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Five Branches University Enriches Community Health at Cabrillo College Fall Health Festival

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Take Center Stage at Community Event

Santa Cruz, CA – November 02, 2023 – Five Branches University, a leading institution for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) education, joined forces with the local Cabrillo College community to bring the healing power of TCM to the Fall Health Festival. Their booth was a bustling hub where students and visitors could experience the profound benefits of acupuncture and TCM.

Sydney Davis, a participant from Five Branches University, stated that the booth was “heavily trafficked” as they offered 15-20 minute community-style acupuncture treatments. This quick and accessible treatment targeted the participants’ chief complaints, providing them with a taste of the healing wonders of TCM.

One of the most striking revelations from the event was the number of students who had never experienced acupuncture. Many were unfamiliar with this ancient healing system. Kelly Zeng, a Five Branches student, highlighted the privilege of engaging with these students, dispelling myths, and sharing insights into the principles and practices that underlie TCM. Hence not only offering healing but also providing valuable education to the community about acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

The Cabrillo College Fall Health Festival was not just about health; it was an opportunity to explore the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. Dr. Mariposa Bernstein, the supervising faculty member, aptly summarized the experience as a “neat opportunity” for both Cabrillo College and Five Branches students as the event became a bridge connecting students to a world they may not have explored otherwise.

Congratulations 2023 Graduates!

On August 20th, 2023, Five Branches University celebrated the graduation of its Master’s (MTCM), First Professional Doctorate Degree (D.Ac and DTCM), and Postgraduate Doctorate Degree (DAOM) students.  

The event started with the energizing performance of the California VSA Lion Dance team. It was followed by the wise words of advice to graduate given by the keynote speaker, Dr. Amy Matecki, MD, FACP, L.Ac. Among many duties, Dr. Matecki is the medical director of the Center for Integrative Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Sutter Bay Hospital, where Five Branches Doctorate students are able to enroll for its residency program. 

Dr. Matecki was followed by one of FBU faculty Dr. Robert Yao, DAOM, M.Med, L.Ac, who recently retired from working as an doctorate acupuncturist at Kaiser Medical Center in the last 25 years. Dr. Yao shared his pride in each and everyone of the students who persevered in their studies despite the pandemic.  Next were the heartfelt words of the class speakers who thanked their teachers, classmates and families for all the support they got while going through their TCM journey.  Tai Ji Sword performance by the students provided a lovely break. The event concluded with the degree confirmation and reciting of the practitioner’s oath. 

Class Preview: History & Philosophy with Senior Professor Doc Mitchell

This preview is a short excerpt of History & Philosophy, a course taught by Senior Professor Doc Mitchell at Five Branches University.

Professor Doc Mitchell unveils the wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in this captivating lecture segment. TCM emphasizes harmony with the universe through the Dao–skillful way-making in the context of nature. This concept guides us to navigate the changing nature of our reality, communities, and relationships, particularly within our families. In ancient Chinese philosophy, bodily discomfort serves as a warning of our misalignment with the laws of nature and community, and it is the doctor’s job to skillfully guide the ill back to the right path. This emphasis placed on alignment in nature is why ancient China celebrated farmers and those connected to the organic world, not fame and fortune. Professor Mitchell encourages students to engage skillfully with life under such terms, urging them to prioritize a balanced life filled with meaningful connections and skillful engagement with life’s existential realities.

Full transcript Below:

      • [Doc] People are making decisions based on their understanding of life, and sometimes those decisions are causing the problems that they come in to complain about. As Confucius will say 2,500 years ago now, many problems are caused by a misunderstanding of how life works. So what we’re looking at in this class is the development and evolution of Chinese thought, the how life works and how to have a productive relationship with it. This is literally the sea in which our medicine swims. Again, remember 2,000 years ago, our medicine was called Yang Sheng, which is nourishing life. It’s not about just fixing problems. This is not a cult. It’s just a way of, you know, a series of lenses that we look at things and then being able to understand phenomena in such a way as we can begin to engage skillfully and rectify the imbalances that may lead to digestive issues, cancer, whatever have you. Sprained ankles, low back pain, menstrual difficulties, emotional problems, all the above. So that’s what this medicine is about. So on that note, I always start classes with a reflection. What did you think about class last week? I don’t remember your name.

      • [Lauren] Me? Lauren.

      • [Doc] I’m looking at you. Yeah, sorry.

      • [Lauren] It opened my eyes to a lot of differences in like ways I might have to.

      • [Doc] My bad.

      • [Lauren] Thinking, you know like coming from a Western perspective. It also just made me really excited to learn more about history of this and the evolution. I was saying that last class made me excited to study the evolution of an indigenous culture. One that has evolved in harmony with nature and one that has a written record of it. You know, ’cause most indigenous western cultures, we don’t have written records of, you know, their musings and of the history. It makes it a little more inaccessible.

      • [Doc] Very good.

      • [Lauren] Just hearing everything you said last class made me excited.

      • [Doc] What she said was that she was excited to study, and I’m paraphrasing here, the evolution of thought in a literate culture. What we have with a lot of indigenous cultures is no written history, really, a lot of it oral tradition. And that with the Chinese, you literally have a literate conversation that is, you know, going on 3,000 plus years old, which is phenomenal. The same characters are still being used as were found on the bone oracles, you know, and what you’re going to be seeing as the Confucians become the dominant model in the bureaucracy, the literate model. You see them maintaining this library and this conversation around the same subjects. You know, sort of who are we and what are we doing? How does reality work? How does nature work? Keep in mind that the reality of indigenous cultures is that they lived in direct concert with nature. This is an agrarian culture. They are not sitting around in their cubes bereft of any kind of weather influences. They are having to deal with harvest. They’re having to deal with pestilence and barbarians invading. And so it’s real time. You know, I think modern society often is divorced, modern civilizations in general are often divorced from having to relate to this. We think we can kind of invent how the world works and tell it how it should and you’ll find it in Chinese thinking, they gave that up a long time ago ’cause it just doesn’t work. The language itself, as you mentioned last week, is very descriptive. It is not based in abstractions like verbs and nouns like we have. It’s very descriptive. So when you read some of the original source text in that main book in the readings that I’ve, you know, encouraged you in, you will see that. It’s very interesting stuff. You know, I find it anyhow, just speaking personally. So who else? Comments? Yes.

      • [Student] Just kind of building off that last lecture. There was a couple of kind of things that stuck with me. The first being medicine is a skillful and compassionate response to suffering, emphasis kind of on compassionate approach to that, which I think is lost in our kind of Western civilization. Like you were saying, Western doctors are almost bragging about how they can filter in so many people. Whereas it kind of goes back to covering up the symptoms rather than addressing the group problem. And that kind of ties into what Lauren was saying about being in touch with nature and what you’re trying to be told. So yes, you covered up the symptom, but what’s going to keep on coming back there?

