Archive for May 2010

Can’t stop that cough?

Lately I’ve been treating a lot of coughs. Part of the reason is springtime allergies. Part is as a leftover symptom from a winter cold. But, not all coughs are season-dependant. I found this great article for 8 possible reasons for your chronic cough: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20358279,00.html

So, what can you do if you have a cough that won’t go away? TCM has a variety of solutions.

1. Chinese herbs. Yes, they can taste awful, but to borrow from Buckley’s “It tastes bad and it works.” The key to a successful Chinese herbal prescription is a proper TCM diagnosis. We need to determine if that cough is because of “Phlegm-Heat”, “Phlegm-Cold”, “Wind-Heat”, “Wind-Dryness”, or other. Each of these coughs requires a different selection of herbs. It matters if that cough is accompanied by phlegm; if so, what colour is that phlegm, how much of it, and how easy is it to cough up; when the cough happens most; what the sound of the cough is like; what happened to start the cough; what other symptoms there are; and so on.

2. Acupuncture. Once again, the TCM diagnosis needs to be determined, but there are some acupuncture points that will be shared across all patterns of imbalance for a cough. I have had patients come in unable to stop coughing and once we do some needles, that cough stops.

3. TCM food cures. Some foods will produce more phlegm. Some foods will irritate the throat and lungs. Some foods will stress the immune system.We obviously want to choose foods that don’t fit into those categories when you are suffering from a chronic cough (or acute cough, for that matter).

4. Lifestyle stuff. If your cough is caused by GERD, i.e. gastroesophageal reflux disease–one symptom of which is heartburn, you will want to consider your diet and stress levels. Lack of sleep can affect the immune system and your body’s ability to heal an irritated respiratory system.

Have a cough? Ask me questions. I’m happy to help.

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If you’re not active, what’s your excuse?

This morning I was invited by one of my patients to watch and try her Qi Gong class. I’ve taken some Qi Gong classes before, but none like this. I stood out because I was the only one under age 70 and the only non-resident of the retirement home where the class was held. My patient has been teaching Qi Gong for a long time. I expected that she would show that she knows what she’s doing. I didn’t expect to see how well her students did too.

There were 5 students in attendance today. Apparently there are usually 8 (it was a beautiful day out, so perhaps they were out enjoying it). One woman was seated, but that didn’t stop her from showing that she could participate equally well.

There was no speaking during any of the Qi Gong routine. The only sound was the relaxing music. The students all knew the routine well and as I sat and watched the routine for the first round through, I thought how dance-like it was, smooth and graceful. For the 2nd round onward I joined in and did my best to watch and copy.

What I heard during the break halfway through the class was that one of the students has been doing this with this same teacher for the past 6 years. Another of the students said that she would not be able to go out for her morning walk if it were not for Qi Gong. Another was able to pass her driving test because the classes helped her to be able to turn her head and shoulder check.

I saw that it was keeping them limber, physically and mentally. I saw that they were enjoying themselves. I saw that it was proof that none of us have an excuse not to be regularly active in some way.

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Think Wikipedia is neutral in allowing real info about nutrition? Not so…

This article was written in www.hans.org’s most recent newsletter.

The Hidden Wikipedia: Find deleted material about nutritional medicine

by Andrew W. Saul, PhD, Orthomolecular Medicine News Service

There is nothing quite like a paper trail, and Wikipedia has one. Consequently, you can read for yourself all the material that has been added, and then deleted.

For example: Wikipedia’s page about Max Gerson, M.D., is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Gerson . The doctor is widely known for the nutritional cancer therapy that bears his name. Gerson’s principal biographer is his grandson, Howard Straus http://www.doctoryourself.com/gersonbio.htm . Mr. Straus tells the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service of some interesting experiences he has had with Wikipedia bias:

“Some years ago, on seeing that the pages for Dr. Max Gerson and the Gerson Therapy were only stubs (short place-holders with little information on them), I took it upon myself to flesh out the pages. I thought Wikipedia was fairly neutral on balance, so I put in all the information that I could, and kept it factual with references, citations, and literature links.

“Within a month, the following had happened:

“The information was labeled as “biased” and “unreliable” because I am Dr. Gerson’s grandson and biographer. There appeared a big red flag at the top of the article labeling the articles neutrality “dubious.” The photograph I posted was removed. Provable, referenced facts, with dates and places, all suddenly became “claims,” even quotes from no less than Nobel Laureate Albert Schweitzer, M.D., who famously said: “I see in Dr. Max Gerson one of the most eminent geniuses in medical history.” Dr. Schweitzer and his wife were patients of Dr. Gerson, making this a first-hand account from a rather reliable source.

“All my links, references and citations were removed. They were replaced by links to the American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute, which offer only criticism of the Gerson Therapy. Even quotations from published scientific papers were removed. Attempts to rectify these actions were immediately overwritten.

