Here are a handful of resources I’ve developed that may be of use to medical practitioners in the clinic. Some are specifically for practitioners of Chinese medicine, others for healers in general. My emphasis (since I made these for myself) was on condensing information into something I could scan very quickly while developing a treatment.
Besides what’s listed here, please check out all the articles in the Pain section, which I wrote with both patients and practitioners in mind.
For practitioners wanting high quality educational materials to supplement their patients’ care, consider referring them to my online nutrition course, How to Eat, and my online pain management course, Live Pain Free. And if you are interested, we can set you up as an affiliate for one or both of these courses so that you can earn a commission for every sale you refer – just contact email@example.com
I started this project in 1997, when I first began studying Chinese herbs. I organized all my notes into tables, then I began adding information from other sources, including some Western and Ayurvedic ones. As the project grew and grew, I started to realize that perhaps its greatest value was that it was searchable. You could, say, search for “breast” if you were treating a breast disorder and quickly see all the herbs and formulas that come up with reference to the breast, and then, working off your diagnosis, of course, make more ideal herb choices. The document this site is based on is about 500 pages and is more cleanly laid out, but I wanted to make it into a web site so that it would be accessible from mobile devices. In the conversion process, some of the formatting got screwed up, so I hope you can overlook that until I have time to clean it up (might not be anytime soon). Also, the linking menu at the top isn’t all set up either. However, you can use the Find function of your browser or the floating Search window on the page to search for key words. So… there’s a lot that I would like to do to improve this, but it’s all very time consuming. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy it.
Inspired by my friend Peter Eschwey’s graphical representations of meridian interrelationships and Chinese clock correspondences, I made this chart as a quick reference for developing treatments based on the teachings of Richard Tan and Chao Chen. If you find the affected meridian(s) on this chart, the colored lines (and two adjacent meridians on the circle) show you each of the related meridians that can be used in your treatments. You can also look for meridian combinations that involve multiple interrelationships (e.g., Heart-Small Intestine-Bladder-Kidney or Heart-Small Intestine-Liver-Gallbladder), and choose one meridian per limb using the arrangement depicted in Yin/Yang grid above (middle graphic) – one hand Yin meridian and a foot Yang meridian on the same side; then on the opposite site, a hand Yang meridian and a foot Yin meridian. This way, we’re balancing Yin and Yang as thoroughly as possible. On the top half of the body, one side is Yin and the other Yang. On the bottom half of the body, one side is Yin and the other Yang. On the right side of the body, one limb is Yin and the other Yang. And on the left side of the body, one limb is Yin and the other Yang. The more interrelated the meridians, the better. The symbols in the third image indicate the required relationships that Richard Tan emphasizes must exist between the meridian(s) chosen on each limb in order for a treatment to be “globally balancing” (there are 4 options; extra connections are okay). Each line in each of these symbols indicates a connection between the chosen meridians in the two limbs the line connects. The four resulting shapes, in Tan’s words, are all structurally stable. If you were to draw lines representing the connections between the chosen meridian(s) on each limb and it wasn’t a structurally stable shape, it would not be globally balancing. For instance, in #1, there is a connection between the two hand meridians (top horizonal line), there is a connection between the two foot meridians (bottom horizontal line), there is a connection between the right hand meridian and the left foot meridian, and also between the left hand meridian and the right foot meridian (the two diagonal lines). But there is no connection between the right hand and right foot meridians (no vertical line), and no connection between the left hand and left foot meridians.
This system, introduced by Zhang Xinshu in the Journal of Chinese Medicine, can be a useful adjunct to other forms of acupuncture. One of my acupuncture professors taught the use of this system for sports medicine, whereby a needle could be inserted superficially in one of these zones and taped down (put a piece of tape under the handle of the needle and then another piece to cover the handle) and then the athlete could often resume playing with the needle in place and significantly less pain. I can’t say this system is always effective, but it’s one worth keeping in mind. I do find wrist zone 1 to be useful in a number of psycho-emotional situations. My primary role in creating this 2-sided chart was to condense the material and make the diagrams easier to view by adding color.
Several years ago, I became interested in the sinew channels as an underutilized facet of meridian therapy. However, I didn’t have a chart that showed all the sinew channels in one place, which sometimes made it hard to determine which sinew channel was affected when I was investigating pain in a certain part of the body. This was a labor of love. I scanned pictures of the sinew channels from A Manual of Acupuncture and manipulated them to get them all onto three body diagrams, color coded and with descriptive text added. I hope someone can get some value out of this.
