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04 Apr 2024

By: Sheryl Tay

Blog, Acupuncture, Article, Autoimmune Disease, General Health, Pain management, Physician Tay 郑医师, TCM Food, TCM Herbs

What is Psoriasis? Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin condition characterized by patches of red, inflamed skin with silvery scales. It affects millions of people worldwide, causing discomfort, pain, and emotional distress. Psoriasis in Chinese is 白疕 (Bai Bi), also known as 牛皮癣 (Niu Pi Xian) or 银屑病 (Yin Xie Bing). Risk factors of MS Psoriasis occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells, speeding up the skin cell production process. Instead of taking weeks to develop and shed, skin cells turnover in days, leading to the buildup of thick, scaly patches. These patches can appear anywhere on the body but commonly affect the elbows, knees, groin and genitals, scalp, and lower back. The exact cause of psoriasis remains unclear, but factors such as genetics, environmental triggers, stress, and a compromised immune system are believed to play a role. Managing psoriasis involves reducing inflammation, controlling the immune response, and promoting healthy skin regeneration. Immune System Dysfunction: Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells triggering an overproduction of skin cells, leading to the characteristic symptoms of psoriasis, such as redness, inflammation, and the formation of skin plaques. Environmental Triggers: Various environmental factors can exacerbate psoriasis symptoms or trigger flare-ups. These triggers can include certain medications, infections, injury to the skin, and exposure to cold, dry weather. Unhealthy lifestyle such as poor diet, lack of exercise, and excessive alcohol consumption, can worsen psoriasis symptoms. Stress is also known to exacerbate psoriasis symptoms in many individuals. High levels of stress can trigger immune system responses that worsen inflammation and lead to more severe psoriasis flare-ups. These factors may not directly cause psoriasis, but they can contribute to the severity of the condition and make it more challenging to manage. Hormonal Changes: Hormonal changes, particularly fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels, may impact psoriasis symptoms. Women often report changes in psoriasis severity during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Traditional Chinese Medicine and Psoriasis In TCM, psoriasis is often attributed to imbalances in the body’s internal environment, particularly related to blood circulation, heat, and dampness. Treatment with TCM can help to reduce clinical symptoms, delay recurrence, reduce the side effects of western medicine and to enhance one’s quality of life. Types of Psoriasis: Blood Heat (血热证) : skin lesions that are red in colour, often in dot-like pattern, dry lips and throat, constipation Blood dryness (血虚风燥证) : skin lesions that are pale red in colour, often in a patchy pattern, skin lesions are dry and will crack and bleed Blood stasis (血瘀证) : skin lesions that are dark red in colour, often thick Dampness (湿毒蕴积证) : skin lesions that are red in colour, often wet, found usually in areas of the body where there are folds; joints feel sore and swollen, and heaviness in the lower limbs How TCM can help? TCM Treatments aim to slow down progression of the illness, reduce the frequency and severity of flare ups, and manage symptoms such as alleviate itch and decrease skin lesions. TCM takes on a holistic perspective, viewing psoriasis as an imbalance in the body. TCM psoriasis treatments focus on restoring harmony to the body’s internal systems, alleviating symptoms by addressing the root causes from within. Acupuncture: Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow and restore balance. For psoriasis, acupuncture can help regulate the immune system, reduce inflammation, and improve blood circulation. By targeting acupuncture points associated with the lungs, spleen, and kidneys, acupuncture can address underlying imbalances contributing to psoriasis symptoms. Herbal Medicine: Chinese herbal medicine are tailored to individual needs. Herbal formulations for psoriasis often include ingredients with anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, and blood-circulating properties. Common herbs used in TCM prescriptions for psoriasis include rehmannia, honeysuckle, sophora, and dittany bark. These herbs work synergistically to alleviate symptoms and address underlying imbalances. Psoriasis is a complex and challenging condition that requires a comprehensive approach to management. It’s essential to consult with a qualified TCM practitioner to develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to individual needs and preferences.
Control Bloating to Succeed in the Wellbeing Digest System

