Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chinese Herbs

A client came in today asking, “Do you offer Chinese herbs? Do you guarantee that there are no side effects?” Unfortunately, there are no guarantees when it comes to side effects. Chinese herbs are just a different method of curing an ailment compared to Western medicine. It's like climbing a mountain; there are different ways of getting to the peak. There is a short but risky way and there is a longer but safe way. Drugs are like taking the short way - they are quick and effective, but with more side effects. Chinese herbs are like taking the longer way - it takes some time and is safer, but this doesn’t mean there are no side effects.

There are more than 500 Chinese herbs used which include roots, grass, woods, furs, animals and stones. We classify them into three categories:

· The first category called "superior" includes herbs effective for multiple diseases and are mostly responsible for maintaining and restoring the body’s balance. They have almost no unfavorable side-effects. Examples are black date, Chinese yam, sesame seed, and ginger. Some are consumed the same way regular food is.

· The second category is comprised of tonics, boosters and detoxifiers for which their consumption must not be prolonged.

· The third category are toxic, usually taken in small doses and used only for the treatment of specific ailments.

In China, herbal medicine is considered the primary therapeutic mode of internal medicine. Of the approximately 500 Chinese herbs that are in use today, 250 or so are very commonly used. Rather than being prescribed individually, single herbs are combined into formulas that are designed to adapt to the specific needs of individual patients. A herbal formula can contain anywhere from 3 to 25 herbs. As with diet therapy, each herb has one or more of the five flavors/functions and one of five "temperatures" ("Qi") (hot, warm, neutral, cool, cold). After we determine the energetic temperature and functional state of the patient's body, we prescribe a mixture of herbs tailored to balance disharmony. And also because of the combination, each herb can just be used in small doses with less side effects.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I’ve recently seen a few clients with varying degrees of depression. The first two I’m going to mention are in their 60’s who have been suffering from depression for more than twenty years and have been taking anti-depressants for just as long. Both of them wanted to try some alternative treatments to help them feel better. My purpose was to not only help them feel better, but to also try and wean them off their medication. With TCM, we believe that any medicine is toxic for the body. I knew that this would be a long term treatment and it would take some time before they would feel a difference. I spent quite a bit of time with each of these clients during their first treatment session, explaining how TCM treats the problem, how acupuncture and herbs work for it, what to expect and so on. Unfortunately, both cancelled their appointments before even seeing me for a second treatment. The interesting thing is that they both called me between 10-11pm to cancel. (Keep in mind that these people don’t know each other at all!) I didn't persuade them to continue treatment because I knew that for this kind of problem (these two cases in particular) and because they have already suffered with depression for so long, it would take an extended period of time for them to feel any difference. What they need is family support and belief in TCM. I couldn’t help but think about why they both called so late at night to cancel. My guess is that when night falls and it becomes dark, a feeling of hopelessness starts to set in and so they began to believe that no alternative treatment could help them. So, they decided to give up and cancel.

I had another client in her 30’s who, shortly after giving birth, felt depressed, sad, insomnia and not herself. I treated her with acupuncture and after just one session she felt a difference. This reminds me of another client; same age group and situation, but with a more serious case of depression. She was feeling sad, hopeless and felt as if she had nothing to live for. After less than ten treatments, she was back to her normal self.

All three cases make me wonder why some people can see a difference more quickly than others. Age is definitely one factor. Acupuncture uses the body’s own healing power to help cure the problem. When you are younger, the body's ability to recovery is stronger; thus a quicker recovery rate. In the case of the two young women, they only suffered from depression for one to three months and didn't take any medication. There are also other factors. We know that from Western medicine, depression is caused by low levels of monoamines. Anti-depressants are used to increase monoamines level and relieve the symptoms. However, this medication also suppresses the body to produce monoamines. With my two older clients, after being on anti-depressants for so many years, their bodies were so used to relying on the medication to produce monoamines. It's as if their body’s natural ability to produce monoamines went into hibernation. This is why it would take some time before their bodies would be able to produce monoamines naturally.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of depression, you may want to consider alternative methods of treatment in order to avoid possibly taking anti-depressants on a long term basis. I hope I can help bring the sunshine back into your life.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

