Saturday, October 1, 2022

In the beginning...

Was the Chong...

It sounds biblical, doesn't it?  Let me preface this introduction to our primary meridians by expressing my deep gratitude to Dr. Michael Greenwood and his son for these amazing illustrations  FIG. 1 and FIG. 2.  . The Chong Mai and Dai Mai. Forward view with dotted lines indicating posterior trajectories. Graphic by Richard Greenwood, BFA, MA, and used with permission.  

Classically, the 8 Extra Meridians were used to treat issues that occur prior to growth and development.  At conception, the moment that egg and sperm come together gives rise to the Chong Mai (Penetrating vessel.  You will see Mai or "vessel" attached to many of these names in Chinese.  It denotes the pathway or road).  In classical oriental medical theory, the CHONG is sourced by essence, a mysterious, somewhat ambiguous term that was never really defined in graduate school.  Most OM theorists refer to essence as "seminal essence" and this translates to egg and sperm, also called jing, the most primal and yin of all vital fluids.  It is considered a physical manifestation of the essence.  We were taught that this precious fluid was finite, dictated by your DNA (and karma LOL), and could not be replenished.  Birth is a sleigh ride descent into death as far as your jing is concerned,   

With conception, the Chong subdivides its energy into the Ren Mai, the Du Mai, and the Dai Mai (girdle vessel) in order to facilitate growth and development.   We call these "the channels of "first ancestry," and they dominate the early stages of development.  Most are familiar with the ren mai and the du mai from the Tao symbol:  It reflects the interchanging aspect of this energy.  We know from the first rule of thermodynamics that energy is neither created nor destroyed; it merely changes form.  The small dot in the middle of the classic symbol is meant to symbolize that at its utmost yin, even within the tiniest particle, there contains an element of yang.  As the utmost yin is reached, yang will spring forth since physical manifestation requires a pair of polarities.   Classical Buddhism describes the nature of our universe as impermanent and interchangeable.

Yin/Yang balance is the basic building block of our physical reality in the first stages of development.  The polarities between an enzyme and a substrate at the cellular level can be described with Yin and Yang.  So you can consider Yin and Yang to be the working expressions of essence in the body, and how that is spread and balanced is fueled by the Cong and the Dai Mai.    

Prior to cognition (reasoning) and language, we are nothing but a bundle of sensation, pleasure, and pain are the most fundamental.  This creates the beginning of personal preference. sort of our internal pleasure bible.  We are biologically wired from the limbic brain to seek pleasure as an adaptive reaction to stimuli.  You can see the benefit to survival:  things that are pleasurable will usually preserve the life of the organism.  

Once a fetus is born, the secondary vessels (referred to as the Wei's (Linking) and Qiao's (Heel)) become dominant. In classical OM theory, the Chong, Ren, and Du Mai provide an operational blueprint, so to speak, with the essence energy (or soul in certain religious traditions) holding the intention and the genetic blueprint for physical growth in the form of jing from both parents (in the form of egg and sperm).   The Weis and Qioas both store and reflect the effects of early childhood development, and their emotional content describes the quality of that early development.   Energy movement through the Weis and Qiaos is deeply affected by the events and the interpretation of those events in our early years.  Positive and negative experiences create the associations and belief systems through which we come to view the world and our reality.   A child left to cry in its crib for hours at a time, for example, may develop belief systems around the value of his voice.  Some may learn that overreaction is a way to gain attention, while others might give up asking for their needs.  

 We know from Polyvagal Theory and the development of the Vagus nerve. that growth, development, physiology, and autonomic regulation (self-soothing) ideally happen in a comfortable environment with gradual steps to independence and personal power.   This is also the ideal environment for the Weis and Qiaos: outer peace and calm from a caregiver are internalized into feelings of inner safety and security that are projected onto the world at large.  All strivings for independence such as crawling, walking, talking, feeding oneself, toilet training, and even staying over with GramGram feel risky and scary - it is all new and threatening.  Children with positive caregiving experiences gradually learn autonomic self-regulation through their positive developmental experiences, are emotionally resilient, and have an ability to self-soothe in stressful situations later in life.  In addition, this creates an inner base of "self" from which to navigate relationships out in the world.  

The Chong is comprised of 2 main vessels, reflecting our inherent right to exist and the intrinsic ability of the body to nourish that existence.   My new understanding of these vessels was discovered (or re-discovered I should say), after a near career-ending injury with paralysis, crippling nerve damage, and loss of motor function in my left arm.  A subsequent catastrophic diagnosis during the COVID shutdown meant there were few providers available to support my medical journey, and I had to work on myself, often an inch at a time.

