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Psoriasis

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.
Improving AMH and Fertility with TCM: Acupuncture and Herbs Show Promise

20 Mar 2024

By: Yi Ting Na

Blog, Acupuncture, Article, Fertility, IVF, Physician Na 蓝医师, TCM Herbs

Basic terms you need to know and understand: Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) is a marker (identified through blood tests) that helps indicate a female’s ovarian reserve. Diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) refers to a reduction in the follicles present in the ovaries, as indicated by a low AMH value and a decreased antral follicle count (AFC), which often results in poorer fertility outcomes. DOR can be caused by various factors such as ovarian surgeries and endometriosis. Currently, we are witnessing a trend of an increasing number of women being diagnosed with DOR. Does TCM treatment help improve AMH? We have observed patients whose AMH levels rose after undergoing TCM treatment. However, is this merely a chance occurrence, or is there scientific rationale behind TCM treatments aiding in AMH improvement? Should women with low AMH consider trying TCM treatments to enhance their levels?A meta-analysis¹ encompassing 13 randomized controlled trials involving 787 patients with DOR revealed that acupuncture significantly reduces FSH levels, increases Antral Follicle Count (AFC), and boosts AMH levels (P<0.05). It further indicated that a high dose of acupuncture (≥10 acupuncture points) exhibits superior efficacy in enhancing these parameters compared to a low dose of acupuncture (<10 acupuncture points). Combining acupuncture with Chinese herbs also notably reduces FSH and FSH/LH ratio while elevating AFC.This study suggests that TCM treatments such as acupuncture and TCM herbs effectively lower FSH levels observed in patients with diminished AMH. Additionally, these treatments contribute to increased follicle counts and AMH levels.Another clinical trial demonstrated that electro-acupuncture (usually included therapy in our specialized acupuncture without additional charges) can enhance embryonic development and egg quality². A potential explanation for this clinically observed phenomenon is that acupuncture and TCM herbal treatment enhance blood circulation to the uterus and ovaries, thereby stimulating dormant follicles to mature. This, in turn, improves AMH levels, AFC, and egg quality, offering significant benefits to patients undergoing fertility treatments or attempting conception naturally, as well as those considering IUI and IVF.While further research is warranted to fully understand how TCM treatments improve AMH, AFC, and egg quality, individuals embarking on their fertility journey might consider exploring these options. Consult with TCM physicians to learn more about these treatments and their suitability for your specific needs. Do Physicians at Yi TCM have knowledge on AMH? At Yi TCM, we have a profound interest in fertility concerns and have dedicated ourselves to extensive research and knowledge sharing regarding AMH and its relevance to reproductive health. Renowned for our empathetic handling of fertility cases, we collaborate closely with Western medical practitioners to address our patients’ AMH concerns. Through the application of acupuncture and Chinese traditional medicine (TCM) herbal remedies, we have successfully aided many patients in improving their AMH levels. However, it’s important to understand that these treatments require patience and commitment, as there are no instant or miraculous overnight solutions. Rest assured, our physicians will thoroughly assess your entire fertility health before recommending any course of treatment. ¹Lin G, Liu X, Cong C, Chen S, Xu L. Clinical efficacy of acupuncture for diminished ovarian reserve: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2023 Aug 2;14:1136121. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2023.1136121. PMID: 37600702; PMCID: PMC10433735.²Xiang S, Xia M-F, Song J-Y, Liu D-Q, Lian F. Effect of electro-acupuncture on expression of IRS-1/PI3K/GLUT4 pathway in ovarian granulosa cells of infertile patients with polycystic ovary  syndrome-insulin resistance of phlegm-dampness syndrome. Chin J Integr Med (2021) 27(5):330–5. doi:  10.1007/s11655-020-3219-z
What is an Auto Immune Thyroid Disease (AITD) and how can TCM help?

14 Mar 2024

By: admin_cleverly

Blog, Acupuncture, Article, Autoimmune Disease, Fertility, Physician Lee 李医师, TCM Herbs

