Acupuncture is one of the best-known alternative health care systems, and at our clinic we use it for many of our patients. It was developed in ancient China and is based upon the concept of a natural vital force that flows through the body called chi (or qi). Needles are inserted into specific points to relieve pain and balance the flow of energy throughout the body. Although many people know about acupuncture in a general sense, they often do not grasp how and why it works.
Dietary regulation combined with a good multi-vitamin/mineral combination is a very effective way to strengthen the adrenal system. It is important to keep potassium stores high and sodium levels low to restore adrenal function, so be sure to eat a variety of potassium-rich foods like carrots, potatoes, bananas, tomatoes, apples, peaches, oranges, flounder and salmon.
A weakened immune system can alter the function of the central nervous system through the neuroendocrine immunomodulation network. Animal studies show that decreases in immune function can lead to decreases in learning ability. In one study, researchers concluded that the improvement of immune function is closely related to the amelioration of age-associated deterioration of learning and memory. Through the simple use of aged garlic extract, the scientists were able to restore learning ability, perhaps because garlic increases blood perfusion to the organs (Zhang et. al, 1998).
Chronic allergy is a hypersensitivity caused by exposure to an allergen resulting in a marked increase in immune system reactivity upon subsequent exposure. A patient once told me that since she arrived on US soil, it seemed to her everyone in America had chronic allergy problems, while no one did in her home country of Korea. This simple observation is simply an acknowledgement of the massive increase of allergens we now are forced to cope with in our industrial society. Allergy symptoms can range from a simple rash to life-threatening anaphylactic shock, requiring emergency treatment. In addition, allergy is often (very often) a contributing factor to numerous other disease processes.
According to TAM and TCM theories, dementias result from multi-systemic decline and brain destruction due to aging, and thus can be prevented or slowed by maintaining overall health and using tonics. Consequently, our preventive and treatment goals are the reduction of oxidative damage, reduction of cellular toxins and inflammation, and improvement of cerebral circulation and oxygen and glucose transport.
Love is our primary positive emotion, and anxiety, depression and anger are our primary negative emotions. To understand the distinction between them, it helps to recall the two branches of the autonomic nervous system. The sympathetic system is the fight-or-flight system, and it kicks in during emergency situations. Symptoms include rapid heartbeat or heart palpitations, muscle tension, constriction of the throat, cold hands, and rapid shifting of thoughts and emotions (Thomas, 1977). This nervous defense system correlates closely with either functional anger (fight) or fear (flight). When these physical manifestations appear in response to real danger or a bona fide emergency, we classify them as the fight-or flight response, an intelligent short-term response.
Asthma is a chronic lung condition characterized by airway obstruction, spasm and hyper-responsiveness in the bronchial tubes, or inflammation and swelling in the lining tissue. It is often an advanced stage of allergies, and currently is increasing in prevalence and severity. This disease can be life threatening, and must be managed by an allergist to avoid crisis and to handle emergencies. During asthma attacks, patients have severe dyspnea due to bronchial spasms, and hypersecretion of mucus, leading to air passageway obstruction. These attacks can be true emergencies, and lead to death. For this reason, asthma should only be treated by a qualified expert, and having an allergist to monitor, prescribe and take care of emergencies is essential.
Attention deficit disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are clinical names for symptoms typically related to problems with attention. These conditions appear most frequently in school-age children, although they can affect people at any age. People suffering from these disorders seem incapable of coping with school, work, or life in general, and they are constantly distracted, moody and sometimes aggressive. The most common psychiatric children’s disorders are ADHD, anxiety disorders, depression, substance-use disorders, and conduct disorder (Cassidy and Jellinek 1998). In one sense ADD/ADHD is plain, old-fashioned nervousness and excitability.
The eye was created by the Fire Element. The eye captures within itself the Fire of the universe, allowing perception of the constant and ever-changing flux of colors and shapes of objects. Any radiation of heat or light, whether originating from the sun or from an electric filament belongs to the Fire Element. Because it captures Fire and heat, the physical structure of the eye requires immersing the cornea, lens and retina in the cooling liquid aqueous and vitreous humors. This is the Ayurvedic explanation as to why the eye is so adversely affected by excess heat.
