What We Heal
- Menopause (includes natural hormone replacement therapy)
- Abnormal and dysfunctional uterine bleeding
- Infertility and reproductive techniques
- Pelvic pain
- Uterine fibroids
- Recovery after chemotherapy and radiation
- Abnormalities of pregnancy (breech presentation, recurrent miscarriages). Postpartum care
- Hair loss
- Anorexia and bulimia nervosa
- Smoking cessation
- Weight loss/Weight gain
- Genitourinary disorders
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
- Dry cough
- Syogren's, Behcets, and other autoimmune diseases
- Systemic and Discoid Lupus Erethematosus
- Systemic sclerosis
- Polymyositis and dermatomyositis
- Reiter's syndrome
- Low back pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Tendonitis and tenosynovitis
- Heel/knee pain
- Neck pain
- Sciatica pain
- Shin splits
- Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis
- Hyperthyroidism / Hypothyroidism
- Adrenal disorders
- Disorders of carbohydrate metabolism (diabetes, hypoglycemia, hyperlipidemia)
- Weight loss/Weight gain
- Chest pain of esophageal origin
- Globus sensation
- Peptic ulcers disease
- Chronic pancreatitis
- Chron's disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Fatty liver
- Chronic hepatitis
- Cluster headache
- Tension headache
- Memory loss
- Hypoactive / hyperactive sexual desire disorders
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Bacterial infections on the skin
- Cosmetic Acupuncture
According to traditional Chinese medicine, PMS is most definitely classified as a valid gynecological complaint or disease. The good news is that Chinese doctors (including acupuncturists) have been curing women’s PMS for centuries if not millennia.
I will explain to you the diagnosis and treatment of PMS with Chinese medicine. You will learn what causes PMS and what you can do a bout it. I will be able to share with you a number of self-help techniques which can minimize your monthly discomfort. I have been specializing in the Chinese medical treatment of gynecological complains for 10 years, and I have helped Western women cure or relive their PMS. Chinese medicine cannot cure every gynecological disease, but when it comes to PMS, Chinese medicine is the best alternative I know. If a woman follows my advice, together we can cure or at least reduce her premenstrual signs and symptoms.
What is PMS?
According to The Merck Manual, PMS is a "condition characterized by nervousness, irritability, emotional instability, depression, and possibly headaches, edema, and mastalgia; it occurs seven to ten days before menstruation and disappear a few hours after the onset of menstrual flow." When nervousness, irritability, depression and emotional instability or lability are the main symptoms, this disease is also referred to as PMT or premenstrual tension, and PMDD, premenstrual dysphoric disorder. In actual clinical fact the list of accompanying signs and symptoms is much longer than the one presented above. Some women’s PMS includes dozens of symptoms and complaints. In fact, more than 150 symptoms have been reported in the Western medical literature association with PMS. It is also true that, although the authors of The Merck Manual say PMS begins seven to ten days before each menses, in some women it may begin two weeks or more before each period. Though the symptoms of PMS vary from woman to woman, they do occur during a specific and relatively constant time of the menstrual cycle and have clear beginning and end.
The hallmark of professional Chinese medicine is what is known as "treatment based on pattern of discrimination." Modern Western medicine bases its treatment on a disease diagnosis. This means that two patients diagnosed as suffering from the same disease will get he same treatment. Traditional Chinese medicine also takes the patient’s disease diagnosis into account. However, the choice of treatment is not based on the disease so much as it is on what is called the patient’s pattern, and it is treatment based on pattern discrimination which is what makes Chinese Medicine the holistic, safe, and effective medicine it is.
In order to explain the difference between a disease and a pattern, let us take headache for example. Everyone who is diagnosed as suffering from a headache has to, by definition, have some pain in their head. In modern Western medicine and other medical systems which primarily prescribe on the basis of a disease diagnosis, one can talk about "headache medicines." However, amongst headache sufferers, one may be a man and the other a woman. One may be old and the other young. One may be fat and the other skinny. One may have pain on the right side of her head and the other may have pain on the left. In one case, the pain may be throbbing and continuous, while the other person’s pain may be very sharp but intermittent. In one case, they may also have indigestion, a tendency to loose stools, lack of warmth in their feet, red eyes, a dry mouth and desire for cold drinks, while the other person has a wet, weeping, rusty skin rash with red borders, a tendency to hay fever, ringing in their ears, and dizziness when they stand up. In Chinese medicine just as in modern Western medicine, both these patients suffer from headache. That I their disease diagnosis. However, they also suffer from a whole host of other complaints, have very different types of headaches, and very different constitutions, ages, and sex.
