I have been a practitioner of classical Chinese medicine since 1992 and specialize in the system of “the Heavenly Stems and the Earthly Branches”.
During a treatment session I diagnose according to the pulse, taking into account the internal and external influences arising from the patient’s birth chart, allowing an individual and unique treatment. I finished my B.A. studies in Mathematics in 1987 at the University of Richmond, England. Two years later I began my studies at the School of Chinese Medicine – The International College of Oriental Medicine, and graduated in 1992.
I pursued two additional years of post graduate studies in classical Chinese medicine. Upon graduation, in the summer of 1992, I went to China to intern at the hospital of Nanjing. During my last year of studies, in 1991, I began the study of Chinese Herbal medicine at the London Academy of Oriental Medicine, under the supervision of Master Tong. I graduated in 1994.
To expand my perspective as a therapist, I studied in various courses including Feng-Shui with Shoham Weissman, and Iridology with Yona Lior. I submitted my doctoral thesis to the International University of Complementary Medicine – O.I.U.C.M. The topic of my research was “The Heavenly Stems and The Earthly Branches”. In 2010 I received my PhD in Chinese philosophy. After 15 years in the United States and England, I returned to live in Israel in 1995.
In 1994 I taught at I.C.O.M. – U.K. I taught Chinese medicine at the school Medicine in Tel Aviv, in the years 1996-1997, and in 2008-2010 at the school East-West. I am also one of the founders of the course “the celestial stems and the earthly branches” in Israel. I worked for several years in a private clinic in England, and in the clinic of Joan Duveen in Holland. Currently, I am treating in three separate private clinics: in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Ramat Raziel. I also continue to teach post graduate studies in classical Chinese medicine.
A system of complementary medicine in which fine needles are inserted in the skin at specific points along what are considered to be lines of energy (meridians), used in the treatment of various physical and mental conditions.
Man’s basic constitution possesses an “intelligence” that is stored and released from the DNA. It directs and organizes all the body processes such as cell division, cell recovery, hormonal balance etc., in order to maintain the wholeness of the person. The body was created to exist in health and balance. All systems in the body are programmed to survive. We see that in the body’s ability to overcome diseases, deal with digestive problems, injuries, temperature balance, the development of embryo in the woman’s womb and so on. All is directed by this intelligence that knows how to re-weave the body anew according to the individual needs.
Despite the elegance with which the body balances itself at any moment, it still encounters experiences that upset its equilibrium. Anything from sharp temperature changes, physical or emotional stress, viruses, bacteria, toxins may disrupt the delicate balance. Therefore, the Chinese believe in good conduct through diet, exercise, avoidance of an excess or lack of it in order to maintain the orientation of the body’s natural balance.
According to the theory of Chinese medicine, the body’s life-energy flows through a network of meridians, similar to the arteries and nerves. The body’s vibrating energy sometimes loses balance through the exposure to toxins, bacteria or states of mind that create symptoms of illness. These are warning signs indicating the body’s imbalances. To correct the imbalance, the fine needles are inserted into specific acupuncture points on the relevant meridians.
The use of acupuncture needles stimulates the body’s own healing powers causing the various symptoms to disappear. Before starting any treatment, the Chinese medicine practitioner will take into account the patient’s health history, family history, diet habits, emotional status, digestion and bowel movement habits, skin color, heart rate and more. In this way the therapist can concentrate on treating the person as a whole and not just the disease. The use of acupuncture in treating people with acute or chronic problems is widespread. According to the Chinese view, body and soul are inseparable. As such both are affected by the treatment. In all cases, the treatment works on the motility of the acupuncture points, which in turn stimulate the body’s self healing power and its ability to return to balance and thus regain its so-called health.
The patient’s reaction depends on several factors, primarily the extent of the problem and the length of time the patient is suffering from it. Personal data and medical history are important as well. Factors such as genetic tendencies, the current situation, emotional balance, nutrition, drugs that the patients takes and exercise, create the ground where the various symptoms root themselves.
