you are welcome to read interesting facts about issues that occur frequently and in which traditional chinese medicine (tcm) can do a potentially good job:
some wake up with it in the mornings. others get attacked by it in the afternoons or evenings, or upon weather change, and women before their menses: headache, in extreme cases migraine headache. the main difference is the one-sidedness of migraine, left or right. a headache, on the other hand, can occur in various parts of the head: back of the head, vertex, temples, forehead, around the eyes. migraine is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and the need to lie in the dark. painkillers seem to be the only thing that help, this is what most of the ones who suffer think. what many people do not know or realize is: headache remedies taken on a regular basis can become the actual trigger of the headache! hence the vicious circle is perfect and the switch to another medication may solve the problem just temporarily but not in the long run.
traditional chinese medicine (tcm) knows many causes of headache or migraine and treats them accordingly. not all headaches or migraines are the same. in most cases, questioning, pulse and tongue diagnosis provide very clear information about the cause. let's take the example of headache in the mornings when waking up. this form of headache is mostly due to a so-called stagnation of qi, the life energy that flows through the twelve main meridians and eight extra meridians that run through our body. because we lie down and rest at night, it can happen that the energy slows down too much, this can cause a headache. or let's take the example of migraine shortly before women’s menses. the problem here is that qi rushes too strong upwards into the head and accumulates there. or headache that occurs in the afternoons. usually it is due to hypoglycaemia, lack of fluid (water) and fatigue. but tcm knows many more forms and causes of headache and migraine and has answers. in most cases acupuncture as single treatment method is sufficient. sometimes the help of herbs can be indicated, especially if the suffering is very severe and chronic. in any case, the patient’s cooperation is highly important. be it that he merely drinks more water, or that he eats frequently small meals, avoids stress, does gentle sports or learns to meditate. the recommendations are individual and should be heeded for rapid but also sustainable success.
at baby-age it can start with cradle cap, in the infant-age with neurodermatitis, in puberty with acne, in adulthood with psoriasis. the range of skin diseases is wide, and the number of those who suffer very large. chronic skin problems can put a strain on the psyche and severely impair the quality of life. it is therefore quite easy to understand that those who are plagued by skin problems over months or even years take heavy medication, even if it’s only for a temporary relieve but it often does not help the cause.
traditional chinese medicine (tcm) distinguishes five elements: water, wood, fire, earth, metal and assigns the skin to the latter together with the organs lung and large intestine. this explains why tcm always involves digestion in the treatment of skin diseases. skin problems seldomly appear out of nowhere. they are mostly the expression of an inner imbalance. let's take the very common example of acne. it is mostly due to so-called 'damp-heat', and when the pimples are painful, the pattern is accompanied by 'blood stagnation'. the principal causes are inappropriate nutrition and poor digestion. often too strong emotions are involved as well, which also produce heat in the body. and since heat rises according to its physical law, acne expresses itself especially in the upper body regions. in severe cases, acne also finds its way inside the body and can also affect the genital region. tcm understands the nature of many skin diseases and how they relate to each other. in treatment, the emphasis is placed on herbal therapy and acupuncture is used in addition. nutrition and lifestyle change are very important for the success of the treatment. many patients don't like to hear that they have to avoid citrus fruits, milk and wheat products, hot spices, red meat, sweets, sugar, alcohol and cigarettes. but if they understand that they are not supposed to give up for life, but temporarily, until the physical climate has returned to normal, it helps them to cooperate. when change happens and becomes visible after a few weeks, most of them voluntarily avoid the harmful substances because they finally feel comfortable in their own skin.
some experience the pain in the neck or shoulders, or in the back or lower back. the pain can be dull, pulling, spasmodic, or even burning or stabbing, and sometimes it radiates into the head, arms and legs. the range of causes is wide. for instance, sitting all day long in front of the computer, wrong posture, unsuitable shoes, too little exercise or simply a wrong move, which in the worst case can lead to lumbago, a disk hernia or a whiplash. many people get used to their tensions, their morning stiffness or the twitching in the lower back. others look for help from chiropractors, osteopaths or masseurs. and if it really hurts, some may take painkillers, or give their consent to cortisone injections or even an operation.