      • [Doc] Well, that’s true. So his comment was about the, in the written material and the commentary last week, was in the medicine being the skillful and compassionate response to human suffering. We’re all human beings, you know, we’re all in this soup together. And one, if we can’t get along, we have, which has been the history of humans, you know, we kind of want to minimize that me versus you kind of thing. But compassion is really, it’s necessary and it’s important. And I will tell you that, you know, as a clinician being able to awaken that every day, you show up and it’s like, oh, here’s Mrs. Smith who whines incessantly. I mean, she’s here for digestive issues, but she complains incessantly about her husband the whole time. Well, you’re going to have to like, how does your heart open to that kind of complaint? And what might you offer to her, you know, suffering that’s, in many ways, self-created? You know, again, a lot of times people are victims of their own decisions. Orthopedically, well you know, you could say running is not good for the knees after a certain point if you’re not careful. You need to be really, really careful. So we’re going to look at the evolution of, you know, compassion as being a big part of medicine. Because actually that is not literally entering until the Buddhist era, which is quite a ways down the road. Okay, so more comments?

      • [Student] I was thinking a lot about the language and how you were saying last class, how descriptive it is. And in our other classes there’s, we’re reading a book, it’s the foundations book, And on the first page it’s concerned, well, not in the first page, there’s like a preface that’s going over how they chose the language for the book. And I found that to be very helpful and interesting in terms of the linguistic theory model. I’m wondering if this book, if you have any knowledge kind of outside the book of how they’re translating the words that they’re using like for instance, the word ritual or like I was reading that that could be all these different things. And when you’re speaking in Chinese language, it’s understood in that moment all the meanings at once. So then when you have a direct translation and you’re like, I noticed with the oracle bones, it was very stripped down in terms of this is a ritual, or this is a right or this is a cult. And it had me thinking, well, what else is it that is not on the page in terms of context?

      • [Doc] Well, so if I can paraphrase that, I’m speaking to the group here.

      • [Student] I have mic on.

      • [Doc] Oh, you do have your mic. Oh good. I was thinking this is a tough one.

      • [Student] I think we’re good.

      • [Doc]This is a tough one. No, thank you. I’d appreciate it if you would do that too. There is a dictionary of Chinese medicine. I highly recommend you get it. One of the leaders in the field of linguistics and translations is a guy by the name of Nigel Wiseman. Nigel Wiseman, I mean it’s a dictionary, I have it. It’s about this thick, it’s a big book, but it goes into the specifics of each thing. So when one of the, say right up on top of the pile of things to discuss right now is the Chinese word, xu. And please correct me if I’m, she speaks Chinese natively. I don’t, as I mentioned, I mangle tones, but so xu technically in Chinese means empty. But in Chinese thinking, there’s no such thing as emptiness. Emptiness cannot exist. So what it means is something was there and it’s not now, and it’s being missed. So there’s actually the better translation, according to Wiseman, is vacuity. There’s a vacuum, there’s something missing. And so this is actually a very important word ’cause you’re going to see spleen qi xu up there. Xu, spleen qi xu means there is a vacuity of the transformative process of signification, your body, the functional capacity of bringing something in is lacking to the point where it’s evidenced, it’s noticeable. The word shi, again these are, Chinese thinking is very binary as we talked about a little bit last week, but shi actually is often translated as excess. But when you look at the processual understanding of life that underpins the view, what I call the view, shi actually means replete, full to the point of overflowing. So it’s a dynamic, it’s not a static thing, it’s a dynamicism that is inherent in this view. And so it’s huge. You know, when you look at the impact of language, there’s a school of thought that I was studying in my way back undergraduate work called the Sapir-Whorf linguistic hypothesis about relativity so language actually provides a framework, an unconscious framework that sort of hmm, affects how we think about things, the questions you might ask. Now, there’s a lot of controversy around this, Wittgenstein and these other linguists don’t like really agree to it. But practically speaking, for example, I come home late at night and in English my wife says, “Well, who are you out with?” And I say, “Oh, I was out with a friend.” Pretty much end of conversation. Well, in the romantic languages like French, Spanish, Latin, I would have to add a gender to that. Imagine the complications. I was out late with una amiga. Well, the questions that follow were going to be considerably different. I can only imagine having been married for 40 years now. It opens another series of questions. So when I’m looking at the word xu, I say, “Well, it’s deficient.” Well, that’s kind of a static understanding of life. When you look at a processional understanding of acuity, it’s like, well, you know, there’s a series of things that are going to feed into that, including dietary choices, you know, cognitive processing, you know, making the right choices, quality of foods, you know, what is it that’s being transformed? If you’re eating, you know, garbage food, there’s not much in it. You’ll find many Chinese doctors saying donuts aren’t really bad for you. It’s just that you spend energy digesting ’em and there’s nothing in there for you. It’s just that simple. There’s really nothing nutritious there. Well, okay, sugar and butter. Okay, okay. So yeah that’s kind of, linguistics are really important. I will tell you that my interest in Chinese medicine came through the native indigenous cultures because to your point, it’s illiterate. There’s nothing written. I spent a year south of the border banging around in the ruins down there talking to the curanderos in the marketplaces. And you know, it’s very, very regional. There’s no overlying sort of paradigm that they all share. It’s very remedial, oh, these herbs are there, good for the stomach. It’s like, well, how? Oh, they’re very good for the stomach, you know? But there’s no underlying philosophy or theory behind it is what their grandmother told them. So oral traditions aren’t nearly as well developed. What we’re seeing with the Shang dynasty, and we’ll go into this in more detail, but people live in myth when you begin to write myth down, you can step back and talk about it and then discourse begins. And that’s what we’re going to be seeing with the literate culture and the development of Chinese thought. The evolution of Chinese thought that in many ways, I think culminates or reaches a rather dramatic apex in the, I would say about after the Tong dynasty, late Tong, early Song dynasty with the Neo-Confucian movement, where we’re going to see the amalgamation of Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism, social modeling, understanding of personal reflection and understanding of how constructs affect perception and cognition and you know, introspection. And that had a huge impact on the development of our medicine. You know, that was like a thousand years ago. So, and then you see this chewed over and these people are, they’re not just coming up with new ideas, it’s not their progressives. What they’re doing is looking at the past and bringing the past forward and looking at it in a more modern context, because China’s expanding at this period, meeting new peoples, you know, the Silk Road is opening up and so they’re having to deal with all these weird guys in Europe and stuff like that, soon to be, okay? So yeah, you know watching this reflective capacity evolve over the years socially in the context of war, in the context of art, in the context of science, in the context of medicine, you know, it’s all part of this underlying view. What you’re learning in this medicine is actually part of how they think about everything. It’s not just a little bubble over there. So it’s how mothers are, you know, going to treat their children. There’s a movie, “The Last Emperor,” it’s about Pu Yi, who was the last Imperial emperor. It’s a Bertolucci film, it’s actually quite done. I don’t know, it’s pretty historically accurate. But there’s this one scene, Pu Yi was the last emperor and he basically was enthroned during the latter years before the nationalist party took over Sun Yat-sen and then actually China and was invaded by the Japanese. And it was a very sad story, he had a very tragic life. But there’s this one scene where he’s newly born and he’s in the wife’s chamber and the kid has a poop and it’s in this bowl. And immediately the bowl is handed over to these four older gentlemen and they all look at it and they smell it and they discuss it, and then they make advisements. Because in that world, you know, my job as a clinician would be to keep you healthy. So we can see how that individual’s health is, and digestion is like extremely important for children of that age but the advice on what foods to begin feeding him or what might be withdrawn was very important to the nourishing of his destiny as the emperor and the entire throne and the entire realm of China. So it’s a very, very interesting way of thinking about things. It’s very new to Westerners. We think we just kind of make up life and that’s how nature should work. But it doesn’t really work that way in Chinese thought. So, and language is huge. It’s very huge. And not to belabor the point, but there may be in the library, if you have access to the five branches library, there is a dictionary of Chinese medicine and it’s like, oh wow. So yeah, one character can mean 30 different things or maybe 20, and it really doesn’t mean anything until you put it up next to something else and that’s relational. Same way we see an individual. You just can’t look at a person in a vacuum with a reductionist model like modern science can or modern medicine can. You have to look at them and how they’re relating to their environment so emotions, you know, that a person has about the world around them, how they’re responding to it actually is going to impact different organ systems and their health. You know, over time it just adds up. Each emotion like anger has a particular affinity, I should say a relationship, with the liver. Fear has a particular relationship with the kidneys. Worry and or cognitive rumination has a particular relationship with what we would call spleen, stomach. Grief has a particular relationship with lungs. So excessive emotions processing them tend to impact health in these organ systems. But you see each organ system is in relationship with all the other organ systems. So a lot of anger is definitely going to injure the stomach, or excuse me, injure the liver. But when the liver is overactive, you will learn that it often affects digestion. And when digestion is weakened, it will weaken blood because you’re not transforming and transporting your nutrients properly. And when that happens, your head may not work right, so you’re going to be making lousy decisions or your emotions are going to be unstable. So that ability of what sits in the heart, the xin, the emperor, you know, is not going to be able to see clearly.

