Archive

Archive for the ‘General TCM’ Category

Dec
30

    A  survey was recently conducted in Hong Kong on the cancer patients’attitudes towards Chinese medicine treatment. Methods Cancer patients from three Chinese medicine clinics and one oncology clinic were interviewed with a structured questionnaire.

    Results Of a total of 786 participants included in the study, 42.9% used Western medicine only; 57.1% used at least one form of Chinese medicine; 5 participants used Chinese medicine only; and 56.5% used Chinese medicine before/during/after Western medicine treatment. Commonly used Western medicine and Chinese medicine treatments included chemotherapy (63.7%), radiotherapy (62.0%), surgery (57.6%), Chinese herbal medicine (53.9%) and Chinese dietary therapy (9.5%).

    Participants receiving chemotherapy used Chinese medicine (63.3%) more than those receiving any other Western medicine treatments. Spearman correlation coefficients showed that the selection of Chinese medicine was associated with the cancer type (rs=-1.36; P<0.001), stage (rs=0.178; P<0.001), duration (rs=-0.074; P=0.037), whether receiving chemotherapy (rs=0.165; P<0.001) and palliative therapy (rs=0.087; P=0.015).

    Nearly two-thirds of the participants (N=274) did not tell their physicians about using Chinese medicine. Over two-thirds of all participants (68.2%) believed that integrated Chinese and Western medicine was effective.Conclusion Chinese medicine is commonly used among Hong Kong cancer patients.

    The interviewed cancer patients in Hong Kong considered integrative Chinese and Western medicine is an effective cancer treatment.
Source: Chinese Medicine 2009, 4:25

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Dec
29

DeKosky and colleagues reported in the Dec. 23/30 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association that the hot-selling herbal supplement ginkgo biloba doesn’t slow age-related mental decline.

    The six-year clinical study has already shown that ginkgo does not prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly.

Ginkgo-Biloba Challenged

    Now study leader Steven T. DeKosky, MD, and colleagues have sifted through the data to look for some sign that ginkgo might slow mental decline in healthy, aging individuals — or, perhaps, in those already showing the first signs of cognitive impairment.

    No such sign was found.

    “Compared with placebo, the use of Ginkgo biloba, 120 mg twice daily, did not result in less cognitive decline in older adults with normal cognition or with mild cognitive impairment,” the researchers conclude.

    The problem wasn’t potency. The study used the standardized ginkgo extract from Schwabe Pharmaceuticals that is regulated and sold as a medication in Germany.

    And the problem wasn’t rigorous testing. Twice a year, the 72- to 96-year-old study participants received a battery of tests that measured various aspects of mental function, including memory, attention, visuospatial abilities, language, and executive function.

    Regardless of which mental function was measured, the tests show gingko doesn’t help slow cognitive decline.

    The findings echo those of a 2009 Cochrane Review of ginkgo studies that identified no cognitive benefit from the supplement.

    The Council for Responsible Nutrition, a group representing the supplement industry, suggests that the DeKosky study “should not be viewed as the final work” on ginkgo.

    In a written statement, Douglas MacKay, ND, CRN vice president for scientific and regulatory affairs, notes that cognitive decline has many causes and that neither ginkgo nor any other single treatment is a magic bullet.

    “As a former practicing licensed naturopathic doctor, I have had the benefit of working with patients and have seen first-hand how Ginkgo biloba can be effective in improving cognitive function,” MacKay says. “I would continue to recommend Ginkgo biloba to older adults as a safe, effective option for supporting cognitive health and would encourage consumers to talk to their own healthcare professional about what is right for them.”

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Nov
05

Some TCM prescription that may prevent swine flu:

Prescription 1 :
Applying to physical sturdy or over-alcohol crowd, it is consisted of:
Puerarin 15 grams, Radix scutellariae 10 grams, Wrinkled Gianthyssop Herb 10 grams, Raw Wheat seed 10 grams, Raw liquorice 5 grams. Efficacy: removing heat and dampness, relief evil through surface.

Prescription 2:
Applying to physical weakness or spontaneous sweat or getting cold easily crowd, it is consisted of:
Radix astragali 20 grams, Radix sileris 10 grams, Atractylis ovata 10 grams, Honeysuckle flower 10 grams, Raw licorice 5 grams. Efficacy: cleaning and supplement, preventing cold and wind, encouraging Qi, resisting exogenous pathogenic factor.

