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.