Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is one of the most common complaints for many females. Most females will experience this in their lifetime once or more times. However, about 5% of them will need to seek help due to very intense symptoms. According to modern medicine, the cause is still unclear. Therefore, the treatment is basically for complaints – in other words only to relieve the symptoms. Traditional Chinese medicine and Acupuncture (TCMA) uses natural phenomena and principles to describe our body in both physical and pathological ways along with the treatments. The treatment for diseases in TCMA is according to pattern differentiation. The pattern differentiations for PMS in TCMA are: cold/yang deficiency, liver stagnation, poor circulation/blood stasis, etc. The concepts of “cold/yang deficiency,” “liver stagnation,” and “blood stasis,” are very different from what people understand nowadays. For example, “cold/yang deficiency” here means the PMS sufferer does not like the cold (i.e. cold environment, intakes, food/drinks that naturally make the body cold, or our reaction to them is cold), for this reason you can see some of these patients have an onset of PMS or make their PMS worse if they are in a cold environment, or when they eat something cold. The “liver stagnation” type means PMS sufferers will have an emergence of symptoms if they are too stressed, or the stress will make their PMS worse. If the “liver stagnation” or “cold/yang deficiency” are not treated, eventually they will turn into “blood stasis.” The “blood stasis” type means poor circulation or blockage in the vascular system. This type is basically the utmost development of the previous two types or it can occur on its own without the previous two. The symptoms of “blood stasis” will be a very painful and darker period with many clots. Sometimes, the pain can feel like needles or knives cutting into you, some people even faint and end up in the emergency room. Any factors that affect the “liver stagnation” or “cold/yang deficiency” type can affect this type in the same way too. A patient can suffer from one or two types or even a combination of all of them. In addition, there may be some other types such as: Qi deficiency or kidney deficiency etc. These types mean the patient was either born like that or it could be something else. The acupuncture treatment we need to do for “cold/yang deficiency,” is to eliminate the coldness or tonify yang. Meanwhile, patients need to avoid cold environments or cold food/drinks, and instead take warm drinks/food, etc. The treatment for this type is usually acupuncture with TDP/moxibustion or tonification methods. For “liver stagnation,” we have to regulate and soothe the liver Qi, and eliminate the stagnation. For “blood stasis,” we need to regulate the blood and eliminate the blood stasis, and promote circulation. If it is two or more types combined you will need to mix the treatments described above accordingly. In terms of Chinese medical herbs treatment, it is very similar to acupuncture, but using herbs instead. There are different herbal formulas for each type. Most of the time, the formulas need to be alternated to fit the patients pattern better, and in this way, the patients will get the most benefit from the the herbal treatment. Overall, TCMA is the simplest, best and easiest method to treat PMS. The combination of Chinese herbs and acupuncture will give patients maximum benefit and quick results. Additionally, with a diet and lifestyle change, etc. the results will be better. We have helped many PMS patients from the age of 15. We know we helped because we have many new PMS patients referred by their friends who were cured in our office before.
Ancient Chinese doctors knew about allergies, and passed this knowledge to future acupuncturists.
They noticed that when spring came, some people would have problems like skin rashes, sneezing, itching, runny nose, watery eyes, etc. In general, these complaints would come and go very fast just like the wind. During that time, scientists considered spring to be the wind season. Therefore, combining the factor of the time (season) and characteristics of the complaint – coming and going as fast as the wind – they named this kind of problem: wind type or wind like problems.
Although the liver is usually associated with wind problems, in this case the lungs are actually the organ related to the wind, because the material we are allergic to bothers us mainly through either the skin, nose, and sometimes the eyes. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupuncture system, the lungs are a combination of nose, bronchial, skin, hair, partially circulatory system, partially the immune system, partially the metabolic system and the lungs themselves.
