What is “toxin” in TCM?

I look at being healthy is more than being able to run a marathon, accomplish triathlon or having a toned body. Healthy is a state encompassing the body , the mind and then spirit.

It’s common to hear “your body is your temple.” “Mind-body connection is the keystone of health.”  Nowadays, health is a very trendy word , but only limited to the physical state.

“Toxin” is also a term in TCM , referring to a hyperactivity of certain function. One can have toxin in Lung, Spleen, Liver Stomach, Gallbladder and Large intestine, whether its’ in the meridian or Zhang Fu . The toxin can cause an imbalance like a seesaw tipping away over to the other side.

“Detox” is a term in Chinese referring to restoring back to the normal function.In a case of infection, detox is to eliminate the excess of pathogen such as phlegm , heat , cold or stagnation.  Once the balance is restored , the course of treatment is complete and no need to continue the detox.

In the course of illness, it’s the balance between pathogenic Qi and Righteous Qi. When the Pathogenic Qi gathers , the Righteous Qi is weaken. The pathogenic Qi can be visible or invisible.

The visible pathogenic Qi is closer to the modern term of “toxin” which can include chemicals, bacteria and viruses or excessive amount of sugar,etc.

How about the invisible pathogenic Qi?

The invisible pathogenic Qi in TCM is from internal origin, meaning that the  person’s lifestyle or constitution is out of balance resulting int the internal stagnation and accumulation of  essence and nutrients.

Therefore detox should also include detoxing the internal/invisible pathogenic. In modern days ,  we are constantly “ingesting” information, relationship interaction, work and recreation. These are good. But “too much” can lead to an imbalance.

When we detox our body , we also need to think about elimination of toxic information, toxic relationship and toxic work. This is also a practice of letting go.

“Let go” is a work of art that needs to be mindfully practiced.

In the process of letting go, we might feel weaken ,confused and helpless. It’s all part of the process. To be the master of our own body, it’s necessary.  And practice “letting go ” mindfully is to clear our mind and free our body.

Healthy is definitely more than physical state. When both the physical and spirit are freed , we can truly feel “healthy”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Constitution of a person , a TCM perspective.

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I did a personality test the other day.I scored 114 as a highly sensitive person when score 60 would be highly sensitive and yet I scored almost twice.

Not surprised at all.

I grew up with an unique personality. I can sense people’s feeling as soon as I walk into a room. I am sure other people has the same sense too.

But for me , its ten times stronger, ten times more intense. I can feel people’s confusion, struggle or mixed feeling. I can feel people ‘s pain.

I often focus a lot on little details and would not let go until I cover every itch of detail and feel I do a perfect job. I can get overwhelmed with loud noise , bright light , strong smell or temperature change.  I was always the “weird child ” wherever I go. The comment about me is always”too sensitive.”

I always thought it’s a bad thing to be sensitive.

Until I began my study in traditional Chinese Medicine, I started to see my own sensitivity in a different light.

Chinese medicine is such an unique subject that covers more than just medicine. It’s a medicine that incorporates sociology, psychology , anatomy and physiology , environmental study , philosophy to name a few.

Chinese medicine also talks about how a person’s constitution can affect his health. There is no good or bad constitution. The constitution we were born into is greatly affected by the environment (external factors), the genes (the Essence from our parents) and time and day and the it can also be a prediction to the illness one is prone to.

Take myself for example. Being a highly sensitive person means I am always alert and careful. This can mean the depletion of spleen Qi in TCM, an energy that dominates the thought. The deficiency of Spleen Qi can also cause the inefficiency of  transforming and transporting nutrient and waste. The transformation and transportation function of spleen is a acquired function that is essential to our health after birth. Without spleen strong function , it can lead to difficulty in weight management, clarity of thoughts or lack of motivation to name a few.

Traditional Chinese medicine value s person’s constitution as part of the formation of illness. That’s the reason why a TCM practitioner prescribes a treatment plan , it always needs to take a person’s family history and what ‘s happening in the patient’s life into consideration. Like one of my respected teacher said “Chinese medicine treats the person with illness, not the illness itself.”