      • [Student] That kind of makes me wonder about last class when you were talking about personal agency.

      • [Doc] Yes.

      • [Student] When you’re in that situation and you can’t think clearly and you’re undernourished, and maybe it’s because of your access to certain foods in your family or whatever it may be, socioeconomic status. Like how do you hold the standard of personal agency when someone’s like in that, like someone stuck in poverty?

      • [Doc] Well I think that’s a very good point. Did everybody catch that? Was your computer picking up that?

      • [Student] I think so.

      • [Doc] Everybody hear what she said? So I think that’s a very important question. I think what it will speak to, I mean, simply put, do the best you can with what you have. Now I will say that some of the healthiest people I have ever worked with were migrant farmers who lived on rice and beans and fresh vegetables, small amounts of, but they also did not have the expanded desires that a lot of westerners do in trying to fund ginormous other expenditures. This is what they had to work with and their expenditures were proportionate to what they had to work with. So they did not go into debt. That’s what happens a lot. There are also many of them coming from, I wouldn’t say more tribal, but more rural and more traditional conservative societies where self-discipline was, you know, more of a stoic approach to life. The development of personal character was far more valuable than railing against the injustices of society and that everybody doesn’t have the same thing. I mean, you can throw yourself at the great machine in Washington DC and try to change everything or you can take care of your own business well and skillfully. As a clinician, I will tell you that you’ll get a lot better results with your patients if you help a person understand how to work better with what they actually have. And so, yes, your patients, a lot of them will come from very dysfunctional families. Are you encouraging them in a personal meditative, excuse me, a personal meditative practice where they’re actually valuing stillness, you know, where they’re actually learning to grow flowers, places of beauty in their heart, despite everything. And history has shown us that that’s possible. You have to be disciplined and you have to, you know, work it and you have to avail yourself to some of the, what I would consider the classic texts. What we’re going to see with this Chinese history is a worldview that it is not just a peaceful society. And they did not always live in harmony with nature. You know, you go back to the Taoist Classic 300 AD and you will see admonitions, don’t get an abortion, don’t pee into the stream, you know, don’t cut down the trees to enhance your view. This is like 300 AD they’re writing this stuff down, they had the same problems then. They had barbarians, you know, raiding on a regular basis. How do you deal with that? Well, Confucius came down with the notion that, you know, in a chaotic world, the family is the root of everything. So skillful mentoring, education and nourishment were the role, the responsibility of the mother. I mean, you could say whoever’s going to be mother, but it is a role that needs to be fulfilled. Who is best equipped to do that if everybody is out in the field working? Well, it begs a question, and this is often kind of a, you know, raises the short hairs on, you know, young feminists who go, well, that’s just, you know, misogynistic. You have to, well. If nobody’s doing it, who is going to do it? Do you want to source it out to, you know, minimum wage workers at a daycare center? Eh, remember, those kids are going to be choosing your retirement home. You want them to like you, you want them to be strong, you want them to be smart. You want them to understand how the world works because they may be supporting you. This was retirement for, you know, these old Chinese people. So you wanted to have good mother role. It was just important. It’s functional. Most societies understood that, you know, we’re way off the rails on that personally with understanding what it takes to keep on keeping on these days, that’s my humble opinion. So, okay. Any more reflections? We’ve talked about language, we talked about, we have some, yes.

      • [Student] My personal reflection is the personal virtue is so important in the history of ancient Chinese culture.

      • [Doc] Very.

      • [Student] And the personal virtue in combination with their relationship with their community.

      • [Doc] Excellent.

      • [Student] What I found very interesting is they understand they are their own individual. They’re responsible for their own personal growth. At the same time, they do not eliminate their relationship with their people, their neighbors, because they understand their neighbor won’t be helping them on the farm if their ox is, you know, need help from their ox or whatnot. So I think that is a very different society relationship that we see today. And when you’re talking about mother, I was just thinking about the word tiger mom, right? It has to come from somewhere.

