Acupuncture Assessment for Severe Acne
Acne is a common skin disease which most often affects:
1). Teenagers 2). Women before the menstrual period 3). Women after taking, or stopping, birth control pills 4). Some patients that have a family history of acne.
Chinese Medicine describes the etiology of acne as an imbalance in internal physiological and energetic systems, where this imbalance produces heat, toxic stagnation, and blood stasis in the body. Therefore, treatments should address the imbalance in these systems, clear heat, reduce toxicity, and move blood stasis. Dr. Yang has used Chinese Medicine to treat patients for over 30 years. These patients came from many different countries, and have all received effective results, decidedly including those patients with severe acne. The following is an assessment of the findings of Dr. Yang’s research.
Severe acne patients commonly experience:
1). Long-term acne (some have it only a few years, others have it for 10 years or more). 2). Massive amount of large pimples covering large areas. 3). Acne appears on various places such as the face, the chest, neck, shoulders and back. 4). Patients may use different acne treatment products (e.g. cream and medicines), which are effective while still actively in use, but acne returns after stopping taking such products. These products may also be
ineffective for some patients. 5). Patients with cystic acne (big and deep pimples).
Dr. Yang’s protocols for treating acne usually only takes one week to be effective, and after two months of treatments, most patients have their acne problem under control. Once the acne is under control, another month of treatment will usually stabilize the condition more completely. Signs of effectiveness after one week of treatment: 1). Pimples decrease in size 2). Decrease of amount of pimples (though there will likely still be a few new pimples here and there) 3). Change in the color of the pimples 4). Smaller acne scabs that decrease in size or disappear.
A 16-year-old girl was referred by her mother to my clinic for amenorrhea that had been ongoing for 11 months. Her first menstruation appeared at the end of her fourteenth year. Her menstruation was every three to five months, bleeding for two to three days, with a small volume of purple-dark blood containing clots. She consulted with Western medical doctors, but her test results were normal. She did not use hormone replacement therapy
because her mother suggested she try Chinese herbs first. School work caused her to sleep poorly, so she was always fatigued. She had no other symptoms. She had no back or abdominal pain. Her appetite was normal, with one bowel movement a day with stool intermittently containing slightly undigested food, and normal urination. Examination revealed she was thin with a pale red facial color. Her tongue was pale red with slight teeth marks on the edges and a thin, white tongue coating. Her pulse was weak, deep and slow with 60 bpm. Her BP was 110/80mmHg.
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, menstruation relates to Kidney essence and Spleen Qi. Her condition was deficiency in Kidney essence and Spleen Qi. The treatment principle was to tonify the Kidney essence, strengthen the Spleen and tonify Qi. The Chinese herbal formula selected for this case was a modified version of You Gui Wan and Gui Pi Tang. The herbs included (Formula I) Huang Qi, Dang Shen, Bai Zhu, Dang Gui, Chuan Xiong, Shu Di Huang, Tu Si Zi, Rou Gui, Lu Jiao Shuang, Xian Mao, Xian Ling Pi and Gou Qi Zi. The formula was 50g of herbal powder prescription for one week to be taken orally three times a day, 2g per dose, mixed with about 2- 3 oz. of warm water.
After taking her Chinese herbal formula for three days, her mother called to report that she had a tiny nasal discharge with dark color once at a night before going to bed, which meant the Chinese herbal formula was starting to work. It was similar to menstruation, except that the direction of the energy was moving the wrong way in her particular condition. However, this event meant that her menstruation should come soon, and her mother was happy with this explanation. After fourteen days of taking her Chinese herbal formula, her mother called to report that she had tiny vaginal discharge with dark color, which meant her menstruation came. After about twenty-five days of taking her Chinese herbal formula, her menstruation appeared with a dark small volume of blood for two days.
After five weeks of taking the same Chinese herbal formula, however, her menstruation didn’t appear on time again. I changed her Chinese herbal formula (Formula II) to include Dang Gui, Chuan Xiong, Tao Ren, Hong Hua, Pu Huang, Yi Mu Cao, Xiang Fu, Zhi Shi, Yan Hu Suo and Gui Zhi. This formula was to invigorate Blood and move Qi to start menstruation. After five days of taking Formula II, she menstruated with medium volume of dark blood for five days. Subsequently, her menstruation came regularly monthly for five to seven days. Her mother reported she had two to three acne pimples on her face with menstruation, this sign means that her Kidney essence and Spleen Qi changed and started to work normally. She continued taking Formula I to set herself up for regular menstruation. But after 6 months of Formula I, her menstruation was heavy with red blood for twelve days. Another formula (Formula III) was created to control her heavy bleeding and shorten her menstruation. The herbs included Huang Qi, Dang Shen, Shan Yao, Bai Zhu, Fu Ling, San Qi, Pu Huang, Xian He Cao, Qian Cao, Ce Bai Ye, Mu Dan Pi, Mu Li and Hai Piao Xiao. After two months on Formula III, she menstruated every month with medium amount blood, seven-day menstruations with twenty-five-day cycles. Her mother reported two years later that her daughter still had regular monthly cycles.
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs Treat Symptoms of Allergies
Allergies are a very common problem, negatively affecting both health and quality of life for many people. While the majority of allergy sufferers experience only short term problematic symptoms, others undergo protracted bouts of allergic symptoms, to the point that allergies may plague them for their entire lives. Individuals can be affected by a variety of allergic diseases, and allergies may appear at any age. Allergies may present with a variety of signs and symptoms,
including nasal, respiratory, and dermatological problems. The most common allergic diseases are rhinitis, asthma, eczema, allergic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, and urticaria.
The signs and symptoms of nasal allergic rhinitis are coughing and postnasal drip; allergic shiners (dark circles under the eyes caused by increased blood flow near the sinuses); the “allergic salute” (in a child, persistent upward rubbing of the nose that causes a crease mark on the nose); and conjunctivitis, or itching watery eyes (an inflammation of the membrane that lines the eyelids, causing red-rimmed, swollen eyes, and crusting of the eyelids). The signs and
symptoms of respiratory allergies (often asthma) are a feeling of tightness in the chest, breathlessness, cough and wheezing. The signs and symptoms of dermatological allergies (often eczema, contact dermatitis and urticaria) are red, itchy, inflamed skin or welts (hives).
The most frequent causes of allergy problems are: pollens, mold spores, house dust mites, animal dander, foods, insect bites or stings, plants, insect spores, environmental conditions (such as cold temperatures). Not all of the factors that cause allergies are known, but allergic flare-ups are often related to seasonal changes (especially in the Spring), attacks of the common cold, and food allergies (like milk, dairy, eggs, gluten, wheat, sea food and peanuts). The standard
methods of treatment for regulating allergies, in particular immunotherapy “allergy shots”, have not been proven to be significantly effective, have potential side effects, and may need to be long term treatments to remain at all effective.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help to treat symptoms of allergies, and supplement Western medical treatments. Traditional Chinese Medicine considers the allergic responses that a person’s body manifests to be an imbalance between the exterior immunological defenses of the body, environmental factors, and the harmonious relationships of various internal physiological systems. The key is our body’s reactionary response. Even when in identical circumstances, different people respond to their environment in different ways. It is not at all uncommon for people who live and work in similar environments, and who even eat similar types of food, to have distinctly different responses to the allergens in their immediate vicinity – some will never even sneeze, while others may experience extreme allergenic reactions. The question is why some people have allergy attacks and others do not, and why people
tend become more allergy prone with age.
People begin to experiences allergies because each person’s body has internal changes that take place over time. Some of these changes are shifts toward an imbalance in their biological and immunological systems, meaning that they become more susceptible to allergenic factors in their environments. The way to treat this is to re-balance a person’s body and biological systems, with emphasis is on strengthening the immune system. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have a long history of treating allergic symptoms. Since the 1960’s in China, many research projects have been conducted on the treatment of allergic symptoms, and the results have consistently shown patient improvement without side effects.
Dr. Yang has used acupuncture and Chinese herbs to treat allergic symptoms in both the U.S. and in China. He has had very positive medical outcomes, especially for patients who have had severe allergic symptoms, even among those who have undergone long term treatments for symptoms with allergy shots. These patients have experienced relief of their allergenic symptoms and even stopped “allergy shot” therapy, and remain symptom free. Many patients do not
experience a recurrence of allergic symptoms, even during “allergy season”, for many years after treatment.
Dr. Yang’s protocol for treating allergy conditions address nasal congestion and obstruction first, and most patients feel more free flowing nasal inspiration within the first two to three minutes following the initial acupuncture treatment procedure. Many symptoms continue to improve within a short period of time, and the symptoms will further diminish with follow up treatments.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine Can Benefit Those with Arthritis and Pain
Arthritis is a condition characterized by chronic pain in the joints, along with swelling, numbness and stiffness, loss of movement and range of motion. It is often accompanied by emotional issues such as depression, stress, anxiety and insomnia, which can exacerbate the pain and frustration of the condition. Along with these symptoms, a patient may also experience fatigue and an inclination to catch colds. Some patients lose their jobs, and see their quality of life substantially undermined due to arthritis. While arthritis is defined by the experience of pain in the joints, patients often undergo diminished functional conditions throughout the body. This causes a lowered quality of life, and affects not just the patient, but entire families.
Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine can treat this debilitating disease effectively without using drugs, pain killers and Cortisone shots. Even though TCM is new to most Americans, it has been treating arthritis for over two thousand years – it is often quite effective for patients, and does not have the side effects that many drug treatments can have. Chinese medicine, including acupuncture, Chinese herbs, food therapy, Tuina (Chinese Massage) and Tai Ji Quan (Tai Chi, one of Chinese style exercises) can substantially reduce most patients’ pain, while greatly improving their range of motion and stability.
Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine have a history spanning more than two thousand five hundred years in China. These modalities are used to treat a variety of diseases including pain, osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Acupuncture is the first and immediate choice for patients with chronic pain in China. According to Chinese medicine, arthritis is due to either an imbalance of the body, or a deficiency of body. Unregulated intake of food, improper lifestyle, occupational causes, weather changes, environmental conditions, and emotional changes can all cause what is described as “qi stagnation,” or a low flow of
energy, which leads to pain, numbness, swelling and stiffness. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can relieve joint pain, and the combination of strengthening the body, proper diet choices, developing skills for psychological and emotional self regulation, and preparing for weather changes with the seasons will also provide significant benefit to all patients. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can relieve pain that may be more localized to one part of the body, or that extends to the entire body, treating pain from the inside to the outside of the body. Notably, these forms of treatment can offer help to some patients who may have marked difficulty with other therapeutic modalities.
Subsequent to initial research done in China in 1958 on the effects of acupuncture for analgesia during surgical procedures, many research projects investigating acupuncture and electro-acpuncture as treatments for pain have been undertaken. The results have consistently shown that acupuncture and electro-acupuncture have the ability to improve many painful conditions. They have been determined to be safe, with no adverse side effects, and can even increase the adaptive and regulatory ability of circulatory and immune function. Long-term monitoring of patients who have undergone these treatments show that they do not undergo side effects such as addiction, fatigue, disrupted sleep patterns, poor memory, or emotional changes. Even aspirin, a very common medication for pain, can cause stomach ulcers or generalized bleeding, side effects that acupuncture and electro-acupuncture do not have. Acupuncture has been recognized as a treatment for chronic pain in the United States since the 1980’s, and significant research has been conducted in medical colleges across the country focusing on acupuncture for pain and arthritis since 1995. Other common uses for acupuncture and electro-acupuncture are stress, anxiety, depression, obsessive /over-thinking, and insomnia. Patients with arthritis tend to find their conditions much improved, and their accompanying symptoms – such as fatigue, stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, addiction, immune system weakness, etc. – were all notably lessened.
Dr. Yang has protocols with acupuncture/electro-acupuncture, auricular acupuncture, food therapy, herbs, Tuina and Tai chi for arthritis, pain and mental disorders. Using his more than twenty four years of clinical experience and research, he has helped hundreds of patients with various health problems. The education that Dr. Yang can provide to patients for their own self-care is regularly of great benefit to those with arthritis, and can vastly improve the patients’ quality of life.
Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), including Chinese herbal medicines and acupuncture, has been used in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases in China since the 1950s. Through research by the integration of TCM and Western Medicine (WM), many of the classic herbal formulas that effectively treat cardiovascular diseases have been screened out, and many new herbal formulas have been designed and created (depending on mechanisms of the cardiovascular disease). This integration of TCM and Western medicine has developed new concepts, methods, and strategies for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Presently in China, Chinese herbal medicine treatment for cardiovascular diseases includes single herbs, herbal formulas and extracted agents of herbs.
Clinical research on the TCM treatments of cardiovascular diseases focus on common cardiovascular problems such as coronary heart disease, angina, myocardial infarction, arteriosclerosis, restenosis after percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty, cardiac arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, hypertension, hypotension, cardiomyopathy, hypercholesterolemia, viral myocarditis, peripheral vascular disorders, Raynaud’s phenomenon and disease, thromboangitis obliterans, venous thrombosis, etc.
Mechanisms of TCM for the treatment of cardiovascular disease work to engage with multiple levels of disease and simultaneous therapeutic targets, including anti-ischemic injury, such as impacting myocardial apoptosis and apoptosis related gene bcl-2 and bax expression; influencing RNA synthesis and gene expression related to nitric oxide synthase; effecting myocardial energy metabolism, protecting mitochondrial ultrastructural damage; effecting ventricular remodeling after acute myocardial infarction; promoting angiogenesis; protecting vascular endothelial cells and inhibiting vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation; preventing restenosis after percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty; inhibiting thrombosis by effecting the microcirculation, anti-platelet, influencing lipid metabolism, and thus anti-atherosclerosis, and so on.
Detailed information about treatments
The earliest clinical articles of TCM treatment of CHD are found in China beginning in 1955. They introduced case-by-case clinical discussions and very little basic research. Clinical data in the 1960s gradually increased and elaborated on the etiology and pathogenesis of the disease, treatment rules, classification type, treatment principles, and determinations of preliminary efficacy. In the 1970s, clinical data and theory increased significantly. The Chinese herbal medicines that are used to treat CHD and angina are from decoctions developed into a variety of formulations such as tablets, patches, pills, soft pills, oral liquids, granules, aerosols, extracted agents and injections, as well as mouth sprays which are suitable to relieve angina. These medicines have greatly improved the clinical value of TCM treatments for coronary artery disease.
Presently, there are millions of patients with CHD in China that are treated effectively with TCM yearly. Herbal medicines are used in both Western Medicine hospitals, Chinese Medicine hospitals and clinics everywhere, with very small and infrequent side effects.
There are experiments and clinical research currently exploring the potential mechanisms of the Chinese herbs for CHD. These researches are finding that Chinese herbs could regulate blood lipids, anti-platelet aggregation thrombosis, and anti-ischemic injury, improve endothelial function, act as anti-atherogenics, stabilize vulnerable plaque, and protect microvascular integrity.
TCM is not only applied to the prevention and treatment of CHD and Angina, but also for the treatment of AMI. Research found that Chinese herbs that quicken the blood and dispels stasis also increase coronary blood flow, reduce myocardial oxygen consumption, inhibit platelet aggregation and anticoagulant thrombolytic protection of the ischemic myocardium; the studies also show that Chinese herbs improve platelet functions, increase inhibition of thrombosis, scavenge free radicals and reduce myocardial infarction size and thrombolysis.
Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA) is one of the effective treatments for CHD but chance of restenosis is very high. Since 1991, there have been clinical studies on Chinese herbs and formulas for the prevention and treatment of restenosis after PTCA in China. The studies indicated that the Chinese herbal formulas and extracted agents of the Chinese herbs are effective and safe as therapeutic agents in preventing restenosis after PTCA. According to the research results, Chinese herbal formulas and extracted agents of the Chinese herbs prevented the stenting localized vascular regeneration and reduced the chance of restenosis.
Dr. Chen KeJi’s team reported that using classical herbal formula Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang (XFUYT) for therapeutic intervention inhibits percutaneous endovascular angioplasty smooth muscle cell proliferation, reduces arterial intima-media thickness, and regulates gene expression and other roles. Other research, using capsules made with ChuanXiong and ChiShao (CXCS) (as the main ingredients in XFUYT) prevent coronary restenosis after balloon injury on porcine subjects. The data showed that CXCS can effect gene and protein expression of smooth muscle cell proliferation and apoptosis, effect transmembrane signaling, and effect accumulation of collagen; all of which can prevent restenosis formation.
There is a long history of treating the main symptoms of arrhythmia with classical herbal formulas. Experimental research has shown that Chinese herbs and herbal formulas are effective treatments for arrhythmia since the 1970s, but the clinical research suggests a weak role for TCM in the treatment of serious arrhythmias. At that time, the majority of clinical research focused on the TCM treatment for sick sinus syndrome. The utilization of herbs and herbal formulas to warm yang and tonify qi can increase the heart rate and improve the symptoms of sick sinus syndrome. Some pharmacological medicine experiments showed the potential mechanisms of these classical herbal formulas. For example, the warm-yang herbs such as Aconite can excite β-receptors and increase heart rate; Cinnamon and Cistanche may change the structure of the nucleus, regulate synthesis of DNA, RNA, and protein, improve SA node conductivity and increase heart rate.
Since the 1990s, new theories and methods focusing on the balance of Yin and Yang for regulation of the SA node have been developed. Chinese herbal formulas were designed to adjust heart rate to the normal rate by reducing fast rate while enhancing slow rate. One formula that consists of many Chinese herbs exhibited its greatest feature as a broad spectrum control of arrhythmia functions and was shown to control the various types of fast and slow heart rate.
The typical example is Shen Song Yang Xin Capsule (SSYXC). The study results showed that SSYXC is beneficial to non-organic premature ventricular contractions, paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, brady-arrhythmias such as sinus bradycardia, sick sinus block, slow-fast syndrome, and sinus sick sinus syndrome. There are no known side effects. SSYXC has the characteristic of integrated adjustments to anti-arrhythmic conditions. SSYXC can improve myocardial metabolism disorders, adjust cardiac pacing conduction system function, regulate cardiac autonomic function, and improve myocardial blood supply by regulation of the sodium, calcium, potassium and other cardiac ion channels. The components and functions of SSYXC, along with its advantages of multi-ion channel blockade and non-ion channel regulation, provided the electrophysiological basis for anti-arrhythmia in clinical trials.
TCM has been used for the treatment of symptoms similar to CHF such as edema, scanty urination and dyspnea for over two thousand years. The earliest reports of TCM for the treatment with CHF in China appeared in the 1970s. The commonly used classic Chinese herbal formulas to treat CHF are therapeutically effective and still in use in China today. This TCM formula is used in combination with Western medicine for the treatment of acute heart failure (AHF) as well as chronic heart failure. For example, Sheng Mai injections were developed from decoctions of the classic formula Sheng Mai San (powder for pulse activating) is applied in acute heart failure, such as AMI and other AHF. Further, single herbs and extracted agents of Chinese herbs are developed and utilized effectively for the treatment of heart failure.
