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032.5 A Conversation With The Godfather of Sports Acupuncture • Whitfield Reaves
Episode 3220th May 2018 • Qiological Podcast • Michael Max
00:00:00 00:54:09

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It's not uncommon today for top level athletes to use acupuncture as part of their health care, to enhance performance and treat injuries. 

And even though you didn't hear about acupuncture in the 1984 Olympics, it was there.

Our guest in this episode has been working with sports acupuncture for almost 40 years.

Listen in to this conversation that touches on topics that range from the importance of precise needle location to the value of stillness in your acupuncture practice.

Transcripts

Michael Max:

Welcome to qiological.

Michael Max:

Mini-series dedicated to sports and orthopedic acupuncture for the next

Michael Max:

few days, I'll be bringing you several podcasts a day from the sports acupuncture

Michael Max:

alliances conference in San Jose.

Michael Max:

In addition to interviews and discussions with speakers of the

Michael Max:

conference, you'll also be hearing from participants and you'll have

Michael Max:

a special front row seat at a round table conversation around the issues,

Michael Max:

running a sports medicine practice.

Michael Max:

The sports acupuncture Alliance was created to promote the study and practice

Michael Max:

of sports and orthopedic acupuncture.

Michael Max:

I'm delighted that they were willing to partner with qiological to bring

Michael Max:

you this mini series so that those of you who are not able to attend

Michael Max:

the conference could learn from the speakers as well as the participants,

Michael Max:

and to get a taste of what it's like to be here at this special event.

Michael Max:

Please enjoy these discussions and take what you learned here

Michael Max:

and use it in your clinic.

Whitfield Reeves:

Hi,

Michael Max:

I'm here with Whitfield Reaves.

Michael Max:

Who's one of the speakers here at the sports acupuncture alliances conference.

Michael Max:

Hey Whit, you've been doing acupuncture since 1981.

Michael Max:

That is a long time.

Michael Max:

I'm curious, what are some of the changes and some of the trends that you're seeing

Michael Max:

with sports acupuncture these days?

Whitfield Reeves:

Well, I would say the biggest thing that comes to mind

Whitfield Reeves:

is that the patient is very different.

Whitfield Reeves:

In, in this era than the patient was in 1981 in 1981, the patient presented

Whitfield Reeves:

signs and symptoms very differently.

Whitfield Reeves:

And, and the evolution of the disease in the, and the pathophysiology was

Whitfield Reeves:

very different, even just 30 years.

Whitfield Reeves:

Very much so.

Whitfield Reeves:

And what were you seeing

Michael Max:

back then?

Michael Max:

That's different than today?

Michael Max:

Well,

Whitfield Reeves:

nobody had a computer, so there was no keyboarding, no people

Whitfield Reeves:

weren't on electronics, you know?

Whitfield Reeves:

And, and so.

Whitfield Reeves:

Number one we had, uh, we did not have the postural component of the rhomboid

Whitfield Reeves:

miners engaging to retract the staff.

Whitfield Reeves:

You'll pull the scapula back.

Whitfield Reeves:

And we didn't have problems with the forward head looking down at devices.

Whitfield Reeves:

So that's one huge piece and people didn't sit this long and often in desks, a lot

Whitfield Reeves:

of people had real jobs and worked and did things, you know, now it's even moved

Michael Max:

more.

Michael Max:

There was a whole different movement diet.

Whitfield Reeves:

I absolutely, you know, and I just read an article.

Whitfield Reeves:

Three days ago about it was Giamo or one of the, one of the major

Whitfield Reeves:

journals that was looking at exercise and they actually concluded that it

Whitfield Reeves:

didn't matter if you moved a little.

Whitfield Reeves:

Or if you did intense cardio sweating, burning, if you ran a marathon or if you

Whitfield Reeves:

walked down to the store, the difference in health, by the various ways they

Whitfield Reeves:

were measuring, it was not that great.

Whitfield Reeves:

And so back then people were.

Whitfield Reeves:

Much more in a desk job where you just sat all day long.

Whitfield Reeves:

It was much less common.

Whitfield Reeves:

And so the, the gluteus media.

Whitfield Reeves:

It is what comes to mind of a muscle that gets turned off in the seated position.

Whitfield Reeves:

And so now we've got all these back problems, all of these, uh, degenerative

Whitfield Reeves:

disc disease, all these bulging discs and deterioration of the lower lumbar spine.

Whitfield Reeves:

And you just didn't see that in 1981 like that you saw people.

Whitfield Reeves:

Who were shoveling, you know, and lifting and they hurt.

Whitfield Reeves:

They strain their back from lifting and twisting, but not from slightly moving.

Whitfield Reeves:

That was the straw that broke the camel's back from someone who who's

Whitfield Reeves:

been sitting at a desk job for 10 years, you know, programming a

Whitfield Reeves:

computer with their head forward.

Whitfield Reeves:

That's a huge, huge difference.

Michael Max:

So it sounds like what's happened.

Michael Max:

Is people are moving less.

Michael Max:

We have very different physiologies and we're in many ways, much weaker

Michael Max:

than we were back in the day.

Michael Max:

Do I have that right?

Michael Max:

Is that, is that what's going on?

Whitfield Reeves:

Uh, I would say you have that partially, right?

Whitfield Reeves:

We are weaker in certain very key places.

Whitfield Reeves:

Like the muscles that retract the shoulders, pull the shoulders back,

Whitfield Reeves:

the muscles that pull the head back, the muscles that stabilize

Whitfield Reeves:

the pelvis that get inactivated by.

Whitfield Reeves:

But in other areas that were hugely stronger, as many people work out and

Whitfield Reeves:

train and CrossFit, this an example.

Whitfield Reeves:

So it isn't quite so, uh, it's not like we're weaker, but we're

Whitfield Reeves:

weaker in very key postural areas.

Whitfield Reeves:

And if someone doesn't work on that, if they're not in Pilates or in yoga or some

Whitfield Reeves:

sort of discipline, where that gets to.

