Bad Flu causes Scary Bleeding

A past patient of mine emailed me on my day off.  She was frightened because she was bleeding VERY heavily.  Here is what she wrote:

Everything looked usual in the beginning, started right on time, heavy in the first 24 hours, then tapering off, nothing unusual. Then, at day 6, when I would expect that the cycle is almost over, I have a flood of blood. There is so much it soaks my tampon and pads very quickly, I change them several times. It has been about 10 hours since the flood began, and I am still bleeding heavily. I would say that I’ve probably saturated a tampon or pad every hour. In addition, there are a lot of chunks of stuff coming out– some big, meaty chunks. I am a bit worried about the amount of blood loss, the chunks of stuff, and the unusual pattern.

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Posted in Experiential Formulas, Gynecology, Our Courses, Qiu Xiaomei | 1 Comment

Why Classic Formulas?

I created this 1 hour presentation as an introduction to the class I am teaching in various places this winter.  I hope it gets some of you excited about classic formulas!

Click here for the computer version of the presentation

Click here for the iPad or phone version of the presentation

All presentations work only with Safari, Internet Explorer or Google Chrome.

The iPad version works on the computer as well.

Posted in Books, Classic Formulas | 1 Comment

A Very Sad but Useful Case Study

I have been busy translating cases for the handouts for my upcoming course on understanding physiology through classic formulas.  One of the formulas I will be covering in detail is Da Qing Long Tang.  I found this ever-so-interesting case study that was written around 1929.  It can be seen that this doctor is a really good doctor and knew his stuff.  However, he learns a lesson the hard way.  We can also learn a lesson from his experience.  I am very touched by his relationship with his teachers and his integrity.

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Late Stage Cancer and the 3 Yin Conformations

Like most practitioners of Chinese medicine, I consider my job as not so much treating diseases as treating people with diseases.  This is a key concept in Chinese medicine.  It is the lack of proper functioning in our bodies that gives rise to illness and our eye, as Chinese medical practitioners, is trained to identify the way the body is not functioning properly and to restore that which is normal.  What we see in our practices is that diseases get better or go away when the body functions properly.  A focus on diagnosing and treating diseases rather than on re-establishing physiological function will more often than not prove to be ineffective at best.

This is the way many of us think about and treat people who have cancer.  In my own practice, most of these patients are under the care of their oncologists and are undergoing allopathic therapies such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.  It is rare that a patient diagnosed with cancer will want to use Chinese medicine as their sole treatment option.  Hence, I often find myself treating patients to help them cope with the difficult and damaging effects of their allopathic therapies so that they can continue these therapies, make good use of them, survive them and then thrive. Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Classic Formulas, Diagnosis, Our Courses | 4 Comments

Placenta Encapsulation: A Traditional Chinese Medicine for Post-Partum Healing

Vickie Hingston-Jones

During our Graduate Mentorship Program class on pregnancy and postpartum care, one of my students volunteered her expertise in preparing placentas.  She agree to do a guest blog.  Here it is!

By Suzanne Connole, L.Ac.   I remember, when as a first year student in acupuncture school, my friend had a baby. As we cooed over the baby, her Chinese mother was busy in the kitchen, soaking her placenta in wine and getting the oven ready. At that time, I barely understood what a placenta was, and certainly had no concept of the difficulties faced by the post-partum mother. As my practice began to focus increasingly on women’s health issues, I came to realize the need for special attention and treatment to restore the mother’s body and spirit following delivery, as well as to prevent future complications. Continue reading

Posted in Adjunctive Therapies, Experiential Formulas, Gynecology, Obstetrics | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Fifth Formula Installment: Adding Da Huang

Wow, this formula name just gets longer and longer!  For the final formula, Rhei Radix et Rhizoma (dà huáng) is added.  There is the line from the Shang Han Lun

 If the face is hot as if the person were drunk, this is stomach heat surging upward to smoke the face.  In this case, add Rhei Radix et Rhizoma (dà huáng) to disinhibit.

In this case, not only are there cold fluids in the lungs, there is also a Yang Ming large intestine fullness which causes the Yang to surge upward to the face.  This kind of facial color, a deep penetrating rubor, is a good indicator for the use of Rhei Radix et Rhizoma (dà huáng).  When this is seen in the clinic it is good to check for other Rhei Radix et Rhizoma (dà huáng) signs such as a full, distended belly.  Below, this kind of red face is contrasted with the “feather light” redness of the first formula in which Gui Zhi and Fu Ling are used for flushing up.

