Herbal Podcast

Lately, I’ve been doing an herbal podcast, that puts together a classical chinese viewpoint of how herbs were categorized and used back way back when. I’ve attempted to show how the Ancient Chinese, arranged nature in a Holistic viewpoint. By using the Chinese Zodiac, the Ancient Chinese were able to figure out when were the most profitable times to tend to their agricultural needs.

The forgotten blog

I am surprised that this thing is still here. I has been quite some time since I have last touched base and explored where in my mind I find myself in my medicine.

There have been many a dabbling this year, some discoveries, and different toolings. I have successfully finished the Cannonical Chinese Medicine Diplomate, but feel I have a lot to learn from the applications of the classics in a modern setting. The variety of ailments that I have been able to treat have been quite variable but nothing out of the norm. Managing a woman’s cycle, anxiety, depression, and insomnia, seem to be that regular type of ailments, that I find myself prescribing Chinese Herbs. I haven’t seen anything too crazy from which some of my colleagues have recieved. Not that I haven’t treated cancer before, but it seems like I am getting what I should be getting. I should just hone my skills in those particular ailments until I can get a sufficient amount of data to actually say something about them. It seems at this moment, I am plateaued as an herbalist.
(rubs his hands together until some unusual case comes in the door)

I have been exploring Tung’s points and the I Ching in Acupuncture. Even though I have a grasp of what it is capable of doing, the mere esoterism of it, leads me to just do it on myself, friends, and adventurous patients. I seen some of the empirical uses of the more publicized point protocol from differnent CEU courses and books, but the theory and understanding behind them evades me. The strange thing about it I am not in a hurry to unravel the mystery. I have been pretty successful in treating the things that I do with my current methods. I just hope my weekly practice of the I Ching will draw me closer to that understanding which to me right now is rather unfathomable.

My small shop has been taking care of itself so far but I am now ready to bump it up a notch. I am not sure yet how to take it to the next level. I am rather tired of the variety of marketing schemes that come to my door and promise everything but result in nothing. Every internet scheme has yet to bring in the homerun, or a stable continuity of clientele. I may just kill my marketing budget and hire a business coach of a sort.

Thats it for now, until the spirit deems me.

Jing, Qi, Shen

The three treasures known in Qi gong are Jing, Qi, and Shen. They are stored in the three fields of the body, the Dantiens (translation from chinese- fields), or known as the Triple Burners. The Dantiens, are the center areas of the body, where energy is collected and also distributed. These are focus areas in the body while practicing Qi gong. As the breath travels with inhalation from the nose to the belly and with exhalation back out of the nose, these centers gather the qi of the body and in turn with concentration transform it. With each deepening breath, the focus and the concentration transforms this energy and builds it up in the rising tides of the Dantiens.
The notion of Burners, also provides an image in this process of breath work. Burners can be seen as bellows providing warmth and heat for the entire body. In a similar image, these localized stove tops of the body, are found just above the navel, above the sternum, and at the occipital lobe. (Other schools locate the top Burner at the top of the nose between the eyes. Some schools located them under the navel, over the navel, and at the chest) What is collected at these Dantiens, or similarly “burnt” at these Burners, is the energy that is necessary for those areas of the body. This is Jing, Qi, and Shen. Jing, the simplest and most condense of these, is the seed energy, that is derived from our essence. Its is our sexual makeup, our DNA, and our life seed. This through Qi gong, is lifted up from our sexual organs, into the lowest burner, and combined with the energy of that which we have ingested, ruminated and dwelled upon. Our body combines thats, and transforms it into what it needs, Qi, to nourish the body. What is in excess rises, or falls according to its quality, and enters the next Dantien, or Burner. This burner located in the center of the chest, mixes with the immediate breath. It discriminates, gathers what is necessary, and releases what is not. Most of the breath leaves or it goes to the lower burner to start the process over again. What collects and remains transforms into core of who we are. It becomes the emotions that fuel us, predominate us, and are a part of our character. Out of this transformation, comes out the Shen, which is our Spirit Mind. The Shen collects in the upper Dantien or Burner and brightens our awareness. It provides us with insight, and illuminates our being.
Each Dantien provides a path of transformation where we can focus, and see the process unfold in our Qi gong through simple mindfulness.

