As I mentioned in my blog post on the Minor Heat Seasonal node it's San Fu time of year again! San Fu Moxibustion 三伏灸 was originally used to treat chronic respiratory problems such as asthma, although in modern times it has been expanded to other conditions. The basic theory of San Fu treatment combines the effective use of hot herbs applied to acupuncture points on the body during the hottest (i.e., most Yang) days of Summer. Doing so very aggressively expels cold that may linger in the body and also support the Yang and the Upright. Obviously however, this treatment is designed for patients who are vacuous and cold, and should not be performed on patients that in general have primarily hot conditions.
Treatment days are chosen based on the traditional Chinese calendar. The first of the San Fu days is the third geng (Yang metal) day after Summer Solstice in the Chinese calendar. The second day is 10 days after the first, and the third day is the first geng day after the Beginning of Autumn (which falls at the beginning of August). Usually there are three days in this method of day selection, but occasionally there is a fourth that can be used. This year (2018) the San Fu days are July 17, July 27, August 6, and August 16. Around noon on these days (noon is a Yang time) a special paste is applied to acupuncture points on the upper back that all warm the Yang qi and expel cold. While recipes for this paste vary, they include very hot herbs such as mustard seed (bai jie zi), asarum (xi xin) and ginger juice. Ideally this paste is also prepared ahead of time and allowed to cure for a full year, but freshly made paste works as well. People interested in learning more about San Fu Moxibustion should read Lorraine Wilcox’s book on moxibustion - Moxibustion: A Modern Clinical Handbook. You can also visit the website of my student Dr. Heidi Lovie. She produces San Fu powder for those who are not inclined to grind for themselves.
In Korea the San Fu days are a time to eat Ginseng Chicken Soup for the same reasons we do San Fu mustard plasters. Also, those of you who practice our lineage of Neigong should practice more Gathering the Yang of Heaven (see video below). Do just this one Gathering the Qi exercise on the San Fu days, and practice for a longer period of time. For example, consider 108 repetitions of just this posture, followed by a longer period of standing post.
This year I did once again prepare my own San Fu paste. Blow the Neigong video you'll see photos of the process of making the powder. Enjoy the hot summer days!