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depression

Depression

depressionIt’s normal for people to go through ups and downs in life. However, in some cases when an “up” fails to follow a “down” then there may be a deeper problem. This is becoming increasingly common today as people are under such pressure, and struggle to cope with the stress. In the West, diagnoses for depression are at record levels and growing. Unfortunately, evidence shows that conventional treatments are having limited success. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has an explanation for depression and treatment is highly effective.

Firstly, what symptoms indicate depression? Here are a few:

Low energy
Loss of appetite
Difficulty sleeping
Loss of interest in things you liked
Anger or irritability
Concentration problems
Chest pains

The combination of these symptoms only makes matters worse. The sufferer can become enveloped in a vicious cycle, trapped in an uncontrollable downward spiral. Typically a GP will offer antidepressants and perhaps a course of counselling. TCM takes a radically different approach. Effective and long lasting recovery is brought about only when the body functions properly.

Depression can be seen from many angles in Chinese Medicine, but put simply it’s the result of the body’s inability to nourish itself. This malnourishment centres on the digestive system, which is vital to bodily function. If food cannot be broken down and digested, then the body is deprived of energy to function correctly. This puts strain on everything else in the body to keep things in order, leading to all of the above-mentioned symptoms.

To treat the root cause of this problem, a TCM practitioner will give a full diagnosis and pinpoint the main culprit. Treatment will focus on making the body healthy. When this is achieved, then a healthy mind will follow.

For more information on this subject, or if you would like to discuss your own personal problem feel free to write me an email at info@nottinghamacupuncture.co.uk

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

common coldIrritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder. The main symptoms include abdominal pain, food intolerance, diarrhea and constipation. These symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable, often disabling sufferers and having a major impact on daily life. There is no known cure for IBS in Western medicine. The main way to treat it is to reduce its effects by changing diet and lifestyle.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) does recognise IBS but has a more individualised diagnosis system. As with all disease in TCM, at the core of every problem there is a root cause. In this case the root cause is an imbalance of the digestive system, resulting in hypersensitivity of the gut. Some IBS sufferers find their symptoms worsen with cold foods while for others hotter foods are not tolerated. These simple clues can aid a practitioner to correctly diagnose specifically where the imbalance is, so as to provide a more accurate treatment.

Food in TCM can be divided into 5 categories: hot, cold, warm, cool and neutral. Below are a few common examples:

ColdCoolNeutralWarmHot
PorkSpinachEggsBeefLamb
DuckMilkCornChickenPeanuts
BananaCheeseRiceGingerDeep fried foods
WatermelonTomatoesPotatoesCarrotsChilli
CucumberGreen TeaGrapesCoffeeCurry

As mentioned, ingesting certain types of food may aggravate the body and make the symptoms of IBS much worse. For example, eating a combination of duck and spinach can cause diarrhea. In this case the individual is said to have excessive cold in the body.

Changing your diet can relieve discomfort. However, the imbalance in the digestive system will still need to be addressed. A course of herbal medicine and acupuncture is highly effective in rebalancing the system resulting in healthy digestion of all types of foods.

For more information on this subject, or if you would like to discuss your own personal problem feel free to write me an email at info@nottinghamacupuncture.co.uk

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headache

Headache

headacheMost people at some point in their lives have encountered a headache, which is much more common than you would probably believe. According to recent research by the WHO, they have found around 47% of the adult population have experienced at least 1 headache in the last year alone. Some experiencing them more frequent than others, which is a headache in itself.

With so many daily sufferers out there the most common response is to take an aspirin or paracetamol. For some, this may help relieve the pain. But only in the short term. Over time the body becomes immune to the drug unless the dosage is increased. Moreover, this type of pain relief masks a problem rather than curing it.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) takes a long-term approach to tackle the root cause of a problem. Practitioners will want to find out why there is a headache in the first place. The reason will be unique to each individual and it is the practitioner’s job to provide an accurate diagnosis. This is key in TCM as without it treatment times will be lengthy or there will be no progress made at all.

A good practitioner is good at detective work. In addition to asking the sufferer basic questions about the headache and any pertinent medical history, the practitioner will more than likely also check the pulse and tongue which are excellent indicators of what is going on within the body. Practitioners are highly trained to interpret these observations, so an accurate diagnosis can be made.

Here are a few causes of some simple headaches:

Qi Deficiency
According to TCM, Qi (pronounced “chi”) is the circulating life force. It moves blood around the body, giving energy to everything it comes into contact with. Insufficient Qi results in the body lacking energy, and the Qi will be unable to nourish the brain properly to function normally.

This type of condition is characterised by more severe headaches when the patient is under stress and/or fatigued. Other symptoms include light dizziness and general tiredness.

Blood Deficiency
Blood nourishes the whole body with nutrients, so the lack of it does not feed into the brain properly. This deficiency causes imbalance around the body causing other symptoms including sluggishness, fatigue, and poor sleep.

More susceptible to women, headaches worsen before or during menstruation. Common symptoms that follow this include insomnia, vivid dreams, palpitations, dizziness and a paler complexion.

Liver Stagnation
In TCM, the role of the liver is to store blood and regulate the flow of Qi. Since one of the roles of Qi is to propel blood around the body, if the liver does not function correctly, then the flow of Qi is weakened and blood is impeded. This causes headaches.

Common symptoms in this case include an expanding type headache, usually on the sides of the head. Dizziness with blurred vision, easily upset or angered, a bitter taste in the mouth and insomnia.

There are multiple reasons why people have headaches, and I have listed only a few of the many causes. TCM sees disease in a different way to typical western medicine. TCM sees disease as an imbalance and, when correctly diagnosed, can be successfully treated by focusing on the root cause.

For more information on this subject, or if you would like to discuss your own personal problem feel free to email me at: info@nottinghamacupuncture.co.uk

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