Insomnia, infertility, migraines

We can help you with these chronic conditions

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Introduction

Insomnia, infertility, migraines and Irritable Bowel Syndromes are some of the chronic conditions that Chinese herbal medicine can help with.

Please see below for a full list of illnesses that we have helped other patients with. There are also some notes attached to potential treatment plans for each condition. However, the exact therapies used will differ depending on the patient and the practitioner’s expertise and experience.

Asthma

Asthma is a chronic condition, an allergic inflammation of bronchial tubes that causes breathlessness, wheezing, chest tightness and coughing. Over 5.2 million people in the UK have asthma, and tends affect children and the elderly (over 65) over younger adults.

Asthma sufferers tend to have an increased sensitivity in their bronchial tubes to allergens or other stimuli. When exposed to such allergens or stimuli, the bronchial tubes become inflamed, resulting in increased mucosa secretion and narrowed airways, triggering asthmatic symptoms.

While asthmatic symptoms, for many, can be controlled by conventional medication such as inhalers, asthma can worsen or become a life-threatening condition when a severe or long-lasting attack (Status asthmaticus) fails to respond to a routine treatment.

Chronic asthma can also cause further impairment of respiratory function or other complications e.g. chronic obstructive pulmonary syndrome (COPD), affecting long-term health and quality of life.

Asthma is called “Xiao Chuan” (wheezing and breathlessness in Chinese. TCM believes that asthma is a systemic condition rather than just a pulmonary illness. 

Multiple factors can play a role in the onset and development of asthma. Genetics, youth, an enduring illness, age, or the wrong diet are some of these factors.

They can weaken various organs (causing a lung, spleen or kidney deficiency). The weakened and dysfunction of these organs cause sustained deep-seated phlegm to accumulate in the lung. When external pathogenic factors, such as wind (hot or cold), attack the body, it brings up deep-seated phlegm causing wheezing and breathlessness and triggering asthmatic episodes.

A TCM practitioner would start a consultation with a “syndrome differentiation”, i.e. to find the pattern in the symptoms of the illness.

  • Are the symptoms mild or severe?
  • Does it adhere to a cold (yin) or heat (yang) pattern?
  • Is it of an excess (e.g. phlegm in the lung) or a deficiency (of lung, spleen or kidney)?

Then an appropriate treatment plan would be established.

Based on their own skills and experience, practitioners may choose either Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture or to combine the two to treat their asthmatic patients.

Other relevant therapies such as cupping, moxibustion could also be used as part of the treatment plan. At the initial consultation, your experienced TCM practitioner will establish your case history before setting out a treatment plan tailored to your asthmatic condition.

Source: Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ATCM) UK

Hay fever

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen.  According to NHS Choices, this condition affects up to one in five people at some point in their lives.

Hay fever symptoms include sneezing, running nose, itchy eyes and tearing in the eyes.

Hay fever may also lead to sinusitis, a stuffed nose, headache, toothache and fever.

Hay fever is caused by plant pollen which stimulate an allergic reaction in the upper respiratory tract. The pollen can be from trees, grass or weed. About 90% of sufferers are allergic to grass pollen.

Antihistamines and corticosteroids (steroids) that you buy over the counter give symptomatic relief but do not cure hay fever. They They help to reduce inflammation and swelling. Immunotherapy is a treatment which may help to cure the allergy over the medium term. Traditional Chinese medicine suggest that hay fever is related to a Qi deficiency in the lung, spleen and/or kidney. Due to the Qi deficiency, the body is susceptible to the environmental factors like the wind or the cold, which cause runny or stuffed noses , itching in the eyes and nose and swollen sinuses. Chinese medicine practitioners use either acupuncture or herbs to treat this condition.


Clinical trials have shown that Chinese herbal medicines can offer symptomatic relief and improved quality of life for patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis (Xue et al 2003; Oh et al 2012). Clinical studies in acupuncture treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis also suggested a positive result (Xue et al 2015). There are also some studies that gave an uncertain result about acupuncture treatment of allergic rhinitis (Brinkhaus et al 2013). Further clinical studies are needed for conclusive evidence.