From the standpoint of classical oriental medicine, dis-ease, whether physical, emotional, or mental begins with a blockage of healthy energy flow within the 8 Extra Meridians.  Due to the delicate and high frequency of the 8 Extras, we were taught to use the primary vessels in terms of treatment to release held energy pathways that cause pain and disease by gently redirecting energy flow back to its proper course.  This is the classical form of acupuncture that is taught in the west.  The adage "Where there is blockage there is pain" was a concept I learned on my first day of acupuncture school.  

Thursday, September 1, 2022

The Body as a Map

 The Body Maps

The personal work that was unfolding in my body was immediately successful with the myriad of .medical providers and first responders that I treated during the COVID shutdown (doctors, nurses, medical staff, and other essential personnel).  All of these patients, regardless of the OUTER injury, shared a similar INTERNAL pattern of energetic disharmony.  Like myself, nearly all of these patients had a past relational history that included trauma or extreme patterns of emotionally invalidating or abusive behavior from a primary caregiver.   A nurse with a history of high expectations from expectations of perfection usually had the weight of the world on her shoulders.  Carpal tunnel and repetitive strain were consistent with an emotional need to pull away.  ("What don't you want to touch?" was a common question for these cases).  Sciatica or low back pain before a change in life direction.  There were general patterns of somatic or held emotional energy that were fairly consistent between clients, regardless of the injury.  As an energy healer, it seemed that the frequency of the COVID wave, the energy gestalt, mirrored or exacerbated trauma signatures both in myself and in my patients.    

I was well aware of the different traditions that discussed the emotional effects in the body, and some yielded more success than others for me both personally and clinically with patients.  I had been trained in the use of Bach Flower remedies and the Bach Body Maps during my Kinesiology training even before I went to grad school.  Pop culture bestsellers like "The Emotion Code" and The Body Keeps Score illustrated other clinicians and their foray in somatically held emotional states.  I had been studying with Energy healers for years but had never allowed that information to touch the didactic acupuncture training that I had.  But it was only in merging my understanding of the Human Energy Field, the Chakra System, TCM and developmental neuropsychology that I began to have effects on the table that defied medical explanation.

The new work was objective (meaning you could see it).  It was reproducible.  Many patients could feel their energy and see it move for the first time.  Scars and other visible skin issues dissolved on the table in real time (I have the videos).  Ass the energy in these vessels begins to move freely for the first time, regeneration happened spontaneously on the table.  More challanging cases required deeper inquiry, and the energy flow distortion was a reflection of personal experience and belief systems,.  Dozens of times, I sat clients up to determine if what I saw on the table was visible to the patient.  

I had llonged believed that we have an intrinsic ability to heal when we understand the language of the body and the corresponding belief systems that distort or block natural energy flow.  Strongly held, unresolved emotional baggage is accumulated in the body VISIBLY and uncouple these 8 Extra meridians, blocking the natural energy flow of the nurturing and renewing energy of the body (called qi.  You can liken this to "the force" in star wars.)   The stored energy held in the fascia is released through needling, energy work, massage, and the corresponding intuitive counseling that produces insight and understanding,   Rather than fixing, it is a journey of discovery and curiosity between the patient and practitioner working together to discover the triggers that uncouple these meridians. 

Time did not seem to be a factor as many of the injuries in question were also linked in time to a prior trauma.  Once reconciled, injuries cleared instantly:  pain at 10/10 would be reduced to 2/10, sometimes with at times unskillful pushing on my part.   One of my clients, a first responder, had sensory feeling return to his leg for the first time in  20 years.  We weren't treating his leg; point of fact he never told me he had had surgery there or the neurological deficits.  But in discussing my new work, particularly the "power center" as I called it, he connected powerfully with being triggered into helplessness when someone he cared about was emotionally suffering.  This was, in fact, an emotional state of over-empathy that brought him to his knees.  Once he connected these ideas to HIS OWN BEHAVIOUR AND FEELINGS  his body was free to release the energy constraints blocking his nerve pathways because he had received the message..  Likewise, a beautiful and talented management consultant had the reversal of a hernia that was already confirmed via CT and scheduled for surgical repair.  In truth, I did very little during that session as she had already connected powerfully with her internal anger toward a close friend and had taken the necessary steps to correct the situation.  When I began her treatment, I simply SAW her abdomen zip up tight.  I looked at her and grinned:  "I think you've already received the message of the injury.  Do you want to see if we can avoid surgery?"  We hatched a plan to see her a few more times before her second CT to mark incision sites and decided just to play with the results.  While I felt intuitively this could work, I did not yet have my own network of belief in this area. based on experience.  

