Fatigue & Chronic Illness

From a western or allopathic medical perspective, many chronic diseases, such as MS, Parkinson’s disease and lupus are expected to be life long illnesses the patient must learn to live with and continually adjust to worsening of symptoms and quality of life. In these cases Chinese Medicine can reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms and flares and increase the quality of life, bringing the body into longer remissions or a marked reduction of adverse symptoms. When the condition worsens, the acupuncture treatment interval is increased in frequency until symptoms abate. Then the patient can return to a maintenance interval. These patients require long-term care. Doctors develop individualized treatment plan that they can maintain.

Other conditions, such as fatigue are quite treatable. These patients must be able to commit to a longer course of treatment, but given time they can expect to regain a normal quality of life

 Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Treatment Expectations for Chronic Illness

Many chronic diseases, such as MS, Parkinson’s disease and lupus [and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2598347 ] are expected to be life long illnesses the patient must learn to live and deal with. In these cases Chinese Medicine can reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms and increase the quality of life, bringing the body into a remission or a marked reduction of adverse symptoms. When the condition worsens, the acupuncture treatment interval is increased in frequency until symptoms abate. Then the patient can return to a maintenance interval. So these patients are looking at long-term care, and an individualized treatment plan is devised that they can maintain.

Other conditions, such as fatigue [ and http://www.denverchinesemedicine.com/BlogCFS.html and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20209981 ], are quite treatable. These patients must be able to commit to a longer course of treatment, but given time they can expect to regain a normal quality of life.

How Does TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Treat Chronic Diseases?

Chronic illnesses vary widely in presentation. From the TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) perspective, deficiency is the commonality of disease patients: chronic disease patients are weak. This weakness may manifest in an obvious way, such as fatigue and lack of strength. Or it may present as weak immune function. Many chronic disease patients also present with a mixed pattern of excess and deficiency. Excess meaning too much of something: generally heat or toxicity and inflammation. These mixed patterns are more challenging and difficult to treat, and an experienced doctor  is required

How Chinese Medicine Treats Excess & Deficiency

For deficiency, or weakness, we need to build up the patient. In this case we are generally talking about deficiency of Qi (energy) and other processes (referred to as Yin and Blood in TCM speak) such as immune function. In these cases Chinese herbal therapy is critical to build up the substance (Yin and Blood) of the body and strengthening the patient.

Excesses, such as heat, toxicity and inflammation, must be drained or reduced to clear and eliminate it from the body. When the patient is deficient, a draining technique is tricky, as these methods can further weaken the patient, and this is why one requires an experienced doctor.

In addition to addressing excess and deficient patterns, Chinese medicine focuses on specific symptoms, such as spasticity, tremors, fatigue, rashes, pain and so on. Over time, these symptoms will lessen and abate with TCM treatment.

Herbs Are Important to Treat Chronic Diseases

Chinese herbal therapy [link to herb page] is an important component of the treatment plan for chronic diseases patients. Herbs build up the substance of the body, clear heat and toxicity, reduce inflammation, tonify Qi (energy) as well as addressing particular problems or symptoms. I write custom herbal formulas for my patients. The formulas are specific to the individual nuances of each patient and the manifestations of her/his condition. When addressing a difficult to treat condition, such as chronic illness, this individualized approach greatly improves patients’ treatment outcomes.

How Often/Long Should I Come for Acupuncture Treatment?

Fatigue and chronic illnesses take time to address. Weekly acupuncture treatments are optimal, but with the addition of Chinese herbal therapy, the patient could continue biweekly after an initial course of weekly treatments. I have treated a wide variety of chronic illnesses, including fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, MS, Parkinson’s and various fatigue disorders with and without a western medical diagnosis. All of these conditions respond well to Chinese medicine. The do require long-term care so the patient must be able to make a commitment to an extended treatment plan.

Personal Results

I was treated by Kath for an extended illness that had put me out of work for 1.5 yrs. Prior, I had been seen by Infectious Disease, Oncology, Pulmonology, Ortho and General Practitioners. In one month, Kath managed to get me back on my feet, literally, and back to work, where I continue to be at this time. I would recommend her as an excellent practitioner, based not on my knowledge of Chinese Medicine, but simply on my own personal results.
Surrett, RN Roswell, GA

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