What is the diet’s effect on our health according to TCM and Acupuncture?

TCM and acupuncture were formed at least 3,000 years ago. TCM and acupuncture doctors applied natural phenomena to our bodies’ individual situations in both ways – physically, and pathologically. They believed that the nature of the food we eat daily, and the herbs we consume, and acupuncture we receive when we have a health problem are similar, but are on different levels. It is just like the idea that we eat when we are hungry, or put on more clothes when we’re cold, etc. Herbs and acupuncture work in the same way. We have four seasons, day and night, rainy, windy, different environmental and climate changes, and other natural phenomena. We as human beings need to compensate for what is happening around us. Diet is the main part of the compensation.

We have so many types of food to choose from. Just like everybody’s foundation of different, our body’s reactions to food are more or less different. If we eat certain “wrong” foods on a consistent, long term time frame, we are harmed. When some people eat hot/spicy food often for a long time, at a certain point, they are going to experience anxiety, bad breath, dizziness, red eyes, headaches, restlessness, sore throat, etc. People like this just think they have a health problem, but when they check in a medical setting, there is nothing wrong with them. But they know they feel different than before, and have a problem. In TCM and acupuncture theory, this is because if a person belongs to the warm/hot type, the hot/spicy food (if taken often) can only make their body hotter. The sore throat, headache, thirstiness, dry mouth, are indications of the hot type and getting hotter. If you ignore the symptoms, and continue having more of the hot/spicy food, it will affect you further. It affects the gallbladder and liver, and can cause serious health problems.

It is a good idea for us to understand how different foods affect us. The first thing we need to know about what we eat is the nature of the food, meaning our body’s reaction to the food. In general, anything hot/spicy such as peppers, cinnamon, coffee, dried ginger, lamb, walnuts, goat, chives, etc. can be harmful for us if we are the warm/hot type of person. On the other hand, anything cold-natured, such as mint, watermelon, pear, papaya, tofu, crab, etc. can be harmful if we are the cold type of person.

In our practice, we see many patients coming in with various health problems, simply because their lifestyle or diet are the opposite of what their body needs. Some patients that have gone to doctors for their problems and have received test results showing that they technically have nothing wrong with them, but they know it is not what they are normally like and want to get back to their old self. If you ask them, there is nothing really wrong with them except they have been eating certain types of food for a long time. For some patients, we only need to ask them to change their diets in the way their body needs. After a while, coupled with acupuncture treatment, they will feel better. For some other patients, if it is a more serious condition, they will need to add herbal medicine to their acupuncture treatment and diet changes.

Rebecca’s Story: Acupuncture and Constipation

Case Study

Constipation is one of the common complaints we hear about on a daily basis. There are many reasons for this kind of digestive problem. One of the causes is: Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement or delaying it until later. However, in daily practice, both professionals and patients often neglect this as a cause. At our office, we’ve helped many patients like this.

Rebecca Tillman, female, 46 years old, came to our office with a 20 year history of constipation. During this time she would only have a bowel movement every 3-6 days. The problem started at the age of 26, when she started her PhD program. The program required her to study hard, read a lot and write many essays. Although eating carefully and healthy at the time, she started to develop an irregular bowel movement. She ignored these signs and then soon enough the constipation started to affect her daily life and studies. Ever since, she went to many doctors and specialists. No one could find anything wrong with her, they either told her to take laxatives or change her diet. However, the results were unsatisfactory.

In our office, we went through all the details about her daily life, from early morning until she went to bed. In terms of the details regarding her bowel movement, she told us she developed a habit, during her PhD program, to read necessary information for her work or exams during her bowel movement to save time. At times she would even forget to go to the bathroom, even though she was sitting on the toilet. Once we combined the diagnosis from the other specialists with the details of the bowel movement habit, we realized what the problem was. It was obvious she developed a bad habit with her bowel movement. She would be distracted so much while she was using the bathroom that her nervous system would concentrate more on reading instead of the bowel movement. At the time, the nervous system became used to dealing with two things: reading and going to the bathroom. As a result, the bowel movement was no longer as easy as a normal one.

