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049 Attending to the Flow: Attention and Needle Technique • Justin Phillips
Episode 4911th September 2018 • Qiological Podcast • Michael Max
00:00:00 00:58:20

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Needle technique is more than knowing how to insert a needle and count the turns in a particular direction. It requires more than the memorization of some protocols, or the rote following of a recipe of steps.

In this conversation we explore needle technique as a part of understanding how to feel into the tissues of the body. We discuss the creation of a treatment that relies not on someone else’s outline, but from your own understanding of first principles. 

Listen in for a discussion of using ourselves as much as using the pins when doing acupuncture.  

Head on over to the show notes page for more information about this episode and for links to the resources discussed in the interview. 

Transcripts

Justin Phillips:

Well, do you think you need that needle and that needle?

Justin Phillips:

Well, do you need all three of those kidney points or is one of

Justin Phillips:

those the best kidney point to use?

Justin Phillips:

And then can you stimulate that point to make it interact with the kidney systems

Justin Phillips:

to do the thing you want it to do?

Justin Phillips:

But there's this idea that more is on some level better than if

Justin Phillips:

you saturate the kidney channel, it's more likely to respond.

Justin Phillips:

Well, there's two flaws in that thing.

Michael Max:

And this is qiological.

Michael Max:

Hey, here we are.

Michael Max:

At the beginning of the second year, I'm kind of mixing things up a little bit

Michael Max:

as I move forward, playing around with the format a little bit, just try on

Michael Max:

some new stuff out, you know, I mean, we do this all the time in clinic, right?

Michael Max:

We're trying something new.

Michael Max:

We're learning new techniques.

Michael Max:

We learned something new about some points.

Michael Max:

We read something we're always kind of noodling, noodling around with new things.

Michael Max:

The other thing that I'd like to do with this little bit of time before we jump

Michael Max:

into the meat of the show, sometimes I've got things that pop up for me in

Michael Max:

clinic and it's stuff that I liked.

Michael Max:

Share with my friends.

Michael Max:

Have you had things happen in the clinic?

Michael Max:

Sometimes you notice something you want to talk about it with your friends.

Michael Max:

I thought I might also use the first part of the show here.

Michael Max:

First couple of minutes, maybe bring up a few things that I noticed in clinic.

Michael Max:

Have you noticed that sometimes people come in complaining of some kind of

Michael Max:

problem, something that's wrong with them.

Michael Max:

I'm using wrong and air quotes here.

Michael Max:

And when you listen to their story and you get a bigger picture

Michael Max:

of what's going on for them.

Michael Max:

The thing that they came in with that is, again, air quotes wrong.

Michael Max:

It's not the thing that's wrong with them.

Michael Max:

It's actually maybe part of what's right with them.

Michael Max:

You know, that raises a lot of questions for me as a practitioner and how we

Michael Max:

approach people, how we work with them, how we comply or don't with

Michael Max:

their request to take something away.

Michael Max:

And it's one of the things I I'd love to have your feedback on.

Michael Max:

One of the things that I love about qiological is that this is

Michael Max:

an opportunity for us to listen to the voices of our community.

Michael Max:

And as I move forward into this newer year here, I'd like to

Michael Max:

have your voice on it as well.

Michael Max:

You know, maybe we can get some little discussions going here.

Michael Max:

Maybe we can even have a show come out of some of this initial riffing

Michael Max:

that I have from time to time.

Michael Max:

Anyway, if you've got some thoughts on this thing about

Michael Max:

a person's again, air quotes.

Michael Max:

Actually not being what's wrong with them, but what's right with them.

Michael Max:

I'd love to hear your thoughts about it.

Michael Max:

You can write me here at the podcast or turn on the recording application that I'm

Michael Max:

sure is on your computer or cell phone.

Michael Max:

Send me an audio.

Michael Max:

Master's.

Michael Max:

That would be great too.

Michael Max:

Love to have your voices on the show here.

Michael Max:

My guest today is Justin Phillips.

Michael Max:

Justin is a long time Tygee and she gone practitioner.

Michael Max:

He learned when he was just a young whippersnapper.

Michael Max:

He's got a clinical practice at stone gate.

Michael Max:

And he is also in the acupuncture department at Alma graduate

Michael Max:

school of integrative medicine.

Michael Max:

And he's the author of the book, the living needle it's

Michael Max:

published by singing dragon.

Michael Max:

It's about acupuncture technique, and that is what we're here to do today.

Michael Max:

We're going to yak about acupuncture.

Michael Max:

What else would you do on qiological Justin?

Michael Max:

Welcome to qiological.

Justin Phillips:

Thank you so much for having me

Michael Max:

on.

Michael Max:

So there's all kinds of places to start, but I'm going to start with this one.

Michael Max:

Why write a book writing book.

Michael Max:

It's a total pain.

Michael Max:

It takes a lot of attention.

Michael Max:

It takes lots of time, sleepless nights, endless editing, whatever

Michael Max:

got you going on, writing a book.

Justin Phillips:

So that's sort of a long-term labor of love for me.

Justin Phillips:

Actually, my undergraduate degree was in creative writing and oratory, and

Justin Phillips:

I had always wanted to be an author, particularly in the world of fiction,

Justin Phillips:

which I, at this point actually have published a fiction novel as well.

Justin Phillips:

And the second one is set to come out, hopefully later this year,

Justin Phillips:

but as far as the technique.

Justin Phillips:

That was a little bit more of an unplanned endeavor on some level, because

Justin Phillips:

my background in writing, I think I had always expected that eventually I

Justin Phillips:

would generate some sort of literature in the field, but I didn't have a, an

Justin Phillips:

end game for that or a target insight.

Justin Phillips:

I figured some point on down the line, I might gain enough clinical pearls

Justin Phillips:

that it would be worth writing down.

Justin Phillips:

But I guess it was probably about three years ago now.

Justin Phillips:

I was hired on at ioma, as you mentioned.

Justin Phillips:

And the class that they brought me in to teach was their

Justin Phillips:

acupuncture technique one class.

Justin Phillips:

So for the very, very first semester just started acupuncture school, don't

Justin Phillips:

know anything, students, their very first encounter with needle technique.

Justin Phillips:

That was the class that I stepped in and took over.

Justin Phillips:

And I was delighted by that technique has been a longtime passion of mine.

Justin Phillips:

I studied with Dr.

Justin Phillips:

Robert Johns.

Justin Phillips:

Who's the author of the art of acupuncture.

Justin Phillips:

I studied with , who was one of the senior students and still teaches millennia

Justin Phillips:

to long Julia, who of course was the coauthor of applied channel period.

Justin Phillips:

So a lot of very active needlework.

Justin Phillips:

So that was a class that when they asked me about that really suited me

Justin Phillips:

and I was very excited to teach it.

Justin Phillips:

And when I came in and took over from the previous teacher, I looked

Justin Phillips:

over the syllabus of course, and tried to, to match it to some degree

Justin Phillips:

because obviously you want to keep a continuity within the correct.

Justin Phillips:

Yeah, up to and including looking at his selection of textbooks.

Justin Phillips:

And at the time the textbook they were using it wasn't the worst textbook in

Justin Phillips:

the world, but it was far from great.

Justin Phillips:

The big reason that he was using it.

Justin Phillips:

I spoke to him about it.

Justin Phillips:

The big reason he was using it is because it came with a DVD

Justin Phillips:

and on the DVD, they actually demonstrated some of the techniques.

Justin Phillips:

So rather than it just being words on a page, they actually

Justin Phillips:

showed you some things.

Justin Phillips:

And so it was decent.

Justin Phillips:

So I kept using it for a little while, but as I would teach the class.

Justin Phillips:

The thing that I noticed was there was a lot of information that I thought

Justin Phillips:

was conveyable directly via texts that the students didn't have access to, or

Justin Phillips:

that I would say things in class that didn't have to be hands-on information,

Justin Phillips:

but that they would then go back to the book and it wasn't in there.

Justin Phillips:

They couldn't go back and read the source material and say, okay, well,

Justin Phillips:

yeah, I remember when you said this in class and I can study with that and

Justin Phillips:

try to grow my own practice of needles.