References:

NHS Choice. Hay fever

Xue CC, Thien FC, Zhang JJ, Da Costa C, Li CG (2003) Treatment for seasonal allergic rhinitis by Chinese herbal medicine: a randomized placebo controlled trial. Altern Ther Health Med. 9(5):80-7.

Oh HA, Kim HM, Jeong HJ. (2012) Alleviation of allergic rhinitis symptoms with Pyeongwee-San extracts (KMP6). Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 34(1):135-42. doi: 10.3109/08923973.2011.587128.

Xue CC, Zhang AL, Zhang CS, Da Costa C, Story DF, Thien FC. (2015) Acupuncture for seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized controlled trial. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol.  115(4):317-324.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2015.05.017.

Brinkhaus B, Ortiz M, Witt CM, Roll S, Linde K, Pfab F, Niggemann B, Hummelsberger J, Treszl A, Ring J, Zuberbier T, Wegscheider K, Willich SN. (2013) Acupuncture in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 158(4):225-34. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-158-4-201302190-00002.

Source: Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ATCM) UK

Infertility

Infertility is the inability to conceive after regular unprotected sexual intercourse for two years in the absence of known reproductive pathology.

In some countries, reproductive endocrinologists may also consider a couple to be infertile if the couple has not conceived after 12 months of contraceptive-free intercourse if the female is under the age of 34.

If the woman is over 35 and the couple has not conceived after 6 months of contraceptive-free intercourse then the woman is also judged to be infertile. Around one in six couples have problems conceiving naturally, and this figure is predicted to rise to one in three in Europe over the next decade.

There are two types of Infertility: primary infertility and secondary infertility. Primary infertility means that the couple has never been able to conceive; secondary infertility is difficulty conceiving after already having conceived (whether the the pregnancy was carried to term, or there was a miscarriage).

There are many biological causes for female infertility. Some times, certain factors in the woman’s body or lifestyle may interfere with one another and cause infertility. Other times several factors may come together to cause infertility.. Some of these causes are unclear and perhaps there are other causes that are yet to be identified.

Therefore, in some cases, it may be difficult to determine the actual cause of infertility. However, obstacle to ovulation including polycystic ovary or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), premature ovarian failure (POF), and endometriosis are often cited as causes of primary infertility.

Fallopian tube obstruction, uterine and cervix problems meanwhile are often causes of secondary infertility.

Other factors which may contribute to infertility, are age, stress, living environment, climate changes, diet, lifestyle, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

IVF is the most advanced medical technology to help infertile couples achieve pregnancy. However, the average success rate of IVF in the UK is only 29.6% for women under the age of 35, and this figure reduces dramatically for women aged over 35. Many Researches have shown that combining acupuncture with IVF can increase success rates significantly. A study published by the British Medical Journal in February 2008 concluded that women undergoing IVF who also have acupuncture improved their rates of pregnancy by 65%. The chances of a live birth was also substantially higher than those who did not have acupuncture.

The success of TCM in treating infertility can be found in early Chinese medical literatures dating back to the 11th Century AD. TCM states that infertility is ultimately associated with three organs: kidney, spleen and liver.

These internal organs are interconnected, if any of the organs stops working, fertility problems may result. There are four major pathologies of infertility: deficiency of spleen Qi and kidney yang energy, accumulation of cold and damp in the uterus; insufficient kidney yin energy with empty fire, Liver Qi stagnation with blood deficiency; deficiency of Qi and blood with accumulation of phlegm and damp; damp and heat together with blood stasis in the uterus.

Following syndrome differentiation, acupuncture and /or a custom mix of Chinese herbal medicine is prescribed for each individual patient according to the diagnosis.

