Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has thousands years history. It has unique basic theories and diagnostic methods. It is a very effective therapy in treating many chronic diseases and some acute diseases. If you are interested in TCM, welcome to pop in to this TCM forum, let's discuss on any topic about Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture. If you have any health problem, you are welcome to visit my clinic Knowhow Acupuncture at 1 Harley street, London. If you are far away from London, you can pop in my online clinic to get some help. If you like this blog please share it to your friends.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The 13th World Congress of Chinese Medicine

Tiejun Tang

Just came back from Auckland New Zealand, I am very happy to have this opportunity to meet many new and old friends. This is the biggest international conference in TCM field. There are 830 people from over 30 different countries attend this conference.

I was awarded an Excellence Speaker Award

and an Excellence Host Award 

I was elected as an Executive Council Member of World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (WFCMS) in this conference. 

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Public Openday to commemorate Mr Sun Yat-Sen's 150 anniversary

Tiejun Tang

The 12th November 2016 is the 150 years anniversary of Mr Sun Yat-sen, the first president and founding father of the Republic of China. The Sun Yat-sen University of Medical Sciences (SUMS) is originated from Boji Medical College,the first western medicine collage in China. Mr.Sun Yat-sen used studied medicine in Boji in 1886.
In 1896 he was Kidnapped in London by Qing government. The British government intervened and ordered the Chinese embassy to release him.You still can found his black plaque in 4 Warwick Court, Holborn, WC1.
I used did my postdoctoral research in SUMS, as alumni of Mr Sun Yat-sen I hope to organize a public open day at Mr Sun's 150 years anniversary day, the 12th of November. But I have planned to attend the 13th World Congress of Chinese Medicine in Auckland New Zealand at that day, so I have to use the nearest Sunday 6th November as public open day to commemorate Mr Sun Yat-sen.
All the visitors can have free consultation and a brief acupuncture or cupping and Tuina massage.
Booking your 10-15 minuets free sessions by sending message to 07516008921.
or registered through http://www.harleystreetchineseacupuncture.co.uk

Monday, 19 September 2016

Research evidence shows cosmetic acupuncture works

Tiejun Tang

Cosmetic acupuncture has gained popularity worldwide in recent years. MailOnline published Cosmetic acupuncture is the newest weapon in the anti-ageing war”. Many public figures have tried cosmetic acupuncture. From Kim Kardashian to many Hollywood stars they all like facial acupuncture for cosmetic purposes.Can facial acupuncture really make you look younger and keep you beautiful? Some clinical reports have shown positive results.
A research team from a Korea university selected 50 female participants of aged from 40 to 59 years. The participants received five treatment sessions over a three week period. All the participants were measured by the Moire topography criteria before and after facial acupuncture. The secondary outcome was a patient-oriented self-assessment scale of facial elasticity. Results showed, among 50 women screened, 28 were eligible and 27 completed the five treatment sessions. A significant improvement after treatment was evident according to mean change in Moire topography criteria[1].

Moisturising of the skin is recognised as the first anti-ageing skin care. Research from Korea use scientific methodology to explore whether acupuncture can modulate the water and oil content of the skin. The results suggest that cosmetic acupuncture increased the water and oil content of facial skin in a female participant whose water content and oil content were lower before receiving acupuncture than those of the mean values of women of the same age. Acupuncture might contribute to enhancing the appearance of the skin[2].

To investigate the effect of the De-Qi sensationsof acupuncture stimulation, a research group from Taiwan selected fifty-two healthy medical student volunteers, acupuncture at Hegu (LI-4) acupoint as they were resting. During a test that lasted 30 minutes, their skin blood flow was measured.The results indicated that acupuncture increased blood flow when the De-Qi sensation occurred[3].Blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to the cells while it removes waste products. Good circulation is important not only for working muscles, but for healthy skin. Facial acupuncture can significant improve facial skin blood circulation. That is why it can have anti aging and cosmetic effects. 

Cosmetic acupuncture doesn’t mean facial acupuncture, because not only points on the face are selected, but also use some distant points. These distant points vary in different cases and different stages of the same case. The acupoints selection must match the TCM diagnosis of each case. Distant points can regulate the Qi and blood circulation of the whole body and regulate the functions of internal organs. Sometimes they are more important than local facial points. A few minutesof facial massage after acupuncture can enhance the effect of the treatment.

The first cosmetic acupuncture recording can be traced back to Western Jin Dynasty. Acupuncture grandmaster Huangfu Mi (AD215-282) mentioned puncture Quchi (LI11) can treat facial dryness in his book A-B Classic of Acupuncture and Moxibustion”. A lot of written records about cosmetic acupuncture can be found in TCM classics.
On the basis of historical ancient Chinese acupuncture points selection in combination with the use of hi-technology facial dermatological needles it has become the most effective and safe new cosmetic technique.