H1N1 Flu

With weather changing,flu season is coming,too. Specially this year,except for the regular seasonal flu,we have another type of flu – H1N1 flu.
H1N1 flu is different than the seasonal flu. People have no natural immunity to protect against this virus. It is affecting more young and healthy people than the regular seasonal flu, which normally affects seniors and young children. People with underlying medical conditions and pregnant women may be at a greater risk for severe illness.
The symptoms of H1N1 flu usually have cough and fever,also you can have sore throat,headache,runny nose,muscle aches,decreased appetite,fatigue,nausea,vomit and diarrhea.
Vaccination is suggested for preventing from the flu. We also have some good Chinese medicine formulas for preventing. There is one formula recommended by a famous Chinese medicine doctor:
For adults : Flos Lonicerae ( Jin Yin Hua) 15g
Radix Scrophulariae (Xuan Shen) 10g
Pericarpium Citri Tangerinae( Chen Pi) 6g
Radix Glycyrrhizae ( Gan Cao) 6g
Black Date (Da Zao) 5 pieces
One package per day,3-5days one treatment course
For Children: Flos Lonicerae ( Jin Yin Hua) 3g
Fructus Crataegi (Shan Zha) 10g
Radix Glycyrrhizae( Gan Cao) 3g
Herba Menthae (Bo He) 3g
One package per day,3-5 days one treatment course

For my own opinion, I would add some herbs to these formula,like Radix Astragali (Huang Qi),Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae (Bai Zhu), Radix Saposhnikoviae(Fang Feng),to boot the immunity system.
Of course,enough rest,healthy diet and free of stress will help.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


At the last step of TCM examination, we always ask you to stick out your tongue. What we are looking for ?
We look at the colour of the tongue and the tongue coat. Normal tongue colour supposes to be light red. And there shouldn't have tongue coat. Some clients told me that they are sorry not to scratch away the tongue coat. Actually it's an evidence of internal sickness.
Pale tongue: means Qi or Qi and Blood deficiency. When Qi is deficient, it couldn't delivery Blood to the upper body,that's why there is lack of colour in the tongue.
Red tongue: most means heat inside the body. If the tongue tip is red,that means heat in Heart. People can have sores in the tongue, feel restless,insomnia. If the tongue sides are red,mostly means there is heat in Liver and Gall Bladder, usually these people have a hot temper,easy to get irritated, headache, dizziness,ear rings,hypertension. If the middle tongue is red, it means heat in Stomach. People can easy feel hungry, burning feeling in the stomach. If the back tongue is red,people more have heat in Kidney, can have frequent urination, burning feel when urinate,little amount of urine.
Dark red tongue: means more heat in the body.
Purple tongue: Usually means poor blood circulation.
Blue tongue: means extreme cold in the body. It's also happen on people who have cardiovascular problem,or drug,food poisoning.
Of course, this need combine with symptoms and pulse checking,we can get acute diagnosis.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Keep a even mood

Keeping a even mood maybe the most difficult to reach. Good things,bad things happen,we always have a reaction. We just need to control the reaction in a certain range. Overreaction will cause sickness.
Overhappyness will effect on heart. the symptoms can be losing concentration, distracted,tiredness,palpitation, absent-minded ,even frantic.
Oversaddness will hurt lung, can cause cough, short of breath,heaviness on chest. There is a story. One of my friend,his father died. And he didn't get a chance to go back home to see him for the last visit. He was so sad. Then later on,he developed a chronic cough. A few months later,after he went over the sadness,the cough went away. He is a Chinese medicine doctor,too. This time,he really understood oversaddness can effect on your lung.
Overworry can effect on your spleen,you will have low appetite, stomach blockage, diarrhea, weakness , losing weight and so on.
Overangry can effect on liver, people will have dizziness,headache,red face ,ear ringing, even vomiting blood. passing out.
Overscare can effect on kidney, can cause weakness on legs,losing control on urine and bowel movement,nocturnal emission. We can see on TV and movies,when people were frightened, they lost control on urine and bowel movement.
Our mood shouldn't be effected by outside stuff. Keep peaceful in mind. Good or bad things are just part of life. Nothing will be perfect. Good things follow bad,bad things follow good. So take it easy, try your best to enjoy your life.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Good Sleep