Justin Phillips:

And so I decided that I was going to try to find a better needle technique.

Justin Phillips:

What can I start looking around?

Justin Phillips:

And what I encountered was there are a number of books out there on needle

Justin Phillips:

technique, and some of them are, are relatively good, but the problem is,

Justin Phillips:

is what they lacked in my opinion was a really clear focus on what you're

Justin Phillips:

actually doing because of course, as you and I both know, needle technique

Justin Phillips:

is a very manual thing you are doing.

Justin Phillips:

So.

Justin Phillips:

And what you got was, there were either very generalized

Justin Phillips:

descriptions of needle technique.

Justin Phillips:

Like two-tone, if I rotate the needle clockwise, it's like, well, that's great.

Justin Phillips:

But that doesn't, that doesn't really tell me anything about needle technique.

Justin Phillips:

That's a very abstract thought.

Justin Phillips:

And the other end of that spectrum was they would have books on

Justin Phillips:

the technique that really were books on acupuncture theory.

Justin Phillips:

And they would talk about the techniques around that, but they really delved into.

Justin Phillips:

Chief theory and the movements of the channels and things like that.

Justin Phillips:

And again, left out that aspect of, yeah, but what am I

Justin Phillips:

really doing with the needle?

Justin Phillips:

Because here I have this physical object that I've put into a human body

Justin Phillips:

and it's in tissue and I'm moving it and I'm wiggling it and I'm rotating

Justin Phillips:

it and I'm lifting and dressing and I'm doing all these things, obviously.

Justin Phillips:

I mean, something is happening there.

Justin Phillips:

What is it?

Justin Phillips:

And so there wasn't really anything out there that spoke to that.

Justin Phillips:

And I was sitting around with several of my colleagues one day, grousing about that

Justin Phillips:

mercilessly as we sometimes want to do.

Justin Phillips:

And one of my dear friends looked at me and he said, well, you're still

Justin Phillips:

bent out of shape about it just right.

Justin Phillips:

Right.

Justin Phillips:

And I thought to myself, well, yeah.

Justin Phillips:

And so the living needle is what was born out of that.

Justin Phillips:

And it is essentially, and if you talk to one of my students that went through my.

Justin Phillips:

They will tell you, it is almost chapter by chapter my class.

Justin Phillips:

I just sat down and put my class in book formats that when the students

Justin Phillips:

went back and looked at that they would be able to say, oh yeah, okay.

Justin Phillips:

I remember when you said X, Y, Z.

Justin Phillips:

And when we talked about these tissue planes or what it feels like to engage

Justin Phillips:

these things or what I'm actually physiologically doing with the technique.

Justin Phillips:

And then I put that out there and I reached out to singing dragon.

Justin Phillips:

Uh, again, I had several colleagues read it and look it over for contents.

Justin Phillips:

And they suggested that it would be something that would be a

Justin Phillips:

value to people beyond my class.

Justin Phillips:

And so I reached out and singing Greg and was excited about it.

Justin Phillips:

And one thing led to another.

Justin Phillips:

And here we

Michael Max:

are, if I'm understanding this correctly, you came and you

Michael Max:

took over this class, she had notes.

Michael Max:

You had a book, you started adding to it.

Michael Max:

As you were learning to teach the class, you had all these notes and

Michael Max:

you had this experience from class and you'd add this other stuff.

Michael Max:

And, and that's really what became the.

Justin Phillips:

It really is.

Justin Phillips:

It really is.

Justin Phillips:

And in fact, knobbly enough in relation to my other novels, the book

Justin Phillips:

actually wrote itself very quickly.

Justin Phillips:

It was not a lengthy writing process because it really was just sort of

Justin Phillips:

sitting down and organizing my thoughts and typing them out in a meaningful

Justin Phillips:

and useful way, as opposed to the novel that I wrote or some of the other work

Justin Phillips:

that I've done, where it really was.

Justin Phillips:

This act of dredging out the depths of creation to try to make something.

Justin Phillips:

Out of nothing, this sort of preexisted, I just needed to actually put it on

Michael Max:

paper, much user, a book to write isn't it.

Michael Max:

Oh, it

Justin Phillips:

really is.

Justin Phillips:

I think the, the initial actual sit down from first key stroke to final completion

Justin Phillips:

took me maybe three weeks to write the whole thing for the first draft.

Justin Phillips:

Then obviously, as you suggested.

Justin Phillips:

Back and forth and endless editing and showing it to peers and getting reviews

Justin Phillips:

and changing and modifying until it was what it needed to be to send off to

Justin Phillips:

the publisher as a possible manuscript.

Justin Phillips:

But, but that initial writing actually went really

Michael Max:

quickly.

Michael Max:

Yeah.

Michael Max:

Well, you know, I've heard that's true.

Michael Max:

It's a creative process.

Michael Max:

As well.

Michael Max:

Many times people, they get caught by something, they get caught by an idea,

Michael Max:

the muse kind of steps in, and you just go to work on the dang thing and you come

Michael Max:

up for air at a certain point and go, wow.

Michael Max:

There it is.

Justin Phillips:

Yeah, very much so.

Justin Phillips:

So

Michael Max:

I find that if I'm trying to learn something new, I spend a lot

Michael Max:

of time thinking about what I'm doing.

Michael Max:

It's like, you know, I'm doing this, I'm doing that, my hands doing this,

Michael Max:

you know, my attention is going here.

Michael Max:

Sometimes I'm so busy, focused on what I'm doing with my hands.

Michael Max:

I totally forget to pay attention to what's going on with.

Michael Max:

Any suggestions for those of us that have this kind of a, an issue, how do

Michael Max:

we work with our attention in such a way that we can be attentive to I'm

Michael Max:

going to call it technique attentive to our thought process about the

Michael Max:

technique and attentive to what's actually happening in the room with our

Michael Max:

patient, as we're doing whatever we do.

Michael Max:

Yeah,

Justin Phillips:

absolutely.

Justin Phillips:

And I think that's a really critical point.

Justin Phillips:

And in, and amongst that, I think even beyond just that initial awareness,

Justin Phillips:

even within the technique itself, there are so many opportunities in and

Justin Phillips:

around the idea of needle technique that can be explored and added in.

Justin Phillips:

And the book touches on some of those from order of insertions and needle

Justin Phillips:

directions, to the patient's breath and what I encourage students to do,

Justin Phillips:

particularly first-years that really don't have a lot of experience with this.

Justin Phillips:

Pick a focus and say, okay, this is what I think is really important in

Justin Phillips:

this instance with this treatment and then put some attention there, but then

Justin Phillips:

also bride broaden the gaze a little bit to also take in the rest of that.

Justin Phillips:

And as you become more comfortable with these techniques, as they become

Justin Phillips:

more natural, as they become more internalized, then you can start to

Justin Phillips:

add things in it's like driving a car.

Justin Phillips:

You know, when you first, the very first time you drive a car, you're bundle of.

Justin Phillips:

Every single thing you do.

Justin Phillips:

If you're going to move your foot from the gas to the brake or the brake to

Justin Phillips:

the gas, there's an active thought process there you're considering

Justin Phillips:

how much pressure are you applying?

Justin Phillips:

Every head check as a UN equivocated act of God requires absolute focus, but

Justin Phillips:

the longer you do it and the more you.

Justin Phillips:

The more natural that becomes, and pretty soon you stop thinking, okay, I need to

Justin Phillips:

take my foot off the brake and I need to put my foot on the gas and I need to apply

Justin Phillips:

about this much pressure so that I can get over there and you start simply looking,

Justin Phillips:

okay, well, I want the car over there.

Justin Phillips:

And the body then complies with this natural set of, I mean,

Justin Phillips:

essentially neurologically programmed at that point sub routines that

Justin Phillips:

gets you from point a to point B.

Justin Phillips:

And the reality of it with technique is that there is no.

Justin Phillips:

The only way to get better at it is to simply execute the techniques

Justin Phillips:

over and over and over outside of clinical setting, inside a clinical

Justin Phillips:

setting on friends that will let you practice with them on your pet.