      • [Doc] It does, that’s where it comes from. So her point is very well taken. We’re going to see a couple, as we move farther up into Confucian thinking into the Han dynasty thinking. There are some words that are just, they’re going to keep coming with us. So de is called virtue. Virtue is often considered integrity. But literally there’s a saying in the Suwen, which is one of our classics of medicine, but says, heaven in me is virtue. So that when you are in alignment with the principles of heaven, you have virtue and you collect virtue through personal cultivation, with not only your own personal resources, but your community in how you engage skillfully with compassion and with a sense of uprightness, the people around you. Honesty and integrity are really, well it’s what the sages will call authenticity. Authenticity is an irreducible relationship with life. No artifice, just the basics. You know, what’s really needed, what’s at the root of all things and getting along with others is really, really, really important. So we’re going to be looking at, that’s the Confucian social model. And it’s morality, but morality for the Chinese is being in alignment with heaven. Heaven is yong. Yong and heaven is sort of like the unalterable movement of the planets and the stars. It’s huge. It’s big. It’s out there, it’s just the way it is. And the words are going to be tian. Tian means, it means heaven, but heaven is not like a Judaeo Christian Heaven. Heaven is like, it means nature. Not only the parts, but all the processes inside. It’s everything. It’s also in Taoist terminology, often called Tao. And I talked about Tao as it’s often referred to as path, but you know, the character is a head with a foot looking on a path. So it actually has to do more with way making if you look at it linguistically. Skillful way making within the context of nature. Nature is just this ongoing flux. You have to skillfully deal with it. That’s your challenge in life. And that requires not only you pay attention to the realities of your biology, if we will, but the realities of community relationships, including most importantly, family. So yeah, that’s where this class starts, is looking at how the whole evolution of thought encompasses all that. And so imbalances that we treat as medical issues are often at some level part of that earlier story, you know, literally when we get to Han Dynasty, we’re going to find that doctors didn’t really have much of a reputation because the discomfort you’re feeling is either due to your violating the laws of nature, so to speak, or violating the social constructs and relationships with others. And your discomfort is the motivation to get you back on path. And if I, as a really good doctor can take that away, that’s not necessarily the good thing. You don’t want to encourage that kind of behavior because not only does it make you sick, but as you get sick, you start dragging down your clan. If you’re a mentally aberrant individual and you cause the family troubles, there was no police in old China, the clan would take care of you because we’re talking substinence farming. There wasn’t a whole lot of space for people that did wonky things. Artisans, theater people were kind of at the lower end of the social order because they really didn’t contribute anything. There’s going to be a whole movement in Han Dynasty to disallow merchants from holding any kind of public office. There’s going to be a movement to make everybody a farmer because they’re the only true productive people on the planet. So I mean, then compare, I encourage you to compare that to our modern values around athletes and rock stars, you know, and people who pontificate without really any relationship to organic reality. All you got to do is go on social media. No shortage of those people out there. So but that’s, as a role of the doctor, we’re looking at a very different world. We’re looking at a world that’s really based in survival. And so that’s where Chinese medicine takes off. You know, dealing skillfully with what you have to work with and helping people find their way back. Herbs are very, very important. This what you see on the board right here is a breakdown of a case. Not to go long into it, but I brought it up. A 42 year old woman who right after the holidays, went for a walk in the rains, sprained her ankle and got a cold and looking at all the presenting signs and symptoms. She’s stressed, she has a couple of teenage kids. She likes salads, she drinks a couple glasses of wine at night. She’s not sleeping well and yada, yada, yada. A whole bunch of other details. But they lead us to an evaluation of what are the underlying patterns, what are the roots of her issues? And so the spleen qi xu is leading to blood vacuities. She’s not eating well, she’s undernourished, she’s weak. The cold wind gets inside, caused an upper respiratory condition. Wind cold from the outside is going deeper into another layer. And so you break it apart like this. And what that’s going to do is lead you to, this is a description, this is a description of the phenomena going on with her. This is the treatment principle. This is how we engage skillfully. A vacuity means you boost and supplement it and her blood is weak, so you need to nourish the blood. And then when things get to this level, there’s a whole principle of treatment called harmonization that we’re going to be using. So to allow to help the body with this particular formula. Adding to the energy, helping the body be able to push it back out again. Releasing that and then dealing with the hot phlegm, the yellow sticky phlegm that keeps her coughing all the time. The sprained ankle, you can see this is a channel blockage. The damage in the flow of qi results in the invasion of external influences, specifically cold. So there’s a contractual quality, so there’s not good circulation there. And this is a persistent injury with her. So we’re going to be using the same kind of logic, this is way above your pay grade right now, by the way. So don’t worry about it but it’s going to lay the groundwork for this kind of inquiry. Again, what I hope you get out of this class is this interest and this enthusiasm to engage life and continue to watch it unfolding and learn how to deal with it skillfully, both personally, but professionally as a doctor, compassionately and maintain your strength. You know, pick up that Taoist model of a frugal husbanding of your available resources. Frugal means you don’t spend any more than you have. Don’t go into debt too much. Keep it in mind. And husbanding is like, it’s a farmer’s term. You husband the chicken flock because you want the flock to grow, but you’re still eating them. You’re consuming them. Yes.

      • [Student] You talked about how you kind of, or we will kind of work in the role of survival. How do you see a difference between surviving and health?

      • [Doc] Well, I think it’s some very basic, so how do I see the difference between surviving and health? I think surviving is basically making sure you cover the basics, okay? I would consider health more as maintaining the integrity of all those processes and then flourishing. I would add that in there too. You know, how do you build happy, wholesome family that has time for some vacations and interrelationships? How do you develop the arts and theater and music on top of that? But at the basis of it all, I mean, if you are not skillfully engaging the existential realities of life, which are not the shoes you’re wearing, the brand of the shoes you’re wearing or the color of your shirt, they actually have to do with eating, sleeping, moving, digesting, you know, those kinds of things. If you’re not skillfully dealing with those, you will not ever get farther. Problems happen when people put their dreams and desires above those realities and neglect the basics. That’s how I would say it. Does that make sense?

      • [Student] Definitely.

      • [Doc] Yeah. So at the root of medicine, we’re talking medicine here. You know, if you come from theater, you may disagree with me. If you come from, you know, other particular disciplines, you know, in the West we’re way out on the branches, not near the roots. Again, this school is called Five Branches, and it reflects the five levels of engagement. You know, the first one is going to be basically Qigong, which is breath work, learning how to look at life and learning how to have that yin yang pulsation that moves through all your vessels, all your organ system, you know, there’s digestive, there’s food, what you’re choosing to look at and bring in. Remember you bring in nourishment here, but you bring in nourishment here and you bring in nourishment here too. So pay attention to the significant. Watch out for donuts, which look a lot like, you know, some TV shows or some music that we like to entertain and distract ourselves with. You know, acupuncture is you as a patient invite somebody in to touch you and you stimulate different points and the body goes, you know, and starts doing things a little bit differently. Herbs are weird foods, you know, some of these things double as foods. You look at some of the things that you’ll see in Chinese cooking, like the red dates, hong zao, they’re really good in chicken soup. You know, huang chi is really good in chicken soup too. So you see these different additives and they mix and blend and sometimes it’s really hard to tell the difference between a good culinary food and a medical thing. So food as therapy is a huge part of classical Chinese thinking. And then you have tui na or bone medicine where you go deeper with either massage or trauma medicine. So, but that’s, you know, you see this great overlapping with the traditional culture.

    Class Preview: TCM Formulas 1 by Senior Prof. Bill Schoenbart

    In this intriguing sneak peek into TCM Foundations 1, we delve into the profound realm of Chinese medical physiology, guided by the expertise of Bill Schoenbart L.Ac, DAOM. Within the intricate tapestry of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), several vital substances take center stage, each contributing to the harmonious functioning of the human body. These fundamental elements, including qi, blood, body fluids, shen, and jing essence, constitute the very essence of life in TCM. Each of these vital substances possesses its unique characteristics and plays an indispensable role in maintaining health and balance.

    Among these vital substances, the spotlight in this class falls upon the concept of Jing Essence, a notion of utmost significance in TCM. Jing Essence can be categorized into two main types: prenatal and postnatal. Prenatal Jing Essence is inherited from our parents and is considered a finite and irreplaceable resource, often equated with our genetic inheritance. Postnatal Jing Essence, on the other hand, is derived from our daily activities, nutrition, and overall lifestyle. Both prenatal and postnatal Jing Essence work in harmony to support vital functions such as growth, reproduction, and development.

