During the last week of the Daoist Medicine course we were introduced to several methods of healing such as moxibustion, pricking, cupping and scraping. These methods have been used around China since the ancient times. In Daoist medicine they were used commonly by Daoist doctors who not merely used these techniques but they combined them with healing powers developed through everyday practice of Gong (skill): increasing of ones own Qi and strengthening of energy field. These allows to emit healing Qi and remove bad Qi from a sick person. But one who wants to become a Daoist doctor would have to meet special requirements such as high moral virtues in everyday behavior, practice of calming the heart, qi and spirit and being able to unify with Heaven and Earth.
The moxibustion method was the first one that Li Shifu have shown to us and then everybody practiced on their own. We made moxa sticks/wands, cones and rice grain moxa. The cones were used on slices of ginger or carrot or on small flat cakes. The cones can be applied with different plants on the skin and each of them has different healing qualities. We were also given herbal formulas for a moxa stick and for a medicinal cake. Moxibustion is a great tonification method and is mainly based on the dried Artemisia plant. The one which grows here in Wudang Mountains is natural and has strong healing properties. One of the students – Cheng Shun, noticed that it’s much more powerful than the ones he used in the city during his studies and practice of TCM.
Another method we studied was pricking. It’s a very powerful method for reduction by puncturing the patient’s skin. The main purpose is to remove stagnations of blood, poisons, wind, cold and dampness. We have learned about 9 pricking techniques and tried them out on slices of carrot.
The next method is cupping. It’s a great reduction method which can be used on its own (white cupping) or combined with pricking (red cupping). After going through the variations such as fire and water cupping as well as applications and contraindications we have put it to practice in 2-3 person groups trying two main fire methods.
The last method we have learned this week is scraping. It is used when a disease is still on a superficial level and have not entered the organs. We practiced this method as well, first putting a very fragrant medicinal oil on the area to scrape and then scraping in one direction until the skin turned red.
This week was a new moon so everybody had to participate in a ceremony with scripture singing. After the ceremony 5 of the students were given personal hexagrams, cast by Li Shifu. This was long awaited and had very interesting outcome. Afterwards everybody was given an explanation of the hexagram and personal comment from Li Shifu relating to life.
This week we have also had a group of 11 Czech people visiting us. They practiced Qi Gong and Longevity Qi Gong with us, and sitting meditation, as well as studied Daoist healing methods. Some of them had very positive experiences, reporting having special feelings of higher power during early morning practice of Qi Gong, or connecting with higher energy fields while practicing sitting meditation, which triggered deep changes in their thoughts. Some of them said they will return next year to study more.
In the evenings after an hour of healing qi gong we have been meditating in groups in five element, eight trigrams or nine palaces formations focusing our love and compassion on one person sitting in the centre. This technique differs from our individual meditation as the focus goes outside of our bodies and is mainly to benefit the person in the centre. It worked differently for everyone as some were having more comfortable, peaceful meditation with different manifestations such as having a feeling of a dome over the group, connection with others through the light of wisdom, the upper or middle Dan Tian or connection with Guan Yin (Boddhisatva of Compassion) through the Bai Hui acupuncture point. For some it was quite intense even unpleasant experience which is some kind of regulation.
To summarize, this week we have had lots of new content. All these methods are great regulation methods which serve different purposes. A Daoist doctor should be clear about the cause of the illness to treat, whether it is deficiency or excess and about the technique to use. The Qi sensitivity should be strong and the communication with the person treated should be unobstructed. This commutation should be at least on a verbal level but for a Daoist doctor it is rather formless, speechless communication.
The course is close to an end and the students, especially the older students who have stayed here before the Daoist medicine course, seem to be releasing some deeper blockages and connecting more to the Dao.