The Influence of Neo-Confucianism on The Concept of Shen in Chinese Medicine Giovanni Maciocia In this article, the author explores first the nature and teachings of Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism and then how these influenced Chinese medicine and especially the concept of shen and the emotions. He refers primarily to the Nei Jing since this text had a profound influence on all subsequent doctors of Chinese medicine and especially on the concept of shen. However, if the Nei Jing was written around 100 BC, how could it be influenced so much by Confucianism which did not become the dominant ideology until the Song dynasty (960-1279)? The reason is that the edition of the Nei Jing we have was actually written by Wang Bing in 762 AD (Tang dynasty); furthermore, according to Unschuld, the Nei Jing was revised three times during the Song dynasty (in 1057) by imperial committees. It is important to note that the Song dynasty represented the triumph of Neo-Confucianism when this philosophy became established as the official state philosophy. The author suggests that it is quite ironic that we in the West often criticise the ‘systematization’ of Chinese medicine by the modern Communist regime while, in fact, it was during the Song dynasty under the Neo-Confucian influence that the Nei Jing was edited by imperial committees! Confucianism is discussed at length because, in the opinion of the author, this philosophy has the strongest influence on Chinese medicine, particularly with regard to its view of the shen and the emotions.
Acupuncture and Schizophrenia - Effect and Acceptability: Preliminary Results of the First UK Study Patricia Ronan, Dominic Harbinson, Douglas MacInnes, Wendy Lewis, Nicola Robinson This article reports on a small pre-clinical pilot study to explore the acceptability and effects of acupuncture in the treatment of schizophrenia. It outlines the research question and methods used and presents preliminary results of the qualitative and quantitative data gathered. Eleven participants who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia were recruited to the study. They had not had complete remission of symptoms despite treatment, and/or they suffered from the side-effects of antipsychotic medication. In addition to standard care, participants received individual assessment and treatment with acupuncture using a traditional Chinese medicine approach. Treatments were given twice a week for 10 weeks. The preliminary results from this study are very positive, indicating that acupuncture treatment yielded a wide range of benefits in terms of improved quality of life, as well as reductions in the symptoms of schizophrenia and the side effects of anti-psychotic medication. Of particular note are motivational and physical health improvements, especially relating to sleep, energy levels and social engagement. Read the whole article
Depression - A Multifaced Problem Tony Reid With the dramatic increase in the number of prescriptions for the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of antidepressant drugs over the last two decades, it seems as if we are in the midst of a ‘depression epidemic’. Without denying the reality of the extreme suffering experienced by patients with a depressive disorder, the author argues that in many instances the diagnosis of depression is not a valid one. Pointing to the weaknesses in both the contemporary psychiatric paradigm and in contemporary TCM perspectives, he argues for a complete overhaul of the way in which depression is diagnosed and treated as well as the ways in which clinical outcomes are assessed. He calls for a restriction in the use of SSRIs because of their dubious risk-to-benefit ratio and for TCM treatment he proposes four major syndrome-patterns for patients with depressed mood, based on the core pathodynamics of this condition.
Chinese Medicine as Body Oriented Psychotherapy: An Eastern-Western Synthesis Josef Viktor Müller Chinese medicine in this article is understood as medicine that bases itself on the classics like Nei Jing, Dao De Jing and Yi Jing. These are not regarded as historical antecedents of contemporary TCM but as containing timeless essence (jing) that has to be translated into contemporary time specific usage. The pathway system will be highlighted as a map for finding our way back home to ourselves. By using the qi of the meridians as hyphens between psyche and soma (body and soul) we can foster the development of new qualities through the challenge of disease.
The Seven Types of Stress - Transforming Evils into Virtue: How to Treat Internal Factors of Disease – The Seven Emotions Yair Maimon According to Western medicine stress is a response to danger. This response creates numerous changes in the body as a result of the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitaryadrenal (HPA) system. There is a release of hormones such as gluco-corticoids, primarily cortisol, and of neurotransmitters, such as catecholamines (dopamine, nor-epinephrine and epinephrine). These changes manifest themselves in the form of different symptoms. These symptoms will be discussed in relation to their pathology and analyzed according to the emotional response to stressors, as understood in Chinese medicine.
The Effectiveness of Acupuncture in the Management of Psychosis - An Evaluation Dr Helen Rogers (edited and abridged by Dominic Harbinson) This article is an edited and abridged version of a report, based on a study conducted in Walsall in 2008-2009, evaluating the effectiveness of acupuncture for people with psychosis. The study’s methodology utilised validated quantitative research tools and semi-structured interviews conducted with participants and their carers, relatives or partners. Strong evidence emerges from both the quantitative and qualitative data that there were significant improvements in service users’ mental health and general wellbeing following a course of acupuncture. These included: significantly improved sleep patterns; reduced anxiety and stress levels; better physical health; better eating habits; and increased self confidence and self esteem. Read the whole article
Managing Psychosis with Acupuncture: A Clinical Perspective Neil Quinton In this article, the acupuncturist who delivered the service evaluated by Dr Helen Rogers, (see “The Effectiveness of Acupuncture in the Management of Psychosis – An Evaluation” in EJOM Vol 6 No 5) sketches the background to the Walsall project and the approach and diagnostic framework he adopted. Patterns and pathomechanisms which are commonly seen in presentations of schizophrenia and bipolar illness are outlined, with particular emphasis on the significance of liver depression qi stagnation and spleen qi vacuity which, the author suggests, are often at the root of the condition and which can be treated effectively with acupuncture. The issues of treatment duration and frequency are also discussed as are point combinations. The author argues that there should be no reason why traditional acupuncturists cannot function as an integrated part of an already existing mental health team, significantly contributing to the management of psychotic illness by reducing anxiety and improving sleep, as well as proving a successful way of engaging both difficult to engage and younger patients, making it of particular use to Assertive Outreach and Early intervention teams.