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The Blog of Minnesota Community Acupuncture


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Sang Ju Yin: A Solution to the Common Cold for the Past 218 Years

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“Use herbs that are as light as the feathers of a bird for disease in the upper burner. Use herbs to lift the spleen qi and cause the stomach qi to descend in the middle burner, just like calibrating a scale that should always be in balance. Use heavy and cloying herbs to treat yin deficiency for the liver and kidney in the lower burner, like adding a heavy weight to a scale to tip the balance.

…The warm-heat pathogen attacks the body through the nose and mouth. The lung opens to the nose and the stomach to the mouth. Disease in the lung can progress to the pericardium. If untreated or treated improperly in the upper burner, the disease will progress to the middle burner. If untreated or treated improperly in the middle burner, the disease will progress to the lower burner. The progression of the disease is to begin in the upper burner and end in the lower burner.”

-Wu Tang (1758-1836) who wrote the Wenbing Tiaobian (Detailed Analysis of Warm Diseases, 1798)

This season we’re continuing our theme of exploring strategies for treating what in Chinese medicine is termed “Wind Invasion.”  Earlier in the fall we looked at ways to prevent illness, through use of Jade Wind Screen (Yu Ping Feng San) and acupuncture.   While prevention is always ideal, as mere mortals we’re all destined to fall ill.  If a pathogen does defeat our outer line of defense and we do catch a cold or flu, we need look no further than Wu Tang’s herbal formulas.

Wu Tang’s quote exemplifies his philosophy as a physician and herbalist.  He is credited with creating some of the most important (and still often used) formulas for infectious diseases in the Chinese Materia Medica.  Sang Ju Yin is one of these formulas, another is Yin Qiao San.  As recently as the SARS outbreak of 2003 and the H1N1 pandemic of 2009 these formulas have been officially recommended by the Chinese Ministry of Health for use by physicians to combat infections.  We need not reserve them for the most serious illnesses, as they are perfectly matched for treating all sorts of upper respiratory infections in their early stages.  One of the best formulas for stopping a cold with cough in its tracks is Mulberry and Chrysanthemum formula (Sang Ju Yin).  To understand how this formulation is so effective, one need only look at some of the fine herbs it contains.  As an accompaniment to this article, we are displaying the three herbs used in this formula in their raw form in our clinic lobby!  We will rotate our herbal display seasonally in the hopes of sharing with the community some of our knowledge of herbal medicine. 

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Meet Our New Acupuncturist Shelley Sloan

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Acupuncture first peaked my interest in the early 80’s.  At the time I had the opportunity to travel to Taiwan for a few months.  I’d hoped to study acupuncture once I’d gotten there.  This didn’t end up happening, but I was able to head to the largest university in Taiwan while I was there and speak with some of the practitioners and teachers.  I came back from Taiwan, and took a small break from pursuing acupuncture studies to become a nurse.  I graduated from nursing school in 1985, and later got my Master’s in Acupuncture in 2008.

Since then I’ve had a blast combining both of these healing practices.  In 2011 I spent time learning how to setup clinics for disaster relief with Acupuncturist’s Without Borders.  The week after I came back, I put that training to use as a tornado hit North Minneapolis.  I co-setup and ran a clinic there for 2 weeks providing relief for the community.    The first day we were open one of the community leaders came in and declared, “If I don’t like this, you won’t see anybody…If I do like it, you’re going to be full.”  After her treatment we remained packed for the next 13 days.

Last summer I had the pleasure of getting away to New York to live and work at Eden Village, an organic farm-to-table camp in the Putnam Valley.  It was a vibrant community of 300 people that created a fun, safe and inclusive space for young people to be themselves – to learn, grow and explore their true gifts and passions.


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Meet Our New Acupuncturist Elizabeth Checchio

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I first got interested in alternative medicine while living in the Sonoran desert outside of Tucson.  I had this crazily athletic dog and we were always at the vet – swimmers ear, barbed wire lacerations, chunks of cactus stuck in throats and eyelids.  My dog loved his vets, they called him Cactus Baby, but I thought, this has got to stop.  So I started treating him myself with herbs and homeopathic remedies.  I had my own issues as well, recovering from dengue fever and an accident with a bus.

One thing led to another and I found myself in southern New Mexico, living on the Mexican border apprenticing with a healer.  He introduced me to a dizzying array of healing modalities — radionics, Chinese and western herbs, magnet therapy, flower essences, crystals, acupuncture, gestalt therapy, you name it.  I was especially drawn to Chinese medicine, but his interests had moved on from acupuncture.  Since this was the early nineties before you could learn anything and everything on the internet, I spent months pouring over a photocopied acupuncture manual, deciphering meridian charts and trying to figure out what a patella was.

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