TCM can treat infertility effectively on its own, or work alongside with IVF to improve the success rates. There has been much press about the link between acupuncture and its success in treating infertility.

Read related news articles in our press section.

Source: Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ATCM)

Insomnia

Insomnia is the difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep for long enough to feel refreshed the next morning. People with insomnia can feel dissatisfied with their sleep and usually experience one or more of the following symptoms: fatigue, low energy, difficulty concentrating, mood disturbances, and decreased performance in work or at school. It is characterised by delays in falling asleep, waking during the night (even though you may eventually go back to sleep), or waking very early in the morning before the sleep cycle is completed. Quite often insomnia is more a perception of sleeplessness than true disturbed sleep. This may be due to irregular sleep patterns or sleep that is so fitful that you wake up feeling out of sorts and tired.

What causes insomnia? We all experience some difficulty sleeping occasionally. With age, sleep patterns also change with many older people finding they need to sleep for fewer hours.

Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that insomnia is caused or related to one of the following:

  • Stress and depression resulting in Liver Qi stagnation. Long term Liver Qi stagnation can turn to fire. The fire rises to disturb the Heart and spirit and the person cannot relax and sleep.
  • A diet of junk food will affect the stomach and the digestive system. In the earliest TCM book Huang Di Nei Jing, it is said ‘If the stomach is not settled then a person can not sleep peacefully’.
  • A weak constitution or long-term chronic illness both resulting in a deficiency of Kidney Yin. The water of the Kidney cannot rise up to nourish the Heart Fire. The heart Fire increases to disturb the spirit and affect the sleep.
  • Over thinking or over work impairs the Heart and Spleen; dysfunction of the Heart then causes a Blood deficiency. The Blood cannot nourish the brain and there can be Spleen deficiency, and what is known as deficiency of the Heart Blood. Food becomes hard to digest and a lack of nutrients results, in turn failing to nourish the heart. Women sometimes experience this condition after labour and elderly people can be prone to it. Insomnia often only lasts a few days or weeks. Long-term insomnia can go on indefinitely unless the cause can be identified and treated

.How can insomnia be treated? Sleeping pills are a temporary solution only and can be addictive or habit forming. TCM insomnia treatments include a number of Chinese herbal remedies to treat insomnia.Acupuncture is often used in the treatment of insomnia. Common acupoints are Nei Guan, Shen Men and Bai Hui. A combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can achieve even better results.

Source: Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ATCM) UK

Irritable Bowel Syndorme (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS ) is a fairly common condition which affects between 10 and 20% of the UK adult population at some point in their lives. The symptoms can vary between individuals but some common ones include:

  • Stabbing or churning abdominal pain
  • Bloating and swelling of the abdomen
  • Change of bowel habit (constipation and/or diarrhoea)

Aside from these the patient may also be suffering with general fatigue and depression which can also severely affect their day to day life making normal activities , such as shopping or watching sports events, somewhat troublesome. Increased excitement or stress may cause an increase in the frequency of bowel movements. IBS isn’t a specific disease but rather a set of symptoms and it’s generally accepted that it is more prevalent in females. Stress , diet and hormones are all possible triggers for IBS and it’s important that the patient and medical practitioner look at the whole picture before suggesting any course of action.

There are certain medications that are used in Western medicine and these work in different ways. Here’s some of the more common ones:

  • antispasmodics– these work by reducing stomach and abdominal pain
  • laxatives-these can help relieve constipation
  • anti-motility medications– these can help with reducing diarrhoea
  • low dose anti-depressants-these can be used to block neural pathways but there are many side effects to these and caution should be exercised when using them.

Whilst it’s important to stress the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle ( good diet, natural food, exercise and good sleep patterns) Traditional Chinese Medicine ( TCM) can also help greatly in the treatment of IBS. TCM views IBS as a result of a spleen and stomach dysfunction. Both these organs are vital to the digestion and transformation of food in to excreta. When they are not functioning well there is often a retention of dampness in the digestive system which will further affect the normal functioning of the whole system including the liver and the result can be a set of symptoms which can be loosely called IBS. TCM often uses herbal medicine to excellent effect in the treatment. However, there is a need to recognise everyone as an individual and prescribe on syndrome differentiation which will be discussed below.

