Treatment of Back and Joint Pain in Chinese Medicine

Anyone who has experienced a painful injury is all too familiar with its consequences, especially the accompanying unpleasant sensation and loss of mobility. Pain is the most frequent reason for physician consultations in the United States and results in half of all Americans to seek medical care annually. Chronic pain is the third most common healthcare problem and impacts productivity, mobility, and quality of life.

Pain relates to a sensation that hurts. If you feel pain it hurts, you feel discomfort, distress and perhaps agony, depending on the severity of it. Pain can be steady and constant, in which case it may be an ache. It might be a throbbing pain – a pulsating pain. The pain could have a pinching sensation, or a stabbing one. Only the person who is experiencing the pain can describe it properly. Pain is a very individual experience.

This article highlights several of the herbal formulas and supplements we use frequently in the clinic to help alleviate acute or chronic pain

In Chinese medicine, physical injuries, whether old or new, are considered to involve a blood stasis syndrome. When something doesn't move, it creates a logjam and discomfort. The quality of the pain depends on what is being blocked-blood, Qi, yang, etc. Injuries which do not heal within a typical time-a few weeks-may become complicated by other syndromes, both constitutional (eg, blood deficiency, qi stagnation) and circumstantial (eg, invasion of wind or damp).

Often when patients complain of pain in any part of an extremity, including shoulder, elbow, wrist, knees, etc., I often pick an appropriate formula such as Pueraria 10 or Angelica 14 which may be appropriate for shoulder, neck, and head pain , with their focus on dispelling wind and regulating qi. For weakness and inflammation of tendons, Acanthopanax 10 provides pain relief and tonification to aid in strengthening activities.

For traumatic injuries such as exercise injuries, or falls I consider formulas such as San Qi 17 and Myrrh Tablets which are blood moving and blood vitalizing formulas. Both formulas include myrrh, frankincense, persica, carthamus, tang-kuei, peony (white or red), cinnamon twig, and curcuma.

Repetitive stress, old injuries, and persisting joint pain are usually treated by adding tonification along with herbs that counter the invasion of wind. Joint problems can be treated by Chiang-huo 13 for wind-damp accumulation or Drynaria 12 for deficiency syndrome.

For low back pain, I would consider a formula such as Eucommia 18 coupled with Acanthopanax 10. Eucommia 18 contains many tonifying and blood moving herbs. In many instances low back pain consists of tight or knotted muscles. The treatment principle is to remove toxins, nourish the blood and relax the muscle and tendons.

Chinese herbs, Acupuncture, cupping, massage, relaxation techniques, and dietary changes, are some of the many things you can do to help you find relief from your pain.

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A Brief on the Use of Essential Oils With Traditional Chinese Medicine

The use of essential oils based on Chinese medicine has proven to be an exceptional modality in gaining maximum results with clients. This ancient healing system naturally adopts the use of essential oils.

This case study will give the reader an overview of how to work with the Spleen and Stomach (Earth Element).

Two of the major pathogenic factors in Chinese medicine are Damp and Cold. These influences cause stagnation of Qi. In short, when there is stagnant qi the energy does not flow properly and the body will experience signs and symptoms that mirror this.

According to Chinese medicine a primary function of the Earth element (Spleen and Stomach) is to transform and transport postnatal qi. Our postnatal qi is associated with diet, which includes what we absorb from our environment. (Gian 2015) (1) TCM physiology states, that the Spleen ascends the pure postnatal qi and the stomach descends the impure. So, if the Qi is deficient the Spleen will not be able to do its proper job and this causes stagnation. A cardinal sign of Spleen Qi Deficiency and Stagnation is flatulence. This was the case with one of the clients, a 35 year old woman.

The below case study illustrates the healing protocols in dealing with flatulence as a symptom of Spleen Qi Deficiency accompanied by the secondary complaint of low libido.

A client had the chief complaint of excessive flatulence that worsened with cold and damp weather. Her flatulence was hard to control, and made her feel embarrassed when she was not home. The frequency could be high, as in 1 to 2 minutes per time for 10 minutes. It further complicated the condition when she drank black tea, green tea, coffee, iced tea – both hot and cold.

