This link is for a video that I recently made as promotional material for Merge Health Integrative Medicine Centre. I hope you like it and thanks for watching it.
Hello my dear friends,
This link is for a video that I recently made as promotional material for Merge Health Integrative Medicine Centre. I hope you like it and thanks for watching it.
Welcome back to the third and final part of these series where I explain how I treat Lyme disease with Chinese medicine.
Phase 3: Rebuild vitality, restore the gut and immune system.
This is usually the last phase of my general approach to treatments for Lyme and other chronic infections. At this stage, a person shows good improvement after undergoing an antimicrobial treatment (phase 2), or scientific testing shows that the infection has been cleared.
By now the infection itself might be considered treated, but there is still more work to do, especially in the area of recovery. Why? Because Lyme operates in a fashion that disrupts the way different systems work so it can perpetuate itself, particularly the digestive system (gut) and immune system.
The theory of Tai Yin (Greater Yin) and its relationship to the gut and immunity.
On of the main diagnostic frameworks used in modern Chinese medicine is the one from the Shang Han Lun (Treatise on Cold Damage), created by the ancient Chinese doctor Zhang Zhong Jing around the year 200 A.D. One of its main advantages is that it classifies the relationships between different systems into the progression or recovery from infectious diseases.
The Tai Yin (Greater Yin) level is represented by the gut (Spleen concept in TCM) and the relationship between the immune system and vitality (Lung concept in TCM). These two functions work together to maintain proper health by means of a good digestion (nutrients break down and absorption), vitality (proper oxygenation and cellular respiration) and killing foreign invaders (immunity).
Zhang Zhong Jing maintained that the Tai Yin is the entry for a disease to start affecting us at deeper levels and that damaging this gut/immune axis renders a condition chronic and a lot harder to get rid off. This axis (TaiYin) is usually damaged by the time we clear the infection and it makes sense that to recover its function is the main key to all the other systems recovery.
I would like to point that this is not the only system axis that needs repair but it is probably the most important one. Another crucial axis to recover is the one that pertains to adrenal fatigue which is known as ShaoYin (Lesser Yin), but I will cover this topic in a separate blog about chronic fatigue and its treatment with Chinese medicine.
The recovery treatment strategy is a combination of Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture, plus dietary and lifestyle guidelines. This phase can take the longest to work with and it's usually done in combination with my health support group which includes integrative medical doctors and naturopaths.
As a final thought:
Some people might ask: Why you don't write the names of the specific herbs or formulas that you use?
Well, there can be a whole lot of different substances that can be used depending on the particular presentation at that moment. This is due to the fact that there are no real protocols in Chinese medicine, it's all about individually tailoring the treatment for every single patient. There might be treatment guidelines like the ones from the Shang Han Lun, or even modern authors like Stephen Buhner, but the real results come from prescribing what is appropriate for every individual patient.
Image Credit: Michael Dorausch from Flickr.
Welcome back to the second part of these series where I explain how I treat Lyme disease with Chinese medicine.
Phase 2: Treat Lyme and recover the patient's health
This phase is about using Lyme effective herbs and recovering inner health and strength with Chinese medicine strategies.
The second phase of the treatment is the one that directly targets Lyme disease and its co-infections. Patients at this stage have gone through a biotoxin clearance/anti-inflammatory treatment (detox-pretox) that prepares them for a strong antimicrobial treatment.
Most of this treatment is applied by administering Chinese herbal medicine, although acupuncture is performed to keep the body in balance. This phase is usually long and can go for at least 6 months of continuous treatment.
There are two key strategies to utilise throughout this treatment:
The first strategy set uses herbs that are effective for the different microbes involved in Lyme. They are matched by analysing scientific testing results, or specific symptoms in the absence of these results. So as an example, I might use herbs effective for Borrelia and herbs effective for Rickettsia, depending on what we encounter.
Recovering whats been lost:
The second strategy set is more complicated and it's about ensuring the patient withstands and improves well throughout the treatment. This is where Chinese medicine strategies and knowledge really come into play.
As explained in part 1 of this blog series, the main three key aspects that render this condition hard to treat or unresponsive are:
Each one of this components is dependent on different internal processes such as the gut, immune and cardiovascular system; and more importantly, they are interdependent with each other.