according to traditional chinese medicine (tcm) pain is the result of an energy blockage caused by an external influence or an internal disbalance. let's take the example of neck pain. it often arises from a lack of protection. on the neck are located so-called wind points, through which external wind, or also only a light breeze can penetrate into the body. once in the neck, this 'intruder' can block the flow of energy in the meridians and lead to severe pain. or let’s have a look at a lower back pain. it is often due to an energy weakness, caused by stress, inappropriate lifestyle, and feelings of fear that drain the energy of the kidneys. sometimes it may occur due to digestive problems. but whatever the cause of back pain is, it should be addressed at an early stage and treated gently. tcm uses various methods to treat neck, shoulder or back pain. acupuncture is used to harmonize the energy; cupping or gua sha, which is a skin scraping technique, is used in external influences; and herbs to strengthen the energy. in acute cases such as lumbago, disc hernia or whiplash, acupuncture is particularly pain-relieving and complements conventional medical therapies in a useful way. in all cases, a good therapist will also give individual recommendations for the right body posture, correct footwear and clothing, exercise, sport, lifestyle and nutrition for lasting results.
when nature is sprouting or animals are looking for cuddles, allergic people may want to run far away. hay fever or animal hair allergy usually begins with a tickle in the nose, a sneeze, itchy reddened eyes, tearing, tightness in the chest, and breathing difficulty. in extreme cases, it can develop into an asthma attack. antihistamines or asthma spray seem to be the only solution. many avoid going out for a walk, or visiting friends with pets. It doesn’t have to be that way.
traditional chinese medicine (tcm) understands allergy, in particular hay fever or animal hair allergy, as an excessive reaction of the body to an external factor, usually combined with an underlying weakness of the immune system. this may sound contradictory. but in order to evaluate its environment properly, a healthy defence mechanism that decides on 'good for me' or 'bad for me' is provided. if this mechanism is disturbed, it comes to overreactions, or sometimes also to a lack of reaction. the latter is rarely precepted as suffering as it is less visible with less discomfort. an allergy to external influences is always based on an inner imbalance, which does not know how to handle the respective information adequately. let's take the example of animal hair allergy. one fine day you get up in the morning and you become aware that you feel uncomfortable in the presence of your dog or cat. it starts to itch in your eyes, you have to sneeze, you can't stand the animal hair flying around, you don't like to pet your animal anymore. your body overreacts, and you don't understand why. traditional chinese medicine (tcm) understands this situation as a stagnation or even a accumulation of energy. it's like a dam. when the lake has reached its highest limit and even more water flows in, it overflows, in extreme cases the dam breaks. here tcm can mediate between inside and outside with acupuncture and herbs and ensure appropriate tolerance. in the case of allergies, it is also extremely important to understand that nutrition and digestion play an important role. because our defensive power depends to a large extent on what we eat. digestion shows how well we utilize the food. an expert therapist will always give individual nutritional recommendations in connection with allergies, which support the success of the treatment. the prospects of a peaceful relationship with each other - be it with nature or with pets - are positive at any rate. after all, nature always strives for harmony.
it starts very slowly with a feeling that everything is too much, that life becomes a burden. in the mornings you feel slain and hardly want to get up. the everyday commitments seem tedious, the professional demands overtaxing, the social contacts draining, and you don't understand what's the matter with you. chronic fatigue is usually detected when it is already well advanced. it includes symptoms such as loss of drive, pleasure, joy and appetite, headache, insomnia, shortness of breath, paleness, sluggish digestion, flatulence, chills, weakness of the immune system, etc.
