I did a talk for Many Rivers on Opening the Heart Through Chinese Medicine.
Please listen and enjoy!
I did a talk for Many Rivers on Opening the Heart Through Chinese Medicine.
Please listen and enjoy!
Knee pain in Chinese Medicine is created by the Kidney energy and it is important to differentiate the difference whether of not it is due to Kidney deficiency or from a Painful Obstruction syndrome. When the pain is from a deficiency it is mainly bilateral meaning both sides of the knee and it usually develops gradually over a long period of time. Also if the knee feels weak and sometimes cold to the touch, then it is usually Kidney Yang deficiency. If it is a Kidney Yang deficiency it is usually never affected by the weather and also would never be swollen.
When the knee problem is from a pathogenic factor then you would see unilateral pain and it would start fairly suddenly. This type of knee problem would be affected by the weather, usually the rain or dampness, and the knee may be swollen as well.
In Chinese Medicine Painful obstruction usually can be several factors: one is the invasion of cold and damp due to weather conditions, and the other is from an injury which creates stagnation of Qi due to the injury. Usually when someone gets hurt the body takes it as a kind of shock and closes down somewhat from the trauma of the injury. This is why it is always a good thing to get an acupuncture treatment very soon after the injury since the body does not get that much of a chance to close down, thereby creating an instant flow of Qi. The other reason for knee pain is due to the stagnation of both Qi and Blood which takes place with the over usage of the joint. This is from either working out, running to hard, construction work or cleaning, and in Sonoma county I would venture to say gardening.
There are two types of pain, acute and chronic. The acute pain comes on suddenly and the chronic pain comes over a period of time. In Chinese Medicine they are both treated in similar ways. Depending on where the pain is determines which meridian will be used. The meridians are channel which run up and down the body. For example, the Stomach Meridian runs along the front of the body, above the knee and inside the joint itself, the Liver Meridian is on the back of the knee as well as the Spleen. The knee can have pain on the top, on the sides or in the back, in which case different Meridians would be used to move the Qi and Blood.
I just finished treating a man who has knee pain on the sides of his knees for about 10 years. He is 54 years old and has had no swelling but has pain deep within the joint. He also claims that it may be an old injury form a ski accident many years ago and has gone untreated since then since it has only begin to bother him rather recently. Since he is a bit older and the injury has been long standing, I decided to put him on a formula called Duo Huo Ji Sheng Tan. With eight treatments and taking the formula daily his knee pain has almost totally resolved. Through acupuncture and herbs most knee pain can be healed, the results I have gotten have been profound and lasting.
Chinese medicine has always stressed the desire and importance of sexual activity. Sexual desire depends on the Minister Fire and a healthy sexual appetite indicates that the Fire is abundant. When sexual desire builds in the Minister Fire it blazes and accumulates energy and creates a normal flow of Qi. The stirring of the Minister Fire when sexual desire builds up affects the Mind and the Heart. To have a normal sex drive creates a balance and also creates a healthy mental attitude. There are many things written in Chinese medicine during the Qing dynasty, which talk about women’s emotional longing and loneliness. Among the emotional causes they talk about worry and pensiveness, depression and also stagnation due to sexual frustration. There are also many things written about satisfying the heart.
When the body is restricted due to lack of sexual desire it no longer receives that type of satisfaction. In my practice I have now seen so many women who not only have no sexual desire but because of their age are no longer interested in being intimate and sharing that experience. I believe that sometimes this can be due to a hormonal imbalance and sometimes it is due to emotional blockages, which have taken place over time. I feel it is important to have a natural sexual craving and to also be satisfied with the closeness, which can be achieved by this connection. The exchange of energy, which happens during sexual activity, is a beneficial time between two partners. I recently have spoken with so many women who have problems in this area that I have decided to write an article on how I have managed to heal this.
