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Traditional Chinese Medicine has been used to treat skin conditions for thousands of years. While Perioral Dermatitis is a newly recognized disease, only about 35 years old, the Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments for similar skin conditions remain helpful in addressing the condition. Symptoms of Perioral Dermatitis Perioral Dermatitis is a skin disorder which causes an erythema (redness of the skin), red bumps (called papules and pustules), and scaling. Perioral Dermatitis can look like acne, although it is not the same condition. As the name infers, the most common locations of Perioral Dermatitis include around the mouth, on the chin, cheeks, and next to the nose. It can also occur around the eyes or on the eyelids, which is referred to

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a term that refers to medicine practices developed in China and other parts of Asia.  Traditional Chinese Medicine generally covers many types of modalities including acupuncture and moxibustion, Chinese Herbal remedies, Tui Na or Chinese Medical Massage, as well as other manual therapies including gua sha (spoon massage or coining) and cupping. In China, the term Chinese medicine (in Chinese it is called Zhong Yi 中医) often refers to the practice of Chinese herbal medicine.  Although it can also refer to the entire practice of Chinese medicine. While acupuncture refers to acupuncture and moxibustion. Some of these therapies are performed only by experienced physicians, such as prescribing complex herbal formulas or doing acupuncture. But others are

The Meaning of Zhen Jiu ( 针灸) Acupuncture is not just acupuncture.  In fact, the word for acupuncture in Chinese, Zhen Jiu, actually  translates to “acupuncture and moxibustion”  which shows how central moxibustion is within acupuncture. Moxibustion is the warming of acupuncture points or needles.  Most often, this is done through burning an herb called mugwort.  It can also be done with heat lamps as well as herbal lotions. In my office, we use smokeless moxibustion because it is treated and does not create much smoke. How does Moxibustion work? Just like with acupuncture, moxibustion focuses on correcting the underlying imbalance in the body. Because it is warming, generally moxibustion is used when there is cold in the body.  Moxibustion

“And when you do find one, observe with care…they almost always have crystals in their hearts.” From Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez To understand Chinese medicine better, we also have to think about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine conceptualize and describe the body. The Language of Acupuncture and Chinese medicine Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese medicine is a comprehensive medical system with it own diagnosis and treatment.  The terminology and language is also unique. Sometimes, acupuncture language may sound a little magical.  We may say that a headache is caused by liver qi stagnation in one person but in another person it may be from heat.  Similarly, anxiety can come from heart blood vacuity but it

Acupuncturists have a choice in terms of how long the needles are left in the acupuncture points.  Different times have different clinical effects. Most often, the acupuncture needles are retained in the acupuncture points for 20-30 minutes.  Traditionally we say it takes 30 minutes for the qi, the body’s energy, to circulate in the channels. But if it is an acute situation, such as a back spasm, it is generally better to leave the acupuncture needles in for about 20 minutes.  This is because the muscles will relax quicker in an acute injury like a back spasm. When the energy is weak, what we call qi deficiency, it is better to leave the needles in for a longer period of

Observing the tongue and taking the pulse are two of the most common diagnostic techniques in Chinese medicine. Why look at the tongue? Chinese medicine uses diagnostic approaches, like the tongue and the pulse, because they reflect the imbalances that are causing your health problem. What are we looking for in the tongue? When I am looking at the tongue, I am looking at the the color of the tongue, the size and shape of the tongue body, and the coating on top of the tongue. If the tongue is very red, or very pale that can show there is heat, or qi deficiency. If the tongue body is purplish, it can show stagnation, a lack of circulation in the

I have often written about herbal remedies for treating common colds.  Today, I will expand on the two most common herbal formulas I use for preventing common colds: Ling Zhi and Gan Mao Ling.1.  Ling Zhi (ganoderma or Reishi): This Chinese herb is a mushroom that has powerful immune boosting properties.  We say it can boost the body’s qi, or energy. It can also be effective for fatigue and poor digestion. This herb is best for preventing colds.  Now, the change of seasons, is the perfect time to begin taking Ling Zhi. When the seasons change it is easy to get  cold.   Ling Zhi helps to prevent getting the cold be giving an immune boost.   I take only a

As we all know that the change of season can easily cause a common cold.   Eating soup is a good way to boost up your qi. There is no big secret to vegetable soup.  I eat it all the time, especially during the change of seasons to prevent colds from coming on.  I particularly like it during the colder months, summer to fall, because it helps to warm the body and open the respiratory system with aromatic vegetables. Ingredients: 1 large yellow onion 4 carrots 2 turnips 2 celery stalks 1 bay leaf fresh parsley 1 teaspoon of sea salt or kosher salt optional: broccoli stalks, cauliflower leaves, turnip greens, or any root vegetable The simple directions for vegetable soup

Chronic back pain and neck pain often develops after a car accident.   It can happen directly after the accident or gradually over a period of time.   Sometimes, people with chronic neck and back pain just doesn’t seem to get better, no matter what they try, even if there are no findings on the x-rays and MRI tests. Acupuncture is very effective at reducing chronic back pain after a car accident. In acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine  the concept of circulation is unique and can be the reason acupuncture works when other therapies do not. Acupuncture Meridians The body is interconnected by acupuncture channels and meridians.  These connect and protect the body.  An injury or car accident causes a disruption in

It takes many years for an acupuncturist to develop skills in taking the pulse.  A properly trained and skilled acupuncturist can find out a lot from your pulse. The pulse is a significant aspect the Chinese medicine diagnosis process. The pulse reflects the imbalances in the body and the strength of the body’s energy.  This helps to determine the root cause of your health concern. What does an acupuncturist look for in the pulse? The pulse is a reflection of the what is going on inside the body.  As an acupuncturist, when I take the pulse, I don’t just thin about if it is too fast or slow.  I am looking for is it very strong, or very weak, is