Chinese Herbs and YOU

picture of Chinese herbs

People in America often times wonder how Chinese herbal formulation is done. What are Chinese herbs? Why take them? How do you take them? Why can’t I just go to the Vitamin or Health Food Store and take a mixture of supplements?

The answer to all of these questions is simple: each person, and their individual life stresses, is unique. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach when it comes to getting your body healthy. Herbs and supplements are not recommended for everybody. A good practitioner will be able to accurately assess each patient’s state of health and recommend things that will benefit them specifically.

Now, on to answering the questions.

What are Chinese Herbs? How do you take them?

In Oriental Medicine, Chinese herbs have been used for thousands of years to help with many different health concerns. The earliest known literature containing herbal prescriptions, found in a tomb in China, dates back to almost 200 BC.

Modern day herbs are often a mixture of plant and animal parts, prepared in a certain way, and mixed in an exact formula to benefit the patient’s individual health needs. Not all acupuncturists are licensed to  mix herbs; it requires additional education and licensing, depending on which state the acupuncturist is practicing.

patent herbs
Chinese Patent Herbs come pre-made in pill form.

Patent herbs, the type you find most commonly at an acupuncturist’s clinic, come pre-mixed in pellet/pill form. These formulas and generally more standardized and cannot be modified to fit each patient’s individual needs. Many TCM practitioners use this form of herbs because it does not require the rigorous schooling and licensing, but they are able to prescribe them to the patients because they are not physically mixing the herbs themselves, rather ordering the premixed formula from an herb company. (Read more about TCM HERE)

chinese herb granules
Chinese Herbs in granule form- mixed specifically fro each patient.

Chinese herbal extracts, on the other hand, are individual herbs that can be mixed specifically for each unique patient. These extracts are often made into a granular form, which the Chinese herbal practitioner then keeps in their herbal pharmacy to compose formulas specific of the patient. To take these herbs, the patient mixes them with hot water and drinks it like a tea. These formulas are very individualized and highly effective for the patient to whom it was prescribed. (This is the form of herbs we carry in our clinic.)

Why Take Chinese Herbs?

Not all patients take herbs, and on some occasions, herbs are not recommended. If herbs are prescribed, they help reinforce what the acupuncture is doing, and, in the case of patients who cannot do acupuncture, there are many benefits. Herbs can be helpful in the treatment of pain, arthritis, inflammation, digestive trouble (IBS, colitis, diverticulitis, etc.), migraines and headaches, anxiety, depression, weight loss and metabolism deficiency, PMS and menopausal symptoms (cramping, bloating, irregular periods, hot flashes, mood swings), and many other health concerns.

Because they can be mixed based on each unique patient, we can address many health problems with a single formula. 

Why can’t I just go to the Vitamin or Health Food Store and take a mixture of supplements? 

Well, technically you can, but you possibly will end up spending more money on supplements that may not be right ones or the correct dosages for your individual needs. Chinese herbs require additional licensing for a reason: a qualified professional must assess each individual and prescribe them, much like a doctor prescribing a medication (although, with herbs, there are rarely any side effects like you may experience with medication).

 

As usual, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.

Nothing in this document is intended as a substitute for your doctor’s diagnosis and/or treatment. This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA.

Acupuncture and Children

Kids often times respond very well to Oriental medicine!

happy-group-of-kids

In our clinic, we perform acupuncture on children five years of age and older. Often times, they can receive additional benefit from Chinese herbs.

For children under the age of five, a Chinese herbal prescription is best (without the acupuncture).

We also train parents on pediatric massage and give specific dietary recommendations that can be life-changing for the child. Kids generally respond very well to treatment. Our theory is that they haven’t had as much stress as your average adult, therefore there’s less to sort out internally, leading to a faster response.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding treating children with Oriental Medicine, do not hesitate to ask us. We can give you our recommendations and then you can make an educated decision for your specific situation.

Nothing in this document is intended as a substitute for your doctor’s diagnosis and/or treatment. This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA.

 

Acupuncture on Animals

pug getting acupuncture

Patients often times ask exactly how acupuncture can help horses, dogs and other animals. Often they have family pet who is having trouble with aging, digestion, or other issues.

The answer is the same as the human body, although there are some minor differences in certain aspects (for example where the pulses are checked).

