Treating Diseases with Traditional Chinese Medicine
Acute and Chronic Pain
An injury, illness through or a mysterious cause, a person will have developed pain that requires looking at by medical personnel. Think of this pain as a omen that there is something out of balance or serious wrong because our bodies are not meant to maintain a stressfully, pain filled, depressed, and insomnia filled lives.
It is difficult to decide which treatment will work for your pain. Some will take medication dulling the pain and usually this is a decision that is made when the pain is continuous and agonizing or when the pain symptoms are only for a short time. This method will not reach the core of the problem only lessen the symptoms for a time and then the pain may become of more intense and never-ending. It is best to keep in mind that any medications come with side effects and some may even compromise your health.
You pain may become so severe that you will consider surgery. Sometimes this option makes good judgment, but this is very costly and risky to your health, it possibly may result in additional side effects, and of course, there is not a promise that you will be healed.
Acupuncture practitioners recognize that there is a vital energy, called Qi (pronounced “chee”), circulating within the body. Qi flows though a series of pathways called meridians. Meridians are like rivers. Wherever a river flows it brings with it water that provides sustenance and life to the land, plants, and people around it. Likewise, Qi provides sustenance to every cell, tissue, muscle, organ and gland in the body. It is necessary for Qi to flow freely throughout the body, providing an adequate amount of nourishment but if there is, an obstruction anywhere within the body nourishment will be disrupted providing side effects such as pain.
An acupuncturist is able to break up blockages of the smooth flow of Qi by inserting fine, sterile needle at specific points. With this done, Qi may freely move throughout the body, promoting pain free health. With the pain corrected, the body may begin to heal on deeper levels through your acupuncturist and adjunct therapies, as directed by your acupuncturist.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), common cold is exogenous disease which is caused by exterior wind invasion. There are two major excessive types of colds: wind cold invasion and wind heat invasion. In wind cold pattern, the main symptoms are chills with fever, aversion to cold, nasal discharge with clear and watery mucus, headache and body aches, no thirsty or perspiration. In wind heat pattern, the main symptoms are chills with fever, less aversion to cold, sore throat, thirsty, less body aches and headaches, nasal obstruction and cough with yellow sticky mucus, little perspiration. TCM practitioner will prescribe different Chinese herb and use difference acupuncture points (acupoints) depending on these two basic types of symptoms.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can stimulate your body’s immunity to fight with virus and speed up the healing process. In addition, certain acupuncture points and Chinese herbs can relieve common cold symptoms immediately, such as stuffy nose, headaches, sore throat. Basically, the sooner patient gets TCM treatment for common cold, the less and shorter he/she will suffer. With period time of TCM treatment, it dramatically increases your immunity, with much less chance to catch common cold or flu.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), fat tissue means excess dampness stuck in the skin and muscles. There are several ways to reduce dampness from the body. To gently increase the body’s metabolic rate to improve the processing of body fluid is the most effective method.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine helps strengthen specific organ functions in the body to promote metabolism. Therefor weight loss is both safe and long term natural by-product.
There are also other factors that may lead to weight gain, i.e. your lifestyle, diet, and emotions. You and your acupuncturist can take your whole body into account and get to the root of your health concerns, rather than just treating the symptoms.
How acupuncture and Chinese Medicine achieve this goal?
- Release Endorphins - Many people crave more food when change die due to lack of endorphins. Acupuncture helps your body release endorphins to reduce the cravings.
- Stress reduction – Your metabolism is changed with increasing in the “stress hormone” Cortisol. When acupuncture releases of endorphins, it neutralizes the “stress hormone”.
- Help Digestion – Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help digestive process.
What will my acupuncturist do?
During your first visit, your acupuncturist will do tongue and pulse exam along with medical history intake. Your acupuncturist will provide you with TCM diagnosis and explain treatment plan to you.
Based on your unique conditions, your acupuncturist will choose specific meridians to concentrate with. For example, to stimulate Stomach meridian can balance the flow of stomach Qi (energy) to reduce appetite and promote digestion. As an emotional eater, he or she can be helped by balancing the Liver function.
