Practitioners Corner: May Spotlight, Dr. Pamela Robbins

It is a privilege to discuss my thoughts on TCM and Acupuncture and relate some of my observations on the incorporation of its use in Western hospital settings. As a native of Singapore, I am a third-generation practitioner of Traditional Oriental Medicine. OnePam Robbins L.Ac.5 (2) (002) could say I was raised in the medicine.  Both my grandfathers were herbologists and TCM doctors.  While holding earlier business-related degrees from Brigham Young University/Hawaii, I earned my Cardiovascular degree from Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida and my Traditional Chinese Medicine Training from East-West College of Natural Medicine in Sarasota, Florida and with that received National Board certification with NCCAOM.  In the last 19 years of practicing both Eastern and Western medicine and running 3 private practices in Florida and Arizona, I have also worked in the Catherization Lab at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, Florida; and most recently as a member of the Integrative Medical Team of Banner M.D. Andersen Cancer Center in Gilbert, Arizona.

After cross-country moves from Florida to Alaska and then Arizona, my husband and I settled in Scottsdale/Mesa Arizona where I established 2 practices. It was an exciting opportunity in 2017; I was invited to join the Oncology Integrative Team at M.D. Andersen in Arizona.

TCM has come a long way from the 70’s to present day, from being illegal to practice to now integrating medical practices in some hospitals.  We are standing on the shoulders of many that have come before with their hard work and diligence. I do believe we still have a long way to go. There are different levels of acceptance of TCM practices in hospitals across the US and this varies from state to state. From research acupuncturist working with herbal studies and acupuncture protocols to establish evidence based science to hospitals who just wants acupuncture as an alternative modality because there is a demand. Overall, there is still a lack of understanding and doubt of TCM in the western medical world.

There is definitely an increase in awareness of and interest in the benefits of TCM through the years. This leads to conversations and demands from the healthcare system we presently have. With the participation of the insurance system, that awareness and interest heightens.  Hospitals particularly in the world of oncology are beginning to see the benefits of how acupuncture can help cancer patients alleviate the discomfort and pain that comes with post cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy.  Many patients ask for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) methods to enhance the efficacy of their cancer treatment, to boost their immune system, and to reduce side effects and increase tolerability of conventional cancer care.  Hence, it is refreshing to see the various forms of alternative care such as yoga, massage, and even essentials oils that facilitate that demand in those hospitals.  Acupuncture a well-established part of TCM and 1 of the oldest treatments, is one of the most frequently requested and offered treatments. In the area of nausea, neuropathy, xerostomia, cancer related fatigue, dsyphsia etc. has led to positive results.

Below are some thoughts that I have observed that might help speed up a true integration that will benefit future patients.  Namely: Increase the amount for evidence based studies on both acupuncture and herbal medicine, secondly, as practitioners we need to work together and bring a unifying effort to have Acupuncturists and Doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicines recognized as key health care providers in ALL 50 states. With this recognition, comes the respect our branch of health care deserves, and along with the compensation equal to other branches of medicine. Lastly, a strong encouragement to all Colleges of TCM to instill in all their graduates a higher level of respect for our selected practice of medicine – one that has now stood the test of time for over two thousand years.

Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to China with Dr Dan Wen of TCMZone and a team of TCM colleagues to receive further training on TCM.  I have seen integration of western medicine such as chemotherapy and radiation, and Chinese herbal infusion used on patients post cancer treatments. The results were phenomenal and I can only hope the day will come when our branch of medicine will take its place as equal part of the treatment protocol in our hospitals as well.

TCMzone, a US Pioneer of Granule Herbs for Healthcare Practitioners

By Sherri Taylor, L.Ac.

TCMzone, LLC is a leading national herbal product company located in Tempe, Arizona that has raised the standard of Chinese Medicine.   quality-labTCMzone utilizes high quality contract manufacturers in Japan and China.  TCMzone’s specialty is modernizing Chinese Medicine by offering the ancient wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine and providing a modern day use of Chinese Herbals for practitioners to give to their patients.  One of the ways TCMzone does this is by providing herbal granule products to providers to take place of decocting raw herbs.  Herbal granules are easy and convenient to use.  You don’t need to spend time decocting herbs, you just need to add hot water to the granules which makes them convenient for “on the go” use.  Another important feature using herbal granules is that they are tested and standardized.  Each herbal product has a certificate of analysis that confirms a regulated product has reached its specifications in terms of amount of the herb and meets the standards for purity and safety.  The certificate of analysis ensures the quality of the herbal product and is the result of a series of tests done by the manufacturers.

The process of granulation includes sourcing the raw herb, cutting, weighing and mixing, extraction and separation, spray drying and powder mixture of herbal extract, granulation and packaging.   The finished granulation product has a 5:1 concentration ratio.  This means that one gram of granules is equal to 5 grams of raw herbs.  There a few exceptions to this rule, but most granules are in this dosage form. Granulation is a size enlargement process that converts small particles into physically stronger and larger particles.  There are two types of granulation, wet and dry.  Dry granulation consists of the mixture of powder being compressed with very little binders and fillers (excipients).  Dry granulation is primarily used in mainland China.  Wet granulation is the traditional pharmaceutical method of granulation and involves wet massing a powder mixture with a granulating liquid and includes more steps until the finished product.  Wet granulation tends to use more binders and fillers to help formation of granules. Granulation originated in Japan in the 1970’s and Taiwan in the 1980’s where wet granulation is used, the most traditional method.

