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Author: Daniel Maxwell

Welcome to the February 2022 issue of the Journal of Chinese Medicine - and happy new year of the water tiger! It looks as though we may be in for a lively year due to the yang wood qi of the tiger being fed by the water qi of this particular cycle (as we all know, Tiggers like to bounce).

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TCM Treatment of the Convalescent Stage of COVID-19

Author: Peilin Sun

Research on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has focused on epidemiological and clinical characteristics of confirmed cases and patients discharged from hospital. Diagnosis and treatment protocols have been established for hospitalised patients. However, very little attention has been given to patients during the convalescent period. Although simplified treatment protocols using traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) have been proposed, they do not always accurately reflect the true clinical situation. The convalescent period of COVID-19 is extremely important since it influences the speed and extent of patients’ recovery, and whether they go on to develop ‘long COVID’. In TCM terms, incomplete recovery is commonly due to retention of pathogens such as dampness and toxic heat, obstruction of qi and blood, deficiency of Lung and Spleen qi, and deficiency of qi and yin. This article describes how to treat patients during the convalescent stage of COVID-19 with acupuncture and herbal medicine to bring them back to full health.

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Why Acupuncturists Should Practise Qigong

Author: Peter Deadman

I am always surprised by the relatively low numbers of acupuncturists and Chinese medicine practitioners who practise qigong since it offers direct lived experience of yinyang, the acupuncture points and channels and more. It springs from the same roots as our medicine and enhances our ability to enjoy free flow, harmony and centred, relaxed parasympathetic states that contribute to our own health and wellbeing as well as that of our patients.

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An 18th Century View of Classical Acupuncture: Yīxué Yuánliúlùn by Xú Dàchūn

Author: Tom Ehrman

This article presents a translation of two passages on acupuncture excerpted from Yīxué Yuánliúlùn (医学源流论, On the Origins and Development of Medicine, 1764) by the Qing dynasty physician Xú Dàchūn (1693-1771). As a leading exponent of Hànxué (‘Han learning’), a movement which sought to return medicine to the lofty purity of former times, Xú’s 18th century writings on acupuncture will be of particular note to practitioners with an interest in classical approaches.

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The Collective as Aetiology in the Clinical Practice of Chinese Medicine

Author: Brian Falk

This paper examines the idea that in order to gain a more complete understanding of a patient’s illness, one must also examine the influence of society and culture. The author proposes that culture itself may be a contributing factor in individual pathology. A review of the historical understanding of aetiology in Chinese medicine is followed by a discussion of the relationship between the individual and society. How society can make individuals ill is explored in the context of societies’ systems and institutions. The notion that individuals can help heal a dysfunctional culture is also addressed. The final section delves into more practical clinical concerns, including how to converse and work with patients regarding collective sickness.

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The Divergent Pathways (Jing Bie): Background and Application

Author: Brechtje Sebregts

Ling Shu (Divine Pivot) Chapter 11 is the oldest written source that mentions the divergent pathways (jing bie). Current theories about the use of the divergent pathways are based on interpretations of this chapter and clinical experience. Whilst the Ling Shu only describes the course of the 12 divergent pathways, contemporary authors and teachers have presented their own understandings and methods of treatment. In the experience of this author, the divergent pathways are an effective method for the treatment of chronic complaints. This article introduces the basic theory of the divergent pathways with a detailed presentation of the sixth divergent pair and an illustrative case study. It has been adapted from a chapter of the author’s recently published book Divergent Trajectories - Backgrounds and Applications in Practice.

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The Anatomy of Expression

Author: Michelle Gellis

The human face is unique in its ability to display our emotions, desires and intentions, as well as provide a diagnostic window into our health. Acupuncturists are able to use the face as a diagnostic tool to understand and treat underlying imbalances that may ultimately lead to disease. This article explains the relationship between facial expressions, the physical muscles and tissues, acupuncture points and channels of the face, and the inner world of the human being. Two short case studies are included to illustrate how the information presented can be used in the clinic.

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Myths of Menopause in Chinese Medicine Practice

Author: Caroline Radice

Despite nearly a century of its medicalisation as a disease, menopause is still poorly understood and rarely discussed outside the circle of those suffering as they transition from their reproductive to their non-reproductive years. This article discusses some of the common myths of the menopause, both from the biomedical as well as the Chinese medical perspective, and presents information that can contribute to the improvement of women’s physical and emotional health as they age. Four case studies are included that illustrate common misconceptions about the treatment of menopausal symptoms using Chinese medicine.

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Finding Your Way Through the Forest – A TCM Practitioner’s Guide to Evaluating Research: Part 2

Author: Tony Reid

Evidence based medicine is the prevailing paradigm of modern healthcare. However, practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) vary significantly in their ability to appraise and understand modern research. Part 2 of this series elaborates on basic statistical and methodological concepts in medical studies. Some of the key axioms that underlie statistical science and clinical trial design are explored and discussed.

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In Pursuit of the Jade Body: The Influence of Acupuncture on Nutrient Sensing Longevity Pathways

Author: Jamie Lynn Villanueva

Humans are living longer than ever before, but increasingly burdened by age related and lifestyle diseases. By the year 2030, twenty per cent of the United States population will be over the age of sixty-five. The working population will no longer be able to adequately support the expanding geriatric community. Combined with stagnant wages, the exponential rise of chronic disease and the exorbitant cost of healthcare, the United States is facing a public health crisis. Acupuncture, an ancient and well-studied modality of traditional Chinese medicine, could be an effective treatment to combat agerelated disease and morbidity. This research explored this by investigating how acupuncture affects nutrient sensing longevity pathways. A series of literature reviews were conducted using the PubMed database. Acupuncture, particularly electroacupuncture, was shown to exert statistically significant effects on the signalling pathways insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), adenosine monophosphateactivated protein kinase (AMPK) and sirtuin. These effects have been linked to positive health outcomes and increased lifespan.

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Book Reviews in this issue

  • An Archaeology of the Qiao Vessels by Will Ceurvels

  • Understanding and Treating Hot Flashes in Menopause with Chinese Medicine by Brian Grosam

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