Chronic constipation- the movement of Qi.

Whatever comes in has to come out, in some form.

Acupuncture needles and textbook

I have addressed this over and over in my clinical practice almost daily.

It’s might be a cultural taboo to talk about poop but the “nasty” waste comes out from our body tells a story of what’s happening inside.

If you experience infrequent bowel movement, belly pain, bloating and the sense of incompleteness on a regular basis, you might be having chronic constipation.

In traditional Chinese medicine, constipation is not just a symptom by itself. It also explains the pattern of illness that the patient is going through.

The conventional treatment of chronic constipation includes stool softeners, laxatives, extra fiber, and diet change. Doctors would also suggest to increase hydration and reduce stress. As these are good and effective treatment, traditional Chinse looks at constipation with a different light.

TCM sees every function of our body is operating on Qi (or energy). This “Qi” dominates the moving, transporting, transforming, differentiating and fortifying function in our body. Bowel movement is one of the functions that incorporates all mentioned above.

When we ingest food, our stomach qi starts to move and transport. The spleen qi starts to transform the food into the nutritive and the dampness(the waste) and the nutritive qi then is transported to the small intestine and the large intestine to be differentiated.

The differentiating Qi is dominated by Spleen, Liver, Lung, and Kidney. With the function of differentiation, our body is able to keep the nutrients and expel the waste.

When our body is encountered with pathogens from an external source(like infections) or an internal source(like stress), we can restore to a normal function fairly quickly if we are in a good balance.

Essentially in TCM, treating constipation emphasizes the movement of Qi. In order to move freely, it’s important to let the movement unobstructed.

And the movement of Qi is greatly influenced by the emotions and physical activities.

When there is Qi stagnation, the movement slows down. It can easily show on your digestive system. One of the most common symptoms is constipation or bloating.

“When there is stagnation, there is pain and the pathogens gather and where the pathogens gather, the Qi will be weakened”. According to Yellow Emperor of Internal Classics, the Qi needs to flow freely like water flows in the river.

When the flow is obstructed, the obstruction can be a harbor of pathogens. In TCM, the six external pathogens are wind, cold, summer heat, dampness, dryness, and fire along with internal pathogens: blood stasis, food stagnation, phlegm obstruction, parasitic obstruction, and seven emotional trauma. Qi stagnation can be combined with one or more of these six pathogens.

When initially, constipation can be simply caused by  Qi stagnation, it can turn into something more complicated with other pathogens.

The treatment principle of constipation is to soothe the Qi movement and then clear the pathogens accordingly.  Clearing and draining the most common therapeutic methods as we treat constipation. But keep in mind that clearing and draining can also damage the Qi. Therefore I would recommend tonification with acupuncture and herbs.

In treating constipation, acute or chronic, encourage the movement is the most important method. Secondly, we also need to protect and tonify the Qi in the middle Jiao. ( The digestive system).

Traditional Chinese Medicine always seeks a balance between the dynamics of the human body and the change of the environment. The keep factor is Qi.

If we have unobstructed Qi flow, like the meandering river, we are able to transform the nutrient freely and transport the waste out of our system. That’s a balance between human and nature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A note to the young TCM providers

Whenever I get an email from my readers, especially my peers in TCM practice, I can’t help but feel really warm and encouraged. Traditional Chinese Medicine has a place in this world because of the passion and diligence of all the practitioners. Although there are different needling techniques and different school of thought in the practice, and I don’t know all of them. I appreciate everyone’s work in TCM that makes this profession strong and growing.

I would like to thank everyone’s effort in working . I would also like to open up myself as a channel for deeper learning. If you are a young practitioner and would like to learn Chinese classics such as Nang Jing , Shang Han Lun or Neijing or other classics or like to form a study group, feel free to email the office : drtzechingwang@easternwellnesstcm.com.

I am also very happy to provide suggestions on herbal prescription or mentorship with no cost for the young practitioners.

Many blessings to my peers out there. May the TCM force be with you.

 

 

 

Let’s start exercise!

From the 1st day of 2018, we want to invite you to be active and energetic for your everyday challenge.

Moving is one of the key to wellness.So we setted up a daily exercise routine for you to incorporate into your daily life.

Check back everyday for different routine!https://secure.webexercises.com/widgets/exotd.lasso?id=1LXHSWW8“>Exercise of the day

Living in a world of pain.