14 Mar 2024

By: Kang Ting Tan

Blog, Acupuncture, Article, General Health, Physician KT 陈医师

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It arises when the gastrointestinal tract becomes filled with gas, often accompanied by burping, flatulence, or pain.In addition to inducing physical discomfort, it can also impact one’s outward appearance. Presently, bloating is remarkably prevalent as a symptom experienced by numerous individuals.  What are the causes of Bloating? Eating too fastOvereatingIrregular eating habitsWheat allergies or Lactose intolerance (Milk and dairy products)Constipation StressOccurs in the period 1-2 weeks before and during the menstrual cycle (for females)Consuming food high in FODMAPS**FODMAPs stands for “Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols”FODMAPs is an acronym for a group of carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that are poorly digested by many people. In certain individuals, this group of poorly digested carbohydrates reach the end of the intestine and get fermented by the hydrogen-producing gut bacteria. The excessive hydrogen produced can lead to bloating, flatulence, constipation or diarrhea.  Fruits: Apple, apricot, blackberry, cherry, mango, peach, pear, prune, watermelonVegetables: Asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, mushroom (Enoki, portobello, fresh button or shiitake mushroom), garlic, shallotLegumes: Baked beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentilsWheat, Barley or ryeDairy products: Milk (from cows, goats and sheep), yoghurt, ice creamSweeteners: Sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, xylitol, high fructose corn syrup   Research indicates a significant correlation between FODMAPs and digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Types of Bloating in TCM Perspective 1. Food Stagnation ( 饮食内停)Abdominal distention that aggravates after food Other symptoms: Nausea; flatulence, bad breath and smelly stools. Commonly occurs after overeating 2. Liver Stomach Disharmony (肝胃不和)Expanding feeling of bloating, often triggered by stress or negative emotions Other symptoms: Prone to mood swings; excessive sighing;  loss of appetite; bitter taste in the mouth and irregular bowel movements 3. Dampness and Phlegm Retention  (痰湿中阻)Abdominal and chest discomfort Other symptoms: Prone to excessive sebum secretions on the face and scalp, often have cravings for food high in fat and sugars, aversion to humid and wet weather and sticky stools.  4. Spleen Qi Deficiency(脾胃虚弱)Bloating persists most of the time in a day, especially after a meal Other symptoms: Easily fatigued; decreased appetite; puffiness around the eyes or face especially in the morning and loose stools. TCM Approach to Bloating TCM employs a holistic approach to health. Depending on the cause, duration, symptoms diagnosed by the TCM practitioner, the following combinations of methods are used to treat abdominal distention. Acupuncture Herbal medicationAuriculotherapy Dietary and Lifestyle modifications    Ways to reduce or eliminate bloating Chew your food, aiming for at least 20-30 chews per bite.Establish regular meal times to promote digestive health.Practice mindful eating by consuming food and beverages slowly. Refrain from eating while studying or working during meal times.Be aware of any food intolerances you may have. Keep a food diary to monitor and identify any foods that contribute to bloating.Drink warm water. Avoid drinking cold drinks or eating spicy, cold or raw food.Exercise regularly. Engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise at least twice a week.  This helps to improve the qi and circulation of the body and intestine movement.    Consume lemongrass or ginger tea. They have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can improve digestive health. Lemongrass tea:Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 to 3 teaspoons of fresh chopped  lemongrassSteep for at least 5 minutesStrain the teaEnjoy it warmGinger tea Remove the skin of the gingerAdd half a teaspoon of freshly grated/sliced ginger and 1 teaspoon of honey (optional) to a cupAdd hot water and stirEnjoy it warm Bloating has many possible reasons. In rare cases, it can also be caused by abdominal masses such as tumours. If bloating continues and consistently causes discomfort for over 6 weeks, or if it significantly impacts your daily activities, it’s recommended to consult a medical professional for treatment.
Insights on Multiple Sclerosis and its Impact to Our Body

06 Mar 2024

By: Sheryl Tay

Blog, Article, Autoimmune Disease, General Health, Physician Tay 郑医师, TCM Food, TCM Herbs