It is not possible to anticipate the speed and impact of treatment because acupuncture works on the energetic levels, and as such, the response is individual. Children, for example, and people in good health and vitality will respond very quickly to treatment, while older people or the weak can expect slower responses.
The human body is a mass with energy moving in it with different frequencies. The solid structures in the body, such as bone and muscles, are of slower molecular frequency than that of the molecular frequency of fluids like blood and lymph systems. The nervous system frequency is very fast. The organs of the body are the accumulation of the densest material in the body.
The gravitational field of these organs attracts the formation of bone, muscle, blood, skin tissues etc. The body’s shape is affected by the gravitational fields of the organs. Anything that enters the system will affect the whole energy field. Acupuncture works in such a way that when a needle is inserted into an acupuncture point, the energy field of the organs changes. The acupuncture points are selected to balance the body’s natural environment and give it the momentum and drive to maintain this equilibrium.
Only rarely will Chinese medicine name a disease. In fact, two patients with the same patterns of disease will be treated with a completely different approach depending on the individual pattern that emerges from their energetic imbalances. The therapist will review all the symptoms in order to get an overall picture or a pattern of the processes occurring in the body. This picture can change during the course of treatments and re-evaluated per treatment basis.
OBSERVATION – the most essential thing in observation is the vitality or the “spirit” of the patient, which is reflected in the form of walking, movements and expressions, reactions and so on. When the patient shows vitality, it means that the disease is not critical. There could be a surplus of vitality, and then the patient is restless, moving a lot, excited – these are symptoms of a pattern of an excess, especially of the Yang. When the patient’s face is pale, the skin loses its glow, eyes devoid of shine, as well as slow movements and reactions, a weak spirit is exhibited, these symptoms show a considerable state of ‘lacking’ – this is a pattern of deficiency and of the character of Yin.
All meridians flow toward the face so its color reflects the state of blood and energy in the body. Red face indicates heat, pale or white face indicates lack of blood. Even the distribution of color in different areas of the face point to an imbalance of the related organs. For example, black under the eyes indicates the weakness of the kidneys. Red indicates heat and the possibility of imbalance in the heart. Yellow indicates the involvement of the spleen and phlegm. Green indicates problem with the liver, especially of stagnation. White reflects problems with the lungs. The skin color, skin elasticity, body fat distribution, body hair and so on also help to identify the pattern of disharmony in the patient. Each therapist has a unique approach to the diagnosis through observation.
The tongue is the most important diagnosis in observation. The aspects of the tongue observed are the general shape, color, cover, mass and specific signs. Like the body, the tongue also has areas that point to the involvement of various organs. Therefore, it is important not to eat or drink anything that may affect the tongue’s coating before treatment. Coffee, fruit drinks, sweets, mushrooms and so on can change the color of the coating of the tongue.
LISTENING AND SMELL – listening to the voice and the sound of breathing is the most important part of listening. A patient’s strong and assertive voice points to a Yang pattern and an excess. A weak voice points to a Yin pattern and deficiency. Similarly crude and heavy breathing indicates congestion, and shallow breathing indicates lack and weakness. Even a cough can be strong, sudden and even violent, or weak but consistent. In the category of human sounds in the five phases, each phase has the sound associated with it. For example, shrill sound indicates angry temperament and the involvement of the liver and gall-bladder, plaintive voice testifies to sadness and lung imbalance.
Diagnosis according to the sense of smell gets rarely the proper attention in the West because most people consider body’s odors as something embarrassing and irrelevant. The art of diagnosis based on the sense of smell has been pushed aside and almost not used in Chinese medicine by Western therapists. In the Chinese tradition, body odors were prime diagnosis tool.