In Oriental Medicine, bodies are bodies, regardless of species!  Similar properties and rules govern a body’s function, whether it belongs to an animal or a human being.

If you would like to get help for your animals, just let us know and we can refer you to a provider closest to your home.

Should you eat a “raw food” diet?

People often use “raw” diets and assume it is very good for their body, sometimes ignoring the signs that their body is having trouble with a completely “raw” diet.

Not to be controversial, but the question is not “should a person eat raw foods or not?”; rather, the question is “is the individual person’s metabolism strong enough so that they could eat raw foods, break those foods down and get the nutrients?” and if so, “when (what time of the year) should a person eat raw foods?”

Our clinical experience shows us people may eat raw foods and think things are great, but have bloating that they attribute to detoxification, when in actual fact those symptoms are coming from a lack of breaking down foods that are raw.

Basically, raw foods, like everything, could be consumed in moderation for best health results, especially in winter when a person’s metabolism is weaker. Summertime is the best time to eat raw foods in higher quantity.

There are a small number of Americans in our experience who can fully metabolize large volumes of daily raw foods without any troubles, and those individuals have an extraordinarily high, hot–burning metabolism for sure.

To learn a bit more so that you can decide what would really be best for you, read our newsletter here: Raw Vs. Cooked Foods

Is Lifestyle Causing Your Pain?

Mature woman suffering elbow painPatients always ask us if they can do the activities that might be contributing to their symptoms.

For example, a woman with recurrent elbow problems who plays tennis asks if she should keep playing tennis. In the typical western medical community, the general answer is “you’ll probably just have to live with it…unless you stop playing tennis.”

Our answer is not as simple. In Oriental Medicine, with the theory that your body is made to last 120 years, the answer is: it depends. One of the reasons the medicine was developed was to deal with the aches and pains of everyday life. So our answer is to what degree will you be able to do these things.

We chart your body’s function very closely to show overall comprehensive and objective health. Over the years, we have discovered that you can do activities without exacerbating your main pain concern in the exact proportion of functional improvement achieved with Acupuncture. For example, if a patient has a 32% improvement in overall function, they could play 32% more tennis without the elbow worsening.

The key:  use medicine that increases function so that you can live the life that you want and do things that you want to do!

To learn more or ask other questions, feel free to email me at curry@milwaukeeacu.com.

Nothing in this document is intended as a substitute for your doctor’s diagnosis and/or treatment. This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA.

Ancient Acupuncturists’ Theory on How to Live 120 Years

smuckers

The ancient physicians of Chinese medicine figured out that the body is actually designed to live to 120 years old. Modern research has verified that the body is designed to live that long, but there definitely seems to be a problem: the average lifespan in America currently is 76 for men and 81 for women.

According to Chinese medical philosophy and modern scientific research, 60 years of age should be “mid life.”

Here’s what the ancients in China figured out: from birth onward a person should do these five things:

  1. Exercise and have a good mental outlook. A modern interpretation of this would mean going to the gym or participating in sports and having some kind of a spiritual practice, going to church, etc.
  2. Eating correctly for what your individual body requires and eating correctly in each season.
  3. Using acupuncture to restore circulation and enhance glandular/organ function.
  4. Using Chinese herbal medicine to restore circulation and enhance glandular/organ function.
  5. Using massage, physical therapy and or joint adjustments to enhance circulation structural function.

 

If you want to get on the national news for living past 100 years old, I would recommend starting these five things immediately.

Eating Before Bedtime: An Acupuncturist’s Point-of-View

Digitized copy of the Suwen (First Volume) of the Yellow Emperor's Classic.
Digitized copy of the Suwen (First Volume) of the Yellow Emperor’s Classic.

The ancients of Chinese medicine had some pretty brilliant ideas about the body and how it functions. One of the fundamental text books in Oriental Medicine (and in Acupuncture) is called The Yellow Emperor’s Classic.

Written before the birth of Christ, it is a documented conversation between the Chinese Emperor at the time and his Acupuncturist, Qi Bo. The book explains in detail the subtlety of the body and its relation to the natural world around it. It contains the basic concepts of Oriental Medicine and most acupuncturists are required to read it at some point through their training.

One key tip as an example of the medical brilliance of this time period is the following:  always eat your evening meal no less than two hours before going to bed at night.

Why?

