Learn Taoist Longevity Techniques with the Five Elements
Throughout the weekend, there will be in-depth studies of the body—physically, energetically and spiritually—using the Oriental model of Five Elements. From basic to advanced, Michael will cover aliments, emotions, foods, healing exercises, and acupressure points.
We are privileged in having Michael also teach his advanced material covering each element’s ‘spirit’ and ‘psyche.’ Referred to as Advanced Taoist Alchemy, you will learn about the bio-energetics, emotional and psyche-spiritual, metaphysical relationships of the “Shen, Hun, Zhi, Po and Yi”, deep essences of the 5 elements which guide the soul towards unity with self, others and the cosmos.
We will also challenge popular assumptions such as inheriting disease, and the belief that aging brings only decline, dementia and death by disease. Further, we will explore the body-mind-spirit connection in ways that expand our understanding and give direct tools for experiencing their unity.
In this dynamic weekend with Michael Rossoff, an American pioneer of self –healing techniques, you will learn to:
Introduction to Oriental diagnosis
Michael will explain, from oriental and western medical viewpoints, how the body is designed to serve our healing. He will teach you how to recognize signs of troubles brewing and how to know when problems are really improved. You will learn which foods weaken and disturb specific organs and functions and then which foods can strengthen and support continued wellness. Cooking styles, proportions and variations due to activity, sex, body types will be discussed.
This weekend can change your understanding of healing and give you the tools for changing your life toward greater wellness. You can become a true help to others, whether they be family, friends or clients.
Using the Five Elements
The concept of the five elements is one of the basic descriptive frameworks in ancient Chinese thinking - five notes in music, five viscera in physiology, five constants and five virtues in sociology, five senses and five emotions in psychology. The five elements are represented by fire, water, metal, wood and earth.
In terms of health, the five elements (also referred to as the five transformations) reveal how energy moves through the body, nourishing each organ system in an orderly and methodical manner. The body can be understood as an integrated circuitry system in which chi, prana, ki, or life force, flows through the system continuously according to an orderly pattern. Health can be described as a state in which energy flows unimpeded through the system and thus fully nourishes every organ and cell in the body.
THE FIVE SPIRITS:
Each of the 5 elements has an aspect of the soul/mind associated with it. This aspect is often used in psycho-spiritual Taoist alchemy. At the core of Chinese medicine is a nearly forgotten wisdom tradition based on the ancient art of Taoist alchemy. According to this tradition, spirit — the invisible “yang” energy of the divine —is not waiting to be discovered after death, high up and far away in Heaven. Rather, this energy is present, here and now, in our lives on Earth. Spirit may be hidden, yet it can be known and worked with through its manifestation in the cycles, movements and forms of the natural world. An understanding of the Five Spirits is the key that opens the doorway to the mysteries of Taoist psycho-spiritual alchemy.
HUN refers to your self-awareness mechanism, the ability to have vision in your life, to plan your future, to lucid dream, to develop your astral body, and the journey after death. It is associated with the health of the liver/wood element.
PO refers to the body's basic reactive instincts associated with the lung/metal element.
YI refers to the ability of thinking and remembering associated with the spleen/earth element.
ZHI refers to the function of memory, wisdom and will power associated with the kidney/water element.
SHEN refers to the function of processing all incoming sensory and intuitive information and supervising the body/mind reaction to it; associated with the heart/fire element.
Heal your Kidney chi, the water element
In Chinese medicine there are certain energies that must harmonize to create natural vitality. And among these, kidney is the controlling force. This vitality is expressed as physical stamina, sexual vitality, determination and will. The outcome is called esprit-de-corps, a “spirit for life.”