    Understanding Jing Essence is particularly crucial because its deficiency can have far-reaching consequences on our health. When Jing Essence is depleted or imbalanced, it can result in various health issues. For instance, individuals with insufficient Jing Essence may experience stunted growth, infertility, and even conditions like osteoporosis. This class offers a window into the intricate world of TCM, unraveling the significance of Jing Essence and how its balance is pivotal in achieving and maintaining well-being.

    Full Transcript Below:

        • [Bill]All right, so we are talking about the vital substances. So, this is basic Chinese medical physiology, qi, blood, body fluids, jing essence, shen. These are the substances that create all the physiology of the body. So, last week we left off in the middle of jing. So, I want to go back and look at it again. So, the main functions of jing, growth, reproduction, and development. So, we did this last week. I’m just want to go over it ’cause it was towards the end of class. So, if that aspect of jing is deficient, you could have stunted growth in children, you could have poor bone development. That could be in children or in adults. Infertility, frequent miscarriage, mental retardation, osteoporosis, loose teeth, premature gray hair, hair loss. All of those things can result from jing deficiency. And there are lots of formulas and herbs that nourish jing. So, what would that be? Would that be prenatal or postnatal if you’re using herbs to nourish it.

        • [Student]Postnatal.

        • [Bill]Postnatal, exactly. Any questions on that? Internet folks? All right.

        • [Student] What if one kidney is removed?

        • [Bill]So, the question was, what if one kidney is removed? Remember, Chinese organs are groupings of functions. So, even more than that, what happens if the spleen gets removed? You still have a spleen in Chinese medical physiology, even though the physical western spleen is removed. So, yeah, people donate a kidney, they still have jing, they still have all the normal kidney functions, unless there’s something wrong with that kidney, of course. Other questions? All right, so the next basic function of jing, it’s the material basis of kidney yin and that produces kidney jing. So, remember the kidney’s the source of the yin and yang for the entire body. So, the jing essence is the source of kidney yin. And the kidney yin nourishes the organs that create jing. So, it’s a foundational substance. Jing essence is considered to be the most concentrated vital substance. It produces marrow. So, this is bone marrow as you would think of it, but it’s also a substance that fills the brain and the spinal cord. So, the cerebral spinal fluid, but it’s even more than that. So, if that aspect of kidney jing is deficient, you could have poor concentration, poor memory, dizziness, tinnitus ear ringing and empty feeling in the head and all that, is that one function of jing showing up in a depletion? Is it possible to have all these show up? Yeah. But if you think of the functions of jing, then in the dysfunctions, it goes according to those functions. Last one, jing is the basis of constitutional strength that nourishes the wei qi. If you remember when a qi is being made, it’s the qi in the chest, the gathering qi divides into wei qi and nutritive qi. And that is powered by the source qi and by the jing. So, frequent colds, chronic runny nose, can be a sign of that. Questions? Yes.

        • [Student] It seems some of those examples that you gave, when someone has depletion, it seems it often happens to older people. So, how would they in turn work with what they have?

        • [Bill]The question was some of these signs of depletion, I mentioned, it’s often seen in older people. So, how would they deal with what they have? Well, their prenatal jing is the same throughout life. The postnatal, proper diet, proper sleep. Herbal medicine is very effective at nourishing jing. But ultimately, jing declines with age, obviously. So, you don’t start out with gray hair and end up with luxuriant black hair. It goes the other way around. But some people are healthier in their old age than they were when they were kids because they take care of themselves better. So, by the usual methods, diet, lifestyle, herbs, acupuncture, stress reduction. And, of course, just ’cause you have a diagnosis and a treatment doesn’t mean you can always cure something. If someone has a very serious, known to be fatal disease, you can in many cases improve their life, reduce their symptoms. But if it’s an incurable disease, they’ll likely decline at some point. But if you think about it, the last months and years of your life are the most precious ’cause that’s, that’s all you’ve got left. So, if you’re treating someone with a genetic disease or with cancer and you can reduce their symptoms, improve their energy, help ’em feel better, that’s not a failure. So, some of the causes of jing deficiency, constitutional weakness of course, would that be prenatal or postnatal?

        • [Student]Prenatal.

        • [Bill]Prenatal, exactly. So, you can’t change your constitution. As soon as the fetus begins life, that’s the constitution that doesn’t change. So, you’re born with your bank account. So, if you have a, some people are really, really sickly as kids or they may even have a genetic disease, so they have to work extra hard. But as I mentioned, there are many cases, especially people in the healing arts, ’cause they had to really work hard, ’cause they were sickly as kids, some of them are very, very healthy and vital as adults, but they’re doing many, many things. Herbal medicine, proper diet. My first teacher, Bernard Jensen, he lived to well over a hundred and he was really energetic. He passed away ultimately ’cause of a car accident, the after effects of that. But he told us he was very, very sickly as a kid, in and out of hospitals all the time. And I never met anyone as with as much energy as him. When I studied with him, I was in my early thirties. He was in his eighties and we’d get tired and he would just keep going. But he was very, very serious about his diet, his lifestyle. So, poor nutrition, of course, nutrition’s a source of all qi and vital substances in the body. So, if you’re eating a really either poor quality food or poor nutrition, fast food, highly processed foods, highly refined foods, you’re not going to produce enough jing and blood and qi. I mean, I’ve seen people give their kids nothing but spaghetti and macaroni. I mean, they’ll get some energy out of it, but it’s very, very difficult for them to have long-term health on that. So, I know it’s easy to say when it’s not my kid throwing a fit. But still you do your best, especially with parents, if they don’t expose the kid to junk food early on, they tend to have a desire for more variety of foods. And that goes for adults too. I mean, look at a previous president, he only eats McDonald’s and he’s not very healthy. But he probably has pretty good prenatal jing, ’cause somehow he’s still surviving with a bad diet and a bad mood. But then there’s people that eat like that and they’re sick all the time. They have no energy, frequent colds. So, that’s why when they interview these people on over a hundred, what’s your secret? And they say, you know, a McDonald’s every day and a shot of whiskey and cigarettes, that’s not their secret. Their secret is their prenatal jing, which you can’t control that. So, excessive work. What’s excessive work? Working to the point of exhaustion, working to the point where you have no recreation, where you have no time for exercise, where you’re grabbing meals on the run. But especially working to the point of exhaustion, one of the worst things is night shift. I don’t think you’ll ever find someone that’s worked a night shift that said they felt much better on that. So, sleep is really critical as well as work, play balance.

        • [Student] How do I understand where is the point where you need to stop working or I mean, how to maintain this balance because I’m struggling all the time. I feel like great, I do a lot of things and then next day I’m, oh, I am down . I don’t have much energy and it happens often, even I know that I need to control, but I just feel great and I just keep going.

