How Theory Becomes Practice

By Dolma Johanison, D.Ac., L.Ac.

The Eight Extraordinary Vessels theory has been in existence for thousands of years, and many practitioners of Eastern medicine find themselves intrigued by these “mysterious vessels.” Over the years, many practitioners have indicated it is too dangerous to deeply explore the eight extraordinary vessels, while others believe quite differently. Li Shi Zhen of the 16th century had the viewpoint that not employing the eight extraordinary vessel theory with patients is a disservice to them. Following this guidance, I was profoundly inspired to deepen my study of these vessels and the works of Li Shi Zhen. During the course of my study and employment of the theory in my clinical practice, I discovered there is limited information on how best to proceed as a beginner practitioner regarding the eight extraordinary vessels. This discovery motivated me to write a book for the practitioner interested in knowing more about the eight extraordinary vessels and putting that knowledge into practice for the benefit of their patients.

“Early practitioners and philosophers were not afraid to use these vessels. Li encouraged all of his students as herbalists and acupuncturists to honor and practice the highest level of medicine by incorporating these vessels into their treatments.  In this way, he believed practitioners could serve the highest purpose.” (pg.13)

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Sabine Schmitz on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and skin diseases

Practical and useful advice for the clinical management of patients with acne

Some of you may already know my first book Treating Psoriasis with Chinese Herbal Medicine. I am very excited to introduce my new book, which has been just released, which is called Treating Acne and Rosacea with Chinese Herbal Medicine. It is the second book in my series on dermatological diseases and zooms in on another of the most common skin conditions of today: Acne. The book covers prescriptions and treatment options with Chinese herbs for all types of acne and TCM syndromes. In addition to this, and for better understanding and assisting in your practice, a separate chapter on acne rosacea is included.

As crucial as Chinese herbal medicine is in the treatment of acne is, I always say – never let a patient go home without giving suitable dietary advice. As well as a good diet can improve the skin, an improper diet can worsen the skin. You and I know this from our daily practice. With the following information, I would like to give you an insight into how general diet rules work best and which ones you can give to your patients with acne.

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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

A Natural Approach to Treating Psoriasis with Chinese Medicine

Sabine Schmitz

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.

Change is the only constant in life – a popular quote by the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus. And it is true, in life ups and downs alternate, joy and sadness, and so on. This is normal. Life is not a constant continuum of ongoing happiness and living on the bright side as the current pandemic shows us. All of us are facing difficult times right now. In my practice, I observe the longer difficult times like this pandemic for instance lasts the more problems the patients have. Patients get tense, stressed or anxious depending what kind of type of person they are. They either develop new symptoms or, and that’s quite often, old processes flare up again and worsen. As I do specialize in TCM Dermatology and Gynaecology I see this to be true for many skin diseases every day. Chronic skin diseases like psoriasis are good examples of this.

We all know that skin diseases in general are often complicated and neither easy nor fast in their treatment. Stress and emotions like frustration, anger as well as anxiety definitely need to be taken into account. In my practice, I frequently observe in patients with psoriasis who have had episodes of severe stress or periods of recurring frustration and anger a worsening of their skin condition. Thus, we need to take the patients’ emotions and circumstances into account. It would be a mistake not to do this – to not consider the obvious which is often the root cause of the disease. Saying this, I really think that right now our wonderful medicine is needed more than ever! 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

Announcing our Acupuncture Webinar Series: Join us on our Facebook page every week

We are delighted to announce that Singing Dragon is launching a new Acupuncture Webinar Series.

Starting on the 15th of September, join us every Tuesday and Thursday at 8pm BST/3pm EST on our Facebook page for a new webinar by renowned acupuncture professionals.

You can join in the discussions, and our authors will be on hand to answer any questions or comments you may have on the day.

You can also submit your questions for our authors ahead of time by emailing hello@intl.singingdragon.com.

Click here to visit and follow our Facebook page!

 

Our Acupuncture Webinar Series schedule so far features:

  • CT Holman – 15th September – Applying Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches to Chinese Medicine Treatments
  • Rebecca Avern – 17th September – Why do children become ill?
  • Mary Elizabeth Wakefield & MichelAngelo – 22nd and 24th September – Vibrational Acupuncture: Integrating Tuning Forks with Needles
  • John Hamwee – 29th September – Amplifying the Power of Treatment
  • Hamid Montakab – 6th October – TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) versus CCM (Classical Chinese Medicine)

We are in the process of confirming many more events with our authors. Follow our Facebook page to stay up to date with upcoming events!

Please note: webinars will be available for 24 hours, after which they will be available for purchase through the Singing Dragon Library for a small fee.

