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About Owl

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  1. Jinye Huandan Yinzheng Tu in English?

    Darin, I don't have the requisite alchemical attainments to accurately translate the diagrams and their accompanying text for you. However, the last sentence in the paragraph next to the Kan Hexagram Lady is pretty obvious. It reads, "If you have not met a fully-attained one who can teach you in person, how can you decide where the mysterious pivot is?" Indeed. The only person who can accurately translate this scroll for you is someone who has gone through the process himself. In other words, a master/teacher. After reading the preface and postscript several times over, I came away with a very clear impression that this scroll is meant to be accompanied by oral transmission from master to disciple. In fact that has always been the case in Chinese history. The key is always passed down orally, never written down. So there you have it, should you insist on proceeding without a living teacher, then you are going against the very warning embedded in the text. You decide. Good Luck.
  2. I need your vote to change the world!

    Plato, I have just voted for your project. I have to say, all of the past 8 years I've followed your "adventures" online, this one is by far the most heart-warming for me. It serves to remind us that having a genuine heart-to-heart connection to other people and the rest of humanity is crucial for the health of a cultivator. It is far too easy to get stuck in the nitty gritty of meditation and qi cultivation and forget that we are warm blooded creatures who share this life with many others. Perhaps when we are training overselves to integrate vertically with heaven and earth, we can also put emphasis on spiral-horizontal, heart-based exchanges with other humans in our daily lives. I hope this is the just the beginning of many more world-changing endeavors of yours. What a way to start a new year! Owl
  3. Any TCM or Taoist liver cures?

    It sounds like you probably have damp heat in the Liver-Gallbladder system. Since there are so many liver cleanse products out there, it is hard to generalize. My experience is that as a whole they are usually cold, purging, bitter and drying from the TCM perspective. That's why it is usually helpful in the case of stagnation due to damp heat. However, a formulation like that runs the risk of harming the qi and yang of the spleen-stomach system. Furthermore, like in Affenbrot's case, the yin of the Liver can be easily damaged if that's your weak link. Liver qi depletion is the least likely consequence. In fact, there is no such thing as a Liver qi depletion according to modern TCM. Even in the classics, there is not much discussion of liver qi depletion when it comes to herbal therapy. It is mainly an acupuncture concept. As far as He Shou Wu goes, it is most likely to aggravate your situation if you take it as a single herb. It is a liver blood tonic that is slightly warm and enriching. Consuming warm-enriching medicinals while having damp heat obstructinng the Liver-Gallbladder is like adding gasoline to fire. A TCM herbal stragtegy for you is mostly going to center around clearing damp heat from the Liver/Gallbaldder without harming the qi of the spleen/stomach and/or Liver yin. Of course, this is pure speculation on my part since I can't see you and take your pulse in person. This is the domain of a qualified TCM doctor. As you can see, the do-it-yourself TCM approach is risky. I have seen many cases in Asia and America where people have been harmed by taken TCM medicinals without guidance from a professional, some almost died. Chinese medicine is a highly sophisticated system of medicine that requires the same level of theoretical foundation and clinical training to practice safely. Just because it is all natural doesn't mean it can't be lethal. It is not so much about the medicinals used, it is the critical reasoning that goes behind the scene that makes Chinese medicien so powerful. Be safe, Be well.
  4. Body remodelling - knees?

    If you're interested in a systemic remodeling and getting to the root of the issue, I suggest seeing a practitioner of Rolfing/Hellerwokr/Structural Integration. My speculation is that you have patterns of holding and using your body that are deeply ingrained from your years of construction work. They may not be the most effecient patterns for you and is causing systemic problems like in your knees and elbows. If you just "fix" the knee or the elbow, it doesn't really resolve the core issue. Some years ago I experienced knee pain everytime I got done with my Aikido training. I checked in with a Rolfer. Sure enough, I had severe external rotation from the hip on down. So everytime I walk, I was destroying my knee and ankle. The intensity of the martial arts training just aggravated it and make it a lot more pronounced. I went thru a series of work to correct all sorts of fascial constrictions that was causing me to use my body in very inefficient and harmful manners. More importantly I got my Rolfer to teach me how to walk, sit and run in a structurally sound and efficient way. Since then, my knee problems never returned. I cannot stress enough the value of expert advice from competent practiotioners. Several hours of reeducation can sometimes save us a lifetime of suffering and fumbling in the dark. There is a common misconception that a body part/joint that is in trouble is somehow weak and needs to be strengthened. The real situation can be more complex than that. There is usually a group of muscles that are holding on too tightly and some which are too streched out. Any strengthening needs to happen after the imbalance has been corrected. Else the problematic pattern just got more solidified and etched into the body. For rebuilding the knee structurally, TCM has many tried-and-true herbs and formulations thanks to thousands of years of experience with broken bones and torn ligaments in wars and street fighting.
  5. tendonitis in the elbow. suggestions?

    I mean to grab them with the other hand and squeeze.
  6. tendonitis in the elbow. suggestions?