To a great extent, the healing protocols were done within a TCM context. I successfully treated the symptoms with the blend below:

2 drops of Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

1 drop of Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)

1 drop of Spike Lavender (Lavandula latifolia)

1 drop of Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)

1 drop of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) 10 ml Olive Oil

Ginger is carminative, which can help to prevent gas. It can also warm the body and improve the circulation. The high ester content is beneficial to prevent gas. It is warming, so it can help improve circulation and bring the Qi upwards. It aids digestion and tones the body. I added Spike Lavender for the purpose of removing dampness from the lungs. Clary sage is a very calming oil which can calm the CNS. It helps to relieve the stress and anxiety of my client. Additionally, it can stimulate the immune system – which can bring the body back to normal. Lavender is a calming oil which can help ease the digestive tension (which could be a leading cause to the gas emission problem of the client).

Ginger is a warming oil that assists in strengthening the Spleen and warms the Kidneys. Ginger is integral for two reasons, one …

Traditional Chinese Medicine to Treat and Heal Tinnitus

Chinese Medicine believes that there are several types of tinnitus. These are related to different energetic issues associated with the energy flow and proper function of several organs including the kidney, liver, and gallbladder. There are always several ways that Traditional Chinese Medicine can repair a symptom or disease. The ancient art of Tuina can be used to relieve hearing loss and tinnitus. Tuina is oriental body work that may seem similar to massage with hard pressure hand movements on muscles or tendons combined with acupressure. Medical Qi Gong may also heal tinnitus for some people. Auricular acupuncture and scalp acupuncture are other options for treat tinnitus in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Moxa may be added as part of an overall treatment plan.

It is important to look at other factors which can cause or contribute to hearing loss and tinnitus. Heavy metal toxins can be a very big factor. These should have diagnostic testing and be treated with oral chelation or IV chelation in very severe cases. Oral chelation requires a longer period of time and is more gentle on the body. IV chelation requires electrolyte supplementation. It is important to have vitamin and antioxidants to support the body when undergoing any type of chelation. Carbonated beverages or beer may be connected with higher levels of aluminum in your body. Cigarettes may also contribute to ear ringing. Chelation may require four to nine months for the detoxification of heavy metals and toxins from your body. The use of far infrared sauna during this time can speed your detoxification process. Do not do more than two per week when taking chelation therapy. It is also important to drink pure water and flush your kidneys during this time.

Chinese Patent formulas that are useful in treating this disease include:

• Wai Gan Fen Re Xing (respiratory infection),

• Er Long Zuo Ci Wan (for aging of kidney and liver)

• Shen Jing Shai Ruo Wan (for insomnia, fatigue, insomnia, and tinnitus)

• Jiang Ya Wan (for dizziness, hypertension, and tinnitus)

• Da Bu Yin Wan (for nights sweats, hyperthyroidism, and tinnitus)

• An Shen Bu Xin Wan (for insomnia, memory, palpitations, and tinnitus)

• Shen jing Kui Xu Xing (kidney dysfunction)

• Pi Qi Xu Ruo Xing (abnormal spleen function)

The Japanese herbal formula Yoku-kan-san may be useful in treating tinnitus.

The addition of scalp acupuncture is great and may speed the healing process if the tinnitus is due to a deficiency condition. If the problem is an excess condition, body acupuncture and asian bodywork may be more effective. Try medical qi gong and qi gong for healing tinnitus, hearing loss, and eye problems.

© Dr R Stone, MD-India

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Traditional Chinese Medicine: Acupuncture Points and Charts

What Are the Acupuncture Points?

The English translation of ‘acupuncture points’ is not very accurate. Acupuncture is one of the many healing methods used in traditional Chinese Medicine. It inserts fine needles into the sensitive points on the body to stimulate Jingluos (meridians) to cure diseases. These sensitive points are called ‘Shuxue’ or ‘Xuewei’ in Chinese Medicine, meaning ‘the transmitting points’. However, this name has been so widely used, there is no point to change it now for our discussion.

Acupuncture points are the responsive points or sensitive points on the meridians and other parts of the body. They are the special locations where energy is transmitted between the inner structures and the surface of the body. These spots can reflect disease or unhealthy conditions by giving forth painful sensations when touched or pressed. These points are (but not limited to) where the therapists apply treatments. When the body is deficient of positive energy, negative or harmful energy will be able to invade the body through these spots, causing illness. Stimulating the related points can boost and mobilize the positive energy, balance Yin/Yang energy and cure the disease. There are three types of points:

1. 14-main-meridian points

2. Extraordinary points

3.’Yes’ points.