Thus, in Chinese medicine, the pattern describes the totality of the person as a unique individual. And in Chinese medicine, treatment is designed to rebalance that entire pattern of imbalance as well as address the major complaint or disease.
Healthy Menopause: A Second Spring
Menopause is a naturally occurring transition. As a physiological event, it is not a disease and it need not be accompanied by any discomfort. Indeed, statistics show that in 20% of all American women, there are no symptoms at all, and in cultures where age brings power and status to women, close to 100% of menopausal women have reported no symptoms. (Lyttleton, Jane, op.cit., p. 5)
However, in Western societies where older women are less valued and respected than their younger sisters, approximately 80% of women do have symptoms, ranging from mild and quite transient to severe and debilitating.
Going through menopause does not automatically mean that symptoms will arise. Just on the Physical level, if a woman’s diet is good, if she exercises moderately but regularly, if she limits stress in her life where possible and has an effective way of dealing with stress when it does arise, that woman is less likely to experience symptoms when she reaches menopause or at any other time for that matter! There are women who sail through menopause with little or no discomfort whatsoever.
Menopausal women need not believe that they are doomed to years of hormonal nightmare. Pre-menopausal women need not anticipate with dread the menopausal years. All women, however, need to act with intelligence to bring their being into a state of health whereby menopausal discomforts may be reduced or eliminated. On the one hand, it I important for all of us to recognize and accept the facts of aging and decline. These are part of the human condition and used to be accepted as such. On the other hand, we need not believe that either menopause of the post-menopausal years doom us to several decades of excessive and continual suffering. It is up to us to determine how these years will be experienced, and it is up to us to act upon that determination.
Many menopausal complaints respond very well to correctly prescribed and administered acupuncture. Acupuncture also includes several other methods of stimulating acupuncture points, thus regulating the flow of qi in the body. The main other modality is moxibustion. This means the warming of acupuncture points mainly by burning dried, aged Oriental mugwort on, near, or over acupuncture points. The purposes of this warming treatment are: 1) to even more strongly stimulate the flow of qi and blood, 2) add warmth to areas of body which are too cold, and 3) add yang qi to the body to supplement a yang qi deficiency. Other acupuncture modalities are to apply suction cups over points, to prick the points to allow a drop or two of blood to exit, to apply Chinese medicinals to the points, to apply magnets to the points, and to stimulate the points by either electricity or laser.
One of the best things about the acupuncture treatment of menopausal complaints I that its effects are often immediate. Since many of the mechanisms of menopausal syndrome have to do with stuck qi, as soon as the qi is made to flow, the symptoms disappear. Therefore, many patients begin to feel better after the very first treatment.
Patients with irritability and nervous tension will feel an immediate relief of these symptoms while still on the table. Typically, one will feel a pronounced tranquillity and relaxation within five to ten minutes of the insertion of the needles. Many patients do drop off to sleep for a few minutes while the needles are in place.
In China, acupuncture treatments are given every day of every other day, three to five times a week depending on the nature and severity of the condition. In the West however, health care delivery differs greatly form China, making it financially unfeasible for most patients to receive as many treatments per week. Western patients suffering from menopausal complaints typically respond very well to acupuncture treatment performed twice a week for another several weeks. After that, a maintenance course of monthly sessions is highly recommended. In severe, stubborn cases, acupuncture treatment may have to continue for several months. In general, one can expect their improvement from acupuncture to be gradual and progressive. Based on my clinical experience, if acupuncture is combined with diet and life-style changes, Chinese herbs, and a selection of the self-care treatments recommended above the results will be even quicker and the relief of symptoms even more complete.