Whitfield Reeves:

It becomes problematic, hugely problematic.

Michael Max:

So, so the injuries are different these days?

Whitfield Reeves:

Yes.

Whitfield Reeves:

And there is, for instance, in 1981, I did not know how to treat the wrong Boyd

Whitfield Reeves:

minor or the gluteus medius to activate.

Whitfield Reeves:

And stabilize the shoulder, neck, and shoulder or the lumbar spine.

Whitfield Reeves:

I just didn't know how to do it.

Whitfield Reeves:

And I didn't think about doing it because it didn't seem like that was what was,

Whitfield Reeves:

uh, presenting, but I well could have not been educated enough at that time.

Whitfield Reeves:

Learned enough to know that while there, there

Michael Max:

certainly is that we learn as we grow.

Whitfield Reeves:

Yeah.

Whitfield Reeves:

So, but the other thing, and I think this is also very important

Whitfield Reeves:

is that the prolonged exposure.

Whitfield Reeves:

To what I would call artificial environment.

Whitfield Reeves:

I mean, in a sense I'm really a Taoist and I love being in nature.

Whitfield Reeves:

And I love like being in California.

Whitfield Reeves:

I go to the sequoias and I just lay on the ground next to one of those massive trees.

Whitfield Reeves:

And the energy is just incredible.

Whitfield Reeves:

And so I love nature.

Whitfield Reeves:

And I see that in the Daoist tradition, how important the, you are, the union

Whitfield Reeves:

of heaven and earth is the human.

Whitfield Reeves:

And as we don't have enough earth because we're sitting in chairs and offices with

Whitfield Reeves:

artificial climate control and fluorescent lights and the sword, we get imbalanced.

Whitfield Reeves:

And I think that what happened.

Whitfield Reeves:

Is the neurologic system starts overreacting to, to any stimulus.

Whitfield Reeves:

You can see the overreaction just in the personality of people who

Whitfield Reeves:

have gotten shorter and agitated and angry and relationships

Whitfield Reeves:

where one of the two spouses.

Whitfield Reeves:

Overreacting to the other spouse.

Whitfield Reeves:

And so you can see this kind of behavior in this combativeness and

Whitfield Reeves:

on a physiological level, we're talking about neurologic overbearing

Whitfield Reeves:

or over a reaction to stimulus.

Whitfield Reeves:

So somebody gets a, a strain of, of, of as intend to sell.

Whitfield Reeves:

And in 1981 tennis elbow, three treatments, and the patient was fixed.

Whitfield Reeves:

Now you get a tennis elbow patient on a computer programmer, and you

Whitfield Reeves:

don't know if it's going to take six months to get this person fixed.

Whitfield Reeves:

And so the neurologic system, I think, has reacted and had.

Whitfield Reeves:

Overreacted and created pockets of stagnation all over the body,

Whitfield Reeves:

wherever, wherever things are not right posturally or from injury, trauma,

Whitfield Reeves:

repetitive stress and the sword.

Whitfield Reeves:

And so you get pockets of cheat and blood stagnation, which then

Whitfield Reeves:

gets to your original question.

Whitfield Reeves:

What's different and what's different is in 1981, mastered.

Whitfield Reeves:

And the, the empirical points of Chinese medicine of Chinese

Whitfield Reeves:

acupuncture were marvelously effective.

Whitfield Reeves:

They were just brilliant.

Whitfield Reeves:

You know, one, two needle treatments and people get fixed at every decade.

Whitfield Reeves:

It's gotten about 10% less effective.

Whitfield Reeves:

And so 10, 20 years into this, the, the many of these points, uh, for me,

Whitfield Reeves:

And I'm only talking my experience.

Whitfield Reeves:

I don't know what somebody else does, but my experience is that those stagnations

Whitfield Reeves:

are so fixed that you can't go to a disparate point and move the cheese

Whitfield Reeves:

because there's no blood flow getting into that area where the pain and the

Whitfield Reeves:

stagnation and the injury is occurred.

Whitfield Reeves:

And so no cheese, no blood, no blood.

Whitfield Reeves:

No.

Michael Max:

I mean, it sounds like local treatments really

Michael Max:

helpful getting their bus set up.

Michael Max:

I'm really struck here what you're saying about this overreaction of the

Michael Max:

neurological system, because what it sparks in my mind is increasingly we see

Michael Max:

lots of auto-immune diseases as well.

Michael Max:

Exactly.

Michael Max:

That sounds like just the other side of an over.

Michael Max:

Neurological system, the system's just sort of turning on itself

Michael Max:

does not know what to do with

Whitfield Reeves:

itself.

Whitfield Reeves:

Absolutely.

Whitfield Reeves:

I think it's the same mechanism.

Whitfield Reeves:

And I know so little about internal medicine that, uh, I couldn't speak

Whitfield Reeves:

knowledgeably about that, but I think you've got it precisely articulated.

Whitfield Reeves:

Yes.

Whitfield Reeves:

Well,

Michael Max:

so that leads me to this question.

Michael Max:

And knowing something about internal medicine or not, it sounds like

Michael Max:

you've got your eye on this.

Michael Max:

You're working with it.

Michael Max:

You see it's present.

Michael Max:

Uh, you're taking that into consideration in the work you do.

Michael Max:

So what are you doing to help dial down the nervous system so that people

Michael Max:

can have enough stillness to maybe move some chia and blood and have.

Michael Max:

A little quiet time to actually heal.

Whitfield Reeves:

Oh boy, you're, you're asking the impossible, you know,

Whitfield Reeves:

I mean, how do we ask our patients to live in a way that's different than

Whitfield Reeves:

the dictates of our current call?

Whitfield Reeves:

It's very, very complicated.

Whitfield Reeves:

It's very, very difficult.

Whitfield Reeves:

And I have reached the place where I just don't feel like I can change that.

Whitfield Reeves:

You know, the psyche, the communal psyche of this country, especially.

Whitfield Reeves:

It's such that, you know, I can't change that.