As luck would have it, she was called out of town for several weeks, and we had to cancel our sessions.  I was bummed considering that we weren't going to be able to try this out when she called a few weeks later giddy. 

"Jen, the hernia is GONE."  

"WHAT?" I shrieked over the phone.  

She was delirious.  Her surgeon said that they 'must have made a mistake."  Dude, it was confirmed by CT.  There was no mistake.  Once she received and processed the language of the body, and this included taking steps to empower herself out of the victim stance she was in, the body healed spontaneously.  Her nephrologist also reframed the successful results of acupuncture in restoring proper kidney function "We must have misdiagnosed you." This seems to be the most common explanation in western medicine from MDs when their patients return to them healed using ancillary modalities they don't ascribe to.  

I had hundreds of traumatized medical staff with whom to explore these ideas during COVID.  Some of our clients were all in for this journey into their emotional basement, and sadly, many more were not.  

I believe these experiences reflect an ancient application of this knowledge that was known by early practitioners in pre-Maoist china.  There is a great deal of evidence that supports the idea that a great deal of this information was systematically removed from the curriculum with deliberate intent. (1) Without the energy flow understanding and the ability to direct that flow with intention, acupuncture and classical oriental medicine became a half-baked system that yielded only occasional symptom relief, without meaning.  This is identical to our current medical system. I should know because I treated within that system in multiple medical groups for almost 20 years. 

Know Thyself

Understanding your own circuits provides the basis for self-empowering behavior IN THE PRESENT MOMENT that will eliminate pain or issues while it occurs.  This takes time, curiosity, practice, and attention.  However, for many of my Work Comp patients during COVID, personal empowerment also meant returning to a job from which they were burnt out or hated. In truth, these principles were only successful for individuals who WANTED TO GO BACK TO WORK.  They were all about learning about what created their pain and sense of frustration so they could nip things in the bud.  One of my nurses discovered this AFTER we had eliminated the pain in her back: every time a teen was admitted to the ward,  her back went out.  For her, this was an expression of over-empathy that she held in her mid-thoracic @ T10.  It was in connecting with this emotion in the ward IN THE MOMENT, that allowed her to move out of the repetitive pain cycle she was in.  

I happened to share this pain pattern with the nurse., the same spot.  We started calling it the Victim spot or the Power Center.  As a provider within the system, the chronic powerlessness I felt treating patients fell into two main categories:  those who desperately wanted to go back to work but could not secure adequate treatment, or worse, patients who had absolutely no intention of going back to work no matter what I did.  It pushed me (and my arm) to the breaking point.  I had worked through the internal NO, I won't Go!  for 17 years, but nothing was as bad as the behavior I experienced during the COVID pandemic.  

Every doctor has the experience of caring more for their patients' well-being than the patient. We are cautioned against over-empathy, but in truth, alternative medical providers pursue this field because we are nothing but empathy; many of us had serious health challenges that were poorly addressed with conventional medicine.  Bluntly, we went into alternative medicine looking to heal ourselves.  It couldn't work, of course, because the system was founded on shaky principles that included self-denial, self-sacrifice, and intense personal suffering.  

Medical training of all types includes maladaptive conditioning to be unidirectionally and perfectly empathetic, have no needs, always know the right thing to say, and never ever run late.  We should be willing to work for free and to serve at a discount.  The process of getting a doctorate is so brutal and expensive that by the time we are done with school, many of us learned to numb out to any of our own needs entirely.  Many of us were so far in debt that working ourselves to death seems like the obvious solution.  One of my patients who was an MD, talked about wearing Depends on his shift because he rarely had time to go to the restroom.  Another wore them for longer surgeries since they could not leave the OR.  I treated countless surgical nurses with repetitive strain injuries from holding the body in retraction for hours without respite,, medical assistants in their 20s with ruptured disks in their back because they had been required to support an obese patient, or something fell on them.  Labor and delivery sounded like a war zone.  

While I did not have to serve in a hospital residency program (acupuncture school doesn't have one), I WAS a self-employed single practitioner in a new start-up business:  I lived well below the poverty line on credit cards managing more in loan payments than I brought home for more 10 years.  I worked 80-hour weeks and stayed in a part-time job I hated for benefits.  I poured my heart into my work, refining my skills with some of the most talented practitioners on earth.  I too have peed into a jar during shifts where support staff called in sick and there were too many patients to leave the clinic, gone 8 hours without thinking about food or drink or sitting.  I slapped a smile on my face when patients screamed at my staff or myself for required co-pays, worked longer hours, and kept waiting for it to get better.  I tried not to feel the terror every time a client triangulated me with an MD (the ruling elite in our profession),  or if I caught something they missed.  In Occupational Medicine, we weren't permitted to charge for missed appointments so Work Comp patients could no show with impunity.  For the first decade, I naively thought that once I made a living wage it would get easier.  There had to be a point at which medicine would become what I had imagined before I went to school.  