Justin Phillips:

If it will sit still long enough on an orange, on a bar of soap,

Justin Phillips:

on a skin allegory practice kit, it doesn't really matter.

Justin Phillips:

And the other thing to me that I think is really important in the process of

Justin Phillips:

developing that natural fluency of needle technique is that I think a lot of people.

Justin Phillips:

Their tendency is to focus on what am I doing instead of what am I feeling?

Justin Phillips:

And I think that that's one of the big educational gaps in modern day

Justin Phillips:

acupuncture, as far as teaching of needle technique is we really emphasize

Justin Phillips:

the doing, but to me, the needle is not just a treatment modality.

Justin Phillips:

It's also a diagnostic tool.

Justin Phillips:

And in that I can put a needle into tissue and there I have this pro.

Justin Phillips:

That is subcutaneous that is now experiencing body tissue

Justin Phillips:

that I can't visualize.

Justin Phillips:

There is a quality to that body tissue.

Justin Phillips:

There's a sensation to that.

Justin Phillips:

And because of a number of years in practice, I've gained a familiarity with

Justin Phillips:

what different sensations might indicate in relation to a patient's constitution

Justin Phillips:

when then compared to symptomology and pulse and tongue and all the other

Justin Phillips:

fun things that we use to figure out what's going on with the patient.

Justin Phillips:

But that understanding of the tissue then allows me.

Justin Phillips:

Too, of course, initially when I did it say, well, the tissue feels like this.

Justin Phillips:

I should do set the mountain on fire.

Justin Phillips:

And so I would do that and I'd be very mindful of that technique.

Justin Phillips:

But as I did that, I would try to also remain really mindful of what

Justin Phillips:

the sensation of the patient's tissue was on the other side and feel those

Justin Phillips:

changes and those shifts, and then go back and double check and see how

Justin Phillips:

the pulse responded check in with the patient, see how they were responding and

Justin Phillips:

over time, what that allowed me to do.

Justin Phillips:

Was this almost conversational relationship with technique where

Justin Phillips:

instead of me now having to be mindful of, okay, I am going to rotate

Justin Phillips:

clockwise and emphasize thrusting while needling in an oblique angle.

Justin Phillips:

Instead, it's this moment where I say, okay, that tissue feels very vacuous and

Justin Phillips:

collapsed downstream from this point.

Justin Phillips:

So I'm just going to engage that and try to bring some tonicity into this area.

Justin Phillips:

And it becomes very natural and very spontaneous in that way.

Justin Phillips:

And it's just, it's sort of a long uphill climb to get there.

Justin Phillips:

It is, again, it's that going through lifestyle?

Justin Phillips:

It's, I'm going to do something I'm going to cultivate that extensively.

Justin Phillips:

So when

Michael Max:

I hear you talking about the different sensations that you feel in

Michael Max:

the tissue, and it makes me think about how we feel different things in the.

Michael Max:

And I know that in my own experience, I have had similar things.

Michael Max:

I put my hands on people and there's something that the tissue

Michael Max:

says it kind of has a story.

Michael Max:

Sometimes I give it its own name because we have names for

Michael Max:

pulses, but we don't necessarily have names for how tissues feel.

Michael Max:

I'm wondering if you could go into it a little bit with us about some of the

Michael Max:

common sensations that you feel and what they mean and what you do about

Justin Phillips:

it.

Justin Phillips:

I think to take that from the simplest place, the, we can look at it in

Justin Phillips:

just the basic concepts of excess and deficiency in that when I'm needling

Justin Phillips:

a patient that has a deficiency in a channel system, the point will

Justin Phillips:

by its nature often feel deficient.

Justin Phillips:

There'll be an acuity there.

Justin Phillips:

Uh, you could almost, depending on the degree of the acuity, it's almost like

Justin Phillips:

you've put the needle into a vacuum.

Justin Phillips:

There's just nothing on the other side of it, you know, that there's

Justin Phillips:

physiological tissue there.

Justin Phillips:

You can see the needle in the patient, but it feels like it's just in space.

Justin Phillips:

It's just empty.

Justin Phillips:

There's nothing there.

Justin Phillips:

Or if it's not that aggravated, then potentially it has a sensation almost as

Justin Phillips:

if you are a needling into soft butter.

Justin Phillips:

There's a consistency there, but there's no tonicity.

Justin Phillips:

Conversely, if you're needling into a channel system, that's very access.

Justin Phillips:

Say for instance, a, a stomach channel that is full of flim heat

Justin Phillips:

and you needle into a stomach 40, that point will then feel very tight.

Justin Phillips:

It might even be difficult to pass the needle down into the deeper

Justin Phillips:

tissue planes, because there's a resistance there that accumulation

Justin Phillips:

that is present in the food system.

Justin Phillips:

And again, the physiological or.

Justin Phillips:

By its nature of the channel system has percolated out into the channel

Justin Phillips:

and taken up residence in those points.

Justin Phillips:

And as you needle in, you can really feel that.

Justin Phillips:

And with both those, to me, my desire as a needle technician is to rectify that.

Justin Phillips:

And so if I needle into this vacuous hollow tissue, my goal then is going

Justin Phillips:

to be to wind that tissue up a little bit to create the body's engagement.

Justin Phillips:

Okay.

Justin Phillips:

You know, this is where I think some of the other technique books I looked

Justin Phillips:

at, I think missed an opportunity to speak to some of these things,

Justin Phillips:

because there's a physiological reality to the techniques that we create.

Justin Phillips:

For instance, we, we know that , we wind the needle clockwise, but the

Justin Phillips:

reason we do that of course, is because subcutaneous tissue actually winds

Justin Phillips:

around the needle when we move it.

Justin Phillips:

And interestingly, Almost every structure in the body all the way down

Justin Phillips:

to the strands of DNA, wind clockwise.

Justin Phillips:

And so when we're rotating this needle clockwise and we're drawing

Justin Phillips:

this tissue with it, we are in fact, winding the body back in the

Justin Phillips:

direction it is designed to be wound.

Justin Phillips:

We are tightening the systems that have lost their tonicity by winding them

Justin Phillips:

in the direction that they naturally.

Justin Phillips:

And when we're emphasizing the thrusting and the, in a thrusting quantifying

Justin Phillips:

technique, that needle is drawing the tissue downward and it is compressing it

Justin Phillips:

towards the bone and that compression, if I reach over and I, I pushed on

Justin Phillips:

your shoulder and held my finger there, what would start to accumulate

Justin Phillips:

around the area of that pressure?

Justin Phillips:

Because there is less space in the vasculature and in the lymphatics, and

Justin Phillips:

there would be an actual accumulation.

Justin Phillips:

I am tonifying that area.

Justin Phillips:

And it's.

Justin Phillips:

Goes there and stays there.

Justin Phillips:

And we're doing the same thing when we're emphasizing the thrusting

Justin Phillips:

and a ton of fine needle technique.

Justin Phillips:

And that it's subtle because the needle is not so direct as a pressing finger,

Justin Phillips:

but there is still that downward emphasis of movement that is pulling tissue in a

Justin Phillips:

downward direction, creating compression.

Justin Phillips:

And so it would be some combination of techniques like that in order to wind

Justin Phillips:

the body back into a level of tonicity that was absent and to the contrary.

Justin Phillips:

In the case of, you know, the, the stomach phlegm heat that I talked

Justin Phillips:

about and I needle into stomach orients, it's very, very tight.

Justin Phillips:

And at that point it just becomes the opposite.

Justin Phillips:

We're going to unwind that tissue a little bit.

Justin Phillips:

We're going to lift with the needle, which then of course, draws those

Justin Phillips:

tissue planes open and allows more capillary movement, more lymphatic.

Justin Phillips:

Uh, more cheeky movements if you will.

Justin Phillips:

And that then is going to allow that space to move maybe even a little bit of

Justin Phillips:

shaking or vibrating techniques, because of course, when you shake and to form

Justin Phillips:

Fatia, it releases anti-inflammatory chemicals, it generates electrical charge.

