Of All the Nerve: Acupuncture and Post-Traumatic Spasmodic Syndrome Yeah. The nervy part is coming up with a fictitious term like Post-Traumatic Spasmodic Syndrome (PTSS). In the ICD10, the insurance coding bible, it falls under the code M62.838 and includes a list of spine-related muscles, without any particular mention of trauma. “PTSS” is the proposition…
The Hairdresser and a Tale of Prevention In a previous missive, I mentioned something about “cankles.” For those who are as in the dark about cankles as I once was, it refers to the loss in definition between the calf and ankle such that they merge. Unfortunately, since there won’t be any commercials on TV…
“In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) cupping is a method of applying acupressure by creating a vacuum on the patient’s skin to dispel stagnation — stagnant blood and lymph, thereby improving qi flow— to treat diseases such as the common cold, pneumonia and bronchitis. Cupping also is used on back, neck, shoulder and other musculoskeletal conditions.”
In medical school, much of our training centered around the memorization of acu-points and point protocols. The challenge that became obvious was differentiating between many of the overlapping point functions and indications in a clinically meaningful way.
Even before practicing in the Yosan clinic, it seemed to me that rote reliance upon protocols was often not likely to produce a response that most Western patients were seeking. This is not to say that such approaches were not useful, but that there were more efficient means by which to approach certain conditions. In China, it is not uncommon for patients to receive treatments everyday and sometimes twice a day. In the States, due to time and expense, a weekly model is the norm, which puts greater demands upon high performance through quick results. Furthermore, it seemed unlikely that protocols were intended to act as a script to be followed to the point and more as a framework for understanding body dynamics. The example of Bach’s compositions come to mind, where many scholars have proposed that some pieces have been written to allow for improvisation. Similarly, it is likely that many point protocols are merely guidelines for developing an appropriate approach given the circumstances of the patient at hand. Below are three factors that inform a dynamic approach to applying acupuncture for dramatically benefitial results.
Did you know that tea is a part of Chinese medicine? It’s true. Most of us are aware that tea (Camillia sinesis) comes from China, but you might not know that its original use was as medicine. Tea has been a part of the Chinese herbal pharmacopoeia for almost 2,000 years, even though the herbal system itself goes back more than 3,000 yrs. Many plants, like dandelion, rooibos, and verbena, cooked into a broth are commonly referred to as “tea,” but technically these are called “tisanes.”
1) Clinical trials prove Chinese Medicine’s efficacy. The whole point of clinical trials is to determine the degree to which a procedure demonstrates a statistically significant efficacy over and beyond a control, usually a placebo. In numerous instances, acupuncture and herbal medicine have proven they work. See here.
This is a qualitatively different post from most. It’s about the veracity of folk traditions, truths that continue to deeply impress me in my practice. I thought that I’d relay a conversation that came up with me and my Uighur buddy Azigul, in Mandarin just Guli, once while eating in Xingjiang Cun, a long-since-gone row of Uighur restaurants in Beijing’s Western District.
Ahh, picture a serene Los Angeles setting with soft lights and relaxing music.The gentle wafts of incense lilt through the air.You see yourself relaxing comfortably, in a quasi-dreamlike state with acupuncture needles stuck in your shoulder, knee, or back, the local site of pain.You’re in your acupuncturist’s office.
The Los Angeles musician’s life is one driven by a love for the muse. As such, this calling requires many lifestyle sacrifices that have deep implications for overall health. Accountants, engineers, hairdressers, and teachers all face risks unique to their professions. Musicians, however, face work-related risks that resemble those of swing-shift workers.Some of these problems are insomnia, fatigue, and hypertension.
One of the reigning themes of Chinese medicine is that every item that you take into your body has properties. These are based on temperature, directional movement, organ and channel tropism, and taste. There are five temperature tones: hot, cold, warm, cool, and bland. There are five tastes: sweet, sour, acrid, bitter, and salty. The directional movement is somewhat governed by the combination of temperature and taste. Hence, hot + acid = up and out, cold + salty = in and down. The rate of salty’s downward thrust is less than bitter’s.