This is the handout from a presentation I’ve given to acupuncturists on Five Element Acupuncture. It’s not a total training in this system by any means, but it covers a lot of the nuances of this system, protocols, point descriptions, etc. When I was first in school for TCM, I was under the impression that I could apply a bit of Five Element Acupuncture here and there – Internal Dragons and Aggressive Energy treatments, for instance – without really understanding the broader context of the system. After doing seminars with Lonny Jarrett and David Ford, I began to understand that it wasn’t really something I could just dabble in if I wanted to really help people transform. So I went back to school in Khosrow Khalighi’s Five Element Training Program in Marin and studied under him, J.R. and Judy Worsley, and Joseph Soprani for the next 3 years. In the process I was repeatedly taken aback by how different it was from my TCM training. I had to do more than a year of point location, even though I already had a master’s degree in TCM, learning to use Five Element locations and to find the points by touch. I had to learn a completely different system of pulse taking. I had to learn to roll and burn moxa cones as fast as possible. But the greatest emphasis was on honing my rapport skills and learning to feel and test the space. This involved being videotaped while interviewing patients and then watching the tape with the class while everyone pointed out my mistakes. Unnerving but good for me. Anyway, I hope you get something out of this presentation.
By the way, when I was studying it, this system was called Classical Five Element Acupuncture – a term the Worsleys had trademarked, since many people were/are practicing systems they called “Five Element Acupuncture,” – though then and now, the great majority of the ideas and techniques that comprise what people in the West call Five Element Acupuncture derives from Worsley’s material. But since J.R.’s death, the name has been changed to Worsley Five-Element Acupuncture. This is probably a more accurate name, since the system is very much a synthesis of different philosophies and techniques by J.R., and not actually “classical” as a single cohesive system.
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This is essentially a condensed and color coded version of J.R. Worsley’s acupoint chart, created by a good friend of mine while we were studying Classical Five Element Acupuncture. Instead of being laid out over several pages, all the point names and categories can be viewed on a single page face. Also includes Worsley’s recommendations for needle depth, number of moxa cones and pregnancy contraindication.
A simple chart to show how the head and torso can be mapped onto the entire upper extremity, the entire lower extremity, the forearm and hand, and the lower leg and foot; and how the lower extremity and upper extremity can be used to mirror each other for meridian therapies. On this updated version the torso and head get mapped onto each other and I depict “straight through” locations.
While I feel this system can sometimes be useful, it’s not always easy to come up with a treatment using this methodology. I felt it needed a system of charts in order to be clearer. If you have the book and/or have studied it with Tan, you may find this PDF useful. The nutshell version of this system is this: for complex cases in which most or all of the meridians are affected, you needle one point on each of the 12 meridians following a specific pattern. Starting with one limb, you choose either jing-well or ying-spring points from the three Yin or the three Yang meridians. Then, moving to the next limb either clockwise or counter-clockwise, you needle either ying-spring or shu-stream points on the meridians of the opposite polarity of those you chose on the first limb (i.e., if you did well and/or spring points on the right Yang foot meridians, you would then move to do spring and stream points on either the left Yin foot meridians or the right Yin hand meridians). Then, following the same direction (clockwise or counterclockwise), you move to the next limb, switch polarity again, and needle the shu-stream or jing-river points on these three meridians. Finally, at the last limb, you switch polarity again and needle jing-river or he-sea points on these three meridians. So, the gist of it is that you choose one starting limb, on which you needle very distal points (all three Yin or all three Yang meridians), and then, going clockwise or counterclockwise from limb to limb, you gradually choose increasingly proximal points. It’s as if you’re drawing an inward spiral. So, there are 8 possible places to start (right foot Yin, right foot Yang, right hand Yin, right hand Yang, left foot Yin, left foot Yang, left hand Yin, and left hand Yang) and 2 ways to go from there (clockwise or counterclockwise), resulting in 16 possible overall maps. As for which of these maps to choose, you generally start by identifying some specific points you want to use (either based on their TCM indications or, more often, based on their meridian correspondences) and see which map they would fit into the best. This is where the charts I made come in handy. The 16 maps are labeled based on the starting limb and polarity (e.g., right foot Yang) and whether they progress proximally in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. Here’s the twist: although Tan starts by laying this system out with only the command points (well, spring, stream, river, sea), in practice, he doesn’t at all stick to these points. It’s like learning music theory and then going on to break the rules and improvise. The key is just to start distal and move proximal as you go around the body. These points might actually be ashi points in the general area of the command points, or might involve other meridian points as long as they progress in a generally proximal fashion.
The top half of this chart is the basic stuff – command points, celestial windows, etc. – for quick reference, and the lower portion covers some succinct treatment protocols. It will all print on one side of one handy-dandy page. I hope you find it useful.
The abdominal microsystem can be a powerful adjunct to limb points or a great standalone treatment. At times I have done abdominal microsystem treatments that facilitated dramatic improvements in my patients. This double sided sheet is dense with information. I encourage you to take your time with it … there’s enough here to give you years of exploration. The primary system I cover here is Zhiyun Bo’s Turtle Abdominal Acupuncture, which I learned from Roger Batchelor while earning my doctorate at OCOM. The Yi Jing (I Ching) approaches come from David Twicken, Roger Batchelor, Chao Chen, and Wei Liu. What is presented here in the abdominal Yi Jing acupuncture section doesn’t quite approach the potential depth of this system, but should be a good starting point. In addition to the systems presented on this reference sheet, I should mention centering of the umbilical pulse, which is an integral part of Classical Five Element Acupuncture treatment. Here’s an article by Neil Gumenick that discusses the process. As I was taught it, the pinky is held together with the other fingers (Neil excludes the pinky). Believe it or not, there have been times I have centered the umbilical pulse and the patient has experienced a dramatic improvement in digestion or psycho-spiritual stability. The navel is an exceedingly significant point.