traditional chinese medicine (tcm) attributes chronic fatigue to a latent lack of qi (life energy) and blood (vitality) and is often accompanied by a so-called stagnation of qi and blood. if there is a lack, how can a blockade occur at the same time? a simple picture explains this phenomenon: a semi-dried river with isolated puddles, but it lacks enough strength (qi) and water (blood) to allow a flow (well-being). how to rebuild qi and blood in the body? tcm knows how to build up energy and vitality with herbs and to release stagnation with acupuncture. the duration of the treatment is very individual and depends on how long and how severe the chronic deficiency has lasted. at the same time, it is important to understand that energy is mainly obtained from food, water, air and sunlight. unfortunately, sunlight is sometimes scarce in our degrees of latitude, but with a varied balanced diet, sufficient water and fresh air, the energy tank can be filled well. enough sleep and relaxation, not only during holidays, but also in everyday life, are a matter of course. for sustainable results, it is advisable to perform a 'finetuning' every three months after the actual therapy. this means a so-called seasonal acupuncture treatment, which is used at the beginning of the four seasons: 21.3., 21.6., 23.9. and 21.12. by treating certain points which affect those organs which are particularly active in the immediately following season, the flow of qi and blood is regulated and thus the harmony with the rhythm of nature is promoted.
even at the mere thought of menopause, some women get an outbreak of sweat. some are lucky and don’t get bothered by the hormonal change, but many suffer from symptoms such as hot flushes, sweating, a reddened face, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, dizziness, tinnitus, back pain, night sweats, dry mouth, eyes, hair and vagina, constipation, irritability, depression, increased facial hair growth, etc. the list of possible signs is long. and when the menopausal symptoms are too heavy, the temptation to take a hormone replacement is great. comprehensible, and especially if a woman already has suffered from monthly complaints for decades – this on top is too much!
traditional chinese medicine (tcm) understands this change as a natural process, which occurs at the age of about 7x7 years. during menopause, which lasts about one to two years, the equilibrium of yin and yang, respectively the substances and the functional aspects of the body are out of balance. blood (yin) dries up, which is why heat (yang) rises. it is similar to a scale, you remove a bit from one bowl, the other bowl automatically rises. ideally, the two weigh bowls settle down again after a few months, because nature strives for harmony. but depending on your personal gynaecological history, the rebalancing can be very difficult or even not be possible to happen on its own. there are numerous unpleasant symptoms that persist if not treated. in this case traditional chinese medicine (tcm) can provide a harmonizing service with acupuncture and herbs and rebalance the imbalance of yin (estrogen) and yang (progesterone). interestingly, sometimes yin and yang 'sink' equally. then symptoms like shivering, cold hands and feet, facial pallor and swollen ankles occur on top. in both cases tcm can mediate a balancing effect. if the complaints are only mild and bearable, it is advisable to experience the process, to trust nature and to let it run its course. however, if the quality of life is impaired, it is advisable to help nature gently. for best results, a good therapist will also give recommendations for nutrition and nutritional supplements. in the end, tcm may help women to stay cool.
it’s not a nice feeling not to have found any rest and being slain in the morning. a bad night can happen once in a while. but if it happens frequently, one should seek for help the soonest possible. because sleep disturbances impair well-being in the short run and can damage health in the long run. body and mind need a good night’s sleep for processing, detoxification and recovery. whatever happens while sleeping becomes noticeable upon sleep deprivation: one feels tired, irritated, listless and without drive, sensitive and prone to being easily sick.
traditional chinese medicine (tcm) sees in the quality of sleep one of the crucial health aspects and gives great importance in asking questions like: what causes trouble, falling asleep or sleeping through? is sleep disturbed by nervousness, worries, hunger or the need to go to the toilett? are sweating or feelings of heat involved? etc. every form of sleep disorder has a different cause. let's take the example of difficulty to fall asleep. here the problem is usually a so-called blood deficiency. the mind, according to tcm, rests in the blood at night. if there is too little of it, the mind does not find its place to rest and therefore wanders restlessly around. when frequently waking up, the balance of the aspects yin and yang is disturbed. at night, yin (night energy) should predominate. if this aspect is too weak, yang (day energy) loses its anchor, is detached and thus wakes up the sleeping person repeatedly. tcm can act with acupuncture and herbs on the specific sleep issue and provide a gentle, restful sleep. usually, the good results show within a few days or weeks. and if the following recommendations are followed, the bad nights are soon over: end the evening calmly and peacefully. one hour before going to bed, no TV, food, coffee, alcohol, nicotine, and no discussions. instead, a foam bath, good-night tea, novel, beautiful music, etc. and very important: to go to bed early and preferably always at the same time! people who give a lot for beauty know about the fountain of youth before midnight. in fact, the body recovers best at this time. seven to eight hours of sleep should be the rule. your health will reward you with energy and freshness.