Prescription 3 :
12 grams of mulberry leaves, chrysanthemum 12 grams, 10 grams of almonds north, leaves 12 grams, 15 grams Puerarin, Health Adlay 15 grams, 15 grams of root, Platycodon 12 grams, 12 grams Phillyrin, Folium 15 grams, silver spent 12 grams, 6 grams licorice, those Chinese herbs mentioned above should be washed and they are soaked in water; 15 minutes should be taken to boil with Wu fire. The recipe taste better. Sugar should not be put in them when taking it.

Prescription 4:
The National Chinese medicine Administrative bureau issued Chinese medicine Prevention Plan of A/ H1N1 Flu. Chinese medicine Prevention Plan of A /H1N1 Flu prescribe traditional Chinese medicine formula on how to prevent flu for different group of the population:

Formula is 10 grams radix pseudostellariae, 6 grams folium perillae, 10 grams radices scutellariae, 10 grams fructus arctii to crowds of fragility and easy affection of exotenous wind-cold.

The formula is 5 grams herba taching, 5 grams Lithospermum officinale L., 5 grams crude liquorice to crowds of red complexion, oral pharynx and sometimes nose dry.

The formula is 10 grams folium perillae, 10 grams herba eupatorii and 10 grams pericarpium citri reticulatae to crowds of dark complexion and sometimes abdominal distension.

The formula is 6 grams ageratum, 6 grams folium perillae, 10 grams FLOS LONICERAE and 10 grams crude hawkthorn to children of easy excessive internal heat and putrid sour breath.

The above decoction for oral use is 1 dose every day which decocted by clear water with once in the morning and evening. 3-5 doses are advisable.

Chinese Herbal Remedy For H1N1 Flu, Treat A Flu With Chinese Herbs, Chinese Herbs Against H1N1 Flu

The outbreak speed of H1N1 flu (swine flu) is fast and nobody would predict precisely to what extent this H1N1 flu (swine flu) will affect human being’s life. In China some hospitals have adopted the traditional Chinese herbal medication to treat this disease and received expected good result. To share this information with all who are concerned with affection of H1N1 flu (swine flu), we present the prescription of Chinese herbal medicine here that was released online by Guangdong Provincial Chinese Herbal Medicine Hospital. This information is purely for your reference and we hold no responsibility for its actual result. The final decision will be made by your local doctor.

Some other flu-related natural prescriptions:
Prescription for symptom of sore throat and heat:
金银花 (Flos Lonicerae / jin yin hua) 15g
连翘 (Weeping Forsythia / lian qiao) 15g
薄荷 (Peppermint / bo he) 10g and the last element to be boiled
荆芥穗 (Spica Schizonepetae / jing jie sui) 10g
牛蒡子 (Greater Burdock / niu pang zi) 15g
桔梗 (Platycodon Root / jie geng) 10g
芦根 (Reed Rhizome / lu geng) 15g
生甘草 (Licorice Roots Northwest Origin / sheng gan cao) 5g

Prescription for symptom of heavy cough:
桑叶 (Mulberry Leaf / sang ye) 15g
菊花 (Florists Chrysanthemum / ju hua) 15g
薄荷 (Peppermint / bo he) 10g and is the last element to be boiled
连翘 (Weeping Forsythia / lian qiao) 15g
芦根 (Reed Rhizome / lu geng) 15g
桔梗 (Platycodon Root / jie geng) 10g
杏仁 (Bitter Apricot Kerne / xing ren) 10g
生甘草 (Licorice Roots Northwest Origin / sheng gan cao) 5g

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Nov
05

Children suffering A(H1N1) influenza could benefit from taking Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Beijing traditional Chinese medicine bureau said.

Tu Zhitao, vice-director of the bureau, claimed that children sickened with the flu should be cured within three days.

“Some children will be cured with only one dose (of No 2 Cold Medicine), while others might need two,” Tu said.
As the number of H1N1 sufferers reached 6,196 in Beijing as of Monday, 20 traditional Chinese medicine hospitals opened 24-hour anti-H1N1 departments.

Tamiflu and Relenza are the two approved antiviral drugs that are available for treatment of H1N1. The World Health Organization recommends that all patients (including pregnant women) and all age groups (including young children and infants) should be treated with Tamiflu in the event of severe or deteriorating illness.

The WHO said it was not familiar with the TCM recommended for children and could not comment.

A woman who didn’t provide her name and was in charge of the health policy division of the bureau, told METRO: “This medicine is very effective. Our director’s son has tried it.”