The 14-main-meridian points are the spots on the 12 main meridians plus the spots on the governor and conception vessels. Each spot has a unique name and a fixed location. They are the main acupuncture points. The extraordinary points are the points that have names and fixed locations. These locations are not on a particular meridian. ‘Yes’ points are also called pain points, but they don’t have names or fixed locations. They are the sensitive points related to the diseases. The ‘yes ‘name came from a story. When treating a patient, the doctor pressed a spot unintentionally, and the patient uttered ‘oh yes’.

There are approximately 360 acupuncture points in total on the human body. With so many tiny points to remember, one can easily be intimidated. As a matter of fact, for self -healing and caring purposes, we don’t have to memorize all these points. We only need to remember roughly 20 most used and effective points. If you need to use more points, just look for them using the meridian and acupuncture point charts. Each point has a unique and meaningful name, which gives some key information about this particular point, such as main function, usage, location, or other. In English, the English spelling of the Chinese names are directly used. For people who don’t understand Chinese, it is hard to comprehend the significance of each name and, therefore hard to remember all the foreign sounding names.The format of the international symbols for acupuncture points is fairly easy. Since most of the points belong to one specific meridian (Jing), it only makes sense that their symbols are associated with those meridians. You can take two abbreviation letters of that meridian’s name and number all the points along the way, from the starting point to the end …

Sadness, Grief, Anger, Resentment – How Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine Can Help

In life there are many genuine reasons to grieve, to feel sad, to get angry or to feel resentful. The death of a loved one, the loss of a job, being disregarded in your work or personal life, the ongoing challenges of the material world that we live in, not feeling fulfilled, dysfunctional relationships, broken relationships, the loss of a pet… the list is almost endless.

What makes the situation even more difficult is that in today’s society we are often under so much stress that the emotion is not given permission to vent or surface properly, which can lead to other difficult emotions and stronger feelings of sadness, grief, anger etc. and it is a self perpetuating situation.

A Look At Sadness, Grieving & Western Medicine

If you are sad or grieving and you live in a "western civilised country" then you may consider going to a doctor. Friends and family may be supportive, but as the emotion/s persists you and your support group may feel there is no better option. In many cases, depending on how the patient expresses these emotions, the doctor may decide to prescribe anti-depressants to help them.

There may be some cases where as a temporary measure this can appear to help, and unfortunately many other cases where it is the slippery slope to a dependency on prescription drugs.

Of course there are also doctors who may recommend counselling or some form of talk therapy, to give the patient the opportunity to deal with and vent the emotion/s.

Regardless of the route that is chosen, Western medicine does not recognise that certain emotions are linked to specific organs, and can therefore have either a detrimental effect or a balancing effect, depending on the degree and type of emotion experienced.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Recognises Relationships Between Emotions And Organs

However traditional Chinese medicine does recognise the relationship between emotions and organs, and it is an integral aspect of how both traditional Chinese acupuncturists and herbalists practice.

Even if you have no interest in going to a traditional Chinese medical practitioner, I have found that even by observing shifts in general well being, when you understand the inter-relationships between emotions and organs, can give some helpful indications of how to begin re-balancing these imbalances.

For example, doing something creative that you enjoy can give you these type of signals. Walking in nature can also do the same, as can reading something enriching. These are only a handful of examples of potentially balancing activities. Please note that although these are helpful, it would be highly recommended to visit a good practitioner who will help you re-balance thoroughly.

In traditional Chinese Medicine there are 7 emotions which are:

1. Anger

2. Anxiety

3. Fear

4. Fright

5. Grief

6. Joy

7. Pensiveness

Each of these is associated to a different organ or organs. Let’s look very briefly at what these are.

1. Anger which encompasses anger as we know it, as well as resentment, frustration and irritability is …

All About Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine is an alternative to contemporary medicine. The treatment method corrects imbalances in the body and works in different ways that include:

  • Addressing the environment and the external factors of the patient.
  • Helping the patients relate to the internal emotions in a healthier way.
  • Improving the lifestyle of the patients. This includes promoting better diet and exercise.

The traditional Chinese medicine affects different areas of the body but it focuses on only a few of these areas. The areas include: large intestine, gallbladder, small intestine, lung, liver, spleen, kidneys, and heart.

Benefits of traditional Chinese medicine

The treatment option comes with many advantages that include:

Reduced inflammation: The herbs and mushrooms used in the treatment have antioxidant, antiapoptotic, autophagic, and anti-inflammatory effects on the body. When you take the herbs, you have reduced levels of oxidative stress and inflammation thus you protect the body cells, tissues, and organs from developing diseases.