Whitfield Reeves:

I can't change the way people are reacting to the world because of

Whitfield Reeves:

these powerful forces of greed and consumption and the sword.

Whitfield Reeves:

So I just try to fit.

Whitfield Reeves:

Pain and I, if the patient will listen to me, I'll try to, uh, get them

Whitfield Reeves:

to go on a vacation or maybe even meditate if they're open to this.

Whitfield Reeves:

But I don't have a solution for that.

Whitfield Reeves:

The ultimate problem that you're talking about.

Whitfield Reeves:

I don't know.

Whitfield Reeves:

So I just have to exist.

Whitfield Reeves:

Within the confines of what I'm given.

Whitfield Reeves:

And I do the best that I can.

Whitfield Reeves:

And it just isn't as easy as it was 30 years ago.

Michael Max:

Right.

Michael Max:

So you don't add in some sort of spirit points or do something that

Michael Max:

tries to dial down their reactivity.

Michael Max:

You're working on the blood and she have the presenting problem and letting.

Michael Max:

Sort of reverberate through the system pretty

Whitfield Reeves:

much.

Whitfield Reeves:

Yeah.

Whitfield Reeves:

If I think that a patient really needs.

Whitfield Reeves:

Internal medicine.

Whitfield Reeves:

Of course they all do.

Whitfield Reeves:

I refer them out.

Whitfield Reeves:

I, I'm not skilled enough to do a good job of point selection and

Whitfield Reeves:

of course, herbal prescribing.

Whitfield Reeves:

So I'll refer that out.

Whitfield Reeves:

That's the best that I can do, but I do love the formula way.

Whitfield Reeves:

Shaoyang.

Whitfield Reeves:

shaoyang to me is the formula of the era.

Whitfield Reeves:

You know, it, it harmonizes the liver, it clears the heat in the liver.

Whitfield Reeves:

It, it nourishes some of the liver.

Whitfield Reeves:

It does a lot towards addressing this neurological stress sort of related.

Whitfield Reeves:

Reaction in the body.

Whitfield Reeves:

So of any one formula that, that just stands out is just, you know, a really

Whitfield Reeves:

great way to start with, with someone.

Whitfield Reeves:

But.

Michael Max:

We all, we all have our favorites for those don't wait.

Michael Max:

Oh yeah.

Michael Max:

I'm kind of a, a child who Shu gone son, guy myself.

Michael Max:

Oh, there.

Michael Max:

So

Whitfield Reeves:

both of those are so close, you know, so similar.

Whitfield Reeves:

Yeah.

Whitfield Reeves:

And I do use that formula by the way, often, depending on the patient.

Whitfield Reeves:

So yes, that all fits into that category of harmonizing, you know,

Michael Max:

it's so.

Michael Max:

Reassuring and validating to hear what you say that people are, are different

Michael Max:

today than they were back in the eighties.

Michael Max:

I mean, I remember before screens, right.

Michael Max:

You know, we all have this little computer in our hand and.

Michael Max:

Certainly I watch what it's done to people's attention.

Michael Max:

I watch what it does to their posture.

Michael Max:

I mean, you describe it really well with, with what it does to the rhomboids

Michael Max:

and neck postures and things like that.

Michael Max:

You've seen this incredible changes that tech it's like we're co-evolving

Michael Max:

with technology and it's having a big impact on our physiology.

Michael Max:

So it leads me to wondering about what else about acupuncture and

Michael Max:

maybe orthopedic in particular.

Michael Max:

Cause, cause this is your, uh, your sweet spot and the thing.

Michael Max:

What are some things about acupuncture that you now believe

Michael Max:

that you didn't believe 10 years ago?

Whitfield Reeves:

Wow.

Whitfield Reeves:

A good question.

Whitfield Reeves:

Well, I get down to very simple things and so my work is very simple.

Whitfield Reeves:

Anybody who's taken my acupuncture, sports medicine,

Whitfield Reeves:

apprenticeship program knows that.

Whitfield Reeves:

I, I sift things down to very simple, easy to understand assessments and treatments.

Whitfield Reeves:

So what stands out to me is the power of the acupuncture needle that when it

Whitfield Reeves:

is put in the right place, precisely for the millimeter in the right place.

Whitfield Reeves:

That whatever the barrier is to the flow of blood in this area of

Whitfield Reeves:

stagnation, that the, the well-placed needle is absolutely miraculous.

Whitfield Reeves:

So that generally speaking treatments, don't take six to 10 treatments

Whitfield Reeves:

cumulatively to fix something that often takes one treatment and that

Whitfield Reeves:

treatment might happen on the.

Whitfield Reeves:

Day, or it might happen on the 10th day, depending upon your fortune

Whitfield Reeves:

and, and your karma and your skill and what it is you're doing.

Whitfield Reeves:

But the precision of all of it is what has kind of marked the last 10 years for me.

Whitfield Reeves:

And I was criticized, uh, in a doctorate program teaching that I was too.

Whitfield Reeves:

Eurocentric.

Whitfield Reeves:

Uh, and I am a white guy, you know, I'm really white, you know, so I could

Whitfield Reeves:

understand some of my work may appear Eurocentric, but I spent a little

Whitfield Reeves:

bit of time saying, okay, I have to listen to this criticism or critique

Whitfield Reeves:

and I have to really look at it.

Whitfield Reeves:

So I dug into a very simple, uh, texts by mouth showing me masterpiece.

Whitfield Reeves:

Uh, his translation of the Hawaiian Dean aging, Sue win.

Whitfield Reeves:

And I just started reading through stuff and I always have

Whitfield Reeves:

this quote right in my hand.

Whitfield Reeves:

I have it in my hand right now.

Whitfield Reeves:

And this is one little section where she says what is meant by acupuncturing the

Whitfield Reeves:

bone level, but not injuring the tendons and the temper response, a response.

Whitfield Reeves:

The physician responds with needling.

Whitfield Reeves:

The.