“Western medicines might harm the stomachs of children. Chinese medicine does not have this side effect. This No 2 cold medicine is an upgrade of former anti-flu medicine,” she added.

Cui Xianyu, director of the Korean International School in Beijing said: “We haven’t heard about No 2 cold medicine but we have faith in Chinese medicine.”

“About one month ago, we provided our students with some Chinese medicine to protect them from H1N1 following a requirement from the municipal education commission. They didn’t suffer from any side effects but we did have to close the school for a week after some students were infected,” Cui said.

An employee of the pediatrics department in Xiyuan Hospital at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences said it would open a special anti-H1N1 department today.

The woman, who also did not want to be named, told METRO: “We haven’t received many patients these days. The No 2 cold medicine is basically the same as the ordinary anti-flu Chinese medicine. You can buy it for around 6 yuan.”

Professor Zhai Huaqiang from the School of Chinese Pharmacy at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine believed Chinese medicine might be a cure for H1N1, but it isn’t suitable for everyone.

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Nov
05

Sales of a traditional Chinese medicine against swine flu, which its producer says is especially effective for children, have been launched in China, a local newspaper said on Tuesday.

The China Daily quoted the deputy head of the Beijing traditional Chinese medicine bureau as saying that children with the flu should be cured with “No 2 Cold Medicine” within three days.

“Some children will be cured with only one dose, while others might need two,” Tu Zhitao said.

The World Health Organization said it was not familiar with the traditional Chinese medicine recommended for children and could not comment, the paper said.

Tamiflu and Relenza are so far the only two approved antiviral drugs that are available for treatment of the H1N1 virus.

As the number of H1N1 cases reached 6,196 in Beijing as of Monday, 20 traditional Chinese medical hospitals opened 24-hour anti-H1N1 departments, the paper said.

An unidentified bureau official said the traditional Chinese medicine is very effective and does not harm the stomach, unlike western medicines. “Chinese medicine does not have this side effect. This No 2 cold medicine is an upgrade of former anti-flu medicines,” the paper quoted her as saying.

Other experts said the medicine is basically the same as an ordinary Chinese anti-flu drug.

Nearly 50,000 confirmed swine flu cases have been reported in China. Seven people have died of the disease and 118 are in critical condition.

China was the first country to complete tests of a swine flu vaccine and started the vaccination campaign in September. The country plans to produce up to 360 million doses of the vaccine, and is set to allocate a total of $725 million on efforts to curb the disease.

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Oct
30

Some terminologies for alternative health:

Acupuncture: Traditional Chinese medicine that uses the placement of needles at specific points of the body to balance the flow of “qi,” or life energy, which Western doctors believe is actually the body’s electrical pathways. The treatments promote relaxation and relieve stress, pain and symptoms caused by a wide array of diseases, from the common cold to AIDS. An estimated 3.1 million American adults and 150,000 children used acupuncture in 2006.

Aromatherapy: A branch of herbal medicine that uses the essential oils extracted from plants and herbs to treat conditions ranging from infections and skin disorders to immune deficiencies and stress. Practitioners believe that the scents of the oils can calm emotions and release stress. The therapy is widely used in Europe and is gaining ground in the United States.

Chiropractic medicine: Chiropractors perform adjustments to the spine in an attempt to correct alignment problems that typically accompany chronic conditions like lower back pain and to support the body’s natural ability to heal itself. About 8 percent of American adults and 3 percent of children, or 20 million Americans, used the therapy in 2006.

Herbal and dietary supplements: Natural supplements can be effective in preventing some diseases. Research is ongoing, but there is evidence that folic acid can prevent birth defects, calcium and Vitamin D can prevent bone loss, and zinc can slow the deterioration of vision. Around 17.7 million Americans in 2006 used natural products, including fish oil, Echinacea, flaxseed oil or pills, and ginseng.

Massage therapy: This ancient healing technique has been practiced in various forms around the world, including in India, China, Japan and Greece, where Hippocrates defined medicine as “the art of rubbing.” Today, massage therapy is used to treat sports injuries, reduce stress and pain, and to ease the symptoms of many diseases and the side effects of their treatments. About 18 million adults and 700,000 children used some sort of massage in 2006.

Meditation, tai chi and yoga: Western doctors are now realizing that the mind and the body are interconnected and that these diverse therapies can prevent falls, enhance balance and aid the body’s immune system. Meditation and other mind-body practices relieve the symptoms of many conditions, including headaches, hypertension and irritable bowel syndrome. About 20 million American adults and 725,000 children practiced some sort of meditation in 2006.