The body’s first instinct is to deal with whatever is in the digestive system, all other functions are put on the back burner until that is accomplished. In Oriental Medicine, we believe that the body heals itself while you’re sleeping.

The liver is the most active between 1:00am and 3:00am; during that time, it should be purifying the blood. In this case, if a meal is eaten and not fully digested before this time, the liver may not be able to fully do its job, which can lead to many issues down the road. An immediate feeling would be one of “food stagnation,” that weird feeling in your stomach when it feels full and uncomfortable after you’ve eaten late at night and gone straight to bed.

Modern assistance for busy lives would include the following: if you have to eat close to when you lie down to sleep occasionally, use digestive enzymes with that meal (such as the ones that we carry in the office) to break down the food more rapidly. If you have any questions about your specific situation, feel free to give us a call at (414) 332-8888 or email us at info@milwaukeeacu.com.

To your happy digestive system, using the brilliance of Oriental medicine…

Nothing in this document is intended as a substitute for your doctor’s diagnosis and/or treatment. This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA.

Tips for finding an Acupuncturist

photo collage of the clinic

How To Choose an Acupuncturist

Did you know that there are actually several different forms of Acupuncture that vary in their effectiveness?

Patients often ask, “I’d like to refer someone I know to an Acupuncturist where they live out-of-state, how do I help them find a good Acupuncturist?” Or “I’m going to be out of state for three months and I want to continue care while I’m away, how can I find a good Acupuncturist in that area?” When first searching for a practitioner, people often ask, “how do I know if an Acupuncturist is any good?”

mao tse-tung
Mao Tse-tung established The People’s Republic of China in 1949.

First of all, do not hesitate to ask us to help you find someone in another area, as we train Acupuncturists all over the U.S. and even Canada.  The basic question to ask a prospective Acupuncturist is: “Do you practice TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)?” If they say yes, their focus will be on treating symptoms, not treating the underlying cause of a symptom. Unfortunately, in 1949,  Mao Tse Tung made changes to the medicine, causing it to be less effective, and called it “Traditional Chinese Medicine.” Since acupuncture did not gain popularity in the United States until the 1970s, TCM was the only form brought to the United States. Because of this, most practitioners in the U.S. use the TCM version of acupuncture.

Our research into the history of this 3,500-year-old medicine has led us here at Acupuncture and Holistic Health Associates to practice the earlier, more effective, solution-based form of acupuncture, which alleviates symptoms, more rapidly and more permanently.  We DO NOT practice TCM.

“The modern day practice of acupuncture in China that has been imported to the United States is known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)… Mao [Tse Tung] established 5 universities… the system of TCM shows the influence of Western Medicine as well as the Communist society from which it springs ….There are aspects to the tradition of acupuncture that pre-date the China of Mao Tse Tung that still survive, especially in the traditions of acupuncture in Japan … in these oldest traditions of acupuncture, the most skilled practitioner was the physician who could, though a careful evaluation of the subtle physical signs and a careful evaluation… detect disease in its earliest stages before the person became gravely ill.”  (source:www.acupunctureworks.organicmd/acu/acufaq.htm)

In summary, TCM practitioners treat symptoms for short-term (if any) gains, or, “Give a man a fish.” Functional-style practitioners increase the body’s function so it can heal itself; “Teach a man to fish.”

Brief Timeline of Chinese Medicine:

1500 BC: first recorded attempt at conceptualizing and treating disease with Chinese medicine; discovered written on the inside of a tortoise shell.

≈200 BC: earliest known medical text, Huangdi Neijing (English : “Yellow Emperor’s Classic”) is written.

113 BC: earliest examples of metal needles believed to be used for medical purposes found in a tomb in China.

1600 AD: Chinese Medicine evolves with a focus on longevity, vitality, virility and fertility.

1671 AD: earliest written record of acupuncture released in the western world.

1949 AD: Mao Tse Tung creates TCM, destroying volumes of material that were based on the original form of Acupuncture.

1972 AD: Journalist James Reston accompanies Richard Nixon to China and reports on Acupuncture being used as anesthetic for minor and major surgery, igniting American interest.

Currently: The vast majority of practitioners in America practice TCM without knowing it, as American interest began AFTER Mao Tse Tung bastardized the medicine. Thankfully, at least a very small percentage of Acupuncturists still utilize the ancient and most effective methods of Acupuncture.