Justin Phillips:

And all of that, again, is going to bring down that hypertonic state and

Justin Phillips:

hopefully normalize that back to a state in which there's normal movements.

Justin Phillips:

And to me, the idea there being someone that's spent a bit of time

Justin Phillips:

and most in the idea of channel.

Justin Phillips:

The goal is that if I can come to this access point, this central node of

Justin Phillips:

function within the channel, and I can create a shift there, then just like

Justin Phillips:

putting something into a river upstream that will then travel along the channel.

Justin Phillips:

And the channel will gradually normalize to that new pressure, whether it is

Justin Phillips:

creating a tonicity that will then propagate up the channel to create

Justin Phillips:

a ton of fine effect within the system, or whether that is clearing

Justin Phillips:

a pressure that then will allow us.

Justin Phillips:

To continue to clear and open and move because we've created

Justin Phillips:

some space for that to happen.

Justin Phillips:

And all of that is going to happen with that tissue response.

Justin Phillips:

And I, I have people that ask me, well, how long do you retain needles?

Justin Phillips:

My answer is always well till they're done.

Justin Phillips:

And if you're paying attention to the tissue response, you can know

Justin Phillips:

when that is, because at some point the body does the thing and then you

Justin Phillips:

say, well, the body did the thing.

Justin Phillips:

You don't need me anymore.

Justin Phillips:

And

Michael Max:

so when you're checking to know that it's done.

Michael Max:

You're checking in on that, the feeling within the tissue, right?

Michael Max:

If it's been vacuous, is it now full?

Michael Max:

If it's been excess, is it now softer?

Justin Phillips:

Right.

Justin Phillips:

And I'll confirm with that as well.

Justin Phillips:

And that I also, I frequently go back and retake the post multiple times during

Justin Phillips:

a treatment second with the patient.

Justin Phillips:

What sensations are they having?

Justin Phillips:

Which I think is important anyway, because we live in a world where

Justin Phillips:

people don't realize they have feet until they stubbed their toes.

Justin Phillips:

So to me, one of the nice things about doing.

Justin Phillips:

A lot of manipulation, a lot of technique is patients often do get

Justin Phillips:

some sensation, not painful sensation.

Justin Phillips:

My needling technique is very delicate.

Justin Phillips:

Like I'm very gentle, but they'll often feel things.

Justin Phillips:

They'll feel things moving.

Justin Phillips:

They'll feel things shifting and the act of engaging them and saying,

Justin Phillips:

Hey, do you feel anything over here?

Justin Phillips:

Oh, you may feel a sense of.

Justin Phillips:

Warmth traveling down your leg.

Justin Phillips:

Oh, you may get a sense of pressure here.

Justin Phillips:

Don't worry.

Justin Phillips:

That's okay.

Justin Phillips:

That's normal.

Justin Phillips:

It gets them checking in with their body again, and it's

Justin Phillips:

reteaching them to participate in their own healing experience.

Justin Phillips:

And so I'm checking in with them.

Justin Phillips:

I'm double checking with the pulse.

Justin Phillips:

And then I'm also checking with the tissue there at the needle to make

Justin Phillips:

sure that even if I do get the shift that I wanted there at the needle,

Justin Phillips:

that needle may have done its work, but have we then caused this systemic

Justin Phillips:

rebalancing the shift within the system.

Justin Phillips:

Dramatic tension and dynamic hydrostatic pressure within the body.

Justin Phillips:

Have we shifted that in a way that the overall constitutional

Justin Phillips:

pattern that we're trying to address has also shifted with that?

Justin Phillips:

Or do I then need to say, well, let me go over here and now work on this other

Justin Phillips:

needle or do a manual therapy or cupping or whatever, because we need to continue

Justin Phillips:

to move that tension within the body.

Justin Phillips:

And so the whole system normalizes because sometimes one needle

Justin Phillips:

will do that, but often not.

Justin Phillips:

So

Michael Max:

you're checking it.

Michael Max:

At each needle, each sort of listening post, I guess you could say, and seeing

Michael Max:

what's going on there in relation to everything else, you know, you do some

Michael Max:

work down here on the stomach channel.

Michael Max:

What did that do to say the large intestine channel that you

Michael Max:

might have a needle in up above,

Justin Phillips:

right?

Justin Phillips:

Absolutely.

Justin Phillips:

Absolutely cause those are all in communication all the time.

Justin Phillips:

And we know that from the basics of this channel theory and that those repaired

Justin Phillips:

Yangming or how, you know, if we look to the 10 balance method, there are so many

Justin Phillips:

ways that these channels talk and relate to each other, even then beyond that,

Justin Phillips:

even into the physiological reality, if there's no part of the body that isn't

Justin Phillips:

connected to any other part of the body.

Justin Phillips:

And so it is possible.

Justin Phillips:

I look at a needle prescription as an architect.

Justin Phillips:

Where each needle ideally is building and creating a movement in relation

Justin Phillips:

to the other needle that then is going to create an overall structure

Justin Phillips:

and movement within the body.

Justin Phillips:

In order to normalize physiology, I very rarely will put in two needles

Justin Phillips:

that I don't put in because they have something to do with each other.

Justin Phillips:

It's very rarely woman to put in this, for this thing over here.

Justin Phillips:

And this for this other thing over here and this, for this

Justin Phillips:

totally other thing, it's always, they're talking to each other.

Justin Phillips:

They're relating to each other, because again, this is not original thought to me.

Justin Phillips:

This is, this is channel theory stuff.

Justin Phillips:

There is this idea of the channels as these systems of dynamic movement that

Justin Phillips:

are moving in relation to each other.

Justin Phillips:

For instance, you know, the spleen channel moves up, therefore

Justin Phillips:

the stomach channel moves down.

Justin Phillips:

So if I have stomach Xi rebellion, it behooves me to also look to

Justin Phillips:

see, okay, is spleen cheats.

Justin Phillips:

Because of the stomach G is suddenly going up, is the spleen she's still going

Justin Phillips:

up to, or has it fallen in comparison or perhaps did the stomach T rebel because

Justin Phillips:

the spleen she wasn't rising and something had to go up and if the spleen wasn't

Justin Phillips:

going to do it by God, the stomach would.

Justin Phillips:

And so it becomes this process of looking at these dynamic patterns of movements

Justin Phillips:

and trying to normalize those with some sort of pattern of needles that

Justin Phillips:

then speak and relate to each other.

Justin Phillips:

It's

Michael Max:

great to listen to you.

Michael Max:

I'm just, it's helpful to have the reminder that every needle that we use

Michael Max:

needs to be in communication with the other needles that we're using, that

Michael Max:

they're not these sort of separate things, but they're actually working together.

Michael Max:

There has to be some kind of connection between each one.

Michael Max:

If we really wants to say.

Michael Max:

To respond.

Justin Phillips:

Yeah, absolutely.

Justin Phillips:

Oh, I drive the poor student interns that work under me as a supervisor.

Justin Phillips:

I drive.

Justin Phillips:

Because I come in and they tell me these needle prescriptions,

Justin Phillips:

and I'm immediately like, well, by that one, what about that one?

Justin Phillips:

Why are you using that one?

Justin Phillips:

What's that one doing?

Michael Max:

I mean, that's great stuff to get when you're a student,

Justin Phillips:

right?

Justin Phillips:

Absolutely.

Justin Phillips:

Well, they typically come back and tell me that it had a lot

Justin Phillips:

of value and they appreciate it.

Justin Phillips:

But at the time they, they tend to get a little flustered and grumpy with me,

Justin Phillips:

but I'm not going to stop doing it.

Justin Phillips:

And they keep coming in as my answer.

Justin Phillips:

And so I figure it's working out.

Michael Max:

Why is it that you think students come up with these

Michael Max:

prescriptions of points that.

Michael Max:

Seem unrelated.

Justin Phillips:

Yeah.