Heal your Liver chi, the wood element
We will explore the body’s largest organ from both Western and Oriental medical viewpoints. In Chinese medicine the Liver plays a key role of harmonizing the blood and the emotions. On a spiritual level, it houses the soul. How these facets work together is crucial for a deeper appreciation of life
Change is the only real constant. Change is movement—of energy, blood, muscles and consciousness. Health is the ability to flow with change smoothly. All disease, on some level, reflects blockages, stagnations or weakness that prevents this harmonious movement. In Chinese medicine, the liver governs all change—of body, mind and spirit. Learn how to adapt internally and externally so that you can maintain great flexibility and wellness
The spiritual essence of the wood element is called the Hun or Soul. Hun can be interpreted as the realm of the subconscious that is particularly active during sleep time. This dim state of consciousness during dreaming, or the elusive visions we see meandering during nocturnal sleep, all fall under the category of Hun. Hun, in other words, can be understood as an ethereal type of consciousness which can separate from the body during sleep and interact with other "souls" Hun is what is believed to leave the body after death and what can be called upon in prayers.
Lung chi- A Breath of Fresh Air--Keeping Lungs Healthy
The importance of breathing is obvious, yet the dynamics of healthy lungs elude most people. Lungs symptoms are among the first indicators that something is wrong in our bodies, whether the common cold, cough, phlegm, asthma or shortness of breath. Through the lens of Chinese medicine, we will explore the importance of lungs to physical, emotional and spiritual health. Michael will discuss ways to create stronger lungs, including foods and herbs to benefit the lungs.
When the lungs are weak and are unable to supply adequate Qi for defense on the surface of the body, external pathogens such as wind and cold can invade. This, according to TCM, is how we catch a cold. Chronic deficiency of the lungs usually leads to general tiredness, a pale complexion and sometimes breathlessness. When the lungs are unable to circulate Qi, it accumulates producing a tight, chest, cough and or asthma.
The emotion of grief is housed in the lungs. If grief is repressed, it festers in the body and, over time, causes the lungs to contract, which means the lungs can’t extract sufficient qi from the air or distribute that qi around the body. The undistributed qi clogs up the lungs. Therefore weakening the wei qi (body’s defense) which makes us susceptibility to viruses and pathogens.
The Po is the alchemical term to denote the spiritual essence of the lungs. Originally an ancient astronomical term designating the material body of the moon, while its counterpart, hun, is used to specify the light of the moon. When human beings are first born, they can see and hear, their hands and feet can move; these actions are due to the workings of po. Since breathing is the most fundamental of all instincts, the lung is the residence of the po spirits.
We will practice Qigong exercises for activating the qi of the entire body, and then learn special Do-Yin exercises for strengthening particular organs. We will learn about 12 powerful acupuncture points, which can be easily located, either for self massage or for using on others.
Healing your Digestion - The Earth element and Spleen
From its earliest beginnings, Oriental medicine recognized that ‘food as medicine’ is the key to long life. They established what is known as “The School of the Stomach and Spleen”, a 5000 year old tradition that gives advice on how to eat, how to prepare food, how to establish good digestion and assimilation.
All healing begins with digestion. When the stomach, pancreas, gall bladder, liver and intestines are not fulfilling their roles properly then minor or major sicknesses will occur. Bloating, ulcers, acid reflux, gall stones, diarrhea, constipation and hemorrhoids are all examples of distress within the digestive system. Suppressing these messages can eventually lead to greater sicknesses.
Spiritual Aspect: The Yi—The Mind
YI refers to the ability of thinking and remembering; associated with the generation of ideas and a clear mind. They are related to the emotions of sympathy and the organ of the spleen.
The yi represent the powers of the earth in us. This gives us the capacity for sustained intention, purpose, clarity of thought, altruism, and integrity. It supports our capacity for thought, intention, reflection, and the act of applying ourselves to our heart’s purpose. They give us the ability to concentrate, study, and memorize data for one’s work, and they endow us with the capacity for clear thought. In other words, they allow us to apply our spirit to the world of forms.
The Shen, translated as your ‘consciousness’ which is housed in the Fire element/Heart
Energy: Outward, expansive, ripening, fruition,
active, social, expressive, the peak of yang movement, the emotion
of joy, enlightenment, contentment, bliss.
The Heart stores the Shen (Spirit).