Clinical observation shows that TCM treatment of CHF can enhance heart function, improve symptoms, and increase the quality of life of patients. One of the greatest features of TCM diuretics in the treatment of CHF is not causing dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. TCM treatments of CHF are particularly suitable for those patients in the early stages of CHF who cannot tolerate the serious side effects of Western medicines or who have severe heart failure with cardiac diuretic vasodilators which are ineffective. TCM treatments are also suitable for senile patients with CHF, who usually only use small dosages of similar medicines to digitalis because of hypoxia, reduced kidney function, and side effects of digitalis, where the dosages limit the degree to which the efficacy can be satisfactory.
Recently reported findings showed that TCM treatments that tonify Qi (pronounced Chee, meaning energy) and quicken blood in the treatment of CHF can significantly reduce the heart wall thickness, essentially blocking the occurrence of ventricular remodeling. The TCM treatments make for a strong heart, initiate diuretic action and the dilation of blood vessels, and can inhibit excessive activation of the neuroendocrine system, reducing myocardial remodeling, and improving the heart functions of patients with CHF.
Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is the most common type of cardiomyopathy, and has non-specific treatments. There have been reported of TCM combining with Western medicine since 1985. Understanding of TCM for the disease’s treatment is in continuous development, and has also achieved positive effects. There is great advantage for TCM combining with Western medicine for improving the DCM patients’ symptoms and signs, adjustment of cardiac function, improving patient survival, and increasing their quality of life. For example, a classical Chinese herbal formula Zhi Gan Cao Decoction (ZGCD) has been used for the treatment of DCM with heart failure and arrhythmia.
Results of research have shown that the Integrative Medicine (IM) approach of a combination of ZGCD and Western medicines is more effective than routine Western medicine therapies alone after a treatment period of twelve months. The IM group saw improvement in the left ventricular end-diastolic diameter (LVIDD), left ventricular mass index (LVMI), left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). It was concluded that Integrative Medicine for DCM can effectively improve the cardiac function and clinical symptoms, inhibit myocardial fibrosis and reverse ventricular remodeling, and reduce readmission rates. Further animal experiments also confirmed that ZGCD in the treatment of DCM SD rats can improve heart function, inhibit excessive activation of the RAAS system, and reduce animal mortality.
Hyperlipidemia is the primary risk factor for atherosclerosis related to many cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and a variety of other diseases that are directly related to the incidence of coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction and stroke. Aggressive treatment of hyperlipidemia can significantly reduce the morbidity and mortality of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease. Western medicine in research and treatment of this disease has achieved great results, but these treatments tend to require large doses of medication in order to maintain long-term efficacy of their lipid-lowering effects. Unfortunately, however, long-term medication are likely to cause adverse liver and kidney function, and blood lipids rebound after discontinuing the use of these medications. TCM has undergone research in the treatment of hyperlipidemia in China since 1980. The results of research has shown that the lipid-lowering herbs and herbal formulas of TCM for the treatment of HLP has weaker roles than Western medicine in some respects. However, the markedly lower incidence of side effects during long-term use provides a substantial advantage; moreover, their effects were not insubstantial: these herbal treatments significantly improved symptoms in clinical research in China.
The TCM formulations used in clinical to treatment of hyperlipidemia include single herbs, extracted agents of herb and herbal formulas. They are also effectively used to treatment of atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease and angina in China. For example, Di Ou Xin Xue Kang (DOXXK) is extracted from a Chinese herb that quickens blood and dispel stasis. Studies have shown it regulates heart function, increases coronary blood flow, improves myocardial blood supply, and reduces myocardial oxygen consumption with remarkable efficacy for the treatment of ischemic heart disease. This herbal formula simultaneously lowers blood lipids and blood viscosity, enhances red blood cell deformability and improves microcirculation, so that it improves the whole body’s oxygen carrying capacity. DOXXK has been used for the treatment of hyperlipidemia, atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease and angina in China.
Xue Zhi Kang (XZK) is another lipid regulator refined and extracted from specially made red yeast. In recent years a large number of clinical observations proved its reliable efficacy and lower incidence of side effects. This extracted agent has been used in the treatment of hyperlipidemia in China as well.
Commonly used Chinese herbs for effectively treating hyperlipidemia are Dan Shen, Pu Huang, Shan Zha, Hu Zhang, He Shu Wu, Ju Ming Zi and Ze Xie; and Chinese herbal formulas are Xu Fu Zhu Yu Tang, Fu Fang Den Shen Wan, Er Chen Tang.
Pharmacological studies have shown that these single herbs and Chinese herbal medicine can positively regulate lipid metabolism, inhibit lipid absorption, affect the circulation of bile acids, inhibit lipid synthesis, act as anti-peroxide agents, raise HDL, lower LDL, and lower blood lipids.
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Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine Can Benefit Those in Cancer Rehabilitation
Most cancer patients in early stages are treated with surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy, helping to eliminate or control the cancer. Cancer rehabilitation has typical complications.
Some patients with cancer are unable to complete their treatments due to side effects such as fatigue, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, poor appetite, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, poor sleep, night sweats, general weakness, hair loss, and bone marrow suppression partially caused by a reduction of white blood cells, red blood cells or blood platelets. Because of the pain associated with both the cancer and these treatments, another common outcome for those suffering with the disease is drug addiction from pain medication. Regularly patients also undergo emotional problems such as stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and angry moods, which can affect their quality of life.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine are commonly used in cancer rehabilitation in China. Acupuncture was used in clinical evaluation of these side effects of chemotherapy. In a U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus: “There is clear evidence that needle acupuncture treatment is effective for postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting, nausea of pregnancy, and postoperative dental pain.” (-NIH November 5, 1997)
Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine and food therapy can help with many of the difficulties that patients struggling with cancer may undergo. These modalities ease the side effects of chemo/radiotherapy, and can help to balance blood chemistry. Strengthening the body may also allow the patient to finish the chemo/radiotherapy, as well as help to relieve both pain and nausea, and even improve emotional problems to restart a normal life.
Dr. Yang has been teaching Oncology of Traditional Chinese Medicine at colleges of Oriental Medicine for a number of years, and has years of clinical experience treating oncology diseases.
Endometriosis often occurs in women from thirty to forty years old. The main symptoms are dysmenorrhoea (painful menstruation) and non-menstruation pain. Pain regularly occurs in the lower abdomen and lumbosacral region, and may spread to the vagina, perineum, anus, and pelvis. Some patients may also experience painful sexual intercourse. Some patients have the experience of sudden abdominal pain during menstruation, accompanied by a pale or purple color in the face, cold limbs, sweating of body, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, and fatigue, among other symptoms. Endometriosis commonly accompanies menstrual abnormalities, manifesting as a short cycle of menstruation, or cycle delay, along with a possibly increased or decreased volume of menses. Most patients exhibit mental and emotional changes due to long term cyclical dysmenorrhea, and may feel fear, stress, anxiety, depression, restlessness, irritability, insomnia and other emotional problems that relate to menstruation. Endometriosis can be a cause of infertility, and about 30-50% of endometriosis patients are also likely to suffer from infertility.
Endometriosis most commonly manifests as dysmenorrhoea (painful menstruation) and non-menstrual abdominal pain. Therefore, the goal of treatment of endometriosis is to both of relieve and prevent pain, eliminate the causes of endometriosis, and normalize menstrual abnormalities to reduce and prevent the recurrence of endometriosis pain. Hormone therapy and surgery are commonly used in Western medicine as treatments for endometriosis. Hormone therapy is effective for most women, but after long term use it can often cause side effects such as amenorrhea and menopausal syndrome
in many patients, which then brings its own set of new health problems. Hormonal therapy isn’t a permanent fix for endometriosis, and it is possible to have a recurrence of symptoms after stopping use. Likewise, patients undergoing surgical therapy have a high likelihood of experiencing a recurrence of endometriosis symptoms, and this kind of surgery has a high risk of leading to infertility.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that includes acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas in the treatment of endometriosis was reported in 1960s, but Chinese medicine has a long history for treatment of dysmenorrhoea, which can include pain from endometriosis. Clinical research has shown that acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas can relieve endometriosis pain and regularize menstrual abnormalities of endometriosis. These positive results usually remain longer than treatments via other modalities, even after a course of treatment has been terminated, and there are no side effects. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas also have the ability to simultaneously improve other conditions related to endometriosis that the patient may suffer from, including the potential to reverse infertility.
TCM is also used to control or reduce the side effects of hormone therapy in Western medicine for treatment of endometriosis. By way of a clinical example, a 34 year old patient was diagnosed with pain from endometriosis, and began taking hormone therapy. This therapy caused amenorrhea – in her case a complete stopping of menstruation. However, for two years she would undergo regular abdominal cramping over a period of two to three days once a month. After three months of treatment with acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas, not only was her abdominal pain relieved, but she also restarted regular menstruation without pain. She was able, ultimately, to end her hormone therapy.
TCM treatment of endometriosis pain often employs two protocols at different stages (or conditions) of menstruation. The first protocol is to relieve pain of endometriosis during menstruation, usually used during the three days before the onset of menstruation until menstrual pain is reduced or disappears. The second protocol is to eliminate the cause of the endometriosis and prevent the pain recurrence, which is commonly used before or after menstruation. As another clinical example, a 38 year old patient reported regular abdominal pain during the first hour of menstruation, and was diagnosed with endometriosis. It was necessary for her to visit the ER for injections of pain medication. By way of treatment, we used the two protocols above, for pain reduction and pain prevention, for her symptoms. The patient reported that she did not need to visit the ER again after 4 weeks of treatment with the above protocols. Her pain reduced following continued treatments until the pain disappeared after about eight months of treatment. Many other patients have also benefited from the clinical application of these two protocols. Acupuncture is usually used to quickly relieve severe pain of endometriosis during menstruation. Our clinical observation finds that acupuncture is regularly effective immediately within five to fifteen minutes in the treatment of dysmenorrhea pain, including pain from endometriosis. As a final example, a 28 year old patient presented with lower abdominal pain that had been part of her menstruation for the last 15 years, since she turned 13 years old. She has had severe pain in her lower abdomen during menstruation, a pain that often spreads to her lower back, and can be accompanied by headache, migraine, nausea, etc., to the point that she is often unable to go to work during menstruation. This menstrual pain was able to be relieved with each acupuncture treatment, including ear acupuncture, all within ten to fifteen minutes.
A forty year old female with severe lower abdominal pain was referred to my clinic by her previous acupuncture physician. This pain had been consistently associated with her menstruation for the last twenty years. She was diagnosed with endometriosis twenty years ago. She had a history of unbearable lower abdominal cramping pain during the first hour of menstruation, that radiated to her lower back and vaginal area. Oral painkillers proved generally
ineffective. It was common for her to need to be seen in the ER to receive injections of pain medications in order to relieve the abdominal pain during menstruation. Usually, by the second day of menstruation, her severe abdominal pain would gradually subside. She often had abdominal pain and lower back pain without menstruation. She had consulted several outpatient treatments but they failed to relieve her symptoms. She had also tried treatment with acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas. These formulas and treatments had been designed to clear heat and dry dampness, and tonify her liver and kidney, but ultimately these failed to control her pain. Weekly massage and other forms of therapy have been able at times to help reduce her pain.
At her first visit, she had pain in her lower abdomen and lower back without menstruation, that radiated to pelvic and vaginal area. Sexual intercourse caused unbearable vaginal pain, and at times she had a burning sensation in her vaginal area with abnormal vaginal discharge or odor. She suffered from headaches, but did not have pain in her neck or upper back. Her first menstruation appeared at 11 years of age, and came regularly once a month with dark blood. There was often water without blood clots in the beginning of her menstruation, a moderate volume of the blood for 5 to 6 days and
each cycle lasted 27 days. She suffered from occasional poor sleep, stress and nervousness that was worse during, and improved after, her monthly menstruation. Her appetite was normal. She had no acid reflux but experienced occasional gas and belching. She had one bowel movement a day, but which sometimes contained undigested food. Her urination was also normal. She often felt lassitude. From time to time she experienced alternating heat and cold in her body, with her hands and feet slightly cold to the touch. Her face looked slim and ruddy.
Examination showed tenderness and painful sensation with a slight touch or pressure as detailed below. There was obvious pain on both sides of her lower abdomen – she qualified the pain as 6-7/10 in her right lower abdomen, and 4-5 /10 in her left lower abdomen. There were painful sensations in her lower back at the L3 to S1, with a slight touch, which she placed at 4-5/10. The Ears Pressure Test showed that there was significant painful sensation to touch in the corresponding parts of her endocrine, brain, neck, chest, waist, leg, shenmen, stomach and rectum – she described her level of pain with these areas as 8-9/10. Her tongue body presented medium sized, pale with red color. There was a slightly dark color on the tip of her tongue, and a white coating. Her pulse was thin, weak and wiry.
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, her conditions were due to yang deficiency in spleen and kidney, with cold in the meridian of liver, and stagnation of qi and blood. The treatment principle was to warm yang and tonify spleen and kidney, to warm and disperse cold from the liver meridian, and to enable the free movement of qi while invigorating blood. Acupuncture included electric acupuncture of points in DU20, Yintang, LI4 and GB20; the manual Aupuncture points included SP6, ST36, ST27 and 25, RN3 4 6, UB23, KI3 and LV3. These were applied 15 minutes once a week. Auricular (ear) points included brain, waist, leg and Shenmen, among others. The Chinese herbs included two formulas for her conditions. The first formula (1) included the following herbs: Huang Qi, Dang Shen, Gan Jiang, Bai Zhu, Rou Gui, Wu Zhu Yu, Xian Mao, Xian Ling Pi, Dang Gui, Chuan Xiong and Wu Yao. It was 50g power of an herb Rx for one week, to be taken orally 3 times a day, 2g per dose, and mixed with about 2 oz warm water within half hour before and after meals. This formula (1) was usually taken orally before and after menstruation. The second formula (2) included Wu Yao, Wu Zhu Yu, Gui Zhi, Zhi Shi, Xiang Fu, Sheng Jiang, Mu Xiang, Yan Hu Suo, Bai Shao Yao and Gan Cao. It was 50g power of an herb Rx for one week, to be taken orally 3 times a day, 2g per dose, and mixed with about 2 oz warm water within half hour before and after meals. It was taken orally at 3 days before menstruation until the end of teach menstruation cycle.
The treatment during follow up visits modified some points of the acupuncture protocol, and herbs in the herbal formula, according to patient’s progression.
Result: After three weeks of treatment, the patient reported that her menstruation had come the previous week with significant improvement in abdominal pain, and it had not been necessary for her to go to the ER for an injection of pain medication. Examination showed that tenderness in her lower abdomen and lower back had subsided to pain levels of 3- 4/10 and 2-3/10. Given the effectiveness, the treatment plan was to continue with the same methodology as before. During her fourth visit, she had no obvious pain in her lower abdomen or lower back during menstruation, but examination showed tenderness in her lower abdomen and lower back, pain she described as 2-4/10. The Ears Pressure Test showed that there was significant painful sensation to the touch in points, near 4-5/10. She changed the frequency of her visits to our clinic to once every 2-3 weeks, due to the inconveniences of her two hour drive. During her eighth visit, she reports she had slight abdominal bloating and gas, occasional slight pain in her left lower abdomen during menstruation, with pain in the range of 3-4/10. To her previous herbal formulas, the herbs San Leng, E Zhu, Chuan Lian Zi and Xue Jie were added to strengthen the functions of moving qi and invigorating blood to reduce pain. After about seven months of treatment, her pain disappeared on the lower abdomen and lower back during menstruation. There was no pain to the touch upon examination. The Ear Pressure Test showed her painful sensations in points had disappeared completely. However, her feet were still not warm, she had a slight bloating in her abdomen and reported undigested food her stool. The plan of acupuncture treatment same as before, and her previous herbal formula was modified to strengthen her spleen and help her digestion. After one year of treatment, she reported there was no pain in her lower abdomen and back, no visible undigested food stool. Sexual intercourse had again become feasible with only a slight discomfort.
A thirty-two year old female visited my clinic to seek help for pain resulting from her abdominal distension. The patient’s abdominal pain during menstruation had been going on for six years, and she was taking oral pain medication to relieve it. She had seen a gynecologist two years previously, and been diagnosed with endometriosis. She was prescribed birth control pills to stop menstruation in order to relieve her abdominal pain. Her menstruation stopped with birth control pills two years ago, but she often had abdominal fullness, and once a month she experienced pain or aching in her abdomen for 2 to 3 days that felt similar to menstrual cramps.
When she visited me, she complained of bloating and fullness in her lower abdomen, lassitude, dizziness, chills and coldness of body. She also had occasional headaches, weakness of her legs, anorexia, some nausea without vomiting but no significant acid reflux. Her bowel movements were once a day and sometimes soft, but were not diarrhea. She had frequent urination with little volume. She had anxiety, but it did not interrupt normal sleep. Her first menstruation appeared at the age of 12, regularly came once a month for five days during a 25 day cycle, and generally had a moderate
volume of bleeding, with black blood containing clots. She had lower abdominal pain that appeared the three days before the onset of menstruation, and it got worse during the first day of menstruation. Her last menstruation had been two years ago.
Examination showed that there were acne pimples and small scar spots on her face, a slightly dark color under the lower eyelids, and emaciation of her body. Her tongue body was of medium size with a pale red color, and a small crack line in the center of her tongue; there were small purple spots on the tip of her tongue which had a thin white coating. Her pulse was thin, bowstring, and especially weak in the proximal positions. There was tightness and a painful sensation in her lower abdomen with slight touch, producing pain she described as 4-5/10. There was no tenderness or painful sensation in
her neck, upper back or waist with slight touch. There was coldness in her lower limbs from her knees to her ankles and feet, coldness in her upper limbs from wrists to palms and fingers. The Ears Pressure Test showed that there was significant painful sensation with touch on the corresponding parts of the brain, endocrine, neck, chest, waist and abdomen points, all with a pain level of 5-7/10.
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, her condition was yang deficiency in spleen and kidney, qi stagnation with blood stasis. The treatment principle was to warm and tonify yang in spleen and kidney, and to move the qi and invigorate the blood to dispel stasis. The acupuncture points included ST25, ST27, ST36, SP6, LI4, RN12, 6, DU20, Yintang. There were applied 15 minutes twice a week with acupuncture retreatment. The Ear points included brain, endocrine, uterine and Shenmen. The Chinese herbal formula included herbs of Huang Qi, Dang Shen, Bai Zhu, Gan Jiang, Gui Zhi, Dang Gui, Chuan Xiong, Pu Huang, Yan Hu Suo, Xian Mao, Xian Ling Pi and Tu Si Zi; and Wu Yao, Bing Lang, and Yi Mu Cao were added for the pain and fullness in her lower abdomen. It was 50g power of an herb Rx for one week, to be taken orally 3 times a day, 2g per dose, and mixed with about 2 oz warm water within half hour before and after meals. Subsequently, the treatment during follow up visits modified some points of the acupuncture protocol, and herbs in the
herbal formula as she progressed.
