Sunday, December 18, 2011

Radio Interview on Transforming Fear

I'll be on Mendocino Public Radio KZYX on Thursday, December 22nd from 9:00am - 9:30am. I'll be interviewed on the Family Connection with Laviva Dakers on working with fear from the perspective of classical Chinese medicine. You can listen live at :

Friday, November 18, 2011

Office Updates

We have had a busy autumn with the normal bustle of the Center, the start of our membership program, our ongoing Classical Chinese Medicine and Medical Qigong Groups and our sold-out programs with Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallee! Elisabeth will be coming back in May -  I'll have more details as we get closer. 
We have several programs scheduled for November and December (see our class schedule on the side of the page) but all in all winter is a time for settling in and going deeper. 
The Center will be closed on Thursday November 24th and Friday November 25th for Thanksgiving. In December we will be closed on Monday December 26 and back in the office on Monday January 2nd. All of our other hours are the same as usual.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Introduction to the Daodejing with Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallee

Elisabeth will be here in Petaluma on Monday November 14th from 1pm to 5pm presenting an introduction to the Daodejing (Tao Teh Ching) and early Daoism. Most of Elisabeth's public programs focus on the Classical Chinese medical texts, so this is a fantastic opportunity to get her insight and analysis of this fundamental philosophical text that informs so much of the traditional Chinese health practices. The fee for the workshop is $50.

It is not necessary to have a background in Chinese Medicine, just an interest in Daoism, Chinese philosophy or Classical Chinese Medicine.

Please contact the Center for Traditional Health Arts at (707) 763-8040 for more information.

A bit about Elisabeth:

Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallee is an internationally respected scholar and translator of Chinese Classical Medical and Philosophical texts, as well as a practitioner of acupuncture in Paris. Her lectures are popular all over Europe and in North and South America for their unique depth, accuracy of detail and liveliness.

Dozens of Elisabeth's books and articles have been published in several languages. Her long time partnership with Father Claude Larre, produced such works as the 7-volume Ricci Dictionary of Chinese Characters, their translation of selected chapters of the Nei Jing, Ling Shu and Su Wen, as well as the set of 16 books transcribed from their English lecture series published by Monkey Press.

Elisabeth's passion for classical Chinese Medicine and philosophy, along with her dedication to teaching, make her lectures an inspiration.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm - Book Release!

Peg Schafer's book is set to be released in November!
This book will be a fantastic resource for those interested in cultivating Chinese medicinal herbs, or even those simply wanting to understand Chinese herbs at a deeper level.

Peg has comprehensive information on cultivating each herb that is covered and I wrote a brief medicinal section for each one as well.

You can pre-order the book at:

Medical Qigong Ongoing Group - Second Meeting 10/15/11

We had a great first meeting of the new ongoing Medical Qigong group. We covered a variety of related topics, including upper spine mobility, developing whole body movement within the Moving Qigong, a demonstration and discussion of the whole system and our group practice, of course.

At our second meeting on October 15th we will continue to look at mobility issues, begin to work on some progressions for developing hip and leg mobility and strength and analyze the Second Moving Gong (Taiji Kai He Gong), as well as group practice and discussions!

The group is pretty full but feel free to contact me if you are interested in participating.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Swimming Fish Gong & Monkey Paw Gong Demo

These are two advanced Medical Qigong exercises that I was asked to demonstrate.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Cultivating Nature Workshop

Saturday, September 17th 1:30 -3:30, $35

This class will cover Classical Chinese Medicine approaches to the healing process through cultivating a relationship with nature, understanding the rhythms and movements of qi and developing awareness. We will explore passages from classical Chinese texts, discuss traditional Chinese characters and images and cover traditional practices for connecting with nature and our own nature

Ongoing Medical Qigong Group

First Meeting, September 17th from 9:30-11:30, $25

My goal with this ongoing group is to provide support for qigong development through creating a group dynamic, discussing topics that relate to Medical Qigong and Chinese Medicine in depth, teaching intermediate and advanced exercises and providing a gathering point for discussion between group members.

Group practice is an important complement to daily practice and will form the foundation of the ongoing group. In this first meeting we will also discuss the nature of qi, different levels of qigong practice and the background of this system, and I will demonstrate the complete moving gong of this system with commentary.

Please contact me with any questions.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Qi, Nature & Perception

This is a 3 minute audio clip of a discussion of qi that was made at Mt.Shasta. The photo below is of the creek that you can hear in the background.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

July 2 Classes

Medical Qigong - Saturday July 2nd from 9:30-11:30

This workshop will cover three types of exercises: Meridian Daoyin Gong, Standing Meditation exercises and Sou Gong (Closing/Locking Qigong).

The fee for the workshop is $35.

The Art of the Heart - Saturday July 2nd from 1:30-3:30

This workshop will cover the Classical Chinese Medicine view of the heart, mind and emotions,

with an emphasis on how the principles and practices that support mental clarity apply to modern life.

The fee for the workshop is $35.

If both workshops are going to be taken, the fee for the day is $55.

These classes are getting full but I still have a few spots in each one. Please call (707) 763-8040 or email me at for more information or to register.