Justin Phillips:

So I think that speaks to a lot about how Chinese medicine is taught and

Justin Phillips:

even more so how it's tested today, you know, the students in a lot of ways, I

Justin Phillips:

think going through school are prepared for boards, which is not unreasonable

Justin Phillips:

because you've got to get through those if you're going to practice.

Justin Phillips:

But at the same time, the board standard of course, is still those

Justin Phillips:

point combinations in the back of.

Justin Phillips:

And those point combinations are often sort of vague and not necessarily always

Justin Phillips:

pattern directed in that, you know, you look at and says, well, these are

Justin Phillips:

the 10 points for headache, and these are the seven points for indigestion.

Justin Phillips:

And, and they're not really given any grounding into differential patterning

Justin Phillips:

or into the channel system itself.

Justin Phillips:

And so the students get this knowledge.

Justin Phillips:

And I think that there's often this idea that, well, we've got to get them through.

Justin Phillips:

Then they'll really figure out how to do it, then they'll figure

Justin Phillips:

out how to put these points together in a more meaningful way.

Justin Phillips:

Once they've jumped through the hoop, I guess, and to me, I think that's a little

Justin Phillips:

bit of a disservice in that I feel like they have the ability to study for and

Justin Phillips:

pass the test without us withholding any of the additional knowledge to say,

Justin Phillips:

Hey, here's how you really do this.

Justin Phillips:

And I think that part of that comes to.

Justin Phillips:

I feel like needle technique in general is underemphasized in a

Justin Phillips:

lot of our training these days.

Justin Phillips:

And because of that, instead of this idea of I can put in a needle or a couple of

Justin Phillips:

needles and really make those work with the body, there's this idea that if I

Justin Phillips:

want to make a treatment work, what I'm going to do is put in enough of the right.

Justin Phillips:

And so I'm just going to try to put in all the needles that might do a thing.

Justin Phillips:

For instance, when I work with these students, one of the things that I often

Justin Phillips:

ask them is what do you think you need that needle and that needle, you know,

Justin Phillips:

they'll come in and they'll say, okay, whatever the pattern is, I'd like to do

Justin Phillips:

kidney three, kidney six and kidney seven.

Justin Phillips:

And I say to them, well, do you need all three of those kidney points or as one

Justin Phillips:

of those, the best kidney point to use.

Justin Phillips:

And then can you stimulate that point to me?

Justin Phillips:

Interact with the kidney system to do the thing you want it to do.

Justin Phillips:

You actually need all those points, but there's this idea that more

Justin Phillips:

is on some level better than if you saturate the kidney channel.

Justin Phillips:

It's more likely to respond.

Justin Phillips:

But to me on some level, there's two, two flaws in that thinking.

Justin Phillips:

And I guess I'll add the caveat right now of obviously I advocate for my

Justin Phillips:

method because it's how I do it, but I also believe that there's a

Justin Phillips:

lot of right ways to do acupuncture.

Justin Phillips:

There's a lot of people that do it differently than I do and get great.

Justin Phillips:

But I'm the one you're interviewing.

Justin Phillips:

So I'm gonna tell you how I do it and that's what I want to hear.

Justin Phillips:

Yeah, there you go.

Justin Phillips:

So to me, the flaw in that is twofold.

Justin Phillips:

And one is because of how I look at the channel system is the system of dynamic

Justin Phillips:

movements and how I look at the needles as guide points or stimulus into that.

Justin Phillips:

If I'm putting in a whole bunch of needles on a single channel, all

Justin Phillips:

I'm really doing is muddling the signal I'm sending because now that

Justin Phillips:

channel body has to try to figure out.

Justin Phillips:

What I was telling in the first place, it's like being in a room with three

Justin Phillips:

different people, talking to you.

Justin Phillips:

It's very difficult to keep track of all of that.

Justin Phillips:

Whereas if I can select the exact perfect needle on that channel, or

Justin Phillips:

at least a pretty good needle on that channel and put in just one and then

Justin Phillips:

through skillful manipulation, get the channel to respond in a meaningful way.

Justin Phillips:

That's a very clear single message that I'm sending to the body of.

Justin Phillips:

This is what I want you to do.

Justin Phillips:

The other aspect of that is really about central nervous

Justin Phillips:

system function because to me.

Justin Phillips:

One of the things that we run into of course, is that most patients

Justin Phillips:

that I encounter are at least in a somewhat deficient state.

Justin Phillips:

Cause we live in a fairly tired and wired society.

Justin Phillips:

Most people are a little bit run down.

Justin Phillips:

And so because of that most healing and I guess this is true, whether they're

Justin Phillips:

tired or not, most healing occurs in a parasympathetic nervous system state.

Justin Phillips:

Okay.

Michael Max:

Absolutely.

Michael Max:

In fact, I don't think we can heal unless we're in a

Michael Max:

parasympathetic nervous systems.

Justin Phillips:

Right.

Justin Phillips:

Precisely.

Justin Phillips:

And so, and my needle technique is pretty good, but nonetheless, I'm still

Justin Phillips:

sticking metal needles in a person.

Justin Phillips:

And if I can put three needles in a person that's a little bit of an agitation to

Justin Phillips:

the system and that might cause them a little bit of stress or what have you, if

Justin Phillips:

they're a frequent acupuncture patient, they're probably totally calm about it.

Justin Phillips:

But the more needles I put, the more opportunity that is for me to

Justin Phillips:

overstimulate that patient or to cause an uncomfortable reaction or to make

Justin Phillips:

them nervous, all of which then pushes them into a sympathetic nervous state.

Justin Phillips:

So the least I can do to a patient is what I want to do because to me, that's,

Justin Phillips:

what's going to keep them in that healing state with less gamble that I'm just going

Justin Phillips:

to roll them over into this other state that I'm trying to get them out of in the.

Michael Max:

Well, it sounds also that you're trying to send

Michael Max:

one clear message to the body.

Justin Phillips:

Right.

Justin Phillips:

Very much so.

Michael Max:

Right.

Michael Max:

Your metaphor of several people.

Michael Max:

I'll talk to me.

Michael Max:

It's the same time.

Michael Max:

I mean, that really makes sense more is not good or right.

Michael Max:

Yeah.

Michael Max:

It also occurs to me that sometimes I think this just because we're Americans

Michael Max:

and we really do think more is good.

Michael Max:

We think shouting might get more attention, but really if you really

Michael Max:

want someone's attention, you

Justin Phillips:

whisper.

Justin Phillips:

Yeah.

Justin Phillips:

All right.

Justin Phillips:

Yeah.

Justin Phillips:

I like that.

Justin Phillips:

I'm gonna steal that.

Justin Phillips:

I think speaking to sort of student expectations, one of the things

Justin Phillips:

I've seen on several occasions is.

Justin Phillips:

Either I will offer what I would suggest as a point prescription to students.

Justin Phillips:

And I try not to just tell them, do it my way.

Justin Phillips:

Here's what I would do.

Justin Phillips:

I will give them my suggestions, but I want to let them build

Justin Phillips:

their own, their own approaches.

Justin Phillips:

They have to be their own clinician at some point, but every now and then

Justin Phillips:

one will really take to heart and say, okay, I'm going to try it your way.

Justin Phillips:

And they'll do three or four needles or a patient won't show up.

Justin Phillips:

So I'll come in and do a treatment on a student as a demonstration or something.

Justin Phillips:

And the response to that.

Justin Phillips:

Is often this sort of wide-eyed miraculous awe that three

Justin Phillips:

needles accomplish the tasks.

Justin Phillips:

I remember a particular incident where I had a student that said to

Justin Phillips:

me, you know, having seen how you treat, I really want to try that.

Justin Phillips:

And I said, okay, well on your next patient, let's, we'll talk it through.

Justin Phillips:

And we'll arrive at a very, very clear differential physic, you're

Justin Phillips:

going to do very few needles.

Justin Phillips:

You've got to have a crystal clear.

Justin Phillips:

We're gonna arrive at a very clear differential diagnosis we're going to

Justin Phillips:

make it should have anyway anyway, right?

Justin Phillips:

Yeah, absolutely.

Justin Phillips:

There's a whole other pet peeve story there, but we'll arrive

Justin Phillips:

at this really clear diagnosis.

