by Ted Kardash, Ph.D.
by Ted Kardash, Ph.D.
by Heiner Fruehauf
“Gu” was once a prominent term in ancient medical texts, but the word has virtually disappeared from modern textbook descriptions of Chinese medicine. I came across this concept nearly twenty years ago when I began researching the traditional treatment of parasitism in Chinese herbalism. In my research, I found that the character Gu most often describes a situation of entrenched parasitism that eventually brings about a state of extreme stagnation, as well as mental and physical decay. Generally, the label Gu represents a syndrome that warrants the presence of particularly vicious parasites, or a super-infection of many different parasites that have combined their toxic potential to gradually putrefy the patient's body and mind. From a modern perspective, this definition of Gu syndrome points to aggressive helminthic, protozoan, fungal, spirochetal, or viral afflictions that have become systemic in an immune compromised patient.
By Felice Dunas Ph.D.
While reading a Harvard Business Review article on Authentic Leadership (leadership that includes the wholeness of self rather than just ambition based endeavors), I was intrigued by research addressing the importance of a strong support network for leaders. By loving and being loved, by leaning and being leaned upon, leaders fly higher, bringing more goodness and transformation into the world. Without people a leader can be loved by and completely feel love for, the leader’s wings are clipped and their power to positively influence the world is limited. This inspired me to think that we are all leaders and need to feel loved to optimize our effectiveness.
The American Chinese Culture and Education Foundation (ACCEF) is a non-profit, national charity organization in the United States, formed for the goal of reaching out to mainstream society to promote the awareness of traditional Chinese culture. With education in mind, ACCEF also strives to sponsor under-privileged children in rural areas of China, donating time, money, and supplies to Chinese schools.
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) in San Diego has begun the process of joining forces with ACCEF to create a bridge for academic and cultural exchange with three Chinese TCM universities. San Diego PCOM faculty member and ACCEF board member Lily Chang arranged an April 2011 trip to China for representatives of Pacific College to meet with ACCEF members, and with officials from the Chinese universities. The visit lay the foundation for PCOM to be the first ACCEF educational partner involved in a study abroad program that will allow students to learn about traditional Chinese medicine at the geographical source of its development. In addition to taking these first steps towards creating future educational opportunities, PCOM and ACCEF have joined forces on a scholarship available for San Diego-based PCOM students who participate in ACCEF activities.
Marianne Chalmers, a 2010 Pacific College of Oriental Medicine New York alumna, lives 90 minutes away from Joplin, Missouri, where a tornado struck on May 22, 2011, leaving a devasting path of destruction in its wake. According to National Weather Service records, the recent Joplin tornado was the deadliest twister in more than 60 years. The tornado left a 13-mile long trail of destruction, killing 142 people and leaving close to 8,000 homes decimated.
Armed with her Masters in Traditional Oriental Medicine (MSTOM) and a long interest in AcupuncturistsWithout Borders (AWB), Chalmers responded to the call for volunteer acupuncturists. Chalmers became pivotal in getting the AWB training and on-site venue set-up, as well as organizing and scheduling volunteer participation. Volunteer acupuncturists and massage therapists (who provided acupressure treatments) work 8 - 10 hours a day on site, and treat between 35-40 people daily.
By Arnaud Versluys, PhD, MD (China), LAc
Chinese Medicine is an ethnical medical system with strong cultural characteristics. As one enters Chinese medical school, the primary task at hand is to assume new ways of thinking and immerse oneself in its different philosophies. Especially for Western students of Chinese medicine, the need to mold one’s mind and measure oneself a new set of values and life principles, is one of the most important undertakings of the aspirant student. This mission of shaping one’s thought patterns in classical style is crucial to allow one to think in ‘old-fashioned’ Chinese ways as it will be the only means to grasp the often challenging analytical thought models developed by the ancient Chinese.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture can contribute an important part of the treatment plan for a patient recovering from a stroke. Use of a range of conventional and traditional treatment provides the patient with the greatest chance for recovery of function, minimization of disability, and can also reduce pain and help the patient cope with frustration and other adverse emotional reactions to their illness. TCM approaches may also be used to lessen the side-effects of conventional medicines which may include lethargy and nausea.
Acupuncture has been shown to increase blood flow in areas of the brain immediately around lesions caused by a stroke, and so may facilitate brain repair and re-organization to compensate for areas of organic damage. Clinical trials indicate that acupuncture is a low cost treatment with few risks of side-effects. The absence in TCM of toxicity, which can result in side-effects is a quality that allows acupuncture to be safely used in conjunction with any conventional therapies.
Acupuncture practitioners around the globe can tell you that migraine sufferers seek help from acupuncture clinics on a daily basis. Many find that this method of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) offers symptom relief unparalleled by oral medications. This ancient therapy is becoming more widespread and increasingly introduced into mainstream Western healthcare in the 21st century and can replace expensive arsenals of medications including prophylactics, tricyclic agents, muscle relaxants, beta-blockers, and painful injections. Patients who know their onset symptoms can even use acupuncture to avert severe headaches.
Statistics show that approximately 70 millions Americans report suffering from recurring headaches. More than 25 million of these victims have been diagnosed with migraines. Traditional Chinese medicine can supplement or, in some cases, replace Western medicine as a means for these patients to function normally from day-to-day. Another advantage of acupuncture is that it is not linked to any of the unwanted side effects that come with traditional drug prescriptions.
Depression is a condition that involves both the mind and the body and affects how a person feels, thinks, and behaves, and may make a person feel anxious and apathetic. Many people who suffer from depression or anxiety complain of muscle pain, headache, upset digestion, fatigue, and loss of interest, among other things. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) evaluates the entire body system, including physical conditions and emotional symptoms, and treatments are uniquely tailored to each patient with the goal of healing the body and mind, as well as revitalizing the spirit.
Central to acupuncture practice is the total evaluation of a person’s “qi”, pronounced “chi”, the body’s vital life energy, and how to accelerate the circulation of qi and blood through a system of specific channels running throughout the body, called meridians. Each meridian relates to major body organs and functions, as well as emotions. The emotions associated with loss, repressed expression, and other stressful events, will cause the muscular structure surrounding the chest cavity to constrict and tighten on the lungs and heart. The chest constriction restricts the qi flow to the liver and heart, a condition diagnosed in TCM as qi stagnation in the liver. Without release, the tension now contained within the chest cavity will continue to strain the heart, which, left untreated, results in panic attacks, anxiety and panic syndrome, also described in TCM as a condition called ‘Heart in the Heart’.
The ancient practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers some insight to the varying causes of sleeplessness. The pairing of acupuncture with herbal remedies can bring relief to patients with chronic insomnia, nightmares, and even sleep apnea.
Patients battling chronic insomnia can tell you that insufficient or poor quality sleep leads not only to irritability and exhaustion, but also to muscle stiffness, impaired cognitive function, fibromyalgia, and other significant health problems. Commonly, Western medicine will search for a physical or emotional problem causing the sleeplessness, but TCM recognizes that insomnia can stem from a fundamental imbalance of energy, or qi. While sleeping pills and anti-depressants are commonly prescribed for insomnia and other sleep disorders, these prescriptions can become addictive and patients can find it difficult to sleep naturally, without pills or medicine in the future. Patients may find better relief through the natural based treatments of acupuncture and herbal remedies.