Over the past ten years I have given many women a hormone test and have found that there are three different things occurring. In menopause, the Minister Fire begins to burn out due to Kidney Yin deficiency and needs to be fed again. I have accomplished this by using alternative hormone treatment and several herbal supplements and have had really good luck. I believe as with all treatments that once the body is balanced, its natural state of being begins to unfold again. In Chinese medicine it is natural to have a sexual appetite and also beneficial to express that. The Kidney energy is related to the Ming Men Fire and helps to keep that fire alive. To be deficient in this only means that the body needs to be rebalanced with treatments and herbs. The good thing about Chinese Medicine is that it has the capacity to build up energy and organs by tonifying them. This is not done in the Western world and people suffer from many things throughout their entire lives because of this.
As we get older many things begin to get deficient and many old patterns become very cemented in the body causing stagnation. All of these things can be addressed through treatment. I recently had a patient that had some emotional problems around the idea of sex since she got married very young and had five children so sex for her was about recreating and being a Mom, not about pleasure. She has been put on several things for hormone balancing as well as some herbs to soothe her Liver energy. In four months she has begun to really relax and enjoy intimacy in a different way. My other patient had complained of painful sex along with no sexual appetite and we were also able to not only get rid of the pain but to also reestablish a normal sexual appetite. This took about three to four months but so far she is doing much better. I believe that most people want to feel that closeness with their partner and share that deep connection. It is only natural. To see this being resolved in many patients has been astounding to me. Please know that Chinese Medicine helps to rebalance the body and also helps to bring it back to a place of joy with a normal expression of love.
Chinese Medicine was originally created for wellness not illness. It was understood that a person could keep himself or herself well by taking herbs daily and undergoing acupuncture treatments once or twice a week. In our society however, there is a lot of western medicine, which approaches the patient when they are ill and handles health only when something is wrong. My personal experience with western medicine has been lucky. When I was forty years old, my soon had a severe case of acne and I had just begun being a student of Chinese Medicine. He wanted to go to the western doctor for acne medication and I decided to honor his request. At the time I had a small pimple-like thing on my face right below my right eye that had been there for about a year or so. After his treatment I asked the doctor to please take a slice of it and send it into the lab. She did not want to do this since she said it looked like it was nothing and further more I was a brunette with olive skin and it was fine. At the time, I insisted and she took a sample and sent it off. Two days later I received a phone call notifying me that I had melanoma and to schedule a “mose” surgery immediately. This type of surgery takes one slice at a time, examines it under a microscope until the slice that is taken is cancer free. After the mose surgery I was taken to a friend of mine who stitched it up, he had just opened up a plastic surgery clinic in Beverly Hills. I did this because it was from my eye down my entire cheek and wanted it to look good when it healed. I had asked my Chinese teachers at school what to do and they all said to have it taken out and then do Chinese medicine afterwards to build my system back up again.
I of course survived the surgery and went on to heal myself of it ever reoccurring again. I studied many ideas about cancer and its reoccurrence and to this day I remain healthy, strong and my white blood cell count is perfect. I did this all through Chinese herbs and treatments. I believe that today the amount of ill health, western medications, cancer etc. has been overwhelming. I do believe that some people need to do a western treatment first but can regain the health through alternative means. There are several products I now put all of my patients on. To begin with they all take a green drink in the morning with protein powder and sometimes chlorophyll and they all are taking a mushroom formula for their immune system. I try to have my patients eat organically, stay away from antibiotics or replace them with something similar but not as harsh like grape seed extract. For every western medication there is an eastern or holistic alternative which will work just as well and has no side effects. There is also the possibility of totally healing and illness instead creating it as a lifetime illness.
Our bodies are the only thing we have and we need to take care of it. I have a patient recently that has been taking Lipitor as well as sleeping pills. The Lipitor is for high cholesterol and is so harsh that this patient had to take a blood test every two months to make sure his liver was all right. So over a period of six months with alternative herbs and formulas and weekly treatments, this patient is not only off the Lipitor and has cholesterol of 160 but also is no longer on sleeping pills at all and sleeps much better. It was Dr. Stiller the creator of osteopathy who claimed that the body has the ability to heal itself and not to interrupt it with medication. Now with this same patient, we are going to work on his weight so that we can get him healthier through severaldetox programs that will help him with his food choices and firm up his body more.