We fall asleep fast, get through the whole night,when we wake up in the morning,we feel fresh. That's a good sleep. We all know,for an adult,most of us need 8-9 hours sleep. But when is the best time for sleep?
In TCM,we divide 24 hours into 12 time period:
5am-7am (mou)--Large intestinal : As a doctor,we know this is a dangerous time. According to a study,60% stoke,heart attack, sudden death happens at this time. Because at this time , people's blood pressure,body temperature is at the lowest level,and blood circulation is very slow. Yang is at the lowest level. Ying is at the highest level. Later on,Ying will reduce,Yang will increase. So this time,better to rest. Don't do exercise during this time.
7am-9am(chen)---Stomach: This time,Stomach Meridian has the most Qi and Blood. This is a good time for breakfast.
9am-11am(yi)---Spleen: Spleen help to deliver nutritions to other organs,include brain. So it's a good time for studying and work.
11am-1pm(wu)--Heart: We always say using heart to study. This is still a good time to study and work.
1pm – 3pm(wei)--Small intestinal: Good time for lunch. This time,most Qi and Blood go to small intestinal meridian to help digestive food. The best,we can have a little snap during this time to let small intestinal work better.
3pm-5pm(shen)--Bladder : This time can drink more water to detoxify.
5pm-7pm(you)--Kidney: Usually dinner time. Eat light but good.
7pm-9pm(wu)---Heart Membrane: It's time to calm down.
9pm-11pm(hai)--San Jiao:Hai,in Chinese,means restart. It's time to go to bed. We can drink some milk,soy milk to help falling asleep.
11pm-1am(zi)--Gall bladder: Gall bladder support all the other organs. Very important to have it get enough rest.
1am-3am(chou)--Liver, 3am-5am(ming)--Lung,5am-7am(mou)--Large intestinal. From 11pm to 7am is the best time for sleep. Body use this time to recovery and build up immunity system.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Some Thoughts

I’m reading a very good book about Chinese Medicine. When I read it, I’m still amazed by TCM, by how deep and wide it is! After practicing TCM for more than 10 years, I still feel like I’m at the beginning. I will spend my lifetime studying it, trying to understand it fully and using it to help others. I wish my English were much better so that I could translate all this information and let more people know about TCM. Thank God I have so many people helping me, like Alyssa, Monica and especially Madeline who has 2 little ones, a full time job and tons of housework. I truly appreciate everything they’ve done for me so far.

Thank you so much.

Chronic Urinary Tract Infection

One of my clients, a 65-year old woman, came to me with a chronic urinary tract infection that she had for more than 10 years. Her symptoms would come and go, but when she did have them, she would experience the frequent urge to urinate and with it, a painful burning sensation in the bladder or urethra. The treatment of this would be antibiotics. After so many years of suffering this condition, she decided it was time for an alternative treatment.

According to TCM, the symptoms of a chronic urinary tract infection are caused by heat and dampness in the lower part of the body. To help clear away this heat and dampness, I prescribed some herbs and within 3 days, her symptoms were gone. From this point, the most important part of the treatment was preventing this infection from coming back. So, I checked my client’s tongue and pulse and discovered that she had a Kidney Qi deficiency. Knowing this, I prescribed some herbs to improve her deficiency. After taking these herbs for more than half a year, my client has been doing very well and has been infection free ever since.

This is why I say that Western medicine is more about treating symptoms and Eastern medicine, like TCM, is about treating the root of the problem.

Eat Healthy

So far, we’ve talked about the importance of prevention against diseases with the 4 main principles being: healthy eating, getting enough sleep, proper exercise and keeping stress to a minimum and we’ve discussed what proper exercising means. Today, let’s talk about eating.

Eat regularly: As in exercise, we need to eat our 3 meals of breakfast, lunch and dinner at around the same time each day. There’s a saying that goes: breakfast – eat good, lunch – eat full, dinner – eat less.