QUESTIONING – in addition to the patient’s medical history, the questioning will also include questions relating to the patient’s emotional, spiritual, and vitality conditions. Although some of the questions may sound irrelevant to the disease, they help to understand the general pattern of disharmony to get a complete picture of the situation. Questions such as the preferred season, preference for cold or heat, if there are headaches – when they occur and in what part of the head it is felt, bowel and bladder activity and frequency, menstrual pattern in women, diet, sleep – these are just some of the topics on which the patient will be asked to answer.
TOUCH – this is the part that closes the Chinese diagnosis and it involves touch of certain areas of the body. The therapist checks whether those parts are hot or cold, if there is swelling, tension, pain and the like. In this category, the pulse diagnosis is the most important, and in fact considered the highlight of the diagnosis tool for the Chinese medicine practitioner. The pulse is taken in both wrists, over the radial artery. According to Chinese medicine theory, there are 28 different qualities of the pulse. Through the pulse, a trained therapist will diagnose the state of blood condition, energy, body fluids, the organs, mental state and so on. The diagnosis according to the pulse is taken on 12 different locations, six on each wrist. It allows the therapist a way to check the entire body through the depth, speed and overall quality of each location and as a whole. The pulse is the key to true inner state of the patient. It gives a sort of “X-ray” image of all the activities in the body and their synchronization with each other, like an individual symphony that encompasses the variety of musical instruments. The pulse diagnosis requires experience, sensitivity and the upmost concentration acquired through many years of listening by the therapist.
While in Western medicine the pulse is a tool to examine the heart and circulation, in Chinese medicine pulse diagnosis method is very complex and reaches the level of an art. This requires a systematic study, a lot of experience and the individual gift of sensitivity on the part of the therapist. The pulse shows the dynamism that exists during the diagnosis procedure and allows a glimpse into the totality of external and internal influences woven together to create a given situation. Moreover, using the pulse diagnosis gives the most important tool in preventive medicine. Processes can be felt through the energy changes long before they are implemented on the physical body. The pulse reflects the state of Yin and Yang in the body, in the movement of waves and cycles. In fact, in the pulse we feel the vitality and the life force of all the organs and the person as a whole.
The human body reflects the universe and therefore in the pulse we can feel the effect of the climate and the seasons. The pulse is actually the person’s individual symphony. The inside of the human body communicates with the external body via the meridian system. A trained Chinese medicine therapist can feel the meridians on the pulse.
Disease is a dynamic motion and not just a set of symptoms. When we diagnose according to the pulse, we treat a patient rather than the disease. The pulse measures the changes of rate of the organs in the body, and they have their time of peak and the time of low tides, through the energy that moves through them. In good health all these parameters of regular and stable pulse rate, the right speed according to body size and the patient’s age, the quality and flexibility of each specific organ, the intensity and strength should be regular and moderate in relation to the hour of treatment as well as to the season, and all have high importance for the understanding the inner symphony.
In Western terms, names of diseases below may give a basic idea of the areas where acupuncture can be particularly useful:
For thousands of years, the Chinese have been using acupuncture to cure, support and maintain good health with a view of the body as an energetic and vibrant whole. According to acupuncture, life- energy flows in the body through a network of meridians similar to arteries and nerves. They can be accessed by a trained therapist. Chinese medicine aggregates all the diverse signs and symptoms of ill health to understand the pattern of disharmony. This pattern includes the mental and emotional as much as the physical condition of the patient.
The different symptoms are not regarded as problems that need to be eliminated, but as warning signs indicating imbalance in the patient’s body. These imbalances are corrected by the insertion of fine needles into specific points found on the relevant meridians.
Chinese medicine is rooted in the Taoist philosophy of change and growth, balance and harmony. The main idea behind acupuncture is seeing the body as having self-healing powers and being full of vitality that renews its balance naturally. The body can maintain order and stability and works continuously for our benefit and optimal health. Chinese medicine sees the body as a dynamic entity, and as network of energies working to maintain free flow of vitality and health. Any interference, obstruction or lack of energy movement can lead to disease. Acupuncture is a healing system which aims to support the body’s natural actions, promote energy flow and return it to balance.