Reiki: A Japanese practice in which providers place their hands lightly on or just above the patient, with the goal of facilitating the patient’s own healing response. Used by people seeking relief from the symptoms and side effects of conventional medical treatment. About 1.2 million adults and 161,000 children tried the therapy in 2006.

SOURCES: The National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

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Oct
14

A number of traditional Chinese herbs may help control blood sugar levels in people at high risk of diabetes, a new research review suggests.

The review, which examined 16 clinical trials of 15 different herbal formulations, found that the herbs generally helped lower blood sugar levels in people with “pre-diabetes” — those with impaired blood-sugar control that can progress to full-blown type 2 diabetes.

When the researchers pooled data from eight of the studies, they found that adding an herbal remedy to lifestyle changes doubled the likelihood of participants’ blood sugar levels returning to normal.

What’s more, people using the remedies were two-thirds less likely to progress to diabetes during the studies, which ran for an average of nine months.

The findings appear in the Cochrane Library, which is published by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research.

The results, say the researchers, are “quite promising.” However, they also stress that the studies had shortcomings in their methods that make it hard to draw firm conclusions.

There are a lot of herbal medicine products on the shelves, but few have been subjected to a rigorous trial,” lead researcher Suzanne J. Grant, of the Center for Complementary Medicine Research at the University of Western Sydney, in Australia, told Reuters Health in an email.

Many of the trials her team examined, she explained, had a “high risk of bias” that can overestimate the effects of the treatments.

The gold standard for proving a treatment’s efficacy is a clinical trial where participants are randomly assigned to receive either the real treatment or a placebo, with both the researchers and participants unaware of who is taking the real drug.

Grant’s team found that those processes were often absent or not clearly detailed in the trials they reviewed.

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Oct
12

EVERYONE’S grandma knows about the health benefits of vinegar and it’s also a time-honored agent in TCM for everything from sore throat to athlete’s foot. Zhang Qian puckers up.
Vinegar is essential in Chinese cuisine to make dishes sour and tasty. Its many varieties are widely used salad dressings, mostly in the West.
And for thousands of years, vinegar has held a place in folk medicine worldwide and in traditional Chinese medicine.
Vinegar (cu) promotes warm energy (yang) and is noted as a disinfectant (it’s anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral), a detoxifier, digestive aid and treatment (internal and external) for inflammation.
It works especially well in autumn, according to TCM.
It promotes appetite, treats high blood pressure, improves the complexion, treats early stages of athlete’s foot (a fungal infection) and fights insomnia.
TCM classifies food into five tastes: sour, bitter, sweet, pungent and salty. Vinegar is sour, and sometimes bitter.
The vinegars used in TCM are primarily grain vinegars, such as rice, gaoliang (sorghum), barley or millet – made from rice and other alcohols.
TCM does not use glacial acetic acid, and it says nothing about apple cider vinegar, which is used worldwide for its health benefits.
Vinegar has been a part of Chinese people’s live for more than 2,000 years; its use is recorded as early as 8 BC. There were famous vinegar workshops in the Spring and Autumn Period (AD 770-467) and the Warring States Period (722-221 BC), and the seasoning became common in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220).
About 22 vinegar-making methods are collected in “Qi Min Yao Shu” (“Main Techniques for the Welfare of the People”), a book on agriculture by Jia Sixie in the Northern Wei Dynasty (AD 386-534).
The top four vinegars in China are xiangcu (fragrant vinegar) in Zhenjiang City of Zhejiang Province, lao chencu (mature vinegar) in Shanxi Province, hongqu micu (red yeast vinegar) in Fujian Province and baoning cu (bran vinegar) in Sichuan Province.
Zhenjiang fragrant vinegar is probably the most popular and well-known because of its taste.
Chinese people traditionally make vinegar from grains. Sticky rice and rice are widely used in the south while sorghum and millet are more often used in the north.
Bai cu (white vinegar) made from barley is widely used for external application (as on a wound) and in household cleaning.
During hot weather, Chinese would add vinegar to food to improve the appetite and fumigate rooms with vinegar to prevent infectious diseases.
Its uses include relieving diarrhea and jaundice when taken internally, relieving inflammation and stopping bleeding when used in external application.
It is recommended in cases of indigestion from too much greasy food, in cases of internal bleeding and sore throat.
Its many uses were recorded in the “Ben Cao Gang Mu” (“Compendium of Materia Medica”) by famed pharmacist Li Shizhen in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
Modern research confirms the many benefits of vinegar, which is rich in amino acids, vitamins and acetic acid, especially rice vinegars.
It has been found to improve digestion and appetite, and to have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, especially rice and apple cider vinegars.
It is said to be helpful in protecting the liver, expanding blood vessels, working as a diuretic and promoting metabolism of proteins and sugar. Apple cider vinegar is part of many weight-loss programs.
Vinegar can also serve as solvent for certain herbs. By soaking in vinegar, the undesirable side-effect of some herbs like yuan hua (daphne genkwa) and gan sui (euphorbia kansui) can be reduced. Vinegar can also strengthen the effect of herbs like wu wei zi (shizandra berry).