Chinese Herbal Medicine for Menopause
Chinese herbal medicine is one of the most effective natural methods of treating menopausal complaints or preventing their arisal. Studies on the effectiveness of herbal medicine for treating menopausal women for a variety of symptoms are written about in Traditional Chinese Medical journals on a regular basis. Typical amelioration rates of these studies are in the 80-95% range. In professionally practiced Chinese medicine, herbs are rarely used singly. Most formulas, whether prepared as a powder, pill, tincture, or tea are a combination of from six to twenty herbs.
Herbs are effective in cases of vacuity because they can actually add qi, blood, yin, and/or yang to the body. Since most menopausal health issues relate to the blood and yin and to insufficiency or vacuity, herbs are often an appropriate choice. Herbs have the added advantage of being whole and biochemically complex substances made up of a balance of various synergistic chemical parts and hormone precursors. This means that they are easier for the body to utilize than single, synthesized drugs, and that in turn means they are less likely to cause side effects.
However, such freedom from side effects is based on correct administration in turn based on a correct professional diagnosis.
This is why it is usually a good idea not to self-medicate. Do not make the mistake of thinking that since herbal medicines are natural substances, herbs are completely benign. The wrong herbs or the wrong dosage can make a person sick or worsen their health.
So if you are seriously interested in taking herbs for preventive of remedial menopausal care, it is wise to seek professional assistance in choosing the appropriate formulas.
One of the best things about the acupuncture treatment of menopausal complains is that its effects are often immediate. Since many of the mechanisms of menopausal syndrome have to do with stuck qi, as soon as the qi is made to flow, the symptoms begin to feel better after the very first treatment.
Patients with irritability and nervous tension will feel an immediate relief while still on the table. Typically, one will feel a pronounced tranquillity and relaxation within five to ten minutes of the insertion of the needles. Many patients do drop off to sleep for a few minutes while the needles are in place.
Allergy season is here again, and more than 35 million Americans will be suffering from sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, scratchy throat, and other miseries.
Americans spent over $1.5 billion on over-the-counter allergy remedies in 1999. Hay fever sufferers spent an additional $225 million on physician office visits and $297 million on prescription drugs.
In allopathic medicine, seasonal allergy symptoms are called allergic rhinitis, believed to be caused by hypersensitivity to airborne dust, mold, pollen, fur or feathers.
These allergens produce an exaggerated immune response leading to upper respiratory inflammation and congestion. Patients are usually prescribed antihistamines or corticosteroids.
Chinese medicine offers many wonderful alternatives to drugs which often leave patients drowsy and dried-out. Chinese herbal remedies are also safer, gentler, and less expensive than pharmaceutical remedies.
On an important note, the best effect is achieved by taking the acupuncture and herbs treatments before the allergy season starts.
Naomi Judd photo courtesy of Front Page Publicity
Naomi Judd, 55 - mother of country singer Wynonna, 37, and actress Ashley, 33 - was diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C, a liver infection, in 1990. She endured futile treatments before Dr. Bruce Bacon of St. Louis University began alfa-interferon injections. Judd has used yoga, acupuncture and meditation, too. Considered "cured," she's now a motivational speaker. Judd also has resumed singing, put out a CD with Wynonna and appeared in Ashley's film Someone Like You.
Traditional Chinese doctors have been treating insomnia safely and effectively for tens of centuries.
I have been a professional practitioner of Chinese medicine for almost 10 years, and I have helped scores of Western patients cure or relive their insomnia. Chinese medicine cannot cure every disease, but when it comes to insomnia, Chinese medicine is the best alternative I know. When someone calls and says that insomnia is their major complaint, I know that, if they follow my advice, together we can cure or at least reduce their difficulty getting a good night’s sleep.
I will be able to share with you a number of self-help techniques which can minimize your discomfort and may very well help you break the cycle of insomnia.
What is insomnia?
According to The Merck Manual, the clinical Bible of Western MDs, insomnia refers to "Difficulty in sleeping, or disturbed sleep patterns leaving the perception of insufficient sleep." Insomnia is a common symptom and may be due to a number of emotional and physical disorders.