The term "Shen," frequently translated today as "spirit," encompasses some of the most complex concepts of traditional Chinese medicine. In the Neijing, the original medical text of China, Shen is mentioned about 240 times. Traditionally, the term refers to the mechanism of change, the mystery of sudden and profound transformation, and the expression in a person's face, particularly the eyes. When applied to the human body, the term describes a major part of what would be called physical vitality, mental activity, and spirit.
Shen is best translated as Spirit. It is an elusive concept, perhaps because, in the medical tradition, it is the Substance unique to human life. If Jing is the source of life, and Qi the ability to activate and move, then Shen is the vitality behind Jing and Qi in the human body. While animate and inanimate movements are indicative of Qi, and instinctual organic processes reflect Jing, human consciousness indicates the presence of Shen.
Shen is associated with the force of human personality, the ability to think, discriminate, and choose appropriately, or, as is commonly said: “Shen is the awareness that shines out of our eyes when we are truly awake.”
It is also said that the Heart rules the Shen. When the Heart’s Blood and Qi are harmonious, and then is nourished and the individual responds appropriately to the environment. When the Shen-storing ability of the Heart is impaired, a person may show symptoms, such as insomnia, excessive dreaming, or forgetfulness. More serious disorders of this type are hysteria, irrational behavior, insanity and delirium.
Shen is the name given to the most yang of the Five Spirits. This spirit personifies the fiery spark of conscious awareness. During our life, the shen is said to reside in the empty center of the heart from where it guides us along our path through life. In the presence of healthy shen, there is a luster and brightness to the disposition, a feeling of connection and awareness. Most of all, the presence of healthy shen results in a life that is uniquely suited to the individual and a person whose actions make sense within the context of the surrounding environment.
Throughout the weekend, Michael will also weave together some of the key component of Oriental diagnosis, counseling and coaching, acupressure and home remedies
Diagnosing the Subtle and Significant
Oriental diagnosis is profound because it relies on the skills of the observer. Classically, there are four types of diagnoses: seeing, listening, touching and smelling. We will explore each, with special attention on integrating details to create a clear, whole picture of the person. Assessing the emotional and psychological qualities will be emphasized.
Most Important Acu-Points
In Chinese medicine, each acupuncture point has a name and a certain set of attributes. These give each point a unique quality, with physical, mental and emotional effects.
There is a simple set of acupressure points, called the Four Gates, that can move all of the qi throughout the body. This grand activation can stimulate greater self healing throughout our body-mind-spirit realms. You will learn three sets of Four Gates from classical Chinese medicine. You will learn where these points are located, how to properly massage them and why they are so special.
Assessment of various Exercises
There are different kinds of exercises, what Chinese call “inner” vs. “outer”, such as tai chi vs. jogging. We will compare their benefits and disadvantages. Often when someone adds regular exercise they have more difficulties with eating, especially by craving excessive sweets, liquids or alcohol. Overall, by including regular exercise we can improve vitality, stamina and benefit our prospects of a longer, healthier life.
The body has two natural power centers that are essential for deep health and vitality. In this lecture you will learn the meaning and importance of the Hara, a Japanese term for the vital abdominal center, and the kidneys. Michael will explain the nature of these power centers from the viewpoints of both oriental and western medicine and how to protect and nurture these constitutional powers you are born with. Is salt good or bad for the kidneys? Are salads good for the Hara? He will explain the qualities and energetic nature of certain key foods and food groups so that you can see which are best—when and when not. Other empowering ways for strengthening these power centers will be taught. They include specific acupressure points, simple breathing techniques and several qiqong exercises. Be ready to feel the power!
Michael will explain, from oriental and western medical viewpoints, how these organs are designed to serve our healing. He will teach you how to recognize signs of troubles brewing and how to know when problems are really improved. You will learn which foods weaken and disturb specific organs and functions and then which foods can strengthen and support continued wellness. Cooking styles, proportions and variations due to activity, sex, body types will be discussed.
Learn how your to make your Food become your
In Oriental medicine all foods, as with the whole body-mind, contain different “energy” natures. These energies are released through digestion for “nourishing” our being. By using terms such as “heating,” “cooling,” “dampening,” “drying,” “ancient,” and “modern,” we can begin to see how to use foods for different conditions and in different times of the years. We can also express the energy nature of the foods by their Five Transformational qualities.