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Oct
10

Ironically, the Chinese have no historical experience with early-onset allergic asthma. Even in modern times, the incidence of atopic asthma in China is almost non-existent. The closest equivalent is “breathlessness” or “wheezing”. The causes of these diseases were either invasion of some external pathogen, diet, emotions, or some combination of strenuous or excessive lifestyle. None of these can really be attributed to young children and explain the high incidence of child-hood allergic asthma. This again suggests that some aspect of the Western lifestyle is a major factor in the cause.

Modern Chinese medical theory suggests that atopic asthma is originally caused by the deficiency in Kidney and Lung Qi as well as a . Specifically, it is in the deficiency of the defensive aspects of Kidney and Lung Qi. Along with the classic filtering functions, the Kidneys are responsible for growth and development, sexual function, and overall vitality and health of the body. Kidney Qi is also largely influenced by the overall health of the parents, which explains the possible familial connection of atopic asthma. The Lungs are important not only in air-exchange, but also play a large role in the body’s resistance to external disease. The strength of the immune system is largely determined by the health of the Lungs. In combination, both the Lungs and Kidneys are vitally important in both the cause and the eventual treatment of atopic asthma. When as asthma attack occurs, we see this as an attack of internal “Wind”. In TCM, the term “internal Wind” suggests some kind of spasm or contraction; in this case referring to the broncho-spasms common in asthma attacks.

In treating asthma with acupuncture, our goal is to both strengthen the defensive aspects of the Lungs and Kidneys as well as dispelling internal Wind. While this may seem like a monumental task, it is actually very simple using acupuncture. Acupuncture has a very powerful “regulatory” effect on the body and has been found to lower excessive levels of IgE and eosinophils that are responsible for the hyper-activity of the immune system during an asthma attack. Acupuncture is also very effective in controlling spasms (Wind) in the body whether they be in the form of tics, tremors, or even spasms. As a result, acupuncture can both address both the inflammatory as well as the broncho-spasm aspects of asthma.

Regardless of the type of asthma, acupuncture has proven incredibly effective in lowering the symptoms of even completely eliminating asthma in our patients. We get repeated updates from patients telling us they don’t have to use their medication anymore; how they can leave their inhaler at home during their morning run, or that their son or daughter can now play with other kids without fearing an asthma attack. Why is this asthma solution not more common? With its overwhelming evidence and virtually zero side-effects, it is a wonder why more asthma clinics and physicians do not offer this option to their patients. As the population of asthma suffers continues to rise, we will continue to be flooded with TV commercials for the latest asthma drugs. Instead of resigning yourself to a collection of medications, turn towards your local acupuncturist. Both your body and your pocketbook will be much healthier (and happier).

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Oct
05

By Dr. Marina Ponton

Sixty years ago, when China faced a health-care crisis fueled by too many people to treat, too little money and too few doctors to provide care, the Eastern Asian country embraced its past, turning to acupuncture and Oriental medicine for answers.
Between 1949 and 1978, the average life expectancy in China increased from 35 to 68 years. Today, Traditional Chinese Medicine is a major component of China’s health-care delivery system where doctors are trained in the traditional methods of acupuncture and massage, as well as the diagnostic and surgical techniques of Western medicine. Treatments such as acupuncture, herb therapy and massage therapy account for around 40 percent of all health care delivered in China.

I’m aware that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doesn’t match the scientific model of the U.S. health-care system, and that many view TCM as alternative “folk healing” that often is considered only after conventional treatment options have been exhausted. But with health-care costs in the U.S. continuing to escalate, more and more Americans are looking for alternative answers to their health-care needs, realizing that one-size-fits-all medicine isn’t working.