Whitfield Reeves:

Do not stop at the level of the tendons before reaching the bone level, go all

Whitfield Reeves:

the way in one breadth or a series of breaths, depending on your technique,

Whitfield Reeves:

but reach that depth without removing the needle with needling to the depth

Whitfield Reeves:

of the tenders, one can avoid injuring the muscles by inserting past them.

Whitfield Reeves:

This logic follows with each specific level.

Whitfield Reeves:

The needle must go to the proper.

Whitfield Reeves:

Any depth other than the correct one will cause undesirable effect.

Michael Max:

This is the precision you're talking about.

Michael Max:

It's the precision.

Whitfield Reeves:

Now I have no idea what all of that, all of that meant

Whitfield Reeves:

above of getting needle in past the tendon, et cetera, et cetera.

Whitfield Reeves:

And it went on and on in ways that I couldn't understand it.

Whitfield Reeves:

But I did understand that each of these layers of anatomical

Whitfield Reeves:

tissue were being clear.

Whitfield Reeves:

Described and that the needle must go to the proper depth than

Whitfield Reeves:

any other one than the correct will cause undesirable effects.

Whitfield Reeves:

That's what struck me.

Whitfield Reeves:

And I went, you know, what, what we're doing is traditional Chinese

Whitfield Reeves:

medicine through and through.

Whitfield Reeves:

And, and Eurocentric or not, everything we're doing is backed up in the classics.

Michael Max:

So how is it that you were accused of being Eurocentric?

Michael Max:

Oh,

Whitfield Reeves:

son, Billy.

Whitfield Reeves:

So many people love when you have to feel the pulse or you

Whitfield Reeves:

have to treat design food.

Whitfield Reeves:

You're not really going to the problem.

Whitfield Reeves:

People forget this simple fact, the cause of disease.

Whitfield Reeves:

It can be exaggerated.

Whitfield Reeves:

When he called damp, et cetera, the causes of disease can be indogenous the

Whitfield Reeves:

emotions or the cause of disease is other, and in the other causes of disease or

Whitfield Reeves:

accident and trauma and people are always trying to go to look at the zone, Fu the

Whitfield Reeves:

emotional state, trying to find this.

Whitfield Reeves:

You know, there's Zhan food route for this disease.

Whitfield Reeves:

When the cause of disease is trauma

Michael Max:

treat the, treat, the trauma.

Michael Max:

Yeah.

Michael Max:

Or just the, I mean, one of the great things that Dr.

Michael Max:

Tom would always talk about is forget the Zang Fu what's

Michael Max:

the channel that's involved.

Michael Max:

What is the tissue that's involved and get that done?

Michael Max:

And

Whitfield Reeves:

I need to criticize that or critique that from the standpoint

Whitfield Reeves:

that that was very effective 30 years ago.

Whitfield Reeves:

But if you get on the right channel, the right Meridian, but the, the, the trauma

Whitfield Reeves:

or the stagnation, it is fiber-optic and walled off from the rest of the

Whitfield Reeves:

body, you can activate that channel, but it's not going to get better.

Whitfield Reeves:

If there's no blood flow and therefore no cheat into that pocket of say, if it's a

Whitfield Reeves:

tendinitis or tendinosis with fibrosis, you know, so that is what has changed.

Whitfield Reeves:

So much of my thinking that the meridians are no longer for me.

Whitfield Reeves:

It's function.

Whitfield Reeves:

As they used to be when I first got into practice, just putting a couple

Whitfield Reeves:

of disappoints patients better now, it's like, well, that's not working

Whitfield Reeves:

because there is fibrosis and stagnation that is so enclosed and no longer

Whitfield Reeves:

integrated into the system of the body.

Whitfield Reeves:

And that need that local area needs to be opened up

Michael Max:

with that totally makes sense.

Michael Max:

I'm thinking about some cases in my own clinic and I'm thinking, wow.

Michael Max:

Yeah.

Michael Max:

I mean, and sometimes I can palpate and, you know, I mean, you can feel

Michael Max:

this gooey stuff or there's areas really straight aided, things like that.

Michael Max:

So, so what do you do?

Michael Max:

Is this a matter of distal and local?

Michael Max:

Or is there, are you using palpation?

Michael Max:

How do you suss out these pockets of stagnation and liberate them a

Whitfield Reeves:

lot of the land?

Whitfield Reeves:

Suss them out and liberate them.

Whitfield Reeves:

I would say that in order to understand where that stagnation is, uh, orthopedic

Whitfield Reeves:

testing is more reliable than any other way of assessment that I know in general.

Whitfield Reeves:

So for instance, if you have a tendonitis or you have a, you have a

Whitfield Reeves:

nodule on a tendon that you've got, you know, you got, you got paid.

Whitfield Reeves:

You know, in the 10th, what have you, you can needle above and below

Whitfield Reeves:

on the Bridion enough that happens.

Whitfield Reeves:

And it's because of this fibrotic nodule.

Whitfield Reeves:

But in this particular case, actually, I'm talking in circles, but this particular

Whitfield Reeves:

case is very clear because you find the lesion, you palpate the lesion and.

Whitfield Reeves:

Treatment is fairly simple.

Whitfield Reeves:

If above and below and distal aren't fixing that, then

Whitfield Reeves:

there's no, there's no blood.

Whitfield Reeves:

You have to need a locally.

Whitfield Reeves:

However, what about the things like a rotator cuff injury that

Whitfield Reeves:

refers pain out into the desert?

Whitfield Reeves:

You can evil the deltoid Sanchez 14 Sanjay 13.

Whitfield Reeves:

You can needle the deltoid till the cows come home and it's

Whitfield Reeves:

not going to fix the problem.

Whitfield Reeves:

The problem is back in the superspinatus or the infraspinatus

Whitfield Reeves:

and the Taiyang area of the body.

Whitfield Reeves:

And so by orthopedic tests, You can determine that there is dysfunction

Whitfield Reeves:

in say the super spy natives.

Whitfield Reeves:

That's my favorite muscle.

Whitfield Reeves:

And that's what always comes up.