I have a client who is nearly 50-years old with diabetes, hypertension, is overweight and has suffered 2 heart attacks. The first time I met with her, even with her insulin treatments her blood sugar levels were around 20 mmol/l, more than double the normal levels. Her main complaint was that even though she’s visited her doctor many times with these symptoms, nothing she has done so far has helped. When I asked her about her lifestyle, she told me that she went to bed every night at about midnight, got up in the morning between 9 am and 10am and always skipped breakfast. This is something no doctor can treat.

What to eat: People are always asking what’s good to eat. Most people should follow these principles: 10% of your meal is meat – this includes red and white meat. 20% of your meal should include rice, noodles and bread. 70% will include vegetable, fruits and nuts. One should eat a variety of foods. Of course, people with certain diseases or conditions need to avoid certain foods. In addition, according to TCM practice, those with cold composition need to avoid too much cold food consumption and those who have heat composition need to avoid hot and spicy foods.

In my personal opinion, I’ve never really agreed with being vegetarian, especially for women. Because of the monthly menstrual cycle, a certain amount of blood is lost. Western medicine would say that that women can easily lack iron because of this. The best source of iron still comes from red meat. Some vegetarians would disagree with me and say that they can remedy this by eating more vegetables with high iron content. But I believe that the iron that comes from vegetables is different than iron from red meat.

As long as you have a good digestive system and you eat well, there shouldn’t be a need to take any additional vitamins or health supplements.


The main focus with TCM is on preventing rather than treating diseases. This means starting with a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating healthy, getting enough rest, moderate exercise and keeping stress and anxiety to a minimum. This sounds easy enough, but how many of us, myself included, actually put these into practice?

I recently read an article by a famous sports specialist in China about “Proper Exercise”. So let’s start there. Proper exercise means exercising around the same time, for the same amount and at the same level of strength. By doing this, the body creates a “memory”, which makes exercising more effective.

You need to exercise at least 4 times a week, for a minimum of 30 minutes each time and for a total of about 4 to 6 hours every week. Exercising whenever you feel like it or whenever you can fit it in to your day creates an irregular exercise schedule, which is not as effective as a consistent schedule. According to the study, the best time to exercise is between 3pm to 9pm. If we exercise every day at around the same time, our body remembers the pattern, which improves the results of exercising.

Exercising for the “same amount at the same level of strength” does not mean walking for 20 minutes today and 60 minutes tomorrow. Nor does it mean going 1 km today and 3 km the next day. A correct example of putting proper exercise into practice would be jogging for 1 km in 15 minutes, and doing this every time at the same pace.

A proper exercise plan should be based upon the individual, taking into consideration their health, time and environment. A good plan is simple, practical, effective and easy to follow. Following this will improve strength, endurance, flexibility, coordination, sensitivity, etc. For example, ball sports improve sensitivity and coordination. Climbing is good for power and endurance. Yoga and dance are good for flexibility and coordination.

When we say we need to exercise at least 30 minutes everyday, this does not mean exercising for a longer period of time is better. Two to three hours of exercise will overwork the body and could cause injury, not acute or immediate injury, but definitely chronic injury. Over time, this high level of exercise will cause stress on internal organs, consume a surplus of energy and produce a lot of excess waste. It’s not healthy if waste takes more that 1 or 2 days to be eliminated.

The ideal proper exercise regime means exercising everyday for 30 to 90 minutes: spending 30 to 50 minutes cardio exercises (like jogging and swimming) and the remainder of the time focusing on strength and flexibility. Every week, take a day or 2 off to rest or do some mild exercises.

