Dr. Daniel Keown, who is both a Western medical doctor and a Chinese medicine doctor joins me for a conversation about his book The Spark in the Machine.
We discuss many of the crucial things that Western medicine ignores- things like fascia, extracellular fluid, how an embryo knows how to organize around a seeming blueprint, and how your spirit affects your health. We talk about how fascia explains Qi, how and why jing and shen are better predictors of lifespan and health than a person’s genetics, what cancer has to do with fascia and Qi, how we are all built like crystals, what that has to do with piezoelectricity, and so much more.
- Why do you begin your book with the question "Why can’t humans regenerate?"
- It gets to the core of what healing is. The question isn’t how does it occur by why can’t we? In primitive animals they can regenerate limbs.
- There is this myth in western medicine that somehow doctors heal you. What they really do it allow the healing to occur.
- Chinese medicine knows and has always known that the space between the cells is as important as the cells themselves. The spaces in the cells taken up by extracellular fluid- it makes up about 40% of the body- so it's a huge amount of fluid. If you imagine your skin as a membrane that keeps everything in, and this is the fluid that bathes all of our cells, it’s also a communication medium. Yet there is no real concept of this fluid as being living and important in Western medicine.
- Western medicine does not really have a philosophy of health.
- Qi is the energetic blueprint from which matter is made manifest.
- We are one cell that develops into trillions and trillions of cells in our perfect complex organisms- there is an energetic blueprint on how that forms, and that’s Qi.
- Jing and shen are more real than genetics in terms of predictors of health and longevity. The big problem with genetics is that it is too complex. People think you have “a code” but that’s not how it works. You have multiple different codes- this is the science of epigenetics. If you are in a stressful situation you will tap into that "code" to get you through the stressful situation.
- That’s an example of your shen, your spirit, affecting your jing, your matter. This plugs into why meditation is so important and why living a good life is so important- it resonates through your material body. The science of genetics is not going to go much farther, it is going to go into epigenetics.
- Fascia explains Qi because fascia is like the skeleton that your body is built around. It is a web and then the cells grow into this web or are knitted into it.
- Doctors and scientists will talk about how they can grow a heart, but they can't actually do it. They will take the heart of a pig, strip away everything but the fascia, then inject heart stem cells- they’re kind of cheating. The Qi is like the skeleton of fascia.
- Chinese medicine devotes two organs to fascia- triple burner and pericardium.
- When getting the degree in Chinese medicine a lot of questions that couldn’t be answered. He couldn't get a straight answer about the Triple Burner. so looked through an old book- Giovanni Maciocia Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine and saw the pelvis, abdomen, and chest-the triple burner described the fascia which separates it and keeps these compartments behaving like they should.
- Acupuncture points are what surgeons use everyday. Google keyhole surgery and you'll see loads of videos, the hole they are putting it into is this space within the body- they blow it up with gas so they can navigate the body. Surgeons don’t want to cause damage in the body so they go along the pathways that are already there, which are the acupuncture points.
- When bad things happen in surgery it’s always because they have broken the rule of never crossing fascial planes.
- Cancer spreads through fascia- Cancer is just a break down of Qi. Qi is the force that keeps everything doing its right thing, and cancer is just a group of cells who decide damn you and they are going to go their own way.
- There are mechanisms in the immune system that are designed to mop that up, and immunotherapy is one of the most interesting fields of cancer therapy, but you also have to address the underlying Qi disturbance.
- How does the body self organize? People say it’s genes, but Qi is a more accurate description. Google frog electric face to watch it in action (in resources).
- What is piezoelectricity? We’re all effectively crystals. Electrical current is happening all the time within our bodies- the collagen itself appears to be piezoelectric. This is why astronauts lose bone strength. They lay down calcium and phospohorus and this creates hardness. In space there is no more gravitational stress on bones- so bone cells, the osteoblasts, feel there is no need to do anymore building and so bones get slowly reabsorbed.
- Within Western medicine there is a slight crisis among doctors- we have completely removed the concept of spirit or shen. As a result doctors are literally becoming dispirited.
- The miracle of antibiotics is 50 yrs old- chronic diseases now are about looking deeper into society
- We live in turbulent times but there are a lot of good people out there. 1% of bad eggs who are now at the top of society, and we need to reclaim society and part of that is going to be making medicine simple and about people again.
The Spark in the Machine- Dr. Keown's book
Space: 21st Century acupuncture- Dr. Keown's private practice and blog
Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine by Giovanni Maciocia