I am a 1996 graduate of Emperor’s College in Santa Monica. Since that time I have been practicing and teaching in the area as well as traveling world wide to learn more. For 20 years I have been teaching and a clinic supervisor at Emperor’s College and Yo-San University in Santa Monica.
I was born in Kansas and attended Kansas University, Hampshire College and the Art Institute of Chicago and Whitney Independent Study Program. In the 1980’s I was working as an artist and video editor in New York City near Chinatown. If I was ill I visited the local herb shop to get better and became fascinated by the medicine. Although I had acupuncture 10 years earlier I was especially impressed with my doctor’s skill in herbs.
In 1991 it was time to change careers and I came to Los Angeles and began acupuncture school at SAMRA and then Emperor’s College. What I found was an amazing medicine and philosophy that would take me on this long and wonderful journey. Since then I have been to China for 3 relatively short trips (as well as Portland, Boulder and Dublin!) and continually studied and educated myself. A few years after graduating in 1996 I was asked to join the teaching and clinical faculty at Emperors College and Yo-San University.
I have done 3 short internships and advanced study in China. There I studied: 1) Pain in Shanghai 2) Hep C in Beijing 3) oncology in Beijing. Going to China for a few months as an acupuncturist is like being a gondola driver and going to Venice, Italy. You get to see the real deal but you still aren’t an expert in navigating the canals. For that reason, I see Chinese medicine as a constant path of practice and study.
Ringworm or Tinea is a fungal infection that can appear anywhere on the body but is often found on the damp areas of the body. It is a very stubborn problem to deal with and as such is not easily “cured” but is only managed. Once it seems to have been taken care of then it may reappear weeks or months later.
It can be transmitted to other persons and from pets through close contact but it isn’t especially “contagious”.
Tinea is often very itchy and has a number of popular names depending on the location such as “crotch rot”,, “jock itch” and “athletes foot”,
TREATMENT- we have a number of herbs that can help usually applied topically. I don’t keep these in stock but can order them for you as they aren’t usually available to non-practitioners. But realistically, topicals cremes available in drugstores (those without any steroids) can help as well. They should be used everyday for a week and then applied at the first sign of re-occurance.
In Chinese Medicine the Dermatology Speciality has traditionally included not only skin conditions but also sores, gouts, many cancers and sexually transmitted diseases and sexual dysfunctions. Skin conditions can certainly be helped with acupuncture, dermatology tends to be more an herbal thing.
In Chinese Medicine, the categories of the diseases may follow in different places than Western textbooks. Modern textbooks obviously tend to follow more the western categories while older books follow categories that seem more generalized. Or at least it appears that way to me.
The other thing to remember is that as in all Chinese medicine treatment follows the underlying patterns or heat and cold, damp and dryness. This means that two cases of eczema and psoriasis which both look and feel inflamed and itch will be treated more the same than two cases of psoriasis in which one is pale and the other is red and inflamed.
In 2002, I spent a month in the Dermatology Department at the Beijing First TCM Hospital . Then a few years later in 2004, I was there another 2 weeks. Since then I have been learning and perfecting herbs for dermatology. For the most part in Beijing I saw few of the more serious, esoteric or complicated cases but concentrated on the more common skin problems such as those listed below:.
In Chinese Medicine, the categories of the diseases may follow in different places than Western textbooks. This means that two cases of eczema and psoriasis which both look and feel inflamed and itch will be treated more the same than two cases of psoriasis in which one is pale and the other red and inflamed.
Psoriasis and eczema may look very much alike. In Chinese Medicine we treat them with the same principles but some variations. ________
Psoriasis – 白疕 báibǐ means “white sores”
Psoriasis in an auto-immune disease which means it usually is harder to “cure” completely. It usually has white “scales” which are the result of the overproduction of skin cells that then collect on the surface. It may be very itchy and may bleed in “punctiform hemorrhagic spots” underneath as it is scratched or the scales removed.
Psoriasis may affect younger patients and may get worse during the winter and better in the summer and thus psoriasis responds favorably to (sun light- UV) light therapy.
Psoriasis can appear anywhere on the body but most often on the elbows and knees is common but can also be on the scalp where it becomes more difficult to treat. It is not contagious. Psoriasis occurs because normal skin regenerates every 3 weeks and psoriatic skin regenerates in a week. This leaves a surplus on the surface that is uncomfortable but generally doesn’t itch so badly. The defining factor is the appearance of blood spots when the scales are taken off the surface of the body.
The most common type of psoriasis is called Plaque Psoriasis or Psoriasis Vulgaris. A less common form is Psoriatic Arthritis, which as its name implies, comes with swollen joints usually confined to the fingers and toes but may spread to the spine. This can lead to very severe cases and may take patience to endure and to treat. Erythrodermic psoriasis often comes from the topical use of corticosteroids.
___________________ Eczema – 湿疮 shichuāng is also known as dermatitis 皮炎 píyán (pí means skin and yán means scorching hot). The English word come from the Greek ekzema and means “something thrown out by heat.