Justin Phillips:

We'll come up with a very specific point protocol and then I'll talk

Justin Phillips:

you through the manipulation.

Justin Phillips:

You'll do that.

Justin Phillips:

Okay, great.

Justin Phillips:

So we did that and it was funny because not just the student, but the patient,

Justin Phillips:

the student came up to me afterwards and said the patient was a man.

Justin Phillips:

They actually, when they got off the table, they told me, you know, when you

Justin Phillips:

only put in three needles, I thought that this isn't going to work at all,

Justin Phillips:

but I feel even better than I usually do.

Justin Phillips:

And they were just flabbergasted.

Justin Phillips:

And I said, well, yeah, cause you didn't overload the system.

Justin Phillips:

You did what was necessary and nothing more.

Justin Phillips:

Well, you

Michael Max:

know, this really makes me think about one of the

Michael Max:

greatest spiritual texts of all time.

Michael Max:

And of course we all registered.

Michael Max:

No, the one I'm talking about.

Justin Phillips:

Right.

Justin Phillips:

And it fell in the taco factory

Michael Max:

Goldilocks and the three bears.

Justin Phillips:

Oh, Hey, there you go.

Justin Phillips:

Absolutely.

Justin Phillips:

Absolutely.

Justin Phillips:

I totally see where you're going with that.

Justin Phillips:

And I think that's absolutely true.

Justin Phillips:

Not too hot, not too cold.

Justin Phillips:

Just rice.

Michael Max:

Right?

Michael Max:

Not too big.

Michael Max:

Not too small.

Michael Max:

Yeah.

Michael Max:

Yeah.

Michael Max:

And for each person for each different, well, I guess we could

Michael Max:

say constitutional type or if we're talking Chinese medicine, right?

Michael Max:

Yeah.

Michael Max:

You know, I, I want to get back for just a moment, you know, your thoughts about the

Michael Max:

students, you know, and I was a student once too, and I remember doing this right.

Michael Max:

It's kind of like, well, we've got this buffet of points.

Michael Max:

I'm going to take one of these and one of these or these, and you know, and

Michael Max:

that sort of thing, a lot of this stuff that we learn, we learn it because

Michael Max:

it is going to be on a test and we have to pass the task to get started.

Michael Max:

I mean, I remember teachers saying this.

Michael Max:

They said this kind of stuff.

Michael Max:

It's going to be on the test.

Michael Max:

It may or may not be helpful to you in.

Michael Max:

But it's going to be on the test.

Michael Max:

So you need to know this for the task.

Michael Max:

And I remember going to other classes where the teachers would say the

Michael Max:

stuff I'm going to teach you today.

Michael Max:

Don't try to use this to pass the test with it.

Michael Max:

You'll fail.

Michael Max:

There's stuff you got to know because you got to know it because

Michael Max:

they're going to test you on it and then there's everything else.

Justin Phillips:

Right?

Justin Phillips:

Absolutely.

Justin Phillips:

And I agree.

Justin Phillips:

I think the students are smart enough to get that.

Justin Phillips:

I think that some of the challenges of the structure of how we

Justin Phillips:

teach a lot of that is based on.

Justin Phillips:

Really on some level, I think what Mao did to Chinese medicine when

Justin Phillips:

he came through and sort of got it.

Justin Phillips:

A lot of the conceptual frameworks out of how this stuff works, the

Justin Phillips:

underlying really fundamentally spiritual concepts behind it, because

Justin Phillips:

I think that those are whether you buy into the spirituality of it or not.

Justin Phillips:

I think those are often the portals into that stuff.

Justin Phillips:

In fact, I'm teaching a class at ioma right now.

Justin Phillips:

That's just an elective.

Justin Phillips:

It's not, it's not gonna help you with any test ever,

Michael Max:

except the ones that your patients are gonna bring you.

Justin Phillips:

Right.

Justin Phillips:

And I called it psycho-emotional frameworks of Chinese medicine because

Justin Phillips:

psycho-emotional health is something I work with a lot and it's a point of

Justin Phillips:

interest to students, but really what I've tried to create with it as a class where

Justin Phillips:

certainly we use that as the entry point.

Justin Phillips:

But a lot of what we're talking about is what are these fundamental systems

Justin Phillips:

in Chinese medicine really mean?

Justin Phillips:

If I talk about the five phases.

Justin Phillips:

What am I even really talking about?

Justin Phillips:

It's not some dry chart on a page where I remember that the fire element is

Justin Phillips:

related to red and the heart and the small intestine and better it's, it's a dynamic

Justin Phillips:

system that has an implication to it.

Justin Phillips:

And it has an implication to how we live our lives and how we think about things

Justin Phillips:

and how we interact with our world and how we interact with our medicine and the same

Justin Phillips:

with the extraordinary vessels and as on Fu and the channels and all these things.

Justin Phillips:

And it's funny, cause I actually had a suit just yesterday.

Justin Phillips:

She's fairly early on in the program, but you said to me, when I first signed

Justin Phillips:

up for this class, I was, I was really nervous to take it both because I'm

Justin Phillips:

sort of early in the program, but also because my course load this quarter was

Justin Phillips:

really heavy already, but I knew that you were only going to be offering it once a

Justin Phillips:

year and I really wanted to get into it.

Justin Phillips:

And I'm now really grateful.

Justin Phillips:

I did because, because of the way you're talking about these core systems,

Justin Phillips:

I took a test in this other class.

Justin Phillips:

And I got an a on it, and I don't think I would have done that otherwise, because

Justin Phillips:

what happened was the, the questions that I couldn't, that I hadn't memorized.

Justin Phillips:

I understood because I think that students have the ability to understand.

Justin Phillips:

And to me, I think that that understanding doesn't actually limit their ability

Justin Phillips:

to pass the boards and the tests.

Justin Phillips:

I think that there is certain information that has to be memorized

Justin Phillips:

as wrote simply here's what they're going to put on the boards.

Justin Phillips:

But I think that one of the beauties of Chinese medicine and what I love about

Justin Phillips:

it, because I'm too lazy to memorize.

Justin Phillips:

A lot of stuff is that if you really devote yourself to understanding

Justin Phillips:

these core concepts, you can build the system from the ground

Justin Phillips:

up for almost any situation.

Justin Phillips:

And it makes you incredibly adaptable as a clinician.

Justin Phillips:

And I think that that's really why often those washes a point prescriptions crop.

Justin Phillips:

Is because we're not necessarily teaching them how to understand from the ground up.

Justin Phillips:

We're telling them this is what you need to know from the test.

Justin Phillips:

And occasionally we pointed in that direction.

Justin Phillips:

And so to me as a supervisor and a teacher, when I come to the classroom,

Justin Phillips:

my goal is always to challenge their thinking, because if I can get them

Justin Phillips:

to think about it, that will do them more service than I could ever do them.

Justin Phillips:

Because now they're thinking critically about these things

Justin Phillips:

and that's how you really move.

Justin Phillips:

And that's true.

Justin Phillips:

You know, even with the needle technique book, my goal was not to say here is how

Justin Phillips:

to correctly execute needle technique.

Justin Phillips:

It was to put together a text that said, here is my understanding

Justin Phillips:

of the physiological realities of what you're doing with the needle.

Justin Phillips:

Think about that.

Justin Phillips:

And then you can do whatever you want with it.

Justin Phillips:

Like it doesn't matter what kind of technique you use if you want to do master

Justin Phillips:

Tung points or Japanese acupuncture or traditional Chinese acupuncture channel

Justin Phillips:

theory or what it doesn't matter.

Justin Phillips:

Because it's all the same type of body on some level, and we're all sticking

Justin Phillips:

needles in the same tissue basically.

Justin Phillips:

And so if we have the ability to understand and think critically about

Justin Phillips:

what's happening on the other end of that needle, well, whatever technique

Justin Phillips:

you want to use just got better because now you're thinking about it.

Justin Phillips:

Yeah.

Justin Phillips:

Yeah.

Michael Max:

Well, it sounds like what you're talking about is what I

Michael Max:

like to think of as first principles.

