By Wang Ju-Yi and Jason Robertson
While traditional pulse palpation is observation of the internal environment through the medium of blood vessels, channel palpation may be thought of as diagnosis through observation of interstitial fluid pathways. Classical physicians believed that the openings and spaces one feels when palpating the channels not only make up a crucial part of physiology, but can also reflect the state of internal organs in the presence of dysfunction.
In fact what we call “the channels” are not actually made of the skin, nerves, tendons, bones, vessels or muscle that we commonly associated with them. Instead, they can be thought of as groups of connective tissue and the fluids moving within them. Like pulse palpation and tongue observation, palpation of these channels pathways provides the practitioner with another tool for verifying and refining a diagnostic hypothesis generated during the interview process….
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Wang Ju-Yi has had an envious position as both an observer of and participant in the major trends of 20th century Chinese medicine. A graduate of the very first class from the Beijing College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 1962, Dr. Wang was trained by some of the early luminaries of the modern era. He was fortunate to experience Chinese medicine in the era just before the development of what we now call “TCM”. In other words, he is a product of that short time in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s when acupuncture was taught by practitioners with roots in family lineages that included a firm foundation on classical texts. This is a time when herbs and acupuncture were taught together in China.
While giving credit to this unique education, Dr. Wang continues to maintain that his greatest teachers have nevertheless been patients. As Dr. Wang himself recounts, “In those early days after graduation, I still often read the classical texts and had no idea what they were talking about! Only upon reading and re-reading in the presence of actual clinical cases did certain concepts finally clarify, sometimes decades later.” Professor Wang passed away in August of 2017.
Jason D. Robertson is a licensed acupuncturist and educator in Seattle, WA USA. Mr. Robertson spent 8 years studying Chinese language and medicine in Taiwan and China (B.A. Washington and Lee University, Taiwan National University, Chengdu University of Chinese Medicine, Cui Yue Li Institute Beijing).
Mr. Robertson is the author of articles on acupuncture channel theory and palpatory diagnostic techniques. In 2008, along with Professor Wang Ju-Yi (王居易) he co-authored Applied Channel Theory in Chinese Medicine (Eastland Press, Seattle). Besides his work as a clinician and author, Mr. Robertson is a member of the core faculty at the Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine and teaches palpation technique in schools and seminars around the world.
For Jason’s teaching schedule and other interesting articles, you can visit his website: http://www.channelpalpation.org/