Whitfield Reeves:

There is dysfunction in the super spy Natus and then you translate

Whitfield Reeves:

that into DJing low that's the Taiyang meridians, small intestine.

Whitfield Reeves:

And then you look for where those nodules or stagnations or trigger

Whitfield Reeves:

points, or what have you are within the context of that muscle tendon unit?

Whitfield Reeves:

It could be tendon, it could be muscle, it could be muscle belly.

Whitfield Reeves:

It could be muscle tendon junction, but at least, you know

Whitfield Reeves:

about where the stagnation is.

Whitfield Reeves:

So you're not wasting your time needles.

Whitfield Reeves:

Into tissue.

Whitfield Reeves:

That's really, actually not the

Michael Max:

problem.

Michael Max:

Right.

Michael Max:

And

Whitfield Reeves:

so the Meridian idea works great when the problem,

Whitfield Reeves:

the pain is on the Meridian and everything lays out perfectly.

Whitfield Reeves:

But when you have a referral pattern going from one area to a whole nother area, the

Whitfield Reeves:

Veridian becomes exceedingly ineffective.

Whitfield Reeves:

And I would say how I came about this was that in my early years, 81, 82, 83 of

Whitfield Reeves:

treating patients, I would needle bladder 23, bladder, 25 bladder, 40 bladder,

Whitfield Reeves:

60 to treat back pain, lumbar pain.

Whitfield Reeves:

And it wasn't very effective.

Whitfield Reeves:

As a matter of fact, it was really.

Whitfield Reeves:

Less than placebo, you know, and little by little as I came to understand

Whitfield Reeves:

things, uh, meeting Janet Trevell the 1983, certainly helped significantly.

Whitfield Reeves:

You know, tune my attention to the muscles and trigger points in the anatomy and, and

Whitfield Reeves:

the, and the, and the function of those muscles that you would then realize that

Whitfield Reeves:

much of back pain is due to the quadratus lumborum, which is almost underside.

Whitfield Reeves:

And it's a shaoyang.

Whitfield Reeves:

And so treating those Taiyang treating Taiyang all day long, back in the

Whitfield Reeves:

old days in China, the cold, which is drain the kidneys of these individuals.

Whitfield Reeves:

And they would have low back pain due to the kidney, but that's not what we see.

Whitfield Reeves:

Yeah, we see other cause of disease, strain lifting, twisting strain,

Whitfield Reeves:

and it's not a kidney problem.

Whitfield Reeves:

And some treating the bladder and the kidney till the cows come home,

Whitfield Reeves:

doesn't really do much in my experience.

Whitfield Reeves:

None.

Whitfield Reeves:

Maybe other people get great results with that, but I would say the

Whitfield Reeves:

number one reason why people come to my apprenticeship program is.

Whitfield Reeves:

In about three or four or five years of practice, they come in and they

Whitfield Reeves:

say, I've been doing bla bladder, 23, bladder, 25 bladder, 40 bladder, 60.

Whitfield Reeves:

It's not working.

Whitfield Reeves:

And I need a different perspective because, because things are

Whitfield Reeves:

really clinically resolving as I thought they would.

Whitfield Reeves:

And I'm a really good student and I've studied hard and I'm doing everything that

Whitfield Reeves:

I was taught, but it's not working though.

Michael Max:

It's not doing what it's supposed to do.

Michael Max:

Yeah.

Michael Max:

There always comes that point where we've got these maps in our head know,

Michael Max:

were these ideas and they kind of work, but then at a certain point, it's

Michael Max:

like, you have to throw the map away and start navigating with a compass.

Michael Max:

Yeah.

Michael Max:

There you go.

Michael Max:

Yeah.

Michael Max:

And it sounds like the compass that you use is various, uh, orthopedic tests.

Michael Max:

And really paying attention to what is connected to.

Whitfield Reeves:

Yeah, visual, um, postural assessment, uh, palpation,

Whitfield Reeves:

literally palpating along a muscle to try and define that there's a bursa that's

Whitfield Reeves:

inflamed or rolling across a tendon to see if there's a tendon problem.

Whitfield Reeves:

But yeah.

Whitfield Reeves:

Uh, orthopedic testing, manual muscle testing, vision.

Whitfield Reeves:

And observation and pal patient with my hands to find out where the problem is.

Michael Max:

Yeah.

Michael Max:

Going to the source, using, using the body to assess the body.

Whitfield Reeves:

Yeah.

Whitfield Reeves:

And I'll tell you, I learned something early on.

Whitfield Reeves:

I was very fortunate to learn this early on from a nurse practitioner that I worked

Whitfield Reeves:

with and I was really struggling with.

Whitfield Reeves:

And she looked at me and she said, when you're thinking that this patient has

Whitfield Reeves:

a really rare, strange, and peculiar disease, and you're trying to be the

Whitfield Reeves:

hero to figure out what the diagnosis is, and you're going to come up with

Whitfield Reeves:

something that none of the other specialists could come up to your house.

Whitfield Reeves:

Yeah.

Whitfield Reeves:

But.

Whitfield Reeves:

Statistics would say that in 80 to 90% of the time, the patient will present

Whitfield Reeves:

with a very typical and common disease or condition and present with atypical

Whitfield Reeves:

symptoms, which then tells you that say in, in ortho, in, in treating pain and

Whitfield Reeves:

injury, we can narrow things down to 25 injuries that cover, you know, 80 90%

Whitfield Reeves:

of all the problems we see, no matter how the patient presents, it's probably

Whitfield Reeves:

going to be one of these top 25 or 30 injuries or tissues or muscles, or what

Whitfield Reeves:

have you, you know, because those are statistically where the stresses are and

Whitfield Reeves:

where the, where the stagnations occur.

Whitfield Reeves:

And then once you learn that everything becomes so, so.

Whitfield Reeves:

You know, you can do it

Michael Max:

in your sleep.

Michael Max:

We know it makes so much sense.

Michael Max:

Uh, you know, we're, we're, we're sitting here having this conversation

Michael Max:

and I'm thinking to myself on it, partly because I'm kind of a lazy guy.

