What a pleasure it has been to welcome Dr Feng Shilun and Dr Suzanne Robidoux to Oxfordshire!
We had a great turnout at Cholsey Pavilion - a gathering of Chinese herbalists from all over the UK, Ireland and the United States to hear Dr Feng present his clinical practice using the Jing Fang Six Syndrome Differentiation System.
It was Dr Feng's first visit to England, and we found a great place for him and Suzanne to stay in Goring by the river Thames. As you can see from this photo Suzanne took of me with Dr Feng and his wife Ms Liu, the weather was gorgeous.
Dr Feng was so moved by the area that he surprised all of us, including Suzanne, by opening the seminar with an ode to the Thames that he had written!
Then he got down to the serious business of presenting cases to illustrate the treatment of cardiovascular disease, gynaecology, sinusitis/rhinitis, and psoriasis, and Suzanne translated with great fluency and panache. This transmission to the West of an old lineage of Classical Chinese Medicine that she is facilitating is extraordinary. And as one of the participants who had previously worked with them on the Web commented, Suzanne and Dr Feng are amazing live.
Talking of live, the seminar finished with a whole day of clinical practice with live patients and discussion, which went down a storm. For the first time ever, I witnessed a standing ovation for a CPD herb lecture! Very inspiring.
We were also very lucky to have Dr Feng officially open our new Jing Fang Apprenticeship and Herb Community Clinic at the Cholsey Complementary Health Centre.
With a ceremonial ribbon cutting and certificate stamping, Dr Feng talked about each of us taking this work and developing it across the world. He calls us foreign Zhang Zhong Jing!
The ceremony was witnessed and recorded by our growing Jing Fang family.
Who agreed to have their photo taken in the clinic!
And then we all went down the Red Lion for a pint and supper!
Mark cooked us some great soups to keep us going, and when the work was over, we had fun showing Dr Feng and his wife some local sites while Suzanne went off to London to teach Moxa and Nei Gong Techniques. We took in Christ Church Oxford - this is the dining hall of Alice in Wonderland fame,
as well as the Bodleian Library, and, of course, Windsor Castle, greatly helped along by Alex's Chinese translation.
We couldn't resist this regal shot...
Then when Suzanne rejoined us, we took a short trip to the nearby village of Ewelme, where Alice de la Pole, granddaughter of Geoffrey Chaucer is buried, in an extraordinary tomb with a stone cadaver underneath.
But really what most enthused Dr Feng were gardens - we visited Waterperry with Anna,
where the flowers were still gorgeous this flaming October.
We finished with a final local walk around Wittenham Clumps as the sun went down on our last day. Dr Feng is endlessly interested in the plants, and here we are discussing crab apples with the help of Pleco!
Thank you Dr Feng for coming all this way to teach us, and thank you Suzanne for dedicating yourself to the transmission of this lineage and facilitating the growth of our understanding. We are very encouraged by the results we are seeing, and look forward to taking it further.
Dr Feng took us to this Tong Ren Tang dispensary to admire some extraordinarily expensive she xiang (musk), since he had just presented a case in which his teacher, Prof. Hu Xi-Shu, used it to move severe dry blood stasis in 1948 on the eve of the liberation of Beijing! It is quite extraordinary to have this kind of access to case records from Dr Feng's teacher.
This is a particularly old and expensive piece of ginseng that we also admired there - each bend of the root indicates 1 year of growth.
We spent a lot of time in clinic with Dr Feng, then in the afternoons he gave us discussion time to ask questions and get to grips with his formulas. This year I really felt that he responded to our ongoing interest, and to the work that we have put in over the past 2 years to getting to grips with this way of working. He gave us full and generous explanations of his thinking, and I had several flashes of understanding of how deep the knowledge that he is teaching us goes.
Here we are studying hard!
Several of us decided to take herbs ourselves during our stay...Which I have to say, helped me deal with some raging yangming heat (the temperature was in the upper 30s, and very humid). But it wasn't all work and herbs - tea featured large!
We are excited and honoured to be able to announce the first UK visit of Dr Feng Shi Lun
October 3rd, 4th and 5th, 2015
Dr Feng has published over 20 books explaining the application of the Shang Han Lun and jin Gui Yao Lue clinical method and reasoning. He is a great international speaker and clinician, and loves to teach from his clinical cases.
On October 3rd & 4th the seminar subjects will be the Jing Fang approach to heart disorders, sinusitis, psoriasis and gynaecological disorders. October 5th will be a day of clinical practice - you are invited to bring patients: please arrange this in advance. For more information contact Frances from this website.
We are very fortunate also that Dr Suzanne Robidoux will be with us to translate for him.
Suzanne facilitated an extraordinary visit to China last year, when we studied Jing Fang (Classical Herbalism) in Dr Feng's clinics in Beijing. We look forward very much to visiting Beijing again this coming August 2015. When they come to England, she will be giving seminars on moxa techniques and internal cultivation in London October 7th and 8th 2015. For more information, contact Rupert Lander at email@example.com, or check out the Classical Chinese Medicine Society.
This photo shows Dr Feng holding up some calligraphy he wrote to express his feelings about his teaching travelling overseas. It was an emotional moment. In the background you can see Zhang Zhong Jing, author of the Shang Han Lun (Treatise on Cold Damage).