Health is our birthright. Disease, disability, depression, decline and death are our culture’s vision for our future. We can change this view into a reality that embraces life’s changes, where sickness can lead to greater health and where confusion can lead to greater clarity.
This program is a gateway for personal change through an understanding of the essentials of Oriental medicine and macrobiotic principles. These insights are easily understood and usable by everyone.
Held in Manhattan
Michael Rossoff is available for private counseling
on June 26, 29 & 30.
Michael has been involved in macrobiotic and natural healing for 40 years. After studies with Michio Kushi in the '60s and '70s, he directed various macrobiotic centers in the Washington, D.C. area for 20 years. In addition to teaching and counseling, he published a macrobiotic magazine, MacroMuse, for 7 years in the 1980s. He originally studied acupuncture in England in the 1970s and more recently spent the year of 1999 completing a 3-year acupuncture degree program; he has practiced continuously since 1978. Michael was the academic dean and an instructor at a school of Oriental medicine near Asheville, North Carolina for three years. Since May, 2003, he has maintained a private counseling and acupuncture practice as well as teaching regularly in other cities, including Washington, DC, San Francisco, London, Jerusalem and Milan . He has lived in Asheville, North Carolina for 14 years. Michael will be available for counseling sessions. He is known for his attention to details and for combining diverse inputs to give you key insights and valuable feedback on your personal health issues. For more information about his work and counseling, please visit www.michaelrossoff.com.
As a Counselor
I just want to express my gratitude to you in your work with macrobiotics.
It has made a profound difference in my life, as well as my effect
on others. Your commitment and accepting manner come through in everything
The phone consultation was by far the most helpful. I went to work
and saw results within days, as a large tumor under the left arm is
vanishing!! Dealing with the emotional issues was also major.
Thank you so much for your insightful and encouraging consultation.
The talks were also inspiring... what a joy to hear such an all-embracing
non-judgemental presentation of macrobiotics. With your wisdom and
spirit, macrobiotics could actually catch on!
Thank you so much. When I came to see you, I was about to quit macrobiotics.
I did not know what to do. Reverting to the old diet was out of the
question and staying with the present one was not a happy decision.
Mostly I want to thank you for embracing imperfection. Thank you for
being kind, soft-spoken and funny. May you live forever!!!
You’ve helped me more
over the years than everyone else put together--and helped undo what
This morning I went to my primary
physician and she is tickled pink that not only is my cholesterol
down but my weight is down because I’ve been making good healthy food choices following your nutritional
guidance. I won’t say it’s been easy 100 percent of the
time but ok most of the time.
As a Teacher
I wanted to say a huge thank you for your amazing course. The information
you have given us is incredible, and I am really excited about being
able to use it. I am very inspired!
Thank you for your teaching--it was mind-blowing in many ways! It
gave me a great glimpse of what is out there in the Oriental traditions
and made me want to learn a lot more.
Michael Rossoff is not only knowledgeable but a gifited teacher. His
presentations are extremely well organized aand he teaches from tradition
and real experience,
Michael’s talk was one
of the best and most interesting presentations that I have had the
privilege to hear him make.
Michael is an awesome instructor. I appreciate
the knowledge he shared with us. His humor and attitude made the class
enjoyable and showed his passion for teaching.
I feel like I got a big present
and treasure--everything was extremely interesting and it wouldn’t
be too much if it lasted for a day longer. It is a rare occasion
to hear so much experience, knowledge, advices and to meet a teacher
like this who gives and transfers his knowledge in such an unselfish
way. I cannot wait to see Michael again!
The seminar was very, very
instructive and interesting. I liked the simplicity with which Michael
explained things and the way he made the connections between the
symptoms and the causes. The combination of learning and the practical
part was excellent and I didn’t
find the seminar tiring at all. I think that he brought the material
closer to us in such a way that it makes you wish to start to practice
it at once.
Held in Manhattan
Michael Rossoff is available for private counseling on
June 26, 29 & 30.