Michael Max:

I've always been sort of an 80 20 guy.

Michael Max:

Right.

Michael Max:

I'm looking for that 20% of something.

Michael Max:

That's going to get me 80% of the result that I'm looking for.

Michael Max:

Uh, and I always talked it up to being lazy, but I'm listening to you speak about

Michael Max:

this and I realize, but it's also true.

Michael Max:

I mean, it's so often 20% of the cases.

Michael Max:

R I'm sorry.

Michael Max:

80% of the cases are probably going to cover 20% of the issues.

Michael Max:

Yeah.

Michael Max:

Yeah.

Whitfield Reeves:

You're you're brilliant.

Whitfield Reeves:

You've got it figured out then.

Whitfield Reeves:

You've just got to make sure you know what those 20 conditions are 20%.

Michael Max:

No one the exception shows up.

Michael Max:

Yeah.

Michael Max:

Yeah.

Michael Max:

What are some things that tip you off that there is an actual.

Whitfield Reeves:

Uh, I'm not sure I can answer that question.

Whitfield Reeves:

I think I would have to hear that question within the context of, of,

Whitfield Reeves:

of a serious offense specifically.

Whitfield Reeves:

I think that's a little bit too.

Whitfield Reeves:

That's asking too much of me.

Whitfield Reeves:

I don't think I'd get

Michael Max:

it.

Michael Max:

Yeah, that makes sense.

Michael Max:

That's so, and for me, this is the difference between theory and practice,

Michael Max:

because even we can have these nice ideas, but really it's, it's the nitty gritty.

Michael Max:

Where this stuff comes together.

Michael Max:

And so speaking of that, you know, and you were talking about earlier about, you

Michael Max:

know, treating the lumbar back pain with the, you know, the usual sets of points.

Michael Max:

What about like the DJing?

Michael Max:

Well points on the tendon or muscular channels.

Michael Max:

And what about things like the sheet cleft points that are supposedly

Michael Max:

so famous for treating pain?

Michael Max:

Do you see those playing in our modern acupuncture world these days?

Whitfield Reeves:

I start with always.

Whitfield Reeves:

Considering bleeding, a gene Wellpoint of the Meridian or meridians involved.

Whitfield Reeves:

That's the first step that I, I think I've, even if it's just going to clear

Whitfield Reeves:

off a level of stagnation in the tendon or muscle Bridion on the more surface of

Whitfield Reeves:

the body, it's a start and many patients will kind of go, oh, that feels better.

Whitfield Reeves:

How, how do you do that?

Whitfield Reeves:

It doesn't get all the way down to maybe attempted to bone

Whitfield Reeves:

junction that might be too.

Whitfield Reeves:

For the tendon or muscle Meridian, but I very much like to start if,

Whitfield Reeves:

if applicable and if, if indicated bleeding one or more DJing, well points.

Whitfield Reeves:

I like to bleed with a Lancet and I like 10 drops of blood.

Whitfield Reeves:

So that's, that's what I do with the June well point, but yeah, it's the

Whitfield Reeves:

first thing that I think of after.

Whitfield Reeves:

Made this orthopedic or made this assessment and I know

Whitfield Reeves:

what tissue is involved.

Whitfield Reeves:

And then I have translated that tissue into the right.

Whitfield Reeves:

So that, for instance, if it's a, a disc issue with pain going down the

Whitfield Reeves:

gallbladder channel, but the problem is in the spine, I'm not bleeding, the

Whitfield Reeves:

gallbladder channel DJing Wellpoint, because that's not where the problem is.

Whitfield Reeves:

The problem is in the spine, you know?

Whitfield Reeves:

So you, you do have to make sure with referred pain, you're not

Whitfield Reeves:

bleeding, a DJing Wellpoint.

Whitfield Reeves:

Of where the referred pain is.

Whitfield Reeves:

You want to bleed the DJing?

Whitfield Reeves:

Well point where the stagnation and injury is.

Whitfield Reeves:

And so often it's this.

Whitfield Reeves:

You know, in the case of like shin splints, anterior shin

Whitfield Reeves:

splints, it's stomach 45.

Whitfield Reeves:

It's right along the stomach Meridian.

Whitfield Reeves:

And you know, it's, it's a no brainer, you know, sometimes with referred

Whitfield Reeves:

pain, it can get a little more complex.

Whitfield Reeves:

So you have to make sure you, you do that.

Michael Max:

Right.

Michael Max:

You got to make sure you're on the right Meridian.

Michael Max:

You're not, you're not following some red herring.

Whitfield Reeves:

Yeah.

Whitfield Reeves:

Not where the pain is.

Whitfield Reeves:

But where goes away, the problem is.

Whitfield Reeves:

And then the, uh, then you mentioned, uh, the sheet clap points

Whitfield Reeves:

really after bleeding, the DJing.

Whitfield Reeves:

Well point I'll usually look to see if there's an empirical point of some other.

Whitfield Reeves:

That might work and empirical point lingered out by, or way

Whitfield Reeves:

or any of those type of points.

Whitfield Reeves:

Uh, people who've studied with master dong system.

Whitfield Reeves:

They have tons of options.

Whitfield Reeves:

So I'll often try that before I start needling into the local area, because

Whitfield Reeves:

it gives you a chance for them to move it while the needles and the empirical

Whitfield Reeves:

point or the opposite side or something.

Whitfield Reeves:

But once I've exhausted, like the sheet cleft point, the empirical points

Whitfield Reeves:

and the gym Wellpoint, then it gets into local and adjacent and that's.

Whitfield Reeves:

Where 70% of the time, the treatment will evolve to include

Whitfield Reeves:

the local energy Jason points.

Michael Max:

Right.

Michael Max:

So it sounds like you kind of work from the edges into the center.

Whitfield Reeves:

Exactly.

Whitfield Reeves:

And I, and I learned that.

Whitfield Reeves:

The hard way, a number of times.

Whitfield Reeves:

I'm so glad I'm not alone.

