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Editorial

Author: Daniel Maxwell

Recent events have highlighted the idiosyncratic nature of human perception. During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, for instance, when talking with patients you never quite knew whether you might uncover a sinister narrative about a new world order trying to enslave humanity, or else be regaled on the majesty of science and how it was saving the world. More recently, for many the death of Queen Elizabeth II elicited unbridled love and respect, whilst others could not see past the unfairness of privilege, corruption and the dark side of the British empire.

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Channel Qi Changes in Response to COVID-19

Author: Janice Hadlock

This article documents the author’s findings that COVID-19 and post-COVID patients all manifest three specific channel qi blockages: one along the Large Intestine channel and two more along the pathway of the Du Mai (Governing Vessel). The connections between these blockage locations and common COVID-19/post-COVID symptoms are discussed, along with a treatment method that can help patients struggling at any stage of COVID-19 to regain their health. The results of anecdotal research into this treatment method conducted in the US, UK, South Africa and Australia are also shared.

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Cannabis in Chinese Medicine: Modern Interpretations and Integrations

Author: Lisa Nicholson

Cannabis has been a part of traditional medicine in every culture where the plant grows. Its use fell from grace, however, in the early 20th century when it became classified as an illegal recreational drug on a worldwide scale. More recently, scientific studies have shed light on this plant’s incredible phytochemistry and how it has co-evolved to benefit animals, including humans, opening the door to an explosion of medical use and the beginnings of legal reclassification. This article explores the historical uses of cannabis based on three prominent Chinese classical texts. It then reviews the modernday understanding of the endocannabinoid system and how human physiology is primed to benefit from the phytochemistry of the cannabis plant, revealing the chemical reasons for its ancient classification as a superior medicinal. A discussion of how cannabis can be incorporated to augment modern Chinese medicine formulas, and an illustrative case study are presented to begin a dialogue about how cannabis in its modern preparations could become an integral part of today’s Chinese medicine.

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Reflective and Refractive Practice: Lessons from Reviewing Acupuncture for Plantar Heel Pain

Author: Richard J Clark

Reviews of the use of acupuncture for plantar heel pain reveal great heterogeneity. A wide range of approaches may be subsumed under the rubric ‘acupuncture and related techniques’. Similarly, many different labels have been used for plantar heel pain, some of which may be anachronistic and misleading. Problems of such labelling are discussed, and alternative generalisations considered. A selection of findings from literature reviews is highlighted, including use of ashi points, Taixi KID-3, diagonally opposite points and point combinations. Rationales underpinning these interventions are summarised and mapped. It can be helpful for practitioners to reflect on their own practice in the context of these research findings. A co-constructive approach is recommended and the concept of refractive practice is developed via consideration of ‘whole systems’ and postmodern practice. Illustrative examples of its usefulness are given. The combined use of refraction and reflection is recommended as a tool to enhance theoretical visibility in postmodern practice. Practitioners are encouraged to embrace complexity and heterogeneity, question longstanding assumptions and view clinical phenomena afresh. Questions for future study and for individual reflection are proposed.

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Constitution in Chinese Medicine Clinical Reasoning

Author: Yilan Chen, Caterina Tannous & Yoann Birling

The systemic study of Chinese medicine constitution has progressed greatly in recent years. However, a clear and comprehensive understanding of how to apply the theory of constitution to the practice of Chinese medicine is still lacking. In order to obtain an in-depth understanding of the integration of constitution in Chinese medicine clinical reasoning, we qualitatively analysed clinical experience reports and clinical cases in Chinese-language literature on insomnia, asthma, constipation, eczema, infertility and bi syndrome. We identified four major themes: the influence of socio-demographic information on clinical reasoning, constitution identification and pattern diagnosis, integration of constitution in active treatment, and continued management of constitution. This article presents our findings and includes practical examples including formulas, techniques and clinical cases. The findings of our study provide practical and comprehensive guidance on the clinical application of constitution theory in Chinese medicine practice.

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Discrimination of Flavour in a Late 19th Century Bencao

Author: Tom Ehrman

This article presents selected excerpts from the Běncǎo Wèndá (Questions and Answers on the Materia Medica, 1896) by Táng Zōnghǎi, which was one of the last běncǎo (materia medica) to be published during the Qing dynasty. It contains discussion on many different topics, but is noteworthy for Táng’s ingenious and nuanced understanding of the flavour and nature of herbs and the natural world.

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Bleeding When She Shouldn’t: The Treatment of Menstrual Disorders – Overactive Cycles

Author: Martine Cornelissen

The diagnosis and treatment of menstrual disorders with Chinese medicine can be challenging. The modern approach of focusing on nourishing Kidney yin in the first half of the cycle and tonifying Kidney yang in the second half of the cycle, although neatly reflecting modern ideas of hormonal fluctuations, is too simplistic to be widely clinically successful. This article explains the classical approach to understanding and treating menstrual disorders, with a particular focus on overactive cycles (bleeding too much and/or at the wrong time).

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The Yin and Yang of Fats and Cooking Oils

Author: Peter Torssell and Velia Wortman

Chronic disease, obesity, inflammatory and allergic disease have become so common that they are on the verge of being normalised. It is no longer unusual for patients to be on several medications at a time, often for years or even their whole lives. What is behind this epidemic of poor health? In this article we suggest that the answer to the vicious circle of chronic disease and long-term medication lies in our nutrition, in particular a significant change in our selection of cooking oils and fats, which is perhaps the most deleterious dietary shift of the last fifty years. In this article we document this shift and how it is implicated in a wide range of health problems characterised by oxidative stress, inflammation, insulin resistance and nutritional deficiency. We also explain how improper diet leads to pathology according to Chinese medicine theory. We conclude with a short list of simple dietary changes supported by both modern scientific research and traditional Chinese medical theory that can be used to promote health and prevent disease.

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Book Reviews in this issue

  • Acupuncture Pulse Diagnosis and the Constitutional Conditional Paradigm. More donkey business: enigmas in the classical Chinese texts and their elucidation by pulse diagnosis by Peter Eckman

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