Ba Mai and Fluids: Explorations on the morphology and inherent movement palpation

Intermediate Level Class (ILC)  

This class is not sequential. 
[Recommended complementary class: ILC Ignition & Midspace]
Pre-requisites: EV basic training
Instructor: Rayén Antón

Ba Mai and Fluids: explorations on the morphology and inherent movement palpation 

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The Extraordinary Vessels are one fascinating piece of TEAM, with their overarching influence, connection with primal qi, and unique place as gateway between internal alchemy, Nei Dan and medicine. The direct perception of the vessels themselves has been largely overlooked in our field of medicine, relegated to the Nei Dan practitioners and their field of internal alchemy. More often than not, our decision-making process when selecting a vessel for treatment tends to be based on theoretical considerations and/or indirect forms of palpation (as the pulse or the abdomen). Few scholars have taken the bold step of exploring the Ba Mai from both perspectives, keeping a fluid and open-minded approach while rigorously pursuing clinical efficacy. Li Shizhen, the outstanding XVI century physician, was one of those scholars. Li Shizhen was himself a medical and Nei Dan practitioner, and in his seminal book Qi Jing Ba Mai Kao he approaches the issue from both perspectives, revisiting previous knowledge on the topic and adding his own interpretations. After a couple of decades working on the Ba Mai, and 11 years of work on Li Shizhen’s Qi Jing Ba Mai Kao, Charles Chace, who was a practitioner of both these disciplines and one of the core developers of Engaging Vitality, mapped out the Morphology of the Ba Mai on the Fluid Body. The Engaging Vitality palpatory skills served him to bring direct access of the Ba Mai back into the medical realm, allowing any practitioner of medicine-even without inner alchemy or qi gong training- to grasp them in a tangible and clinically useful way.

The Fluid Body and the Ba Mai share some characteristics.  For instance, they organize themselves around a midline, and they tend to layer.  This, and the palpatory training to be able to listen to the Fluid Body, are the starting point of the journey that takes us into engaging the Ba Mai in one of their most direct manifestations: The Morphology. 

We’ll be exploring yet another form of palpation for the Ba Mai in this seminar. Developed after the Fluid Body palpation and making use of the palpatory skills acquired with the Engaging Vitality training, the Inherent Movement palpation is a complementary approach to directly engage the vessels by listening to their movement. We can directly palpate or resonate with the inherent movements of the vessels; this offers another angle to approach them and another cross-referencing tool. 

In this seminar we will explore both of these novel ways to directly contact the Ba Mai and will be cross referencing this with abdominal palpation and simplified forms of Ba Mai pulse diagnosis coming from Li Shizhen. 

This class is complementary to the Ignition class taught by Felix DeHaas, where the Nei Dan and inner cultivation aspects are explored in depth, as well as the palpatory references for the midline and midspace, and the concept of Ignition. 

Course Topics: 

  • Revisiting the Shape of the Qi
  • Revisiting the Fluid Body 
  • Revisiting pulse and abdominal diagnosis for the Ba Mai 
  • The Ba Mai as fields of influence. General indications. Trajectory and treatment holes. 
  • The morphology, mapping the terrain. 
  • Walking the path: practice session on the morphology. How it feels under our hands. How to work with it in clinic. 
  • Inherent movement: generalities and conceptual frameworks.
  • Palpation and recognition: practice sessions to learn how to tune into the inherent movement of the vessels. 
  • Putting it all together: practice sessions to cross reference the multiple ways of listening at the Ba Mai and work with it in clinic

Prerequisite Requirements to take this class:  Basic training
Days of training: 2 
Instructor: Rayén Antón
TA: 1-4 according the size of the group