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My Full Recovery By TCM + TCM issues Q&A

dannybex

Senior Member
Messages
3,555
Location
Seattle
@Jenny suggests the minor formula adjustments are of critical importance; but is there any evidence for this?

Well, for starters, there's Jenny's improvement/remission, don't you think?

And while we are on this subject, are there any published studies that show the TCM concepts of dampness, dryness, heat, cold and wind have practical healing utility?

I'm sure there are studies on various TCM patent medicines (which are often a blend of heating and cooling herbs), but it might be easier to explain the heat-cold-etc. theory by using this example:

Capsicum (from red chili peppers) is a very hot spice. It's used by some to improve circulation and I believe also for arthritis and other joint problems. Or instead of capsicum, let's use garlic or onion. If one takes or eats any of these for an extended period of time by themselves, one could become very hot and uncomfortable overall, or one's stomach or gut could become inflamed from those herbs/foods. So, the logical thing to do would be to stop them, or add something cooling or cold that balances them out.

The same could be said about lemons, limes, or say even drinking cold water or milk, without balancing them with warming foods/drinks/herbs.

From my personal experience I had the best years of my illness when I was seeing acupuncturists at a low-income clinic. I'd go in feeling stiff, sore, agitated and with a variety of other neuromuscular complaints -- especially chronic fasiculations in my feet. And very often my treatment would include a 'presciption' of a combination of various herbs.

After the treatments -- on every single occasion with perhaps two or three -- I'd walk out feeling almost normal. It wouldn't last for more than 8 hours or so, but it suggested to me that there were indeed energy blockages that were part of the problem.

At one point, I started developing strong, strong cramps in my legs, especially at night. When I mentioned this to the (best) acupuncturist there, she asked me what spices I was adding to my meals. "Capsicum", I replied.
She shook her head in dismay and told me to stop it immediately. According to TCM, the spices were heating me up so much that it was depleting my yin (fluids).

So I stopped the capsicum, and sure enough, the strong cramps stopped.
 
Messages
78
Capsicum (from red chili peppers) is a very hot spice.....
......So I stopped the capsicum, and sure enough, the strong cramps stopped.

Thanks for telling us your experience with the Capsicum, Dannybex. Yes your acupuncturist is expressing a widely accepted TCM viewpoint and there is a slightly longer view on chilli in TCM which i shall state below.

Among all the herbs with "spicy" property, TCM deems capsicum and chilli related materials to be the worst for the body. They are often deemed to be in a totally different category from the usual "spicy" classification. Herbs like Cinammon and Tumeric are very beneficial if used correctly as they help in circulation especially for arthritis related conditions. However, the Chilli related materials are deemed to have very negative effects on the body. This is because they are deemed way too "hot" than compared to cinammon or tumeric that they induce an extreme effect:

Chilli materials are so extreme in property ("spicy") that they produce massive amounts of sweating if alot is consumed. Too much "heat" is created that the body has to resort to sweating to reduce the heat. Fluids are "yin" nature so there is a loss of "yin" as a whole in the body. Instead of eventually creating alot internal body-heat like Cinammon for instance, they are said to cause the body to open the body's skin pores and possibly induce visible sweating (fluid loss) and lose energy.

Hence, in TCM, Chilli materials (not "spicy" materials) are the worst kinds of food to eat as they are said to deplete "yin" energy and cause "yin-deficiency". Personally, i get leg ramps when i over-consume way too much Bittergourd (1/2 to 1 big plate). In TCM, bittergourd has "bitter" property and is one of the best daily foods to drain "dampness/fluids" but at the same time, overconsumption drains "yin energy" and is very bad. Whenever i overconsume bittergourd, i feel very tired/exhausted within 15minutes/an hour as personally, my personal body constitution has slight "yin deficiency".

I have very little knowledge about the acupuncture side, but from the little i know, acupuncture since the ancient times was largely used for people who had such sensitive/weak stomach/body conditions that they were no longer able to tolerate alot foods/herbs. Acupuncture is said to simulate certain body/organ functions and has very short-term effects such as 8 hours in your case. For people who have too weak/sensitive stomachs, TCM doctors usually refer them to acupuncture first instead of consuming herbal decoctions.