Nourishing Life - Nutrition Workshop Download Available

Nourishing Life: An Introduction to Chinese Medicine Principles of Food & Nutrition
Download in MP3 & PDF format

I am happy to have this available now in our online shop. This program includes downloads of the two hour audio recording of the workshop and an e-book in PDF format of the handout for the class. The recorded workshop covers practical Chinese Medicine principles of food and nutrition that are easily applied to modern life, optimizing your diet to meet your individual needs and goals, eating with the seasons, and balanced eating to enjoy your food.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Biodegradable Packaging

If we ship your herbs to you, you might notice that your herbs are arriving in a new grey package bubble mailer. I was happy to find these as they are fully biodegradable, are also recyclable, and actually have an extra adhesive flap so you can reuse them if you like.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Moving Gong

I've had students asking for a video demonstration of some of the basic movements of the Moving Gong - so here is a brief demonstration of the Three Gates Gong, First Moving Gong and Second Moving Gong.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

June 4th Classes are Full

The Moving Qigong workshop from 9:30-11:30 and the Chinese Medicine Nutrition workshop from 1:30-3:30 on the 4th are both full.

I will be recording the nutrition workshop though and will have that available as a download.

If you would like to be on the waiting list (in case of cancellations) for either class please call us at (707) 763-8040.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Medical Qigong Counting Patterns

I am excited to finally have this Medical Qigong practice aid available! This downloadable CD (MP3 file format) is meant to be played on your iPod, iPad or computer while you practice. It follows the format of the weekly qigong class that I taught for years, with counting patterns, verbal cues and relaxing background music.

This format allows great flexibility, as you can choose to practice just the Quiet Gong, one of two options for the Moving Gong, or a complete sequence of the Quiet Gong through the Moving Gong.

There is a sample of the first counting pattern and more information at our Online Shop

Instructions for using iTunes with Downloaded Files

Here are the instructions for using iTunes with the downloaded audio files from our online shop. Keep in mind that if you just want to play these files on your computer just download them and double-click them to start playing.

iTunes directions:
1. Download the four Counting Pattern files to your computer ''desktop''.
2. Open your iTunes and make a new playlist - call it whatever you like that you'll remember
3. Use your mouse to drag and drop the files from the computer desktop into the open iTunes window onto the new playlist. ( In order to drag the files from your desktop to the iTunes playlist you may need to resize your iTunes window smaller in order to see the downloaded Counting Pattern files on your desktop).
4. On your computer iTunes Library playlist that you made you will see the downloaded tracks listed. Before "syncing" the list to your iPod or other device, uncheck the track titles which you do not need for your current practice. When you then sync with your device the downloaded tracks are ready for you to use.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Two New Classes on June 4th

Medical Qigong - Moving Gong - Saturday June 4th from 9:30-11:30
This workshop will cover the philosophy of movement within Medical Qigong, the First Full Moving Qigong (Taiji Dongzuo Gong) of Comprehensive Medical Qigong, the Second Moving Gong parts 1 & 2 and adapting to seasonal and environmental changes with Qigong.

The fee for the workshop is $35.

Nourishing Life - Chinese Medicine Principles of Food and Nutrition - Saturday June 4th from 1:30-3:30

Some of the most common questions that I hear in the office are:

How come I ate just what I was "supposed" to and felt bad?
What foods should I eat and avoid?
What is the best diet to follow?

The answer to these questions is simpler than most people think. It is all about understanding your own body and following a few simple principles that allow you to eat the foods that work for you in a way that works for you.

This workshop will cover practical Chinese Medicine principles of food and nutrition that are easily applied to modern life, optimizing your diet to meet your individual needs and goals, eating with the seasons, and balanced eating to enjoy your food!

The fee for the workshop is $35

If both workshops are going to be taken, the fee for the day is $55.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Medical Qigong Workshop in the Garden - May 22

This introductory Medical Qigong workshop will be at Quarryhill Botanical Gardens in Glen Ellen. This is the first introductory workshop that I have taught in almost two years and I am excited to have it in such a beautiful setting. We'll cover Quiet Qigong, Three Gates Gong and Closing Gong with an emphasis on using nature for healing.

This is a benefit for the Garden. You can register by calling (707) 996-3166 or visiting their website at

The class is scheduled for May 22nd from 9:30-11:30.

Monday, April 4, 2011

New Interns

Leslie, my previous intern, has finished acupuncture school last month and moved on. Good luck and best wishes to Leslie!

I am very happy to have two new interns, John and Katie, both of whom are very interested in Chinese herbal medicine, students at AIMC Berkeley and already doing great work in our herb dispensary. I'm looking forward to working together with them for some time!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Miso Soup

Miso has been in the news a lot lately in regards to radiation, etc. I have always felt though that there are many good reasons to include it regularly in your diet and wanted to re-post this (from June of 2010) recipe that I regularly use and recommend:

To make miso soup, start by bringing 4 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 piece of Kombu seaweed that is about 3 inches by 3 inches (it best to rinse the seaweed first in cold water). Reduce heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add a small handful of dried Bonito (dried, fish shavings). Let sit for several minutes then strain. Put 2 teaspoons (or more depending on taste preference) of miso paste in a bowl. Mix in one cup of the base that you have prepared and add a small pinch of Wakame seaweed. All of these ingredients - Kombu seaweed, Miso paste, Bonito, and Wakame seaweed - are available at an Asian market.