Your acupuncturist may use acupoints on your ears, too. Attaching tapes with magnetic seeds on the ear lobe and pressing several times per day by the patient can effectively decrease appetite. This treatment method makes benefit from office visit last longer. To work with your acupuncturist, you can help your body regain its natural balance, and start taking steps toward true health.
Low Back Pain
There are many reasons to cause back pain. The acute back pain usually comes from strained muscles or ligaments due to improper lifting, or trauma. Chronic back pain can be diagnosed as degenerated disc, arthritis, pinch nerve, etc. According to acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, our body has to keep free flow of Qi or vital energy through meridians. There are many reasons to cause blockage of Qi, such as stress, injury, body constitution, and external invaders, i.e. dampness or wind.
- Cold-Dampness Stagnation: Aching, heaviness type of pain in the back with cold sensation, prefer warmth. Limited range of motion. Worse in the morning, exercise makes better.
- Damp-Heat Stagnation: Back pain with ho sensation, worse when raining or hot. Prefer cold. Exercise makes better.
- Q & Blood Stagnation: Stabbing pain with fixed location, worse at night, limited range of motion, pressure or touch makes worse.
- Kidney Deficient: Dull, weakness sensation at low back, with weak knees. Over-work or exercise makes worse. Cold all the time.
After making your diagnosis according to TCM, your acupuncturist will create a specific treatment plan to stop your pain and help your overall health. Acupuncture provides long term relief for back pain with improvements in physical activity, quality of sleep and the decreasing use of pain medicine.
Fibromyalgia is a very common disorder with a broad range of symptoms, which includes musculoskeletal pain, muscle stiffness, fatigue, sleep disorder, emotional disorder and etc. Fibromyalgia is diagnosed by applying a firm pressure to certain areas/spots (called tender points) of your body to test if additional pain occurs in those spots, and then Fibromyalgia condition can be confirmed if 11 out of 18 tender points in your body are tested positive for tenderness. It is of great importance and interest that some of those tender points are found to be acupuncture points (acupoints) discovered by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
How Fibromyalgia can be treated by Acupuncture?
Acupuncture treatment of Fibromyalgia is based on the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory of Qi. Qi is fundamental to TCM and vital to human body. An imbalance of Qi can cause lot of disease symptoms and conditions, i.e. some of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia - muscle pain and stiffness.
Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnoses fibromyalgia according to internal organ’s function. Usually, the functions Live, Spleen and Heart are disharmony in this case. The Liver functions are to control the smooth flow of Qi, blood and emotions, as well as nourish the tendons. When the Liver function is weak, it can’t supply enough Qi and blood to flow throughout the body, result in tendons and muscles cannot be nourished. All of these problems can cause chronic pain. Since the Liver in charge of emotions, it can also cause all kinds of emotional problems when the Liver function is disharmony, which can be caused by improper diet, drugs, alcohol, and long term stress.
The Spleen function is to transform the food into Qi and blood. The spleen disharmony can cause fatigue, digestive problems and muscle weakness.
When the Spleen function is weak and cannot produce enough Qi and blood, the Heart function is also affected. Beside of pumping blood throughout the body like Western Medicine believes, Heart also is the home of the Spirit (Shen). When the Spleen cannot produce enough blood to nourish the Heart, the Heart cannot house the Spirit. Symptoms are anxiety, insomnia, and palpitation.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) stated that acupuncture could be effective in treating Fibromyalgia in Nov. 1997. Acupuncture can not only stop pain but also address the associated symptoms, and improve overall health.
Headaches and Migraines
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are safe, with almost no side effect treatment for stopping headaches and associated symptoms. Western medical research already found out acupuncture made your body release endorphin, which was nearly 1,000 times stronger than morphine to stop pain. Acupuncture also helps blood circulation, which is one of the major root reasons to cause pain, including headaches.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes there are many reasons to cause headaches and migraine. They are emotions, diet, physical trauma, hormone, and body constitutions. TCM diagnoses headache according to its location, symptoms, duration and type of pain, etc.