My other recent patient came in with acid regurgitation as well as severe stomach problems. Her western doctor had her on medication “forever.” Now after ten treatments she is eating better, taking Chinese herbs to heal her stomach and taking the daily protocol of herbs and vitamins. She is totally pain free. She has already completed one detox program and was just put on her second one.
I mention these two cases without telling you what the diagnosis is in Chinese medicine. The first diagnosis would be stuck liver qi with a stomach yin deficiency and the second case would be spleen deficiency and spleen going upward instead of downward. The real cure for all of these is for me trying to get people healthy and I believe part of that is getting people off their western medications so that their body can begin to heal naturally. I know that from working in the hospital in Santa Monica with two oncologists that some medications may be needed and some people are frightened by the idea getting off of their meds…. but there is a way to incorporate both western and eastern and I do believe that people do not have to be on medication forever. Some western medications actually cripple the health of the patient and doesn’t allow for wellness. It is time to take your health into your own hands, educate yourselves about the meds you are taking and see if there is an alternative approach that would work and would be healthier.
The treatment of stress in Chinese Medicine covers all the organ systems in different ways. What happens during the time of stress is that the Qi (energy) either gets trapped somehow or gets somewhat twisted and out of sorts. The idea in Chinese Medicine is to keep the Qi smooth and flowing. However, when there is stress involved, the energy becomes stagnant and begins to have an affect on the organs. To begin with, we can discuss different organs and their individual responses. The Lung organ is in charge of breathing and the emotion involved with it is grief. In a situation where someone is caring for a loved one who is older and not doing well, there is a deep area which gets very depleted and over whelmed. I have seen this recently in several of my patients who are caring for their elderly parents and the responsibility becomes very intense. I have two patients now who are in similar position and they both come in for weekly treatments and herbs and they are able to handle things much better. They are given a combination of liver herbs to smooth the energy out and heart herbs to calm and center their spirits. They both claim that they are calmer and can handle things much better. The Lung energy naturally has a descending motion but in this case the Qi does not descend and people have trouble breathing or can have a slight asthma reaction.
Another organ which is affected by stress is the Heart. During intense times of stress the Heart houses the Mind and Blood in Chinese medicine and because of this, mentally someone can go through emotional and mental turmoil, bad dreams, and an unbalanced emotional state that is devoid of joy. The patient can also experience heart palpitations and an energy weakness as well. Since the Heart houses the blood it is important to have the blood flowing smoothly so it can nourish the heart and the body. If the Heart Qi is strong, the blood vessels will be full and regular. If the heart Qi is weak, the pulse will be feeble and irregular. The state of the blood can also be reflected in someone’s complexion. If the blood is strong and flowing the complexion will be rosy. It is very common for someone to begin forgetting things when their heart Qi is running so low. This can also be reflected in mental restlessness as well.
The Liver energy has a lot to do with courage and anxiety. The Liver organ stores the blood and has it go to the sinews and bones and also opens up to the eyes. It is a self-regulating organ, which is co-coordinated with physical activity. In many ways it is best to make sure one’s Qi is moved by physical energy so that it does not get stuck. When the Liver operates well and with nourishment…the feet can walk, the hands can hold and the fingers can grasp. In a situation of depletion the body will become extremely tired and will not be able to fight off exterior pathogens. The individual can become easily ill, the muscles can begin to cramp, the eyes will begin to hurt and the emotion will be filled with anger. I have gotten tremendous results in relaxing and nurturing the Liver energy so that it flows downward and is smooth. This organ can actually be responsible for depression on top of a stress reaction towards life. I believe Chinese medicine can get immediate results with even one treatment.