Types of insomnia
Western medicine recognizes that at least three types of insomnia. The first is called initial insomnia. This refers to difficulty falling asleep after having laid down at night. The person cannot enter sleep at night. This is commonly associated with emotional disturbances, such as anxiety, a phobic state, or depression. The second type of insomnia is called matitudinal insomnia or early morning awakening. The person is able to fall asleep, but then they wake up early in the morning, several hours before it is time to arise. Once awake, they then cannot fall back asleep. This pattern of early awakening is a common phenomenon of aging. However, even though it is common, it is nonetheless painful for its sufferers. In some cases, this type of insomnia may also be associated with depression. The third type of insomnia is called inverted sleep rhythm. If older patients with insomnia overuse sedative medications, they may be drowsy in the morning and doze all day. Then, when it comes time to sleep at night, they no longer feel tired, if the dose of sedatives is increased, the patient may feel restless, clouded, dazed, or confused at night. If they suspend their sedative medication, their insomnia tends to return full force.
Causes of insomnia
Some people just sleep less than others. When insomnia is longstanding with little apparent relationship to immediate physical or psychological occurrences, this is called primary insomnia. If insomnia is due to pain, anxiety, or depression, this is called secondary insomnia. In other words, the insomnia is secondary to some other factor in the person’s life. When insomnia is of relatively recent onset, it is usually due to current anxieties, such as marital strife, problems at work, financial troubles, or concern over one’s health. However, insomnia may follow a prolonged or extreme febrile (i.e., feverish) disease and may occur in women around the menses, after giving birth, or around or after menopause due to physical events associated with female physiology.
How Western medicine treats insomnia
When Western MD try to treat insomnia, they usually do so using a combination of nonspecific advice coupled with a prescription for one or more Western pharmaceutical. By nonspecific advice, I mean generic advice given to all sufferers of insomnia, such as getting more exercise, trying to relax, or drinking warm milk before bed. As we will see below, the Chinese doctor may also give the same advice but on an individualized basis. For some patients, getting more exercise may be good, while for others, it might aggravate their insomnia. Likewise, warm milk may help certain people sleep but worsen others’ restlessness at night. Therefore, Chinese doctors give very specific advice to each individual patient.
The Western medications most often prescribed for insomnia are called sedatives and hypnotics. Laypeople often refer to these as tranquilizers. Valium or Riazepam is probably the most often prescribed and best know of these. Unfortunately, all such drugs involve some risk of overdose and addiction. In addition, when discontinued, there are withdrawal symptom which can include the recurrence of insomnia. Further, because they are sedatives, it I important that persons taking these types of drugs not engage in any activity afterwards which requires mental alertness, judgment, or physical coordination, such as driving.
Some of the common adverse or unwanted side effects of sedatives and hypnotics are drowsiness, lethargy and "hangover." Less often, there can also be hives, nausea, and vomiting. Ironically, in older patients, any sedative may cause restlessness and overexcitement. It is also sad but true that many patients take higher doses than they should or will admit to, thus causing slurring of speech, lack of coordination, and shaking due overdose. And finally, sedatives are addicting in the same way that alcohol, opiates, antihistamines, and antidepressants are. Therefore, it is no wonder that many people are afraid or do not want to take sedatives.
Happily, Chinese medicine has a number of safe and effective, low cost and non-addictive alternatives which have been used in Asia for hundreds and thousands of years.
Some patients may be currently using Western sleep medications. These may be either over-the-counter nostrums or prescription sedatives and "tranquilizers." In general, it is not a good idea to discontinue such medication abruptly without checking with your Western physician. Your Western physician will be able to tell you whether or not you can stop taking a medication immediately or whether it needs to be tapered off at a certain schedule.
It is best if your Western MD and your Chinese medical practitioner can work hand in hand. Therefore, if you are currently taking any Western medication, whether prescription or over-the-counter, it is important to tell your Chinese medical practitioner what you are taking. In general, there is no problem with taking Western sedatives and tranquilizers with Chinese medicinals or at the same time as receiving acupuncture for insomnia. If anything, the Chinese medical treatment will make the Western medicines work better and with less side effects. What you should notice fairly quickly is that you need to take less and less of your Western medications to achieve the same or even better ability to go and stay asleep. Thus acupuncture and Chinese medicinals can actually help you get off Western sedatives and tranquilizers at the same time as addressing the root of your insomnia.
