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Archive for the ‘Traditional Chinese Medicine’ tag

Infertility and TCM (Part 8): The Promise of Blending Western and Eastern Medicine

By David Kreiner MD

June 10th, 2014 at 6:34 pm

 

 

image courtesy of stuart miles/freedigital photos.net

As I approach the midway point of my second semester of studying Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) I realize that I believe much more strongly in the effectiveness of these ancient healing arts.  I have begun to work on recharging the Qi in my body by performing Qigong exercises and improving my abdominal breathing.  I stimulate my Qi meridians throughout my body daily to improve the flow of Qi in my body.  I even have performed some acupuncture on myself that I am convinced has helped relieve some minor arthritic pain as well as other symptoms that I have developed over the years.

I foresee a time when many physicians will utilize acupuncture to fill some voids that I have witnessed in Western Medicine.  Patients with aches and pains, chronic cough, urinary complaints and other common health issues often are either overlooked by Western physicians or inadequately treated.  TCM treatments of acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping and herbal therapies may offer an effective alternative to pharmaceuticals and surgery with less risk and fewer side effects.  I have seen benefit from these “manipulations of Qi” and believe that as the Western public becomes more aware of TCM it will become a commonplace mode of therapy.

Perhaps, even more exciting to me is the use of TCM as an adjuvant to Western Medicine.  We know that sophisticated Western laboratory and diagnostic testing is very effective in establishing Western diagnoses that are amenable to pharmaceutical and surgical therapeutics.  TCM, used as an adjuvant to these treatments offers a unique opportunityto improve the constitution of individuals thereby increasing their natural abilityto fight disease.  Also, by working through a different pathway TCM holds promise to increase the effectiveness of the Western Medicine treatment. 

This is the reason TCM/acupuncture combined with Western Medicine provided by high quality IVF centers offers patients their optimal chance for pregnancy success. 

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Have you, or has anyone you know, used TCM/acupuncture as an adjuvant to IVF or another assisted reproductive technology? Did you feel it made a difference?




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TCM and Infertility Part 6: TCM Pathogens of Wind, Cold, Heat, Dampness, Dryness, Phlegm and Emotion

By David Kreiner MD

April 18th, 2014 at 10:27 pm

 

credit: stuart miles/freedigitalphotos.net


Welcome, to my new world where I often feel like Robert A. Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land”.  

UnIike Heinlein’s protagonist, I am not accustomed to eating the bodies of the dead (though some natural holistic purists may consider this act the ultimate in sustainability.)  But to the previously unexposed who’ve been brought up from a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, perhaps some of the Western Medical physicians’ practices may appear a bit barbaric.

In our recent Western Medical history such practices as lobotomy for psychological disorders, certain hard core diet therapies including high risk bowel resection surgery, and nearly routine hysterectomies for perimenopausal women would be considered potentially dangerous malpractice today.  However, if we thought drastic high-risk unnecessary medicine were a thing of the past, then consider the fact that excessive plastic surgery and some other unnecessary current Western therapies are more common now and have resulted in occasional deaths and disfigurement. 

Greed is a strong motivator and is one of the ills pervading our society… and the health care field has not been immune to its seduction.  Greed too often factors into determining the direction of treatment for individuals today.  Corporate greed is the reason insurance companies fail to cover many in need of health care and force physicians to see more patients than they have time to care for.  It is also a reason some providers order and perform some expensive and potentially risky tests and procedures.  

Western Medicine has had its share of iatrogenic disasters, yet I have seen many ill or infertile patients reap the benefits as a result of modern Western Medicine.  Even so, I as well as other physicians am left without answers all too often to explain or cure some of the complaints we hear from our patients.  For this reason I study TCM to learn its explanations and its treatments for some of these common ailments and complaints that elude the expertise of the Western physician.

I have been involved in the health care field for 37 years and I am quite comfortable communicating about pathogens such as bacteria and viruses and parasites and about pathophysiologic processes such as atherosclerotic heart disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, pelvic inflammatory disease and endometriosis to name a few.   Today, as I study Traditional Chinese Medicine, I now read and speak an additional language.  