When you decide to start your proper exercise plan, remember to begin slowly and gradually increase in intensity.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Allergy, Asthma

The weather is finally getting better. While most of us are enjoying this beautiful weather, some are suffering from allergy symptoms, such as runny nose, watery eyes, itchiness, nasal congestion, wheezing in the chest, and difficulty concentrating on everyday tasks. Allergies occur when the immune system becomes unusually sensitive and overreacts to common substances that are normally harmless, such as pollens, molds, dust or food. Genetic tendency plays a role since allergies tend to run in families.
The root of allergy and asthma, according to TCM, is Lung Qi deficiency. When this occurs, we first detoxify in order to relieve symptoms. After that, we focus on improving Lung Qi. According to five elements, Lungs belongs to metal, its mother is earth (Spleen), its son is water (Kidney). So, it makes sense to work on the Spleen and Kidney Qi at the same time. Treatment is usually with acupuncture or/and herbs. But for the little ones, or some adults who are really afraid of needles, an alternative would be cupping and moxibustion.
In addition, there is a special and effective treatment without pain which is called “winter problems treated in summer”. TCM says that the root of allergy and asthma is Lung Qi deficiency. Qi belongs to Yang. For this treatment, using the Chinese calendar, we choose three hottest days in the summer. Then a mixture of herbs are placed on certain points, using outside Yang to improve Yang inside body to heal the problem. It’s just like a sailboat on a river – it takes advantage of wind, making everything easier.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bell's Palsy

Bell's Palsy is a paralysis of cranial nerve VII (the facial nerve) resulting in inability to control facial muscles on the affected side. Several conditions can cause a facial paralysis, e.g., brain tumor, stroke, and Lyme disease. However, if no specific cause can be identified, the condition is known as Bell's Palsy.
Bell's palsy usually appears suddenly, often overnight. The primary symptom is weakness and paralysis on one side of the face. You may find that you can't make the same expressions as usual. Typically, you'll be unable to fully close one eye. Other possible symptoms include:
altered sense of taste
facial pain, pain in or behind the ear (in fewer than 50% of cases)
no tears in one eye
sensitivity to noise on the affected side
There's none of the confusion, language difficulty, or crushing headache that's commonly seen in stroke victims. You may have some trouble talking, but it's purely muscular, whereas stroke victims literally can't find the words they need.
It usually happens when people have low immunity. Spontaneous recovery (without any treatment) is common. In patients presenting with incomplete facial palsy, where the prognosis for recovery is very good, treatment may be unnecessary. Patients presenting with complete paralysis, marked by an inability to close the eyes and mouth on the involved side, are usually treated. Early treatment (within 3 days after the onset) seems to be necessary for therapy to be effective.
In traditional Chinese medicine, Bell's palsy is attributed to exposure to wind - more specifically due to wind-cold attacking the Shaoyang (liver, gall bladder) and Yangming (stomach, large intestine) channels as well as the tendons and muscles. This is thought to result in an obstruction of Qi (vital energy) and blood in these areas that leads to malnourishment of the tendons and muscles and thus a propensity for the facial muscles to become lax or paralyzed.
Acupuncture works well for Bell's palsy. Usually, we combine with Moxa and cupping to get rid of wind-cold,to smooth Qi and blood moving. In one week,you will see a good diffrence. The main thing is try to treat it as soon as possible.
I do see some clients here after 1-2 years to try CMD. It's too late. When I asked them why came now, they would tell me because that their doctors told them there is no treatment for that. It's a pity. Now we have a choice here. Give yourself an opportunity.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I’ve had many clients ask me about alternative treatments for stroke. With the weather changing so frequently, the incidence of stroke goes up especially for those who are at a high risk, such as people with hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity. Stroke comes in 2 forms: it can be a blood clot in the vessels which is called an ischemic stroke; or uncontrolled bleeding in the brain which is called a hemorrhagic stroke. There are a variety of symptoms: unconscious,difficult to close the eye,mouth moving to one side; difficulty or the inability to speak and chew; and partial paralysis, are just a few examples. A stroke caused by a hemorrhage or uncontrolled bleeding in the brain, will usually present serious symptoms. Starting acupuncture treatment as soon as possible is strongly suggested. The addition of herbs can compliment treatment for someone with more serious symptoms. Acupuncture as a treatment for stroke can be 90% effective as long as you begin treatment within half a year after it happens.