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Pain is such a negative word .But it’s also a word worth billions of dollars.

If you google “how much does Americans spend on pain medication” a whopping number of $635 billion according to ScienceDaily.

Granted that it was only reporting the cost of chronic pain but another new feed also tell us a little bit of what’s happening with pain among American’s lives. CNBC reported on April 26th 2016 about 80% of global opioids consumption is in the United States.

We all know what pain is like , it’s not a warm feeling . It’s consuming and draining for a person.  But what truly is pain?

If we need to make choice of having pain or not , we would most likely say no to pain.

Can we really live our lives without any pain?

Pain is not a disease. It’s a signal telling us there is abnormality in our body and also helps  us to sense and avoid danger.

But why does a signal system turn into an epidemic?

In the theory of traditional Chinese medicine, pain is caused by stagnation or “blockage”.

What can cause stagnation?

Imagine a road with no obstruction, the flow of traffic is smooth and easy . A smooth traffic flow brings less stress for the driver. We all like that , don’t we?

When there is construction, broken pavement or  traffic light not working, then we are most likely stuck in the traffic and not going anywhere. The stress , the frustration or irritation can all be seen as stagnation. In physical symptoms are shown as pain.

In the world that relies heavily on pain medication , we should ask ourselves what are the cause in our lives .Is it relationship? Is it workload? Is it the trauma that we can’t face ?

I don’t think doctors are the ones to be blamed for prescribing pain medication to their patients. But there is a lot more we can do for ourselves.Slow down a little. Reconnect with people and yourselves. Eat nutritious food and exercise regularly.

If we don’t look at ourselves and believe that we can take care of our bodies without depending on medication, we will never truly be healthy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Si Wu Tang (Four Treasure Decoction) , a treasure for women.

Si Wu Tang (Four Treasure Decoction) is a very basic yet very powerful formula.

The main function of Si Wu Tang is for tonifying blood.

Blood in the definition in TCM means more than what flows inside the blood vessels. In TCM our body runs on the dynamic reaction of Yin and Yang like moon and Sun. All the substance and functions in the body can all be categorized into these two aspects. Yin and Yang depends on each other and at the same time controls each other.

Blood falls on the yin side. “Women  belong to yin . The physiological function of the women is based on the blood.” Because of our physiology of pregnancy , labor and menstrual flow, we experience more “excess in Qi , but deficient in blood.”

Thus Si Wu Tang is considered a major formula for women.

First  we look at the menstrual flow and its physiology in TCM.  In the monthly course of menstruation, blood needs to fill in the Chong and Ren meridian. In the case of blood deficiency , which usually accompanies excess of Qi, the menses can  be scanty and in consistent. Because in TCM , blood is stored in the liver and can be easily stagnant because of its yin nature.

The composition of Si Wu Tang is Dang Gui (Angelica sinensis), Bai Shao(White Peony Root) , Di Huang (Chinese Foxglove Root), Chuan Xiong (Szechuan Lovage Roo). The main herbs in this formula is Dang Gui as the emperor herbs that dominates the whole formula. Dang gui also has the name of ” the herbs promotes the  qi in the blood.”

When the blood is not filling up the meridian and vessels , it can show as no lust on the skin , weakness and fatigue , scanty menstruation. When the blood is deficient in the channel , like not enough water filling up the water pipe, nutrients can’t be delivered to the organs and then stagnation can occur. Any stagnation can lead to pain. That’s why a lot of time , women with blood deficiency can present with menstrual cramps. PMS can be one of the indication for Si Wu Tang , as blood related closely to liver and spleen.  When blood is not filled and stored in the liver, liver’s function as unobstructed force can be compromised. The emotion  dominated by the Liver is anger. That’s why a lot of time, anger and irritability can be a major symptoms in PMS.

Over all, Si Wu Tang is a very basic yet versatile formula as in women’s problem. In the differentiation of blood deficiency or liver deficiency , this formula can be a good help.

 

*Disclaimer: this article is served as a reference for TCM practitioner and herbalists. If you have any questions on this formula, please consult your specialists  , or leave us a comment below.

 

Painful menstruation , the cause and the treatment, a TCM perspective.

I believe most of us wit X chromosome, have a love and hate relationship with our monthly flow. It represent the fertility and health of a woman. But it also brings a lot of discomfort and sometimes pain.

Painful menstruation, or dysmenorrhea , is one of the most common clinical symptoms and complaints I got among my patients.