For more than five thousand years, acupuncture emphasizes preventive medicine and health maintenance. Acupuncture treatment can be effective for various acute and chronic conditions. It is particularly effective in its ability to arrive to the root of the problem before it is created. This is done by identifying the dispositions that can develop into disease. Early treatment ensures optimal maintenance of physical health.
Man, according to Chinese vision, lives between Heaven and Earth. The energies of Heaven and the energies of Earth are mingled in Man in a dynamic harmony. One example of this connection is seen in the air we breathe and the food we eat – both of which provide us with the energy needed to live. The human body reflects the central dynamic point of this exchange of energy. However, Heaven and Earth for the Chinese are more than air and food; they represent two dichotomous forces – the creator and the created, the impulse and its expression.
This meeting of Heaven and Earth within Man must exist in harmony. Each body part has a unique role in this process and must be conducted in harmony with all the other organs. This is a wonderfully tuned system. Anything disrupting these processes in a particular place will necessarily affect the whole.
The central concept in Chinese philosophy is the concept of the Tao, describing a path or a way in which we operate, or how the universe works. To live in harmony with the Tao is to live in balance with the way the universe works. In Chinese medicine this is the definition for balance that supports health.
So how can we, in such stressful modern times, live a balanced life? It is easier to imagine a Chinese sage living in the mountains and in harmony according to the Tao. Despite our intensive lifestyle, we must strive to balance the activities we do. For example we must seek balance in the hours of work with hours of rest, of waste energy and proper nutrition, of times of excitement with times of inner reflection. For the Chinese, harmonious life is the balance between the Yin and Yang aspects of life.
Children have Yang qualities by nature; they are active, vital and in need attention. Since the Yin is deficient in children, they tend to contract diseases that are characterized by fever. Fewer children in the West develop diseases that are characterized by heat compared to the children in the East, because they receive antibiotics at the onset of the disease. Yet children in the West have more problems contracting cold due to deficient Yang, as a result of taking drugs from an early age.
According to Chinese medicine, the spleen is responsible for digestion and the absorption of substances in the body. During pregnancy the nutritional substances are transferred to the fetus by the mother and therefore the process of digestion is not needed. The main illnesses of infants after birth are related to the digestion and the assimilation of foodstuffs which tends to overload the activity of the spleen. As a result, pathologies related to the spleen activity are common during childhood, and healthy children usually suffer from the common colds and digestive problems.
Since children have a relatively weak immune system, their chance to be infected with diseases that originate from external climate increases and can undermine their energy levels. For example, in the winter, children are likely to catch a cold, while in hot climate their body temperature rises quickly. As their immune system is still in the process of development, there is a higher risk of infection with viruses and germs in children than in adults. Consequently, children have the tendency for rapid development of diseases, which can endanger their health if not treated quickly. Yet, the purity of energy in children allows relatively quick recovery, even in cases of complex diseases.
Small children are very sensitive to their emotional environment. Before the age of seven, they lack the ability to distinguish between the rapidly changing emotions and therefore, they are more vulnerable in an environment that is emotionally unbalanced. As the proverb says: “You need to treat the mother in order to cure the child”.
Children’s pulse is superficial and quick, due to their excessive Yang energy and their physical size. Children acupuncture treatment involves the insertion of needles, just as for adults, but the treatment is considerably shorter. It usually lasts few minutes, depending on the age, and since children tend to react quickly there is no need for prolonged treatment. Their response can be immediate, or within a day after treatment.
Acupuncture can appear scary for children (sometimes for adults too!), yet it is surprising how quickly they get accustomed to such a method of treatment. Children often cry in the first moments of treatment, normally from anxiety rather than from pain, yet it passes smoothly in the hands of an experienced and capable therapist.