An examination of the story behind the early historical use of these plants offers us valuable lessons concerning the destructive effects of human attitudes and actions on precious plants. According to Dr. Mana, "Among the six hundred Ayurvedic herbs that have been thoroughly tested and analyzed, Ayurvedic physicians used about fifty plants specifically for “immortal life” (longevity), and the rest for medicinal purposes. Ancient scholars believed that, when used properly, these plants could extend survival for long periods of time.
The most useful method is to combine herbs that relieve spasm, restore flexibility, increase circulation and reduce inflammation. A good combination might include carthamus flower, myrrh gum, prickly ash bark, turmeric root, boswellia gum and lobelia herb. TCM doctors also use tu huo root (Angelica pubescens), lu lu tong fruit (Liquidambar taiwaniana), eucommia bark (du zhong or E. ulmoides), and loranthus branches (sang ji sheng or Viscum album). When a patient with low back pain experiences degenerative changes due to osteoarthritis, treat according to the guidelines provided in our discussion of osteoarthritis.
The respiratory system consists of the lungs and the associated organs and tissues which surround them. The lungs themselves are tender and spongy, divided into five lobes. They rest on the diaphragm, the thick muscle-like organ that divides the upper chest from the lower digestive organs. Air travels from the mouth and nose into the pharynx and trachea, then down into the bronchial tubes into the lungs. TCM doctors believe that the lungs also absorb Qi (vital force) from the air. This Qi rides into the body on the air, like wetness rides on water.
Experts estimate that BPS affects 50-60% of men between 40 and 59 years of age in the United States, resulting in a projected annual overall cost of hospital care and surgery of over one billion dollars per year. Neglect of prostate inflammation and swelling can lead to a rise in prostatic specific antigen (PSA), which in turn may indicate an early stage of prostate cancer.
All herbal traditions put a great emphasis on the crucial processes of regulating and improving blood circulation. Many destructive changes to the heart, liver and all other tissues can be avoided if we keep the blood healthy. Some herbalists have gone so far as to say that if the blood is clean and healthy there will be little or no disease. There are several herbal approaches to blood circulation that can be applied to treat a large number of health disorders.
To heal bruises quickly, use 1-3 grams of tien chi root twice per day. This even helps speed up healing from surgical wounds or traumatic injury. If you tend to bruise easily, increase your intake of fruits rich in bioflavonoids and Vitamin C.
In 1987, Dr. Mana completed a five year personal research project resulting in the publication of his book, The Ayurvedic Records of Cancer Treatment (Bajracharya, 1987). According to Dr. Mana, "It is not well known that much research work concerning the proper treatment of cancer has been recorded in different Ayurvedic texts, (and) I hope that the Ayurvedic knowledge of cancer treatment presented in this book will be a new alternative guideline for modern medical scholars who are really serious about research of cancer treatment."
Written records of the Chinese experience with cancer treatment date back to the time of the Yellow Emperor's Inner Classic (Huang di nei jing), 2nd century BC. This ancient book addresses symptoms similar to those of esophogeal, uterine and bone cancer. 1,800 years ago Dr. Zhang Zhong Jing described treatments for disease processes similar to cancers in his Prescriptions from the Golden Cabinet (Jin Kui Yao Lue), as did Dr. Sun Si Miao in One Thousand Golden Formulas (Qian jin yao fang).
I first heard about the work of the Dr. Eli Jones while listening to a lecture by David Winston, one of the few living herbalists who is fully trained in the Eclectic medicine traditions. Dr. Jones treated thousands of cancer patients at the end of the last century, and was so respected in the field that members of opposing schools of medicine would go to him if they themselves developed cancer. Beginning in 1894 he began giving post-graduate instruction in cancer therapy to physicians from all parts of the country.
Fighting cancer with natural medicines means to (1) strengthen immune function with diet, lifestyle changes (including mind-body methods) and nutrients (2) support your doctors chemotherapy, surgical or radiation protocols when used (3) weaken or interfere with tumor growth, (4) prevent metastasis and (5) eliminate the cancer completely. Methods used are general and cell type specific, and are broken down into categories for easier understanding of purpose and rationale.
Once cancer develops it is very difficult to treat, as the cancer cells take on lives of their own. Currently, prevention is our best defense. Therefore, it is extremely important to follow the myriad of preventive health practices known to foster prevention.