Women during our reproductive years often experience certain level of discomfort related to our monthly flow. But painful menstruation is a term reserved to symptoms that are preventing women from normal activities and require medical attention.

With painful menstruation, you may experience pain before or during menstrual flow. The scale of pain can be high enough to cause you to be bed ridden. Also there might be times that you will have pain as well as nausea , fatigue or diarrhea.

What cause the painful menstruation?

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There are three types of painful menstruation, primary with no organic cause, secondary with pathological cause and membranous cause with shedding of uterine membrane. There is also a type of painful menstruation caused by the IUD( intrauterine device) which needs immediate attention from your OB/GYN.

Studies have shown that for primary dysmenorrhea, the cause can be an increase of prostagladin. Prostaglandin can cause inflammatory response and  is stored in the uterine membrane , as the menstrual flow starts, prostaglandin can be released with shedding of membrane to the surrounding tissue like uterine muscle and blood vessel.

The increase level of prostaglandin can lead to abnormal contraction of uterine and decrease in blood flow which eventually lead to insufficient blood flow and oxygen to the uterine tissue.

When the prostaglandin enters the circulation of the body, it can cause systemic reaction like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

The  most common treatment  for painful menstruation is NSAIDs. There are times that your Ob/Gyn will prescribe you with antiprostaglandins , oral contraceptive or even suggest surgery to help with cervical dilation.

We know that acupuncture is effective for chronic pain , such as lower back pain and migraine headache. What’s the performance for acupuncture in treating painful menstruation?

An 2017 Australia based study[1] on manual acupuncture and electro-acupuncture in pain reduction for dysmenorrhea showed the manual acupuncture delivered the effect as peak pain reduction , and surprisingly showed a better outcome than electro-acupuncture.

The use of analgesic was not prohibited in this study, but this study also showed that both manual and electro-acupuncture provided a lower usage of pain medication.

In this study , the effect of acupuncture also showed a significant decrease in secondary menstrual symptoms which included mood changes, bloating and breast tenderness.

This finding is really encouraging because approximately 25% of women undergoing treatment of dysmenorrhea the conventional way has little to no relief.

For woman suffering from painful menstruation, without being dependent on medication, acupuncture can be a safe and effective treatment option.

[1]Armour, Mike, et al. “The role of treatment timing and mode of stimulation in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea with acupuncture: An exploratory randomised controlled trial.” PloS one 12.7 (2017): e0180177.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you.

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It’s a moment like this gave my job so much meaning.Even been in practice for over 13 years, I  am often impressed by how powerful Traditional Chinese Medicine can be. Thank you for your effort to come through the door for me to help.Thank you.

Dr. Wang,

I wanted to drop this email to you for a wonderful job you did for me.

It started around 2/17/17 with my right jaw pain resulted from the root canal work at a dental clinic a week early. I went back to the clinic for a check-up of the pain and got a referral to see a TMJ specialist. At the first visit (2/22), prescriptions for steroid and antibiotic were made. I followed the specialist’s instruction carefully. However the jaw pain and the limited mouth-opening situation continued.

At the second visit (3/7), I was told to visit a physical therapist, plus going for a MRI at a local health images clinic.  As my insurance won’t cover the costs for those referrals, aside from the fact that I was not sure those follow-up recommendations were really necessary, so I decided to take a wait-and-see if the pain will be gone by itself.

After two weeks or so of less measurable and tangible improvement, I went to your clinic asking for help on 3/24. I felt less pain right after your acupuncture treatment on the ride side of my face and could open my mouth a bit wider the next day, with continuous improvement thereafter. Another follow-up visit to your clinic was not required.

Being a member of that dental clinic for more than 30 years, I feel obligated to suggest them trying an alternative approach when dealing with TMJ (or whatever it is called) on the following grounds:

– Unless justified, taking Medrol Dose Pak and Amoxicillian should be the last resort. In my case I had no infection, but possibly with muscle spasm during the root canal work;

– Insurance does not cover the cost for my TMJ fee and related prescriptions, neither the recommended  physical therapy and MRI. For people with fixed income, additional health cost becomes a burden;

– My two-month suffering was way too long unnecessarily and could be shortened significantly.

In addition to this thank-you note to you, I also mentioned to my dentist during my last semi-annual visit on 8/3 that “please consider another option in dealing with TMJ related situation in the future”.

N.H.