Personally, i avoid red/green capsicums and take orange capsicums if i should take capsicums, though very infrequently. This is because while i find orange capsicums to be still very "heaty" for long-term consumption, orange capsicums isnt that ultra-heaty and it does improve the stomach digestion and so i still consume in very low amounts infrequently.

You mentioned acupuncture at low income clinics. That is a good thing. In my country too, there are some TCM charity institutions which either dont charge for consultation fees (but medicine only) or dont charge anything at all for totally free consultation + free one day's medicine supply while being able to see the actual prescription formula (which is rarely seen to protect individuals from themselves).

Wintersky
 

invisiblejungle

Senior Member
Messages
228
Location
Chicago suburbs
Low-cost "community acupuncture" clinics are becoming more widespread in the US. Instead of having private rooms that cost $50-60 per treatment, these clinics are usually one large room where all the clients sit together, and hand/foot acupuncture is commonly used. The cost is usually $10-20 per treatment.

This allows patients to receive acupuncture the way it's traditionaly been done in Asia. When Chinese medicine was brought to America, much was lost in translation. When people get acupuncture in Asia, the normal procedure is to get daily treatments (sometimes more than once a day) for at least a couple weeks to "lock in" the benefits. But in America, most people get a treatment once very week or even less frequently, due to cost/time/cultural issues.
 
Messages
78
Just noting something else interesting that i've omitted about my treatment 10+ years ago:

2 of the famous TCM doctors that i went to checked blood pressure & heartbeat rates on my first visit. As those who have visited TCM doctors would know that it's very much unseen/rare for such a practice to occur, unless the patient volunteers specifically of having high blood pressure issues.

It's only recently that i came across and realised why. Blood Pressure & Heart Beat Rate was also used as a clue for reflecting patient's underlying condition in TCM viewpoint. I've also been personally using it on myself & on the people around & find it corroborates with personalized Tongue sign readings so far. Given multiple symptoms (& possibly conflicting symptoms too), i think it might have helped my TCM doctors diagnose/understand my condition better & dispense the appropriate herbs.

Personally back then, for me, i had low, low, high for my readings.

Using Blood Pressure + Heart Rate for Eight-Principle Differentiation

Below is a brief summary of the patterns representing the most commonly seen complex types in the clinic.

Type 1: Systolic pressure (high) + Diastolic pressure (high) + Heart rate (fast) = Excess Heat

Patients with both high blood pressure and a fast heart rate are, without exception, suffering from an excess heat condition. Please note that these patients may complain that they are tired and depressed. However, if they have high blood pressure and a fast heart rate, tonic herbs should never be used, despite the fact that the patient complains of tiredness. The diagnosis is excess fire. This should be addressed with heat-clearing herbs.

Type 2: Systolic pressure (low) + Diastolic pressure (low) + Heart rate (slow) = Yang Deficiency

Patients who have low blood pressure and a slow heart rate are experiencing deficiency, mostly qi or yang deficiency. These deficiencies are best helped by tonic herbs; never give these patients sedating herbs.

Type 3: Systolic pressure (high) + Diastolic pressure (normal) + Heart rate (slow) = Deficiency Heat + Blood Stasis

Patients who belong to this category usually suffer from blood stasis, which may be the result of an old injury or surgery. The heart rate is slow because of blood stasis/obstruction of the blood flow. In turn, systolic pressure is increased, as the body attempts to maintain balance. The increased pressure and lack of flow result in heat from deficiency. Carefully selecting appropriate blood-moving and stasis-resolving herbs with herbs to clear deficiency heat will be the most helpful strategy for treating these patients.