For three weeks this past June, I worked alongside health-care professionals at Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China’s Sichuan province. Founded in 1956, Chengdu University is among the oldest TCM universities in China, with a hospital that houses a 5,000-square-foot herbal pharmacy and seven floors of outpatient care. My time at Chengdu confirmed that a fully integrated health-care system that improves the quality of care while decreasing its cost is attainable and sustainable.

Traditional Chinese Medicine differs from Western medicine by emphasizing patient education and preventive care, and by teaching patients how to take personal responsibility for their own health and methods of treatment. Culturally, the Chinese are more aware of their health, with the average person in China entering a medical facility as a knowledgeable patient.

The basic premise of TCM is that a body in balance has a basic immunity to health issues. You truly are what you eat, think and breathe. You are the lifestyle you lead. That’s why overall, the Chinese are a healthier people. They are taught TCM techniques as children and practice them throughout their lives.

A great example is chronic childhood ear infections are non-existent in China. Children are given herbal formulas from day one, which prevent their development. Frankly, the idea of surgery to place tubes in a child’s ears or giving children antibiotics long term is considered primitive and uncivilized to Chinese doctors.

While there are people with difficult diseases in China, they tend to respond better to care. There are far fewer instances of death from cancer in China, and when a case is terminal, those patients tends to live longer and have a better quality of life in the final stages. While in China, I met several nine and 10-year survivors of pancreatic cancer.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has been providing an uninterrupted system of prevention and wellness worldwide for thousands of years. It makes primary health care more affordable because it provides effective treatments for chronic and acute conditions at a fraction of the cost of Western medicine. For example, Chinese women who are having surgeries and receiving chemo for breast cancer, at the same time, are getting IV drips of Chinese formulas to mitigate the side effects for nausea, dizziness and fatigue rather than taking another pharmaceutical drug.

The U.S. system of health care has handicapped doctors. It has created the current crisis of unmet needs, virtually no preventive care, and mounting costs that cannot be supported. Americans are forced to decide among the most expensive health-care services in the world, with most insurance plans offering no option to choose natural health modalities such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, diet modifications, and breathing and movement therapies.

I have many patients whose insurance will not cover their natural health treatments. However these treatments often lessen the need for pharmaceutical drugs or costly surgeries, and in some cases, eliminates it. Costs are offsetting and often reduced.

A bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would add acupuncture as a benefit covered under both Medicare and the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program. The Federal Acupuncture Coverage Act would be an excellent start to an integrated system of care that prevents and treats illness rather than symptoms and side effects.

The basic premise of TCM is that a body in balance has a basic immunity to health issues. You truly are what you eat, think and breathe. You are the lifestyle you lead. That’s why overall, the Chinese are a healthier people. They are taught TCM techniques as children and practice them throughout their lives.
A great example is chronic childhood ear infections are non-existent in China. Children are given herbal formulas from day one, which prevent their development. Frankly, the idea of surgery to place tubes in a child’s ears or giving children antibiotics long term is considered primitive and uncivilized to Chinese doctors.

While there are people with difficult diseases in China, they tend to respond better to care. There are far fewer instances of death from cancer in China, and when a case is terminal, those patients tends to live longer and have a better quality of life in the final stages. While in China, I met several nine and 10-year survivors of pancreatic cancer.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has been providing an uninterrupted system of prevention and wellness worldwide for thousands of years. It makes primary health care more affordable because it provides effective treatments for chronic and acute conditions at a fraction of the cost of Western medicine. For example, Chinese women who are having surgeries and receiving chemo for breast cancer, at the same time, are getting IV drips of Chinese formulas to mitigate the side effects for nausea, dizziness and fatigue rather than taking another pharmaceutical drug.

The U.S. system of health care has handicapped doctors. It has created the current crisis of unmet needs, virtually no preventive care, and mounting costs that cannot be supported. Americans are forced to decide among the most expensive health-care services in the world, with most insurance plans offering no option to choose natural health modalities such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, diet modifications, and breathing and movement therapies.

I have many patients whose insurance will not cover their natural health treatments. However these treatments often lessen the need for pharmaceutical drugs or costly surgeries, and in some cases, eliminates it. Costs are offsetting and often reduced.

A bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would add acupuncture as a benefit covered under both Medicare and the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program. The Federal Acupuncture Coverage Act would be an excellent start to an integrated system of care that prevents and treats illness rather than symptoms and side effects.

Dr. Marina Ponton is an acupuncture physician who has been in private practice since 1999. She opened Greenville Natural Health Center in Greenville in 2007. She can be reached at info@greenvillenaturalhealth.com.

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