About half a year ago, a 60-year old client came to see me about treatment for a stroke he had suffered more than five years ago. In addition, he had hypertension and diabetes. When we first met, he walked with his left leg dragging, was unable to straighten his left arm and his left hand was balled into a fist. I explained that because it had been five years since his stroke, I would try, but could not promise that he would see any improvement. He agreed to commit to at least ten treatments. From his sixth treatment, we could already see evidence of improvement. His is now able to walk sometimes without using his cane, his arm is more relaxed and fingers more flexible. These improvements exceeded my initial doubtful expectations. I would have to say that he is now doing pretty well,

Another client of mine, who is now 27, had a stroke when he was 13 – a sad situation. His main complaints were severe headaches and insomnia. With acupuncture treatment, his headaches went away and he is now able to get a good night’s sleep. It’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to improve his limited limb movement. I truly admire my client’s continued optimism.

Prevention from stroke is key. Practicing the following steps daily will help reduce your risk: avoid stress, quit smoking, limit your alcohol intake, avoid extreme moods, do moderate exercise, watch your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and weight.

Shoulder Tendonitis

Shoulder tendonitis is defined as chronic inflammation of the shoulder muscles, tendons, bursa, and articular capsule. It usually happens to those over the age of 50 and is often referred to as the “Fifty-year-old Shoulder.” During its late stage when the shoulder joint becomes stiff and mobility limited, it then referred to as “Frozen Shoulder.” The lady we mentioned at an earlier time was diagnosed with frozen shoulder.

The beginning stages of shoulder tendonitis are pain and stiffness, which gradually worsen with time. Once it reaches a certain level, the stiffness can gradually decreases and can even cure itself. However, this whole process can last for two years.

Even if shoulder tendonitis can cure itself, treatment is still suggested. The main reason is that shoulder tendonitis causes severe shoulder pain, which then affects one’s daily work and life. Another reason is that because the period of self-healing usually takes two years, without any treatment, most people will suffer mobility dysfunction.

The type of treatment you receive will depend on what stage of shoulder tendonitis you have.

Acute stage: This is when people complain the most about pain. The pain is serious and get worse at night. People find it difficult to fall asleep because of the severe pain they feel. At this stage, the principle of the treatment is to get rid of the inflammation and relieve pain. We use acupuncture, ultrasound and Tui Na.

Adhesive stage: At this stage, pain is not as severe. Most people feel that the mobility in their shoulder joint is limited. Depending on the person, shoulder muscles may have different levels of shrink. Starting exercise is usually suggested. A combination of acupuncture and heat treatment can help release the adhesive muscles.

Recovery stage: Pain at this point has nearly disappeared and the shoulder joint is on its way to recovery. It can take anywhere between two months to one year to reach this stage. It is at this stage that exercise is most important.

How to protect your shoulder?
1. Moderate exercise is very important: moderate meaning don’t take it too easy, but don’t overdo it
2. Keep your shoulder warm: especially at night while you sleep, keep your shoulder covered; avoid direct cold wind to the shoulder area; after exercise, if you intend on taking a bath or shower, be sure the water is warm or hot – do not use cold water
3. Pay attention to your posture: for example, when you read, write or use the computer, don't tense your shoulder muscle
4. Avoid injury: stay away from extreme exercises

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Cosmetic Acupuncture

On January 5th, 2009 in the Toronto Star there was an article called “Even wrinkles are afraid of needles”. Here is some information on cosmetic acupuncture:
- 0.14 to 0.18 mm: the diameter of the needles used.
- Average human hair follicle is 0.13 mm. So it won’t cause pain.
- Each needle is sterile, individually packaged and discarded when after each treatment.
- 1-1.5 hours for each treatment.
- 5-10 cosmetic acupuncture treatments required before some people notice an improvement. After the initial 5-10 treatments a maintenance program of once or twice a month
- Average number of needles used on the face per treatment is 50.