it seems to appear from out of nowhere. you start to sweat, your heart races, your body trembles, your breathing becomes flat, your senses are as if fogged, nothing seems real anymore, and the only option left is to fight or flee! so it seems. a few moments later, the nerves calm down again, you become clear in your head and you wonder what it was all about? why panic in an absolute everyday situation like in a lift, tram, traffic or in a shop, or restaurant? anxiety and panic disorders are a phenomenon which hunts more and more people. in extreme cases, those affected don't even dare to leave the house anymore and involuntarily isolate themselves. many feel very helpless, also ashamed and seek advice rather late when fear has already imprisoned their lives.
traditional chinese medicine (tcm) explains anxiety and panic disorders as an imbalance between the elements fire and water with the corresponding organs heart and kidneys. excitement causes heart palpitations, fear causes bladder weakness. initially a slight anxiety is percepted, which develops into vague fear and finally into panic attacks with fear of death, the feeling of suffocation, fainting, losing self-control, going mad. the triggers are certain situations, which the affected automatically begin to avoid, but also anxious thoughts, which end up in the viscous circle of being afraid of the fear. there are many reasons why miscommunication between fire and water or heart and kidneys can occur: stress at home or work, existential fears, self-doubt, trauma, shock, alcohol and drugs, thyroid dysfunction, iron deficiency, etc. tcm can mediate between the elements with acupuncture and herbs and rebalance the emotional and energetic disequilibrium. western medicine treats anxiety and panic disorders with antidepressants and sedatives. in acute cases they provide relief, but they do not solve the problem itself. for lasting results, it is crucial to treat the root of the imbalance. in addition to the treatment with tcm, it is important to reduce stress as much as possible, to get plenty of sleep and rest, to strive for a balanced change of life and above all to face the situations repeatedly that cause anxiety. an accompanying psychotherapy can additionally help to overcome fears. good support is also provided by the emotional freedom technique (eft), a tapping technique, as well as autogenic training and meditation. working on yourself is necessary and worthwhile in any case. because once you have gone through the dark, you will perceive the light completely differently.
nowadays, as professional demands and private desires are increasing, often accompanied by frustration and self-doubt, inner peace and balance are an invaluable asset. but what to do when you get up in the morning already with this feeling that things are wrong? when your kids drive you nuts at breakfast, or you feel the urge to kill your boss on the next meeting? or if you can’t help but crying at the slightest criticism, or you would like to yell at everyone because they are all useless? when men suffer from mood swings, this is often attributed to stress or even a burnout. in women it is more likely spoken of premenstrual syndrome or depression.
traditional chinese medicine (tcm) deals intensively with the whole range of emotions like joy, worry, thoughtfulness, sadness, grief, fear, anger and asks accordingly. whenever feelings go into extremes, there is an emotional imbalance that over time can lead to other symptoms. let's take the example of anger and play it in fast motion: today you have been annoyed by your boss or partner. tomorrow you will notice that your stomach is upset and your shoulders hurt. the day after tomorrow you will be constipated and suffer from headache. the next day your blood pressure is higher than normal and you will feel dizzy. in the end you will have heart palpitations and sleeping problems. in reality, this possible development happens naturally over weeks or months. the opposite case is possible as well, means, that a physical imbalance can cause emotions, as in the very clear and nice example of the premenstrual syndrome with irritability, restlessness, nervousness or crying, melancholy, and depression. tcm can provide a balancing service with acupuncture and herbs and sooth the mind and emotions. the aim is always the harmony of body, mind and soul. they always influence each other and are therefore considered and treated holistically. it’s obvious, that self-control techniques such as the conscious care of ones 'mental hygiene' is also necessary in order to achieve a sustainable result. boss, partner or kids may not be interchangeable, but so are the feelings and attitudes with which one encounters people and situations. also recommended are supporting measures such as tai qi, qi gong, yoga, autogenic training, meditation, which all have a calming and harmonizing effect on the mind.