Other colleagues who were nurses, MDs and PTs described similar issues, only with more zeros. Dr. D, a beloved patient described it this way:  By the time I was finished with my residency I had a debt of more than 400K.  It would have been worse without parental help.  By the time I finally start making money,  I also had a family to support.  I never questioned working 7 days a week, scrubbing in a 5 am because it was better for someone else, filling in for my colleagues.  I didn't question anything until I got cancer.  My 50s were the only time I could save for retirement; now I've got cancer.  

Numbed out to both myself and my own deep needs, three weeks after I lost the above patient, I suffered a paralytic arm injury, and a few weeks later the complete loss of all sensation due to as yet undiagnosed neurological trauma.   I had numbered out to myself for so long that my body finally decided to follow suit.  


(1Chinese Medicine In Crisis: Science, Politics, and the Making of “TCM” (classicalchinesemedicine.org)  Heiner Fruehauf

(2) Wa Zhiya, ed., Zhongguo Yixue Shi (A History of Chinese Medicine), Nanchang: Jiangxi Kexue Jishu, 1987, p. 278.

(3)  https://reichandlowentherapy.org/Content/Character/Psychopathic/psychopathic_inspirer.html     Reich and Alexander Lowen were two of the forerunners in this tradition of somatized expression.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

The Beginnings of Nonduality

To discover I shared these emotionally disempowering states with my patients was the basis of understanding this non-dual system.  We had clear, objective (visible and able to be felt), reproducible changes in the clients with these principles and with whom I had a rapport.  Within a day of treatment, I usually found some aspect of myself that wrestled with the construct I had seen in the patient the day before.  Having practiced the ancient Hawaiian tradition of H'oponopono for many years, I was familiar with Dr. Hew Len Ihaleakala and how he used these principles in his work with the criminally insane in Hawaii.  All he saw in patients was a reflection of his inner distortion.

OM theory (oriental medicine) describes the disease state as a separation from the Tao or the natural, balanced state of things.  Since much OM is perception-driven, everything I saw on the table was at least in part a reflected aspect of myself.  To date, only a few clinicians' work corroborate my own findings, and I include a reference here.  Michael Greenwood MD describes similar experiences in his book Braving the Void in his Vancouver Pain Clinic.  Most of his clinical publications approach OM from this angle.  References in the Daoist traditions of shiatsu also support my experience.

Feelings of helplessness (powerlessness,, overwhelmed, not enough, or victim) are painful to experience, and we often numb out to those feelings in favor of getting through our lives.  Many of these patterns are laid down in childhood.  Certain emotional states without resolution are too painful for the nervous system of a young child and induce incredible feelings of stress and sympathetic dominance.  As a way of self-soothing, the body will downregulate certain emotions in order to maintain homeostasis and a connection to caregivers.  (Enter Polyvagal theory).  

Once downregulated (or desensitized), the body still has the emotional signal, but it is playing behind the scenes, under the radar like a computer virus.  Without the ability to identify our emotions, we cannot release the held emotional energy and it accumulates in the body visibly in the fascia., giving rise to muscular defense patterns, such as those illustrated by Reich and Alexander Lowen. (2) (It is the accumulation of unresolved emotional energy, again both positive and negative, that creates a distortion of the energy flow through the local areas.  SHOCK produces a stopping effect, SADNESS a down-bearing effect, WORRY a scattered effect, and CONTROL-based fear systems create rigidity.  The bigger the accumulation, the bigger the chunk of the operating system it consumes.  This is what was referred to in the OM classics as the phlegm misting the mind, and it IS NOT MUCUS so Claritin or Er Chen Tang will not dissolve it. *   It is not literal phlegm but held charged emotional energy with a frequency, and often a direction (self/others) and time period (future/past).  The effects are additive, however, so the more unresolved energy in the form of unexpressed feelings of anger or powerlessness accumulates, the thicker and more sold this energy becomes.  