Continuing Depression

Managing depression can be a difficult thing, especially when you are uncertain as to the cause of it. Using a simple calendar or a diary, is one of the ways of chronicling when your episodes happen and what your episodes were about. One can simply step back and look at a month or week in question and possibly see a pattern arising. Another use of the diary, is that one could try to build a narrative, and through that narrative make a break-through. As one begins to see a story form, one can begin to understand the possible context that the depression came from. This is the easiest way, of putting it all together in one piece. And in the future, one can also relate it to others so that they may easily understand you, sympathize, and help you out.

The DSM-V, divides depression into different categories, categorized by severity, frequency, and mixed presentation. Major, Manic, Mixed, Hypomanic, Major recurring, Disthymic, Cyclothymic, Bipolar 1, and Bipolar 2. Each one has a varying degree of severity with mixed presentations, or whether they stem from an event, or from a conditioned state. Each one is medicated differently according to its presentation. Likewise in Chinese Medicine, the depression is looked at according to its presentation and symptomatology. The emotional state that one is in, while in the depression, or out of it, gives a the practitioner a sense of what is the base emotion that the patient is overwhelmed in. There are five different “spirits” or psychical states that one may find themselves in according to Chinese Medicine. These are the emotions commonly expressed as Anger, Joy, Worry, Grief, and Fear. One may have a predominant “spirit” which their personality may dictate. Usually these emotions are in a harmonious relationship and when one emotion overtakes the other, the self and the body becomes overtaxed. Excessive anger may rage and burn one out, over elation repletes instantly, excessive worry hampers action, and denies expression. Also animproper response or inaction to one of these emotions may stultify or depress another. When one does not act within the moment of the occurrence of anger, depression may arise, or when one conceals their joy, depression may arise also. When one doesn’t heed caution to worry, depression may arise, and so forth. These imbalances take a toll on the body, and produce lethargy, anxiety, over-compulsion, lack of self esteem, and so forth.

Acupuncture is a way in which the body can heal itself and the mind also. Acupuncture opens up the flow of the body’s channels to experience movement again, it rejuvenates, and releases tension. It clears the mind, and shows the mind where the body is tensed, and where trauma may have hidden itself. There have been situations where one has cried after a treatment, or was so relaxed and relieved that they “felt like their old selves again.” This is where one can remember themselves, and who they have been and pick up the pieces and start all over again. Courage and strength with support can then lead the way to a new beginning.

Dry Needling

There is a big hub bub out there about what constitutes acupuncture, and who can practice acupuncture, and under what credentials. Apparently, there are continuing education classes for Chiropractors, Physical therapists, and Medical Doctors, that are usually weekend courses, just shy of 15 hours. The biggest proponent of dry needling is Dr. Yun Tao Ma, who has done extensive work in the University level, and for the NIH. The big stir is that this allows Physical Therapists take a weekend course and perform “dry needling” which some argue is a form of acupuncture on patients for pain relief. Most physical therapy can be covered by insurance, and is readily accepted by the medical profession. A majority of Orthopedics and the like, are quick to give out prescriptions for physical therapy, for pain management and recovery. However, it is rare that one would think of giving out a prescription for acupuncture.

Many people fear, that the training that is involved with the Continuing Education, is insufficient to what is a part of an acupuncturist’s training, and that the type of “needling” that is done is no where near to what an acupuncturist can accomplish. Dr. Ma, bases his type of needling on neuro-pathways and not at all on acupoints or meridians. So are they the same or are they different?

Many Acupuncturist are upset that Physical Therapist can claim they do acupuncture, or bill under acupuncture, when they have no certification for it or even formal training as an acupuncturist does.

There actually is an ordinance in Rhode Island, that states, that a person, who doesn’t have any licensing in acupuncture, cannot advertise services in acupuncture, for example in the case here, a Chiropractor or a Physical Therapist providing “acupuncture” services, when what they are really doing “dry needling”. Since not all states have regulations over acupuncture, most people are unaware of what acupuncture really is or what it is capable of. The majority of patient education lies in the practioner informing the client of what each session entails, and what it is he is actually doing, and what to expect out of each session. The general public is easily schemed as we have seen, various shams appearing in the media about fake “plastic” surgery, or bo-tox injections. If someone can convince someone into purchasing a “bo-tox” injection, without any credentials, then why not acupuncture after a two day seminar.