To understand the simultaneous mechanisms of these relationships and how to fix them is the key to strengthening the body and recover what is lost to ensure success. After all, it is the damage caused to the body that ensures the chronicity of this diseases and reversing this damage opens the doors to recover our healing strength.
What makes this process difficult is that every patient will present with different pathological combinations depending on what systems have been affected and their previous weak points prior to contracting their infections. There might be protocols involved when applying direct Lyme targets but not when reversing the damage involved, at least not in the strategical approach of Chinese medicine.
Treating a patient as an individual presentation and tailoring a treatment according to this presentation might be the biggest advantage that Chinese medicine can provide for this conditions. We do this by identifying and analysing the different and often, minute signs and symptoms developments that tell us about any change in the pathology, with the purpose of modulating a very severe presentation into something that is more and more manageable to treat each time.
Finally, I like to mention that during this phase I tend to work with my Lyme support network group which includes integrative medical doctors and naturopaths. I personally feel that it is very important to provide all the support I can to my patients to ensure their treatment achieves the best possible outcome.
For any Chinese medicine doctors or other health modalities practitioners that are interested in knowing more about the different treatment methods and strategies, I provide a list of what I considered the four main Schools/Specialities in Chinese medicine from which I have borrowed my current knowledge. Please note that these are not exclusive and I welcome any further ideas onto what else can be effective to deal with this major health issues.
Shang Han Lun / Treatise on Cold Damage Disorders
Wen Bing Xue / Warm Disease Theory
Pi Wei Lun / Treatise on the Spleen-Pancreas and Stomach
Gu Syndrome School / School of parasitic diseases (a bit obscure to understand)
NIAID from Flickr (top)
Aleksey Gnilenkov from Flickr (bottom)
Hello everyone and happy new year to you all!
May this year brings to you all new great opportunities and good health! This is a time to start fresh and transform our hopes and dreams into realities. I really wish you all the best throughout this new 2017.
With this in mind, I want to announce to you all that I am now part of the Merge Health team at Surrey Hills! This is great place full of outstanding health professionals and great reception staff. Here I will continue to provide health care for Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic pain, gut health, and general practice.
If you would like to make an appointment, please visit the Merge Health website at www.mergehealth.com.au
Alternatively, you can contact me through here www.oscarmoreno.com.au/contact.html and I will arrange an appoinment for you.
This is a series of three blog articles that explain the treatment of chronic fatigue and chronic infections such as Lyme disease or postviral fatigue amongst others.
Fatigue can be the result of many different health problems. However, the fatigue that arises with chronic infections can be difficult to treat and can compromise the effectiveness of a properly devised treatment. I have learned in practice that treating these disorders can be a great challenge and I usually tell my patients that the treatments can go through 3 different phases in general.
The treatment of chronic infections and fatigue comes from the Chinese medicine area of "Latent Pathogens". In this school of thought, when a pathogen invades the body it starts an immune reaction (when the body fights back) which can take many different phases as the pathogen progresses deeper.
There are a myriad of possible different scenarios, but what is seen quite common is that after some time the pathogen is unable to fully take over its host and becomes controlled by the immune system. Yet, at the same time, the immune system is unable to eradicate the pathogen and thus the pathogen becomes "lodged" inside.
Once this happens, the body begins to become exhausted by keeping a never ending immune response and having to mediate inflammation (which is part of the immune response), and this can be particularly more stubborn when this has occurred for a long time.
The result of this is a depletion of vitality together with damage to the internal systems that generate this vitality.
Phase 1: Prepare the body by enhancing detox pathways and reducing inflammation.
This phase is of extreme importance to prepare a person prior to a strong anti-microbial treatment or for when cases have become unresponsive to a previous responsive treatment.
Before a properly addressed treatment to “repair” the vitality producing system can be made, there are three possible issues that need to be resolved before embarking in a long term treatment:
This three components usually occur together and are related to each other. I have come to see it as form of system overload where the body is overstretched due to a mixture of complications aggravated by long term fatigue.
This particular scenarios have been recorded in Chinese medicine for thousands of years together with their possible treatment strategies, especially in the Chinese medicine school of infectious diseases.
Ancient practitioners realised that such complicated cases required a very specialised set of clinical approaches and strategies; and that proper preparation prior and at the beginning of the treatment was essential to ensure the flow a treatment and to avoid causing further damage which can make the problem worse.
I have personally seen this approach to be indispensable in the proper treatment of chronic infections and this is how I always begin my treatments for this kind of presentations.