The reason that this is so important is that these strong emotional energies have the capacity to distort natural energy flow in the body.  Feel it often enough, and you will cultivate a blockage in the area.  Feel it for a lifetime and you will create a disease related to that emotion.  Without acknowledgment or resolution, many of these states become your state of being and the dial on your radio.  I believe this creates much of the resonance in pop culture with ideas from "the Law of Attraction" or "we make our reality."  The world is as we see it, as above, so below are all expressions of non-duality.  Our emotions describe our state of being, essentially the dial on the radio.   


This understanding is reflected in classical OM theory by what we call balancing the 5 elements.  Taught as actual elements in school (wood, fire, metal, etc.), the 5 Elemental points were in fact important for dispelling he held emotional energy trapped in the sinew channels that were visible to the naked eye when you know where and how to look.  This style was downplayed in grad school as fadish in favor of mechanized point prescriptions.  

Other practitioners and disciplines have mapped these somatic expressions for years, and several clinicians have published their somatic findings.  Popular works such as The Emotion Code or the Bach Flower Body Maps explore this. (3.) Even prior to COVID, I had, while training my staff, been creating a map of generalized orthopedic injuries that seem to correspond to general emotional states. and I included questions about this on my intake forms. Burnt-out caregivers, for example, such as nursing assistants or x-ray techs were more prone to upper repetitive strain injuries or carpal tunnel syndrome.  This is by no means an exact science, as mapping this is subjective and requires practice to determine accuracy.  Patients who were hard on themselves or had the weight of the world on their shoulders often had similar complaints in their shoulders and neck.  Someone overwhelmed with stepping into a new direction such as a move or job change might present with low back or sciatic pain.   With a crippling injury to my arm that included multiple tears, severe pain, and paralysis, I could not ignore my own findings over the last several years.  I had the canvas of my body with which to practice.  In my own case, sensation, and motor function were not restored until I received the message.  

Many of our patients were able to translate these general emotional states during sessions although sometimes that required significant counseling to ascertain how each client processed their own emotional states.  Those who could link imagery and belief systems to themselves in the form of understanding their behavior had visible and astounding changes on the table, both emotional and physical.  In this style of treatment, there is a moment of insight, an AHA moment that contains a corresponding release of energy through the affected region, resulting in visible relaxation and regeneration that is visible to the naked eye.  As the channel pathways are freed of obstruction (you can think of this as cleaning the gutters), many patients can feel this energy move as well.  For many, the energy flow feels like bubbles or a TENS unit.  I believe that aspects of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)  were created to MIMIC the effect of this energy flow in the body while providing absolutely no training as to how to facilitate this.  We got the equipment without the operating manual.  Since much of this is rooted in the practices of Taoism and classical Zen, you can imagine why a communist country might choose to disempower its citizens and clinicians by systematically removing the most important aspects of medicine.  We can't talk about anything SPIRITUAL or Energetic in a communist culture!

All of the experiences I have had with patients are reflected in the classic texts of Oriental Medicine but were unrecognized by most of the faculty that teach TCM in the west.  The Daoist and Toyohari lineages in japan have retained more of this information since it is a palpation-based system, but much of this has been lost to antiquity until now.  Interestingly enough, the acupuncture points and general sinew regions that yielded the most effective change clinically included points that were "forbidden (cue the scary music).  

These exciting developments open up an entirely new chapter of what is possible in Oriental medicine and I can't wait to share the journey with you!



(1) Michael T. Greenwood.Non-Duality, Simplicity, and the Chong Mai.Medical Acupuncture.Feb 2018.8-14.http://doi.org/10.1089/acu.2017.1263
(2) http://www.reichandlowentherapy.org/
This is by no means a complete list of these patterns as we are generally a combination of 2-4 dominant emotional patterns.
(3) https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/New-Bach-Flower-Body-Maps/Dietmar-Kramer/9780892815319
(4) https://www.amazon.com/Emotion-Code-Emotions-Abundant-Happiness-ebook/dp/B07J4RMSNQ
(*)  This is in reference to mucus herbs frequently prescribed for this condition since it was mistranslated. The herbs never work and the patient never feels better unless they actually have MUCUS.  

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Introducing the Human Energy Field (HEF)

What is the Human Energy Field (HEF)?