  1. Yun Y. Effect of facial cosmetic acupuncture on facial elasticity: an open-label, single-arm pilot study.Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;424313. doi: 10.1155/2013/424313. Epub 2013 Jul 28.
  2. Nozomi Donoyama. Cosmetic acupuncture to enhance facial skin appearance: a preliminary studyAcupunct Med 2012;30:152-153 
  3. Kuo TC . The soreness and numbness effect of acupuncture on skin blood flow. Am J Chin Med. 2004;32(1):117-29.

Friday, 9 September 2016

How to treat Vitamin D deficiency with Chinese medicine?

Tiejun Tang

Many patients have told me that they have been diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency. These patients seemed to dismiss this “small” problem because it didn’t cause serious symptoms. Actually I believe we should pay attention to this condition. Next are some common questions, I have been asked by my clients and my answers:
Q: Do I have vitamin D deficiency?      

A: If you often feel general tiredness, vague aches, pains and a general sense of being unwell, you need to check your blood VD level.  If you are an office worker, didn’t have enough sunshine, or at the age of menopause or above you need to have your VD checked. In the UK, 90% of the obsese population has VD deficiency [1]. The South Asian community in the U.K have higher prevalence of VD deficiency compare to white people because of different lifestyle[2].

Q: Do I need any treatment?

A: The early stage of VD deficiency can have no symptoms or very mild symptoms. It is easy to ignore. The main function of VD is regulating the calcium and phosphorus metabolism and it plays a key role in osteoporosis and adults and rickets in children. A recent study from Cambridge fund that VD is a custodian of cell signalling stability in health and disease. It See comment in PubMed Commons belowcontributes to many human diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), multiple sclerosis (MS), hypertension and cardiovascular diseases [3].  If you have VD deficiency, you have high risk of these diseases. You need to get your VD level rebalance to reduce the risk of many serious diseases.

Q: How to treat VD insufficiency

A: Western medicine usually gives external VD and calcium to treat VD deficiency. Self-administration of Vitamin D supplements in the general public can result in high to toxic 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels [4]. A Randomised, placebo controlled clinical trial report showed calcium supplementation in healthy postmenopausal women is associated with upward trends in cardiovascular event rates. This potentially detrimental effect should be balanced against the likely benefits of calcium on bone[5]. The best treatment of VD deficiency should be a nature way like regulate diet and lifestyle, nature herbal medicine and acupuncture.

Q: What is Chinese medicine’s opinion on VD deficiency?

A: According to traditional Chinese medicine theory kidney dominates the bone. The strength of bone depends on kidney essence. The hydroxylase of the kidney can active 25-hydroxycholecalcifero into 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol, it is endogenous vitamin D3. To read more about kidney dominate bone theory please reference my previous publication.
VD deficiency is due to kidney deficiency in TCM opinion.   
Q: How to treat VD deficiency by Chinese medicine?
A: Any kidney tonify method can benefit VD. Acupuncture treatment should focus on the kidney meridian like KI 3, KI 6, BL23, DU4, apply reinforce manipulation. Kidney tonifying herbs can be select according to the principle of syndrome differentiation diagnosis. Kidney Yin deficiency use modified Liuwei Dihuang Wan; Kidney Yang use modified Jingui Shenqi Wan. Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture are good at balance Yin & Yang. Since the most of Chinese medicine has a bidirectional adjustment effect, the side effect of external VD and calcium can be avoided.
Kidney tonify herbs usually have health maintaining and anti-aging functions. In ancient China from emperor to ordinary people everybody like to take kidney tonifying pills or decoctions even though they never know what vitamin D is.

1.      Grace C. High prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency in a United Kingdom urban morbidly obese population: implications for testing and treatment.  See comment in PubMed Commons belowSurgObesRelat Dis. 2014;10(2):355-60.

2.      Kift R. Lifestyle factors including less cutaneous sun exposure contribute to starkly lower vitamin D levels in U.K. South Asians compared with the white population. Br J Dermatol. 2013;169(6):1272-8.

3.      Berridge MJ. Vitamin D: a custodian of cell signalling stability in health and disease. BiochemSoc Trans. 201; 43(3):349-58.

4.      Shea R. ANNALS EXPRESS: Self-administration of Vitamin D supplements in the general public can result in high to toxic 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. Ann ClinBiochem. 2016; 15.

5.      Mark J Bolland. Vascular events in healthy older women receiving calcium supplementation: randomised controlled trial.BMJ. 2008; 336(7638): 262–266.