Several years ago, I was reviewing my old acupoint notes, and although I had pretty well memorized all the major actions and indications of most points, there were a handful that, as I read about them, made me think, “Oh yeah, I want to remember that!” So, I started to compile all the tidbits that I had forgotten (and some that I hadn’t quite forgotten, but wanted to use more), particularly of the extra points. I also organized my doctoral notes from studying needling techniques with Wei Liu here. I recognize that this document (2 double-sided sheets) is less of a quick reference than some of my other projects, and also that the points and indications that I want to remind myself of may not be the points and indications you want to be reminded of, but there’s a lot of good stuff here. Check it out.
This is primarily a patient-targeted run-down of the most effective approaches for treating migraines, though practitioners may learn something from it too. If you want to share it with patients, please keep my authorship information on there – and note, I highly promote acupuncture, massage, and Chinese herbs. We do superb work at treating migraines! There’s a slightly longer, though less pretty version of this in text form HERE.
I consider myself very fortunate to have gotten to study Zen Shiatsu for three years with Lindy Ferrigno. She is an excellent teacher and Masunaga was brilliant. Masunaga’s primary innovations were mapping “extensions” of the foot meridians on the arms and “extensions” of the hand meridians on the legs; and developing a highly effective system of abdominal (hara) diagnosis, which included diagnostic areas on the back as well. While the diagnostic areas of the hara can be palpated manually to discern the chief jitsu (excess) and kyo (deficient) meridians, my teacher found that off the body “palpation” – i.e., feeling the energy over the diagnostic areas was faster and just as effective. She would rapidly scan with her hand over the abdomen and determine the jitsu and kyo meridians in seconds. This chart was developed in 1970 and while it’s excellent, I felt that the contrast could be improved and that it would benefit from English labels of the meridians and extensions. On the right side of the chart you’ll see the ideal limb positioning to bring each meridian to the surface to work on it. Also included are cross section drawings of the limbs and neck showing the locations of the meridians. Utterly brilliant. If you like Masunaga’s work, the book that’s probably most highly regarded on the subject of Zen Shiatsu is Shiatsu Theory and Practice by Carola Beresford-Cooke. I also like Masunaga’s books, although they are less instructive in shiatsu than Carola’s. Check out Meridian Exercises and Zen Imagery Exercises.
I learned this system a few years ago and immediately realized I would never use it unless I could make it easier to apply. So, I constructed this easy-peasy chart that tells you exactly which points to needle in order to invoke any combination of trigrams. I also included succinct notes to remind you of the methodology. If you’ve studied this system with Tan but haven’t used it, I hope this chart will make it much simpler for you. I know there’s a lot of material here. If it seems daunting, just don’t pay any attention to the Ba Gua in the lower left corner – that’s just some theory for you on the construction of the system. The blue and yellow tables are what you’ll be using to determine point selection.
Just a one page reference sheet of the 28 pulses and their descriptions. Wanted to have it handy for memorization.
George Soulie De Morant’s voluminous book covers a lot of esoteric stuff, including this: homeopathic remedies he considered associated with (or equivalent to) particular acupoints. I decided to peruse the book to find them all and organize them two ways – by channel flow and alphabetically by remedy. Fascinating stuff, though I can’t vouch for its clinical validity.
These notes cover a random selection of several dozen points used in the Tung Family system (2 double sided pages) through studying with Yueh Chieh Young, Henry McCann, and Richard Tan. I tried to make this more clinically referrable by highlighting the indications. It’s not a comprehensive review of Tung’s acupuncture points or methodology. For this, I highly recommend Henry McCann’s BOOK.
Use this sheet to give your patients a foot reflexology routine that they (or a friend/partner) can do at home. Big progress can be made if the patient works on their feet between treatments. I have multiple colored highlighter pens that I use to mark the various treatment areas. Then I usually indicate in the notes area, e.g., “Work the pink area (liver) first. Then the yellow area (small intestine) second. And the green area (large intestine) third. Stroke in the direction of the arrows.”
This prints as two per page, so you just slice the page lengthwise and you’ve got two handy instruction sheets. Send your patient home with a moxa stick & one of these sheets, and expect progress. Printing it on colored paper may add extra legitimacy to moxibustion.
More to come:
I have a lot more similar charts, tables, and note compilations that I hope to upload over time. I’d also like to collect clinic reference materials that other practitioners have made and link to them here, so contact me if you want to share.
RESOURCES BY OTHER PEOPLE
I just found this cool chart on Wikipedia one day. It really would be great to print it as a poster if you would refer to this with any regularity. You can click to view it and then save it, or right click (or whatever the Mac equivalent of right clicking is) and select “Save link as…”.