Michael Max:

I mean, you can look at a needle prescription and go, oh yeah, that's

Michael Max:

pretty clean sheet efficiency.

Michael Max:

But if you understand the dynamic of why this particular person has what looks

Michael Max:

like spleen sheet efficiency, you'll be able to craft that prescription that

Michael Max:

matches this person, because you're working from those basic principles.

Michael Max:

You're not working from here's a prescription.

Michael Max:

You know, I hear about prescriptions.

Michael Max:

I hear about protocols.

Michael Max:

You know, it's like, well, what's the protocol for XYZ.

Michael Max:

And I'm thinking protocol protocols to go to first principle.

Michael Max:

So I'm curious to know what are the first principles

Justin Phillips:

for you?

Justin Phillips:

I mean, really, I build a lot of stuff up from just the simple binary and the

Justin Phillips:

scale that comes from that of just getting in young, because I think that if you

Justin Phillips:

understand that and you recognize that that initial movement and historically,

Justin Phillips:

you know, from the doubt to the one to the two and the movement of young

Justin Phillips:

and the formation of Vienna and that division and the Ty G2 and all that.

Justin Phillips:

If you can hold that lens up to these various systems, what it allows you

Justin Phillips:

to start to do is see that dynamic movement because physics at its most

Justin Phillips:

basic and certainly Chinese medicine at its core will tell you if something is

Justin Phillips:

going up, something else is going down.

Justin Phillips:

If something is moving in, something else is moving out, you should

Justin Phillips:

be, or at least it should be.

Justin Phillips:

And if it's not task is then to rebalance that.

Justin Phillips:

To bring it back to the most corporates, but would be that because from there, you

Justin Phillips:

know, I could spin that off into talking about design food and how those interact.

Justin Phillips:

We could talk about, uh, the channel system and the six steps and all that.

Justin Phillips:

But all of that, I think stacks on top of that, understanding that there's a

Justin Phillips:

dynamism to the movements of the body, you know, speaking to the psycho-emotional

Justin Phillips:

class, one of the first things I tell them is, you know, if you go back to the home

Justin Phillips:

DNA DJing, when they talk about emotion, they don't describe how a person's.

Justin Phillips:

They described what direction the CIMA routes.

Justin Phillips:

And I think that fact right there is really central to Chinese medicine

Justin Phillips:

that at the end of the day, what we're doing, because we're not a structural

Justin Phillips:

medicine, I'm not cutting anything.

Justin Phillips:

I'm not, unless I'm doing cleanup, I'm not even really massaging anything.

Justin Phillips:

I'm sticking a needle in and wiggling tissue around a little bit.

Justin Phillips:

But the, the actual effect of that should be almost nothing.

Justin Phillips:

But instead it's human.

Justin Phillips:

But that's because I'm interfacing with the body on the level of

Justin Phillips:

movements and function and that can have this incredible effect.

Justin Phillips:

And so that idea is really central to me.

Justin Phillips:

I've started playing a lot actually with the idea.

Justin Phillips:

And I don't know if you've run into the idea of tensegrity.

Justin Phillips:

Oh

Michael Max:

yeah.

Michael Max:

But minster fuller.

Justin Phillips:

Yeah.

Justin Phillips:

And I've really, I've started building integrity models in my

Justin Phillips:

spare time, actually, because to me, I hit this point where I

Justin Phillips:

realized that the way I look at the.

Justin Phillips:

Via the channels and be a Chinese medicine is very much it's integrity model.

Justin Phillips:

Okay.

Michael Max:

So for those people that are not familiar with

Michael Max:

Bucky and his work, what is

Justin Phillips:

tensegrity?

Justin Phillips:

So it's integrity is the idea that a system can hold the dynamic

Justin Phillips:

tension in such a way that even though there aren't hard points

Justin Phillips:

junctures, like if I build a shelf.

Justin Phillips:

Solid pieces connected to solid pieces, connected to solid pieces to hold a

Justin Phillips:

shape, but its integrity model would be more like if I had cables attached to

Justin Phillips:

the ceiling and attached to the floor and shelves suspended between those, the

Justin Phillips:

whole thing would still hold its shape.

Justin Phillips:

Even though the hard points aren't connected to the

Justin Phillips:

hard points because there's.

Justin Phillips:

Preloaded tension that holds everything in place.

Justin Phillips:

And one of the values of the idea of sincerity, and I think this is

Justin Phillips:

where it really started to play into the channel system for me is

Justin Phillips:

that it's integrity structure is actually much more structurally solid

Justin Phillips:

than an actual structural model.

Justin Phillips:

Like if I have that shelf that I built out of heart points and I go over

Justin Phillips:

and I bend that, or I twist that, those, those pieces, because they're

Justin Phillips:

all solid pieces, they're going.

Justin Phillips:

But with those dynamic cables, I can come over and I can twist that and I can pull

Justin Phillips:

that and I can bend that out of shape.

Justin Phillips:

And because there's some play within those cables, the system will adapt.

Justin Phillips:

It will move to the stresses I'm putting on it.

Justin Phillips:

And then when I let go, it just returns back to its normal shape.

Justin Phillips:

Unless I have overstressed one of those members of the point where

Justin Phillips:

now it can't hold that tension.

Justin Phillips:

And within 10 Segretti, there's the seven laws of sincerity.

Justin Phillips:

I don't remember them all perfectly off the top of my head, but there's this

Justin Phillips:

idea that the whole system has to be pre.

Justin Phillips:

And so to me, what you see there is that is the active interplay of lung sheet

Justin Phillips:

of sins, kidney grasps, suici, ASEN, stomach Chidi sentence, you know, uh,

Justin Phillips:

liver, smooth, cheap gallbladder anchors to, you know, it's like, there's the, all

Justin Phillips:

these points where there's this dynamic interplay where one thing is going to

Justin Phillips:

do something in relation to the other.

Justin Phillips:

And if they're not both doing it together, then that creates

Justin Phillips:

disharmony in the system.

Justin Phillips:

And so to me, what it all comes down to with this tensegrity model concept

Justin Phillips:

is how do I then rebalance that system?

Justin Phillips:

And so for fundamental principles, that all comes back to yin and

Justin Phillips:

yang, because in that sincerity concept, you've got two things.

Justin Phillips:

You have soft structures that are deformable and you have solid

Justin Phillips:

structures anchored between them that give it shape and that's yen.

Justin Phillips:

And that's your.

Justin Phillips:

Actually, I guess I got that.

Justin Phillips:

I was young and yen, but either way you, you get the point.

Justin Phillips:

And so when I then start to look at a system and look at that

Justin Phillips:

imbalance, my question is, okay, where has the young Indian gone awry?

Justin Phillips:

And then I'm going to localize it to a specific system and make that more and

Justin Phillips:

more narrow and more and more specific.

Justin Phillips:

Okay.

Justin Phillips:

A patient comes in and I see that they've got, um, an esophageal hernia

Justin Phillips:

and, uh, acid reflux and heartburn and.

Justin Phillips:

And I immediately, okay, everything's moving up.

Justin Phillips:

That's a problem.

Justin Phillips:

And now I say, okay, now let me go to the pulse and the channels and say, well,

Justin Phillips:

where in the system did that start from?

Justin Phillips:

And right off the cuff, the two possibles that immediately spring to mind, and

Justin Phillips:

we know there's plenty of them, but the two possibilities is okay, we've got

Justin Phillips:

something going on in the stomach that generated some heat or some blockage that

Justin Phillips:

didn't allow stomach Chita descendants.

Justin Phillips:

So now it's going up.

Justin Phillips:

Or the other possibility is there was a deficiency in the spleen.

Justin Phillips:

And so it stopped going.

Justin Phillips:

And because that changed that tension within the system, the stomach

Justin Phillips:

turned upward to replace that.

Justin Phillips:

And in either case, the response is to say, well, okay, let's put those two

Justin Phillips:

things back where they should have been.

Justin Phillips:

And so it really comes down to that very core yin and yang concept.

Michael Max:

Right.

