Arthritis Wang Hai-long and Carl Stimson Softback, 145 pages
Migraines Wang Lei and Carl Stimson Softback, 157 pages
Asthma Zheng She-mei and Carl Stimson Softback, 131 pages
Published by People's Medical Publishing House, Beijing Available from Eurospan, London. Price: £13.50 each
(Reviewed by Alan Rouse, EJOM Vol. 6 No. 4)
These three paperbacks contain complete treatment plans for their respective illnesses. They cover recommended acupuncture points, herbal combinations, diet, details of allergies and helpful exercises. They are attractively produced, with beautiful coloured pictures and plans, and any practitioner will find them useful as an easy reference when planning a treatment regime. Their style is also simple enough for them to be recommended to patients to read for themselves.
The books have a common style. They each give an introduction to TCM, the concept of holism and treatment based on patterns. There is a detailed explanation of qi and how a disturbance of qi can affect these illnesses. The concept of yin-yang is described, with illustrations of the different types of imbalance. In each book there is an informative chapter on how these diseases can be prevented and it gives the essentials of Chinese dietary theory, describing common foods and their properties.
In the Migraine book are food triggers that should be avoided, including sausages and hot dogs, sugar substitutes, red wine and coffee. Special foods recommended for migraine include cereal grains, starches and fish, green tea, chrysanthemum tea and fresh plum tea.
Asthma patients are advised to avoid greasy, spicy and acrid foods, overly sweet and salty foods, carbonated beverages and alcohol, and any food to which the patient is allergic. Special foods for asthma are listed as buckwheat, sorghum, mung beans, coix seed, pork, rabbit, chicken, duck, carp, oyster, cabbage, spinach, bitter melon, white gourd, yam, water melon, pineapple, pear, strawberry and water chestnut .
Arthritic patients are advised to use either an alcohol rub or herbal salve for joint pain, take cinnamon or ginger to remove cold and promote circulation, and to eat mutton for warming and to aid chronic pain. Also recommended are coix seed, bitter melon, Chinese Angelica (dang gui), mushrooms (to help autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis) and royal jelly (feng wang jiang) to boost the immune system.
Each book gives advice on general life style, including diet and exercises. There are illustrated sections on qi gong and tai ji, general massage and tui na, a manipulative massage and gua sha (scraping). Swimming and breathing exercises are recommended for asthma patients and migraine patients are advised head and face massage built around acupuncture points. There are illustrated descriptions of acupuncture treatments – needling, electro-acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, plum blossom and ear acupuncture. Key points recommended for all problems are St 36 (zu san li), LI 4 (he gu), Du 14 (da zhui) and Bl 23 (shen shu).
Commonly used herbs are illustrated and discussed, including sang ji sheng (mistletoe), ren shen (ginseng), huang qi (astragalus root), sheng (shu) di huang (foxglove root), nui xi ( cyathula or achyranthes root), dang gui (angelica root) and gou qi (lycium fruit).
Preparations of decoctions for commonly used formulae are described, together with specific formulae for dampness, stagnant blood, deficient qi and blood, and depletion of liver and kidney. There are some interesting treatment protocols given. Asthma attack treatment requires needling ding chuan, a special point on both sides of the upper back angled towards Du 14 (da zhui), twirling the needle to attain de qi and stimulating it every ten minutes during the treatment. Additional standard points for asthma include Lu 7 (lie que), LI 4 (he gu), Ren 17 (dan zhong) and Lu 5 (chi ze). Ear seed therapy with vaccaria seed is recommended.
Herbs to help asthma included ban xia (pinellia tuber) to dry dampness, zi su zi (perilla fruit) to resolve phlegm, chen pi (tangerine peel) to improve digestion and eliminate dampness and xing ren (apricot seed) to help breathing.
Various treatments for migraine are covered and points included GB 20 (feng chi), tai yang (extra head-neck point 5), yu yao (extra head-neck 4), LI 4 (he gu), Li 3 (tai chong) and Ki 3 (tai xi).
Herbs for migraine included bing pian (camphor tree crystals) for heat syndromes, qiang huo (notoptetygium root and rhizome) to treat pain, chuan xiong (rhizome) eliminates wind to stop pain, zang hong hua (saffron stigma) to treat blood stasis and chi shao (red peony root) to cool blood.
Arthritis treatments for different joints were expounded. Some commonly used points mentioned were St 36 (zu san li), LI 4 (he gu), Du 14 (da zhui), Bl 23 (shen shu) and special back points hua tuo jia ji.
Various herbal treatments are given to help arthritis. Those commonly used are sang ji sheng (mistletoe) to expel wind and damp, du huo (angelica root) for pain, ren shen (ginseng) to build up qi,huang qi (astragalus root) for the immune system and sheng/shu di huang (Chinese foxglove) to nourish yin.
These little books, with their lovely pictures of plants, will bring a breath of fresh air to the treatment of many chronic patients. They show the errors that many patients have made in life-style and diet, the treatment that will be necessary and the changes needed, including diet, exercises and other activities. I am pleased to recommend them. Alan Rouse A former journalist and practitioner, Alan Rouse has just stepped down as a member of the EJOM editorial team after 17 years. He enjoyed a sccessful 30-year career in acupuncture (B.Ac), osteopathy, homoeopathy and naturopathy. Alan is the author of an e-book 'Build A Sccuessful Practice and Retire in Comfort' and gives advice on health matters through the internet.