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Posts Tagged ‘traditional chinese medicine’

Oct
15

ACUPUNCTURE EFFECTIVE FOR FIBROMYALGIA
Two studies have demonstrated benefit from acupuncture in the treatment of fibromyalgia. In the first, published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 21 patients completed the study. All received 16 treatments over eight weeks, alternating points on the back with points on the front of the body. The Fibromyalgia Impact Scores (twenty questions designed to assess how fibromyalgia affects physical and emotional functioning and quality of life) fell from a mean of 53.6 prior to treatment to 38.9 after the first month and to 30.5 at the end of the second month of treatment. (Effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of fibromyalgia. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 2006;12(2):34-41). In the second, a Mayo Clinic prospective, partially blinded, controlled, randomised clinical trial found acupuncture to be more effective than sham acupuncture in the treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms. Total fibromyalgia symptoms were significantly improved in the true acupuncture compared to the sham controls, with the greatest improvements in symptoms of fatigue and anxiety. (Mayo Clin Proc. 2006;81(6):749-757).

ACUPUNCTURE PASSES THE FIBROMYALGIA TEST
Fibromyalgia patients treated with six sessions of acupuncture experienced significant symptomatic improvement compared to a group given sham acupuncture. 50 patients with moderate to severe, recalcitrant fibromyalgia, for whom other symptom-relief treatments were ineffective, were randomly assigned to receive acupuncture or sham acupuncture (neither group knew which), administered in six sessions over two to three weeks. Patients receiving true acupuncture experienced significantly greater relief of pain, fatigue and anxiety than the sham acupuncture patients, with the greatest improvement showing one month after the end of treatment but reverting to baseline levels at a seven-month follow-up. (The International Association for the Study of Pain 11th World Congress on Pain, Sydney, Australia).

ACUPUNCTURE & FIBROMYALGIA
Fibromyalgia is a chronic painful musculoskeletal syndrome of unknown aetiology, characterised by generalised pains in the connective tissues of the body and specific area of knotted muscle fibre – called “trigger points” – which are especially painful. It is generally treated with a combination of analgesics and vigorous massage. A recent review of the literature on the treatment of fibromyalgia using acupuncture showed improvements in the myalgic index, in the number of trigger points, and in quality of life for the patients. (Current Pain Headache Report 2002;6(5):379-83)

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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
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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