 

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Treating Psoriasis with Chinese Herbal Medicine

We are thrilled to announce that the new, revised and updated edition of Treating Psoriasis with Chinese Herbal Medicine, the wonderful book by Sabine Schmitz, is being published by Singing Dragon in July 2020.

In this video, Sabine introduces her book, the first comprehensive English-speaking guide to treating psoriasis with Chinese herbal medicine.

We have implemented some exciting changes into this edition:
  • We’ve vividly enriched the book with illustrations, photographs of both the skin and the tongue (including a tongue atlas), as well as in-depth case studies and new information based on the latest research.
  • It is beautifully designed and type-set – readers will now find it much easier to navigate and dip in and out of the text as needed.

The perfect resource for Chinese medicine practitioner or student interested in treating skin conditions, this is the first ‘Western’ Chinese medicine publication dedicated specifically to psoriasis, and it takes a modern, practical approach to treatment, looking at the root cause of the condition from a Chinese medicine viewpoint, examining the most common Chinese medicine syndromes and formulas that have been proven to be most effective, and discussing the role of environment and emotional health.

New TCM Dermatology Series with Singing Dragon

This book is the first of a new TCM dermatology handbook series that Sabine is working on with Singing Dragon, with practical books about the most common skin diseases.

We’re creating the ultimate resources for practitioners to use in clinical practice – easy to read, use and navigate in day-to-day practice, and based on her many years of experience in treating skin conditions with Chinese medicine.

To keep an eye out for upcoming books in the series, subscribe to the Singing Dragon mailing list by clicking here.

Experiencing Acupuncture: An Introduction by John Hamwee

John Hamwee is an experienced practitioner and teacher of acupuncture and zero balancing, with over twenty-five years’ experience in practice.

He is the author of Experiencing Acupuncture: Journeys of Body, Mind and Spirit for Patients and Practitioners, which was published in April 2020, as well as Acupuncture for New PractitionersIntuitive AcupunctureThe Spirit of the Organs and Zero Balancing.

In this article, he briefly explains why he decided to write his latest book, and how he hopes it will help both acupuncturists and their patients.

I am often puzzled and regularly find myself faced with difficult choices in my acupuncture practice. How many times in the treatment room have I thought – I wish I could talk to one of my teachers right now. I know they wouldn’t tell me what to do but they would make suggestions based on their deep knowledge and long experience. They’d say how they managed when they struggled with diagnoses which were convincing but didn’t work, when they found the  messages of pulse, tongue and symptoms contradictory, and when they too had patients who somehow seemed to resist treatment. Continue reading

Rebecca Avern: Supporting Children and Teens in Lockdown

Rebecca Avern is a traditional acupuncturist and founder of The Panda Clinic, a children’s acupuncture centre in Oxford. She is also author of Acupuncture for Babies, Children and Teenagers, writes a blog at Nurturing the Young, and is senior lecturer and clinical supervisor at the College of Integrated Medicine, Reading, UK.

In this vlog, Rebecca discusses the effects and impacts of the current lockdown on children, and what parents can do to help them through this difficult period – whether they’re primary school-aged or teenagers – from both a Chinese medicine and a parenting perspective.

 

To read more about Rebecca’s background and motivation to write her book, read our #MeetTheSDAuthor interview with her by clicking here. 

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Treating Emotional Trauma with Chinese Medicine

CT Holman, M.S., L.Ac. discusses what motivated him to write, Treating Emotional Trauma with Chinese Medicine: Integrated Diagnostic and Treatment Strategies.

“Having experienced emotional trauma as a child and as a young adult, I was motivated to delve deeply into the nature of spirit. Beginning with practicing meditation and then going to graduate school for Chinese medicine, the nature of balancing emotions intrigued me and inspired me to further study with several prominent teachers in the field of Chinese medicine and shamanism.

My teachers’ insights provided me with several tools to stabilize patients after they had experienced an emotional trauma. Once their energy was grounded, I could use techniques to soothe the triggering of the trauma memory and address their individual emotional/spirit imbalances. Through working with several patients to resolve emotional trauma, I discovered effective methods to transform trauma and enable the patient to step into their full potential.

After treating patients for emotional trauma for 15 years, I was asked to write a book,  Treating Emotional Trauma with Chinese Medicine: Integrated Diagnostic and Treatment Strategies, detailing the various treatments and self-care methods I utilize in my clinic. The undertaking was a healing one for me and supported me to step more fully into my being.”

In the below video CT describes the etiology and three-staged treatment approach that is described in detail in his above textbook:

CT Holman teaches Chinese Medicine (including facial diagnosis, qigong, shamanic drumming and channel palpation) internationally and operates a thriving general family Chinese medicine clinic in Salem, Oregon, USA. For more information, visit www.redwoodspring.com.