Michael Max:

So if you can sort of whittle it down to that particular place.

Michael Max:

Where it's out of balance.

Michael Max:

Yeah.

Michael Max:

You wouldn't need many needles.

Michael Max:

Yeah,

Justin Phillips:

no, not at all.

Justin Phillips:

I mean, in the case with the dynamic.

Justin Phillips:

Yeah.

Justin Phillips:

And in the, you know, it's in the case like Dave, if I discovered that it is

Justin Phillips:

in fact, a spleen sheet efficiency, uh, not ascending G in causing the

Justin Phillips:

stomach to rebel upward, it's a simple pro you know, spleen three to a SIM

Justin Phillips:

spleen, cheat, stomach, 36 Dizon stomach G maybe a do 20 to help the spleen.

Justin Phillips:

She gets at the top and you're done.

Justin Phillips:

And then it's just a matter of going and actively engaging the needles

Justin Phillips:

to make sure that the spleen.

Justin Phillips:

He is in fact, moving she up through the system, go up to the do 20 and make sure

Justin Phillips:

that once you did that, it got there and you gave it someplace to hang out.

Justin Phillips:

And then the stomach 36, you just make sure that the system is clear

Justin Phillips:

and descending, and then you're done,

Michael Max:

you know, this really is the beauty and poetry of acupuncturist.

Justin Phillips:

It really is an acupuncture is very,

Justin Phillips:

very much poetry to me.

Justin Phillips:

I

Michael Max:

want to get back to another thing here, and then I'm realizing we're

Michael Max:

going to have to wrap this up pretty soon.

Michael Max:

Although we could probably go a lot long.

Justin Phillips:

Well, I would be happy to come

Michael Max:

back or we may have to do a part.

Michael Max:

Okay, fair enough.

Michael Max:

I say that all the time.

Michael Max:

Oh my God.

Michael Max:

I'm creating like way more work for myself.

Michael Max:

I just know it.

Justin Phillips:

Well, you would want to get bored.

Michael Max:

Well, yeah, no, not much likelihood of that.

Michael Max:

You're a long time Tygee practitioner.

Michael Max:

I wouldn't say I'm a long time steady Tigie practitioner, but I've, you

Michael Max:

know, I've got a little bit of time, enough to know enough to know that.

Michael Max:

Starting with the basics going over the basics, doing the basics again and again,

Michael Max:

and coming back to it again and again, no matter how long you've been doing it,

Michael Max:

no matter how skilled you are, there's something about coming back to basics.

Michael Max:

That seems really important.

Michael Max:

That's it?

Michael Max:

I mean, that's a part of hygiene, right?

Michael Max:

Absolutely.

Michael Max:

What's a part of calligraphy.

Michael Max:

So I know it's a part of IQ though, that I used to do.

Michael Max:

So when we're doing.

Michael Max:

Practices, it's kind of a capital P practice.

Michael Max:

We never stopped doing the basics.

Michael Max:

What are a couple of the basics that you would consider a central to working with

Michael Max:

needles that we can all, no matter where we are, whether it's our first month in

Michael Max:

school or we've been at this for 30 years, what are some of the basics that, uh,

Michael Max:

that helped keep us engaged and keep us.

Justin Phillips:

So since we've been talking in and young, I'll, I'll keep

Justin Phillips:

the binary and I'll give you two.

Justin Phillips:

And the very first one, and to me, the single most important thing

Justin Phillips:

about needle technique is sensitivity is when you put a needle into

Justin Phillips:

tissue, can you feel, and can you.

Justin Phillips:

Meaningfully describing by meaningfully.

Justin Phillips:

I just mean to yourself and to how you're then going to engage that tissue.

Justin Phillips:

Cause the ability to actually verbalize it as relatively unimportant, because

Justin Phillips:

most of what we do on some level defies verbal description, but can you

Justin Phillips:

internally feel that in a way that it means something to you in that process?

Justin Phillips:

Can you feel the tissue planes?

Justin Phillips:

Can you determine the difference between I'm an adipose versus I'm in muscle?

Justin Phillips:

Do you feel when you pass through.

Justin Phillips:

Are you aware of what's going on around the needle?

Justin Phillips:

And that sensitivity is really important.

Justin Phillips:

And the second thing that I would say is a really key point.

Justin Phillips:

That really is not different than that, but it's just an extension of that is

Justin Phillips:

then can you dynamically influence that?

Justin Phillips:

And can you feel when the change.

Justin Phillips:

You know, and that gets into the idea of virtue of that arrival of chief

Justin Phillips:

concept is if I put a needle into tissue and I start wiggling it around and

Justin Phillips:

the tissue isn't engaging the needle and it's not responding, I don't have

Justin Phillips:

cheap, but if I can move that needle and the tissue responds well, now

Justin Phillips:

I have cheap because that's why the tissue has responded to the needle.

Justin Phillips:

And so the two most fundamental things to name are, can you feel the tissue?

Justin Phillips:

And then can you affect the tissue and no one.

Justin Phillips:

And those are the two things that continually every day I think are worth

Justin Phillips:

coming back to, because I think those are the things that, particularly as we gain

Justin Phillips:

experience and fluidity, and even to some degree speed within our practices and

Justin Phillips:

the ability to see potentially multiple patients and do quicker treatments and

Justin Phillips:

all these things, those are the things that it's really easy to lose track

Justin Phillips:

of to just put the needle in and say, okay, well, I'm trying to find with

Justin Phillips:

this needle, so I'm going to put it in and I'm going to wiggle and okay.

Justin Phillips:

Yeah, I got some engagement I'm gonna.

Justin Phillips:

But that's not that mindfulness.

Justin Phillips:

That's not that focus that arises out of the metal element.

Justin Phillips:

That's not that going through the needle, that is, I am going to bring

Justin Phillips:

my full attention to every single meal.

Justin Phillips:

And so I think that that focus on the sensation helps bring us back into

Justin Phillips:

that experience because, you know, I referenced earlier that we live in

Justin Phillips:

this world where people don't know they have feet until they stub their toes.

Justin Phillips:

But that's not just an externally directed statement because we are also.

Justin Phillips:

It's really easy for us to lose track of our own experiences and all this,

Justin Phillips:

particularly when you're doing something as cerebral, as the practice of medicine,

Justin Phillips:

it's really easy to get up in our heads and be imagining the treatment protocol

Justin Phillips:

or planning the herbal formula or cleverly surmising, the differential diagnosis.

Justin Phillips:

Instead of in that moment with the needle, just being very present with the physical

Justin Phillips:

reality of moving a needle in tissue.

Justin Phillips:

And that sensation to me, just like insight, you just like teen genotype.

Justin Phillips:

The engagement there to really get you present in the moment is to require

Justin Phillips:

physical awareness of sensation.

Michael Max:

That's really great advice.

Michael Max:

You know, it's so doable.

Michael Max:

It's such a wonderful, fundamental, Justin.

Michael Max:

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today about all this

Michael Max:

and folks, if you want to know more, uh, the book is the living needle.

Michael Max:

It's published by a singing.

Michael Max:

Do you have a website for this or any other information that, that

Michael Max:

people can come and find you at?

Justin Phillips:

Yeah.

Justin Phillips:

Well, so the book, you can find just your singing dragon or it's on Amazon or Barnes

Justin Phillips:

and noble or any of the major booksellers.

Justin Phillips:

If you want to get the book, my website is stone gate wellness.com.

Justin Phillips:

If you want to find me or find out more about me, I'm in the Austin.

Justin Phillips:

I teach a Tai Chi class on Wednesday evenings at PA on campus.

Justin Phillips:

If you want to come do some sites, you with me, that's going on,

Justin Phillips:

but all that's on the websites.

Justin Phillips:

Don't get wellness.com.

Michael Max:

Great.

Michael Max:

We'll make sure that it's up on the show notes page.

Michael Max:

And again, Justin, thank you so much.

Michael Max:

Enjoy the.

Michael Max:

Awesome.

Justin Phillips:

Thank you so much, Michael.

Justin Phillips:

Thanks for having me on.

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