Recently the child of one of my early fertility and pregnancy patients has become pregnant! If you practice long enough you get to see these generations forming. It is wonderful work to do in a community.
There is so much focus these days on the use of Chinese medicine for fertility. This is important work but the goal is not always fully met with conception. Of course the goal is a happy healthy mom and a happy healthy babe. To help meet this goal as practitioners we also need to pay attention to women during pregnancy and during the postpartum time. We have to develop tools to work with the issues that come up.
In this blog I’ve written about my experience, and that of others, in working with patients during pregnancy. You can click on the obstetrics and gynecology categories on the right here to see all the posts on these topics. This post is a follow up to the last post was on insufficient lactation, including some more thoughts and teachings on the postpartum treatment of women with Chinese medicine. Continue reading
Recently a practitioner posted a query on our Chinese medicine egroup wondering about a patient who suffered from insufficient lactation. It gave me the idea to post some interesting and very helpful material for this type of thing. Anyone working with women during pregnancy and through the postpartum time will come up on nursing issues and Chinese herbal medicine has so much to offer. I myself had insufficient lactation some 21 years ago and made myself some Pig’s Trotter Soup (see below) and experienced first hand the way it worked instantaneously.
In the Graduate Mentorship Program we spend a 3 full days on treating women during pregnancy and postpartum and some of the principles taught in this program are illustrated below. I’d like to mention these before going into the case studies:
When seeing women during the postpartum time, there are several checks that need to be done along with your regular intake and diagnosis. All of the issues you check for have an influence on the breast milk. Continue reading
If you want to know where I got my skepticism toward science from, check out this video interview of my late father, Joseph Weizenbaum (inverted Galileo).
In this video interview with TK television in Berlin, he gives irrefutable proof that, not only does the sun orbit the earth (duh!), but that the earth is actually flat. What is this HOLD science has on us??? Like my father, I like to base my conclusions on what I see and experience for myself! You can see it below or on youtube
Yaron Seidman is one of my recent herbal teachers. I’ve been studying with him for about 3 years now. This is embarrassing because I have only recently really felt that I understood how he actually works in terms of writing prescriptions. I had not, until recently, received the core transmission. Of course I have understood a lot of what Yaron points to in his teachings. I could have passed the tests and become a Certified Hun Yuan Practitioner. But that would have felt wrong to me. Actually it would still feel wrong! What I mean is that I did not feel that I truly grasped the way he works and the way a Hun Yuan practitioner would work. I do feel now that I got it! What a great feeling. However, I cannot call myself a Hun Yuan practitioner yet because I have not worked it myself in the clinic enough to make the teaching my own. That will take time and experience. Continue reading
As some people know, I have had a strong interest in the process of diagnosis in my teaching and practice. I noticed when I first started teaching that what practitioners do in the journey between intake and herbal formula is often a kind of quagmire. When we do an intake we are collecting myriad signs and symptoms and we have to do something with this information in order to come out the other end with an accurate formula. We want a formula that is going to be really really effective. But what do we do with this information we gather? Having read literally hundreds of case studies from students over the last 20 plus years I’ve been teaching, I’ve had the chance to observe the hundreds of different things people do with these signs and symptoms to attempt to come to a viable treatment. I’ve seen the following happen after the intake many many times: Continue reading
Polyhydramnios is a condition of pregnancy in which a woman develops excessive amniotic fluid. Though this condition may be associated with maternal diabetes, Rh incompatibility, or congenital malformations, in 60% of cases, the cause is unknown from a western perspective. It is also unclear to what extent the polyhydramnios causes fetal abnormalities. It occurs in 1 out of every 150-280 pregnancies. Polyhydramnios predisposes a woman to abnormal fetal presentation, pre-term labor, dysfunctional labor, postpartum hemorrhage and cord prolapse upon rupture of the membranes. There is no western treatment for this condition other than resting. In extreme cases fluid may be drained via amniocentesis but the fluid may return quickly.
In regard to polyhydramnios, my teacher, Dr. Qiu Xiao Mei writes “The category of the disorder in the traditional Chinese medical texts is “fetal water swelling and distention”. The cause and dynamic of this illness is most often Spleen and Kidney vacuity weakness, with water Qi not transforming. This results in the water pooling in the uterus. In my experience it is appropriate to adopt the principle of fortifying the Spleen, supplementing the Kidneys, disinhibiting water and dissipating swelling”. She offers very effective measures for treating this condition. If you are working with pregnant women, sooner or later someone with polyhydramnios will come into your clinic. What a blessing! This is because the methods below are very clear and effective for a dangerous condition that has no other treatment.
Below I have posted a variety of formulas from both Dr. Qiu and Dr. Xia Gui Cheng. Clinically I only have experience with Dr. Qiu’s methods. I have included some cases from Dr. Qiu and one from my own practice in which I utilized her methods. Of course, Dr. Qiu would be the first to say that the practitioner must not give herbal formulas symptomatically or by rote. Rather one must always base treatment on the differential diagnosis of the individual patient.
This is my final post in this series on dysmenorrhea though I reserve the right to write more about it later!
In this post I want to share a concept that has been important to me in my clinical practice.
The MOST important idea I want to convey to practitioners is to forget that your patient has dysmenorrhea! Yes, I mean it. Ignore the dysmenorrhea especially if it is the main complaint! The biggest block to effective treatment is our desire to treat diseases. How do we treat gout, hypertension, infertility, dysmenorrhea….etc. We don’t!
The most important key to successful treatment is to treat people that suffer from illness as opposed to treating illness.
As a young practitioner my formulas were simplistic. I left school thinking that all Qi stasis could be resolved with Xiao Yao San and all blood stasis could be resolved with Tao Hong Si Wu Tang, Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang or Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang. Practice dispels such naiveté quickly! This is one reason I loved and posted Dr. Xia Gui-Sheng’s little expose on his own learning process regarding the treatment of dysmenorrhea. It showed how he had to really think it through for himself while studying and considering the nature of various herbal formulas and their ingredients.
Little tidbits from experienced doctors can make all the difference in practice. For example, Dr. Xia notices that many women get diarrhea when they menstruate. Because Dang Gui moistens and loosens the stool, he will substitute Dan Shen for Dang Gui in formulas just before and during menstruation for women who suffer from this. Each herb in his formulas is considered carefully. Continue reading
Blood stasis is either due to trauma or it is a branch symptom. This is important because we have to resist the urge to simply vitalize blood when we see blood stasis. Our effectiveness is much stronger if we ask ourselves to identity the root. Often the root is Qi stasis but not always. Qi deficiency, blood deficiency, Yin or Yang deficiency, heat, cold, damp etc..all can be a factor in the root of the blood stasis. Of course the location of the blood stasis is very important to identify and treat but, in addition, if the root is not addressed, the results will be far from adequate.
In this post I look at cold as a root of blood stasis. I identify cold as a root factor in almost half of my dysmenorrhea cases. In my experience, there are some unique characteristics to treating blood stasis as the root cause of dysmenorrhea and these are the same characteristics for treating other types of pain in which cold is a factor. Continue reading
Dysmenorrhea is a very common presentation in our clinical reality, either as a main complaint or as a symptom women have become resigned to. Many practitioners have the experience of women telling us that there menstruation is normal. When we question more deeply we hear that they experience significant pain, managed by medication. Dysmenorrhea is considered to be a normal part of being a woman by many.
For some women, the pain is so extreme that they KNOW it is not normal. It is often accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting, fainting, migraines, exhaustion, and digestive upset. Dysmenorrhea can be very debilitating. In addition, many of our patients who suffer from dysmenorrhea are unable to become pregnant. Continue reading