Monday, 5 September 2016

FSN – A Magical Acupuncture for Pain Release

Tiejun Tang

FSN is an abbreviation of Fu's Subcutaneous Needle. It is a relatively new acupuncture technique invented by Dr.Zhonghua Fu in 1996. In the past 20 years this new technique has had a rapid development in China and is gradually getting more and more popular around the world.  
Originating from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), FSN does not follow the rules and principles of TCM, and the chosen insertion points do not coincide with traditional acupuncture points. Although both needles are manipulated and act on soft connective tissue, FSN involves the insertion of a special patent needle horizontally in and around the affected area, rather than perpendicularly in way of meridians.
Although FSN’s clinical indications include the treatment of many diseases and their symptoms, the treatment of pain related diseases are most effective in my practice. It has shown much better effect compared to ordinary acupuncture. In acute conditions, FSN usually can release the pain immediately after the first session, whilst in chronic conditions it also showed a significant improvement after a few sessions. I have found that many pain cases which failed in ordinary acupuncture could be relieved by FSN. The reasons for the pain could be due to different diagnosis including: sciatica, lumbar muscle over strain, tennis elbow, golf elbow, cervical spondylosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, frozen shoulder, fibromyalgia, migraine, stomachache and dysmenorrhea.
FSN is an innovation for the treatment of myofascial pain and trigger points based on the research and clinical findings of Dr. D. Simons and Dr. Janet G. Travell. The effects that FSN have on the body are by means of mechanotransduction as the swinging of the needle triggers a response on the connective tissue, specifically the collagen fibres, by stimulating signal transduction and gene expression in fibroblasts of the subcutaneous tissue.[1] A drawing or magnetic effect on connective tissue has been observed upon needle manipulation as the contraction and shape changes of fibroblasts cause pulling of collagen fibres and secondary alignment of fibroblasts and collagen fibres.[2] During manipulation of the needle, collagen fibres would wind and tighten around the needle shaft,and dispersing of nociceptive substances and PH balance has also been observed in skeletal muscles[3] . The mechanisms of FSN still need further investigation.
The inventor of FSN Mr. Zhonghua Fu is a long term friend and colleague of mine. We used to work in the same University hospital 20 years ago. He was a very clever and diligent young man when I met him and he has dedicated himself to the invention and developmentof FSN since then.
I had serious concerns when I first encountered FSN, even doubting its effect, because it is so different from traditional acupuncture. In the past 20 years Zhonghua gradually changed my opinion on FSN by his excellent work. After I applied FSN on my patients, the magical results convinced me of its effectiveness. The use of FSN gives greater confidence that successful pain mitigation will be achieved.
Reference :

  1. Langevin, H.M. "Subcutaneous tissue fibroblasts cytoskeletal remodeling induced by acupuncture: evidence for a mechanotransduction-based mechanism". J Cell Physiol 2006; (3) 207
  2. Langevin, H.M..  "Mechanical signalling through connective tissue: A mechanism for the therapeutic effect of acupuncture". 2001; FASEB J (1) 15.
  3.  Anderson, G.B.  "Epidemiological features of chronic low back pain". 1999; The Lancet (1) 354

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Why NICE is wrong?

Tiejun Tang

On 24 March, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) released a draft of its updated guideline. Acupuncture, recommended in the previous version was no longer being recommended for the treatment of non-specific low back pain and sciatica.

Acupuncturist across the UK have expressed serious concerns regarding the correctness of the findings expressed in this revised guideline, and formal responses have been made by primary stakeholders such as ATCM and BAcC. Research evidence, clinical case records and statistical analysis have all been collated and provided to NICE, electronically, in hard copy, and verbally at the NICE Public Board Meeting on 18th May, by representatives of the above professional bodies

Why NICE is wrong in this case?    

Firstly, measures applied to the assessment of effectiveness of a pain killer are not appropriate for the assessment of a therapy such as acupuncture.

Pain killer is a fixed production, each tablet has the exactly same chemical component, the same doses, of course it will produce the same effect on human whom suffer from the same disease. Acupuncture is not a production, it is a therapy. Although all acupuncture treatment looks similar, practitioners just simply insert needles into skin, but the acupoints selection is different, the depth, angles and manipulation are much different. Acupuncture is a therapy which depends on the technique and knowledge of individual practitioner. The effects of acupuncture are varied. How can we evaluate acupuncture effect just based on few clinical trial reports?

The comparison of a pharmaceutical intervention against a placebo can give a representative and absolute analysis of the effectiveness of that pharmaceutical, but the efficacy of a therapy cannot be confirmed in such a manner, as the therapeutic results are entirely dependent on the case by case treatment administered by the practitioner. The so called placebo or ‘sham’ treatment is effectively an attempt at consistent malpractice on the part of the practitioner. Appendectomy is recommended by NICE for acute appendicitis treatment, but if the operator is a physician or an acupuncturist nobody will recommend this operation.

Secondly, side effects should be taken in to account when assessing the effectiveness of a treatment.