Our April cooking day for the Berkshire ACT (Acupuncture for Childbirth Team) was a great success. The day was all about blood nourishment for fertility and childbirth.
We were a group of acupuncturists exploring how to incorporate food-like Chinese herbs in cooking. We want to help women to understand better how to nourish their body, particularly while trying to conceive and after giving birth. Cooking with stock is an excellent tool. You can see some of the Chinese herbs in this stock, like dang shen (codonopsis root), hong zao (red dates) and ling zhi (reishi or ganoderma mushrooms). Mushrooms are very useful in stocks, especially if you are vegetarian.
We made the stock into an amazing nettle and beetroot soup - both foods nourish the blood. We also used it to cook some black turtle beans for our main course.
And it doesn't all have to be savoury to be healthy. Here we are making some sugar free spelt biscuits with powdered herbs, that turned out to be delicious with coconut yoghurt!
We ate our soup with a liver pate we made with dang gui (Chinese angelica) brandy. Nothing in Chinese medicine is considered good or bad, it is all about what is appropriate and in moderation. Alcohol is marvellous for moving the blood, and highly prized, and there is a long tradition of medicinal wines. So of course we took the opportunity to make our own dang gui brandy for the future....
We were lucky to be able to hold our day at the Cholsey Pavilion, and really enjoyed using the new kitchen and spacious foyer there, under the watchful gaze of the sheep.
Just home from Beijing, studying Chinese Herbal Medicine with Dr Feng Shilun. An amazing trip!
This photo of me with Dr Feng was taken at the Shu De Tang Clinic, a beautiful clinic named after the famous doctor Jiao Shude (he's the one in bronze). We have been studying with Dr Feng long distance all year via the Chinese Medicine Traveller webinars Suzanne Robidoux has been organising from Beijing, and she did us proud translating the clinics and lectures we attended.
There were five of us studying with Dr Feng, from England, France and the United States, and we joined an enthusiastic group of Chinese, Japanese and Korean students.
We are really looking forward to bringing Dr Feng's style of Classical Chinese herbal medicine to Oxfordshire, and our Herb Community Clinic is launching this coming October at the Cholsey Complementary Health Centre in Cholsey, near Oxford. More news about that soon.
We have just had a great weekend at the Abbey in Sutton Courtenay, with the Tai Chi Foundation, learning how to teach five element medical qi gong.
Gerrie Sporken, Pat Gorman and Stephen Flores came over from the Netherlands and the United States, and helped us to hone our skills in teaching these simple but powerful roots and branches qi gong moves. They are great postures that can be learnt by anyone, and have enormous health benefits, as well as evocative names. This picture shows us doing the Jade Walk.
We also had time to watch an extraordinary red full moon rise on Saturday night from the Wittenham Clumps...
And I am now qualified to teach these beautiful movements in my practice!
On Saturday 12th April we officially launched the Cholsey Complementary Health Centre, with a day of taster sessions and demonstrations at Cholsey Pavilion. John Wheeler did stirling work getting it all together, and the Health Centre now has some signs, so is finally visible! The Saturday Community Tea Shop was open for business, Pam Seymour was there from the horticultural society, and there was a nice buzz about the place.
I took the opportunity to give myself a health check, and had a very interesting EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) taster session from Paula Kennedy which left me interested to try more. See below deep in conversation with Joanna Belcher, who offers deep tissue massage at the Health Centre. Bill Rees Lewis and Louise Stanley from Cholsey Chiropractic Clinic were generously offering free back checks, and it looks like a course of McTimony Chiropractic will be the result for me. Alan Baker and Mark Preston, who both do tai chi and tui na (Chinese massage) were offering some delicious shoulder massages, and Rowlands Pharmacy were doing blood pressure checks.
It's hard to give taster sessions of acupuncture, but I managed to offer a session on Chinese herbal teas. The most popular was gou ji berry and chrysanthemum flower - a tea commonly drunk in China and very tasty. Rose bud and tangerine peel tea also got the thumbs up from some, although it wasn't everyone's cup of tea!
Natalie Bow, who has just joined us as a physiotherapist was there with her partner Chris Adams representing the boot-camp fitness side of things, and Emma Green gave us a Pilates taster class. Mark Preston and colleagues from the Tai Chi Foundation gave a demonstration of the Cheng Man Ching Yang-Style Tai Chi form, followed by an impressive looking sword form. They also gave us an exercise called sculling, which certainly worked the legs!
The practitioners at Cholsey Complementary Health Centre want to make complementary medicine accessible to the community, and the Cholsey Health Day successfully brought together some complementary and traditional approaches to healthcare, with an emphasis on how we can keep ourselves well. Above all, it was fun, and we hope to run it again next year.
It's cooking time again, and time to take stock - literally! Stocks are an amazing way to nourish ourselves, especially as the weather moves towards winter. On October 25th we will be cooking food to nourish the yin or fluid aspect of the body, and on December 6th to nourish the yang or warming and moving aspect of the body.
Fish stocks are a wonderful way to nourish the yin, especially if you add seaweed and Chinese herbs. And for the yang, of course beef marrow bones are the business, unless you are vegetarian. Wallingford Butchers assure me that they will soon be getting in the cuts of meat that produce good marrow bones, so I am waiting for a chance to make a stock-pot full of winter warmer that I can freeze in portions to use in soups, stews and casseroles. They are happy to give us bones for a donation to their favourite charity.