I was first introduced to the idea of energy healing back in college, where I studied chemistry and environmental toxicology. Fully rooted in the scientific method, you would think these concepts would seem outlandish to a budding scientific researcher, but quite the opposite happened. I was led to many different types of energy healers both in college and the next few years.. Some were more skilled than others, with varying levels of distortion related to their own belief systems and experiences. When Barbara Brennan’s first book hit the stores in 1987, Hands of Light, became the healer’s bible, so to speak. Finally, a valid, scientific presentation of the principles behind energy medicine, how to develop these tools yourself, and how to develop the clarity required to read into the field of the other individual without projection. This was the seminal work for most of us in the late 80s, with much less new-age hype and a rigorous method of personal and professional development. Meeting her teacher Rosalyn Bruyere a few years later at multiple workshops in New York was even scarier. These women were fierce in their clarity of vision and in the rigors required, specifically the transformational inner work required to step into energy healing and energy medicine. "Yours is not the biggest aura in the room" she screeched at us at the beginning of a weekend workshop. We cowered in our seats, afraid to even think of admitting such a thing.

Also known as the aura, the HEF consists of 7 layers, 8 energy centers* (also known as
chakras) which surround and penetrate the physical body, mind, brain, and higher centers. It is projected some distance from the physical body, between 1-3 feet depending on the vitality of the individual.  
The energy or life force circulated (called qi or Ki) is further differentiated into the 8 extraordinary vessels and the 12 main acupuncture meridians. For the purposes of discussions, we will assume its existence rather than get into esoteric debates that require proof. I have been working in the WEF for over 35 years, with no

doubt as to its existence. I have seen the miraculous results when proper energy flow is restored with this understanding.

I hesitate to use the word chakra due to spiritual overlays from Classical Ayurvedic medicine. They are simply energy centers that coordinate aspects of the human physical body and field. There is no "spiritual" overtone to the field. The 8th energy center became active @ the year 2000, although many individuals do not have this center functioning yet and many individuals including former teachers have not been aware of it. Although traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture (TCM) use this energy, there is no inclusion of the HEF or the energy centers in the curriculum of TCM as it is taught in the east or west. There is almost no training in how to feel it, work with it, or move it with a needle. (I had to go to the Japanese tradition for some of that training and I provided that training to all of my associates in the clinic). We see more of this included in the 5 elemental traditions, but in terms of my own experience, while already training as an energy healer during my graduate education in TCM, those skills had to be left at the door. Even my sensei(s) referred to questions about the HEF as new age and "metaphysics."  

These questions were deeply discouraged in favor of a strict interpretation of the oriental classics. EXCEPT, there is substantive evidence that these “classics” had this information systematically removed during the cultural revolution in China in favor of a medicalized,.  Treatments were mechanized , and robotic point prescriptions with curricula could be outsourced to the west for profit, to infiltrate the western “devils.” (1) So for 20 years, much of my other training was considered too esoteric to be included in my practice: kinesiology, Bach Flower Remedies, the Bach Body maps, classical homeopathy, chakra balancing, biofield tuning, somatization therapy, and reiki had to be used in an ancillary capacity.

It wasn't until I through all of that separation out that I began to see the results I had always intuited were possible.  

(1) https://classicalchinesemedicine.org/chinese-medicine-crisis-science-politics-tcm/

Friday, August 26, 2022

Adverse Experiences: The Great Uncoupling

 Adverse experiences without emotional resolution can create significant distortion of energy flow through the acupuncture meridians.  A big enough shock will actually uncouple of the 8 Extras, specifically the Chong from the Dai Mai.  Adults who have experienced trauma, for example, such as medical trauma, an accident, combat, or ongoing domestic stress/ violence will show this pathology.  The body has many ways to compensate for this for many years, but eventually, the blocks to natural energy flow will result in disease of injury at some point, whether physical, painful, or emotional.  

Children with adverse childhood experiences such as surgery, gestational trauma, birth trauma, or child abuse cause even more serious issues.  Prior to the onset of language and reasoning, we are simply a bundle of sensations: pleasure and pain., good and bad.  There is no way for babies and very young children to make sense of post-surgical pain, a cord wrapped around the neck, or three weeks in an incubator separated from the parents.  All events are NOW, and with no sense of time to an infant or young one; this will feel like an eternity from which there is no escape.  At its most basic, the body perceives a threat and produces hormones of stress such as adrenaline, epinephrine, and norepinephrine otherwise known as fight/flight/freeze..  Stress hormones create extreme states of agitation, and in a child, their delicate nervous system is overwhelmed.  Shock lodges in the energy field, and without the ability to emotionally resolve these experiences, the unexpressed energy stays lodged in the energy field, distorting the natural pathways.  Since the body cannot stay in a state of extreme agitation or fight/flight/freeze for more than about 2 minutes, it first down-regulates, and then eventually suppresses these strong emotions in a desperate attempt to return the body to a cellular environment to support growth and development,. 