While psoriasis is auto-immune, eczema is considered an allergic reaction. The skin rash is patchy or may be diffuse without clear edges to it. It is often bilateral indicating a systemic issue. It is often made worse if not caused by greasy foods. As such in the beginning the psoriasis may ooze fluids while chronic cases may be more dry and cause lichenification (becomes hard, dry and leathery).
Because eczema is an allergic reaction it is often associated with asthma. Children with eczema often develop asthma and adults with eczema often had childhood asthma.
Eczema/ dermatitis can be broken down into three types: 1) Contact eczema, as its name implies, comes from contact with an allergen such as a plant (poison ivy as a severe case), metals such rings and bracelets, fragrances and other chemicals. 2) Atopic eczema is a more generalized sensitivity that may be inherited. Many allergens in the general environment or in Chinese Medicine, the internal environment of heat and dampness may cause the eczema. It obviously is harder to treat than a contact eczema where the source can be more readily identified and then removed. 3) Irritant Eczema is much like contact eczema in that it is caused by clothing or work habits to a recurring irritant. This might be straps on a bra or too tight underwear and the skin becomes chaffed. Also being in the wind may dry out the face and lips.
Eczema shows up all over the body but particularily: A) around and in the ears B) scalp – this can get very bad and may tangle the hair, ooze and cause yellow scabbing C)face D) breast and nipples – usually more in females. E) umbilicus (belly button) F) Hands and fingers G) Scrotum H) Legs I) “coin shaped” may appear in spots- round spots often surrounded by smaller spots, may be be red and itch severely.
Chinese Medicine can help treat symptoms of type 2 diabetes with acupuncture and herbal formulas. Acupuncture treatments can improve circulatory problems and slow down the process of inflammation, pain, and swelling associated with diabetes and neuropathy.
I’ve found that acupuncture is very effective in reversing neuropathy commonly found in long-term diabetics. Once a person has started a series of treatments with acupuncture and herbs patients we hope to see that fluctuations in the blood sugar levels tend to stabilize.
Herbs are a vital part of treating diabetes in Chinese medicine. It is important to say that there is no single “diabetes herb” or one “diabetes pill”. One should really consult with an experienced herbalist to get the best group of herbs for you. What is good for your friend or relative might not be best for you.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3662109/ and a quote from it: It is evident that many TCM/TIM herbs possess anti-DM activities by interacting with various proven drug targets where Western drugs interact. Because of their empirically known oral efficacy and safety profiles, nutritional supplement status, multiple components for multiple drug targets, low cost, and easy access, TCM/TIM herbs such as ginseng, mulberry, and Radix coptidis are excellent candidates for long-term use for the prevention and treatment of T2DM. During the development stage, product standardization, quality control and assurance, placebo-controlled and randomized clinical trials are essential components that need to be perfected in order to translate their potential into a reality that millions of people could benefit upon.
For over 15 years I have been treating people with Chronic Hepatitis C (HCV). Fortunately, there is now a real cure (we all hope) that seems to work (if very expensive). Many patients came to me with this problem and then ended up being treated for all the other complaints they had.
Below is somewhat of a historical document from over 10 years ago-
You, one of your friends or family may have gotten a diagnosis of Hepatitis (B or C). This may or may not have been a surprise but now you have some challenges and decisions ahead of you.Treating Chronic Hepatitis with Chinese Medicine has 3 objectives:
Treat symptoms such as itching, stomach upset etc…
Prevent long-term damage to the liver
If possible, try to kill the virus
Traditional Chinese Medicine has been considering the effects of liver damage for many years. In the 1980s China developed its own hepatitis B epidemic. The doctors there have for the last 20 years been refining Chinese herbal medicine to lessen the damage of both hepatitis B and C. They have found that Chinese herb formulas can help to protect the liver against long-term damage of the hepatitis virus. Chinese formulas can be modified to work with patients with or without interferon.
With C, the patient may have been infected for decades before having complaints that may be brought to the Chinese medical practitioner.
At this time I can not guarantee that I can reverse a person’s HCV status, that is to kill the virus. I am confident in the other aspects of the herbal treatment.
The strength of the Chinese Medicine is that we can often find a treatable diagnosis in symptoms that Western medicine may disregard. It is also a challenge for the patient who must have faith in a treatment (usually with herbs) that may take months or years that may or may not affect the Western tests.
With Chinese Medicine, it is fairly easy to determine the diagnosis if not the treatment for the beginning and ending stages of hepatitis. That is to say: in the stages where there are multiple complaints: in the beginning, jaundice and flu like symptoms and in the end stages (if and when it comes to that) where in B and C there is significant liver damage causing cirrhosis, skin affectations and bleeding disorders. It is the middle chronic stage that is a challeng and that was the focus of my study in China.
In the Spring of 2002, I traveled to the Beijing City Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine where I studied with some of the doctors on the cutting edge of TCM treatment.