A lot of people use acupuncture for an anti-aging alternative to plastic surgery and Botox. Or they us acupuncture to prolong the injection’s anti-wrinkling effects. How does it work? The acupoints we use can be divided into two groups: One group is the local area, which is most of the face and neck. The second group is on the body, which are done based on diagnosis.
The local points will stimulate cells in the metabolism, get rid of toxins, and improve nutrient environment in the cells. It can also improve the flexibility of muscles, which prevents muscle loss. Then according to one’s diagnosis we use the body points to improve Qi, circulate blood and balance Yin and Yang.
In conclusion, when you are happy and healthy you always look great. Inner beauty is what matters; make-up is only a temporary solution. Besides, in the long run make-up will only harm your skin. Beauty is so important to us in this society. It may make us feel good and have confidence. But for us to be truly true to ourselves let us use the most natural way to stay beautiful.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Here in the western culture, people associate acupuncture with pain. The benefits of acupuncture when it comes to releasing pain are as follows: muscular pain, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, nerve pain, headache and so on.
The following is an example. Recently I saw a lady who is 50 years of age. She has suffered with severe shoulder pain for nearly one year. The pain in the shoulder radiated from the shoulder down the arm and then to the fingers. At nighttime her sleep would be affected due to the pain being worse. The mobility in her shoulder was very limited. She had tried physiotherapy and acupuncture in the past unsuccessfully.
When she came to me, I checked her tongue, her pulse and I found that she had Qi and blood deficiency and poor blood circulation. The treatment I gave her was a combination of acupuncture, TDP, cupping and Tuina (Chinese Massage). After two days she came back showing some improvement. She had booked for a third appointment for the next day. It was very clear that she wanted to resolve the problem as soon as possible.
After the third appointment she booked for another appointment. On the day of her fourth appointment she didn’t show up. A week had past and I was wondering how she was doing… I decided to call her. Unfortunately she informed me that after the third treatment she didn’t feel well, and someone had told her that acupuncture might damage nerves. I explained to her that the pain she has been enduring has been for some time now and that the pain was serious, so it do takes at least five treatments. And during treatment course, the disease sometimes goes backward, that’s normal, too. As long as generally it’s improving, that’s fine. She decided to come back for another treatment, and after this treatment fortunately she felt a lot better. The good part was that she did communicate with me how she was feeling and thinking. And as you can see everything turned out great.
Communication within Chinese Medicine is very important. Chinese Medicine is based on the individual. We treat you according to your situation, different people different reaction.As a doctor I always want the best result for my clients. Just to emphasize from before, communication is key.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cold,Flu and Cough

These days the weather goes up and down and a lot of people get sick. Normally when one gets sick and you remedy it right away, by getting more rest and drinking lots of fluids the cold does clear up. The flu is more serious. The symptoms are fever, headache, and sore throat, cough, whole body aches, low appetite, dark yellow urine, restless and so on. In this case, we say heat or heat dampness attack the body. The usual treatment we would use would be cold herbs to get rid of the toxins. Also acupuncture and cupping works very well. We use acupressure points on lung meridians to detoxify.
For some people they get a cough after they get the cold. This type of cough sometimes can last for a few months and blood tests and X-rays don’t show anything. Lets take two groups and divide them, one caused by an external factor: cold, heat, dampness and dryness. The second is caused by Lung Qi deficiency or Liver fire. Because each one is different we use different acupressure points and herb formula.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Acupuncture has gotten quite popular around the world now due to the fact that it has proven to be safe. In my opinion it is the safest treatment because there is absolutely no side effects. The body uses its own healing abilities in resolving the problem. You may ask how long before I would see results? Well, that all depends on the individual. For example, a young person that has an acute problem may see results right away. For an elder person with a more chronic problem and those who have a low immunity take a little longer to see results.
There are fourteen meridians that go through the body. Each one is related to an organ. We insert a tiny sterilized needle into a certain point to balance Yin and Yang, to detoxify, to smooth Qi and circulating blood. Acupuncture is not only used to fix muscle, joint and nerve problems, it can also be used to help internal problems like allergies, asthma and so on.
The needles are very thin, thin like your hair. Because they are so thin they don’t cause pain, or just like a mosquito bite when it goes through the skin. Then when we twist the needle the different sensations that you might feel are: heaviness, soreness, tension, hot, cold, or electric which means that the Qi is moving inside. When you feel these sensations you will see results more quickly.
Some acupuncturist they don’t find that the needle sensation is important, sometimes they may leave the needle in for half and hour or just connect the needles to an electric machine. In my opinion I think that here in the western culture the people are less tolerant to the needle sensation and another would have to be time restriction. Sometimes to find the needle sensation does take some time. Needle sensation is very important. I have some clients that have tried acupuncture before and have complained that it doesn’t work. I tell them different doctor, different skill.
Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years, it must be because it works. One should not wait till the last minute to heal the body. Acupuncture and herbs are the best treatments to get you healthy at the early stage of an illness.