 

 

Acupuncture , is it scientific or not?

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Many times in my years of practice, I have been asked this question by my patients and also by myself.

How does acupuncture actually work? Is there any science base to it?

To answer that questions, we have to take a look at what science require to meet its standard. When it meets the scientific standard, it means that a practice or an experiment was able to be replicated or the result can be reproduced.

As a practitioner in traditional Chinese medicine, I do find that the clinical outcome can be very effective but the method I use can vary from person to person.

A patient presenting with insomnia and anxiety can be deficient while another person with the same signs and symptoms but being excessive.

Chinese medicine look at the signs and symptoms as a result of imbalance. The imbalance can be from internal imbalance in the patient or the imbalance of a patient and the environment. A treatment in Chinese medicine is not a “cure”but a method to restore and regenerate the balance that was once disturbed.

As there are many researches that prove acupuncture works on many conditions effectively, I still think science can only explain a glimpse  how acupuncture works.

When western medicine does meet the standard in science, there are times that we don’t know how it exactly works. Take Lithium for example, it is an effective medication for bipolar depression ,however the mechanism of it is still unknown.

Human body is such a big mystery and a wonder. It’s wise to be modest and humble as we develop in medicine and the understanding of universe.

Categories: TCM

Case study : Blepharitis

A patient walked into the clinic today with swollen eye lid on both sides. Not presenting with pain but with itchiness and redness on the lesion. This patient had a history of allergy and hypertension and a chronic history of constipation.What could it be?

As a Chinese medicine practitioner, we can use medical diagnosis to help us in terms of treatment plan.

Unlike Stye, blepharitis is an inflammatory of the eye lid which may or may not involve with infection.  Blepharitis can involve with the eyelid skin , eye lashes and surrounded gland.

Treatment options for blepharitis include antibiotics , oral  and topical corticosteroids. All these options should be , according  Current medical diagnosis and treatment , should to restricted to short-term. However, clinically blepahritis can be a chronic condition that cause discomfort and inconvenience in patients’s lives.canstockphoto31186645

As a Chinese medicine practitioner, we should always ask ourselves: what can we provide for our patients and community ? What are their choices outside of medication that are also effective and safe?

Blepharitis was documented in ancient ophthalmology [Yin Hai Jin Wei], describing this condition was “wind-attack with underlying heat toxin on the stomach channel which manifested on the channel as rotten flesh.”

In TCM,eye and the surrounding tissue are on the pathway of Urinary channel ,stomach channel and large intestine channel, all of which are yang channels. Wind is the number one pathogens of all that attack easily on Yang Channels. With underlying heat and dampness on these Yang channels, heat and dampness can accumulated into toxins that lead to depleted  Qi on the pathway. Depleted Qi leads to weakness and like a door can’t be shut tight , wind pathogen can easily attack these channel and cause illness.

Blepharitis is usually a condition with wind, heat toxin and dampness.

In the treatment of TCM, we can use releasing method to clear the wind, clear heat and drain dampness.

Points to be used: we can choose St 44 , St45 , LI 1, LI2, or bleeding on UB2 to releasing the heat.

Formula of choice: Ge Gen Tang modified with Shi Gao . If blepahritis occurs repeatedly, we need to consider blood stasis as part of the pathogen. In this case . we can modify Ge Gen Tang with Chuan Xiong,  Da Huang (if a patient also suffers constipation).

Blepharitis is a condition that cause discomfort patients that can also be hepled by tradtional Chinese medicine. This would surely bring an alternative to paitent for their choice of health care.

 

Categories: TCM

Our herbal ” farmacy” 

I have studied Chinese herbs for over 20 years and the healing power of plants never stop amazing me. From minor illness such as cold or allergy  to menstrual cramps or infertility, Chinese herbs have healing power to restore the balance which leading to our optimal health. 