Headaches and migraines from all accounts can be a real, real drag. Devastating for those in the middle of one. Acupuncture does pretty well with them. Not everyone with severe headaches technically has a migraine but we treat them pretty much the same in Chinese Medicine. Often (but not always) we can cut down the number of headaches within half a dozen sessions. Continued treatments may virtually eliminate them. If you still don’t get relief then we can re-assess your situation and talk about taking herbs or I can refer you to another modality.
Gastro-intestinal issues play a “central” role in Chinese Medicine. That’s a pun, actually, as the stomach and spleen are considered the center of body processes and which all revolves. That’s why if a patient comes in for stomach problems I would ask them about their moods and if they come in for anxiety I would ask them about their stomach. We know that much of the endorphins that makes us feel good come from the stomach and helps explain why we feel so awful when our stomachs are off.
We, in Chinese Medicine, do pretty well with stomach disorders (gastrointestinal ) using both acupuncture and herbs.
I find great satisfaction in treating patients with IBS and other issues of the stomach and digestive tract. Chinese Medicine seems particularily suited to treat these disorders where no other therapies seemed to have helped the patient.
Chinese Medicine Promising for Irritable Bowel Syndrome [CFS & FM News] ChronicFatiguesupport.com 02-19-2003 CHICAGO–Chinese medicine may be effective for relieving irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), although support for probiotics is lacking, according to researchers from Northwestern University Medical School. The researchers published a research review in the Feb. 10 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine (163, 3:265-74, 2003) (http://archinte.ama-assn.org). According to the researchers, IBS is a common disorder that brings with it a significant burden of illness, poor quality of life, high rate of absenteeism and high health care utilization. Because management options are difficult and many times ineffective, researchers noted many physicians and patients lean toward alternative therapies to alleviate symptoms such as flatulence, abdominal pain and irregular bowel habits. Of these therapies, the researchers cited “guarded optimism” for traditional Chinese medicine, as well as psychological therapies although they noted further trials are needed to definitively prov the benefits of either regimen. The researchers also stated oral cromolyn sodium may be useful for treating chronic unexplained diarrhea, and appears as effective as and safer than elimination diets, which are commonly used to treat symptoms of IBS, although there is no evidence of food intolerance in IBS. In reviewing the literature on probiotic use in IBS, the researcher stated a lack of supporting evidence for a benefit of this treatment which is believed to improve the levels of beneficial bacteria in th gut. Contrarily, investigators from United Kingdom reviewed IBS research and noted there are some studies showing improvement in IBS symptoms with probiotic administration (Br J Nutr, 88 Suppl 1:S67-S72, 2002) The researchers also noted IBS patients tend to have low numbers of the beneficial bacteria classes Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. And, a team from the University of California, Los Angeles, found the probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum to be superior to placebo for improving IBS symptoms such as pain, bowel habit regularity and flatulence (Curr Treat Options Gastroenterol, 5, 4:267-78, 2002). Similar to the team from Chicago, the Los Angeles researchers also cited Chinese medicine as being effective for improving bowel symptoms and quality of life in IBS patients
From Fundamentals of Chinese Medicine: The stomach governs the reception and decomposition of water and grain.
The stomach receives and grinds to create the initial digestion of food and drink. Although the decomposition of food and drink into chyme is primarily associated with stomach qi, both reception and digestion are also closely related with the spleen. Because essence, qi, blood and fluids are produced from food and drink, the stomach is called “the sea of water and grain”.
The stomach qi governs free flow and descent. The stomach and spleen are both located in the middle jiao and are the hub of the ascent and descent of qi movement (qì jī, 气机). The descent of stomach qi and the ascent of spleen qi depend on each other. Stomach qi failure to descend not only affects the descending of qi of the six fu-organs, but also that of the whole body. After food is received by the stomach it is “ground up”, digested, and then transmitted to the small intestine. It is important that this process has “free flow” and that food is not retained for too long a time. “Descent” refers to free and downward movement of the stomach qi associated with the process of digestion from the beginning of the process through to the elimination and excretion of the waste products.
The stomach is a “yang-earth” organ that is said to dislike dryness and prefer moisture. Diseases easily consume fluids in the stomach, and the stomach requires sufficient fluids to receive and process foods and drinks. Reception and decomposition in the stomach relies both on stomach qi and the moistening fluids present in the stomach. For stomach qi to descend normally, stomach fluids must be available in sufficient amounts. The severity of a disease and its prognosis can be determined according to the strength of the stomach qi. The patient may be strong or weak, but if the stomach qi is good, the condition of the illness is relatively mild and the prognosis is good. When there is a severe lack of stomach qi, the prognosis is poor as the condition may be chronic or even fatal. Therefore, when talking with a patient with a chronic disease, questions regarding diet, taste, appetite and elimination are all very important.
The state of the stomach and spleen is easily seen on the tongue. A dry or “peeled” coating at the very middle of the tongue indicates stomach yin deficiency. In a serious disease, the appearance of a moist coating on a tongue that had been previously dry is a sign of recovery.