        • [Bill]So, the question was, it’s a pretty common one she said, “How do you control that? “I’ll feel really great. “So, I’ll work, work, work, work, work. “And then after that I kind of crash and feel bad.” Well you have to be more body aware. You have to recognize what it feels like when you’ve reached that point. Sometimes you have to be able to tell the difference between empty energy and real energy? So, for example, if you start consuming your yin when jing as part of yin, you’ll get a little hyper, but that’s not real energy. That’s hyperactivity. So, yeah, you have to recognize that. And, of course, you can look back, okay, I had all that energy, I accomplished all that, then the next day I couldn’t do anything. So, you think, what did I do? Okay, I did that for eight hours, maybe I’ll do it for four next time. It’s just a matter of experience. What they say, live and learn. Some people live and don’t learn. So, live and learn is better. And you know, of course, a single mom with four kids, she’s going to be exhausted. You know, she’s going to be pushing that. So, everyone’s got their own situation. You do the best you can. I think I saw question in the chat, let me see. When we say jing is the basis for marrow, does it mean the TCM marrow? Yes. TCM marrow is more… The bone marrow in western physiology, is basically where blood cells are made. In Chinese medicine, marrow itself is considered an extraordinary organ and is connected to the brain. So, it’s much more in TCM. Any other questions? All right, so another cause of jing deficiency, excessive sexual activity. Just like excessive work, how do you know? Well, sexual potency varies by the individual and by age. Generally, it’s considered sexual frequency should decrease as you get older, because you have less jing available. But then there’s older people that have lots of sexual activity and feel fine. There’s younger people, pass a certain amount, they’re exhausted. So, it goes by the symptoms. If you start experiencing symptoms of jing deficiency and the sexual activity is the only variable that’s changed, then probably less frequent would be better. Drug use, prescription and recreational. So, can you think of any medically approved drugs that would deplete jing?

        • [Student] Xanax. Xanax.

        • [Bill]Xanax? I’m not familiar enough with it to know if it would deplete jing. Probably, but I’m not familiar enough with it.

        • [Student]Chemo.

        • [Bill]Chemo, always right? I mean you can see someone on Xanax, you wouldn’t know till they told you. You can see someone on chemo that you know, it’s like, oh suddenly they have gray hair, their hair’s falling out, they look exhausted. So, chemo definitely depletes jing. Fortunately, if the cancer abates the jing comes back. What about recreational? What kind of recreational drugs deplete jing?

        • [Student] Marijuana?

        • [Bill]Marijuana, to a minor degree. Depends how heavily they use it.

        • [Student] Methamphetamines.

        • [Bill]Methamphetamines, always. Yeah. And you have to be careful. I have a patient now who had low energy and she had two issues she wanted to deal with. She had adrenal insufficiency and she had digestive symptoms. So, her doctor gave her an amphetamine and her digestive system symptoms got worse and her adrenal depletion got worse. So, I just went to the drug name and read her the side effects. In some cases acute adrenal depletion and diarrhea and indigestion. So, basically to treat her low energy, he gave her a drug that caused her other main symptoms to get worse. So, she’s talking to her doctor now about tapering off it, ’cause so she just stops it suddenly she’ll get rebound. So, once she starts tapering on her doctor’s instructions, she can start taking a ginseng-based formula, increase that a little bit each time she tapers off the other one. But she has to do it with her doctor ’cause it’s outside our scope to tell someone to stop a medication, even if it’s pretty obvious she never should have started it. Late stage of diseases, meaning, you know, fatal diseases or serious diseases, they deplete the jing in and of themselves. So, especially late stage, people look like they’re getting older, they have lots of dysfunction and aging in general. Jing declines with age. How fast it declines depends on two things. What do you think are these two things? How fast jing declines with age?

        • [Student] Diet and lifestyle.

        • [Bill]That’s postnatal.

        • [Student] And your constitution.

        • [Bill]And your constitution, exactly. Some people you couldn’t even imagine. You know, Dick Van, the actor, I used to watch him when I was a little kid and I’m 73. He’s still running around, still happy. He’s still, I think he even did a pratfall on some show where he fell down on purpose, and he’s in his nineties. Probably, wouldn’t want to do that for most 90 year-olds. So, some people, plus he’s led a very happy life, comfortable life, and he probably has incredibly good prenatal jing. Other people, you know, you find out how old they are and you’re surprised. You thought that they were, you know, much older, ’cause they don’t have much jing, so it declines much, not much to start with. Maybe a very, very stressful life and a poor diet, poor constitution, and they look old before their times. There’s people in their fifties that get Alzheimer’s and there’s people over a hundred that’s sharp as a tack. So, there is a lot of variance.

        • [Student] A question, is there are some status about physical activities that it can turn off aging genes and people who exercise properly, they can like look 20 years younger?

        • [Bill]Yeah, the question was, or the comment, there’s studies that show physical activity can decrease your physical age, you know, in other words, improve your vitality, improve your jing. That’s true with all these things, you know, the causes of jing deficiency, well, work, nutrition, sexual activity, there’s healthy amounts of that, unhealthy amounts of not enough of that, and unhealthy amounts of too much of that. So, there’s always this moderation. So, exercise, extremely beneficial. We have the same genes as our hunter-gatherer ancestors, who walked all day long, were exercising all day long, moving. So, we have those same genes. We may be living in a technologically advanced environment, but that’s the last couple hundred years. Genes don’t involve that fast. So, we’re meant to move and most people they get out and move, they feel better. But for example, it’s known that people that do multiple marathons or climb the seven highest peaks in the world, they have a decline in their immunity. They have a decline in their health, ’cause it’s too much. They do it ’cause they love it but it’s too much. So, and you’ll have patients that it’s obvious they need to decrease their level of exercise there. They may do iron man all the time triathlons, marathons. So, if they’re having problems, whether it’s joint problems or immune system problems, they need to, may need to rest more. Doesn’t mean they need to stop exercising altogether, then you get insufficient exercise which definitely leads to poor health. If you don’t exercise, you have no flow of lymph. Lymph is is not pumped by the heart, it’s pumped by the muscles. So, that you need your lymph to flow, you need blood circulation, you need the heart and lungs to be healthy. So, if you find that you’re exhausted after exercise and it lasts a long time into the next day, then that would probably be something you just do one time and then give yourself plenty of rest. I mean when I was younger, I was a long distance runner and I’d be fine, but then I injured my feet, ’cause they had terrible shoes back then. They didn’t have good running shoes, they were paper thin soles. So, I ended up having damaged to my feet. So, I had to back off the running. But I felt fine, just that my feet couldn’t handle it. And you’ll see people that are weightlifters, they look incredibly healthy, but they have multiple problems, ’cause they eat too much protein, they don’t get enough cardiovascular exercise. It’s just all lift, lift, lift. So, balance and moderation in everything. But definitely movement is crucial. And in aging, it talks about the different problems caused by lack of movement, too much sitting, too much walking, all those things can cause problems. Questions? Online folks? Okay, so let’s look at the relationship between jing essence and qi. So, jing is the material basis of qi. When qi is being made, jing provides some of the raw materials. Qi generates jing. So, the qi of the spleen extracts nutrition from food and then nutrition from food is used as a raw material to create jing. Jing generates source qi. So, when source qi is made, jing provides some of the raw materials for that manufacturing. Any questions? So, then there’s a relationship between jing and blood. They mutually affect each other. So, jing helps generate blood. If you remember in the manufacturing of blood, you’ve got the products of food, you’ve got the products of air, those come together. And then source qi and jing are used to create blood. Blood nourishes the jing. How do you think that might happen? How could blood nourish the jing?