Cold-dampness

This is usually a result of spleen and stomach dysfunction and will very often manifest itself with loose, watery and spray like stools. Appetite will be poor, pulse slow and the stomach bloated. The tongue will be covered with a white and greasy coating.

In this case Huo Xiang Zheng Qi Wan is used to expel cold and eliminate dampness.

Damp-heat

If a patient’s constitution is prone to excessive heat or if they favour highly spiced food , cold-dampness may transform to damp-heat. Stools are frequent and foul-smelling with a burning sensation. The tongue is red with a yellow coating.

This can be treated with Ge Geng Qin Lian Tang to clear away excessive heat and dampness.

Food retention

When food remains undigested due to spleen and stomach dysfunction it can cause problems in the intestines. Aside from frequent bowel movements there is usually abdominal pain which is relieved after the stool has been passed. Undigested food can cause belching with acid regurgitation. The tongue is thick and greasy and the pulse is slippery.

Food retention can be treated with Bao He Wan to resolve the retained food and restore digestive function.

Stagnation of Liver Qi

Stress and depression will affect the functioning of the liver which will also effect the spleen and stomach.This is characterised by a tightness around the chest, tenderness around the ribs and frequent bowel movement. The patient is likely to be emotional with frequent sighing.

Tong Xie Yao Fang is recommended here to soothe the liver and harmonise the spleen.

Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency

This condition can be serious. It is marked by frequent bowel movement, loose stools, tiredness, nausea, abdominal pain and poor appetite. The tongue is pale with a white coating and the pulse is weak. Greasy and cold food should be avoided.

Seng Ling Bai Zhu San can be used to tonify the spleen and regulate the stomach.

Kidney Yang Deficiency

Kidney yang deficiency can follow on from spleen dysfunction as they are closely connected. It is usually manifested by loose stools at midnight and in the morning with acute abdominal pains. Limbs are cold and the tongue is pale with a whitish coating. The pulse is thin and deep.

Si Shen Wan is commonly used to warm the Kidney Yang and to strengthen the spleen Qi.

If you are experiencing IBS and would like to have TCM treatment please contact us or seek a qualified practitioner through ATCM.

Source: Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ATCM) UK

Migraines

Migraine is a common condition affecting nearly every one in five women, and one in fifteen men. For many, the headache is one of the worst pains that can be experienced, characterised by a constant throbbing pain on one side of the head, lasting anywhere between two hours to three days. Other symptoms, like nausea and dizziness, are also common. When a headache strikes, it can be so debilitating that patients will take to their bed.Some migraine sufferers also experience vision disturbance, seeing flashing lights prior to a migrane attack. Sensitivity to light and noise is also common during migraine episodes.

The frequency of migraine attacks can vary. Some experience it twice a week, while others once a month. Many triggers could bring on migranes. Commonly found factors are stress, poor body position, menstruation, depletion of tea/coffee, and cheese.

The condition is not classified as a disease yet as the nature of it is still unclear. Two theories are most quoted as vascular theory which emphasis the pressure change in the blood vessels in the brain, and the neurological theory thought the temporary changes in the chemicals  in the brain is to blame.

Painkillers are commonly used as pain relief. Some of these are very strong, such as Triptans. However, side effects from the use of strong painkillers are common.

A tension-type headache is the most common type of headache and the one we think of as a normal, everyday headache. Headaches normally won’t be severe enough to prevent you from your everyday activities and are not the concern of medical practitioners. Over-counter painkillers, like aspirin and paracetamol are frequently used to as pain relief.

There is a no clear difference between severe cases of  tension-type headache and migraine, because there is no easy and clear differential diagnosis method employed.