Pain killers usually have very good effect after taken or injection. But its side effect shouldn’t be ignored. In clinical we often found some pain killers released joint pain or headache but it cause stomachache or liver function damage. From paracetamol to tramadol and morphine, their side effect is proportional to their function. Better effect always along with stronger side effects. Long term use pain killer will lead another problem – addiction. Acupuncture can reduce the doses of pain killers and even can replace the pain killer that is why it was widely accepted by patients all over the world. If NICE stop recommend acupuncture for treat low back pain, more patient will suffer from the side effects of pain killers.

Thirdly, there is the cost dimension.

The cost of direct health care for back pain in the UK in 1998 was estimated to be £1,632 million[1]. The management of chronic back pain amounting to 4.6 million appointments per year or 793 full time GPs at a cost of £69 million[2]. This is on the basis of the current shared workload between General Practitioners and Acupuncturists. If NICE stop recommend acupuncture in low back pain treatment this number will be definitely higher in the future.

NCEI had made a lot right direction to the public health in the past 17 years, but this time I have to say they are completely wrong. They should reconsider their conclusions in respect of acupuncture for low back pain and sciatica. Otherwise it will mislead public to the wrong direction of their treatment.

1.      Maniadakis, N. The economic burden of back pain in the UK. Pain. 2000; 84(1): 95–103.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

6 reasons why acupuncture need herbs

Tiejun Tang
Acupuncture is an effective therapy and it is getting more and more popular in the world. The World Federation of Acupuncture-Moxibustion Societies spent 3 years investigating 202 Countries and regions, and found that there are 183 countries which have acupuncture in practice. Most of the World’s acupuncturists in the world apply acupuncture on it’s own, they never use herbs. Only a small proportion of practitioners combine acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine together.  Is it necessary to combine herbs during the acupuncture treatment?  The answer is yes. I will tell you six reasons why acupuncture need herbs:
1) History tells us that acupuncture is an inseparable part of traditional Chinese medicine. 
    It originated in China. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are based on the same philosophy, same diagnosis method and same treatment principles. They are inseparable in thousands of years of history. Like your left hand needs your right hand to be truly effective. 
2)  Every famous TCM master in history combined needles and herbs together in their clinical practice. 
      From Hua Tuo (145-208AD) and Zhang Zhongjing (150-219AD) to Sun Simiao (581-682AD) and Li Shizhen (1518-1593). They all are good at both acupuncture and herbs.
3)      Herbs can extend the effect time of acupuncture. 
     When treating most conditions the effect of acupuncture effect lasts from a few hours to a few days. The treatment effect is unlikely to last a whole week. Some patients feels better after acupuncture treatment, but 2-3 days later their symptoms come back. In China some patients get acupuncture every day or every other day to maintain the effects, but it is very difficult to have such frequent acupuncture sessions for most patients. Chinese herbs can enhance the effect of acupuncture and extend the effect time.
4)      Herbs can expand the scope of indications of acupuncture
     Although acupuncture can treat many diseases, there are still some diseases for which acupuncture is not suitable, or cannot be relied upon solely. Acupuncture is superior for treating musculoskeletal pain, emotional disorder and functional disorder of internal organs, but if there is organ function failure and in some severe conditions, acupuncture must be combined with herbs to achieve good effect.    
5)      Scientific evidence shows acupuncture and herbs can enhance each other.  
      Randomized clinical trial showed acupuncture combined with herbs will lead to better treatment results[1]. Laboratory research shows that the combination of acupuncture and Chinese medicinal herbs can significantly enhance curative effects in treating model rats with PCOS[2]. Other research results indicated that acupuncture has a synergistic effect on the pharmacokinetics of Chinese herb medicine [3].
6)      Multiple treatments are more convenient and flexible to the patients. 
      Some patients are too busy to have weekly acupuncture treatment or they have to terminate their treatment because of a business trip or holiday. Some patients live too far from a practitioner.   In these situations they can take some herb tablets or powders so we can still bring the symptoms under control until the disease is cured.

In clinical work acupuncture and herbs can be applied separately for some conditions, but under most circumstances better effect will be achieved if combined together. To develop hand analogy; some things you can do with your left hand or right hand only, but you must do most things with both hands. Two hands always can do better than one hand.


  1. You XM. Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing Efficacy of Simo Decoction and Acupuncture or Chewing Gum Alone on Postoperative Ileus in Patients With Hepatocellular Carcinoma After Hepatectomy.  Medicine  (Baltimore). 2015;  94(45):1968
  2. Ma RJ Combination of acupuncture and Chinese medicinal herbs in treating model rats with polycystic ovary syndrome. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2011;8(4):353-61.
  3. Wu X. ,Comparative pharmacokinetics and tissue distribution of schisandrin, deoxyschisandrin and schisandrin B in rats after  combining acupuncture and herb medicine (schisandra chinensis). Biomed Chromatogr. 2014; 28(8):1075-83