Mary was published in the North American Journal of Oriental Medicine: Volume 22, Number 63 in March 2015. The article is reprinted here:
The Longevity Treatment
by Mary S. Wallis
In my second year as an apprentice with Dr. Thomas Duckworth, DKM, LAc, NCCAOM Acupuncture Diplomate, I began to study the Longevity Treatment. The teachings were given in oral tradition, with Dr. Duckworth reading to me from his student notes. The treatment, to be performed once a month when we reach the age of 40, is said to promote health and longevity. I had been struggling with complex health issues much of my life. I wanted to live long enough to begin an acupuncture practice and perhaps even pass the medicine on to future generations. Intrigued, I began the study on myself.
I have been practicing this treatment since 2004 and my health has improved in many areas— but I have also been receiving regular meridian therapy acupuncture treatments during that time. In this article, I will lay out how I came to practice this treatment. And I invite the esteemed members of NAJOM to join me in studying this method, and in 10 years, report back via the journal with your findings.
I began to study Meridian Therapy acupuncture much due to my ongoing health issues. To keep it short, I was a sickly kid who progressed into a sickly adult. I was born with a congenital birth defect brought on by medications my mother took while pregnant. Surgeries removed my tonsils and my appendix (which was healthy but removed along with a gangrenous ovary). I struggled with allergies that progressed into asthma. I almost died from a severe asthma episode. And I underwent the removal of a melanoma that happened to be in the same location on my leg as the one removed from my paternal grandfather. All of this prior to my 40th birthday. So, when I heard about a natural method to fortify our energetics so as to better traverse life in a lasting way, I jumped on it.
Doctor Duckworth described the entire treatment as he knew it. He admitted he did not practice it, but it had been taught to him by Nakazono O'Sensei and he was now passing his knowledge of it to me. The points to treat were: LI-4, ST-36, SP-9, GV-4, and CV-12 in that order. But, it is said ST-36 could be used alone with great efficacy. Direct moxa is applied in 1/2 rice-grain size dosages, feeling the "heat, not the "hot." For males, the moxa is applied to the left side first and for females, the right side first. The receiver's dominant side may also be the starting point. The practice is performed for eight consecutive days each month.
Day one: Each point on the starting side receives 9 so (doses), while points on the opposite side receive 8 so. Day two: the dosage is 10 and 9 so. Day three: 11 and 11 so. Day four: 11 so for the starting side and 10 so for the opposite side. Day five: 9 so for the starting side and io for the opposite side. Day six: 9 so for the starting side; 10 for the opposite side. Day seven: 9 so for the staring side; 8 so for the opposite side. Day eight: 8 so for both sides.The practice is performed after the receiver's fortieth birthday. Prior to this, one may experience acid stomach and it is not good practice to continue should this symptom occur.
For the first year, I practiced with indirect moxa since I was not yet adept with direct moxa. I only used ST-36 as I was unable to reach GV-4 without burning myself. Also, the full course took me a great deal of time, which was difficult to fit into my busy schedule. Once I became more proficient in direct moxa I switched to that but continued with ST-36 only. I experimented with different times of the day for administering the treatment. I took my wrist pulses prior to and after treatment. I also took my pulse rate. And later, when I was taught about jingei pulse diagnosis, I incorporated that into the routine.
During my second year with the Longevity Treatment I noticed symptoms of transient arthritis-like pain. Up until then, I had been feeling stronger and noticed fewer illnesses. I suspected the treatment. I revisited the practice and noticed that days four and five seemed jarring to me. The treatment didn't flow quite as well as the other days. I decided to change it, so that on day four, I applied 10 so on the starting side and 11 so on the other, and on day five, I applied 9 so on starting side and 10 on the other. The rest of the practice remained as before. I was still treating ST-36. The first month after I adjusted the protocol, I the treatment felt more gentle and fluid. Later that month, my pain symptoms subsided.
I continued the monthly practice until 2008 when I began to suffer regular bouts of gastrointestinal distress. I experimented with several treatment frequencies. Through great trial and error, I came to practice just once a year: the eight consecutive days prior to and including my birthday. I have practiced this way since then.
Over the years I have found my overall health has improved. When I began studying with Dr. Duckworth in 2002, I had been prescribed several pharmaceuticals to control my asthma. I am presently free of those. However, I have continued to experience the intermittent pain of arthritis in varying joints.
Now that I perform the Longevity Treatment only once a year, I find myself anticipating the practice with great excitement. I look forward to 10 more years of study with this subject. And, I ask any of you intrepid souls who, like me, are intrigued by the potential of this practice, to take up the study and share your inspirations and experiences in the March 2025 issue of NAJOM.
Mary S. Wallis, L.Ac., NCCAOM Acupuncture Diplomate, L.M.T., C.N.M.T. owns Improved Performance Inc. in Florissant, MO, U.S.A. Mary became a massage therapist in 1989 and shortly after obtained Reiki training to level two. In 2002, she began her meridian therapy training under the tutelage of Thomas Duckworth, L.Ac., D.K.M. and in 2007 obtained her Missouri State License to practice acupuncture. Dr. Duckworth remains her teacher in post-graduate study. Mary (www.HealingStLouis.com) can be reached for comments at: MaryWallislmprovedHealing@gmail.com.