Acupuncture is used in many countries for migraine prophylaxis – that is, to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks.

According to Linde at al (2009) in a systematic review that included 22 trials to discover whether acupuncture is effective in the management of migraine or migrane relief. It was found that patients who received  acupuncture had fewer headaches. In the four trials in which acupuncture was compared to a proven drug treatment, patients receiving acupuncture reported more improvement and fewer side effects. Collectively, the studies suggest that migraine patients benefit from acupuncture. Other studies also suggest that acupuncture reduced both the frequency of headache and the severity and length of the pain experienced during migraine attacks.

References:

Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Manheimer E, Vickers A, White AR (2009) Acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis (Review) Cochrane Database Systematic Review. Issue 4.S

Source: Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ATCM) UK

Menstrual Disorders

In general, women in reproductive age should experience a regular menstruation cycle if they are not on contraceptives or under special medical procedures. If the menstruation cycle is less than 21 days or more than 35 days, or is accompanied by excessive pain or the bleeding lasts for more than 5 days, this may be classed as a menstrual disorder and medical advice should be sought.Menstrual disorders cover a huge range of conditions, and some of the common types of the disorders are listed here:

  • Dysmenorrhea (painful period, period cramps)   
  • Menorrhagia (Heavy Bleeding, bleeding last more than 5 days)   
  • Amenorrhea (Absence of Menstruation for more than 3 months)   
  • Premenstrual Tension (PMT)   
  • Irregular menstruations   
  • Oligomenorrhea (Light or Infrequent Menstruation)   
  • Non fixed period pattern m(some time shorter while some times longer period circle)   
  • Shorter period circle (menstruation circle is less than 21 days)

All of the menstrual disorders could be signs of very abnormal changes in the reproductive system and/or the hormonal system, and they cause troubles in daily life and might lead to difficulty in fertility.

The diagnosis usually involves blood tests for hormone levels, scanning of structural changes/ damages in related organs, and recording and analysis of the changes in body temperature. Common diseases causing such menstrual conditions could be anything from stress, bleeding disorders (inability to stop bleeding)  to cancers. Female diseases commonly recorded in menstrual disorders include endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), uterine fibroids, etc.

When structural problems are detected, surgical operation provide the best chance of cure, while in other conditions, drugs are usually used to correct hormonal imbalance, and other related problems.

The treatment results can be poor, and the external supply of hormone is not ideal for chronic conditions. Therefore many patients choose Chinese medicine as an alternative.

Acupuncture is recommended by many medical authorities for the pain relief in many conditions. Chinese herbal medicine is proven to be one of the most popular ways of managing other hormonal conditions. Wherever fertility is affected and planned pregnancy is scheduled, Chinese herbal medicine as a natural remedy is obviously a preferred choice as it will not cause concerns over the healthy of the expected baby.

Clinical evidence is abundant to suggest the efficacy of Chinese medicine, including acupuncture and herbal medicine in managing those conditions. In the report of Reid & Stuart, the herbal medicine was reviewed; and in the review carried out by Smith et al (2011) the effectiveness of acupuncture  was analysed. Both confirmed the positive outcomes which mean Chinese medicine is an effective way of treating those conditions. Furthermore, the cost-effectiveness was analysed by Witt et al (2008), and Chinese medicine is no more expensive than conventional medicine.

Source: Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ATCM) UK

Quit Smoking

Why quit smoking? If you quit smoking, you will live a longer and healthier life. People breathe more easily and cough less when they give up smoking because their lung capacity improves by up to 10% within nine months.

In your 20s and 30s, the effect of smoking on your lung capacity may not be noticeable until you go for a run, but lung capacity naturally diminishes with age.In later years, having maximum lung capacity can mean the difference between having an active, healthy old age and wheezing when you go for a walk or climb the stairs.

Over a million users quit smoking each year and become healthier as a result. If you stop smoking too, you will have less chance of suffering cancer, heart attacks, and lung diseases and enjoy better blood circulation.

