Written by Theo Yang Copley, L.Ac., JTS Class 18
On October 29-30 2022, Jung Tao School alumni and students gathered for a CEU class on dynamic pulse taking and the treatment of the sinew channels. The class was the first in Jung Tao School board member Burton Moomaw’s three-part series on the theory and practice of the complementary channels- Sinew (aka Tendinomuscular), Luo, Divergent and Eight Extraordinary Vessels. Set at the Valle Crucis Conference Center, participants in this class gathered to learn the fundamentals of dynamic pulse taking and the treatment of the Sinew channels in the classical acupuncture tradition of Jeffrey Yuen and further explained in the texts of Ann Cecil-Sterman.
As someone who took the boards in the past few years, it was clear from questions on luo, divergent and eight extraordinary channel trajectories and pathology that the field of acupuncture recognizes the significance of these classical channels. It makes sense that as a classical school, JTS is leading in providing opportunities for practitioners to learn their functions and treatment. Ultimately, this gives us many more tools to help our patients, from issues that are acute and musculoskeletal, based in emotional struggle, one-sided, chronic or degenerative, or originating from early in life.
Dynamic pulse taking involves leveraging small movements of the fingers when at the moderate level of the pulse to create minute hydraulic surges that test for interaction or lack of interaction between the zang fu. Burton solidified our grasp of the techniques by having us change partners frequently, and it was fun to make new connections. Burton’s many years as an acupuncturist and author help him clearly explain physiological mechanisms. For example, I have struggled with understanding why people with low stomach acid still experience acid reflux. Burton explained that weak Stomach qi may not not descend as it should, but instead might ascend counter to channel flow as rebellious qi.
This theory became palpably real when he showed us how to test for it in the pulses: bringing all three fingers to the moderate level of the pulse, one can lightly increase pressure in the middle position, while rising up on the third position. If one feels a small surge of blood into the Chi position, stomach qi is descending as it should. He then taught us dietary principles including eating warm wet foods to support the middle burner and Stomach yin, and primary channel point combinations to encourage descending of stomach qi such as CV 12 and St 25, or St 30 and St 36, needled in the order of the direction of the channel.
The following day we learned how and when to treat the sinew channels. There were multiple live treatments that brought the principles to life. Treatments and changes were quick and with these sinew channel needling techniques, the needles were not retained. Many participants admired Burton’s DYI moxibustion ventilation system made of a hair dryer taped to a section of flexible dryer vent hose that he tucked out a window!
The three-part series provides participants with all the tools they need to practice treating all the classical channels of acupuncture. The second class in the series will teach the theory and practice of treating the luo vessels and the divergent channels. The third and final class will teach the theory and practice of the Eight Extraordinary Vessels, with a day of live cases to apply the techniques of all the channel systems.
The next class in Burton Moomaw’s three-part series on the complement Channels of classical acupuncture is coming up April 1-2. This class will cover Luo and Divergent channel treatments. The first day on Luo vessels will cover luo theory and bloodletting treatment strategies to immediately address symptoms of physical pain and emotional distress. The second day is on Divergent channels. Burton will present the theory and treatment strategies of an elegant and cohesive channel system which works between the Wei and Yuan levels. Divergent channel treatments have many applications, including helping patients build yin mediumship to strengthen when dealing with intermittent, chronic and degenerative conditions.
I use these channel systems in my practice every day. I have studied with Burton before and he is great at explaining the theory and techniques needed to start using these channels in our clinics immediately. It is going to be a fun class with live treatments.
Come back to the mountains to see old and new friends! This special series to learn techniques that can transform our patients’ lives is an opportunity that should not be missed.
Theo Yang Copley, L.Ac is a graduate of JTS Class 18 and an acupuncturist practicing in Boone. She can be reached through her website, www.booneclassicalwellness.com