Results: The patient reported after two weeks of the treatment that the symptoms of her abdominal fullness, headache and lassitude were improved. After four weeks of the treatment there was no pain or aching in her lower abdomen. After eight weeks of treatment, her menstruation appeared for three days without obvious abdominal pain. Therefore the acupuncture treatment plan was changed to once a week and continued to utilize the same acupuncture protocol and Chinese herbal formula. After 3 months of treatment, her menstruation was regular without obvious discomfort, and she stopped taking birth control pills. She changed the regularity of her acupuncture treatments to once every 2-3 weeks, while continuing to take Chinese herbal formula for three months – during this time she experienced no significant menstruation pain. One and half years after she ultimately stopped treatment, she had regular menstruation without symptoms of dysmenorrhea.
A twenty-eight year old female who had severe abdominal pain during menstruation for fifteen years came to the clinic for acupuncture treatment. She was willing to come because her father’s health problems had been improved after treatment of acupuncture with Chinese herbal formula. She had once experienced acupuncture treatment 10 years previously, but due to a fear of needles, did not continue the treatment. She had been in poor health since childhood, and at eight years old she was taken to her physician with a small cyst on her abdomen and abdominal pain. She had been diagnosed with endometriosis at the age of 15.
Her first menstruation occurred at 13 years old, and thereafter it came irregularly once every 9-12 weeks for 4-5 days for each cycle, with a moderate volume of bleeding, and dark colored blood with clots. At 15 she had lower abdominal pain to the both sides of her lower back, exacerbated by menstruation. Usually her pain started 3-4 days before menstruation, got worse at the beginning of menstruation, and finally began to reduce at about the third day of menstruation. She often refused pressure on her lower abdomen and lower back during menstruation, because she felt that local muscle tension and stiffness was similar to a mass. The muscle tension and stiffness in her lower abdomen and lower back disappeared at end of menstruation. She had to take oral analgesics and rest to relieve the pain during menstruation. Her most recent menstruation had been eight weeks ago.
When she first visited, she complained of lower abdominal pain on both sides of her lower abdomen particularly, as well as lower back pain. She had refused any pressure on her abdomen and lower back. She had stress and anxiety, but normal sleep and was not depressed. She had frequent frontal headaches, sometimes as often as 3-4 times a week up to once a day. The headaches would last for hours, sometimes spreading into the next day. Her headaches would intensify at every menstruation. She was also at times fatigued and exhausted, and reported dizziness, chills, and coldness of body. She had poor appetite, desired salty food, had bloating in her abdomen with occasional nausea and vomiting, but with no acid reflux. She would occasionally have belching or gas, her bowel movements came once a day, and her urination and libido were normal.
The patient was slim and small, her voice was lower, and her facial expression was tense, but her personality was cheerful. Examination showed her tongue body was small sized, with a pale color and thin white coating. Her pulse was weak and thin. The Ears Pressure Test showed there was significant painful sensation with slight touch on the corresponding parts of endocrine, brain, neck, chest, waist, leg, Shenmen, stomach, intestine, and uterus, among others, with pain reported to be near 8-9/10. There was sweating in her palms without warmth of her hands and feet. There was a painful sensation with slight touch at the temple of her head, that she described as 3-4/10. There was a painful sensation with slight touch on her face, also 3-4/10. There was no tenderness on the her neck, shoulders and upper back. There was painful sensation with slight touch on the her lower back, with pain that she described as 5-6/10. There was a painful sensation in her lower abdomen with slight touch, where she rejected pressure, describing the pain on the left side as 6-
7/10, and the right side as 7-8/10. She had no upper abdominal pain with slight touch.
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, her conditions were yang deficiency in spleen and kidney, and qi stagnation with blood stasis, as well as shen disorders. The treatment principle used was to tonify yang in spleen and kidney, warm meridians while dispelling cold, invigorate blood to dispel stasis, to move qi, and to calm shen to help with her anxiety and stress. Based on her sensitivity to needle sensation, slight acupuncture manipulation were used. Acupuncture points included ST36 and ST27, RN12 and RN6, LI 4, DU20, KI3, LV3 and Yintang. These were applied 15 minutes once a week with acupuncture treatment. The Ear points included Brain, Endocrine, Shenmen and Back, etc. Chinese herbal formula of herbs included Huang Qi, Dang Shen, Dang Gui, Chuan Xiong, Yan Hu Suo, Wu Yao, Bing Leng, San Leng, E Zhu, Pu Huang, Gui Zhi, Sheng Jiang, Xian Mao, Xian Ling Pi and Tu Si Zi. It was 50g power of an herb Rx for one week, to be taken orally 3 times a day, 2g per dose, mixed with about 2 to 3 oz warm water. Subsequently, the treatment during follow up visits modified some points of the acupuncture protocol, and herbs in the herbal formula, as she progressed.
Results: After 15 minutes of her first acupuncture treatment, she reported that her abdominal pain had improved significantly. After four weeks of treatment, she reported that the pain was much improved in her lower abdomen, lower back and head. After five weeks of treatment, she said that menstruation appeared for five days without obvious abdominal pain or back pain – she had only lassitude and a slight headache a few hours during the day before menstruation. Upon examination it was found that her pain was greatly reduced in her abdomen, pain with slight touch around 2-3/10, and pain in the lower back was similarly 2-3/10. The Ears Pressure Test showed that painful sensation was reduced in most points, which she described as 2-3/10. After four months of treatment, her headache, abdominal pain and low back pain were not obvious, and her menstruation had changed to once every five weeks, lasting for 5 to 6 days for each cycle, with moderate volume of bleeding, and pale red colored blood without clots. After 7 months of
treatment, she reported her menstruation occurred regularly once every 5 week without pain, and her stress and anxiety were much improved during menstruation. She continues acupuncture treatment once every 2 to 3 weeks while taking Chinese herbal formula to maintain her health. She and her parents were very grateful because the treatment had completely changed her quality of life.
Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
Still having painful sensation on back, hips and legs after back surgery is the main problem of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS). Following Chinese medicine, depending on their conditions and location of pain, there is Kidney deficiency, stagnation of qi and blood on DU and UB meridians. The treatment should be tonify kidney, and movement of qi and invigorating blood. Clinic observations show the best acupuncture prescription for pain of FBSS is selection of points on the back, especial local area of pain around, above or below the scar framed by spine surgeon.
In the picture of above, there is a scar on back after lower back surgery and diagnosed FBBS
In the picture of above, there is a selection of acupuncture points for FBSS
Or combination of electric acupuncture as pictured above
In this example, the patient is a 69 year-old male who was diagnosed with FBSS. He had a history of lower back pain without pain on hip or legs for 4 months and did lower back surgery for 2 months. He still had lower back pain and burning pain radiation to right side of the hip, knee, lower leg and ankle after lower back surgery. His condition gets worse with walking, lifting his right leg or movement of his lower body. Examination showed tenderness and painful sensation with a slight touch or pressure as detailed below. There were painful sensations in his lower back at the L3 to S3, with a slight touch, which he placed at 2 to 4/10 at left side and 3 to 5/10 at right side. There were painful sensations in his right hip and thigh with a slight touch, he described his level of pain with 2 to 5/10. There were painful sensations in his calf, back of lower leg and inside of ankle with a slight touch, and he described his level of pain with 2 to 4 /10. There is a muscle hardness sensation about 1x2cm with touch around the corner of lower right side of scar on the lower back about level of S2, 3. He has burning painful sensation radiation to right hip, leg and ankle with fingers pressure scar on around the corner of right side lower back. After acupuncture treatments following the above acupuncture prescription, the pain was improved on his lower back, right hip, leg and ankle, and the muscle hardness sensation around scar also improved.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs treat menopausal symptoms hot flashes
Menopausal symptoms include hot flashes, a red face in the afternoon, night sweats, insomnia, heart palpitations, PMS, headache, vaginal atrophy, and vaginal dryness. Other symptoms that might relate to menopause include mood changes, nervousness, stress, anxiety, irritability, poor memory, incontinence, lowered libido, fatigue, weight gain, and pain.
Currently, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the principal and most commonly utilized treatment for menopause. Hormonal replacement therapy helps many women with the symptoms of menopause. However, recent studies have found that there may be increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and uterine bleeding or other health problems when women receive hormone replacement therapy over a longer period of time. Even with these risks, the desired results are not guaranteed – some women have taken hormone replacement therapy for years without substantial improvement of the symptoms. Under these conditions, hormone replacement therapies are not beneficial, and could cause negative side effects. Fortunately, women in the United States have access to acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatment options that control menopausal symptoms, without the negative side effects.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been used to treat menopausal symptoms for thousands of years. Commonly used individual herbs include Dang Gui (Angelica), Shan Yao (Chinese yam), Sheng Di Huang (Rehmannia), Bai Shao Yao (Paeonia), and Huang Bai (Phellodendron), among others. They are often used for menopause, irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and infertility in Chinese medicine. There are also many effective formulas for menopausal symptoms, including Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, Dang Gui Liu Huang Wan, and Xiao Yao San.
These formulas were devised two thousand years ago and are still used today. Well-defined acupuncture protocols have also been developed during both the remote and recent history of Chinese medicine, and are used in combination with Chinese herbs to relieve menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes. In addition to traditional acupuncture protocols, new techniques such as electric-acupuncture and auricular acupuncture are often employed for different conditions, and have proven effective for menopausal symptoms.
Today, most Chinese women who have menopausal symptoms first seek help from acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Since the 1960’s, clinical research in China has shown extremely positive results that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine together are effective treatments for menopausal symptoms. Clinical researchers have reported that many women who are undergoing hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms – even if they have undergone the treatment for a longer period of time – can stop hormone replacement therapy with the help of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and see improvement in their symptoms. Current studies on acupuncture treatment of menopausal symptoms in the United States and Europe also show extremely positive results.
Generally, most women with menopausal symptoms who benefit from acupuncture and Chinese medicine first see improvements in emotional problems after two to three treatments. Subsequently, hot flashes and night sweats could be reduced after five to six treatments. Ultimately, the majority of symptoms improve after ten to twelve treatments. Women who used hormone replacement therapy were able to decrease the dosage after five to six treatments, accompanied with improved relief of hot flashes and night sweats, and were able to stop hormone therapy entirely after about ten treatments, coinciding with the disappearance of hot flashes. In general, a few more sessions of treatment are necessary after the reduction of menopausal symptoms in order to maintain lasting results.
Dr. Yang has treated menopausal symptoms for years using acupuncture and Chinese herbal formals. He has treated women on hormone replacement therapy, including patients who had undergone HRT for over ten years without the termination of obvious menopausal symptom like hot flashes, night sweats, poor sleep, and emotional problems. These conditions were improved, or symptoms were relieved, by using special techniques such as electric-acupuncture, auricular acupuncture and a combination of specific Chinese herbal formulas according to different conditions.
A 64-year-old female came to my clinic to improve her menopausal symptoms. She was referred by a lady who had help for the same problems with acupuncture and Chinese herbal formula. She suffered from hot flashes and vaginal burning pain with dryness for 20 years. She was diagnosed with menopause and used hormone replacement therapy for 15 years. The hormone replacement therapy reduced hot flashes and vaginal burning pain with dryness, but severe hot flashes recurred after stopping the hormone replacement therapy for one year due to appearance of nodules in her right breast.
She had alternating chills and hot flashes. Chills usually occurred first, then hot flashes with sweating; the hot flashes lasted longer than the chills. She often had rashes on her face; these symptoms worsened in the afternoons and nights. She had sleep issues: difficulty getting to sleep, woke up about every hour or two and difficulty getting back to sleep. Therefore, she always felt fatigued in the morning. She had body weakness, stress, anxiety, nervousness, was overthinking with a hyperactive mind. She had vaginal burning with dryness and painful intercourse, but her libido was normal. Her appetite was normal and had one bowel movement a day with normal urination. She didn’t have pain in her neck, back or abdomen. The nodules in her right breast dispelled after stopping hormone replacement therapy. Her menstruation ended at age 49. She was thin, had dry skin and rashes with an oily facial complexion. Her tongue body was thin and small with a pale red color and teeth marks on the edges and a thin, white tongue coating. Her pulse was thin, weak and wiry; pulse rate was 70; her BP was 130/80mmHg. Her face, arms, hands and legs were warm to the touch. Ears Pressure Test to points corresponding to the brain, neck, waist, sacral and shenmen generated significant pain at a level of 7-8/10.
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, her conditions were Kidney yin deficiencywith disharmony in yin and yang, and shen disorders. The treatment principle was to tonify Kidney yin, harmonize the yin and yang, and calm the shen to help her sleep. Electric acupuncture points included DU20, Yintang, RN12, 14; manual acupuncture points included LI4, 11, SP6, ST36, KI3, LV3 and GB24. Acupuncture treatment was administered 15 minutes twice a week. The ear points included Brain, Zigong, Shenmen, etc. The Chinese herbal formula included Xian Mao, Xian Ling Pi, Dang Gui, Bai Shao, Zhi Mu, Huang Bai, Gui Zhi, Niu Zhen Zi, Sheng Di Huang, Xuan Shen, Mu Dan Pi and Mu Li. It was 50g of herbal powder prescribed for one week to be taken orally 3 times a day, 2g per time and mixed with about 2-3 oz. warm water. A Chinese herbal formula was provided to be mixed with water to wash or soak in the local genital and vulva area twice a day. This externally used herbal formula included Ku Shen, Huang Bai, Bai Xian Pi and Bing Pian, etc.
After three weeks of treatments, she reported improvement of chills and hot flashes. The acupuncture treatment was reduced to once a week and added point PC6. The oral Chinese herbal formula was modified and included Xuan Shen, Dang Gui, Bai Shao, Zhi Mu, Huang Bai, Niu Zhen Zi, Sheng Di Huang Mu Dan Pi, Mu Li, Suan Zao Ren, Fu Ling, Yin Chai Hu and Qing Hao. The external herbal formula remained the same. After six weeks of treatment, she reported great improvement of hot flash symptoms, sleep, and fatigue and nervousness; the vaginal burning sensation decreased, etc. Treatments for follow up visits modified some points for acupuncture protocol and the herbal formula according to progression of patient.
After 3 months treatment most of her symptoms improved such as hot flashes, warm body and night sweats. She could sleep about 7 hours a night, waking up only one to two times and go back to sleep again. Vaginal burning with dryness was gone. Pain during sexual intercourse lessened greatly. She asked for a Chinese herbal formula to last six weeks while vacationing in the North. Six weeks later she called from vacationing in the North to report that she still felt great and no more symptoms of menopause. She changed her appointment.
Infertility & Assisted IVF
While female infertility most obviously can prevent a woman from becoming pregnant, if a woman with similar underlying difficulties does manage to become pregnant, it will often be difficult to take the pregnancy successfully to term, as these underlying difficulties may lead to miscarriage. The goal for treating female infertility is not only to enhance the ability to become pregnant in the first place, but also to prevent miscarriages and to deliver a healthy baby.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been used to treat infertility and prevent miscarriages for about two thousand five hundred years in China. Thousands of years of clinical practice and empirical evidence built from innumerable cases has allowed Chinese medical physicians to determine that using needles to stimulate certain specific points on the meridians of the body can help treat infertility.
Some of these points are SP6 (it is on the spleen meridian, on the medial side of the lower leg, superior to the prominence of the medial malleolus) and REN 3, 4, 6 (they are on the conception meridian, on the midline of the lower abdomen and between umbilicus and the pubic symphysis).
There are many classical Chinese herbal formulas devised by Chinese medical physicians that have, throughout history, been successful in treating infertility and preventing miscarriages. Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan (which means: “pills of five seeds to bring forth offspring”) is a classic herbal formula to treat infertility. Shou Tai Wan (which means: “Fetus Longevity Pill”) is commonly used to treat miscarriage and/or pre-miscarriage with lower back pain, abdomen pain and uterine bleeding during pregnancy. Today, these formulas are still recommended remedies by Chinese medicine doctors and Western medical physicians in China to help infertility and miscarriage.
In China since the 1980’s, there have been numerous studies that have shown the marked advantages of acupuncture and Chinese medicine in combination with Western medicine to treat infertility due to factors like anovulation, luteal phase defect, follicular maldevelopment, inadequacy of the corpus luteum function, obstruction of the fallopian tube(s), immune infertility, among others. Below are examples of studies that stand as evidence for the effectiveness of Chinese medicine for treating infertility due to a variety of causes.
It was first reported in 1981 that acupuncture is effective in the promotion of ovulation and success in becoming pregnant. Of the 50 women with anovulation that received acupuncture treatment, 45 women successfully ovulated and 28 women got pregnant .
Another study done in 1984 showed, of the 24 women with anovulation that received acupuncture stimulation at point SP6, 18 women successful ovulated and 16 became pregnant .
It was reported in 1991 that 60 cases of infertility due to luteal phase defect were treated with Chinese herbs. After the treatment, the hyperthermal phase score of basal body temperature (BBT) was noticeably augmented, the hyperthermal phase 7-8 days after ovulation was enhanced, the transitional period of BBT remarkably reduced, and the pregnancy rate in 32 uncomplicated cases of luteal phase defect was 56% .
In 72 cases of infertility caused by endometriosis, after treatment periods ranging from 3 to 9 menstrual cycles, there were 42 cases of pregnancy, or 58.33% of the studied group . For 20 cases of infertility due to tubal obstruction, acupuncture in combination with Chinese herbs showed results of 12 cases of pregnancy .
Remarkably, there are studies to support that Chinese herbals formulas can even benefit immune infertility. A Chinese classic formula Zhibai Dihuang Wan was used to treat infertile couples with antisperm and/or antizona pellucida antibodies in their blood serum; after the treatment the antibodies were changed to negatives in 81.3% of immune infertile couples. Eight women in one of the studies were successfully pregnant in 1-9 months after the antibodies’ negative conversion, and the negative status lasted throughout the course of pregnancy .
Practitioners in Europe and the United States also report that women who have had infertility issues, but were treated with acupuncture and Chinese medicine, successfully become pregnant. Acupuncture has also been shown to be able to improve the success rate of IVF treatment. It was reported that in Germany 160 women underwent IVF, in which 80 women received acupuncture and 80 women did not.
From current research, many studies such as those from the Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital of Fudan University in Shanghai, China, and Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York, United States reveal that acupuncture and Chinese medicine benefits infertility. For example, acupuncture induces ovulation by positively affecting the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis in the brain; normalizing hormone and endocrine systems; promoting the secretion of pituitary, follicle growth, FSH (Follicle-Stimulating Hormone) and LH (Luteal Hormal); which play key roles in fertility [8-14]. Relatedly, acupuncture has also been shown to enhance the blood supply of the uterus and ovaries, promoting blood flow to the endometrium [15-17].
Chinese herbal formulas have similar effects as outlined for acupuncture above. Chinese herbal formulas can affect the ovaries, follicles, and uterus as well. Chinese herbs can improve the development of the ovaries, quality of ovulation and cleavage capacity; increase ovary’s weight, stimulate the release of GnRH (Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone), and increase the total number of follicles. Chinese herbs can also encourage the development of the uterus, increase uterine weight, and increase thickness and the number of glands [18-20].