This study shows how tailored acupuncture benefits fibromyalgia sufferers by measuring markers such as pain, anxiety, fatigue, and quality of life respectively.
Note: Real acupuncture is tailored-individualised for each patient.
Amazing work showing how moxibustion used as an adjunctive therapy for tuberculosis in Africa boosts immunity and increases medication efficiency.
Great article on the effectiveness of acupuncture through the positive experience of physically traumatised US soldiers
What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic digestive disorder that can be quite debilitating, often affecting a person's quality of life.
Although a clear reason on why IBS happens is not well known yet, what we do know is that the part of the nervous system that controls the digestive system -- the enteric nervous system (ENS) -- becomes hypersensitive. This means that the mechanisms that regulate inflammation become hyper-reactive, resulting in abnormal feelings of pain and discomfort, and irregularities in bowel movement such as diarrhea and constipation.
Chinese Medicine and IBS
Although there no current set treatments for IBS, the use of Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture and moxibustion, together with dietary changes, have become a popular combination that can work effectively in relieving the symptoms of IBS and some of its possible causes.
Possible Causes of IBS
As in most chronic health conditions, there’s usually a combination of overlapping health problems and dysfunctional systems. In order to understand how the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment of IBS works, it’s good to get an idea of what is their equivalent in regards to modern health knowledge, and more importantly, that these dysfunctions tend to appear together and are treated simultaneously.
Chronic Inflammation and the Concept of Qi-Blood Congestion.
Inflammation is a natural process where there are tissue and circulation changes that cause pain, swelling, heat and redness. When this process doesn’t go away (becomes chronic) it can lead to tissue damage and changes how the blood circulates in the affected region. The concept of qi and blood congestion can be explained here as a form of ‘blockage’ to normal digestive function and local circulation. Dealing with these issues is central to returning these body functions back to normal.
Gut-Brain axis and the Liver-Spleen concept.
One of the key concepts in TCM that relate to IBS is that of the Liver-Spleen axis. Simply speaking, it refers to the relationship between the nervous system-mind and its connection to the digestive system. In this concept, afflictions of the psych/mind can affect directly the digestive system, often by making it work too quick or too slow, or alternating between this two (therefore irregular).
Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), incorrect diet and the concept of Dampness
SIBO as a health problem, can lead to inflammation which can cause pain, and bloating creating abdominal discomfort. A diet rich in carbohydrates and sugar, coupled with irregular dietary habits could be feeding this problem. The concept of dampness in TCM is the equivalent to this kind of scenario and it usually associated with symptoms like fullness, low energy, and feelings of sluggishness.
How is it treated?
IBS is usually treated with TCM with a combination of herbal medicine, acupuncture, moxibustion and dietary changes.
There can be different ways in which each of these treatments are applied, as different patients can have different symptoms/presentations. In addition, the symptoms and ways in which IBS shows can change over time. So different patients might get different herbal medicine combinations or acupuncture prescriptions, and this is normal within TCM as treatments are tailored to fit every patient.
There’s some modern research supporting the effectiveness of different TCM methods to treat IBS.
There are some papers that show that acupuncture can be effective to treat the symptoms of IBS (12,9) by means of relieving inflammation and ENS hypersensitivity, and promote bowel movement to treat constipation (11).There is also evidence that shows that electroacupuncture can be effective to relieve IBS symptoms(1).
Moxibustion has been shown to be effective to relieve the symptoms of IBS (1, 13) and can help relieve diarrhea (5).
Chinese herbal formulas have been shown to be effective in relieving inflammation and diarrhea (3,6,8,10) in human trials and animal studies. Two studies show that Chinese herbal medicine can affect serotonin imbalances during IBS in animal trials (4, 7) and one study shows that it can be as effective as western medication to treat SIBO (2).
I have been asked in the past how to prevent Lyme disease contraction. As Lyme is a tick borne disease, appropriate guidelines include instruction on how to repel ticks and prevent tick bites, and how to dislodged ticks once a bite has occurred.
These two links on prevention refer to the Australian Lyme Disease Association and the Centre for Disease Control in the USA.
This video from the Tick Encounter Resource Centre shows how to remove ticks properly with tweezers.
Image Credit: John Tann from Flickr
Practical health and wellness tips from a holistic, integrative Chinese medicine perspective.