The Spleen and Stomach meridians can be grouped together in order to understand the effects of stress. They are the two organs responsible for transforming and transporting food. The Spleen energy has to do with worry. The Spleen and Stomach direct Qi downwards so in times of stress, the energy or Qi of these organs can move upwards causing belching, acid reflux or indigestion. The Spleen is in charge of holding the blood together in the vessels. When a patient is over-worrying or over-thinking, this alone can throw the digestive system off. Things are no longer digested, go through the system and then are expelled. Instead, the system begins to shut down and not only can constipation occur but food will not be digested properly and nutrition will not be absorbed by the system. The Spleen and Stomach together create a “lifting” experience and when they are not working properly there could be a form of prolapse occurring. The Spleen is the residence of thought so meditation would help to create a calmness and clarity.
These are some of the organ systems that are hampered from stress. All the organ systems work together in Chinese medicine to create balance and in times of stress it is important to see if you can get a couple treatments to help you through the hard times. I have seen remarkable results in just one or two treatments with acupuncture and herbs together. If you are in a situation that you need some help, please take of yourself first so that you can take care of situations with a greater amount of ease and harmony. This will help transform your experience of difficult events and times.
In Chinese Medicine sinusitis corresponds to an old Chinese term by the name of Bi Yuan. This literally means “nose pool”. Bi Yuan is said to be brain discharge since it deals with profuse and purulent discharge from the nose which the Chinese felt comes from the brain. In my practice, I have seen numerous patients with severe amounts of discharge as well as postnasal drip in the back of their throats and pain in the sinus areas. I have also seen patients with headaches from their sinuses. As for brain discharge, I don’t feel as though this is quite accurate although its possible that the Gall Bladder channel is involved due to that it flows through the brain. The main symptoms of sinusitis are profuse discharge from the front and the back of the nose, and into the throat, facial pain, and a feeling of heaviness in the head. There is also local tenderness over the maxillary and the frontal sinus.
In this article I will explain different pathologies and how to go about transforming these. The first etiology is an invasion of Wind-Heat or Wind-Cold. Both of these are associated with the Lung Qi energy in the body. It is the Lung energy that when it blocked impairs the function of the Lungs to move the Qi downwards thus creating the fluids to stagnate in the nose and sinus passages. In Chinese Medicine, Wind-Heat enters through the front of the neck and Wind-Cold enters through the back of the neck. A cold or virus in Western medicine would enter through the front of the body and in an airplane or an open window with cold air would enter through the back of the neck. In fact a cold might not be cured all the way thus creating the next viral attack in an already infected area. Both of these symptoms are treated with the use of acupuncture and herbs and can also be treated once someone feels the first signs of these to lessen the extent of the illness.
The classic symptoms of Wind-Heat are stuffed nose, yellow phlegm, nasal discharge, headache, diminished sense of smell and aversion to cold and fever. The treatments involves clearing the heat, removing the wind and opening up the nasal passages. I have seen remarkable results in just one treatment and the herbal formulas are very effective. Under the heat category there is also Lung-Heat, which occurs as well. These symptoms include yellow purulent discharge, tenderness over sinuses, feeling of heat, headache and thirst. The patient has a chronic sinus condition with Wind-Heat and has an impaired system when it comes to creating a descending function of the Lungs. Many patients have come to me with this problem and they also have Phlegm-Heat as well with this condition. I have one female patient who had sinus infections all of her life and I treated her with acupuncture and herbs for all most one year and she now has very few occurrences after o lifetime of discomfort. The acupuncture and herbs helped to get rid of her phlegm and constant stuffy nose. The Chinese formulas and also the use of an amino acid that I find helps tremendously.
There is another antilogy in the heat category called, Liver-Gallbladder Fire. These symptoms include, red face, yellow discharge, and pain in sinus area, irritability and dry stools. For this patient I would clear the Liver fire raising to the nose clear the gall bladder channel and restore the Lung_Qi to its descending function. I currently have a male patient age 6 who has had chronic problems with his sinuses and we put him on a formula and gave him several treatments and after three times his phlegm began to dissipate as well as his irritability. It’s always interesting to heal what is underneath a symptom so that the patient can have a true healing. This man is in a very intense business and has a great amount of responsibility on his shoulders. The formulas for this patient made such a change in him that he also looks younger and has lost over 15 pounds during the treatment.