Type 4: Systolic pressure (low) + Diastolic pressure (low) + Heart rate (fast) = Yin Deficiency Heat

The last group might appear to reflect heat because of the rapid rate, but the low blood pressure tells a different story: the insufficient quantities of blood and yin in circulation require a rapid heart rate to maintain positive circulation. This is similar to a car engine running with insufficient oil: eventually, heat begins to build up from the deficiency of lubricating yin. These patients are suffering from yin deficiency heat, and must be treated with herbs that tonify yin and sedate the deficiency heat.

http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/archives2004/oct/10changchen.html

Wish you all a Good Day ahead & Healing,
Wintersky
 

Hope78

Senior Member
Messages
112
Location
Germany
Hi Wintersky,
I am seeing a very well trained tcm professional for some years now.
What did your tongue look like when you were ill?
I am suffering from liver qi stagnation and liver yang rising, some mild form of spleen deficiency, yin defiency mainly of lung, but also kidney and liver yin.
My tongue is very red, slightly swollen with teeth marks, no cracks, coating slightly white, but not greasy or thick.
I cant tolerate any herbs that boost qi or yang. Herba ephedra gave me horrible insomnia which kickstarted my chronic insomnia and the following health problems.
Currently I am only taking herbs to cool blood and nourish yin and cool liver fire of rising yang.
MOst western practioners dont extinguish between exhaustion of the yin deficiency or the yang/qi deficiency types. Its an one fits it all approach. I also dont tolerate stimulating western supplements like tyrosine p.e.
I wished tongue and pulse reading was more popular, find it really helpful.

I guess most of the cfs folks mainly fall into the deficiency pale tongue pattern.

I really find tcm fascinating!
 

Hope78

Senior Member
Messages
112
Location
Germany
Oh and I forgot to mention: Bob Flaws wrote somethingin his books about western supplements like vitamins, trace minerals and amino acids in tcm terminology, like b12 supplements qi, nourishes the blood and so on.
Found it to be very helpful!
 
Messages
78
What did your tongue look like when you were ill?

I dont recall my tongue characteristics back then as that was 10++ years ago & i only noted the tongue characteristics importance only this past few years when i was self-learning TCM. That said, i recognised back then i had non-tongue characteristic observations of Essence, Yin Deficiency + Heat issues.

There's tendency for Kidney Yin Deficiency leading to Liver Yin deficiency, followed by Liver Qi Stagnation/Congestion then Liver Yang Rising (Liver Fire). It's common for people with Kidney Yin Deficiency characteristics to not be able to tolerate Qi or Yang Tonics, much less people with Liver Fire problems. Liver Fire people have to be careful to not let their situation worsen till Liver Wind situation (seizures, stroke).

My elderly member has the same exact TCM issues as you including chronic Insomnia & intolerance of stimulants, but worse, with transverse cracks & almost no tongue coating.... She can tolerate only just about 2grams worth daily of Wolfberry (Gou Qi Zi) or Rhemannia (Shu Di Huang). Afew years of various TCM doctors didnt help, so i dug into the Classics myself & gave her a self-variation of the extreme Heat-Clearing Formula, "Artemisia Annua and Soft Shelled Turtle Shell Decoction" (Qing Hao Bie Jia Tang) for 2+ weeks. It's extreme & can cause Kidney Yang Deficiency issues (harsh body coldness), so it cant be taken in the long run. The decoction helped her alot + Winter season & now she can tolerate most Essence tonics & Qi tonics with no issues.

Oh and I forgot to mention: Bob Flaws wrote somethingin his books about western supplements like vitamins, trace minerals and amino acids in tcm terminology, like b12 supplements qi, nourishes the blood and so on.
Found it to be very helpful!

Awesome. I've been looking for something like that for a long time to no avail!!! Thanks a million for the lead!

Nice Cat too!!

Wish you all a Good Day & Good Healing,
Wintersky
 

Hope78

Senior Member
Messages
112
Location
Germany
Hi Wintersky,

wow, that is great what you did for her with this forumla! The herbs I tolerate are also as cold is ice :D. Unfortunately I really hate the taste of the mu dan pi. My tcm practitioner is really wondering about that because she thinks it could be really helpful to me (along with scrophularia and fr. forsythia...which I also find has an disgusting taste). She says that when a herb is goof for a person one can drink it without disgust.
I like Anemarrrhena herb a lot and also Fritillaria (both cold), the more neutral ones I like a lot are Gastrodia and shaved Bamboo.
I tolerate in minimal doses Atractylodes, but only in a homepathic amount and it has to be balanced with neutral herbs. I can only take it in the morning with breakfast (for spleen qi deficiency).
I have also a great decoction for pain relieve (to resolphe qi stagnation and blood stasis); but I have to take it with caution (even if it's well balanced to stay in a more neutral/warm range), because there are some herbs with warm properties in it.
I really really love oyster shell but it's nothing for long term use. But it brings my Qi down easily. It's only Oyster shell with some poria alba (for dampness).
What really sent me into chronic insomnia was a decoction to warm the kindney yang with, worst herb ever, herba ephedra! Took it for months and never recovered from that :oops:.
I'd really interested what you are saying about my tongue, may I send you a picture?

