• Howard Chen, MD

What Are You Really Doing, Dr. Chen? Part I

Updated: Mar 1, 2019

Finding the Strengths and Weaknesses of Medicine.

Many of you know that I’m on an 8 month sabbatical – that I’m deep in meditation at a retreat center outside of Susanville, and that I’m working on a book or two.

All this is true, but it doesn’t answer the question of, “Why?” or “Why now?”

As you may know, I love learning and it’s a life long process for me, especially learning about health and the techniques that could help my patients. This drive to learn started at an early age, and continues to today. Not only do I love to learn, I also love to learn about the validity of things that I’ve learned about. I’m interested in things that could be used to help improve other people’s health, no matter how strange. If it helps people, I’d like to know about it.

Over the years, this has led me to learn not only about Western Allopathic Medicine, but also various branches of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, including Reiki, Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, and Integrative Medicine.

One of my favorite things to do is to not only learn these disciplines, but to understand their strengths and weaknesses. By knowing the strengths and weaknesses we can get a much better sense of how the therapy can be used for a given medical condition – and which therapy is most useful for which disease.

However, over the years of trying to tease out the strengths and weakness of our medical treatments, I realized that many of the basic premises behind our conception of why and how our treatments worked were flawed.

For example, in Chinese Medicine, we are taught that the energetic pathways, known as “meridians” have an energetic flow in certain directions – either towards the core or away from the core, depending on the specific meridian. This is the theory, but the logic behind the theory, and the theory’s origins are lost in antiquity. The important question is whether the theory is correct. However, how can one determine the validity of the theory, when no current scientific measurement device can discern the direction of flow of the Qi within a meridian?

The answer is simple – you can determine the flow of the Qi within the meridian if you can see or feel the Qi.

As a Medical Acupuncturist with more than 10 years of experience I have a good idea of what the movement of Qi feels like. However, I found myself blindly following theory in the cases in which I couldn’t discern the energy well enough to find the answer to this and other questions out myself. As a result, I’ve decided to take some time and work on my ability to sense and manipulate Qi – so that I can truly understand what’s going on with the body of energy that I deal with on a daily basis when I work with my patients.

Mediation is a path to increased knowledge about the Qi of the body, otherwise known in the Western Esoteric traditions as the Etheric energetic body. I joke about getting good enough to manipulate the Qi without using acupuncture needles, and one of my goals is certainly that – but that’s not all I’m aiming for. A much greater understanding of the energetic forces that affect our health is what I’m after.

Thanks for following me on this journey. Things are just beginning, but I’m already making great progress! I suspect that’s the topic of some of my future writings!


- Dr Chen

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

© 2019 by Howard Chen, MD