Whitfield Reeves:

Yeah.

Whitfield Reeves:

Yeah.

Whitfield Reeves:

But more than once for sure.

Whitfield Reeves:

You, you've got to get swatted on the head a few times, but it was during the, uh,

Whitfield Reeves:

pre Olympic period in Los Angeles, 1984.

Whitfield Reeves:

And I had, uh, a British tennis player who had pain around sun

Whitfield Reeves:

gel for, so on the doorstep.

Whitfield Reeves:

Surface of the hand on the extensor tendon, around San gel for, and he had

Whitfield Reeves:

had surgery to have a sheet release and they tried to get away, get out, you know,

Whitfield Reeves:

all the fibrotic tissue from the problem.

Whitfield Reeves:

And I was so sure that there was still stagnation in that room.

Whitfield Reeves:

And I was threading tendons along the threading needles, along the tendons

Whitfield Reeves:

and trying all these tricks and, you know, doing these strategic little cups

Whitfield Reeves:

and stuff and little cups were not that easy to find back in 1983, you know?

Whitfield Reeves:

And that treated him four or five times and nothing happened.

Whitfield Reeves:

And finally, I just got desperate.

Whitfield Reeves:

I'm going, I've got to fix this guy, you know?

Whitfield Reeves:

So I thought, oh, well I remember upper lower treatment.

Whitfield Reeves:

So there you have treat the real.

Whitfield Reeves:

But with the ankle.

Whitfield Reeves:

So I went to the opposite side, ankle Sanchez four is the Yuan source point.

Whitfield Reeves:

So I went to gallbladder 40 Yuan source point on the opposite side,

Whitfield Reeves:

I put a needle into gallbladder 40.

Whitfield Reeves:

He moved his wrist and all the pain and all the decreased rate of all the range

Whitfield Reeves:

of motion improved within 15 seconds.

Whitfield Reeves:

And it was just miraculous.

Whitfield Reeves:

And so he came back about three weeks later, said, oh, that

Whitfield Reeves:

treatment worked wonderfully.

Whitfield Reeves:

It's just starting to come back.

Whitfield Reeves:

But he came in and talked to me before he kind of signed it.

Whitfield Reeves:

He said, I just want to make sure all you're going to do.

Whitfield Reeves:

Is needle that point down in the ankle.

Whitfield Reeves:

You know, I don't want you to do any of this other stuff up in the wrist.

Whitfield Reeves:

You know, I know what works and that's all I want you to do.

Whitfield Reeves:

So it was so funny.

Whitfield Reeves:

The patient was just going to keep me from being so diligent that

Whitfield Reeves:

I was going to do bad treatment.

Whitfield Reeves:

He knew what good treatment was.

Whitfield Reeves:

And so I treated him maybe three times.

Whitfield Reeves:

And it fixed it.

Whitfield Reeves:

And it went completely against my belief system that that kind

Whitfield Reeves:

of thing had local stagnation.

Whitfield Reeves:

And you can't get to.

Whitfield Reeves:

With the disappoint and, you know, so that's why that you said outwards

Whitfield Reeves:

inwards or from distal to local.

Whitfield Reeves:

That's why I kind of have this flow chart or this list that I can always look at.

Whitfield Reeves:

I have this in writing, it's in my book and I have this, this progression

Whitfield Reeves:

of 10 techniques going from Jane Wellpoint to the local point.

Whitfield Reeves:

And I'm always looking at that just in case.

Whitfield Reeves:

I think I'm smarter than the system.

Whitfield Reeves:

And so I'll look and I'll make sure that I at least consider the opposite side

Whitfield Reeves:

or upper lower or what, what happened.

Whitfield Reeves:

So I don't miss something thinking I'm going to go right to the local.

Whitfield Reeves:

Cause I know that'll fix it.

Whitfield Reeves:

It usually does, but it doesn't

Michael Max:

know where this doesn't always.

Michael Max:

Well, you know, you bring up, you bring up the thought about

Michael Max:

belief system and I think we all.

Michael Max:

Our benefited and challenged by this, right?

Michael Max:

Because we've got ideas and often the ideas work where they work to some

Michael Max:

degree, but then there's the times where we've got to believe about something.

Michael Max:

We think it goes a certain way, but it, you know, but it really doesn't.

Michael Max:

And we, it takes being wrong and somehow, okay.

Michael Max:

Enough with being wrong, that we can set that belief aside and pivot

Michael Max:

or try something different or.

Michael Max:

Yeah, it's something I read in which book or something, you know, like this,

Michael Max:

uh, thing you gave us from the, uh, one Dean aging earlier about needling

Michael Max:

directly to where it needs to go.

Michael Max:

So often we have to switch and it, and it makes me think about

Michael Max:

here at the conference, you're presenting on a contrarian approach

Michael Max:

to treating well back pain.

Michael Max:

I kind of like contrarians for some reason.

Michael Max:

I don't know.

Michael Max:

I'm curious to know how do you go?

Michael Max:

And this gets into belief system, I think, but how do you go about developing

Michael Max:

a contrarian eye that helps you to get over beliefs or vision or ideas that

Michael Max:

just, just need to be gotten over or set down or viewed from a different way?

Michael Max:

How do you develop that contrarian?

Michael Max:

Um,

Whitfield Reeves:

I think this gets back to one of your earlier

Whitfield Reeves:

questions about this battle.

Whitfield Reeves:

We're fighting with the culture that we live in that sometimes is very

Whitfield Reeves:

detrimental to our mental, physical, and emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

Whitfield Reeves:

And so for me, I think what's most important is that the practitioner

Whitfield Reeves:

needs to have a discipline.

Whitfield Reeves:

Uh, and I personally think meditation is probably the most effective for me.

Whitfield Reeves:

I'm a long time meditator.

Whitfield Reeves:

And, and that's what meditation is, is you, you, you're just sitting

Whitfield Reeves:

in this moment or you're sitting with the breath or what have you.

Whitfield Reeves:

And all you do is practice.