What is an Auto Immune Thyroid Disease (AITD)? Autoimmune thyroid disease, also known as autoimmune thyroiditis or autoimmune thyroid disorder, refers to a group of conditions in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland, leading to inflammation and potentially affecting its function. The two main types of autoimmune thyroid disease are:Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: This is the most common form of autoimmune thyroid disease. In Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the immune system produces antibodies that attack the thyroid gland, leading to chronic inflammation and eventual destruction of thyroid tissue. As a result, the thyroid gland becomes unable to produce enough thyroid hormones, leading to hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).Graves’ disease: In Graves’ disease, the immune system produces antibodies that stimulate the thyroid gland to produce excessive amounts of thyroid hormones. This leads to hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) and can cause symptoms such as weight loss, rapid heartbeat, tremors, and anxiety.Autoimmune thyroid disease can have various symptoms depending on whether it causes hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Treatment typically involves managing the symptoms and may include medications to regulate thyroid hormone levels, such as thyroid hormone replacement therapy for hypothyroidism or medications to reduce thyroid hormone production for hyperthyroidism. In some cases, surgery or radioactive iodine therapy may be recommended to treat severe cases of hyperthyroidism. AITD and Fertility Autoimmune thyroid disease, particularly when it leads to thyroid dysfunction such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, can potentially affect fertility in both men and women. In women, hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism can disrupt ovulation and menstrual cycles, leading to irregular or absent periods (amenorrhea) and thus affecting fertility. Thyroid hormones play a crucial role in regulating the menstrual cycle, and low levels or high levels of thyroid hormones can interfere with normal ovulation. In men, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can affect sperm production and quality, leading to reduced fertility. Autoimmune thyroid disease itself, regardless of thyroid hormone levels, has been associated with an increased risk of fertility issues. Autoimmune disorders can cause inflammation and immune system dysfunction, which may affect reproductive organs and processes. How is AITD managed? Autoimmune thyroid disease, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease, is typically managed through a combination of western medication, lifestyle modifications, and, in some cases, surgical interventions or radioactive iodine therapy. Treatment aims to alleviate symptoms, regulate thyroid hormone levels, and minimize autoimmune-related inflammation. The specific approach to treatment depends on the type and severity of the autoimmune thyroid disease. A balanced diet rich in nutrients, including iodine and selenium, is important for thyroid health. Some individuals with autoimmune thyroid disease may benefit from dietary modifications, such as avoiding excessive iodine intake or following a gluten-free diet if they have coexisting autoimmune conditions like celiac disease. Regular exercise and stress management techniques can help support overall health and may positively impact thyroid function. Individuals with autoimmune thyroid disease require regular monitoring of thyroid hormone levels and thyroid antibodies to assess treatment response and adjust medication dosages as needed. Follow-up appointments with healthcare providers, including endocrinologists, are essential for ongoing management and optimization of treatment strategies. What is TCM perspective on AITD? Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a unique perspective on autoimmune thyroid disease, viewing it as a manifestation of imbalances within the body’s energy systems rather than solely as a malfunction of the thyroid gland itself. In TCM theory, autoimmune thyroid disease is often associated with patterns of disharmony involving multiple organ systems and energetic imbalances. Here are some key aspects of the TCM perspective on autoimmune thyroid disease:Energetic Imbalances: TCM views autoimmune thyroid disease as a result of disruptions in the flow of Qi (vital energy) and Blood, as well as imbalances between Yin and Yang energies within the body. These imbalances can affect the proper functioning of the thyroid gland and contribute to the development of autoimmune conditions.Organ Systems Involved: According to TCM, the health of the thyroid gland is closely connected to the functioning of other organ systems, including the Spleen, Kidney, Liver, and Heart. Imbalances in these organ systems can contribute to the development or exacerbation of autoimmune thyroid disease.Patterns of Disharmony: TCM practitioners diagnose autoimmune thyroid disease based on patterns of disharmony, which may include:Spleen Qi Deficiency: Weakness or dysfunction of the Spleen, which may lead to poor digestion, fatigue, and accumulation of Dampness in the body.Kidney Yin Deficiency: Insufficiency of Kidney Yin, which may manifest as heat symptoms, night sweats, and dryness in the body.Liver Qi Stagnation: Impaired flow of Liver Qi, which can result in emotional imbalances, stress, and stagnant energy in the body.Heart and Kidney Yang Deficiency: Weakness or depletion of Heart and Kidney Yang energies, leading to cold intolerance, fatigue, and fluid retention. How can TCM help manage AITD? The management of autoimmune thyroid disease through TCM aims to rebalance the body’s energies and address the underlying patterns of disharmony. Treatment modalities may include:Acupuncture: Acupuncture points are selected to stimulate Qi flow and promote balance within the body’s energy systems.Herbal Medicine: Chinese herbal formulas are prescribed to tonify deficient energies, clear heat, resolve stagnation, and harmonize Yin and Yang.Dietary Therapy: Recommendations for dietary modifications may be provided to support digestion, nourish Yin, and avoid foods that exacerbate Dampness or heat.Lifestyle Recommendations: TCM often emphasizes lifestyle factors such as stress management, adequate rest, and regular exercise to support overall health and balance.Individualized Treatment: TCM treatment is highly individualized, with practitioners tailoring therapy to address each patient’s unique pattern of disharmony and constitution. Conclusion It’s important to note that while TCM can offer complementary approaches to managing autoimmune thyroid disease, it should not replace conventional medical care. Individuals with autoimmune thyroid disease should work with qualified healthcare providers, including TCM practitioners and conventional medical doctors, to develop comprehensive treatment plans that address their specific needs.
Multiple Sclerosis

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.