each month the same. pain and agony. in the best case only for a few hours, in the worst over days. many women are afflicted monthly by sometimes almost unbearable stabbing, pulling or cramp-like abdominal pain when their menses start, and see themselves forced to take strong painkillers. sometimes back and leg pain occur as well, or acute migraine headache and nausea. the time before menstruation starts is the premenstrual phase. this phase is well known to some poor men, whose wife become irritable and bitchy, who are looking for trouble or break into tears for no reason, so it seems. in extreme cases, this premenstrual syndrome (pms) already starts at mid-cycle, i.e. two weeks before the onset of the period! as soon as the menses set in and the blood flow becomes smooth, the nightmare is over.
traditional chinese medicine (tcm) understands pms as an energy accumulation, in technical jargon qi-stagnation. qi is the life energy that flows through the twelve main meridians and eight extra meridians that run through our body. pms includes symptoms such as breast tenderness, irritability, frustration, impatience, depression, sighing, cold fingers and toes, distention of the abdomen, etc. at the start of the menstruation, the accumulation reaches its climax, and abdominal, leg and back pain of varying severity can occur. when the first stagnant bleeding turns into a proper flow, together with a smooth flow of qi, women experience relief. on the other hand some women feel worse after menstruation. This kind of imbalance is attributed to a so-called blood deficiency. signs and symptoms are sleep disorders, headaches, dizziness, sadness, depression, diarrhea or constipation, feelings of weakness, or even fainting. tcm can alleviate or even eliminate premenstrual, menstrual and postmenstrual complaints with acupuncture and herbs. the weakly treatments follow the natural movement of the aspect yin and yang of the female cycle. in the first and second week after the period the energy is built up, in the third week it is regulated and in the fourth week it is moved. ideally after the first cycle women should feel an improvement, but for sustainable results they should expect six to nine months of treatment, which is barely nothing compared to 35-40 years of recurrent menstrual pain each month. It’s worth giving it a try to gain more joy of life and pleasure in being a woman.
the lucky ones never experience a problem, and the sorely afflicted ones struggle every day to have a proper bowel movement. physical and mental-emotional well-being depends on it. it’s indeed not nice for those who are plagued chronically by either fullness, sour burping, flatulence, constipation, or diarrhea, in the worst case accompanied by cramps, burning or stabbing pain. western medicine differentiates between irritable bowel syndrome, influenced by the autonomic nervous system, crohn's disease, which is a chronic inflammation of the bowels, or food intolerance, etc.
in traditional chinese medicine (tcm), digestion is the centre for the production of the life energy 'qi', the defensive energy 'wei qi' and the nourishing energy 'ying qi'. if this centre is disturbed, the whole physical balance is disturbed. the causes can be external or internal. externally, for example when you eat food that might be good for others, but not for you due to an intolerance. internally, when anger, stress or worries get on your nerves. tcm can act with acupuncture and herbs both on the physical and on the mental-emotional level and provide balance. let's take the example of chronic constipation. the most frequent causes are either so-called stagnation of qi or inner dryness. in one case it is necessary to move the energy with acupuncture, in the other to moisten the dryness with herbs. in the example of irritable bowel syndrome it is advisable to calm the mind and to gently regulate the digestion with acupuncture and possibly with herbs. in all cases, however, the individual dietary recommendations are very important as like in a car, it is crucial for the engine whether you fill up with diesel or petrol.