Latest issue no. 131 - Feb 2023
Features & Articles in this issue
Author: Daniel Maxwell
So here we are - another year over, a new one just begun … Let’s hope that the water rabbit brings less challenges than the rat, ox and tiger. On this note, on new year’s eve (Gregorian) I did my annual reflection on the previous year, then looked forwards into 2023 to ask myself what would be important. I use a list of questions to guide my thinking; the first one is, ‘What were your aims in the last year?’ I realised that I had not actually done any such goal-setting for over two years. Somehow it had not seemed appropriate or worthwhile in such tumultuous times. I had been aimless - a leaf blowing in the pandemic winds. A Taoist take on this might be that I had chosen ‘free and easy wandering’ as a response to the chaos. Perhaps I was ‘in accord with the times’, as one translation of the I Ching puts it. The I Ching can be refreshing in this way; so often we want to engage in dynamic, exciting, yang action - but one of the best pieces of advice I have received was the I Ching telling me that to be in accord with the times I should … limp!
The Treatment of Bruxism with TCM: Aetiology, Pathogenesis and Management
Author: Peilin Sun
Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a destructive oromandibular condition. Currently, besides night mouth guards to provide protection for the teeth and reduce pain and disruptive noise, there is no standardised effective approach for the treatment of bruxism. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) bruxism is not considered to be merely a local mandibular complaint, but rather the consequence of systemic problems involving various channels and zangfu organs. Chinese herbs and acupuncture can be used to treat the causative factors and fundamental pathologies of this condition and provide relief to sufferers. This article describes the fundamental theory of bruxism according to TCM, along with its pathogenesis and treatment.
Blood Stasis and Ageing: Chinese Medicine Theory and Treatment
Author: Simon Becker
This article offers a model of ageing based not on deficiency but on stasis and blockage. Supported by findings from modern research and based on the ageing and blood stasis theory of Yan Dexin, this paper argues that ageing is due to different types of constraint and blockage hindering the free flow of qi, blood and fluids. Deficiency only ensues thereafter. Thus, resolution of stasis and freeing of qi are key aspects in the treatment of disease. An approach to the treatment of stasis based on the modern classic Yi Lin Gai Cuo (Corrections of the Errors in Medicine) by Wang Qingren is presented, as well as other exemplary stasis-resolving formulas such as Yue Ju Wan (Escape Restraint Pill) and the author’s own anti-ageing tea, Chang Sheng Cha (Tea for Long Life).
Farewell, Dr Bear: Iwashina Anryū Sensei 1950-2022
Author: Kaz Wegmüller
This article is a fond remembrance of Iwashina Anryū Sensei, widely known as ‘Dr Bear’ in the West. The author shares memories of learning acupuncture from this much-loved and influential teacher. The article includes descriptions of his basic clinical treatment method and the gentle, non-insertive, qi-focused style of acupuncture he advocated.
The Physiology of the ‘Qi Movement’ Theory of the Emotions
Author: Yoann Birling, Mingxian Jia, Andrew Wong & Xiaoshu Zhu
The association between emotions and the directional movement of qi is one of the most important theories in Chinese medicine psychology. While the ancient classics were not explicit in their definition of qi movements, they may have been a conceptualisation of the physiological changes in the body sensed during emotions. These sensations can be explained by changes in cardiovascular, respiratory, muscular and brain activities, which implies a shift from a metaphysical to a physiological understanding of qi. This approach supports and provides guidance for further research on the differentiation of emotions as pathological factors and provides a theoretical basis for Chinese medicine emotion-regulation techniques and Chinese medicine therapies in general.
Clinical Applications of American Ginseng (Xī Yáng Shēn)
Author: Justin Penoyer
American ginseng is a prized medicinal plant with a broad range of pharmacological utility, particularly relating to autoimmune and chronic inflammatory conditions. Steam processing enhances its propensity for use in treating central nervous system disorders and cardio-metabolic and neoplastic diseases. In this article, the clinical uses of American ginseng are introduced, including how the author sources ginseng, assesses its quality and prepares it for clinical use by steam processing. In addition, the efficacy of ginseng leaf as a sustainable renewable resource with practical pharmacological applications is discussed.
The Macrobiotic Diet: Basic Principles and Effect on Cancer and Diabetes
Author: Miquel Blasco Carlos and Jesús García Moreno
This article provides an overview of the available research evidence on the application of the macrobiotic diet. It is based on a critical review that clarifies the main postulates of the macrobiotic diet, and a scoping review of studies of the effects of the macrobiotic diet on chronic disease, with an emphasis on diabetes and cancer. The results show that the macrobiotic diet has great potential to combat chronic disease. There is scientific evidence to show its beneficial effect for diabetes, and although specific studies proving its effect on cancer are lacking, recent publications about the optimal diet for the prevention of this disease indirectly endorse the main postulates of macrobiotics. Although more research is required to corroborate the full potential of this diet, this study shows it could be a very helpful adjunct to the medical treatment of not only cancer and diabetes, but most chronic diseases.
Needles and Silence: the Yin Side of the Therapeutic Relationship in the Acupuncture Clinic
Author: Elisa Ross
This article explores the powerful therapeutic effect of the yin aspects of silence, non-intrusiveness and non-action in the acupuncture clinic. The challenges faced by practitioners in clinic - and how these yin aspects can support successful treatment - are illustrated with vignettes from the author’s clinical practice.
The Separation of Breaths - Untangling the Threads of Practice
Author: Tony Todd
In the practice of traditional East Asian medicine there are many interlocking yinyang relationships that, although they cannot be entirely separated, are best understood on their own terms. This article explores some of these aspects, beginning by discussing acupuncture treatment based on point function versus balancing the channel system. Then the relationship of organs to channels is explored, and expanded to contrast the physiology of the body’s interior - a multifaceted world of organs, substance and climates - with the relatively simpler channel physiology that is accessible via the body’s exterior. The modalities of herbs and acupuncture are situated with respect to these regions, and the root and branch aspects of acupuncture treatment are clarified as a means to focus or dissipate the body’s resources in order to create the conditions for better health.
Book Reviews in this issue
Menopause: A Comprehensive Guide for Practitioners by Katherine Berry and Natalie Chandra Saunders with Suzanne Cochrane and Brian Grosam
Treating Insomnia With Chinese Medicine by Yoann Birling
Healing Virtue-Power: Medical Ethics and the Doctor’s Dao by Sun Sīmiao and Sabine Wilms PhD
Fifty Years of Practice: The Case Studies of Shudo Denmei by Denmei Shudo
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