First Day At School!

Day 1

by Gene Chuah

Insane in the membrane !! I’m finally pursuing my passion – today is my first day of class in the Acupuncture program. Words cannot express how happy I feel just to have taken this step. I am enrolled at the Shiatsu School of Canada and this is the Fundamentals of Traditional Chinese Medicine course. It’s been years overdue, and for one reason or other I didn’t start sooner; but everything happens for a reason and maybe there was no better time than this.

Already made some friends in class !! Like-minded is an understatement. I can already feel the vibe from some of these students and I know we are in for good times ahead. In some of our introductions we talked about our frustrations with the corporate world and how dog-eat-dog it is, and why we wanted to do this instead. All 7 of us in the class are doing this as a second career; many are RMTs, and one physiotherapist.

I’ve been passionate about TCM and holistic healing for the longest time, so when the instructor Ronny Breuer talked about some of the topics, thankfully I wasn’t too lost; not only that, I felt that I discovered so many new “leads” on the topics I am excited about.

In the Eastern healing arts, everything ties in to each other so beautifully. From my knowledge of Pranic Healing (GMCKS), the 2 sides of the main coin are : Congestion and Depletion. You either have too much energy causing a blockage, or you have insufficient energy causing weakness. So you treat by either removing / breaking up the blockage, or by energizing to replenish the low energy. Same thing in TCM !! They use different terminology, but the concepts are the same :

Pranic Healing TCM
problem : congestion

solution : cleanse / sweep / cut / remove
problem : excess / stagnation / stasis

solution : stimulate / unblock / move
problem : depletion

solution : energize
problem : deficiency

solution : tonify / strengthen


This is where the “duality” idea comes in, symbolized by the Yin & Yang :


As we learned in Pranic Healing, this symbol is incomplete without the little white dot and the little black dot. The reason is that “in the black, there is the seed of white, and in the white, there is the seed of black”. Good health comes from keeping the two forces in balance.

In today’s class we discussed the different treatment modalities in TCM : acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion, tuina massage, herbs, “meditation in movement” (Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Yoga), nutrition, Gua-Sha, Plum Blossom / Seven Star, Bloodletting, and microsystems (auricular, hand). We also discussed some of the history of TCM and some etymology (evolution of language/meaning).

What blew me away was how the duality principle cuts through all these modalities. I had heard of modalities like cupping but never really understood how they work, until today.

Oh !! Tangent time !! Holistic nutrition also has this same duality principle at work — it’s Detoxification and Nutrition. Oh my neurons are firing !! Same principle in Information Technology, no? Output and Input?

But back to cupping. The whole idea is that you’re bringing stagnant, toxic blood up from the deep tissues and close to the skin, where “the river runs faster” (my term) and these waste products can get eliminated by the body easier. Who knows how much junk/toxins the average person has embedded in his or her organs and tissues, given the pollutants in the environment today. C’mon, we’re talking pharmaceutical drugs and heavy metals in your drinking water, to say the least.

I also learned today that pain, in almost all cases, is a result of one side of the duality coin – can you guess which? It’s the Congestion/Excess/Stagnation side. As opposed to weakness, numbmess, tingling and general lameness caused by the other side (Depletion, Deficiency).

Bloodletting… ah what an interesting topic. Before you dismiss this as one of the medieval arts that is just plain silly, know this : modern medicine uses “medicinal leeches” (hirudotherapy) (why does the word “medicinal” suddenly make it sound all proper and non-dubious? Like medicinal marijuana? Maybe it was never dubious to begin with?) and these leeches are actually used, yes, even in modern medicine, for the purpose of bloodletting (google: leech therapy; also therapeutic phlebotomy). Although… in conventional medicine, its uses are limited to specific blood disorders, the fact remains that bloodletting actually works, especially because in modern society people have overloaded, toxic immune systems in need of some serious garbage disposal. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, despite the fact that most articles on the Web these days still mock bloodletting as dangerous archaic quackery, listing it alongside astrology, moon phases, purging, vomiting, and scary-sounding sharp instruments. Ignore all that superstition and stop reading Quackwatch, this stuff actually works, and works well. 5,000 years of development of Traditional Chinese Medicine can’t be wrong, I don’t care if they don’t have CAT scans.

There’s still so much I want to talk about, I’m still buzzing from the high of finally being on track with my passion now, but I guess tomorrow is another day. Wait… the next class is next week…. argggggg!!!! Must I count the seconds??!?!?!??!?!!! nnoooooooooo!!!!!!!! (it’s a part-time program… otherwise I wouldn’t be able to afford it.)


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