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Traditional Chinese Medicine

Discussion in 'Alternative Therapies' started by RYO, Mar 19, 2015.

  1. RYO

    RYO Senior Member

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    I have read other posts about whether there is scientific merit to philosophical basis of TCM. I find these discussions somewhat circular and esoteric. I think it is important to understand the limitations of both Western and Eastern medicine. I certainly wouldn't seek out an acupuncturist if I knew I needed coronary bypass surgery or if I had an enlarging abdominal aneurysm.

    However, CFS/ME is the "invisible disease" where science seems to be just getting started in trying to explain the pathophysiology. Dr. Chia is an example of a western trained infectious disease physician who figured out the limitations of western medicine. He then turned to TCM to treat his son Andrew which let to the development of Equilabrant.

    However, there are difficulties in assuming that a set of Chinese herbs works / is effective for all patients with CFS/ME. First, I believe that there are subsets within the CFS/ME population with varing presentations, triggers, and abnormalities. In addition, we already know from western medicine that there is a genetic basis to how an individual responds to classes of medication, hence the push to "precision medicine".

    Personally, I have tried several treatments western and eastern with limited success. I think the general concepts toward considering a certain treatment is universal - first begin by undergoing thorough medical evaluation to rule out our diagnoses. Next try to research to potential risks of medication or chinese herb and obtain blood tests to monitor for adverse effect.

    I believe eastern medicine involves much more "art" and it tends to be practitioner dependent. As with any good clinician, it is reassuring to find someone who understands and respects the limitations of each field. Western medicine has plently antibiotics but very little to offer a patient with viral illness (ie Enterovirus D68, SARS, Chikungunya virus).

    I have used acupuncture on semi regular basis to help treat chronic muscle pains in my legs. I find my overall pain seems to worsen after taking traditional "pain medication". Equilabrant was helpful for fatigue and brain fog but I only achieved partial response. When you suffer a significant relapse after trying multiple treatments, it is truly frustrating.

    My local acupuncturist recommended Dr. Tian in Largo, FL (near Clearwater). He has a PhD and is highly regarded amongst his piers (trained at Beijing schools and hospitals). He also lectures at US medical schools on Acupuncture. I started new herbal regimen 3 weeks ago along with acupunture twice a week. He was the first TCM doctor that already new about Equiliabrant. I think the best gauge for someone with CFS/ME is how much physical / mental activity one can tolerate. There has definitely been an improvement (20%?). The treatment goals for TCM are very simple. Use herbs that may have antiviral effect. Also, "tonify"/strengthen your own immune system and overall condtion so that you can hopefully clear your illness yourself.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2015
    wintersky, GracieJ, ahmo and 2 others like this.
  2. melamine

    melamine Senior Member

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    Theoretical knowledge is more heavily valued in western medicine than ever it seems, but is of limited use to the individual except where their needs happen to intersect with it. It's not that there are not western practice doctors who strive to practice the art, but they're essentially working against their model. With either, it's the artists' skill that's most important. By the practice model of TCM as compared to western medicine one would expect a better result, however the model itself does not confer skill, as you indicate.
     
  3. GracieJ

    GracieJ Senior Member

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    I have long thought that an answer to my symptoms could be found in TCM, but in all my reading, research, and considering options, have come to the conclusion that it would take a highly skilled practitioner to apply TCM successfully. I get the same deer-in-the-headlights look from practitioners here as with anyone else.

    However... I have come across an article or two illustrating successful treatment of a condition very close to what I have, by Chinese doctors in China. The ICC describe my life quite well.

    TCM is something I wish I could pursue. It sounds like a correct application of those principles, both skill and art, would be highly beneficial.
     
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  4. Tammy

    Tammy Senior Member

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    I think TCM can be very successful with the right practitioner. Early in my illness I went to a Doctor of Oriental Medicine who was highly skilled..............really good at the art and I was starting to see some significant improvement..........I would say a 70% improvement. He unfortunately moved out of state and the DOM that took his place wasn't as skilled. He treated me.............but the improvements I had made ..............went down. My first DOM would treat me differently every week..........sometimes my body required tonifying acupuncture and herbs............other times he got rid of "Excess". He was very in tune with what my body needed or didn't need on a weekly basis. I really think I would be in a good place if I could have continued treatment with my original DOM.
     