Are we to get angry and protest the actual courses where the training occurs? No, not really. We can get angry, and approach our professional regulations bureau, as well as our affiliations to put higher guidelines, and fight for something like what they have in Rhode Island. But to actually protest a training session coordinated by someone who has strong credentials and has “sold out” to another medical profession, I am not ready to get my liver qi all hyperactive. I have talked to Chiropractors who have had CEU courses in acupuncture or “dry needling”, and the majority say, they really have no need for it in their practice. Either they tried it on their patients as a novelty at first to obtain a result, either didn’t obtain the result they wanted, and returned to their previous methods in treating that particular pain. Some others, who have used it, and have gotten a result, use it to refer out to another acupuncturist. They usually stick to what they know works for them, and acupuncture just becomes a tool in their bag to use every once in a long while. The argument that some of the protesters have, is that they are worried that their lack of training may injure their patients. This is silly. Why are we to worry about someone else’s patient? Its their lack of training, and lack of skill, that may get them in a lawsuit, or increase their malpractice premium, and even most likely lose their client. Like, I said most Chiro’s that I’ve met that have had training usually say they’d rather let the acupuncturist do the difficult needling.

There are also many tools out there that we as acupuncturists do that may be considered out of our scope, that we also borrow from other professions, such as muscle testing, orthopedic tests, rehabilitative techniques, etc. Some of us, just take CEU, courses for those. We should think twice before we ruffle our feathers and point out these “dry needle” proponents, and see what good they are doing, like actually bringing us patients.


Management of Hot flashes and other symptoms of Chemo, and Cancer treatments

As a cancer survivor you may be experiencing hot flashes because of surgical removal of ovaries or because of hormone suppressive therapy to decrease the levels of estrogen in the body. This problem is not just experienced by breast and ovarian cancer survivors, but it’s also a problem for men taking hormone-blocking therapy as a treatment for prostate cancer.

Some things that you can simply do to keep yourself cool,

  • Dress in loose layers.
  • For clothing and bed linens, use loosely woven cotton materials.
  • Keep air circulating with a fan or an open window.
  • Enjoy cool drinks instead of hot beverages.
  • Avoid the things that make your body temperature increase, such as smoking, drinking alcohol and caffeine, and eating spicy foods.
  • Be aware that certain foods that may trigger hot flashes, including those that contain tyramine such as aged cheeses, red wine, tomatoes and citrus fruits.
Some of the common therapies include vitamin E, anticonvulsants, blood pressure-lowering medications and antidepressant medications. Complementary and alternative therapies include acupuncture, yoga, meditation and herbal supplements.
Breast Cancer.org also recommends acupuncture.

It is also important to avoid triggers of Hot flashes. Stress (hard to avoid when undergoing breast cancer treatment) is a leading trigger—underscoring the value of relaxation and stress-reduction techniques such as massage, breathing exercises, meditation, yoga or biofeedback. Other frequent triggers include consumption of alcohol, caffeine, hot and/or spicy food, and smoking.

Tung’s Points by Dr. Tan

Dr. Tan’s use of Tung’s points.

Aside from using his balancing methods for treating orthopedic disharmonies, or any other channel disharmonies that occur in the body, he has a set of points that he keeps in his repertoire to treat painful symptoms that occur. A quick overview would be to divide the distal points by the limb on which they are on.

Hand Dorsal Points
Ba guan- Shoulder, upper arm, upper leg pain and atrophy w/ numbness and burning.
Fen bai- Eye problems
Fu ke- Gynecological
Qi hua- Arthritis, tendonitis, knee, and elbow problems
Zhi yang- Wind stroke paralysis
Zhong bai- To balance the galbladder meridian.

Palmar Points
Chen yin- Prostrate
Chong xian- Bronchitis, Pneumonia, Asthma, pain behind the lungs in the back.
Feng Chao- “Female problsms”
Mu Guan- Arthritis, RA
Shuang lang, Shuang ling- Blood stasis due to cancer. Serious problems, close to death
Tong gu- balances the kidney channel