The normal menstrual cycle includes the follicular phase, ovulation phase, luteal phase and menstruation phase. Women with infertility often have an accompanying disorder and/or dysfunction of these phases. The best way to treat these conditions is by using different special herbal formulas, acupuncture protocols and techniques at different phases of the menstrual cycle depending on the conditions present. The timing of the phases is as follows: around the 4-13th days of the cycle is the follicular phase, meaning that promoting follicle development is important.
Around the 14th day of the cycle, the ovulation phase, inducing ovulation is needed; while around 16 – 28th days, the luteal phase occurs. It is necessary to promote the secretion of LH (luteinizing hormone); moreover, it is needed to lead bleeding in the menstruation phase. It is especially important that acupuncture treatment for menstrual cycle dysfunction be done once or twice per week for 3 to 6 months (or more).
However, it is necessary and important to use electric-acupuncture once a day for the consecutive three days before ovulation in order to inducing ovulation.
Additionally, though the treatment plan is similar to the above for acupuncture and Chinese medicine when working with women undergoing IVF treatments, there is a unique element consisting of one session of electric-acupuncture treatment given within 1 hour before the embryo transfer and 1 hour after implantation.
Women with a history of miscarriage may be more susceptible to infertility, and even after they become pregnant it is still easy to miscarriage. Helping them to become pregnant and preventing miscarriage is most important; therefore, a detailed treatment plan and schedule are necessary. Usually, the treatment with acupuncture and Chinese medicine is needed for three to six months before making a plan for pregnancy. Considering that most miscarriages occur within the first three months of pregnancy, once a woman becomes pregnant, she will still need treatments to prevent the miscarriage. This course of treatment may last twelve weeks or more depending on the timing of her last miscarriage.
Chinese medicine and acupuncture are also beneficial for women with pre-miscarriage problems. Common symptoms include lower back pain, abdominal pain, and uterine bleeding during pregnancy. The signs of effective treatment are the disappearance of the above symptoms within 3 days to 1 week. The immediate use of acupuncture and Chinese herbs are necessary afterwards.
Dr. Yang has treated many cases of female infertility in the China and United States over 30 years. He has successfully helped women with infertility to become pregnant and prevent miscarriage by using only acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas. Dr. Yang has also been involved in helping women undergoing IVF treatment to successfully get pregnant and prevent miscarriage via applying acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas.
A 42 year old infertile woman, by using only acupuncture with Chinese herbal formulas, was able to successfully become pregnant and prevent a miscarriage
When the patient first visited my clinic in March of 2010, she was already 40 years old and had a history of thyroid disease for the past ten years. Her hyperthyroidism had been under control for the last six years with the help of Western medicine. After this term of treatment for hyperthyroidism, however, she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and abnormalities of T3, T4 and TSH. She was then treated with Western medicine for the ensuing hypothyroidism for a year, and her T3, T4 and TSH returned to the normal range. With the condition successfully under control, she gradually discontinued this treatment and stopped taking Western medicine. She has also suffered from cluster migraines for ten years, with episodes occurring once every two to three months lasting around ten to fifteen hours per episode. She experienced the majority of the migraine pain on the right side of her head, and subsequent to every attack she experienced anxiety and insomnia. She also had allergic rhinitis, and had to take anti-allergy medicine when the symptoms worsened. She also reported pain in her lower back, hips, limbs and muscles, which had led to a diagnosis of fibromyalgia five years before. Four years
prior to her visit to my clinic, she had been pregnant but unfortunately miscarried at about the seventh week of pregnancy, after which she had been unable to become pregnant again.
When she first visited, she had aches in her whole body, especially pain in her neck, upper back, lower back and hips. She felt tenseness and distension pain in her whole head sometimes, and suffered from migraines on the right side of her head once every two to three months. During these episodes, the pain would spread to the right eye, with discharge, drooping, and a burning sensation under her lower eyelid. At times she had nasal congestion with white discharge, phlegm irritation of her throat in the morning. In general her sleep was normal, but she always felt that she did not get enough sleep, and was reluctant to get up immediately when she woke in the morning. She often felt anxiety, depression, fatigue and a heavy sensation in her body, and was sometimes exhausted. There were times where she felt coldness in her lower limbs, and hot flashes in her upper body. Sometimes she felt distention and discomfort in her abdomen, and had gas and belching; however, her appetite was normal, bowel movements occurred once a day, and she had normal urination. She had no history of hypertension or diabetes. Her first period occurred when she was thirteen, and came once a month, but was
always irregular, coming four to five days early or late, with twenty-five to thirty days for each cycle, had a median volume of bleeding with pink colored blood containing small clots. Two to three days before menstruation she would have lower abdominal pain, discomfort and a sensation of fullness, with simultaneous breast distension and discomfort. Her libido was normal.
Assessment showed that she had a moderate voice, was tall and had a slightly puffy face. There was a slightly dark color on her face and around her eyes, on her lower eyelids. Her tongue body was swollen with teeth marks on the edges, a slight groove in the center of her tongue; it had a pale color and was moist with thick white coating. Her pulse was floating weak in both distal positions, slight wiry in the middle positions, and weak on both sides of the proximal positions. The Ear Pressure Test showed there was significant painful sensation with slight touch on the corresponding parts of the brain, endocrine, neck, chest, back, leg and stomach, with a severity of pain she described as 7-8/10. Slight touch to the face produced a painful sensation with a severity of 4-5/10. Slight touch produced a painful sensation in her neck at about C4-7, with a severity of 5-6/10. A painful sensation with slight touch was felt in her upper back in T1-T4, with a severity of 5-6/10. There was a painful sensation with slight touch in her shoulder, with a severity of 5-6/10. There was a painful sensation with slight touch in her lower back from L3-S2, with the severity about 6-7/10. There was a painful sensation with slight
touch on her hips, with a severity of about 4-5/10. Finally there was a painful sensation with slight touch on her lower limbs, a severity of about 3-4/10.
Based on the Traditional Chinese Medicine, she was deficient in spleen and kidney, as well as having qi and blood stagnation and shen disorders, with occasional exterior cold invasion with simultaneous yang deficiency, though fundamentally her issues were due to deficiency in spleen and kidney. The treatment principle used was to tonify of spleen and kidney, combined with regulation of qi and blood, to warm the body, expelling wind and
cold, and to calm shen to help her anxiety and stress. The points included DU20, Yintang, ST36, and SP6 with electric acupuncture stimulation; the manual
acupuncture points included LI4, LI14, 15, 20, DU 14, 12, 2, 3, 4, SI11, 10, 9, UB 23, 25, 28, GB30, RN12, 14, 6, ST25, 27, Zi gong xue, among others. These were applied once a week for 15 minutes during the acupuncture treatments. The ear points utilized included brain, endocrine, back, stomach, and shenmen.
The Chinese herbal formulas included Formula I and II. Formula I included the herbs Huang Qi, Dang Shen, Bai Zhu, Gang Jiang / Sheng Jinag, Dang Gui, Chuan Xiong, Bai Shao Yao, Xian Mao, Xain Ling Pi, Tu Si Zi, Zhi Shi, Chen Pi, Rou Gui/Gui Zhi. The Formula II included the herbs Gui Zhi, Bai Shao Yao, Huang Qi, Dang Shen, Bai Zhu, Fang Feng, Da Zao, Sheng Jiang, and Gan Cao.
The basic prescription was Formula I as main her treatment, switching to Formula II if nasal congestion occurred. The formula was 50g of powdered herbs for one week, to be taken orally three times a day, 2g per dose, mixed with about 2-3 oz. warm water. The treatment for follow up visits modified some points of the acupuncture protocol, and herbs in the herbal formula, according to the progression of the patient. After three weeks of the treatment, her symptoms were improved, especially her lassitude, anxiety and back pain. After six months of the treatment, the symptoms were markedly improved, especially the cluster migraines. With these successes, she hoped to use acupuncture with Chinese medicine to treat her infertility, in order to make possible her dream of becoming a mother. Considering her history of thyroid disease and miscarriage and that she was nearly 41 year-old, she had been advised to choose IVF – however, she wanted a natural pregnancy. According to the patient’s request and condition, I did a modified electric acupuncture
treatment protocol for DU20, Yintang, Zhigongxue and SP6; the manual acupuncture points selected were ST36, RN12, DU14, 12, 2, 3, 4, UB23, 25, 28. The ear points included brain, endocrine, back, and shenmen. The Chinese herbal Formula I was modified and used after menstruation. The second formula below was taken one week before ovulation; the herbs included Dang Gui, Chuang Xiong, Chi Shao Yao, Wan Bu Liu Xing, Yi Mu Cao, Gui Zhi, Xiang Fu, Tao Ren, Wu Yao, Zhi Shi, and Pu Huang. This protocol was used consistently for five months.
Results: Two weeks after the New Year of 2013, she called to make an appointment for her son (6 week-old) – she had been successful in getting pregnant naturally, two months after her last visit, and had successfully given birth to a child at the age of 42.
Successful pregnancy and miscarriage prevention of infertile woman by using only acupuncture combined with Chinese herbal formulas
A 28 year old female was referred to my clinic for help with her infertility by using acupuncture and Chinese herbal formula. Three years previously she had been pregnant, but had miscarriage on about month two of the pregnancy, and had not become pregnant again until recently. She reported lassitude, fatigue, lower back pain, occasional weakness of her legs. She had a poor appetite but no abdominal fullness with acid reflux. Her bowel movements were once a day, and her urination was normal. She felt nervous with slight anxiety sometimes. Her sleep was normal, but she always felt that she did not get
enough sleep, and was reluctant to get up immediately when she woke in the morning. She had no other symptoms such as headache, upper back pain, stiffness or cold in her body, etc. With regard to her menstruation, her first period appeared at the age of thirteen, and regularly came once a month, with pale blood and no clots, with moderate volume for five to six days, with twenty-five days for each cycle. She did not have abdominal pain and emotional changes before and during menstruation. Her libido was low. Assessment showed she was thin of body, of middle height, had lower voice without excitement, and a slightly dark color around her lower eyelids. Her tongue body was thin and small, pale with red color with a thin and white coat, and there were no cracks in the center of her tongue. Her pulse was weak and deep, especially weak and deep bilaterally in the proximal positions. There were tight and cold sensations on her limbs when slight touch was applied. There was a painful sensation with slight touch on her neck about C3-7, with a severity reported as 3-4/10. There was a painful sensation with slight touch on her upper back, with a severity of 3-4/10. There was a painful sensation with slight touch on her lower back, with a severity described as 4-5/10. The Ear Pressure Test showed there was significant painful sensation with slight touch on the corresponding parts of the brain, neck, waist and sacral, and shenmen, all with a severity of about 6-7/10.
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine she was yang deficient in the spleen and kidney, with inadequate essence. The treatment principle used was to warm and tonify yang in spleen and kidney, and tonify essence. The electric acupuncture points included SP6 and Zigongxue; and manual acupuncture points included ST36, RN6, RN4, REN12, Yintang, DU20, LI4, KI3, and UB23, 25, 28, 54 and 57. The ear points are brain, endocrine, uterine and shenmen, among others. This treatment protocol was applied once a week for fifteen minutes during acupuncture treatment.
The Chinese herbal formula was a modification of Li Zhong Tang, Si Wu Tang, and You Gui Wan. The herbs included Huang Qi, Dang Shen, Bai Zhu, Dang Gui, Chuan Xiong, Gui Zhi, Sheng Jiang, Bai Shao Yao, Xian Mao, Xian Ling Pi, Tu Si Zi, Gou Qi Zi and Da Zao. The formula was a 50g powdered herb prescription for one week, to be taken orally three times a day, 2g per dose, and mixed with about 2 oz. of warm water. The treatment for follow up visits modified some points of the acupuncture protocol, and herbs in the herbal formula, according to her progress. Because it was very inconvenient for her to drive about 130 miles to visit my office for treatment, after the second visit I transferred her back to her primary acupuncture physician to continue the acupuncture treatment once a week, and she visited my office once a month for acupuncture treatment and a monthly refill her herb formula.
Results: After two weeks of the treatment, she reported improvement of her fatigue. After four weeks of the treatment, most symptoms were improved, her appetite was increased, and her libido was improved. After six months of the treatment, she had no obvious symptoms, and ended treatment. Four months later, she called to report that she had been pregnant for two months. As the patient reported in follow-up, she had successfully delivered a baby with normal pregnancy ten months later.
(Dr. Joseph Beardsley, Acupuncture Physician was involved in this case. He practices Chinese Medicine in Lakeland, FL. For more information, visit www.ancientartacupuncture.com)
38 year-old infertile woman had failed 4 times in treatment with IVF, but successfully became pregnant with only acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas
A 38-year-old woman sought help for her infertility. She had undergone IVF four times in the past four years, but without success. She hoped acupuncture would help her get pregnant. She had no previous history of pregnancy and miscarriage, and her gynecological examinations were normal.
When she first visited, she had lassitude, fatigue, and weakness in her lower and legs that worsened when menstruation came. She slept poorly, woke up at night and had difficulty going to back sleep again. She felt anxiety and stress. Her appetite was normal, with bowel movements once a day, and her urination was normal. She did not have pain in her back or limbs. Her first period appeared at age of twelve, and came regularly once a month with dark blood and clots, moderate volume for four to five days, and had twenty-five days for each cycle. Her libido was normal. There was no information of pulse and tongue because of telephone counseling.
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, she was deficient of spleen qi and kidney essence and had blood stasis. The treatment principle used was to tonify spleen qi and fortify kidney essence and regulate blood to move blood stasis. The best treatment option was acupuncture combined with Chinese herbal formulas. After explanation of the treatment plan, she gladly accepted. Acupuncture points included SP6, Zhigongxue with electric acupuncture stimulation; the manual acupuncture points included ST36, RN12 RN6, KI3, DU20, Yintang, LI4, KI3, and UB 23, 25, 28 and 57. These were applied once a week for fifteen minutes during acupuncture treatment. The ear points included brain, endocrine, back, and shenmen, among others. The Chinese herbal formula included the herbs Dang Shen, Huang Qi, Bai Zhu, Dang Gui, Chuan Xiong, Bai Shao Yao, Tu Si Zi, Sheng Jiang, Gui Zhi, Xian Ling Pi, Xian Mao, Gou Qi Zi and Da Zao. The formula was a 50g powdered herb prescription for one week, to be taken orally three times a day, 2g per dose, mixed with
about 2-3 oz warm water. The treatment for follow up visits modified some points of the acupuncture protocol, and herbs in the herbal formula, according to the progression of the patient.
Results: After three months of the treatment, she reported a successful natural pregnancy. She was advised to continue to take a Chinese herbal formula to prevent miscarriage. The Chinese herbal formula included the herbs Dang Shen, Huang Qi, Bai Zhu, Shan Yao, Tu Si Zi, Sang Ji Sheng, Du Zhong, Xu Duan, Da Zao, Sheng Jiang and Gui Zhi.
(Dr. Joseph Beardsley, Acupuncture Physician was involved in this case. He practices Chinese Medicine in
Lakeland, FL. For his more information, visit www.ancientartacupuncture.com
After nine IVF failures, acupuncture with Chinese herbal formulas assisted the tenth IVF in leading to pregnancy, and helped to prevent miscarriage
At the end of June 2010, a 39-year-old gynecologist came to my clinic seeking acupuncture treatment following her fertility doctor’s advice to improve her chances of successful IVF. In the past twelve years she had nine IVF’s and two successful pregnancies, but unfortunately she had miscarried each at about 10 weeks. The reason for her infertility and miscarriages was determined to be from an autoimmune condition that caused the pregnancies to be rejected. She desperately wanted to get pregnant and have her own biological child. On her first visit, she brought magazines containing articles that revealed
acupuncture was used to assist IVF, and she hoped to use the methods recommended by the articles. After reading the articles, I explained that the process of Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture depended on the patient’s specific circumstances to design the protocols for each individual. I said that I would design a protocol for acupuncture combined with Chinese herbal formulas to treat her unique conditions, as determined by examination of her tongue and pulse accompanied with her symptoms. After this explanation, she accepted the idea of customized and individual treatment. She complained about stress: anxiety, over-thinking, too much worry, difficulty calming down, and always hyperactive. She slept poorly, waking up three times a night with difficulty falling asleep again, even to the point of occasionally needing medication to sleep. Her sleep generally totaled about five hours a night. She was always very busy with her family and office, and usually went to bed around 12:00am, and got up by 6:00am, arriving at the office to start work at about 7:30am. She often worked through lunch. She had lassitude, fatigue and weakness of body; she also had poor appetite, no acid reflux, and two to three bowel movements a day without diarrhea. She didn’t have headaches, back pain or leg pain, any coldness or hot sensation in her body.
She first menstruated at eleven years old, and her menses came regularly, with pink blood and tiny clots, with five days of bleeding per each twenty-six day cycle. She had menstrual cramps four days before her menstruation with abdominal discomfort and bloating, and obvious anxiety. Her libido and urination were normal.
She walked very fast, expressed tension on her face with a moderately slim body and dark circles under her lower eyelids. Examination showed that her tongue body was medium size with little teeth marks on the edge of her tongue, and pale red tongue body color with a thin, white, moist tongue coating. Her pulse was thin wiry. She didn’t feel pain from slight touch to the neck, back and legs. Ear exam revealed significant painful sensation from slight touch on the corresponding parts of the brain, neck, endocrine, chest, back, leg and shenmen, and other points – she described the severity as 7-8/10. She had a test that revealed her uterine blood circulation was below normal.
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, her condition was Spleen and Kidney Deficiency, disorders of Qi and Blood, and shen disorders. The treatment was to tonify the Spleen and Kidney, invigorate the Blood and regulate the Qi, and calm the shen to help her stress and anxiety. The acupuncture included electric acupuncture points of DU20, Yintang, RN12 and 14; the manual acupuncture points included ST36, 27 and 25, SP6, RN10 and 6, Zigongxue, LI4, KI3, LV3 and UB57. Acupuncture treatment, including electric acupuncture, was administered fifteen minutes twice a week. The ear points included brain, endocrine, waist, stomach and Shenmen. The Chinese herbal formula included Huang Qi, Dang Shen, Bai Zhu, Dang Gui, Bai Shao Yao, Chuan Xiong, Xian Mao, Xian Ling Pi, Tu Si Zi, Gou Qi Zi, Xiang Fu, Zhi Shi, Pu Huang, and Gan Cao. The formula was 50g of an herbal powder prescribed for one week, to be taken orally three times a day, 2g per dose, mixed with about 2 oz. warm water.