Your acupuncturist will do medical history intake along with tongue and pulse diagnose to determine the root cause of headache. During treatment, she chooses certain acupoints related to specific internal organs based on your unique symptoms. Afterwards, she may suggest certain self-care techniques to you. However, please remember that acupuncture is not a “quick fix.” You may start to feel better right after the first visit, or may need more treatments depending on your overall constitution and health.
Here are some tips to help you prevent headaches:
- Track trigger factors: Try to keep track of when your headaches start and what makes it worse.
- Relief stress: Stress can contribute to many health issues, including headaches. Acupuncture treatment is very effective for stress reduction.
- Exercise: Exercise is another big helper for stress relief.
- Health life style: Start with health life style can make a big difference in your overall health. Your acupuncturist can help achieve your goal.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are effective in reducing the frequency and severity of headaches. You can have quality life by working with your acupuncturist.
Temporomandibular Syndrome (TMJ)
What is TMJ?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular syndrome. It refers to pain at the muscles of the jaw or at the parts of the joint itself with possible swelling. Patients suffer with muscle spasm, limited range of motion, earaches, and tinnitus. Possible causes of TMJ include jaw injury, arthritis, or Stress, which can cause a person to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth.
How can acupuncture help TMJ?
Acupuncture is very effective in treating TMJ by addressing cause of the TMJ. Acupuncture can quickly reduce the pain and discomfort caused by TMJ. Your acupuncturist can work with you to have a treatment plan customized for your specific symptoms, which could include relaxation of body and mind, and change of your diet and helping you to get better sleep at night. Also at the same time, you can seek help from your dentist who may prescribe a night guard which help reduce the dental damage from teeth grinding and clenching.
According to Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) theory, the allergy symptoms is related to body system imbalance. There are many reasons to cause these imbalances, including poor diet, stress, pollutions, and body constitutional weakness. It is important to have good quality and quantity of Defensive Qi (similar to the Western concept of the immune system) circulating around the body in order to stay healthy. People with defensive Qi deficiency are prone to allergies and frequent colds.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine strengthen the body systems that are involved in the production of Defensive Qi. When builds up the Defensive Qi and increases the free flow of Qi through the body, allergy symptoms could be greatly reduced.
Your acupuncturist will conduct a thorough Chinese Medical exam, to make a unique treatment plan according to your condition. The goal of the treatment plan will be to reduce symptoms as well as increasing quality and quantity of Defensive Qi.
Acupuncture treatment may be combined with Chinese herbs, and dietary changes. These therapies increase the healing process in order to balance, build, and support the body’s Defensive Qi.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatment for allergies is divided into two stages. During the acute attack stage, your acupuncturist will try to reduce the patient’s discomfort with safe and side-effect free therapies. In between attacks, she will primarily focus on the root cause of your disease.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are a drug-free, side-effect free, safe, natural and effective way to eliminate allergies, hay fever or the common cold.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may experience constipation or diarrhea and different degrees of abdominal pain, stress can makes it worse. For some reason, IBS affects more women than men. Research found out there are direct effects between the GI tract and the central nervous system. This explains why emotional upsets affect the intestines and why intestinal symptoms affect the mood.
Unlike the Western drugs used to treat this condition to cause many side effects, Chinese medicine has been proven to treat IBS safely and effectively. TCM believes this condition is majorly caused by liver-spleen disharmony which is due to stress, over thinking, fatigue, unhealthy diet, i.e. overeating sugars, and lack of physical exercises. Besides balancing internal organ’s function, acupuncture also can relax the muscles in the wall of the colon, thereby reducing the bowel pressure, and reduce stress as well. In addition, patients also need to adjust the diet and life style. Certain foods, such as coffee, alcohol, spices, some raw fruits and vegetables, and, in some people, even milk can cause the problem. In these cases, avoidance of these foods is the simplest treatment.
Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism. Human been has suffered this kind of disease for long time. Chinese medicine has recognized and treated diabetes for at least 2,500 years. Chinese name for this disease is called “xiao ke”. The symptoms of diabetes—marked big thirst, always hungry, frequency of urination, sweat taste in the urine and weight loss—were well known.
According to TCM, there are three reasons to cause diabetes. They are diet, i.e. spicy, greasy food or alcohol to promote interior heat to damage body fluid; Emotions, i.e. angry can cause liver Qi stagnation to produce heat to damage functions of lung, stomach and kidney; Over working or over sex to damage Kidney Yin (essence) to cause false heat.