Between 35 and 40 million Americans are affected by arthritis. It is one of the most prevalent chronic health problems in the United States with a cost of $64.8 billion per year in medical care and lost wages. Among those 65 years and older, arthritis is epidemic with an estimated 65-85% of all Americans in this age group suffering from joint pain ranging in severity from a minor inconvenience to a severely disabling disease. Even people under 45 may suffer from arthritis as the result of traumatic injury and/or surgery.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis means joint (arthr-) inflammation (-itis). When prefaced by the word osteo, it simply means inflammation of the joints of the bones. Other names for osteoarthritis (OA) are degenerative joint disease (DJD), osteoarthroses (i.e., bone joint condition), and hyperthrophic osteoarthritis. It is the most common of all forms of joint disease, typically first appearing asymptomatically in the 20s and 30s and becoming universal by age 70. As the authors of The Merck Manual, one of the "bibles" of Western MDs, says, "Almost all person by age 40 have some pathologic changes in the weight-bearing joints, although relatively few people are symptomatic [by that age]."
While both men and women get arthritis, the incidence in women is significantly higher – about two to one. However, its onset is typically higher in men than in women. Osteoarthritis is found in all climates throughout the world. In fact, OA occurs in almost all vertebrates. The only two mammals it does not occur in are bats and sloths which both spend much of their lives hanging upside down!
What causes arthritis?/
According to modern Western medicine, its etiology or cause is unknown. OA appears to be due to a complex set of interacting mechanical, biological, biochemical, and enzymatic feedback loops. When one or more of these components fails to do its job properly, this sets in motion the changes in the tissue of the joints we call arthritis. Some of the factors which may contribute to the onset of arthritis are congenital joint abnormalities, genetic defects, infectious, metabolic, endocrine, and neuropathic diseases, virtually any disease which alters the normal structure and function of the cartilage covering the inner surfaces of the joint, and acute and chronic trauma affecting this cartilage. In terms of this last cause, we are talking about wear and tear. Any motion which repeatedly puts stress on the inner surfaces of the joint may result in micro-trauma continues year after year, as in certain occupations such as foundry workers and bus drivers, a whole series of micro-trauma sooner or later adds up to significant damage to the surfaces of the joints. Whether this happens sooner or later depends on other factors affecting our health, such as our metabolism, our hormones, our immune system, and various infectious diseases.
What are the signs and symptoms of arthritis?
The onset of arthritis is usually subtle and gradual and begins by affecting only one or two joints. Its first symptom is pain and this pain is typically made worse by exercise. When one wakes up in the morning, the affected joint may be stiff, but this improves with movement after 15-30 minutes. As the disease progresses, joint mobility becomes diminished and flexion contractures occur. One may hear a grating noise and feel a grating sensation within the joint when it is moved. This is called crepitus. Eventually, the affected joints become enlarged and may even become hot to the touch and red in color. As the ligaments holding the joint in place become lax, the joint may become increasingly unstable and increasingly painful. Tenderness on palpation around the affected joint and pain on passive motion (i.e., when someone else moves the joint for you) are late signs in the progression of this disease. Adding insult to the injury, muscular spasms add to the pain. Eventually, as the inflammatory process continues to affect the cartilage and underlying bone tissue, the joint may become deformed, the surrounding muscles may atrophy, and nodular pseudocysts may appear.
So what does Chinese medicine have to offer sufferers of arthritis?
Chinese medicine has a much more down to earth and immediately understandable vision of what causes joint pain and what you can do for it. For arthritis, Chinese medicine offers a whole range of natural treatments which help relieve pain but also promote healing of the tissues of the joints. These treatments include professionally prescribed and administered acupuncture and moxibustion, Chinese medical massage, and Chinese herbal medicine taken internally and externally on the affected area. In addition, there are a number of highly effective, time-tested Chinese home remedies and self-treatments for joint pain.