The pathogens of TCM are Wind, Cold, Heat, Summer Heat, Dryness and Dampness, Phlegm and an individual’s emotions.  They may attack from outside the body such as wind cold (the equivalent to the common viral cold) or internally as a result of a disharmony among one or more of the organ systems.  Emotions such as Grief and sadness, anger, fear, worry and even joy according to TCM can be pathogenic when carried to an excess and lead to a disharmony of an organ system or to a blockage of the flow of Qi which can result in dampness and other pathologic events or pathogens. 

These pathogens are the “root” cause of the individual’s disharmony resulting in the manifestations or symptoms.  For example, complaints such as fever, cough, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, etc. ., are the result of these pathogens.  Interestingly, ancient Chinese texts refer to insects or bugs as being carried by the wind as a cause of some syndromes such as the Wind Cold referred to earlier.

There are also multiple ways to categorize and classify pathologic syndromes. They may be classified as cold or hot, internal or external, excessive or deficient or yin or yang conditions.  They may be identified as affecting one of the organ systems which are defined more based on their physiologic role from a traditional Chinese perspective rather than by their Western anatomic and physiologic identity that we learn in medical school.  There are four different layers of pathogenic attack from the most superficial to the deepest and most internal. There are even other theories of disease which may be used to classify pathology usually described as a disharmony affecting one or more organ systems.

The treatment prescription is based on the identified syndrome(s) and may be geared towards eliminating the root cause of the disease as well as the clinical manifestations and associated symptoms.  One may use acupuncture to tonify a particular weakened organ or Qi, yin or yang.  Acupuncture can eliminate heat or cold from one or more of the channels of Qi.  Or there may be excess body fluids in the form of edema, dampness or phlegm that needs to be eliminated.  Chinese herbal prescriptions are often given as an adjunct to the acupuncture to improve the efficacy of an individual’s treatment.

It does sound bizarre to this Western-trained physician, but I am impressed that the science of TCM has lasted thousands of years.  I imagine there must be something to this needling patients to modify the Qi in the body that has some benefit to the patients’ health and well-being.

I look forward to new adventures and greater understanding as I become more familiar navigating this strange land.

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Do you believe that TCM pathogens could be impacting your fertility?

 

 

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The Truth about Herbal Medicine

By Mike Berkley, L.ac.

August 17th, 2010 at 6:45 am

Chinese herbal medicine has been used for more than 3000 years to treat various types of pathological presentations including infertility. The main difference between acupuncture and herbal medicine is that acupuncture helps to move energy and improve blood flow throughout the body in general and to specific areas in particular. If for example, one is trying to improve ovarian health and egg-quality, acupuncture can be used to drive blood to the ovaries, generally improving their function and making them more responsive to gonadotropins.

Herbal medicine however actually affects system function. Herbs help to stimulate and nourish what is deficient (low platelet count) and to eradicate what is in excess (elevated androgen levels). Many reproductive endocrinologists do not want their patients to take herbs. The following two reasons are usually given:

1. “Herbs lower fsh falsely because they contain phytoestrogens.” This misinformation would only be accurate if the herbs lowered fsh, and the patient’s estrogen levels rose above 65pg/ml. The fact remains that many patients have their fsh levels regulated with herbal medicine in the context of an estradiol level which remains between 25pg/ml to 65pg/ml.

2. “Herbs can interfere with reproductive medicine.” This is not true.  Herbs actually work synergistically with reproductive medicine. For example, many patients are poor responders to gonadotropins but, when gonadotropins are used in conjunction with herbs the response is frequently improved.

The main reason that your doctor does not want you to take herbal medicine is because she or he is trying to protect you against what they perceive to be a health hazard which may occur as a result of the herbs. Of course these herbs when prescribed by a Board Certified herbalist are completely safe. Health hazards do not occur as a result of taking herbs anymore than health hazards occur as a result of taking Lupron or Gonal-F.

Your doctor should be commended for his or her responsible behavior towards their patient, but, unfortunately their information comes from not having the information; in other words, ignorance.

This attitude may also be manifested by practitioners of Complementary medicine. Many Complementary medicine doctors frequently advise their patients to stay away from IVF or IUI procedures because the “drugs will be harmful.” Of course this is utterly untrue. Once again, it comes from a position of ignorance. Western reproductive medical intervention is efficacious and safe. Think about this: when was the last time that you heard of someone being hospitalized or dying from herbal medicine which was prescribed by a Board Certified herbalist? I have never heard of such a case.

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