One of the best parts of acupuncture to treat diabetes is to help patient control his/her craving, and stay with healthy diet. Acupuncture also balance and repair body system to treat the complications of diabetes.
Almost everyone has such experience in our life: hard to falling asleep; wake up often during the night hard to go back to sleep; fatigue and irritability. Ongoing insomnia can lead to further health concerns including lower immunity.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there are two major categories to cause insomnia, one is excess type, and other one is deficient type.
Under excess type, there are three types:
- Excess heart fire: it comes from too much stress or other emotions. Restlessness sleeping, wake up very often. Dry mouth, prefers cold drink with ulcers at tongue. Yellow scanty and painful urine.
- Liver fire: very angry, with lots of unpleasant dreams, sometimes wake up all night. Red eyes, may have headache. Blurred vision, hypochondriac pain, bitter taste in the mouth, thirsty. Palpitation, tinnitus.
- Damp-heat stagnation: insomnia with heavy sensation all over the body. Dizziness, headache. Heavy sensation in the chest. Nausea, vomiting with poor appetite. Constipation or diarrhea.
Under Deficiency type:
- Kidney Yin deficiency: mind is super active at the night, poor memory, restlessness or very shallow sleep, wake up frequently. Palpitation, night perspiration, red face. Low backache, tinnitus, dizziness. Thirsty.
- Heart and spleen deficiency: worry, thinking too much to damage spleen Qi and make heart blood deficient. Hard to fall in sleep, very easy to wake up, lots of dreams. Dizziness, palpitation. Pale face, constipation or diarrhea, poor appetite, fatigue.
- Heart and Gallbladder Qi deficient: insomnia, dream lot, easy to wake up. Easy to be scared, shortness of breath. Fatigue, lots of urination. Pale face.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatment are effective to improve your sleep quality without side effects. Treatment most likely will cure insomnia.
Endometriosis and Painful Periods
Western Medicine treats painful periods (dysmenorrhea) with birth control pills or pain medicine. It treats endometriosis with hormone therapy and surgery. These treatments only relieve symptoms. However, they are invasive and with severe side-effects. On the other hand, TCM and acupuncture try to get ride the root of problem, with no side-effect and much lower cost.
TCM believes there are four major reasons to cause dysmenorrhea.
- Qi and blood stagnation: When energy flow is obstructed, blood circulation is often blocked, too. It has severe pain with bloating before menses, pressure makes pain worse. Dark blood with lots of clots, distension at breasts, very emotional.
- Cold stagnation: It comes from cold food, or cold environment, i.e. often swim in cold water, esp. with periods. It has mild pain, warm and pressure makes pain better. Little blood discharge with pale color, low back and knees discomfort, cold body.
- Damp heat stagnation: It often comes from unhealthy diet. It usually has burning pain, warm touch makes pain worse. Large amount of yellow vaginal discharge (leukorhea) with bad smell. Dark red blood discharge with lots of clots, yellow scanty urine.
- Qi and blood deficiency: It comes with big surgery or injury, or over worry and thinking damaging spleen and heart Qi. Mild pain at the end of period, with empty sensation in lower abdomen, likes to be touched. Scanty, pale blood discharge, no clots, pale face, low energy, poor appetite, blurred vision, dizziness.
- Liver and Kidney deficiency: It caused by too many child birth or over sex. It has mild pain and the end of period, scanty, red and sticky blood discharge. Low back and knees weakness, Tinnitus, blurred vision, loose hair, night perspiration, fatigue, infertility.
As you can see, when acupuncture and TCM treat dysmenorrhea, it also treats lots of other symptoms associate with it. That is how TCM works by restoring balance to the whole body.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to a wide range of physical or emotional symptoms that typically occur about 5 to 11 days before a woman starts her monthly menstrual cycle. The symptoms usually stop when menstruation begins. Symptoms includes: irritable, depression, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, breast tenderness, bloating, headache, low backache, acne, constipation or diarrhea, and special food cravings.