What is Multiple Sclerosis? Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is characterized by the immune system mistakenly attacking the protective covering of nerve fibers, known as myelin, in the central nervous system. Myelin acts like insulation around electrical wires, allowing nerve impulses to travel quickly and efficiently. When myelin is damaged or destroyed, the transmission of these impulses is disrupted, disrupting the communication between the brain and the rest of the body, leading to a wide range of sensory, motor and cognitive problems. When the myelin is damaged, it leaves behind scar tissue which is known as plaques or sclera. Immune system will conduct repairs to myelin after an attack, however, repeated immune attacks can prevent the proper repair of the myelin, and in some cases, cause damage to the nerve cells themselves, resulting in permanent injury to the brain and spinal cord. Risk factors of MS Causes of MS are unknown, however are usually linked to genetic and environmental factors Sex. Women are 2-3 times more likely as compared to men to suffer from relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis.Genes. It has been found that individuals with the gene HLA-DR2 has been associated with Multiple Sclerosis susceptibility.Vitamin D deficiency. Having low levels of vitamin D and low exposure to sunlight is associated with a greater risk of Multiple Sclerosis.Certain infections. It has been suggested that certain infections have been linked to MS. Such as Epstein-Barr virus might trigger the immune system, leading to MS in some people.Smoking. Individuals who smoke are more likely to develop Multiple Sclerosis compared to individuals who do not. Symptoms Symptoms are dependent on which part of the Central Nervous System is damaged by the condition:Losing vision in one eye, pain when moving eyes, double visionNumbness or tingling in different parts of the bodyBalance issuesProblems controlling the bladderMuscle stiffness and spasmsFatigue Depending on the type of MS, symptoms may come and go in phases or get steadily worse over time. Types of MS:​ There are several different types of MS, and the course of the disease can vary widely among individuals. The main types include:Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS): This is the most common form of MS, characterized by periods of relapse followed by periods of partial or complete recovery. With every relapse, follows with the exacerbation of disability. Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS): Describes the transition from relapsing-remitting phase to a  steady progression of disability.Primary Progressive MS (PPMS): Describes a gradual and steady progression of symptoms without distinct relapses.Progressive-Relapsing MS (PRMS): This is a less common form where there is a steady progression of the disease with occasional relapses. Traditional Chinese Medicine and MS​ Traditional Chinese Medicine classifies multiple sclerosis as “atrophy” syndrome and “Bi syndrome”.  During periods of relapse also known as acute period(急性期), body constitution of patients mostly express Heat dampness body types. Symptoms such as weakness or heaviness in the limbs, numbness of tingling sensation, chest tightness, sticky bowels, dark scanty urine. During remission, also known as chronic periods(缓解期), body constitution mostly seen are Spleen stomach Qi deficiency and Liver Kidney deficiency. Spleen stomach Qi deficiency – symptoms experienced include weakness in the limbs, poor appetite and watery bowels, fatigueLiver Kidney deficiency – symptoms include weakness in the limbs especially in the lower limbs, soreness in the back, dizziness and tinnitus, hair loss, urinary incontinence, irregular menstruationTCM acupuncture and herbal medication can be prescribed to alleviate symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease. Clinical trials have shown that TCM is effective to alleviate symptoms, prevent recurrence, and delay disease progression in MS patients. Regular acupuncture treatment has been found to have a positive therapeutic effect on the recovery of movement and reducing abnormal sensations of the hands, fingers, feet, and toes.
The Meaning of Qi and Blood According to TCM Philosophy

17 Feb 2024

By: Lee Hui Min

Blog, Article, General Health, Physician Lee 李医师

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Qi (pronounced “chee”) and Blood are considered two essential substances that are crucial for maintaining health and vitality.Qi is often translated as “vital energy” or “life force.” It is believed to be the force that animates all living things and is responsible for various functions in the body, such as breathing, digestion, and circulation. In TCM, the concept of Qi is closely related to the idea of Yin and Yang, as well as the Five Elements.Blood, on the other hand, refers to the fluid that circulates in the blood vessels and nourishes the body’s tissues and organs. In TCM, Blood is considered to be a substance that provides nourishment and vitality to the body. It is responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and organs, regulating body temperature, and supporting the immune system.According to TCM theory, Qi and Blood are interconnected and interdependent. They work together to maintain the balance and harmony of the body. If there is a deficiency or imbalance of Qi or Blood, it can lead to various health problems. Therefore, maintaining a healthy balance of Qi and Blood is essential for optimal health and well-being in TCM.Qi and Blood work together to regulate the circulation of fluids in the body. Qi helps to move Blood through the blood vessels, while Blood provides nourishment to the tissues and organs. If there is a deficiency of Qi, the Blood may not circulate properly, leading to symptoms such as fatigue, cold hands and feet, and poor digestion.Qi is responsible for generating warmth in the body, while Blood helps to regulate body temperature. If there is a deficiency of Qi or Blood, the body may have difficulty maintaining a normal body temperature, leading to symptoms such as chills or fever.Blood is essential for nourishing the muscles and tendons, while Qi helps to move the limbs and facilitate movement. If there is a deficiency of Blood, the muscles and tendons may become weak and stiff, while a deficiency of Qi may result in fatigue and lack of energy.Qi and Blood are both important for supporting the immune system. Qi helps to defend the body against external pathogens, while Blood provides the nutrients necessary for the immune system to function properly. If there is a deficiency of Qi or Blood, the immune system may be weakened, making the body more susceptible to illness.These are just a few examples of how Qi and Blood work together in the body according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. It’s important to note that TCM is a holistic system of medicine, which means that it takes into account the interconnectedness of all aspects of the body and mind when diagnosing and treating health conditions.