Asthma, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture and Diet

Asthma has become in the last few decades a very common disorder in developed nations.  The precise reason for this huge increase in atopic conditions like asthma has not yet been adequately explained, but we may suppose that aspects of our modern lifestyle and environment contribute a significant part of the picture.  Exposure to environmental airborne pollutants appears to either directly cause inflammation in the bronchi or exacerbate it.  Atmospheric pollution has increased and so has the number of chemicals (pesticides and preservatives etc) in our food.  While these may not be so directly involved in the aetiology of asthma,  it is possible that they play a role in over sensitising or derailing parts of the immune system, thus producing abnormal responses to various external stimuli e.g. dust mite excreta, pollens or foods.

Chinese medicine believes that one of the main causes of asthma is from the retention of deep rooted phlegm in the lung system.  It can be from factors that are hereditary, constitutional, environmental, exogenous, dietary or due to a weakened state of health.  A marked change in our behaviour and diet has occurred, particularly in children.  One of the features of paediatric physiology is the immaturity of the digestive system.  This inherent digestive weakness predisposes to incomplete breakdown of food and the accumulation of Phlegm.  Fatty and cold foods, unfortunately the mainstay of many a modern child's diet, are especially dangerous in this regard.  Phlegm is very clearly a key component of all types of asthma.

All children and adults with asthma need to be on a diet to reduce Phlegm.  This means restricting foods that produce congestion of mucous membranes (e.g. peanut butter, diary products), and foods that impair the Spleen's ability to breakdown food (excessive raw or cold foods and sugar).  Aspects of lifestyle and behaviour that require attention includes reducing screen time.  Not only is the lack of movement not beneficial for the qi of the body but the nature of the sometimes mindless absorption and focus on the screen is seen to deplete qi.  At the other end of the spectrum, is the plethora of after school activities and the expectations of parents that their child should fulfil.  Such relentless pursuits can exhaust a child's qi and leaves very little room for the valuable dreaming time of childhood.

If treatments are consistent using acupuncture and/or herbal medicine, diet and lifestyle advice firmly adhered to, then positive changes can be made with a definite reduction in attacks and morbidity.

Happy to discuss any queries or questions!

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine and Diet

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common chronic condition which upsets the bowel (with either diarrhoea or constipation or both at different times) causing discomfort and pain.  when sever it can e very debilitating and can seriously interfere with one's work and social life.  It is thought that to one degree or another it affects 20% of the UK population.  Symptoms are often worse with upsetting emotional events or stress at work.  The first episode often occurs after a period of stress or gastro-intestinal infection.

Conventional medicine relies mostly on dietary recommendations and anti-spasmodic medicines for the pain  IBS is considered to be a 'functional' problem, i.e. one that does not need surgery or major drug treatment.  The connection with emotional stress is recognised and that sometimes leads to the use of anti-depressants.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is very effective at treating 'functional' digestive problems, where conventional medicine may struggle.  Chinese medicine treatment is tailored to you as an individual and so are the dietary recommendations.

The organs most often associated in IBS are the Liver (stress) and Spleen (digestion).  The stress affects the hypertonicity of the large intestine and the spleen leads to a weakening of the digestive function.  If the Liver is the main organ responsible then constipation may be more apparent with abdominal cramping. A diet that helps regulate the liver energy (qi) includes dispersing and pungent flavours like onions, garlic, turmeric, watercress, peppermint, dill, sour flavours including citrus and pickles.  Plenty of fresh vegetables and be careful not to overeat.  Avoid saturated fats and fast food.  Care with chilli and avoid artificial and synthetic substances.

If the spleen is more involved, diarrhoea may be more apparent.  A diet to strengthen the system will be helpful.  Eating warm, cooked food and include foods like oats, barley, rice, root vegetables and chicken are all naturally warm and sweet.  Careful not to drink too many fluids with meals and take time to eat and chew food properly.  Avoid cold raw foods and drinks, including too much fruit. Avoid dairy, wheat and sugar!

If you would like more information please get in touch. Happy to chat!

New Acupuncture Practitioner Joining our Team!

Charmian Wylde BA MBAcC

 

Charmain Wylde, Weymouth AcupunctureI have over 25 years of experience as a practicing acupuncturist, having studied at The London School of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (now Westminster University) and in Nanjing, China where I worked in a department of acupuncture within a busy teaching hospital.

 

I established and was co-director of The Birmingham Centre for Chinese Medicine for 10 years, during which I learned how helpful acupuncture could be against a wide variety of painful conditions, such as migraine headache, sciatica and trigeminal neuralgia.

 

Over the past decade I have been involved in the education of those wishing to study acupuncture, designing and writing a BSc Acupuncture degree for The University of East London, where I was course director and senior lecturer. Aside from passing on skills to new practitioners, working in the arena of acupuncture education provided opportunities to develop my own practice and deepen my understanding and appreciation of how versatile acupuncture is in tackling common health issues. These included infertility, arthritis and Type 2 Diabetes in conjunction with GP prescribed treatment.

 

I have also been impressed with the importance the Chinese place on regular exercise and movement in order to maintain good health.  As a yoga teacher, I have an interest in using acupuncture to speed up recovery from sports injuries and in keeping chronic conditions such as back pain at bay.

 

I have seen the important role acupuncture can play in maintaining good health in our lives, especially when we are living longer, but also in confronting chronic illnesses for which there is sometimes little remedy. Acupuncture in my view is a common sense system of medicine with much to offer in the improvement of health and wellbeing in a fast-paced modern world.

 

I have over the years developed a problem-solving insight and will work with my patients to see how we can apply acupuncture to usher you towards a state of feeling better in both mind and body.

 

I lived in West Dorset during the early 1980s and am thrilled to return to the region.  For me there is nowhere better, and along with the bracing sea air and glorious Dorset landscape, I’m delighted to work with Louise in offering acupuncture in Weymouth.

 

 

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