  5. Aurator

    Aurator Senior Member

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    I'm more than a little sceptical about the efficacy of TCM in treating ME, not least because ME/CFS has not been documented or described in China with anything like the same thoroughness as it has in the West. I'm not sure many doctors in China (whether they are doctors of Western medicine or TCM) even recognise it as an illness.

    For the record, I have given TCM a fair chance to work for me, but the treatment I received for my ME symptoms was ineffectual, and it has to be said that my longstanding connection with China by marriage did predispose me to give TCM considerable benefit of the doubt.
     
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  6. GracieJ

    GracieJ Senior Member

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    @Aurator

    I am having a total brain cramp locating the article I was reading a few weeks ago. I think you would find it as intriguing as I did, in its descriptions of patients. I will look for it.
     
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  7. Sparrow

    Sparrow Senior Member

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    Equilibrant has so far been the only thing to make a significant and noticeable difference to my quality of life. So that's made me more open to the potential of TCM than I might have been previously. Not curative, but a definite and distinct improvement. ...Which is more than I can say for the many other things I've tried.

    There's also a Chinese herbal mix that we stumbled upon that's worked wonders for my husband's IBS pain, where other interventions have failed. We got it for free in trial size, and not expecting anything from it at all. But it's amazing.
     
  8. GracieJ

    GracieJ Senior Member

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    I looked into Equilibrant. I did not realize it was formulated on TCM principles.

    The reason I have not tried it, besides cost, is that I am already using most of the ingredients. Have been curious about what adding the other two would do, what sort of synergy is involved. Revisiting the ingredient list...
     
    oceiv likes this.
  9. Misfit Toy

    Misfit Toy Senior Member

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    TCM was the only thing that helped my endo. It saved me from a hysterectomy.

    It really is all about the practitioner. The one I see now is okay. She is not great. I have so many things going on that I think she is overwhelmed. Does she treat inflammation? Sleep? Viruses? It's just all over the place with me.
     
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  10. Sidereal

    Sidereal Senior Member

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    Equilibrant is just a branded version of oxymatrine with a few other supplements mixed in. You can get a huge supply of the Sophora flavescens herb on Amazon for like 30 bucks.

    Astragalus is the other herbal ingredient and it can also be purchased very cheaply.
     
    oceiv likes this.
  11. GracieJ

    GracieJ Senior Member

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    @Sidereal Thanks for the pointer. Sophora is one I haven't tried, as well as shiitake mushroom. Astragalus has been part of my regimen for years, along with the other ingredients.

    I am also very picky about olive leaf, preferring the patent form. Long story.

    Interesting that shiitake is misspelled on the package label.

    Oh, yeah... the biggest reason to not try this product: corn derivatives. Ouch. Big no.
     
    oceiv likes this.
  12. Gondwanaland

    Gondwanaland Senior Member

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    So many things to try... Have you folks ever tried bat wing? :D [​IMG]
     
  13. GracieJ

    GracieJ Senior Member

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    @Gondwanaland Don't knock it till you have tried it. I fell through the cracks medically, have been homeless, all the ugly story. I am back at work on these remedies.

    Hmm, maybe I should give bat wing a try... ;)

    Weren't the Salem "witches" successful herbalists under suspicion?

    You would love cordyceps.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
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  14. Gondwanaland

    Gondwanaland Senior Member

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    I only mean we go under this endless trialing... My money is over, at best I can keep trying what I can get locally. Thankfully I have improved to a point that now homeopathy is having a remarkable positive effect in me, mood and congnition-wise. One year ago it made me worse - but now I also am with an excellent practitioner.

    I would love to try all those herbs mentioned :thumbsup:
     
    wintersky likes this.

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