        • [Student] Through nutrition?

        • [Bill]Yeah, blood nourishes the organs that create the jing, that create the qi. So, everything goes both ways. These vital substances help support each other. Just like they say blood is the mother of qi, qi is the leader of blood. So, you can’t have qi without blood. ’cause blood nourishes the organs that create qi. Blood can’t do much without qi ’cause it can’t circulate. So, there’s this constant relationship between the organs, between the vital substances. Any questions on jing essence before we move to body fluids? Yes.

        • [Student] Could you describe please how all three work together? ‘Cause I feel like right now I have a set, I have jing and qi and then I have jing and blood. But I know that they’re all working together. So, where they overlap.

        • [Bill]Yeah, if you look at your notes towards the end of the notes on figure 32 in your notes, so, you can see it’s at the end of, it’s right after page 27 of your notes, the flow charts. So, it shows food qi from the spleen, air qi from the lungs and this goes to the heart and then kidney essence or jing and source qi combine to make blood. So, that’s how qi, jing and blood are working together in one way.

        • [Student] Okay, cool, thank you.

        • [Bill]Any other questions? So, now we’re going to do body fluids, which is, it’s complex ’cause it involves all the organs. I see there’s a question here. So, a mother who eats junk food can pass it to her first child prenatal jing and then if she ate healthy and had a second child, it will pass a healthy prenatal jing. Ah, broadly speaking, yes. So, if a mother’s eating a really poor diet, it’s possible that she won’t pass healthy jing to the child. You know, basically the health of her egg depends on her nutrition. Now, you know the human body’s pretty miraculous. So, people have survived near starvation and produce healthy kids. But you know, that would be the exception to the rule. You see children born to malnourished mothers, they don’t do well. You can especially see that in places like Equatorial Africa, where they have famines and parasites due to poor quality water. So, these children are born in a very, very unhealthy state. So, their prenatal jing was quite weak and then their postnatal jing is also very poor due to diet. So, there’s of couple things and you know, using that as an example, what can you do about it? Well, I know you’re all broke students now, but when you have some money later on, there’s charities you can donate to that can help people like that. For example, Solar Cookers International, they’ll donate these solar cookers to places in Africa, India, places where they’re equatorial areas where they have really poor quality water and they can boil their water with these things, cook their food. So, first of all they’re not drinking poor bad water, which completely destroys their jing ’cause their nutrition doesn’t even reach them. And second of all, they don’t have to walk 20 miles to get firewood. They can actually cook their food with these solar cookers. And then there’s also for severe famine, there’s something called Plumpy’Nut. P-L-U-M-P-Y, Plumpy’Nut. I believe it was invented by a Frenchman. Basically it’s peanut butter, powdered milk and sugar. Normally, you think sugar is terrible but children who have, you know, very, very bad caloric intake, that can actually help them. So, they’re getting fat, protein, carbohydrates and you can look it up. Anderson Cooper did a segment on it. He went to Equatorial Africa where there was a famine. And you see these kids, they’ve got what the ganji in Chinese medicine where their belly’s big, their arms and legs are like sticks, glassy eyes. Some of them were so close to death they couldn’t be saved. But there was a couple where they got this Plumpy’Nut and he came back a few months later and they were healthy little kids. The reason is, it doesn’t require the bad water to mix with it. They give these mothers formula and they mix it with bad water, feed the child and they get more parasites. So, the Plumpy’Nut, they just eat it right out of the package. So, that’s another thing you can donate to when you’re a wealthy acupuncturist. Or at least not a broke student.

        • [Student]Excuse me.

        • [Bill]Yeah.

        • [Student]So, you mentioned that in those conditions the children tend to have bigger belly. Is that retention of body fluids or what’s- going on?

        • [Bill]No, it’s…The question was about the bigger belly is that retention of body fluids? It’s a syndrome in Chinese medicine called ganji. It’s a starvation syndrome. Typically, they’ll often have parasites at the same time. So, once they actually get nutrition that swollen belly comes down and their arms and legs fill out if they’re not too late. So, there’s lots and lots of herbs and formulas in Chinese medicine you’ll see that’s used for, it’s called childhood nutritional impairment. ‘Cause there used to be a lot of starvation in China too. Crop failures, things like that. In modern China, Mao did something where he had them kill all the sparrows ’cause they were eating the grains. But then it turns out the sparrows were eating the insects and they had a massive starvation because of that. So, but even outside of human causes, just crop failures in general, floods, drought that can cause these mass starvations. So, they had lots of experience with that in ancient China and they would’ve these formulas that would help the child recover. Any other questions? Okay, so let’s look at body fluids. Got to replenish my body fluids. Whenever you’re interviewing a patient and you ask ’em about their thirst, always take a sip of water when you ask them. So, jinye is body fluids. Now, in your CAM textbook, that older Chinese textbook, they put a G at the end of it. There shouldn’t be one. So, they put jing. The reason is in China they don’t use pinyin, they use Chinese characters. So, often if you may be learning from a Chinese teacher or a Chinese book, they’ll either delete a letter off the end of a pinyin word or add one, because they use Chinese characters. They don’t use pinyin. Pinyin’s for non-Chinese speakers. So, that’s what happened in your CAM textbook. They put a G at the end of it, it made it look like jing, but it’s actually jin. So, jin translates to moist or saliva. These are the thin fluids of the body and the jin moistens and nourishes the skin, the muscles, the blood vessels, the various orifices of the body. And also it’s an aspect of blood. From the Western perspective, what aspect of blood do you think would be jin, thin fluids?

        • [Student]The plasma?

        • [Bill]Plasma, yeah. So, then there are the ye, the thicker fluids, these are inside the bones. They lubricate the capsule joints like the shoulder, they nourish the eyes, the nose and the mouth and then sweat, tears, saliva, mucus, these are all part of body fluids. So, we don’t treat jin and ye separately in Chinese medicine we just call it jinye, the thin and the thick fluids or body fluids. Questions.? Okay, so we’re going to now look at the body fluids in relation to the organs. I understand we’re not going to do the organs until later, but that’s always a dilemma. If you study organs first then you’re talking about vital substances. So, you’re not really expected to know this. This is just to give you the heads up on it. And then once we study the organs, it’ll make more sense. But you’ve heard enough about the organs that it should be easy to understand. So, the spleen controls the transformation and transportation of fluids. What do you think that means, transform fluids?

        • [Student] From like the raw material.

