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.

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