Treatments for follow up visits modified some points for acupuncture protocol and the herbal formula according to the progression of the patient. During the second visit, after one session of acupuncture treatment, she said she felt significant improvement of stress, anxiety and tension, but the improvement did not last until the second visit. She also said her fertility doctor agreed with her taking Chinese herbs. After five treatments, she felt significant improvement of sleep, tension and anxiety, and found it easier to quiet her mind and activity. A test revealed that her uterine blood circulation improved significantly, to almost normal. By the nineteenth treatment she was able to sleep six to seven hours a night without waking up. On the twenty-second treatment, she complained of being very frustrated. Her fertility doctor had decided to place her embryo into the uterus next week, but only one embryo qualified. She placed three qualified embryos in IVF nine times before, but failed seven times – she believed that this history meant that with only one
qualified embryo, there would be no possibility of a successful pregnancy. However, I explained to her that there was a possibility of successful pregnancy, because there were many research reports in China of acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas increasing fertility. Because her physical condition had improved significantly, and especially because her intrauterine blood circulation (per test) had improved substantially, I explained that overall her condition was very good. Two weeks later, she called to report that she was indeed pregnant, but that she was very nervous and anxious due to fear from her history of miscarriages. She asked how I could help. I suggested that she come back for acupuncture treatments with Chinese herbal formulas to prevent miscarriage, which were commonly and effectively used to prevent miscarriages in China.
After two days she came back to my clinic. She complained of high nervousness and anxiety, her face looked stiff with tension, gritted teeth, trembling hands and body. She felt tired and always wanted to sleep. She also felt slight abdominal fullness, slight nausea and occasional vomiting, with loss of appetite. Her bowel movements were once or twice a day with slight constipation. Her tongue was pale red with a thin, white coating. Her pulse was smooth and rolling. The acupuncture points included ST36, RN12, DU20, Yintang, and PC6. Acupuncture was administered once a week. The Chinese herbal formula included Dang Shen, Huang Qi, Bai Zhu, Fu Ling, Sheng Jiang, Sha Ren, Bai Dou Kou, Zi Su Ye, Shan Yao and Gu Ya. This formula was to
tonify Spleen and harmonize the Stomach to stop nausea and increase her appetite. She felt better after two weeks of treatment, with most symptoms improved. The acupuncture treatment was the same as before, the Chinese herbal formula changed to Shou Tai Wan, adding Huang Qi, Dang Shen, Bai Zhu, Chen Pi and Shan Yao. This special treatment was to prevent miscarriage until the tenth week, the time of her previous miscarriages.
Since she usually walked fast with agility, I asked her to walk more slowly, and with small steps. I also suggested that she nap for five to ten minutes at lunchtime to help her relax. If possible, she needed to reduce her workload to ensure prevention of miscarriage. She wanted to comply, but it was very difficult because she had too many patients waiting for her help. She continued acupuncture treatment with Chinese herbal formulas until the tenth week of pregnancy, which passed the time of her two previous miscarriages.
In August 2011, she came to my clinic to express her deep gratitude with a card two months after delivery. She wrote: “You made me realize the dream as a mother.”
Acupuncture combined with Chinese herbal formulas assisted IVF for successful pregnancy
A 39-year-old woman had used contraception for many years. When she wanted to get pregnant, she tried to do so naturally for two years, but was unable to, and so planned to get help with IVF. Because she was 39 years old, her fertility doctor suggested that she have acupuncture during preparation for IVF, to improve her chances of pregnancy.
When she first visited, she had lassitude, fatigue, regular difficulty sleeping, with waking two to three hours after falling asleep, though she was able to fall back asleep again. She felt stress and anxiety with heart palpitations. Sometimes her appetite was normal, with no bloating but acid reflux. Her urination and libido were normal. She didn’t have headache or back pain or leg pain; she didn’t have sweating or hot flashes or other symptoms. She first menstruated at age twelve, with pink blood no clots, moderate volume for five days per each twenty-four day cycle. She did not have abdominal pain or emotional changes before or during menstruation. She had no history of heart disease, hypertension or diabetes, etc.
Examination showed that her tongue body had an extra padded edge without teeth marks, and pale red body with thin, white, moist coating. Her pulse was wiry and weak bilaterally in the proximal positions. She did not have tenderness or painful sensation with slight touch on the face, neck, back and limbs. The Ear Pressure Test revealed significant painful sensation on the corresponding parts of the brain, back, endocrine, and shenmen, with a severity of 6-7/10.
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, her conditions were Heart and Spleen Qi and Blood Deficiency with shen disorders. The treatment plan was to tonify Qi and Blood in Spleen and Heart, and calm the shen. The acupuncture treatment selected electric acupuncture stimulation of SP6 and Zigongxue; the manual acupuncture points include DU20, RN12, RN14, PC6, DU20, LI4, PC6 and Taiyan. Acupuncture was administered once a week. The ear points included brain, endocrine, uterine, and Shenmen. The Chinese herbal formula included Huang Qi, Dang Shen, Bai Zhu, Dang Gui, Chuan Xiong, Bai Shao Yao, Xian Mao, Xian Ling Pi, Tu Si Zi, Gan Cao, Da Zao, Suan Zao Ren and Fu Ling. The formula was a 50g herbal powder prescription for one week,
to be taken orally three times a day, 2g per dose, mixed with about 2-3 oz. of warm water.
Treatments for follow up visits modified both some points of the acupuncture protocol and the herbal formula according to the progression of the patient.
During her second visit, she said that her fertility doctor agreed with her taking Chinese herbal formulas. Meanwhile, she underwent medical examinations that included ultrasound on the uterus and ovaries, and monitored individual hormone levels, and also used hormone therapy.
After four weeks treatment, she had hot flashes with cold body, sweating and aggravated insomnia, lassitude and obvious heart palpitations. Her appetite was normal, bowel movements and urination were normal. An ultrasound revealed a small ovarian cyst, which resulted from her use of hormone therapy. Therefore, based on her conditions, her treatment was changed to tonify Kidney Yin and Liver, and clear heat, harmonize the Liver and nourish the Heart. The Chinese herbal formula included Sheng Di Huang, Xuan Shen, Bai Shao Yao, Zhi Mu, Mu Dan Pi, Han Lian Cao, Dang Gui, Xian Mao, Xian Ling Pi, Zhen Zhu Mu and Mu Li. Acupuncture points KI3 and LV3, 2 were added. Subsequently, according to her symptoms, the follow-up visit treatments were modified, and acupuncture points and herbs were adjusted as needed. Her above symptoms improved, and the ovarian cyst dispersed two weeks later.
After three months of acupuncture treatment for preparation of IVF, her fertility doctor required that she have a special acupuncture treatment when the embryo was put into the uterus. She had an acupuncture treatment at 8:00am and 11:00am for two sessions, because of the plan to place the embryo into the uterus at around 9- 10am. The points included SP6, ST36, KI3, LI4, DU20, Yintang, RN12 and 14.
Three weeks after the embryo was placed into uterus, she called to report she was pregnant. The last phone call was to follow up while she was on her way to the hospital to deliver.
A 32-year-old woman came to my clinic for acupuncture to increase her fertility and assist IVF. She had attempted to have a natural pregnancy for three years, but these efforts had failed. Her fertility specialist recommended acupuncture during the preparation phase of IVF.
She had no history of disease, but two years ago she felt mood changes, nervousness, anxiety and depression—crying without reasons. She had anxiety, tension, sometimes depression and headache that dominated front and side of her head two to three times a week from a few hours up to one to two days. She slept poorly, woke up easily, and had difficulty going back to sleep. She was prone to anger with excitement. She also had lower back pain aggravated by waist movement, but she did not have pain in the neck and upper back. She had lassitude, fatigue and weakness of body and lower legs after walking. Her appetite was normal with no acid reflux, and her bowel movements and urination were normal. She first menstruated at twelve years
old, had a regular cycle, moderate volume with black blood and clots, with six days of bleeding for twenty-six days of each cycle. She had abdominal cramps that worsened one week before menstruation, accompanied by severe lower back pain, abdominal bloating, chest swelling, occasional nausea, with headache and obvious mood changes. Those symptoms gradually reduced at the end of her menstruation.
Examination revealed dark circles under her lower eyelids, and dark color on her cheek. Her tongue body was normal size, pale red with a slightly purple tip, no teeth marks, and thin, white, moist coating. Her pulse was wiry and weak bilaterally in the proximal positions. The Ears Pressure Test revealed significant pain with slight touch on the corresponding parts of the brain, waist, endocrine and shenmen, with a severity of 7-8/10. Slight touch to the lower back from T12 to S2 and next to the spine was painful; she especially rejected pressure on the lower back, L4 to S2. The severity of the pain around T12 to L3 was 5-6/10, and from L4 to S2 was 7-8/10.
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, her condition included Blood stasis and Qi stagnation with shen disorders. The treatment plan was to invigorate the Blood to dispel stasis, and move Qi to stop pain, as well as calm shen to improve her sleep and emotional problems. The electric acupuncture points included DU20, Yintang, RN14, RN12; the manual acupuncture points included RN4, 6, SP6, 9, LI4, RV3, Zigongxue and UB57. Acupuncture was administered once a week. The ear points included brain, endocrine, Zigong and shenmen, among others. The Chinese herbal formula included Dan Shen, Pu Huang, Dang Gui, Chuan Xiong, Yan Hu Suo, Bai Shao Yao, Tao Ren, Wu Yao, Xiang Fu, Sang Ji Sheng, Niu Xi, Gui Zhi and Sheng Jiang. The formula was 50g of herbal powder prescribed for one week, to be taken orally three times a day, 2g per dose, mixed with about 2 oz. of warm water.
Treatments for follow up visits modified both some points of the acupuncture protocol and the herbal formula according to the progression of the patient.
After two weeks of treatment, she reported significant improvement of her lower back pain and mood changes. After four weeks of treatment, she menstruated with no obvious mood changes, and only slight lower back aches and abdominal distension. After three months of treatment, most of her symptoms were no longer detectable, and it was time for IVF. Four months later, she called to report that she was eight weeks pregnant
and expressed thanks for helping her.
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Leukoplakia vulvae is a chronic inflammatory gynecological condition with white lesions as the main sign, accompanied by an itching, burning painful sensation in the area of the vulva. Common symptoms include painful urination, painful intercourse, or painful bowel movements. Common signs are thickened skin and white patches on the vulva, or thin patches on the vulva, or wrinkled and hypopigmented vulva; the vulva and contiguous anatomy can be distorted in severe cases. There is also often a general skin disease manifesting a genital mucosa with white, thick patches, or an atrophic condition. This condition relates to nutritional disorders, nerve degeneration, along with blood vessel and pigment changes on the vulva itself.
Traditional Chinese Medicine treatment (TCM) can improve the condition of leukoplakia vulvae in clinical practice. From clinical observation and experience, the usual treatment of leukoplakia vulvae with Traditional Chinese Medicine includes the use of acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas, some to be taken orally, with others to be applied topically in the local area of the vulva. This combination of treatment modalities has proven to be very effective.
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, the condition of leukoplakia vulvae is due, primarily, to a deficiency of the liver and kidney organs and functional systems. This deficiency occurs in combination with an accumulation of dampness, disharmonies in the qi and blood, and heat stagnation. For treatment of this condition, the most common and effective acupuncture points (where electro-acupuncture can also be applied) includes RN2, RN3, RN4, Zigougxue, BL28, 34, SP10, SP9, SP6, ST36, HT7 and DU2, 3, 4, 20; add LV2, LV3 and SP10 for damp heat of liver; and add KI3 and BL57 for yin deficiency in liver and kidney. Auricular (ear) acupuncture therapy may also be considered.
The common use of oral Chinese herbal formulas include Liu Wei Di Huang Wan and Zhi Bai Di Huang Wan to nourish the liver and kidney, treating their deficiencies; and Shen Ling Bai Zhu San and Zhi Dai Tang to clear damp-heat, dredge collaterals and stop itching; finally, modified forms of Si Wu Tang and Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang can aid in the regulation of qi and blood, etc.
For cases with itching, burning sensation and burning pain with dryness of the genitals, a special Chinese herbal formula mixed with water is used to wash or soak the area. These herbs include Ku Shen, Huang Bai, Dang Gui, Zhi Mu, Bai Xian Pi, Bing Pain, and Bu Gu Zhi, among others. It is best to mix these herbs with sesame oil to apply topically to the vulva.
As a result of treatment, itching, burning pain and dryness will usually improve after one or two weeks of treatment. Regular reports suggest that softening of skin tissues of the vulva and in the genital area, including the mucosa, occurs after two or three months of treatment. The white color of the vulva exhibits change after three to four months of treatment.
Before you make a decision to try the acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas to help leukoplakia vulvae, it is necessary to rule out local cancerous growth. It is worth noting that Chinese herbal formulas can be combined and made into creams that can be applied topically in many external genital problems, with symptoms such as itching, burning sensations, burning pain, pain due to sexual intercourse, dryness, discharge with possible odor,
among others. Symptoms such as these can be related to allergies, inflammation, leukoplakia vulvae, etc.
My friend Dr. Paul Reynolds, AP (who now practices in Clearwater, FL) phoned for a consultation for one of his patients in 2008. The patient was a 60 year old female who had been diagnosed with leukoplakia vulvae the previous month. The main symptoms the patient reported were itching in her vulva and genital area, burning pain with dryness in her vulva without vaginal discharge and pain during sexual intercourse. She had hot flashes that got worse in the afternoons and evening, and reddish color her face at night sometimes, night sweating and fatigue, weakness of body; she had poor sleep and wake up 3 to 4 times per night due to itching and painful sensations in the vulva and her genital area; she also had stress and anxiety from her diagnosis at leukoplakia vulvae. She was overly worried, and often nervous. Her appetite was normal without acid reflux or constipation. She had bowel movements once a day and normal urine; her menstruation ended 10 years ago, and her libido was decreased. There was no more information about the condition of her tongue and pulse by phone, and no examination of local genital and vulva.
Based on TCM principles, the condition of the patient was due to yin deficiency in the liver and kidney with heat; the plan of treatment was to tonify and nourishing yin in kidney and liver, clear heat and reduce itching, and calm shen to help her stress, anxiety and poor sleep. This condition suggests the use of the acupuncture points RN2, 3, 6, Zigongxue, ST36, SP 6, 10, 11, LV3 and LI4; the points of electro-acupuncture stimulation include DU20, Yintang, RN12 and 14. The patient underwent acupuncture treatment once a week. The Chinese herbal formula used in this case was one modified from Zhi Bai Di Haung Wan. The herbs include Huang Bai, Zhi Mu, Sheng Di Huang, Shan Yao, Shan Zhu Yu, Mu Dan Pi, Xuan Shen, Ze Xie, Dang Gui, Han Lian Cao and Xian Mao. The formula was a 50g power of an herb Rx for one week, to be taken orally three times a day, 2g per time, mixed with about 2-3oz warm water. These herbs were given in combination with a Chinese herbal formula to be made into a cream to apply topically in area of vulva two to three times a day.
The patient’s symptoms of itching and burning pain in the vulva showed improvement in the first week after treatment; dryness and pain in the vulva improved after one month of treatment; the white color of the vulva was much improved after three months of treatment.
A 52 year old female who had painful sensations in her legs and feet was referred to my clinic by her podiatry physician. The patient’s chief complaint was burning pain in the legs, ankles and feet for seven years; she has been diagnosed with leukoplakia vulvae, with symptoms of burning pain and dryness in the vulva, five years before seeing me. She had a vulvectomy two years prior but her vulva was thick and a white color appeared again. Presently the main symptoms were burning pain with stiffness in her legs, pain with stiffness and numbness in the ankles, heels and feet; and ache in the neck and upper back. She had itching in the vulva and genital area, burning pain with dryness in the vulva without vaginal discharge, and pain during sexual intercourse, but her libido was normal. She had hot flashes that worsen in the afternoon and night, and reddish color exhibited on her face in the night accompanied by night sweating; she slept poorly, and woke easily a few times during the night, due to itching and painful sensations in the vulva and genital area. She experienced stress, excessive worry and nervousness, and a hyperactive mind. Her appetite was normal without acid reflux; she had slightly difficult bowel movements once a day, and normal urination. Her menstruation was still regular, coming once a month for five days with a twenty-five day cycle, red blood and moderate volume of bleeding, with some clots and abdominal cramps during menstruation. Examination showed a reddish color on her face, moderate size of tongue body, with pale red color and red in tip of her tongue, slight teeth marks on both edges of tongue and a thin white tongue coating. Her pulse waswiry in distal position and middle position, and weak in proximal position. She experienced pain in a number of areas along her back and legs, most sensitive to a slight touch. There was a painful sensation in her upper back with slight touch – the pain was localized at C6 to C7, T1, and the level of pain was a 4 to 5/10. There was painful sensation in her lower back with slight touch, the pain was found at L2 to S3, and the level of pain was 3 to 4/10. There was painful sensation in her legs with slight touch, the pain was found throughout her legs, and the level of pain was 6 to 7/10. There was a painful sensation in her ankles with slight touch, with pain throughout her ankles, and the level of pain was 4 to 5/10. There was painful sensation in her feet with slight touch, the pain was throughout her feet, and the level of pain was 4 to 5/10. The Ears Pressure Test showed significant pain in the corresponding parts of her brain, neck, back, leg and Shemen, etc., with the levels of pain from 6 to 7/10. No exam of her genital area was conducted.
Based upon TCM, the patient’s condition was due to yin deficiency in the liver and kidney with heat, qi stagnation and blood stasis with shen disorders. The plan of treatment was to tonify and nourish yin in the kidney and liver, clear heat, regulate qi and invigorate of blood, and calm shen to help stress, anxiety and poor sleep. The acupuncture points include RN 2, 3, 6, Zigongxue, ST36, SP6, 10, 11, LV3, KI3, LI4, UB23, 28 and GB34; E-STM was used on points of DU20, Yintang, RN12, 14. Auricular (ear) points applied were Shenmen, Brian, Zigongxue, etc. The Chinese herbal formulas used in this case were modified from Zhi Bai Di Haung Wan and Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang. It was 50g power of an herb Rx for one week, to be taken orally three times a day, 2g per time, mixed with about 2-3oz of warm water. Additionally, Chinese herbs were provided to be made into a cream to be applied topically in the area of the vulva two to three times a day. These herbs included Ku Shen, Huang Bai, Dang Gui, Zhi Mu, Bai Xian Pi and Bing Pain.
Subsequently, the treatment during follow up visits was modified with some points of the acupuncture protocol, and herbs in the herbal formula, according to changes in the case as the patient progressed. The reported the result was improvement of the itching and burning pain of the vulva in first week after treatment; dryness with pain in the vulva and pain in the lower limbs was improved after one month of treatment; the white color of vulva appeared to be improved after three months of treatment and it was much better after six months of treatment.
Stress, anxiety, depression, and obsessive or over-thinking are mental-emotional disorders that can be profoundly detrimental to the lives of many individuals who suffer from these conditions. These conditions are often accompanied by pain, insomnia, addiction, gastrointestinal disorders, sexual dysfunction, weight problems, fatigue, cancer, and many other diseases. They often affect the both the health and quality of life of the patient, to the point that these cognitive-emotional interruptions become so severe that some patients are no longer able to work, and lose even the ability to learn. These conditions affect not only the patient, but can be extremely unsettling to the lives and well-being of the patient’s family members as well.
Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine have a history extending back more than two thousand years in China. According to traditional Chinese medicine, mental disorders due to emotional changes cause imbalance of the body.