This TCM and acupuncture system was formed about 2,000 years ago and has been a key player in Modern Chinese disease prevention medicine. Nowadays, it is spreading worldwide more and more because of its effectiveness and good results through a natural way. In recent years, much more scientific research has proven that TCM and acupuncture can regulate and improve immuno function in both cellular immunity and humoral immunity. Most importantly, scientists also found they have what is called “both direction regulation,” which means if anything in the body is “higher than normal” then TCM and acupuncture can lower it until it is back to normal, vise versa.
Clinically, for patients with allergies, the common pattern could be “wind cold” sometimes combined with Qi deficiency. For “wind cold,” the complaints will be: feeling cold easily, allergies accompanied with chills, clear watery mucous from nose, sneezing, watery eyes without swelling, becoming worse in the morning or when the environment is colder. For “wind cold and Qi deficiency,” patients usually complain about tiredness and catching a cold easily and the allergy will get worse or onset more often when getting too tired, these happen simultaneously with the symptoms mentioned earlier. Of course, there are some other uncommon types too, such as “wind with poor circulation,” “wind heat,” etc. which we will not go into detail in this article.
The treatment involves a diet change, acupuncture, and herbs if you want a quick relief. For the diet change everyone is different, it would be a good idea to talk about this face to face with the acupuncturist, but one thing is for sure: adding more fresh ginger root juice and mung bean in your diet, avoid the cold stuff are always a good idea. For TCM and acupuncture treatment, it completely depends on the patterns that you have. The acupuncture needle could go on the face, extremities, back, stomach, depending on the situation. At times, TDP and cups need to be involved as well. However, for a few people electrical acupuncture may be better. In terms of herbs, it is more complicated, you would need to speak face to face with an acupuncturist. We started to see seasonal allergy patients in the U.S. in 1995. So far, we have helped many sufferers. For most people, after treatment they will not need to come back. We followed up with patients for five years and there was still no need for them to come back.
In the medical field, it looks like all the procedures make us uncomfortable. Medicine-wise, if we don’t swallow quickly enough, it also makes us uneasy. Chinese medicine in particular can make us feel even more uncomfortable than that. Chinese herbal tea generally helps people, so people tolerate the temporary discomfort and bad taste. That’s why the Chinese have a common saying “liang yao ku kou li yu bing” meaning generally “good medicine tastes bitter but it helps with your illness.” What if good medicine helps our problem but doesn’t taste bad? Wouldn’t that be great?
In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), there are many ways to deal with diseases like using Chinese herbs, acupuncture, massage, qi gong, diet, etc. Acupuncture with needles may be uncomfortable for most people at the beginning, a healing massage for medical purposes often hurts, with qi gong you feel very awkward at the beginning, and sometimes we need to sacrifice our favorite foods for medical reasons. People try to avoid having these treatment if they don’t need them. That is why there are many ways to administer herbal medicine that can best fit the patient’s needs and preferences. For acute diseases or situations, herbal tea or acupuncture are the best choices. For chronic diseases or situations, herbal pills or powder are the better choices because patients need to take the herbs for long term on a consistent basis. It is convenient and they don’t need to boil the herbs everyday. The taste of the pills is much better than the tea. This means that the medicine that is supposed to help us does not have to taste bitter like the saying says. For kids or people who just don’t like the taste of herbs, honey is added to the herbal base for a better flavor and texture of a syrup.
For most Chinese herbs, they are not harmful to our bodies when taken for a long time. However, some of them are important to pay attention to the effects on our bodies. For example, ephedra is not supposed to be taken for a long time. If it is, the user will end up sweating profusely. Even though some other herbs can make us stronger, that doesn’t mean we should take them for longer or even at all. Another example is licorice. It is not a good idea to have it consistently for a long time, especially if you don’t have any medical issues. Otherwise, it could cause palpitation, sweating, anxiety, etc.
It is always a good idea to consult a Chinese herbologist about herbs you’re considering taking, either for medical purposes, beverages, or other purposes. This is because even a small dosage of some herbs can be very harmful. Herbal or so-called natural healing products do not mean they are without side effects.
