decoctions as treatment

The wide variety of treatment options developed over the centuries and the extensive range of internal and external applications TCM offers are a direct response to the flexibility required in curing complex disease patterns. When talking about raw herbs, I am referring to “decoctions”, in Chinese this is called jiān jì (煎剂). As seen in practice, decoctions, or teas, of raw herbs are the most effective form of treatment. They are easy to prepare and drink. And when I say easy to prepare, I mean boiling raw herbs up for a couple of hours a week – it’s not rocket science and most patients will do this when the benefits are properly explained to them. Continue reading

Touch is Really Strange: An Interview with Steve Haines

Why can’t we tickle ourselves? How can slow touch convey more powerful emotions than fast touch? How does touch shape our perception of the world? In this short interview, Steve Haines – author of Singing Dragon’s best-selling Really Strange series – discusses the inspiration behind his new book, Touch is Really Strange

When did you start working on the book?

The idea for a book on touch has been around since 2019, but this was definitely a lockdown project. The Really Strange series has been huge fun and continues to get heart-warming feedback. There have been suggestions for books on Depression, Adverse Childhood Experiences, Grief or Breath.

Whilst I have some experience with clients with all those topics, I realised I have far more to say about touch. I use touch everyday in normal work life and teach 2-year courses on being skilful with touch.

What inspired the topic?

In my career I have undergone a paradigm shift in how I understand touch. Continue reading

Yoga Teaching Guides Introduced by Sian O’Neill

Yoga Teaching Guides

Singing Dragon’s Yoga Teaching Guides is a new series of books, launching in March 2021. Edited by Sian O’Neill and written by renowned experts in the field, the books in the series cover essential skills as well as providing inspiration for creative yoga teaching, both for the new and the experienced yoga teacher. In this short piece, hear from series editor Sian as she introduces some of the upcoming books and talks about her inspiration behind the series. Join our mailing list to be kept up to date with new releases!

As a yoga teacher, I’m always on the lookout for inspiration and ideas to help improve my classes for students and I have a feeling I am not alone. It can be challenging to come up with varied, interesting (and safe) classes week after week – so practical tips from highly experienced and inspiring teachers are always appreciated.

Sian O’Neill

Following the successful launch of the Yoga Teaching Handbook, it became clear that there is an interest among yoga teachers and trainees in practical tips to enrich their teaching. So, I was thrilled when Singing Dragon asked me to be editor for a new series aimed at yoga teachers, Yoga Teaching Guides, and we are delighted to be launching a series of volumes on topics ranging from supporting injured students; yoga and qigong; developing a home practice; the art of theming, and yoga and Ayurveda – with more to follow. Continue reading

Clouds Over Qingcheng Mountain: Posting Exercises to Try

Mount Qingcheng, one of China’s mystical mountains, has been the birth place of discovery, realization and preservation of the recipes that stimulate the deep potential of the human body for generations. Clouds Over Qingcheng Mountain, the follow-up book to Climbing the Steps to Qingcheng Mountain by Daoist master Wang Yun, simplifies the complex practices of Daoism handed down by generations of accomplished Masters – such as posting, breath practice and meditation – and gifts the reader with its most valuable aspects for a modern world.

In this extract, we share three simple posting exercises to incorporate into everyday life to promote the flow of qi and blood, boost the immune system and help relax the body.

Posting relaxation exercises

[Benefits of posting include: promoting the smooth flow of qi and blood, methodically harmonizing the breath, and clearing the channels of the entire body.]

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, imagine a string hanging straight down from the upper dantian (near the pineal gland) to the huiyin point (the perineum), and landing on the floor between your two feet. Next, imagine your whole body as a bag of air, as if you were completely hollow. At the same time, relax your body; from the hair on your head down to the yongquan points at the bottom of the feet. Everything is totally empty, like a transparent crystal ball. Relax your body in this way and repeat the visualization three times. Continue reading

Lee Majewski & Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani on Yoga Therapy as a Whole-Person Approach to Health

Lee Majewski and Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani’s new book, Yoga Therapy as a Whole-person Approach to Health, is published in July 2020 – a groundbreaking book that explores yoga and yoga therapy as a multi-faceted approach to wellness.

Lee Majewski C-IAYT is a yoga therapist at Marsden Centre for Integrative Medicine, Vaughn, Canada and visiting senior yoga therapist at Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute, India. She is a cancer survivor and since 2006 has worked with cancer and psychosomatic chronic disease patients, including running intensive yogic retreats for cancer patients in Europe, North America, India and Australia.

Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani is Director of the Centre for Yoga Therapy Education and Research (CYTER) and Professor of Yoga Therapy at Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth University. He is also Chairman of the International Centre for Yoga Education and Research at Ananda Ashram, Pondicherry, India and Yoganjali Natyalayam, the premier institute of Yoga and Carnatic Music and Bharatanatyam in Pondicherry.

Together, they created this book for yoga therapists, health professionals and all those interested in this modality to provide a deeper understanding of yoga therapy, carefully clarifying yogic concepts and exploring how deep yogic work can be practically applied to a range of chronic conditions.

Watch an in-depth discussion with the authors, facilitated by Dr Lori Rubenstein Fazzio, clinical professor of yoga and health at Loyola Marymount University, and owner of Mosaic Physical Therapy in Los Angeles.

 

The Spark in the Machine – Now an Audiobook!

Our readers have asked and we have responded: we are proud to present the first Singing Dragon audiobook, The Spark in the Machine by Daniel Keown.

This immersive listen enables you to enjoy our best-selling title on the go, during a busy day of practice or on your commute.

The Spark in the Machine shows how the theories of Western and Chinese medicine support each other and how the integrated theory enlarges our understanding of how bodies work on every level. Full of good stories and surprising detail, Dan Keown’s book is essential listening for anyone who has ever wanted to know how the body really works.

The audiobook is read by Gavin Osborn.

“It is surprising how little research has been done over the years to examine the relationship of acupuncture to Western medicine. Now at last we have Dr Keown’s thoughtful and stimulating book to help fill this gap. Dr Keown talks from personal experience of working on both sides of this medical divide. His book is an invaluable contribution to helping practitioners of both disciplines understand how far they speak a common medical language, though they may express themselves in somewhat different terms.” – Nora Franglen, Founder of the School of Five Element Acupuncture (SOFEA) and author of seven best-selling titles with Singing Dragon

 

 


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Ann Carter Introduces HEARTS and What it Means for Cancer Care

A multisensory approach to facilitating relaxation in cancer care using aromatherapy, touch and voice, the HEARTS process – created by Ann Carter – offers a new way to help patients achieve a state of relaxation and calm as quickly and easily as possible.

In their new book, Combining Touch and Relaxation Skills for Cancer Care, Ann Carter and Peter Mackereth discuss principles which may influence the effectiveness of touch and relaxation therapies, emphasising that there are approaches that can be learnt and utilised by healthcare workers (and carers) who are not qualified in any therapies when working with distressed and vulnerable patients. Continue reading

Read an Extract from The Acupuncture Point Functions Charts and Workbook

New from Singing Dragon is The Acupuncture Point Functions Charts and Workbook by Erica Joy Siegel: a clear and accessible two-part resource to learn the location and function of the acupuncture points.

Part I of the book comprises a series of 27 charts covering the primary meridians plus the extraordinary meridians and the known extra points. These charts show the location of the meridians and acupuncture points within the body, while explaining the functions of the points.

The second part of the book provides blank charts for the student to annotate. Continue reading

Meet the Singing Dragon Author: Rebecca Avern

As part of our Meet The Singing Dragon Author series, we speak to authors to discuss their motivation for entering their respective industries, inspiration for writing their books, what challenges they faced and to whom they would recommend their books. Is there a specific Singing Dragon author you would like to hear from? Let us know in the comments or join the conversation using #MeetTheSDAuthor.

Rebecca Avern, author of Acupuncture for Babies, Children and Teenagers

How did you become interested in paediatric acupuncture?
I began treating children twenty years ago and was immediately struck by how quickly they responded to treatment. When I had my own children, I became more and more aware of how many young people are struggling either with their physical or psychological health, or are simply not thriving. I realised that many of the issues they were struggling with were well suited to being treated with acupuncture. I love working with children and it has become my mission in life to enable more of them to receive acupuncture treatment, by writing and teaching about it. Continue reading

Denise Tiran: Making the decision to work for yourself

Denise Tiran is a midwife, lecturer, complementary practitioner and an international authority on maternity complementary medicine. In her new book, The Business of Maternity Care, she offers advice and guidance for midwives and doulas who want to establish a maternity-related business, offering services such as pregnancy complementary therapies, antenatal classes, lactation support or full doula care. Read an extract below in which Denise discusses why more people are looking to set up their own businesses in this field.

Midwives working in the NHS are increasingly disillusioned with the care they are able to provide for women (discussions with numerous midwives on courses, at conferences, by telephone and on social media). Many feel that the demands of midwifery practice today do not meet the ideals that caused them to enter the profession in the first place. The workload is phenomenal, with a risk-averse dependence on physio-pathological monitoring and the prevention or management of complications. Midwives have little time or energy to provide the psycho-emotional and social support that is so much a part of holistic maternity care. Continue reading