The mind and body are bound up in a profound and constant relationship, and when this relationship is disrupted, both the body and mind suffer. When the body suffers, the mind suffers, and vice versa.When the mind suffers, or when the relationship between the mind and body is disrupted such that the mind is unable to function clearly and effectively, this is called a disorder of the Shen. Traditional Chinese medicine has accumulated a rich experience of treating mental disorders. Since 1970’s in China, many research projects have studied the treatment of mental disorders, especially with electro-acupuncture for the treatment of depression. Electro-acupuncture compares well with Western medicine modalities for treating depression.
The results of many of these studies show that electro-acupuncture is consistently capable of improving the condition of depression in patients. Unlike many Western medical treatments for depression, the patients do not experience any side effects from electro-acupuncture. Long-range follow up research with these patients concluded that there was no evidence of adverse side effects such as addiction, fatigue, poor sleeping or over sleeping, poor memory, or unwanted emotional changes.
Over the course of more than twenty years of clinical experience and research, Dr. Yang has developed protocols using acupuncture/electro-acupuncture for mental disorders like stress, anxiety, depression, and obsessive thinking. These protocols have become known to students in schools of Oriental medicine as Dr. Yang “Shen” treatment. Originally developed and shown to be effective in China, and with continued proven effectiveness in the U.S., these protocols give patients significant relief from their symptoms of mental-emotional disturbance and disorder. These protocols have the potential to be effective in cases where other therapeutic modalities are not possible, or have been tried without successful results. The majority of patients who are treated with the “Shen” protocols experience improvement in their mental-emotional state, and diminished symptoms from their disorder.
Secondary symptoms of these mental-emotional disorders tend to be positively affected as well, including pain, addiction, sexual dysfunction, gastrointestinal disorders, and weight problems. Follow up with patients demonstrates that they have not developed an “addiction” to acupuncture after stopping treatments. Treatment with these protocols tends to be cumulative, such that progressively more effective treatments and positive outcomes can be expected as the series of treatment continues over time. Generally, most patients are initially able sleep for a few minutes during treating periods in the clinic. After the first acupuncture session patients tend to be more capable of relaxing. After three to four acupuncture sessions, patients find their stress and anxiety decreased, and after five to six acupuncture sessions both depression and insomnia improve.
Though many patients can see results within this relatively short time-frame, certain chronic and entrenched cases may require longer terms of treatment, but are still likely to see worthwhile results after a treatment period of a year or more. For example, Dr. Yang has treated a patient who had suffered with severe mental disorders for nearly thirty years. This patient was able to achieve highly effective and positive results by staying with the treatment protocols for two and a half years. Another patient who had suffered for ten years with stress, and a related burning pain of the lower abdomen, experienced significant improvement in both conditions after completing a one-year plan of treatment. Many patients who have undergone these acupuncture and electro-acupuncture protocols for stress, anxiety, depression, and obsessive thinking have not experienced a recurrence of their symptoms, and have been able to discontinue medications for these same conditions.
The Shen treatment protocols for mental disorders make use of acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, and Chinese-style exercises prescribed by Dr. Yang. An example of these exercises – and one that patients can practice anywhere from home, office, or outside – is outlined by the following steps. 1) Stand with the feet apart, body relaxed, and the mind quieted; regulate the breathing to be even. 2) Slowly lift both arms up in front of the head with palms up. 3) Slowly push arms down with palms turned down and knees bent, and lower the upper body. 4) Then slowly lift arms up with palms turned up and straighten the upper body. 5) Return to step 2. 6) Follow the above process to regulate breathing, exhale while slowly lifting the arms up in front of head, and inhale while slowly pushing palms down. 7) Repeat these steps continuously for about 5 minutes.
In western medicine, headaches are subdivided into tension headache, migraine headache, post traumatic headache, cluster headache and cervicogenic headache. In fact, the patient often have different types of the headache simultaneously which is common in clinic; and even after taking many medicines, the headache still could not be effectively controlled. In acupuncture clinic, I often see those patients who want help for their headache even after taking medicines but to no avail. For these cases, I always use a protocol of acupuncture pain management that I have been using for many years in clinical practice. This protocol combined multiple acupuncture techniques through assessment of the Chinese medicine as well as western medical diagnosis includes auricular acupuncture, manual acupuncture, electric acupuncture, active acupuncture and acupuncture in local point or Ashi point.
For example, I had a successful case with a patient who has had 7 years of daily headache that was over 9 hours long and taken 9 different medicines.
The patient was a 37 year old woman whose husband drove her 1½ hours to come into my office to seek help for her migraine headache and neck pain at 5pm, on a Friday of February in 2016. She had been very highly recommend by her family friend who had gotten positive result with acupuncture treatment in my clinic. Her chief complaint was migraine headache with neck pain after a car accident in 2009, allergies with nasal congestion for 20 years. She was diagnosed with chronic migraine headache, neck pain, sinusitis, allergies, anxiety and depression. She had histories of sinus and turbinoplasty surgery at 2015, foot surgery on both feet at age 15 & 17.
She had been taking a total of 9 different medicines including celexa for anxiety, zyrtec and flonase for allergies, zanaflex and Mobic for neck pain, axcert and mitrex for headache, and amoxicillin and medrol pack for sinus infection. But those medicines could not control her conditions. She had a CT scan of the neck with no abnormalities and did injection therapy which was not effective.
Her main symptoms were stiffness with pain in neck and upper back, and the pain radiation to front head, and then severe migraine in front of the head. Her headache was once a day and started regularly at about 2:00AM and lasting until about 12:00PM. During migraine headache period, she had dizziness, nausea and vomiting, imbalance of body, and accompanied with light sensitivity in her eyes, with her headache getting worse with light. She also had pain with stiffness in her shoulder and arms, tight sensation and ache in her face. She had fatigue, weakness of body, feelings of exhaustion sometimes, stress and anxiety, and poor sleep due to pain. She had nasal congestion, white discharge and postnasal dropped, could not smell, difficulty breathing through the nose, and sometime congestion in the chest. Her neck pain and migraine usually worsen by stress, anxiety, allergies and sinus problem.
Examination showed tenderness and painful sensation at a slight touch or pressure as detailed below. There were painful sensations in her neck at the C2 to C7 at a slight touch, where she placed at 4-6/10 on pain levels. Slight touch to her head on front, sides and occipital was also painful, reported as 3-4/10 levels. Slight touch to her upper back at T1 to T5 was also painful, reported as 4-5/10. Slight touch to her face at cheek and corner of eyes was also painful, reported as 2-3/10. Slight touch to her shoulders on joints were also painful, reported as 4-5/10. Slight touch to her lower back on about L2 to S3 was also painful, reported as 1-3/10. The Ears Pressure Test showed that there was significant painful sensation to touch in the corresponding parts of her head, neck, waist, leg, shenmen and stomach. She described her level of pain in these areas as 6-7/10. Her neck stiffness worsen with rotation of her head and neck. Her tongue was medium sized, teeth mark on the end, and crease line in the center with pale red, a thin white color. Her pulse was thin, wiry and superficial in both lung position. She had a tire and depressed expression on her face.
Based on above information it was summarized that she had migraine headache and neck pain, and pain in the face, back and shoulders. She had stress, anxiety, and depression and sleep problem. She also had allergies and sinusitis. I name these syndromes together as “PEA” syndromes, which means Pain, Emotional and Allergies combined together. She had a mixed migraine headache, post traumatic headache and cervicogenic headache. The treatment was: step one, selection of auricular acupuncture with acupressure points such as head, neck, lower back, shenmen and stomach. She felt ear warm, relaxation, and nose open and better breathing, pain in neck, shoulders mildly improved in a few minutes after ear acupressure therapy. This action also to calm, relax and open up nasal congestion of allergies and sinusitis. It often is effective within a few minutes. Step two, using manual acupuncture with selection of acupuncture Taiyang, LI4 and ST36 for pain, stress, anxiety, sleep disorder and digestive problems. Acupuncture LI20, LI4, Yintang to help allergies and sinusitis. Step three, selection of electric acupuncture on the DU20, Yintang, RN12, 14 for 15 minutes, it is especially effective for stress, anxiety and poor sleep and help with pain. Step four, After 15 minutes, remove all needles, and then acupuncture on DU15, 14, 13, Huatuojiaji C6, 7, T1, which is especially effective for neck pain. Last step, after all the above, she felt her neck pain was much better but still felt stiffness and tightness on left side neck at around C6 to C7, so acupuncture was applied on Yaotongxue on hand meanwhile the patient was asked to bend, twist and rotate her neck, head and shoulders about 2 to 3 munities. After above procession she felt relaxation, nasal congestions improved a lot, pain in the neck, shoulder, and head also improved a lot. After one week, she called to report that she did not have neck pain and migraine headache since last treatment. She happily canceled her next appointment.
I often use this protocol for treatment for pain with muscle spasms, stiffness in difference local such as neck, back, chest, hip, knees, legs, ankles, heel, shoulders, arms and hands.
Reducing Your Dependence on Western Pharmaceutical Drugs through Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
Dependence on Western pharmaceuticals is a very common problem in the United States. Many patients with chronic diseases often have a multitude of concurrent health problems. Some of the more common ones are: pain, stress, anxiety, depression, anger, worry, poor sleep, fatigue, emotional problems, neurological disorders, digestive disorders accompanied by allergies, and cardiovascular disorders linked with hormonal imbalances. Patients with constellations of these disorders have often spent a great deal of time and money seeking treatment from biomedical physicians, undergone many rounds of tests and lab work, and have generally been put on western medications for years at a time, even over whole lifetimes, which has in many cases caused marked dependence on these Western pharmaceuticals.
Patients who have seen less than satisfactory results in either their symptoms or their lab test results are, reasonably, continuously looking for newer and more effective medications and treatments. Many patients who have been prescribed such a large number of pharmaceuticals over a number of years are understandably upset about the situation they find themselves in, but have difficulty stopping or reducing their dependence on these medications. However, acupuncture and Chinese medicine can provide a powerful alternative, one without the negative side effects. This approach is completely holistic and will not only benefit chronic diseases, but also reduce the need for Western pharmaceuticals. Since the 1950’s in China, we have treated diseases with a novel integrative approach to medicine that combines acupuncture, Chinese medicine and modern Western medicine. We have used acupuncture and Chinese medicine for reducing dependence on Western pharmaceutics, which has provided very effective clinical results, and enhanced the health and well-being of our patients.
After treatment with acupuncture and Chinese medicine, some patients with chronic diseases, including those who have taken medicines for a long time, have their conditions change, symptoms improve, and lab tests return to normal, to such a great extent that they can stop taking virtually all Western medications. Common conditions for which patients are able to stop taking Western pharmaceuticals after a course of acupuncture and Chinese medicine include pain, allergies, acid reflux, menopause, hypothyroidism, hormone replace therapy, stress, anxiety, and depression.
In some cases, it is not possible to stop taking all Western pharmaceuticals for particular conditions, but very often it is possible to significantly reduce the number of medications that a patient is on with the help of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Often, patients who are being treated with acupuncture and Chinese medicine experience improvement in both their symptoms and the results of lab tests, such that they can significantly reduce their dependence on Western medications. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be very beneficial in treating pain – this is particularly noteworthy, because pain tends to exacerbate the experience of emotional disturbances like stress, anxiety, depression, anger, worry, poor sleep, and fatigue.
By treating the pain, and reducing the medications that are prescribed to manage it, these other emotional symptoms can likewise be positively affected. In a similar way, digestive disorders are often correlated with allergies, and cardiovascular disorders are often associated with hormonal imbalances and neurological problems – by treating one aspect of the imbalance with acupuncture and Chinese medicine, the associated disorders are positively impacted.
As noted previously, for patients who are prescribed medications with significant side effects, they often find themselves seeking or being prescribed other medications to control the new symptoms and health problems that arise as an effect of the original medications. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be used to control these side effects, or even to substitute for Western medicines in some cases to reduce side effects, in order to help patients continue what may be necessary courses of Western biomedical treatment.
There are many cases in which patients suffering from certain diseases do see positive results from Western medical treatments, but have difficulty continuing treatments because of the powerful side effects. For diseases like Parkinson’s syndrome, and the well-known detrimental effects of chemo-therapy or radiotherapy for cancer, acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help to ease the side effects of medications, allowing the course of treatment to continue.
When using acupuncture and Chinese medicine to reduce dependence on Western medications, this reduction should be performed step by step in order to prevent withdrawal syndromes that can be induced by abruptly stopping these pharmaceutical treatments. Extensive clinical research and experience – ongoing in China, the United States, and Europe – powerfully suggests that there are no negative side effects, and no dependence, from the use of acupuncture and Chinese medicine.
Hormonal imbalance affects the health and quality of life of many people. It is not uncommon for many, if not most, people to experience some difficulties with hormonal imbalance throughout life. Hormonal imbalance is not a problem isolated to women, as both men and women commonly experience hormonal imbalances. The signs and symptoms may vary, but hormonal imbalances may occur at any age.
Common signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance may include fatigue, craving for sweets or carbohydrates, weight gain or weight loss, puffiness or edema, hot or cold flashes, night sweats, feeling depressed or overwhelmed, mood swings or irritability, insomnia or restless sleep, headache, vertigo, fuzzy thinking, digestive issues, joint pain and stiffness, anxiety, depression, heart palpitation, breast pain, urinary dysfunction, hair loss, dry skin, PMS, irregular periods, ovarian failure, uterine bleeding, vaginal dryness or vaginal discharge, fibroids, low libido, sexual dysfunction, impotence, prostate problems, infertility.
It is possible that people with these symptoms will not show hormonal imbalances in standard blood tests. This does not necessarily mean that these people have normally balanced hormone levels. Clinical observation has shown that these people may still have a potential for hormonal imbalance, and without proper diagnosis and treatment these people are at risk of developing “real hormonal balance problems”.
Hormonal replacement therapy is a very common treatment, and helps many patients with aspects of the above signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Unfortunately, these therapies are not without possible side effects, and may have to be used long-term to remain effective. Because of the powerful action of hormones in the body, there is a wide array of side effects that may take place. These side effects may vary depending on the particular hormonal treatment used. Common problems of side effects due to hormonal replacement treatment include: hot flashes, bone and joint problems, uterine bleeding, and vaginal dryness and discharge.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs have a long history of treating the signs and symptoms of “hormonal imbalance”. For treatment of the above signs and symptoms, a physician trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine can make use of single herbs such as Dang Gui (Angelica), Shan Yao (Chinese yam), Rou Gui (Cinnamon) and Gou Qi (Chinese wolfberry). Even lay-people in China are familiar with Dang Gui (Angelica) as a common herbal treatment for irregular periods, PMS, infertility and menopause. In addition to single herbs, there are many effective formulas to treat patients presenting with signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance. For example Jin Gui Shen Qi Wan (Kidney Qi Pill from the Golden Cabinet) was made two thousand five hundred yeas ago and is still used today. Well-defined acupuncture protocols have also been developed throughout the history of Chinese medicine to address hormonal imbalance, and are regularly used in association with herbal treatments.
Chinese herbs and acupuncture have stood the “test of time”, and are proven to be safe and effective for “hormonal imbalance”. In clinical observation, herbal formulas are more effective then single herbs. The herbal formulas for “hormonal imbalance” are made for the specific needs of each patient and modified as needed, as having a correct clinical diagnosis is vital for ensuring that the best formula for your individual needs is selected.
Polymyositis Back Pain
Patient has been using corticosteroid medicines for long-term after diagnosed with polymyositis. These has many side effects after long-time use; moreover in some cases, it is difficult to control the symptoms of polymyostis even with the medicine. The treatment of polymyositis involves the acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine which can help improve the patient’s conditions, and help them staying on a low dose of corticosteroid medicine without any side effects. We had a successful case using acupuncture combined with Chinese herbs to help a patient diagnosed with polymyositis. He had been using corticosteroid medicines for 2 years but still had severe back pain and was in very poor conditions, as described below.
A 70 year old man came into office seeking help for his polymyositis with back pain. He had been taking corticosteroid medicines for 2 years. His main symptoms were severe pain in his middle, lower back and hips, which accompanied stiffness in muscle in his neck, shoulders and legs. It was very difficult to bend his back and there were some movement limitations in his lower back. These conditions worsen when walking and improved when laying down for relaxation. He did not have any pain in his limbs or had any skin problems. He needed to use a cane or a walker to walk slowly, he could not straighten his back due to pain and it was difficult to get up bed. He had a weakness in the limb muscles, his body was thin, lost 5lbs during past 2 years, most of the times he felt fatigued and his sense of balance was off. His appetite decreased and could not taste foods, constantly feeling full, and always belching and gassy. He had constipation with difficult bowel movements once every 1 or 2 days. He frequently urinates with up to 3 to 4 times a night. He had a history of hypertension and had been taking medicines for 10 years.
Examination showed tenderness and painful sensation with a slight touch or pressure as detailed below. There were painful sensations in his middle to lower back at the L10 to S1 at a slight touch, which he placed at 4-6/10. Slight touch to his hips was also painful, reported as 3-4/10. The Ears Pressure Test showed that there was significant painful sensation to touch in the corresponding parts of his head, neck, waist, leg, shenmen, stomach and rectum – he described his level of pain in these areas as 5-7/10. His tongue was medium sized, teeth mark on the end, a pale white color. His pulse was thin, weak and wiry. He had a thin body, sallow skin with dark spots on his face. There was muscles atrophy with weakness in his limbs.
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, his diagnosis was qi deficiency in Kidney and Spleen and blood stasis in his conditions. The treatment principle was to strengthen the Spleen, tonify Kidney Qi, invigorate the blood and dispel stasis to stop pain. The acupuncture points included DU2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, DU20, Hautuojiaji-T10, 11, 12, L1, 2, 3, 4, 5, S1, 2, LI4, ST36, SP6, UB54 and UB 57. Acupuncture was administered for 15 minutes once a week. The ear points included head, neck, back and shenmen, among others.
The Chinese herbal formula included herbs such as Huang Qi, Dang Shen, Bai Zhu, Dang Gui, Chuan Xiong, Bai Shao, Huang Jing, Shu Di Huang, Gan Cao and Rou Gui. This was prescribed as a 50g herbal powder Rx for one week, to be taken orally three times a day, 2g per dose, mixed with 2-3 oz. of warm water.
After one week with one session of acupuncture treatment, he reported that his back pain improved. After five weeks with five session of acupuncture treatments, his back pain was gone, and his other conditions improved a lot such as fatigue, constipation, frequentation of urination, his appetite was normal and could taste food, and back movement was much better. He could walk normally and did not need to use a cane or a walker. Then he asked Chinese herbs for 6 months when he went up north. Follow up, he visited the clinic with his wife to refill his Chinese herbs with acupuncture treatment once or twice a year. His wife said “your medicines helped him”. five years after his first treatment, he was still pain free and kept up normal daily activities with his Chinese herbal medicine while on a low dosage of corticosteroid medicine.