We are social creatures, with an innate need to connect and love others.  We need to feel connected to our caregivers.  Young children with adverse childhood events due to unskilled emotional parenting or abuse from caregivers, or who experience long periods of severe neglect or deprivation have the most extreme examples of this.  They have learning and developmental issues, emotional dysregulation, poor socialization, and an inability to self-soothe.  (*Source: Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. The Science of Neglect: The Persistent Absence of Responsive Care Disrupts the Developing Brain, 2012.)

The inability of a young one to reconcile the split of needing connection but connecting only with pain and neglect creates impossible no-win scenarios in the mind of a child who can not reason.  How do you hug a tiger who is trying to kill you?  Why are they trying to kill you?  Without being able to resolve these questions, children develop coping strategies to resolve this dilemma, including self-blame, self-criticism, perfectionism, hypervigilance (no safe place), striving, resignation, fear, and rage.    

Threatening emotions MUST be ignored to maintain some type of connection to the caregiver.  In the event that adverse situations are chronic such as ongoing abuse, neglect, boundary violations such as sexual abuse and physical punishment, chronic emotional invalidation, and violence teach a child to ignore their natural instincts.  Because the child is in fear for their lives, the child is bathed in an environment with chronic stress hormones.  

Unresolved emotional energy become trapped in the body, and create blocks to normal growth and development which follow some obvious trends.   Muscle patterning, body frames, and morphology seem to correlate with fairly predictable patterns visibly in the muscle tissue and frame.  Talented somatic therapists have mapped these generalizations, and you can explore more in works like Alexander Lowen's Langauge of the Body, John PIerrakas' Core Energetics, and Barbara Brennan's Light Emerging.  What I find fascinating is that much of the early somatic work was documented by therapists who noticed consistent patterns of body morphology tied to certain emotional states.  In truth, we are all a mixture of these body-mind types, and it can be helpful and fun to explore your own body-mind type in these books.  But because they were not bodyworkers, there was no way to integrate both sides of the issue - body-mind remained split.

All of this is from the standpoint of development neurophysiology.  It was in integrating these types of somatic therapy in combination with developmental theory in Traditional Oriental Medicine and energy medicine training that Embodied Acupuncture was developed.  

Stay tuned...

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Away we go!!

   After 19 years with various hospital groups in Occupational Medicine, I ended my contractual relationship with various medical groups and a host of Workers' Compensation payers in December 2021 to focus on a new direction in energy medicine.  Full disclosure, it's both exciting and terrifying to walk away from 'the money.'  But my experiences during the COVID pandemic shifted my own perspective so completely, that I no longer resonate with the standard medical model of "fix me."  Fans of Joe Dispenza's work in "Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself" will remember he describes a similar process after his own recovery from a broken spine, where he simply couldn't treat in the same way because he no longer believed in that model.  In my case, staying in Occupational Medicine after 2 years of COVID became stifling.  

My goal has always been to empower patients to know they can heal and to facilitate that in whatever way that I can, whether through massage, energy work, acupuncture, intuitive counseling, or a referral to another provider.  Worker's Compensation, while designed with the best of intentions to protect injured workers, has become a medical system that keeps the patient powerless and begging for care.  They create victims rather than encourage a positive path to recovery. 

 That is all about MONEY, power, and who is going to pay.  I no longer choose to frame my work in a western-based manner so that it is "medically compensable" and I am finished with restricting information to the patient which might facilitate their recovery.  In Occupational Medicine, as a "secondary physician" I am prohibited from direct referrals for modalities that would help facilitate full recovery, even when the patient expressly wants to pay out of pocket to "get it done."  If an MD or insurance adjuster lacks exposure to ancillary services, care is denied (even when federally mandated).  Often, the patient is also prohibited from treating themselves at the risk of invalidating their claim.  They are damned if they do and damned if they don't.  

This perceived failure of choice contributes to what creates the victim mentality so prevalent in the Work Comp system today.  There is, in Occupational Medicine (Work Comp), a sense that once injured, they OWN the patient:  they own the information, choice of treatment modalities, and your money.  They basically treat them like children.   Again this is about PROFIT, ego, fear of professional liability, and trying to see if anyone else can pay for it by limiting care and access.  I have literally seen adjusters come back to me with comments like:  "Well if they can pay for the massage out of pocket, they can pay for all of it."  

What?  

What happened to "pull" yourself up by your own bootstraps?  Taking responsibility, a combo of self-effort and grace?  Ownership that perhaps the injury you have was reinforced by poor self-care?  In a litigious and for-profit medical system, patients are turned into helpless children begging for scraps of care from a recalcitrant payer or uneducated authority figures and physicians instead of feeling empowered to heal themselves in whatever manner they wish. 