“It’s easy enough to show the progression of the pages, since Wikipedia displays former edits on request, dated and documented. One can verify this by clicking on the “History” tab at the top of the Max Gerson page, and looking at 2005 and before. My editing is archived at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/69.109.140.164

“A second Wikipedia page, specific to the Gerson Therapy, has been completely removed. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gerson_the… . To see something of what happened, you can click the “History” tab here as well.”

The OMNS adds just one other intriguing statement about Dr. Gerson’s work that is probably too “unreliable” to be seen on Wikipedia:

“I know of one patient who turned to Gerson Therapy having been told she was suffering from terminal cancer and would not survive another course of chemotherapy. Happily, seven years later, she is alive and well. So it is vital that, rather than dismissing such experiences, we should further investigate the beneficial nature of these treatments.” (H.R.H. Charles, Prince of Wales)

Max Gerson is not the only nutritionally-oriented physician whose work is slanted or censored at Wikipedia. Others include Matthias Rath, M.D., and Robert F. Cathcart III, M.D.

For more information about Max Gerson, M.D.: http://www.orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v06n18….

For more information about Orthomolecular.org: http://www.orthomolecular.org/

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Could your energy drinks increase your risk of a heart attack?

This study in The American Journal of Medicine says “yes”. http://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343%2809%2900874-2/abstract.

The study showed that when healthy young adults were tested one hour after consuming one 250ml can of a sugar-free energy drink, their endothelial function decreased and platelet aggregation increased. What does that mean? It means that the inner lining of their blood vessel walls became less functional and that their red blood cells started to stick together more. Bad on both counts. Both of these things increase your risk of heart attacks.

Take note that this study was done on healthy young adults. Imagine unhealthy or older adults who have generally have poorer cardiovascular function. And, this was with just one can of an energy drink. I know people who consume more than one in a day. And, people who consume these drinks regularly.

Some energy drinks claim to be healthy. “Sugar-free”. So, what’s in there to sweeten it? “No caffeine”. No extra caffeine added or does is there guarana in there (note that guarana contains caffeine)? What other energy-promoting substances are added then? Some may be healthy. Some may not be. Some may be good for some, but not for you. We’re all different.

Think about it…why do you need an energy drink? Are you getting enough sleep? Is your sleep of good quality? Are you actually really bored? Dehydrated? Undernourished? Over doing it?

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The Biology of Belief

I just spent all day today at a forum held at UBC called “It’s Time to Heal”. It was created by Maple Ridge MD, Dr. Nelie Johnson. As soon as I saw that Dr. Bruce Lipton (PhD in Developmental Cell Biology) would be speaking, I knew that I would have to cancel my busy Saturday clinic day to attend this.

I first saw Bruce at a conference hosted by one of the herbal distributors for my TCM herbs several years ago. I had never heard of him, but after an intro 30 minute talk by him, I immediately called my husband and told him to stop whatever he was doing and get downtown to come see Bruce’s lecture slotted for that afternoon. My husband was writing his Masters in Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), the study of how the mind affects the immune system via the nervous system. PNI is based on quantum physics and quantum physics is Bruce’s area of expertise.

I, unfortunately, couldn’t attend Bruce’s lecture that afternoon as I wanted to attend the lecture on Balance Acupuncture and they were scheduled to take place at the same time. I’m still glad I made that choice as I use those acupuncture skills every day. If you’ve ever had me acupuncture your hand when your lower back is sore or your right wrist to treat your left ankle, you’ve had balance acupuncture. But, I always wished I could have seen more of Bruce’s lecture…especially after my husband spoke on and on and on about him afterward.

Shortly after that weekend I bought Bruce’s CD lecture “The Wisdom of Your Cells: How your Beliefs Control Your Biology” and was spellbound with what he had to say. He says it so much better than me, but basically it boils down to the truth that the foundation of what we teach in medical school is WRONG. DNA does NOT control our biology. Genes do NOT control life; life CAN influence and CHANGE how our genes express. We can control our genes! How? Because it’s the signals that we get from our environment (energy–good or bad, trauma, toxins, and THOUGHT) that can change how the genes express and how how a cell is created. If you take in good energy (Qi) and thoughts, you can grow new healthy cells. If you take in negative energy and thoughts (e.g. fear, anger, anxiety, etc.), you are in protection mode, i.e. fight or flight. You cannot be in growth if you are in protection. Your body chooses one or the other.

If this makes sense to you, then you must have read some stuff about Quantum Physics and healing. If it doesn’t, then you’ve got to learn more from Bruce or someone like him. Why? Because you can be in control of your own health, wellness, and happiness. And, it’s more than just positive thinking.

My husband bought “The Biology of Belief” and I bought “Spontaneous Evolution“. We have a lot of reading to do now!

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