The cat is really cute, it's the neighbours cat, but she likes to stay with me the whole day.

I ordered Bob Flaws for my kindle and every time my western practioner is prescribing some supplements I have a look into his book to see if it is fitting with my TCM condition!
 

manna

Senior Member
Messages
392
The Healthpoint Electro-Acupuncture device is a very cheap way to get one aspect of TCM. They go pretty cheap on eBay second hand and are at least as good as needle treatments in my experience. I bought one for £2.50 from a car boot and had immediate relief from a stitch in my liver which had persisted for years.
 

Hope78

Senior Member
Messages
112
Location
Germany
´My doctor prescribed me msm (methylsulfonylmethane). I looked it up and sulfur, according to tcm, is really, really hot and a strong kindey yang tonic. I am really sooo sick of these kind of prescriptions as most western practitioners have no clue of tcm patterns. Pain is pain, exhaustion is exhaustion and therefore: one size fits it all. So annoying!

Probably small amounts would be ok as there is no kindney yin without some yang defiency, but it has to be counterbalanced with some kindney yin nourishing minerals. But which one...? I am not a tcm nor an orthomolecular trained practitioner. And would be kind of off to tell my western practitioner that I don't want to take suflur because I cannot handle strong yang supplements, haha :D.

MSM is great for peple with allergies, some kinds of asthma, arthritic conditions ..(most of them mainly yang deficiency conditions). I really wished there were some practitioners available who treat cfs with orthomulecular medicine and with tcm knowledge of all these substances.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Messages
78
Hi Hope,

I hear what you're saying. When your practitioner referred to the flavour issue, maybe she was referring to the idea about herbs and foods having five flavours as representative of their TCM properties. Im saying this because i noted that during my sickness time, i had a tendency for salty (kidney) & sweet (spleen) flavours, which matches my now-self-recognized issue of sickness symptoms of Essence/kidney yin deficiency + Deficiency Heat + Spleen Deficiency issue. The relevant idea here in TCM is that a strong particular flavour tendency reflects relevant main disharmony of a certain organ/condition. Also being severely yin-deficient back then, i realized pretty fast i had agonizing aggravated insomnia, coughs, fever etc whenever i took spicy/warm stuff like Curry (which contains "Hot" herbs like cinammon etc).

Yesterday, i glimpsed a copy of Bob Flaw's Book, "The Tao Of Healthy Living: Dietary Wisdom" at a local library. It's overflowing with TCM analytical properties of basic foods including Vitamins etc etc. Incredible & amazing what he did. Personally, i think one of the many contributing factors to my illness back then was that i really disliked eating vegetables & took a almost-zero daily intake of vegetables for many years pre-illness & after that i converted into a vegetarian for a decade+ since. I also stopped taking physically cold items like iced water, ice cream etc. To this day, i strongly believe radically changed diet/nutrition was one of the things that helped me recover then, along with TCM. Life's weird, ironical & interesting too i guess.

Wish you all a Good Day & Good Healing,
Wintersky
 

Hope78

Senior Member
Messages
112
Location
Germany
Hi Wintersky,

i had a tendency for salty (kidney) & sweet (spleen) flavours
These are my favourite cravings, too. I salt my food a lot (my husband can't eat my food it's too salty for him) and also are craving sweets all the time (but don't eat them as I have candida).

I really hate peppers, chilli and other hot herbs (they make me cough a lot and worsen my insomnia).

I eat tons of organic vegetable along with whole grain foods and once or twice a week organic meat (chicken or turkey). I sometimes eat a spoon of honey as I canceled chocolate. I never drink or eat cold things, even my breakfast is warm.

I guess from a nutrintional point I am doing mostly the right things. I am eating healthy for a long time now but am sick never the less. I guess nutrition is very important but I don't know if it's possible to recover only with the right food (I guess some herbs or supplements along with the right nutrition will be necessary).