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Embodied ACUPUNCTURE (TM) and acupuncture self-healing has been in development for several years and was really finalized out of necessity after I sustained a catastrophic and (potentially) career-ending injury to my arm at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, with multiple tears, nerve damage, and loss of motor and sensory function to one arm, and then a neurological issue secondary to repressed trauma.  Elective services were not available and faced with paralysis and excruciating pain, I went to work on myself.  

As a self-employed individual, without the social safety net of Work Comp or SSI, I continued seeing patients (one-handed).  In working with injured medical providers and essential employees on the front lines of the COVID pandemic, I found a consistent pattern of disharmony in the energy field of all the patients I treated, and the techniques I used for my own injuries were immediately applicable to my clients, with staggering, visible, and often times medically unexplainable results.  100% of my first responders also were trauma survivors of all kinds:  alcohol, chronic abuse, sexual abuse, and trafficking.  Like myself, all were suffering from some form of PTSD, albeit undiagnosed.

In exploring my findings through the ancient texts of Oriental medicine, I am convinced that the results I see on the table were KNOWN in acupuncture communities prior to the cultural revolution and the end of the Chinese dynasty in 1911, and that information has been distorted with an intention to keep people powerless. (more on this later).  It became clear we were tapping into treatment for trauma (both known and repressed,) PTSD, overwhelm, and extreme emotional stress.  

Strong stress patterns essentially uncouple the 8 great channels in the body, effectively making it impossible for the body to heal itself.  

The deepest energy pathways in Classical Oriental Medicine are the 8 Extra Meridians.  They are a wellspring of healing energy when they work!  Pain and injury become chronic when energy becomes trapped, and we fail to understand the language of the body or the message that is being communicated.  Once translated, patients connect more deeply with WHY and HOW this developed, and how limiting beliefs and behaviors essentially block the energy flow in the body.  With Embodied Acupuncture, pain and healing happen spontaneously during the session, many times with visible regeneration.  It is possible that acute pain of 10/10 pain may drop to 3/10 by the end of the session.  Patients work in conjunction with me (or their provider) with simple exercises to reverse patterns of disharmony, including nerve damage, more completely than we ever thought possible. Time, it seems, is less of a factor in recovery than I previously thought.

Based on 30 years of training in the principles of Somatic Patterning, Reiki, developmental neurophysiology, Somatic Experience Trauma Work, the acupuncture meridians, Barbara-Brennen style healing work, and the Chakra system in Ayurveda, Embodied Acupuncture and the supporting acupressure self-healing work restore the body to its natural state by restoring the free-flow of qi (or vital energy) in the body.  

 While symptom relief is possible directly in session, it becomes a process of mindfulness to learn how to permanently shift these limiting patterns and emotional states.    Rather than healing, it might be best described as helping the body to return to its natural state by removing the energy blocks created by limiting beliefs and holding emotional energy.  The recovery is body and mind working in harmony with an expanded perception.  The energy blockages preceded the onset of the injury, many times for YEARS, even in the case of an accident or a slip and fall.  The injuries received, and their corresponding Oriental Medicine and energy patterns will correspond almost exactly to emotional states and limiting belief systems that, once accepted and integrated through understanding, are restored to a more natural functionality.  Severe pain cases, hernias, and nerve damage that had resisted treatment have all been resolved using this work, sometimes in just a few sessions, because the message conveyed by the body consciousness was received.  

In treating both my patients and myself, I have also enjoyed the fruits of this new work and look forward to a full recovery from my injuries.  

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I am deeply grateful to my injured medical providers, first responders, and other “essential employees” in San Diego who so generously worked on the front lines to keep us safe, educate our kids, pack our groceries, and with open hearts and minds, made themselves available to develop this new work over the last several years. None of these people signed up for a MASH unit, folks. None of them asked to be on the front lines of a pandemic when there was no information, and when no one understood how dangerous it could be. I have so much gratitude for our essential employees (of all types) and for their families.  

Please stay tuned as I document the amazing developments over the last several years.  As I said, I believe that many of my findings over the last few years were KNOWN to acupuncturists prior to both the end of the Chinese dynasty @ 1911 and the cultural revolution in China (1966 to 1976).  Most of the energetic and intuitive pathways in Traditional Chinese Medicine have been systematically suppressed both for profit, political gain, and tyranny.  There is so much more to Oriental Medicine and energy healing than we ever imagined and I am excited to share it with you. 

In the beginning...

Was the Chong... It sounds biblical, doesn't it?  Let me preface this introduction to our primary meridians by expressing my deep gratit...