Case No. 1:
A 68-year-old female was admitted to the clinic for help with a sixteen year history of scleroderma accompanied by Raynaud’s syndrome (disease). She was suffering from hardening and tightness of the limbs, face and abdomen; coldness, and a purplish color of the four limbs. The symptoms worsened when the weather became cold, and dermatological damage showed on the tips of her fingers. Recently she has experienced increased coldness, a purplish coloration, hardening and tightness of the hands, wrists, fingers and feet – symptoms which get worse when the weather starts getting cold. She has also suffered from painful sensations on the hands and fingers, but lowered sensation on the tips of fingers; ulcers on the tips of fingers which often appear and disappear from time to time; necrosis that appeared on the tips of her right middle, small and ring fingers 12 years ago, and which broke the bone on the tip of her right middle finger 6 years ago. She also has stiffness and limited motion of the joints of the hands and fingers. She feels hardening and tightness of the face, and her movement of her mouth and chewing has been slightly restricted. She always feels fatigued, along with a coldness of the body, and has poor sleep, stress, and depression. These conditions get worse when it is cold. Her appetite is moderate, with occasional dryness of the mouth and tongue. She moves her bowels once daily.
Examination showed thinness of the body, dry skin, and paleness of the face and a fixed facial expression; purplish coloration of the hands, fingers and feet; white coloration with ulcers on the tips of fingers; necrosis on the tips of her right small and ring fingers; a damaged and broken bone on the tip of right middle finger; and finger flexion that is slightly limited. She has painful sensations to slight touch on local area of fingers, decreased sensation to touch in local area of the fingertips. There was tightness and coldness of the face, abdomen, arms, hands and feet with touch or pressure. Her tongue body presented as thin and atrophied, with a pale red color, with a thin white tongue coating. Her pulse was weak and deep, with a pulse rate of 72. Her BP was 120/80mmHP. (See the attachment of figures).
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine standards, her diagnosis is yang qi deficiency with cold of the meridians and blood stasis. The treatment principle is to warm yang and dispel cold, tonify qi and move blood stasis, and relieve pain. The treatment points included Ren4, 6, 10, 12, SP6, ST36, LI4, DU20 and Yin Tang. These were applied once a week for acupuncture treatment. The Chinese herbal formula selected for the case is a modified form of Dang Gui Si Ni San and Yang He Tang. The treatment calls for 50g powder of an herb Rx for one week, to be taken orally 3 times a day, 2g per time maximum, with about 2/3 cup of warm water. The herbs included are: Dang Shen, Huang Qi, Dang Gui, Chuan Xiong, Shu Di Huang, Bai Shao, Gan Jiang, Rou Gui, Da Zao, Gan Cao, Bai Jie Zi, Fang Fang, Xian Mao. The treatment for follow-up visits modified some points of the acupuncture protocol, and herbs in the herbal formula, according to progression of the patient.
Result: After 3 months of treatment her condition was improved as indicated by symptoms of the body and signs on the limbs and face. Most symptoms were improved, such as coldness of the body, cold and pain of the fingers, hardness of the face, abdomen and upper limbs. Color of the limbs went from purplish back to to normal, and weather did not have as much of an effect on the limbs. White on the fingers became fresh and red, ulcers and necrosis on the tips of fingers were resolved, sensation on the tips was improved but slightly painful when touched. The patient’s condition was improved and fingers’ flexion limitation decreased.
During subsequent followup, the treatment plan was changed to once every two weeks, and then later to once a month, continuing acupuncture and refilling Chinese herbal formulas. At the sixth month of treatment the patient had healed sufficiently to discontinue regular visits. One and a half years after the termination of treatment, the patient reported no return of symptoms on the localized areas of the limbs, and only occasional coldness of the limbs when the weather changed.
Case No. 2:
A 19-year-old female was admitted to the clinic for help with a two year history of scleroderma accompanied by Raynaud’s syndrome (disease). She had a chief complaint of hardening and tightness of the limbs, face and abdomen; coldness, purplish coloration of the four limbs, ulcers on the fingers. The symptoms got worse when the weather became cold. The patient presented with feeling a hardening of the arms, hands, lower abdomen and legs. The skin had become atrophied and thin on the arms and lower legs, and there was a stiffness and tightness of the face, with the movement of the mouth and chewing becoming slightly restricted. The patient also presented with coldness and a purplish hue of the hands, wrists, fingers, legs and feet – all symptoms that got worse when it was getting cold. She experienced painful sensations on the tips of fingers,
ulcers on the tips of fingers, elbow and ears – symptoms which often disappear and re-appear again. She also has slight stiffness and limited motion of the finger joints. She was fatigued, had an aversion to cold, poor sleep, stress and depression. Her appetite was normal, with a bowel movement once daily. Her first period appeared at 11 years of age, it came regularly once a month with dark blood and clots, a moderate amount of flow lasting 5 to 6 days, with 27 days for each cycle. There was slight pain of the lower abdomen during the first day of the period cycle.
Examination showed thinness of the body, dark color of the skin, paleness of the face, and a slightly fixed facial expression; purplish coloration of the arms, hands, fingers, legs and feet; whiteness with ulcers on the tips of fingers; fingers flexion that was slightly limited. She reported painful sensations to slight touch in local area of the finger tips. There was thinness of the arms and lower legs, and tightness, hardness and coldness of the arms, hands, abdomen and legs when touched or pressure was applied. Her tongue body presented with a thin pale color, with a thin and white tongue coating. Her pulse was weak and deep, and the pulse rate was 78. Her BP was 110/75 mmHP.
By Traditional Chinese Medicine standards, her diagnosis is yang qi deficiency with cold in the meridians and blood stasis. The treatment principle is to warm yang and dispel cold, tonify qi and move blood stasis. The treatment points included Ren4, 6, 10, 12, SP6, ST25, 29, 36, 44, LI4, SJ6, SI3, DU20, Yin tang. These were applied once a week during acupuncture treatment. Cupping on the lower abdomen was also performed once a week following the acupuncture treatment. The Chinese herbal formula selected for the case is a modified form of Dang Gui Si Ni San and Yang He Tang. The treatment calls for 50g powder of an herb Rx for one week, to be taken orally 3 times a day, 2g per time maximum, with about 2/3 cup of warm water. The herbs included are Dang Shen, Huang Qi, Dang Gui, Shu Di Huang, Bai Shao, Gan Jiang, Rou Gui, E Zhu, San Leng, Gan Cao, Bai Jie Zi, Fang Fang, Xian Mao. The treatment for follow-up visits modified some points of the acupuncture protocol, and herbs in the herbal formula, according to progression of the patient.
Result: After a month of treatment her condition was improved, including symptoms and signs present on the limbs, face and abdomen. Her pain pain was also relieved, and the coldness and purplish discoloration of the limbs was improved. After two months of treatment, most symptoms were improved, especially the skin hardening of the abdomen and lower limbs which gradually became soft. After four months of treatment, the skin hardening of the arms gradually became soft. The author has treated a total of five cases scleroderma and four cases accompanied by Raynaud’s syndrome (disease) from 2/2007 to 12/2010. Most of the symptoms of all patients improved with acupuncture and herbal formulas. Their different conditions improved after treatment lasting from one to six months. From clinical experience it has been found that acupuncture in combination with Chinese herbal formulas are effective to treat scleroderma and Raynaud’s syndrome, but these treatments are likely take an extended length of time to effect lasting results.
For this question, I always say that it may be difficult to see any benefits because we don’t have any information from past literature in acupuncture and Chinese medicine for treating sleep apnea. Sleep apnea usually is diagnosed by western medicine according to main symptoms such as pauses in breathing or shallow breaths when sleeping. Beside the above symptoms, however, sleep apnea commonly are accompanied by loud snoring, abrupt awakening, morning headache and nasal congestion, and so on. In reality, there are many informations in acupuncture and Chinese medicine for treating “loud snoring” in past literature. Those may be able to help us find some clues for the treatment of sleep apnea with acupuncture and Chinese medicine. In acupuncture and Chinese medicine literatures, the “loud snoring” describe a symptom which is very similar to the sleep apnea’s conditions. It is commonly caused by a blockage in the airway, usually related to throat, and involves the lung and nose by Chinese medicine theory. There are a lot of information in past Chinese medicines literature that has shown that acupuncture can benefit the symptoms involving sleep apnea’s conditions such as loud snoring, nasal congestion and pauses in breathing or shallow breathes. At this, I changed my mind about the treatment of sleep apnea with acupuncture as I garnered more experience.
In acupuncture clinic, I found that there are many patients with symptoms such as nasal congestion, difficulty with nasal breathing and loud snoring, they also have multiple diagnosis with both sleep apnea and allergies. Moreover, we observed that symptoms of sleep apnea such as pauses in breathing or shallow breathes got help following allergies conditions improved by acupuncture.
Once I had a patient who came into clinic to seek help for his allergies with nasal congestion as a main problem in 2004. After 3 sessions of acupuncture treatment, he reported that his nasal congestion improved, his breathing was much better, as was his sleep apnea symptoms and he didn’t need to use CAPA machine. After that, I have had patients who came in seeking help with their allergies or other problems and acupuncture ended up helping with their sleep apnea symptoms.
On March 2015, a 67 year old man came into office wanting help for the edema and numbness in his legs due to side effect of the chemotherapy. At the same time, he wanted to try acupuncture to help his sleep apnea with nasal congestion, mild difficulty with breathing and medium snoring. He had been using CAPA machine for 10 years. He felt that his nasal congestion had improved and breathing was better after 5 minutes with auricular acu-point pressing and much better after the first session with acupuncture combined with electric –acupuncture. During the second visit, his nasal congestion and breathing still improved, his wife reported his loud snoring improved too, and he had not had to use CAPA machine for a few nights. After 5 sessions of the acupuncture, the edema and numbness in his legs were gone, and his sleep apnea symptoms were much better. After 5 months he came back again and wanted help with his other problems, while he reported that his sleep apnea had improved without CAPA machine for about 3 month after acupuncture, he occasionally used CAPA machine in recent month.
On May 2015, I got a phone call from a 39 year old man who had a question on whether acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine could benefit his sleep apnea. He was diagnosed as sleep apnea and has been using CAPA machine for 5 years. The CAPA machine had helped in the first 3 years but had stopped helping in the last 2 years. After asking him a few questions about his conditions on the phone, I knew that acupuncture might help his conditions based on the knowledge of Chinese medicine, clinic observe and experience. After consultation, I found that he had symptoms on the nose, mouth, throat and lung such as nasal congestion, loud snoring, abrupt awakening, can’t breathe by nose, pauses in breathing or shallow breathes, whizzing and chest congestion, dryness of mouth and throat; he had painful sensation in his whole body, which includes daily headache, pain in neck, upper, middle and lower back, hips and limbs; he also has emotional problems such as stress, anxiety, depression, over thinking, abrupt awakening, fatigue most times, etc. He has a history of above conditions from teenage and has lasted for 20 years. After examination with 5 minutes of the auricular acu-point pressing, he felt that his nose opened and could breathe better via the nose, he felt much better about his conditions after first session with acupuncture combine electric –acupuncture. After one week, he came back for second treatment and reported that his symptoms had improved in the sleep apnea, pain and stress, anxiety and poor sleep, and did not use the CAPA machine in first two nights. After 6 weeks when he came back for third session of acupuncture, he reported that most of his conditions were much improved without CAPA machine for about 5 weeks, he started to use the CAPA machine again in the 6th week.
Clinic observes suggest that acupuncture could benefit sleep apnea symptoms, even if there was no formal treatment. There could be better results if given regular and formal treatment such as once or twice a week for one or two course, and so on.
Common thyroid disorders include hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroiditis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, subacute thyroiditis, chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, and goiter.
Hypothyroidism is a very common chronic health problem for women in the United States. Thyroid disorders often cause a cluster of health problems simultaneously, and often interfere with the autoimmune, cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, and musculoskeletal systems. The effects on these systems can be accompanied by stress, anxiety, depression, and other emotional problems.
Thyroid disorders come from not only an overproduction (hyperthyroidism) but also underproduction (hypothyroidism) of thyroid hormones as indicated by clinical symptoms, lab tests, and pathology. Hyperthyroidism is commonly treated with anti-thyroid medication, and hypothyroidism is commonly treated with hormone replacement therapy, though surgery is a possibility for both conditions in some cases.
Anti-thyroid therapy for hyperthyroidism can potentially be a long-term therapy, lasting at least 2 to 3 years, and in some patients symptoms can return even after conditions seem to have improved, and therapeutic interventions have stopped. Anti-thyroid medications can easily cause digestive problems such as nausea at the onset of using the medicine. Other potential side effects include allergies, severe injuries to the liver, lowered white blood cell counts, and overall diminished immune function after long term use. Additionally, anti-thyroid or surgical therapy for hyperthyroidism can easily cause hypothyroidism in some patients, especially for patients with thyroiditis and subacute thyroiditis.
Hormone replacement therapy for hypothyroidism can prove to be a long-term, even life-long, therapy, which can easily cause side effects. Most patients who undergo this therapy may go years without notable relief from their symptoms, with lab tests showing only partial, even minuscule, improvement in their condition.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been traditionally and successfully employed in China to treat thyroid disorders, with substantial evidence of their effectiveness. These modalities have been used to treat goiter for over 1,500 years, hyperthyroidism since the 1930’s, and hypothyroidism since the 1960’s. The combination of acupuncture and Chinese medicine with Western medicine has been used for thyroid disorders since 1970’s. The research taken from a number of clinical studies suggests that acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be a part of very effective treatments for both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
Clinical research conducted in China on the combination of acupuncture and Chinese medicine with Western medicine for hyperthyroidism concluded that treatments of hyperthyroidism with acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been successful, though the course of treatment provides for a relatively slower process when compared to Western treatment. However, the results gained by the utilization of acupuncture and Chinese medicine do not lose their effectiveness, and have no recurring symptoms, after stopping treatment. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have few, if any, side effects, and can even reduce the occurrence of side effects of Western medicines. These therapies have been shown to be effective and successful for patients who have thyroiditis, subacute thyroiditis and hypothyroidism caused by over use of anti-thyroid medicines.
Similar clinical research in China on hypothyroidism reported that treatments of hypothyroidism with acupuncture and Chinese medicine compare favorably with Western treatments, showing more long-term positive outcomes, and usually showing benefits within a matter of months for most patients. In our clinical experience, the patient generally experiences symptom relief first, followed by improvements on lab results after four to six months. As with all acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments, there are few, if any, side effects, and these therapies can help to reduce the occurrence of the side effects from Western medicines. After successfully undergoing acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments for hypothyroidism, there does not tend to be any recurrence of symptoms once the treatments are stopped. Finally, after successful treatment with acupuncture and Chinese medicine and a subsequent change in their condition, most patients who have taken hypothyroid medications long-term can stop taking them, without seeing a return of symptoms or signs of problems in lab test results.
At the October 28, 2008, a -56- year-old woman came to my office for seeking acupuncture and Chinese medicine to help her hypothyroidism conditions. She was complaining of hypothyroidism with fatigue, weakness and exhaust of the body, depression for 20 years.
She was diagnosed with hypothyroidism for twenty years. Her blood test was 25.5mIU/L after she taken prescribe medicine six years. She still has been taking Synthroid and Xanax when she first visit my office. At her first visit, she had fatigue, felt weakness of her whole body, and always exhaust. She couldn’t work or do any household jobs and she needs a friend to help driving her came to my office due to she felt weakness of whole body. She suffered from poor sleep night, easily to wake up 4 to5 times a night and difficultly to go back sleep. She had stress, anxiety, nervousness, depression, overthinking and worry too much, hyperactivity of her mind, and her emotional changes. Her appetite was normal, she had no acid reflux but experienced occasional gas and belching. She had once bowel movement a day. Her urination was also normal. Her period ended five years ago. She doesn’t have cold in body or hot flash, sometime mild sweating only.
She was high and loud voice, and speaking was very fast. She was thin of body, had dry skin and slim and depression facial complexion. Her tongue body was thin and small with a pale red color and teeth marks on the edges and a thin, white tongue coating. Her pulse was thin, weak and wiry; pulse rate was 70; her BP was 110/80mmHg. Her face, arms, hands and legs were warm to the touch, but cold in ankles and feet to the touch. Ears Pressure Test to points corresponding to the head, neck, back, leg and shenmen generated significant pain at a level of 6-8/10. Her blood test showed the TSH 25.51mIU/L at 07/18/2008.
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, her conditions were due to yang qi deficiency in spleen and kidney, with shen disorders. The treatment principle was to warm yang and tonify spleen and kidney, and clams shen. Acupuncture included electric acupuncture of points in DU20, Yintang, Anmian; the manual acupuncture points included SP6, ST36, LI4 and KI3. These were applied 15 minutes once a week. Auricular (ear) points included head, lower back and shenmen, among others.
The Chinese herbal formula for her conditions included herbs: Huang Qi, Dang Shen, Bai Zhu, Shan Yao, Yin Yang Huo, Ba Ji Tian, Xian Mao, Gui Zhi, Dang Gui, Chuan Xiong, Zhi Gao Cao and Da Zao. It was 50g power of an herb Rx for one week, to be taken orally 3 times a day, 2g per dose, and mixed with about 2 to 3 oz warm water within half hour before and after meals.
The treatment during follow up visits modified some points of the acupuncture protocol, and herbs in the Chinese herbal formula, according to patient’s progression.
Result: after one week when she second visited and reported that she didn’t feel change of her conditions but her husband and daughter said that they felt she had some change and better than before. I felt she had sometime change because her speaking voice was lower and speaking slow and more peaceful compare her first visit. At third visiting, she reported her condition appeared change, her fatigue and weakness of body is improved. Fourth visit, she reported her stress, anxiety and depression was much improved and her sleep was better than before. Her TSH decreased to 21.20mIU/L at 01/15/2009 after acupuncture and Chinese herbal formula. Furthermore, her TSH was 7.017mIU/L at 03/05/2009 after treatment with acupuncture and Chinese herbal formula. She stopped all medicines prescribed by her Doctor after acupuncture and Chinese herbal formula. Furthermore, she didn’t have hypothyroidism symptoms and her blood test result in normal range after stopping treatment of acupuncture and Chinese herbal formula for 3 years when she came back visited for her gall bladder problems at 04/12/2012, and now she could work for a fulltime job.
I used acupuncture to help a patient who was diagnosed with hypothyroidism’s heart disease and had taken medicines for 20 years. She had most of the symptoms of hypothyroidism with TSH in normal range, and also was diagnosed atrial fibrillation with heart palpitation, and unregulated pulse beat and headache. It was reported below.
At the December 22, 2013, a -70- year-old woman came to my office for seeking acupuncture and Chinese medicine to help her hypothyroidism conditions. She was complaining of hypothyroidism’s symptoms with anxiety and fatigue for 30 years, pain in the neck and back for 10 years, heart palpitation for 7 years, and pressure sensation in the left head and ear with headache for 3 months.
She was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and had been taking medicine for twenty years, her blood test showed that normal level in the T3, T4 and TSH after taken medicine. She had a history of arrhythmia with atrial fibrillation for 7 years and was diagnosed hypothyroidism’s heart, and had been taking medicines. She also was diagnosed with hypertension for 1 year and had been taking medicine. She had still taken medicines such as Synthroid, Lexapro, Losartan and Cardizem when she first visited.