According to Chinese medical theory, there are varies reasons to cause each of those symptoms. For instance, premenstrual low backache is caused by Kidney deficient; breast distention is usually caused by Liver Qi stagnation; premenstrual acne is most often due to excess heat in the lungs which manifest at the skin.
Typically the course of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) treatment for PMS takes 2~4 menstrual cycles. Such treatment does not only decrease symptoms but rebalances the entire body’s internal organ as well as the woman’s qi, blood, and body fluids.
TCM practitioner may also suggest dietary changes, lifestyle modifications so that these symptoms do not recur again.
Menopause is a series of natural biological changes that occurs in all women when their ovaries stop producing the estrogen, and fertility ends. You may suffer those symptoms: irregular periods, insomnia, gain weight, emotional, and fatigue.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine believe that menopause symptoms are result from Yin-Yang imbalance. Yin indicates lots of things, such as water, blood, cold. Yang indicates everything in opposite, such as hot, function and energy. After having menstruation for so many years, women loose blood as part of body fluid. So they are Yin deficiency at menopause stage. Associated symptoms are: hot flushes and/or night perspiration, restlessness and insomnia. When someone has Yin deficiency, she will end up with Yang deficiency, too. Since Yin-Yang supports to each other. At later stage of menopause, symptoms can be gain weight, edema, cold hands and feet.
Another factor that can contribute to menopause is Jing Qi declines. Jing qi is a kind of energy we all have at the time of conception and is similar to Estrogen in Western Medicine. It gives us the basic energy. Around 40 years old, Jing Qi starts to declines and result in aging process start, which leads to backache, fatigue, poor memory, and gray hair. Jing Qi decline also causes internal organ function imbalance. Symptoms are indigestion, difficulty urination, lower libido, etc.
These menopause symptoms are the indication of body imbalance condition. From symptoms your acupuncturist can determine which internal organ function is unbalanced, and where the energy is too weak or too strong. Once your Chinese Medical diagnosis is made, acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be used to correct the imbalance.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine offer alternate view of menopause. Treatment balances Yin-Yang, and support Jing Qi to nourish the body. The treatment is not only side-effect free, but also not need too many treatments, once your body regains balance, the symptoms are gone.
It was very important to have more children in traditional Chinese culture. There is a saying “more Children means luckier”. As the only medicine to be used in China for thousands years, Chinese Medicine supports a woman’s whole body to improve fertility rates. Today, acupuncture greatly improves the chances of being pregnant when used in combining with Western reproductive techniques.
Clinical observation shows the follicles usually double in number, the lining of the uterus becomes thicker, and the number of embryos increases significantly after acupuncture treatment. For male patients, their semen quality significantly improves and the sperm number greatly increases.
In brief, traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can help to improve the success rate of IVF in a number of ways:
- Improve the function of the ovaries to produce better quality eggs.
- Regulate the hormones to produce a larger number of follicles.
- Increase blood flow to the uterus and increase the thickness of the uterine lining.
- Relax the patient and decrease their stress.
- Prevent the uterus from contracting.
- Lessen the side effects of drugs used in IVF.
- Strengthen the immune system.
- Improve semen to create better quality and quantity of embryos.
- Decrease chances of miscarriage.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine provide a safe, effective, and natural approach to treating infertility and enjoying a healthy pregnancy.
Emotional Disorder, Depression, Stress and Anxiety
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have treated emotional disorder, such as depression, stress, anxiety for thousands of years. TCM not only help to alleviate the symptoms but also address the underlying imbalances.
TCM believes our emotion and physical body are inseparable and interfere to each other. When we experience emotional and/or physical problems result with stagnated Qi. Qi is the vital energy that protects our body from pain and illness. The stagnated Qi will lead to disharmony within our body. If not treated properly, such imbalance may lead to depression, or anxiety.
TCM practitioner will take a complete medical history to find out where and how Qi has become stagnated. The treatment goal will be activate the circulation of Qi throughout the whole body, and balance body.
Even though, right after initial acupuncture treatment, most patients feel very relaxed, acupuncture is not a “quick fix”. You may need regular treatment from weeks to months to address the root causes. It helps more when you seek psychology consulting together.