Welcoming the Rawlinsons

I'm happy to welcome Ian and Cindy Rawlinson to our offices! They are both very skilled, long term practitioners of Five Element Acupuncture and will bring a great amount of experience and knowledge with them. I've known them for many years and am happy to continue our association with them here!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Nourishing Life Booklet & Newsletter Update

I've had people asking for the PDF booklet that I sent a link for in the last newsletter. The booklet is called Nourishing Life: Traditional Chinese Medicine Principles of Individualized Nutrition.

Also, I've been a bit behind in sending the newsletters lately as I've been working on a writing project with Peggy Schafer that has taken all my spare time. That is wrapped up for now, so I'm hoping to send the next newsletter out fairly soon.

Fu Tian Herbs Presentation - Sunday February 27th

I'll be doing a presentation for Fu Tian Herbs in Oakland on Sunday, February 27th from 10-12 for practitioners and students of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

During the presentation I'll discuss using domestically grown Chinese medicinal herbs, specifically herb extracts, in a clinical practice. I'll talk about the traditional uses of formulas and single herb prescriptions when using domestically grown herbs and we'll taste samples of the herb extracts that we discuss. I'll also discuss areas of conservation, quality and purity of herbs here and in Asia and possible ramifications of that for the future of TCM. All in all this should be a fun, interactive morning, with time for questions, discussions and experience with the herb extracts.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Pork Chops and Bacon Kale over Congee

I have had people asking about ways to serve congee and also ways to serve pork, so here is one of my favorite meals combining the two: pork chops with bacon kale over congee (a recipe for congee is here:

In addition to the congee you'll need thin cut pork chops, olive oil, one bunch of kale, 2 slices of bacon (all natural preferably), raw walnuts and, if you like, umeboshi paste.

To prepare the pork chops heat up a large pan to medium with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, rub the chops with olive oil and then add the chops to the pan. Brown them for a couple of minutes on each side, then turn the heat down and cover them until they're done, turning them occasionally. Once they're done take them out and cut them into strips.

To prepare the bacon kale, chop the bacon into small pieces and cook in a pan or wok. Chop the kale while the bacon is cooking. Once the bacon is cooked, remove from the pan and set aside, and add the kale to the pan. Stir-fry the kale until it is done and then stir the bacon back in.

For the garnish, dice 1 or 2 walnuts and toast them in a pan or oven. The umeboshi paste can be purchased at an asian market or health food store (you'll only need a tiny bit of the paste per serving - about the size of a dime or so depending on taste).

Most of the prep and cooking can be done simultaneously - it should only take about 20-30 minutes total (not counting the congee, of course).

Serve the pork chop strips and bacon kale over the congee with the garnish on the sides.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm Internship

Peggy Schafer is going to be starting up the 2011 medicinal herb farm internship in March - I'll be teaching there in the mornings. Here is the announcement:

Would you like to gain understating and deepen your relationship with Chinese herbs through their cultivation? Perhaps you are concerned about losing access to herbs and thus are interested in being a part of the development of Chinese herbs as a domestic emerging market? How about access to better quality herbs than is commonly found in the marketplace. Or maybe you are a grower seeking to diversify your production? Besides offering seed and field grown herbs the Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm operates as an experimental farm to explore these possibilities as well as aid herb conservation. Our internship program allows those interested in hands on knowledge and experience in all aspects of growing and harvesting Chinese herbs with the guidance of Peg Schafer; educator and nationally recognized Asian herb grower.

This program will follow the seasonal progression of growing herbs from seed sowing and pot culture in the nursery to field production covering soil management, planting, cultivation, harvesting and drying of leaf, flower, seed and root herb crops.

Sean Fannin, an accomplished practitioner from the Center for Traditional Health Arts will start each session with Medical Qigong. This introduction and ongoing practice will develop Quiet and Moving Qigong practices while gaining practical understanding of the theories.

The eight session program runs from March through October, the second Saturday of the month. Hours are from 9-3. Interns should be in good physical shape and be prepared and committed to work to the best of their ability. The program is $400. If you are interested please email Peg at
We will hold two open houses in February to get acquainted. A visit to the farm is mandatory for intern consideration. Please email a short blurb describing what you are looking for and why you are interested, and any agricultural experience you may have, as well as any health considerations.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

First Meeting of Classical Chinese Medicine Study Group

We had our first meeting of the new Classical Chinese Medicine study group last Saturday. It is a really nice, diverse group and we had a great initial meeting. This first session was primarily overview, with discussions on how to analyze characters, and applying that to the characters for yin, yang, tian (heaven), di (earth) and Dao. These characters essentially form the first line of Chapter 5 of the Suwen, and we had a good group discussion of the meaning of that first line as well.

Our next meeting is set for Saturday, February 26th from 9:30-11:30. If you are interested contact me as there is room for a couple of more people and this would still be a good starting point.