In Eastern Wellness, we provide organic and lab tested Chinese medicinal herbs as well as local , organic and wild crafted herbs from over the world.

We customize the formula to meet each patient’s need. We also provide classes to teach our community how to incorporate medicinal herbs into everyday life.

We also provide powder herbs and capsules as well as probiotics and supplements.

Our mission is to bring the healing power of nature to our community.

Cervicogenic dizziness and acupuncture.

Have you ever complained about having “the floor or the roof spinning”? or “feeling tired all the time and feel like falling ” and meanwhile your neck hurts and have frequent headache?
You might be having cervicogenic dizziness.
What are the symptoms of cervicogenic dizziness?
The most common symptoms are of course, dizziness. And the cause of it is due to the decrease blood flow to the head. The decreased of blood flow can attribute to compression , tension and stenosis of the cervical vertebrae or the mal-alignment of the cervical spine.
Because of underlying cervical spondylosis , patients often times experience radiating neck pain , jaw pain or headache.
So how does TCM see this condition?
Channel theory is the principle of TCM as well as the balance theory.
Channel or meridians are the pathway for transporting and transforming to and from internal and external organs.
In order to treat a condition, first we need to look at the pathway of where the ailments are.
In TCM, the head is where all the Yang meridians converge. Any blockage of the Yang channel can impair the normal function.
The treatment principle for cervicogenic dizziness is mainly unblocking the channel and opening the orifice and tonifying the Yang aspect of the body.
There are many points of selection. The practitioners may select local points such as GB20, UB10 or distal points such as KI6, LV3.
A study on Zhu’s scalp acupuncture shows the effective rate of 93.33% in treating cervicogenic dizziness.This encouraging finding of acupuncture in treating cervicogenic dizziness can provide an alternative for patients who are not responding well to conventional treatment and provide them with care and relieves.
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Categories: TCM

Type 2 Diabetes as an inflammatory disease. A TCM perspective…

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Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a metabolic disease caused by cell surface not sensitive to insulin. Therefore after we eat , our body can’t convert sugar in the blood into energy for our cells to use.

Type 2 diabetes was studied widely in medical society. More and more researches support the pathology of  T2DM to systemic inflammation. Obesity is the #1 cause leading T2DM.  When a person starts gaining weight , the composition of cells also changed.  Obesity leads to an increase of B lymphocytes, mast cell, M1 macrophage , CD8+ and pro-inflammatory chemokines and TNF-.α which shift from anti-inflammatory state to pro-inflammatory state.[1.]

Through out the history of TCM, diabetes was documented as “Xiao-Ke”, meaning thirst and wasting disease.The name describes a more advanced state of diabetes with extreme wasting and extreme thirsts which includes polydipsia, polyphagia, polyuria.

So how does TCM define diabetes? TCM views the body energy with 2 relative force, Yin and Yang. “Xiao-ke” or diabetes is seen as deficiency of yin leading to the rising of yang. Imagine the sun kept blazing and the water was vaporized faster than normal.

As far as TCM treatment for T2DM goes, single herbs or a combination of Chinese herbs (Fang Ji) were being studied. One of the study shows berberine , a component found in a Chinese herbs, Huang Lian  (Rhozoma Coptidis) , can be a potent hypoglycemic agent.[2]

There are also study showing that some TCM formulas can be a potential supplemental treatment for T2DM. [3.] The benefits of Chinese herbs in the use of T2DM treatment can be a safe supplemental therapy with few side effects.

In the epidemic of diabetes , finding an supportive treatment option can be beneficial for our health care system.

1.Esser, Nathalie, et al. “Inflammation as a link between obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes research and clinical practice 105.2 (2014): 141-150.

2. Yin, Jun, Huili Xing, and Jianping Ye. “Efficacy of berberine in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.” Metabolism 57.5 (2008): 712-717.

3. Yeh, Gloria Y., et al. “Systematic review of herbs and dietary supplements for glycemic control in diabetes.” Diabetes care 26.4 (2003): 1277-1294.

 

 

Categories: TCM