Considering Our Roots- The Overlooked Basics of Chinese Medicine

by Michael Max | With guest, Rhonda Chang

We pride ourselves on being connected to an ancient medicine, to a way of thinking, working and treating that ties us back to the luminaries of our field. But medicine is always influenced by the times. And the influences that brought Chinese medicine to the west, and the ways we learned it shape our thought and practice.

In this conversation we discuss the difference between 辨證理論 bian zheng li lun, pattern differentiation, and 陰陽五行 yin yang wu xing, the transformation of yin and yang through the five phases. And take a look at how 醫 yi, medicine differs from what’s commonly called TCM.


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In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • What started as an interest in literature lead to exploring pre-modern medicine
  • Yin and Yang is about tracking changes
  • The links between Yin, Yang and the Five Phases
  • Modern Chinese medicine talks about patterns, but it does not talk about the dynamics of change
  • Case Study: delayed delivery
  • The transformations of Yin and Yang happen through the cycle of the Five Phases
  • Case Study: urinary infection
  • The Yi Jing, the Book of Changes, is the operating manual for Chinese medicine
  • Questions about the Six Jing
  • Discussing the Sm Intestine

Yang qi is the heat and force of life. When yang qi is lost the warmth and strength of life disappear and what is left is the inanimate yin body. Therefore cooling herbs or emptying yang qi techniques in acupuncture can only be used for short periods, or else accompanied by warming herbs /strengthening yang qi needling techniques.


Rhonda Chang, L.Ac

In 1978 I enrolled in Beijing Chinese Medicine College with the idea of furthering my interest in Classic Chinese literature and gaining a practical skill in healing. To my disappointment, we learnt very little of classical literature. As for the medicine, although we learnt some techniques such as needling and herbal formulas, we gained little to no understanding of how these techniques were created and the real logic behind them.
 
So I began to look for doctors who were trained prior to 1949, in the hope of learning the actual principles underlying yi. Through hearing from some of these older physician phrases such as cooling blood to relieve wind rash, or strengthening the soil to help lung cough etc., I stepped on a lifelong path of discovering the ancient logic of healing.
 
Based on my PhD study The Substitution of Yi by Chinese Medicine through Chinese Self-Colonisation, I published the book: Chinese Medicine Masquerading as Yi in which I explained the differences between modern Chinese medicine and the old style healing—Yi. Subsequently I published Yinyang Wuxing Spirit, Body and Healing, which is based on my 30 years of study and practice, to demonstrate how yinyang wuxing theory directs clinical practice.
 
Currently I am designing an online course: The Book of Changes and Yi易 医. The Ming dynasty scholar Zhang Jingyue clearly states: “The system of Yi (医) is the Book of Changes applied to the body and spirit. How can one practice Yi without knowing the Book of Changes?” 张景岳《类经附翼》“医易义”“医之为道,身心之易也,医而不易,其何以行之焉?” This is an in depth course that aims to provide the necessary knowledge of the Book of Changes, bagua and yinyang wuxing theory in order to greatly enhance both clinical practice and an understanding Chinese philosophy.

Links and Resources

You can find Rhonda's books on Amazon
Yin Yang Wu Xing, Spirit, Body and Healing
Chinese Medicine Masquerading as Yi: A Case of Chinese Self-Colonisation

Visit Rhonda's website at www.rhondachang.com to stay informed on her teaching and other books.

 

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