    Bill, Pain on the outside of the arm usually points to tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis). In your case it is probably chronic overuse of the extensor muscle/tendon of your forearm combined with less than ideal body mechanics while working. Several things to try out: 1) See if you can find body and hand positions that allow you to use the force of your entire body(hip & leg force) rather than solely swinging/working from your forearm. This can take some pressure off those tired muscles and tendons. 2) Press the following acupoints as frequently as possible thru out the day: LI 4 and LI 10. 3) Grasp the muscles of the forearms until they are relaxed, followed by stroking the arm from the elbow to the fingertips 10-20 times. Do this 2-3 times a day. 4) If your pain is relieved by applying heat, then use more heat compress and get some 701 plasters from chinatown. Stop eating: 1) Shellfish 2) Cold foods and iced drinks. 3) Reduce or stop eating sour foods. (Sour enters the liver, liver governs the tendons, sour astringes, therefore sour constricts and shorten tendons) These info mostly came from Tom Bisio's A Tooth From the Tiger's mouth. There are many more good advices in the book. Highly, highly recommended. Only $12 on amazon. Many professional acupuncturists use the same info to treat their patients.
  7. Seeking Help: Qi-gong Zhan Zhuang

    Ryan, Over the years, as a community, we have seen a fair share of young men who face the same dilemma as you do now. Trunk, one of our most experienced and wise practitioners, has written some very pertinent essays to address the very questions that you have posed. I believe you can find much guidance in his writings. I must warn you of the dangers of forcibly holding back hot yang energy in your body when it is perfectly necessary and healthy to let it go. Many have been burnt (literally) by this misguided practice. Please be extra careful and critical of what you've learned so far. You might want to re-read the Dao De Jing. Water doesn't struggle.
  8. Cancer, Chemo...

    I had a client who came in for post-surgery work after his kidney and testicle got removed due to cancer. He also went through radiation. He did not use any alternative method. All standard biomedical procedure and care. He seems to be doing very well when I saw him. When I worked with his scars and body, I could not detect a shred of negative energy in his body. That was just 2 weeks after his last radiation. When I first met this person a year ago, I sensed a lot of suppressed anger and he was oozing hostility behind a calm facade. He was diagnosed with cancer in April and went through surgeries in May and June. When I saw him in July, he was a completely changed man. He became very relaxed and the smoldering anger was gone. It was quite a metamorphosis. I think he surrendered to the process and completely let go of his old resentments and learned to modulate his Type-A personality. In the process, he met a very kind man and fell in love. This all happened in less than 3 months. This case reminds me that healing can sometimes happen very rapidly when we accept illness as a process for deep introspection and transformation. It is also interesting to note the close relationships between the testicles, the Liver, the Liver Channel, anger and bound-up, frustrated sexual energy. As for your friend, I suggest gentle massages near the scars once the stitches came off. We don't want scar tissues to build up there and start drawing the fascial web into the body - planting seeds for further stagnation in the future. Regular massage of the remaining healthy testicle and inguinal region is highly recommended as a preventative measure.
  9. It is true that some active points/pathways are not found exactly where books described them. In fact, sometimes we can't even find them in the same spot on a person from day to day. Yet this possible migration of points/pathways are localized whithin a resoanable area like a 1-2 inch radius. One will not find the Ren channel on the spine nor can Ming Men be found below the navel in the front. Therefore, many acupuncturists use the standard description to get to the right neighborhood and use palpation/energetic awareness to refine and pinpoint the best location.
  10. Hmm ... Maybe you can tell us a bit more about the reason(s) you wanted to study the points and meridians? To what level of proficiency/mastery? There are many less expensive alternatives, including free info on the web which is more than sufficient for most purposes.
  11. It took us a year to learn the 12 meridians and some 400 points in acupuncture school. Various methods were used: 1) Finding points on yourself. 2) Finding points on others. 3) Massaging them. 4) Needling them. 5) Meditating on individual points. 6) Meditating on the flow of meridian pathways. 7) Trace the flow of meridian on others/self energeticaly using your hands. 8) Trace the flow of meridian on others/self by direct drawing on the skin. 9) Draw/trace on a statue. And of course, read about their functions and indications and various classical/modern writings on the points/meridians. A Manual of Acupuncture by Deadman & Co is currently the standard. You can see 2 pdfs containing sample pages of it in my article. Under the Notes section, Trunk has also added some good links on the various products related to the book.
  12. Magnolia Bark Tummy Release

    Don't bother. I will put some magnolia bark in the "parcel" destined for you tomorrow. Wait, would that disqualify my parcel for the media mail rate? While we're at it, do you want some Huang Jing too? Magnolia bark can have a very relaxing effect on my nervous system. I stopped playing with it last year when I discovered I couldn't lift my fingers after just a 5 gram decoction. It also kills my ability to feel pleasure in my body. Still want to try some? :-)
  13. Hi everyone, I have written a new essay, "Unwinding the Gathering Sinew" to complement the Crystal in Uranus article I wrote several months ago. Whereas the focus of "Crystal in Uranus" is to decongest the prostate and the lower Dan Tian from the inside out, this essay is written for exploring and decongesting the prostate and other structures around the male pelvis from the outside in. I would like to thank Trunk for hosting this article. Owl