Whitfield Reeves:

Every time you start making the list of what you're going to do or what

Whitfield Reeves:

you're going to eat or who you forgot to call you practice coming back to that

Whitfield Reeves:

focal point of the breath or whatever.

Whitfield Reeves:

And it's a very useful skill to help one in looking at the patient fresh.

Whitfield Reeves:

Every time I'm looking at this as like, this is the first time

Whitfield Reeves:

we've ever seen each other.

Whitfield Reeves:

And I'm going to look at this fresh to see if I can develop what I need

Whitfield Reeves:

to develop and assess and treat the way I need to treat the help this.

Whitfield Reeves:

So I think the discipline is in the mind of the practitioner.

Whitfield Reeves:

And, and I think it's really essential that, that this be the case.

Whitfield Reeves:

I don't talk about it at all.

Whitfield Reeves:

In my training programs.

Whitfield Reeves:

I don't tell people they shouldn't meditate.

Whitfield Reeves:

I'd never even hardly bring it up, but I think it's probably

Whitfield Reeves:

the most important thing.

Whitfield Reeves:

And so from that place of being able to, to have this

Whitfield Reeves:

fresh and look at things, then.

Whitfield Reeves:

You can start to develop a clinical experience that's effective.

Whitfield Reeves:

And in the case of the back it bladder 23, bladder, 25 bladder, 40 bladder, 60

Whitfield Reeves:

didn't work, the white doji points didn't work the do points along the center line.

Whitfield Reeves:

Didn't.

Whitfield Reeves:

And so I had to kind of go, okay, if I'm honest with myself, this is

Whitfield Reeves:

not working very well and there by then lots of develop something else.

Whitfield Reeves:

And nobody else is telling me to do this nobody else.

Whitfield Reeves:

And that's what makes it contrarion is that you, you, you have to jump into

Whitfield Reeves:

the river without anybody else there.

Whitfield Reeves:

You have to be willing to be hanging in the rubbish.

Whitfield Reeves:

You know, and so the only way that you're ever going to be good is you've just

Whitfield Reeves:

got to hang on the abyss with terrifying loneliness and extraordinary terror of

Whitfield Reeves:

failing because you're doing something that's just not what they told you to do.

Michael Max:

Yeah.

Michael Max:

Well, it sounds too, sometimes it's recognizing the failure

Michael Max:

that we're already in the middle.

Michael Max:

Yeah.

Michael Max:

Yeah.

Michael Max:

And, and, and waking up to that and then finding something else.

Michael Max:

Well, I so appreciate your time taking some time out here at the conference

Michael Max:

to, uh, speak with me and to share this with the listeners of qiological,

Michael Max:

uh, any closing comments that you'd like to leave us with before we, uh,

Michael Max:

get back to the activities around.

Whitfield Reeves:

Whoa, closing comments.

Whitfield Reeves:

Well, certainly we're, we're so pleased that so many people, so many practitioners

Whitfield Reeves:

want to look at this community that we've formed here of anatomical orthopedics.

Whitfield Reeves:

And sports medicine practitioners, and they're all different.

Whitfield Reeves:

The orthopedic practitioners are different from the, the sports medicine

Whitfield Reeves:

acupuncturist in certain ways, you know, but we all share a common

Whitfield Reeves:

basis of needing to know something about anatomy and, and movement

Whitfield Reeves:

our assessment in treatment plans.

Whitfield Reeves:

And that is not articulately.

Whitfield Reeves:

In Chinese medicine, as the dictates that we get from what's translated in the

Whitfield Reeves:

English, or even what's still in Chinese.

Whitfield Reeves:

But to me, it's so important because as we began this conversation

Whitfield Reeves:

of how different my patients.

Whitfield Reeves:

Now from 1981, when I first started practice, imagine how different we all

Whitfield Reeves:

are from 10 72, the year of the brunch.

Whitfield Reeves:

And the compendium of the bronze statue, where all the acupuncture

Whitfield Reeves:

points were presented in their entirety, uh, except for extraordinary

Whitfield Reeves:

points that were added after that.

Whitfield Reeves:

So that's over a thousand years and I'm seeing change in 30 years.

Michael Max:

So, you know, things

Whitfield Reeves:

are different and we have to question and we have to question

Whitfield Reeves:

Chinese medicine while we still love it.

Whitfield Reeves:

And we love the dictates of Chinese medicine, but we have to

Whitfield Reeves:

understand that it's not perfect and it needs to be added to, and

Whitfield Reeves:

what we're doing with an anatomical orthopedic and a sports approach.

Whitfield Reeves:

Is that we're just adding this incredible breadth to, to Chinese

Whitfield Reeves:

medicine and especially acupuncture.

Whitfield Reeves:

We're not creating a new acupuncture.

Whitfield Reeves:

We're just adding to the centuries old lineage that we've all been able

Whitfield Reeves:

to tap into and, and to be part of.

Whitfield Reeves:

And so I'm very appreciative that so many people would come

Whitfield Reeves:

to this conference because they too are looking for community.

Whitfield Reeves:

They've had their failures and felt alone.

Whitfield Reeves:

And sometimes the texts don't tell them what they need to know to fix something,

Whitfield Reeves:

because it's a modern something that needs a different point of view.

Whitfield Reeves:

And so everybody is looking, uh, and the community is completely open

Whitfield Reeves:

there's there's nobody in charge.

Whitfield Reeves:

There's not a boss.

Whitfield Reeves:

There's not a guru.

Whitfield Reeves:

There's just a number of people that range from teachers to students.

Whitfield Reeves:

And eventually the students will be the teachers as all those forward.

Whitfield Reeves:

It's a, it's a beautiful system

Michael Max:

where there's a lot of lit up people here.

Michael Max:

Yeah.

Michael Max:

Well, thank you so much and I'll see you around the conference.

Michael Max:

Good.

Whitfield Reeves:

Thank you, Michael.

Whitfield Reeves:

Very much.

Whitfield Reeves:

You're doing wonderful work, uh, and keep it up.

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