5. Poria, Licorice, Schisandra, Ginger, and Asarum Plus Pinellia, Armeniacae and Rhubarb Decoction (líng gān wǔ wèi jiāng xīn ban xia xing ren da huang tāng)  Continue reading

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Classic Formula Course

The Divine Peasant, Shen Nong

A commercial break in our discussion of the 5 wonderful formulas to let people know about a course on the organization of the Shang Han Lun taught through understanding amazingly useful formulas.  This course is being taught by me, Sharon Weizenbaum, in 8 cities in North America.  Click here for more information.  Below is a description of the course followed by a list of cities and contacts for Registration:

Course Description

There is a saying that there is a difference between a good herbal treatment and a correct herbal treatment.   We all can work at a level in which our patients do well enough on the herbs we give them.  However, when we have had the experience of stumbling upon a truly accurate herbal formula and seeing our patient’s complex issues resolve almost magically, we get a glimpse into the true power of Chinese herbal medicine.  Coming upon a correct formula with intention rather than by accident can be a daily occurrence in your clinic.

This is where Classic formulas come in. Continue reading

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Case Study using líng gān wǔ wèi jiāng xīn ban xia xing ren tāng

Before going onto the final formula in this series, I want to share a case from my own practice that illustrates the wonderful effectiveness of this formula:

I saw this patient for the second visit this week, the first visit having been last week.  This patient, age 51, was diagnosed with asthma 6 years previously after having had many episodes of bronchitis since childhood.  Her parents had been heavy smokers.  She is a singer and singing was her passion and emotional therapy, yet she had been unable to sing at all without coughing intensely since she developed the “asthma.”  This condition came on after a bad flu.  She felt that her chest was filled with mucous that was clear like egg white and loose.  It was worse with damp days and better when it snowed.  When she developed coughing fits she would sometimes gag to the point of vomiting.  She uses a flovent inhaler, allegra and flonase every day and albueterol as needed.  Even with these she was unable to sing or exercise. Continue reading

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Fourth Installment: Adding Xing Ren

The cases and discussions in this series of posts are all taken from the previously mentioned text, 金贵方百家医案评议, An Appraisal through Cases and Discussion of Jin Gui Formulas from Various Schools of Thought.  This is a text that goes through all of the formulas in the Jin Gui Yao Lue and gives case studies from a variety of well known classic formula physicians.  They also offer a discussion after most of the case studies and formula sections.  These discussions are written by the editors of this text, Doctors He Ren 何任, Zhang Zhi-Min 张志民 and Lian Jian-Diao连建伄.

The fourth formula in this family of formulas adds Armeniacae Semen (xìng rén) to the previous formula.  In addition, the warming and transforming herbs are increased.  As we can see from the case studies here, all of these formulas can be used for cough and asthma. However, this formula is, in my mind, most suited for a presentation in which the lung is most effected by the cold fluids.  This is evidenced by the presence of swelling (as mention in the Jing Gui Yao Lue) and the relative diminishment of vomiting.  The stomach may still be involved but the lung is the main location of the pathology. Continue reading

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Third Installment: Thirst due to cold?

Today we look at the third formula in this family of formulas.  This rendition is the same as the last with the addition of Pinelliae Rhizoma preparatum (zhì bàn xià).  This creates the formula Cinnamon Twig, Poria, Schisandra, and Licorice Decoction, remove cinnamon, add Ginger, Asari, and Pinellia (guì líng wǔ wèi gān cǎo qu gui jia jiang xin xia tāng)

Taking a quick look at Giovanni Maciocia’s book entitled Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine, he gives 15 possible patterns that can cause thirst and 3 that can cause dry mouth.  Without exception all of these patterns are related to heat, either excess or deficient.  We see here in the first case, that thirst can be caused from cold as well.  In fact, thirst was the main complaint for the patient below.  This case illustrates a point that is the core emphasis in the diagnostic training that is part of the Graduate Mentorship Program: that symptoms need to be explained by the diagnosis and that most symptoms, by themselves, will not reveal the truth about what is going on with a patient.  Dr. Cao Ying-Fu held himself back from jumping to conclusions about the thirst, unlike the doctors the patient had seen previously.  He saw the cold fluids and understood physiology enough to know that ice traps fluids and makes them unavailable for moistening.  Melting and steaming the frozen water allowed the moisture to once again become physiological.  In the Graduate Mentorship Program we call this Explaining the Symptom with What We Know for Sure.  One must have a good understanding of physiology in order to do this well.  Hence, we see thirst as simply the subjective sensation of wanting fluids in the mouth and then let the rest of the diagnosis explain why this is happening.   Continue reading

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