At her first visit, she had stress, anxiety, depression, and sometimes felt panic attacks in the morning, worry too much, overthinking and hyperactivity of the mind. She had fatigue, felt weakness of her body and sometimes exhaustion and coldness sensation of her body. She had poor sleep in night and easily to wake up and difficult to go back to sleep again. She always suffered from pressure sensation in the left head, ear, face and neck and chest and she had ear ring. She had migraine headache most times and sometimes severe headache on left side, neck pain, upper back pain, shoulders pain, lower back pain and hips pain. She had heart palpitation and sometimes felt heart beat fast with short breathing and stiffness sensation on her left chest, and she had dizziness. She had nasal congestion and sometimes white discharge and postnasal dropped. Her appetite was normal, she didn’t have acid reflux or heart burning sensation. She had once bowel movement a day. Her urination was normal.
She is thin of body, has dry skin and slim and depression facial complexion. Her tongue body was thin and small with a pale red color and teeth marks on the edges and a thin, white tongue coating. Her pulse was thin, weak, and irregular and vibration, her pulse rate was 90, and her BP was 120/80mmHg.
Further examination showed tenderness and painful sensation with a slight touch or pressure as detailed below. There was obvious pain on her head, neck, back and hips. She qualified the pain as 6-7/10 in her left head and face, and 3-4/10 in her right head and face. There were painful sensation in her neck, shoulder and upper back with at 4-5 /10. There were painful sensations in her lower back at the L3 to S1, and hips with a slight touch, which she placed at 4-5/10. The Ears Pressure Test showed that there was significant painful sensation to touch in the corresponding parts of her face, head, neck, chest, waist, leg, shenmen, stomach and rectum. She described her level of pain with these areas as 8-9/10 at left side and 5 to7/10 at right side of her ears.
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, her conditions were due to yang deficiency in spleen and kidney, qi and blood stagnation, with shen disorders. The treatment principle was to warm yang and tonify spleen and kidney, invigorate the blood and dispel stasis to stop pain and calms shen. Acupuncture included electric acupuncture of points in DU20, Yintang, RN12, 14; the manual acupuncture points included ST36, 25, SP6, UB10, 11, 13, 15, SI11, GB20, 21, LI4, 14, 15. These were applied 15 minutes once a week. Auricular (ear) points included head, neck, waist, leg and Shenmen, among others. Cupping on her upper and lower back that from DU14 to 10, UB11 to 15, and DU2 to5, UB22 to28.
After process of her first treatment, she felt nasal congestion was opened and breathe was better, pain in body and headache was improved, and felt calms. Her heart palpitation improved after one session of acupuncture treatment, her pulse beat was normal after three acupuncture sessions. At May 29, 2014 when her sixth visit, reported that she stopped her prescribe medicines besides hypothyroidism medicine by her Doctor. Sometimes she comes back to visit for other problems but was free of atrial fibrillation symptoms for three years on May, 2017.
I have got a phone call from a man in New York for his health problem. His question was whether acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can benefit subacute thyroiditis, because he has been diagnosed as subacute thyroiditis and has been taking medicines for three weeks. He has a history of goiter pain, fever, sore throat, and high level of T3 and T4. His fever was controlled and goiter pain was somewhat improved after taking medicines for two weeks. Now he fears for that his medicines maybe result in hypothyroidism from his medicines for hyperthyroidism, and he wants know how to prevent recurrence of the subacute thyroiditis.
I suggested to him that he could use acupuncture and Chinese herbal formula combined with his medicines, because acupuncture and Chinese herb medicine has certain advantages in treatment of the subacute thyroiditis fallowing the clinic research in China and my personal practicing experience. It was shown that acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatment of subacute thyroiditis can effectively relieve pain in patients with goiter, and avoid the side effects of hormone therapy in some people taking medicines, and can be effective in preventing recurrence of the conditions of the subacute thyroiditis.
Following up my experience, using only acupuncture and Chinese herbal formula can help subacute thyroiditis with mild to medium conditions, they benefit the subacute thyroiditis with sever condition or with side effects of medicines such as weight problems and/or low of the T3, T4 after taking medicines.
A 60 year old female came to the clinic for help with ulcerative colitis, accompanied by diarrhea and blood in the stool. Her primary request was to attempt to reduce her use of medications. She had suffered from ulcerative colitis with diarrhea and blood in the stool for about 10 years. She presented with diarrhea or soft stool, and bowel movements three to four times a day. She also had bleeding with dark or fresh blood in the stool every two to three weeks to a month, for which she often visited the ER in order to stop the bleeding. She reported always feeling fatigued with coldness of the body, poor sleep and abdominal pain, with occasional fullness of the abdomen. She reported feelings of stress and depression. Her condition tended to be worse when there was bleeding or blood in the stool. She had undergone blood tests that showed a sed rate of 63 by modified westergren (Reference Range < or= 30mm/h) on 3/19/2008. She was diagnosed by her western medical doctor as having ulcerative colitis. She had been taking medications for about 10 years, such as Cnolazal, Entocort EC, Rowasa Enema and Azathiorine, none of which can control diarrhea and/or blood in the stool. Examination showed that abdominal pain got worse with hand pressure on the upper and lower abdomen, dry skin that was pale and shallow on the face, and distinct thinness of the body. Her tongue presented a dark color and was dry, with teeth marks on the tongue body, with a thin white tongue coating. Her pulse was weak and deep, and her BP was 120/80mmHP. Her weight was 103 lbs.
By Traditional Chinese Medicine standards, her diagnosis is spleen yang deficiency with Qi unable to control blood in the middle abdomen. The treatment principle is to strengthen the spleen, warm spleen yang, tonify spleen Qi, and stop bleeding.
The treatment points included Ren4, 6, 10, 12, SP6, 12, ST36, 25, LI4, DU20. These were applied once a week for acupuncture treatment. The Chinese herbal formula selected for this case is modified from Li Zhong Tang. It is 50g powder of an herb Rx for one week, to be taken orally 3 times a day, 2g per time maximum, with about 2cc warm water. The herbs included Dang Shen, Huang Qi, Gan Jiang, Bai Zhu, Sha Yao, Fu Ling, Da Huang, Ce Bai Ye, San Qi, Mai Ya, Shen Qu and Chen Pi.
The treatment for subsequent visits modified some points of acupuncture protocol and herbs in the herbal formula according to the patient’s progression. After nine weeks of treatment, her condition was improved with regard to the diarrhea and abdominal pain, and the frequency of blood in the stool reduced from 3-4 times a month to 1-2 times a month. The majority of her other symptoms were also improved. After sixteen weeks of treatment, the blood in the stool stopped, bowel movements occurred once a day, and her weight increased to 108 Ibs.
The patient continued to visit once a week to once every two weeks for acupuncture treatments and to refill her Chinese herbal formula. It was reported that blood tests showed the sed rate of 26 by modified westergren (Reference Range < or= 30mm/h) on 9/19/2008. She started to reduce and eventually stop the use of Western medicines in consult with her Western doctor. Her weight increased to 113lbs. In subsequent visits her tongue presented a pale red color, moist with a thin white coating, and her pulse was thin.
A fifteen year-old girl was referred by her mother to my clinic for treatment of her uterine bleeding that had been ongoing for six weeks. Her first menstruation was at age eleven and had come regularly every month, with small volume of purple blood containing clots, with menstruation lasting four to five days per cycle, with twenty-six day cycles, generally accompanied by slight lower abdominal pain. One week before her last menstruation she had just returned from traveling for two weeks out of the United States (in June of 2013). Three days after menstruation, her uterine bleeding started with light volume, red blood with slight clots, and had persisted for six weeks. Her uterine bleeding would start and stop as spotting, and often last one to two
days, with one to three days in between without bleeding. She was fatigued and had difficulty sleeping, sometimes waking up at night and failing to get back to sleep. Her mouth was dry, but she did not have much of a desire to drink. Her appetite and urination were normal, with one bowel movement a day. She was thin, with a pale red facial color. She did not have pain in the abdomen, back, neck, or other symptoms. Her tongue body was small and pale red, with a thin, white coating. Her pulse was thready and weak. The Ears Pressure Test revealed significant painful sensation on the locations corresponding to the brain, endocrine, neck, waist, leg, and shenmen, all with a pain level of 5-6/10.
Based on Traditional Chinese medicine, her condition was due to Qi and yin deficiency in Spleen and Heart, misregulation of Blood and Qi, and shen disorders. The treatment used was to tonify Qi and yin in Spleen and Heart, regulate Qi and Blood, calm the shen, and stop bleeding. The Chinese herbal formula included Dang Shen, Huang Qi, Bai Zhu, Shan Yao, Dang Gui, Sheng Di Huang, Zi Cao, Mu Dan Pi, Mai Men Dong, Xian He Cao, Qian Cao and Han Lain Cao. This was given as a 50g herbal powder Rx for one week, to be taken orally three times a day, 2g per dose, mixed with 2 to 3 oz. of warm water.
After two weeks of treatment, she reported improved energy and sleep, but the uterine bleeding persisted. The Chinese herbal formula was modified according to her condition to regulate Qi and invigorate Blood to stop bleeding. The herbs included Dang Shen, Huang Qi, Dang Gui, Chuan Xiong, Tao Ren, Pu Huang, San Qi, Chi Shao Yao, Yi Mu Cao and Xian He Cao. This was given as a 50g herbal powder Rx for one week, to be taken orally three times a day, 2g per dose, mixed with 2 to 3 oz. of warm water. After one week, she reported that the uterine bleeding was no longer visible. After four weeks of continuous treatment with the same Chinese herbal formula, her menstruation appeared for three days with a small volume and dark blood. Subsequently, the treatment during follow up visits prescribed a modified Gui Pi Tang for two months, according to her progression. One and a half years after her last visit, her mother reported that her daughter’s menstruation was still regular.
A nineteen year-old female was referred by her mother for help with uterine bleeding during her cycle beyond normal menstruation. During episodes of intermenstrual bleeding she had a small volume of vaginal bleeding, for two to three days over a period of fourteen months. Her first menstruation occurred at twelve years old, has come regularly once a month, generally with a small volume of purple blood and clots, with five to six days of bleeding per cycle, in twenty-five day cycles. She had no dysmenorrhea or other associated symptoms. Her latest menstruation ended one week before her first visit. She experienced lassitude, fatigue and occasional poor sleep. Her appetite and urination were normal, but she had dry stool with one bowel movement a day. She did not have back aches or headaches. Examination showed that her face was pale with slight acne that worsened three to four days prior to menstruation, and improved after menstruation. Her tongue body was medium size, pale red with a thin, white coating. Her pulse was
thready and weak in the proximal position. The Ears Pressure Test revealed significant pain from slight touch on the locations corresponding to the brain, endocrine, neck, waist, leg, and shenmen, that she reported as a pain level of 5-6/10. She had no tenderness or pain from slight touch to the head, neck, lower back or lower limbs.
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, her condition was due to yin deficiency and Blood heat, disorders of Blood and Qi. The treatment used was to tonify yin, clear heat, cool Blood, regulate the Qi and invigorate Blood to stop bleeding. Acupuncture points included ST36, PC6, LI4, 11, SP6, 10, RN6, DU20, Yintang and LV2. Acupuncture was administered for 15 minutes each week. The Ear points included brain, endocrine, shenmen, uterus, among others. The Chinese herbal formula included Sheng Di Huang, Chi Shao Yao, Xuan Shen, Mu Dan Pi, Huang Qin, Ce Bai Ye, Zi Cao, Han Lian Cao, Xuan He Cao and Zi Cao. This was prescribed as a 50g herbal powder Rx for one week, to be taken orally three times a day, 2g per dose, mixed with 2 to 3 oz. warm
After four weeks of treatment, she reported the acne improved, but she still had intermenstrual bleeding. The acupuncture points were the same treatment plan. The Chinese herbal formula was modified to strengthen the regulation of Qi and invigorate Blood to stop bleeding. The herbs included Huang Qi, Dang Shen, Dang Gui, Chuan Xiong, Tao Ren, Pu Huang, San qi, San Leng, E Zhu, Qian Cao, Yan Hu Suo, Xian He Cao and Yi Mu Cao. This was prescribed as a 50g herbal powder Rx for one week, to be taken orally three times a day, 2g per dose, mixed with 2-3 oz. warm water. After three weeks on the regimen, she reported that there was no sign of the intermenstrual bleeding, and after two months treatment, it did not recur. She asked that she be provided with a prepared Chinese herbal formula for two months. Following up two years later, the intermenstrual bleeding had not recurred.
In July 2014, a thirty-nine year-old female visited my clinic for acupuncture and Chinese herbs to treat her uterine fibroids, heavy bleeding, and abdominal pain. She suffered from heavy bleeding and abdominal pain during menstruation for two months. She was diagnosed with uterine fibroids, one measuring about 7cm and another one about 3.5cm. She was engaged in hormone replacement therapy to lessen the heavy bleeding and abdominal pain, but the symptoms did not noticeably improve. She was waiting to schedule for surgery. She had recently been suffering from lower abdominal pain, especially pain on the right side of abdomen, that worsened during menstruation. She had heavy uterine bleeding with bright red blood at the beginning of menstruation, and dark color with clots at the end of menstruation. Her first menstruation appeared at age eleven, had come monthly, with five
days of menstruation per cycle, with twenty-four days for each cycle. Her last menstruation ended in 6/14/2014. She also experienced fatigue, body weakness, stress, with occasional poor sleep and headaches. Her appetite was normal, with one bowel movement per day, and her urination and libido were normal. She felt coldness in her limbs and sometimes had a backache.
Examination showed she had a thin body, sallow skin with dark spots on her face. Her tongue was pale red with teeth marks on the edges with a thin, white tongue coating. Her pulse was weak and wiry. There was pain on even slight touch to her lower abdomen – she reported the pain level on right side as 6-7/10, and the pain level on the left side as 2-3/10. Slight touch to her upper back was also painful, reported as 3-4/10. Slight touch to her lower back
was painful as well, with the pain level reported as 4-5/10. The Ear Pressure Test brought significant pain with pressure on the corresponding parts of the brain, neck, waist and sacral, and shenmen – she reported the pain level here at 6-7/10 in the right ear, and 4-5/10 in left.
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, her diagnosis was Spleen Qi deficiency with Qi unable to control Blood in the middle abdomen, and Blood stasis with painful menstruation. The treatment principle was to strengthen the Spleen, tonify Spleen Qi, invigorate the Blood and dispel stasis to stop bleeding. The acupuncture points included ST25, 27, and 36, SP6, 9, RN6, 10, Zigongxue, UB54 and 57, GB30, DU3, 4, 20, Yintang, Huatuojiaji, S3, 4. Acupuncture was administered for 15 minutes once a week. The ear points included brain, endocrine, uterine and shenmen, among others. The Chinese herbal formula was a modification of Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang and Tao Hong Si Wu Tang. The herbs included Huang Qi, Dang Shen, Bai Zhu, Shan Yao, Ce Bai Ye, Dang Gui, Chuan Xiong, Tao Ren, Chi Shao Yao, Pu Huang, Yi Mu Cao and San Qi. This was prescribed as a 50g herbal powder Rx for one week, to be taken orally
three times a day, 2g per dose, mixed with 2-3 oz. of warm water.
After one week of treatment, she reported that abdominal pain improved within one day of her first visit. After four weeks of treatment, her abdominal pain improved during menstruation, the volume of blood was significantly reduced. After two months of treatment, she no longer experienced abdominal pain during menstruation with normal bleeding. She changed her treatment schedule to once every two weeks for maintenance with acupuncture treatment and Chinese Herbal formula for three months. As of November 2014 she had also decided to go ahead with surgery for the uterine fibroids.
A 28-year-old woman came to my clinic for help with abnormal uterine bleeding that had been ongoing for three months. She had been pregnant three times, and the first and second pregnancies led to normal births, but the third pregnancy resulted in miscarriage at about 14 weeks. Subsequently, three months after the miscarriage, she began to experience uterine bleeding, and was diagnosed with retained placenta in uterus. Curettage surgery was recommended, but she did not agree to it, because it could lead to difficulty conceiving again. She hoped to find a different way to deal with her condition so that she could remain fertile. Her uterine bleeding was irregular, lasting from one to three days, then skipping one to three days, at which point she would then bleed again for three months. The bleeding was black blood with clots, and a small volume of odorless blood, though she had no other vaginal discharge. Along with the uterine bleeding, she also experienced abdominal pain, and occasionally back pain. However, her abdominal pain decreased
during the time period of her bleeding, which ruled out clots as the cause of the abdominal pain. Other symptoms that she experienced included anxiety, stress, depression, a sense of being prone to anger, poor interrupted sleep, and intermittent hot flashes with sweating. She also experienced lassitude, headache, nasal congestion and a runny nose. She had a stiff neck and upper back with intermittent shoulder pain. Her appetite was normal with one bowel movement a day, and normal urination. Examination revealed her tongue body was medium size, pale red with a thin, white tongue coating. Her pulse was floating and stringy. Slight touch to tender areas of the neck was painful, with a severity that she described as 4-5/10. Slight touch to the lower back was also painful, with a severity of 4-5/10. Slight touch on the forehead was painful, a severity of 5-6/10. Slight touch to the abdomen was painful, described as a severity of the pain level was 3-4/10. The Ears Pressure Test revealed significant pain in areas corresponding to the endocrine,
brain, neck, chest, waist, leg, shenmen and uterus, with an average severity of 6-7/10.
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, her conditions were major Blood stagnation, minor Spleen Qi deficiency and shen disorders. The treatment plan was to invigorate and transform Blood, tonify Spleen Qi to stop uterine bleeding, and calm shen to help her anxiety. Electric acupuncture points included DU20, Yintang, RN12, 14; manual acupuncture points included ST36, 27, 25, SP6, LV3, LI4, 11, RN4, and RN6, among others. Acupuncture was administered 15 minutes once a week. The ear points included points corresponding to the brain, waist, leg, stomach, intestines and uterus. The Chinese herbal formula contained E Zhu, San Leng, Dang Gui, Pu Huang, Yi Mu Cao, Chi Shao Yao, Tao Ren, Jiang Huang, Wan Bu Liu Xing, Huang Qi, Dang Shen, Sheng Jiang, and Gui Zhi. The formula was a 50g herbal powder prescription for one week, to be taken orally three times a day, 2g per dose, mixed with about 2-3 oz. of warm water.
She was advised that she would have pain in her lower abdomen after treatment which would indicate retained placenta in her uterus would discharge soon, and that when she felt this pain, she should go to the ER or gynecological clinic for help. After one week of treatment, she reported that her uterine bleeding stopped. Two days after her second treatment her husband called at about 10:30 pm to report she had severe pain in her lower abdomen, pubic bone and vaginal area, which suggested she must immediately go to the ER for help. The second day at 11:00 am her husband called to announce the retained placenta in the uterus which was about 2×2 inches was removed and pain disappeared. After one week, she came back to my clinic for help restarting menstruation. The treatment was changed to tonify Qi and Blood, invigorate Blood with a Chinese herbal formula and acupuncture until she menstruated normally for two months. She was advised to wait a year to improve her condition before becoming pregnant again.