Reduction of chronic pain and headache: The use of acupuncture and acupressure plays a vital role in managing pain brought about by arthritis and other medical conditions. Experts have also found that treatment methods such as eating a healthy diet and tai chi aid in reducing chronic tension headaches.

Hormonal balance: Research studies show that the herbs used in the treatment contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidants that improve the functions within the endocrine and central nervous system. This aids in improving the healing abilities of the body and balances the hormones such as insulin, estrogen, cortisol, and testosterone.

Improvement of the health of the liver: Since traditional Chinese medicine advocates that you take a healthy diet, the diet aids in improving the health of the liver. Some of the best foods that you should take to improve the health of your liver include: sweet potatoes, healthy fats, spices rich in ginger and garlic, and herbs. You should avoid fried foods, sugary drinks, and snacks, refined oils, alcohol, and processed carbohydrates.

Tips to consider when engaging in traditional Chinese medicine

For you to have a great experience with the treatment method, you need to consider a number of tips. Before you settle on a given practitioner, always take your time to research him/her and ensure that he/she is reputable. Experts recommend that you visit a number of facilities and take a look at the displayed certifications. If there are no certifications, you should stay away from the practitioner.

While the herbs are natural, you should take them under maximum supervision. You shouldn’t take them if suffering from a medical condition or when pregnant. You should avoid medications from an unknown company as they might be containing dangerous additives, lead, cadmium, mercury, and traces of other heavy metals.

To get the most from the treatment method, you should incorporate different lifestyle and preventative habits such as exercising, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and taking beneficial supplements.

Conclusion

This is what you need to know about traditional Chinese medicine. You should remember that the medications …

How Traditional Chinese Health Beliefs and Chinese Culture Influence Health and Illness?

Traditional Chinese health beliefs adopt a holistic view emphasizing the importance of environmental factors in increasing risk of disease. According to Quah (1985), these factors influence the balance of body’s harmony, yin and yang. These are two opposite but complementary forces and, together with qi (vital energy), they control the universe and explain the relationship between people and their surroundings. Imbalance in these two forces, or in the qi, results in illness.

In order to restore the balance, traditional remedial practices may be needed. For example, excess `hot’ energy can be counterbalanced by cooling herbal teas, and vice versa. These beliefs are deeply ingrained among the Chinese, and have been found to be unchanged following migration to Singapore.

Lee, et. al. (2004), found that patients with specific chronic diseases, namely arthritis, musculoskeletal diseases and stroke, were more likely to use Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This was strongly determined by the ‘chronic disease triad’, perceived satisfaction with care and cultural health beliefs.

Hence the use of TCM is not associated with the quality of doctor-patient interaction. Astin (1998) also agreed that it was seen as being more compatible with the patients’ values, spiritual and religious philosophy, or beliefs regarding the nature and meaning of health and illness.

In traditional Chinese culture, taking medication is thought to be aversive, hence medications tend to be taken only until symptoms are relieved and then discontinued; if symptoms are not obvious, medications will probably never be taken.

Apart from parental cultural beliefs, minor side effects of certain antibiotics such as stomach upset may contribute to the poor adherence of medication. The use of “leftover”, “shared” antibiotics and over-the-counter purchase of antibiotics by parents are common situations in the community.

They think that their children suffer from the same illnesses judging by the similar symptoms, so they would give the “leftover” or “shared” antibiotics to their children and only bring them to their doctors if there is no improvement (Chang & Tang, 2006). This may cause their conditions to deteriorate and may necessitate aggressive treatments later which may have unnecessary side effects.

However, there are small groups of Chinese who also blamed ill-health or misfortunes on supernatural forces, or on divine retribution, or on the malevolence of a ‘witch’ or ‘sorcerer’ (Helman, 1994). Such groups will usually seek cures from their religions.

In Singapore, the Ministry of Health has drawn up the TCM Practitioners’ Ethical Code and Ethical Guidelines to prevent any unscrupulous practitioners from preying on their patients and taking advantage of their beliefs, for example, molesting ignorant patients.

The degree of acculturation has been evidenced in the following case. An old man was brought into our hospital with a week-long history of malaise, nausea and vomiting, and sudden jaundice. He was diagnosed to have an obstructive mass in the liver.

A biopsy revealed hepatocellular carcinoma. The serological test suggested chronic active hepatitis B. When the news broke to his son that his father had cancer, he requested not to disclose that to his father.…