External Pathology Factors

Wind, Cold, Heat, Dampness, Dryness and Fire are six pathologic factors from the outside. When these factors go inside the body they cause problems, each one has their own character.
Wind goes everywhere. Now is here, later on, moves to somewhere else. Like arthritis, today you may have shoulder pain, tomorrow maybe knee pain. It’s because wind goes inside the body to cause that moving pain.
Cold can easily damage the body yang. For example, if you enjoy eating cold food it will affect your spleen yang and making it deficient. Which would mean you would have a low appetite, easily feel full, stomachache, diarrhea and so on. The cold can also make you blood circulation slow. Another example is when you have cold in your muscles and joints you would feel stiffness especially in the morning. That’s why when there is movement the symptoms subside.
Heat; for example when one has a fever that definitely means that you have heat inside your body. Hot and spicy foods should entirely be avoided to not add any more heat in the body. And a lot of skin problems can be caused by heat.
Dampness is from humidity. In humid weather, these symptoms caused by dampness, which like feeling tired, sleepy and heavy can show up or get worse.
Dryness causes mouth, lips, hair, and skin to get dry. Dryness easily affects lung, which cause dry nose, dry cough, or with a little phlegm, or phlegm is very sticky and even with a little blood. We would use herbs to nourish the lung. If one suffers from chronic dry cough we would suggest eating pears, or pear, fritillary cooking with crystal sugar.
Fire is stronger than heat. Heart fire causes tongue ulcers, insomnia. Liver fire causes red eyes, emotion irritated, and migraines. Stomach fire causes teeth pain,swollen gums,easy to feel hungry.
When we have Qi sufficient, these external pathology factors won’t go inside body to cause problems. It’s like if a country is strong enough, there is no enemy can invade.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Five Elements

The five elements consist of Wood, Fire, Earth, Mental and Water. Each of those elements corresponds to five different organs, which are Liver, Heart, Spleen, Lung and Kidney.
In the order of Liver, Heart, Spleen, Lung and Kidney is like the relationship between a mother and the child.
In the order of Liver, Spleen, Kidney, Heart and Lung is when they are against each other.

The Liver is called the emotional organ. It is like wood, which needs space to stretch. If your not happy your Liver Qi is stagnate and you get depressed. When your Liver blood is deficient, not enough water for the wood you also get depressed. For example, if one is irritated, hyper and so on,we see that as an emotional problem, and we treat the Liver. It also means that the Liver Yang is high. We then ask the question why is it high? It can be caused by a Liver Yin that is low, or can be caused by a
Kidney Yin that is low. The Kidney is a water organ; the two need to be balanced.

The Heart is fire, which is warm. When the Heart Qi or Yang is deficient, this means that it doesn’t have enough power to move the blood. For example, one will have pale lips, pale face, cold extremes, when they walk a little they may feel a palpitation and so on. When the Heart Yin is deficient, one easily feels restless and also has insomnia.

Spleen is earth. Without earth there isn’t nutrition. Nothing would grow. So as they always say, as long as you can eat, there is a chance for survival.

Lung is metal. Metal is heavy. Heavy stuff always goes down. Which means that if the Lung Qi were going up instead of going down, one would feel short of breathe and would have a cough.

Kidney is water. Kidney is related to the genitourinary system. Any urinary problem and sexual problem can be blamed on the Kidneys.

In Western Medicine the organs are just organs, but in Chinese Medicine they are more that just organs. For example, when we talk about the Liver it’s the Liver Qi, Liver Blood, Liver Yin, and Liver Yang.

Later on when we combine other cases you’ll have a better understanding of how Chinese Medicine treats the body in the healing process.