Reflux is a common complaint people have when it comes to their stomach and digestive system; related diseases or other diseases can affect the digestive system or CNS. In Chinese medicine and acupuncture the nature of the reflux, nausea, even vomiting is about the same. Therefore, the treatment used is very similar. Here, mainly, we will focus on the condition associated primarily with digestive problems.
Generally speaking, it is very beneficial to use Chinese medicine including acupuncture for reflux, such as for GERD, digestive ulcers, stress, nerves, and associated bad food consumption. China is one of the biggest countries with the largest population in the world. Historically, fighting for food was common in the Chinese nation. In the past, Chinese people did not have enough to eat. Some people only ate one or two meals per day, most foods were so scarce that a person would eat the bark and flowers of an elm tree, Chinese grasses, and even soil. Chinese doctors realized that stress, anxiety, an irregular diet, overeating or starvation, etc. can really cause digestive and nutritional problems or diseases that include: nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, etc. That is why one of the main tasks for Ancient Chinese doctors was to develop a good system to treat these problems.
Chinese medicine and acupuncture treat reflux, nausea, vomiting, etc. differently according to the accompanying symptoms. This is called Pattern Differentiation/Individual-Based-Fit-Treatment, which is a unique part of Chinese medicine and acupuncture. In this case, the pattern-differentiations could be 1. Stomach Cold – patients do not like to take anything cold, if they consume cold things, it can worsen the complaint. The patient will also feel cold easily – 2. Stomach Heat/Fire – patient does not like to take anything warm, spicy, or hot if they do the complaint will get worse. The patient may feel warm easily – 3. Liver Stagnation – frustration or stress can make the situation worse, happy and easy situations will make the complaint better. Patients may also become irritated easily with no reason – 4. Spleen Deficiency – patients may feel tired easily, especially their extremities, or tiredness will make the situation worse. Patients even have no energy to talk. – 5. Stomach Yin Deficiency – this is similar to stomach fire/heat, except that the body is much weaker than those within the stomach fire/heat category. – There are other pattern differentiations too but the above 5 patterned categories are the main ones and they can appear separately, or at times there can be a combination of two of them or more.
For the treatment, it completely depends on the pattern-differentiation. If anyone has the same or a similar situation as the above patterns, it is a good idea for them to go to a Chinese medicine and acupuncture specialist for a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment. They can help you accordingly, especially if you’ve been dealing with this situation for a while.
If your situation is far less complex, then there are some simple ways to deal with this for temporary relief. For example, a diet change will help. If you do not want to visit a specialist, you can take the following suggestions and see if they help: 1. Fresh ginger root juice – this is typically good for any stomach problems, but especially for nausea, vomiting, and reflux – 2. Avoid sweets, greasy, or very dry food 3. Avoid food that is difficult to digest such as beans, nuts, etc. 4. Eat food that is well done and not raw, with the exception of salads and juice or fruits 5. Avoid cold food, since you don’t want your stomach to serve as a stove to heat the food 6. Avoid hot/spicy food and drinks, this includes alcohol too.
In regards to acupuncture, there are many points that can help as well, even if you put pressure on them. This can sometimes give you relief too. An example of an acupoint is Pericardium 6 (PC 6, Neiguan) which is 2 units above the wrist crease between the tendons of palmaris longus and flexor carpi radialis (these are based upon the 12 units between the crease of the wrist and the inside of the elbow). Another acupoint is Spleen 4 (SP 4, Gongsun) located at the median aspect of the foot, in the depression distal and inferior to the base of the first metatarsal bone. These are major acupuncture points that help the digestive problems we have described. Once in a while, you can put pressure on these points and it should give you some relief. Of course, there are many more acupoints that can help too.
If nausea and vomiting are due to morning sickness, then acupuncture and Chinese herbs will definitely help. If these symptoms are caused by a tumor, CNS, etc, it would be best to go to a correspondent specialist such as an Oncologist or Neurologist instead of first visiting a Chinese medicine and acupuncture specialist, even though acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help relieve symptoms too.