I have to work much more on my emotions and thinking patterns as these also tend to weaken certain organ systems (suppressed anger, lot of grief, negative thinking and excess worrying, anxiety issues).

Yesterday, i glimpsed a copy of Bob Flaw's Book, "The Tao Of Healthy Living: Dietary Wisdom" at a local library. It's overflowing with TCM analytical properties of basic foods including Vitamins etc etc. Incredible & amazing what he did
Ohhh yes, I really like it a lot, it's amazing. And a shame that he seems to be the only one. I researched a lot to find something like this, but it was the only one I could find.

Thank you!
 
Messages
78
Hope,

Personally, i've found nutrition to be more complicated for TCM. When i had Spleen Qi deficiency issues, i've realised that Whole grains was extremely bad for me. My digestion bogs down with a fullness feeling when i take that. It seems like most websites online advocate taking Whole grains for Spleen Deficiency, so i dug harder online & found that it's a technically more complicated issue: Whole grains are thought to be beneficial for Spleen Qi Deficient people because they contain alot nutrients & energy. However, Spleen Qi deficient people are already lacking energy to digest complex carbohydrates, so it's said to actually worsen the Spleen condition somewhat since the whole nutrition of the Whole Grains wont be unlocked & there might be a net energy loss instead.

I've also had someone check this in passing with a TCM doctor before & his conclusion was about the same above.

I've also personally followed most parts of the guidelines below & followed other general guidelines for eating according to the season:
http://www.eastmountain.ca/2spleenqi.pdf

Since i live in Asia where there's a strong tradition of taking Double-Boiled soups, when i had no appetite/bad digestion, i've found drinking liquid soups (& discarding the solid vegetables & materials) was quite nutritious while being alot easier for my bad digestion/stomach.

I guess nutrition is very important but I don't know if it's possible to recover only with the right food (I guess some herbs or supplements along with the right nutrition will be necessary).

In TCM, food is said to exert only a mild/low healing effect while herbs are the one with really strong healing functions. Personally, i doubt anyone could recover from severe illness with just nutrition alone.

Wish you a Good Day & Good Healing,
Wintersky
 

invisiblejungle

Senior Member
Messages
228
Location
Chicago suburbs
Oh and I forgot to mention: Bob Flaws wrote somethingin his books about western supplements like vitamins, trace minerals and amino acids in tcm terminology, like b12 supplements qi, nourishes the blood and so on.
Found it to be very helpful!

Hi Hope78,

Which of Bob Flaws' books discusses western supplements? Is it "The Tao Of Healthy Living: Dietary Wisdom"?
 

invisiblejungle

Senior Member
Messages
228
Location
Chicago suburbs
Since i live in Asia where there's a strong tradition of taking Double-Boiled soups, when i had no appetite/bad digestion, i've found drinking liquid soups (& discarding the solid vegetables & materials) was quite nutritious while being alot easier for my bad digestion/stomach.

Hi Wintersky,

What are "double-boiled" soups?
 
Messages
78
Hi Invisible,

Double-Boiled Soups refers to the method of preparation where a ceramic pot is put in a steamer & under slow boiling for many hours. This would take place anywhere from 5 hours to 2 days (for high end restaurants). What i do is a simpler version, using a electronic slow cooker for 5 hours or so at low/moderate heat.

I would, also, using the slow cooking method/stewing, eat just porridge or rice cooked with vegetables cut into small pieces etc. Yes, it's akin to feeding a baby very soft cooked foods. This was mostly my main mode of food preparation everyday for many months & it does amazing wonders for my weak stomach +digestion +low appetite due to spleen/stomach deficiency etc.

In ancient China, when people were too weak or had so weak stomachs they were unable to consume even any amount of herbal decoctions or solid foods, they would just drink the double boiled soups & give them stewed solid foods only if they had improvements.

Wish you all a Good Day Ahead,
Wintersky
 

Hope78

Senior Member
Messages
112
Location
Germany
When i had Spleen Qi deficiency issues, i've realised that Whole grains was extremely bad for me.

Wintersky, thanks for this!

I also purchased a slow cooker last winter, that reminds me to use it more often!