By quitting smoking, you’ll be protecting the health of your non-smoking friends and family, too.

Breathing in secondhand smoke increases the risk of lung cancer, heart disease, and strokes. In children it doubles the risk of getting chest illnesses, including pneumonia, ear infections, wheezing and asthma.

They also have three times the risk of getting lung cancer in later life compared with children who live with non-smokers.

Why is it hard to quit smoking?The first few weeks are the hardest and many give up during those first few weeks. Some people who give up smoking have withdrawal symptoms.One may become grumpy, hungry, thirsty, or tired. One may have headaches, experience depression, insomnia,  suffer lapses in concentration, and/or experience weight gain.

Nothing can make you stop smoking if you don’t want to. However, if you’re ready to quit, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine will make it easier for you to stop smoking. The effectiveness of acupuncture has been proven by acupuncture practitioners in the United States since the early 1960s.

From TCM’s point of view, the withdrawal symptoms as lung and spleen qi (vital energy) deficiency due to long-term damage from the toxins in tobacco.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine provide deep relaxation to patients and calm them down, boost their energy levels and prevent weight gain.After 1 or 2 treatment sessions, some patients find the taste of tobacco repulsive and discover a reduced desire to smoke.

Most patients find Chinese medicine a great help in managing their withdrawal symptoms.Treatment period varies from patient to patient and is based on individual smoking history and condition of the patient’s organs (lungs and spleen).

References

NHS Choices. 10 health benefits of stopping smoking

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Water Lily Acupuncture Richmond
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Jennifer Zhuang
Jennifer Zhuang
15:34 13 Oct 20
I went to Dr. Zhang since 2014, my immunity was low, and I had 3 miscarriages between 2010 and 2014. I had 3 sections... with Dr. Zhang, to boost up my immunity first, then nourishing my productive system, and final section for thinning my blood (sticky blood caused my miscarriages). I gave birth to a very healthy boy in 2015. After that I go back to Dr. Zhang every 2 years to have a section, just to maintain and balance my whole system, often in September, so I can have a smooth winter without being ill ( don’t get me wrong, I’m still getting ill, but fast recovering, normally recovered after one or two good night sleep. )read more
Maria Veresova
Maria Veresova
14:19 13 Oct 20
Excellent Care from Dr Zhang. I have been her client for a while now and every time I felt a professional and caring... approach. I had some uncomfortable pains in my breast last year and after the course of treatment I was free of pain plus gained more physical and mental energy. Recently I went again and I feel that this time one treatment worked already, but if I need to I’m back. I always think of her as my first choice if I feel my body is not at its best. I had acupuncture, acupressure and herbs. These treatments are a bit out of my price range, but I’m happy to save and still go there, because of my good experiences.read more
Kristina Belotelova
Kristina Belotelova
18:34 11 Sep 17
Excellent customer experience and great results! Herbs & teas help to balance the body (and mind) in a gentle and... natural way.read more
Cheng Toh
Cheng Toh
16:24 26 Apr 17
I had a very bad back shoulder pain after been injured ,a friend recommended to me than I went to DR Zhang and she... help me do only 3 time of the treatment cupping,electron acupuncture,massage it was a brilliant after the treatment totally recovered.DR Zhang had such a great knowledge and professional skills and will highly recommend this to anyone .read more
Swee Whitehouse
Swee Whitehouse
08:33 30 Jun 16
I went to see Dr Zhang with a chronic digestive issue that I had been suffering from for 3 or 4 years. Within a week,... I started to eat pasta and bread again—that after 2 whole years of suffering severe indigestion from ingesting any wheat-based food.Within 4 weeks, I was eating normally again. My energy levels were up and my immune system improved (previously I was having colds every few weeks during winter time). All my friends commented on how much younger and healthier I looked (I had a sallow complexion before).I highly recommend Dr Zhang for anyone like me who has been diagnosed with IBS or related diseases.read more
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