The last clinical manifestation is Stomach and Spleen Damp-Heat. This involves nasal discharge, dry lips, a feeling of heaviness and a feeling of oppression in the chest and upper abdomen. In this situation I would clear the heat, resolve the dampness and harmonize the Stomach and spleen. The formulas are very good for this and I feel that many people have this particular problem do to overuse of antibiotics and western medicines as children. It is my belief that these drugs have somewhat damaged the spleen and stomach and these organs need to be built back up again. Along with this the diet in Chinese medicine always need s to be addressed due to the heavy consumption of fried foods, sugar and also milk and cheese in the western diet. An excessive amount of phlegm leads to the formation of dam-heat in the Stomach and Spleen and can be carried upwards towards the sinus area. In fact one patient, who always had cereal and milk late at night as a treat was taken off this and in one week he noticed a tremdous difference from this alone.
Sinusitis is a stubborn, chronic disease, which may need long-term treatments, but with acupuncture and herbs it is possible to get rid of the problems and tonify the patient to wellness.
The lower back in Chinese Medicine is the residence of the Kidneys. If the back pain radiates down the leg from the back it indicates a more Full condition, usually from Damp-Cold in the leg channels. Occasionally it may also be due to Damp-Heat. The pain may also only occur in the leg without affecting the back. This syndrome of back pain is called Sciatica. It is important to try and find out what channels are involved so that certain acupuncture points can be used. As mentioned in many of my other articles, pain can be caused by both a deficiency or an excess condition as well as be an acute problem, which occurs suddenly or a chronic problem which continually occurs over time. Chronic conditions are always due to Kidney deficiency which can be combined with retention of Damp-Cold or stagnation of Qi and Blood.
Throughout my eighteen years in acupuncture, I have seen many types of Sciatica and the use of both Acupuncture and Herbs have gotten some very quick results. Many times there is a radiating leg pain in the very back of the leg or on the side of the leg. It usually occurs down one leg only and can be resolved in just a few treatments. The use of the herbs helps to release the cold, nourish the Kidneys and remove the dampness. Along with these treatments, I have given herbs to many patients to take for several months afterwards to minimize further back problems. It is also interesting to look at the function of the back, which helps us to stand erect in the world and move forward. In times of stress, many people experience back problems.
When a backache is accompanied by sciatica it usually takes a little longer to treat. As mentioned above, Sciatica is usually caused by Wind-Cold in both acute and chronic cases. The pain is usually worse in the morning and better with light exercise and movement. The pain can be relieved by an application of heat and is worse when the weather is cold and damp. During an acupuncture treatment I use both a special heat lamp and a warming herb called moxa. When Cold predominates there may be stiffness and contraction of the back muscles and the pain is more aggravated by rest and stagnation. When Dampness predominates there may be swelling, numbness and a feeling of heaviness.
My 55 year old patient complained of an acute backache, which had started after working at one of her jobs as a gardener. The pain was intense and was centered around the lower left kidney area. It radiated downwards to the left buttocks and the back of the leg. She was so uncomfortable that she came directly from work to see if she could get some relief so that she could go back to her job the following day. We even did her verbal intake with her standing up rather than sitting. The muscles on her left side were in spasm and the entire area felt very stiff. She was treated with both distal points and local points for a period of 45 minutes with both needles and moxa. I also sent her home with a fabulous Chinese formula for Sciatica. Upon getting off the table 80% of all her pain was gone and in the next couple days we gave her one more treatment and she took the herbs for four days. After the last treatment she was totally pain free.
Lower backache and Sciatica can be treated perfectly, adequately and successfully according to Chinese Medicine. The results are profound with no Western pain medications or treatments.