We suggested to Rebecca, that in order to change this habit she should concentrate on the bowel movement, to not read or think about anything else, until she finished. Meanwhile, we gave her some Shen(spirit and mind) related acupuncture points such as: Si-Shencong, Shenmen plus Chengshan, Zhigou, Tianshu and Siguan. After 12 sessions, within a month and half period, her constipation improved significantly, she would have a bowel movement either once a day or once every other day. She was very happy with these results. We followed up with her for half a year, her bowel movement was fine ever since.

What you should take away from this case study:

Although she suffered for a while and it looked like a complicated case, it was actually very simple. As soon as we found the cause we treated her with acupuncture points for regulating and re-balancing her nervous and digestive system, then her bowel movements became normal. TCM and acupuncture has a long history of treating constipation either simple or complicated cases. In fact, there are many acupuncture points and herbal formulas that are good for constipation issues. If you do have a complicated case, you would really need to follow the TCM and acupuncture rules, which are pattern differentiation and treatment. Only in this way can you really get good results.

How Does Western Medicine Explain Acupuncture?

Even though acupuncture has been practice in China for about at least 2-3,000 years  and spreading in the adjacent countries such as Japan, Korea, etc. as the time goes on. For the rest  of the world it is maybe only acknowledge less this 400 years and the spreading of it is much slower than the origin  area. It is being said that Japanese, in the early 1950s declared that even though acupuncture was orientated in China, the explanation with modern medicine theory would be done in Japan and there ambitious is to develop acupuncture furthermore then that of Chinese. This stimulated Chinese government to organize a big acupuncture program from 1950s and on until in the end or 1980s for about thirty years. Chinese government wanted to do the research with the modern medical theory, bigger, stronger, wider and faster than that of Japanese.

What they have  achieved so far:

1. Develop a new method of anesthesia  with acupuncture for operations in the head, neck, etc. even though it isn’t perfect yet.

2. We found about 10% of Chinese are general sensitive people which means if  you put needle on one point on one channel then the sensation are for the chi movement or sensation can go through the whole channel which approved the existing channel. Even though we do not know the nature of it.

3. They have found the traditional acupuncture points area/spot are higher electrical resistance than the none acupuncture areas/spot. Which proved the existing of acupuncture points.

4. They also found 90% of the acupuncture points are more or less are associated with the nerve system.

5. This speed of chi traveling in the channel slower than nerve but quicker than the endocrine system. They assumed that channel system is another balancing system in our human body other then nerve and endocrine system – the third balancing system.

6.  In session of acupuncture needle and manipulation can affect our body in every level meaning from organ to tissue to cell to molecule.

7. One of the most important finding about acupuncture is  what is called both direction regulations which means  making the high abnormal level lower until normal level or vice versa. This explains why the same acupuncture points on one person it can make the high blood pressure lower until to the normal level, and on the other low blood pressure person it can increase the blood pressure higher to the normal.

8. About 450 conditions under diseases can be helped by acupuncture. Overall during that 30 years period of time almost all the medical schools and the other related scientist were involved in this program which is one of the biggest in scientific work research because of this the first world wide scientific organization were headquarters in China in November of 1987 in Beijing.

Ever since the spreading of acupuncture is getting quicker. Many scientist including doctors all over the world started to do more research about acupuncture because of its treatment results. Acupuncture is based upon channel theory according to traditional Chinese medicine. Even though we can see the channel existing with instrument, but we still don’t know what is the nature of it because of the restriction of science and technology. Acupuncture is not perfect explained by modern medicine yet. However, it has many advantages over the modern medicine theories such as it always promotes our bodies ability for fighting diseases with no side effects if you perform it right it stresses the connections and affects each other of the body It also stresses individual differences so in turn it is always tailored treatment procedure. We hope modern medicine can borrow some ideas from acupuncture to make modern medicine perfect.