        • [Bill]Exactly, the raw material, meaning whatever you’re drinking into something your body can use. So, I always use that example, if you get an IV transfusion of orange juice, you’ll probably die. If you drink some orange juice, the spleen will transform it, send the essence of those fluids and they can go through your blood vessels. So, it’s transforming unusable to usable. Transportation of fluids where the spleen will transport the pure essence upward to be turned into blood and to be distributed as fluids, it’ll send the turbid downward to be further processed by the yang organs. So, the pure fluids go to the lungs, the impure go to the small intestine. So, the direction of pure and impure fluids and foods you’ll see later, this is controlled by the spleen. So, if impure fluids go down, that’s proper. And then they’re further separated to pure and impure. What happens if impure fluids go up? What does that sound like?

        • [Student] Sounds like vomit.

        • [Bill]Yeah, exactly, sounds like vomit, exactly. Vomiting is a reversal of the stomach. Stomach qi should go down. If there is nausea, that’s a reversal of stomach qi. Vomiting, that’s a severe reversal of stomach qi. So, impure fluids should go down, not up. What happened if pure fluids go down? They should go up! What do you think that might be?

        • [Students] Diarrhea.

        • [Bill]Diarrhea, exactly. So, you’re losing some nutrition, you’re losing some fluids you need. That’s why when people have chronic diarrhea to the point where it’s unstoppable, they have to go to the hospital and get IV fluids. So, the pure should go up, so it can be used. The impure should be go down so it can be further processed and excreted. Any questions on that? All right, so that’s the spleen’s involvement with fluids. The lungs mist the pure fluids, nourish the skin and muscles and it sends some to the kidneys as well. So, the lungs, when the lungs inhale, they’re taking qi and descending it. The kidneys from below are grasping that qi and helping the lungs inhale. So, that lung, kidney relationship is very important for extracting air qi inhalation but also moisture. The lungs are taking those pure fluids, they’re steaming some of them and sending ’em down to the kidneys with their qi. And then some of that steam fluids go to the skin to keep the skin moist, where dry skin can be a lung yin deficiency. And the lungs are what are called, the upper source of water. They’re the canopy of all the water metabolism. So, they govern water metabolism from above. The kidneys govern it from below. Let’s see, we got more things in the chat. “How can we treat lung yin deficiency?” Once you have the diagnosis, the treatment is easy. How do we treat lung yin deficiency? Three words, nourish, lung, yin. So, once you have a diagnosis, the treatment is right there built in. So, lung yin deficiency, nourish lung yin. There’s various herbs in the yin nourishing category that are very specific to nourish lung yin. And of course, what if they have a dry cough all the time? Check their lifestyle. They may be doing hot yoga, probably not the best thing for them. Or they may be living in a very, very dry hot environment. So, they need to have some humidifier in their house. Also, they may not be the obvious, not taking in enough fluids or their spleen could be weak and not processing fluids properly and sending ’em up to the lungs. So, you have to do a differential diagnosis. But nourishing lung yin would always be a part of that. So, we already saw they regulate the water passages from above, the kidneys regulate the water passages from below. So, the kidneys steam some fluids, send it back up to the lungs to keep them moist. So, organs can’t keep themselves moist, even though the lungs are governing fluids from above and they’re steaming fluids to send ’em down to the kidney, they depended on the kidney to steam some of those fluids and send them back to the lung. And you think, well, how’s that possible? Think about western physiology. The heart is filled with blood and is pumping blood all over the body. What’s a heart attack? The blood’s not coming back through the heart and nourishing the heart muscle. They have a heart attack. Now, ultimately it’s still coming from the heart, but it has to come back to the heart to be nourished. That blood inside the heart’s not doing anything to nourish the heart muscle. So, same thing with fluids. The lungs need to moisten the kidneys. The kidneys need to moisten the lungs. So, the kidneys also provide the yang energy to the spleen to help it transform fluids. So, if the kidney yang is deficient, the spleen yang can be deficient and then fluids tend to accumulate. We’ll go into that in more detail when we study the organs. The kidneys also provide the qi to the bladder to help it function in fluid processing. So, when someone has frequent urination due to deficiency, we’re going to tonify kidney yang and kidney qi. You’re not working with the bladder directly, with acupuncture, you can. There’s a point just above the pubic bone where you can actually strengthen the bladder. But otherwise, with herbal medicine, you’re strengthening the kidney and the kidneys will help strengthen the bladder. And ultimately, just like in western medicine, our western physiology, the kidneys determine how much fluid is retained, how much is excreted. If too much is being retained, that’s edema, that’s a dysfunction. If too much is being lost, that’s urinary frequency, that’s a dysfunction. So, healthy kidneys will retain the proper amount, excrete the proper amount.

      Recap: Wisconsin (American) Ginseng AOM Treatment & Medical Research Seminar

      Five Branches University had the pleasure of hosting the Wisconsin (American) Ginseng AOM Treatment & Medical Research seminar. The seminar discussed farming practices and the uses of the Wisconsin Ginseng, a premium American ginseng variety, within Acupuncture and Oriental Medical. Robert Kaldunski, President of the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin who is a ginseng farmer himself started the presentation with the farming practices and growth cycle of ginseng. One surprising fact he shared with the audience was that after harvest farmers cannot regrow ginseng on the same soil, a phenomenon that is still unexplained.

      Robert Yao, one of FBU faculty,  stated  this mysterious occurrence has already been pointed out by Shi Zhen Li, the 16th century author of “The Compendium of Materia Medica (Ben Cao Gang Mu)”, when discussing Dang Shen (another variation of ginseng), pointing out that cannot be regrown in the same area.   

      The  next presenter, Dr. Eric Vandenhouten (Ph.D, D.O.M, L.Ac), President of the International Brand Ambassador of the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin, shared several research articles on the effects of American Ginseng in the treatment of neurological and cardiovascular conditions as well as its influence on the immune system and metabolism. As most of the research was done in Asia, he encouraged the participating students and practitioners to conduct further research on the Medicinal Properties of American Ginseng in the U.S.

      The last presenter was Dr. Jeffrey Pang, Senior Professor and Head of the Theory and Herbology Department at Five Branches University. Dr. Pang who is a living example for the daily use of American Ginseng and who has retained his youthful looks and agility despite his advanced age. Dr. Pang,  author of several Chinese Medicine Dietetics books, shared with the audience simple recipes, showing how one can incorporate American Ginseng in their daily diet. 

      Recordings of the seminar will be available at a later date. 

      Acupuncture Fever—the Road to Legalization in California a documentary by Doug Dearth

      Five Branches University is the proud sponsor of the first English language documentary on the journey to legalization of the practice of Acupuncture in the State of California; Acupuncture Fever—the Road to Legalization in California a documentary by Doug Dearth.

      Currently there are over 19,000 acupuncturists in California, which account for about a third of the number of acupuncturists in the United States. Forty years ago, legalizing Acupuncture in California was not an easy task. 

      Five Branches University was one of the first TCM schools to be accredited to offer a Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  Today, most insurance companies in California cover acupuncture services. Stanford, UCSF, UCLA, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Kaiser, and many more hospitals, have Five Branches University Alumni employed in their acupuncture clinics 

      A Trailer to the film can be found here. And the full film can be found in English and with Chinese Subtitles