TCMzone is committed to providing high quality herbs to providers so they can feel confident about the safety and efficacy of the product they are giving to their patients.  TCMzone manufacturers ensure sourcing authentic medicinal herbs as shown in the Chinese and Japanese Pharmacopoeia.  All TCMzone manufacturers provide rigorous testing of the herbal products for a certificate of analysis of the product and comply with pharmaceutical good manufacturing practices (GMP).  High quality tests are performed to ensure the quality, safety, and authentication of herbs.  These tests include: High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography (HPTLC), Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectometry, High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), and Microscopy.

TCMzone offers both forms of granules.  Wet granulation herbs are mainly classical formulas from the Shang Han Lun that are the Honso brand.  Dry granulation herbs are from mainland China.  TCMzone single herbs are offered in daily-dose packets and 100 gram bottles for your single herbal dispensary.  Formulas are available in unit-dose packets, vegi-capsules and 100 gram bottles.

TCMzone is proud to be a US pioneer of granule herbs to provide the very best in herbal products to the Integrative Healthcare community.  Be a trusted source of herbal medicine for your patients.  Call us today with your questions and speak to our on-site herbal consultant.

Practitioners Corner: April Spotlight, Dr. Yiwen Su

Traditional Chinese Medicine is not only the medicine of the past, but also of the present and of the future. I feel blessed to have received such intensive training in the origin of this medicine, inherited the valuable knowledge and skills passed on by the true Su-Yiwen-website (002)masters of the older generations and witnessed the healing power of this medicine in China as well as overseas.
I am a licensed acupuncturist and East Asian Medicine Provider in the State of Washington and a diplomat of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology (NCCAOM). I am currently the director of dermatology committee of American Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I was invited to speak at multiple national and regional oriental medicine conferences in the U.S. I have a busy joint private practice with my wife Dr. Li Jin at Su & Jin Acupuncture and Natural Healthcare in Northgate, Seattle, Washington.
I entered this medical field in 1980 and graduated with a Masters of Medicine degree in 1988 from Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China. During my training, in addition to a few outstanding professors and very experienced doctors of TCM, I followed one of the founders of the university, famous postgraduate tutor, Master Wen Zhuo-Zhi who devoted 60 years of his life helping his patients in China. I was chosen as his only postgraduate student.
My extensive teaching in combination with my clinical practice have contributed a great deal to my in-depth medical knowledge and clinical expertise. My teaching faculty positions include Chengdu University of TCM in China where I was officially appointed as Guest Professor in recognition of my significant achievements and extraordinary importance in Traditional Chinese Medicine. My other teaching experience in countries outside of China are as follows: professor at Israeli College of Medicine in Tel Aviv, Israel; herbal department chair and faculty chair at Northwest Institute of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in Seattle, WA, professor at Emperor’s College of Traditional Oriental Medicine in Santa Monica, CA, core faculty at Seattle Institute of East Asian Medicine and I have regularly been invited to teach at doctoral programs at Oregon College of Oriental Medicine and Bastyr University.
With a major in Dermatology and over 30 years clinical practice, I have had the opportunity to see a great number of allergy cases in addition to skin conditions. I came to realize that allergies are not just our body’s response to allergens, it is a dynamic interaction between our body and the environment. Our body’s overacting to the environment reflects our inner disharmony as well as the ever-changing environment. Only by careful examination of the environmental factors, and fine-tuning our body’s balance, will a better clinical result be achieved.
Many of my patients are referrals from others who failed with conventional medical therapies but benefited from traditional Chinese medicine treatment at my clinic. Some patients chose to work with us in conjunction with their western healthcare practitioners to get the utmost benefits of both medicines, or to get the surface issues and root causes of their health problems taken care of. That is why I believe Traditional Chinese Medicine is not just the medicine of the past, it is the medicine trending towards the future, embraced as a significant healthcare modality in the West.
As for the specific tools I use in my practice, I really see the benefit of combining acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, dietary and lifestyle advice to my patients. Every patient is offered a different variety of herbal formulas, diet and lifestyle that are tailored to his or her specific constitutions. Herbal formulas work only when the herbs are from reliable sources. TCMzone is a valuable resource and provides fine ingredients of Chinese herbal medicine available to licensed healthcare practitioners and their patients in the U.S.

Support Upper, Middle and Lower Jiao with TCMCeuticals Essential Digestive Formulas

By: Sherri Taylor, L.Ac.

This month we are focusing our attention on TCM for digestive conditions. Digestive conditions are vast and common and TCM offers powerful therapies to support a healthy digestive system*.  Our TCMCeuticals® Digestive line consisting of three (3) formulas for the upper, middle and lower jiao are the fundamental digestive formulas for your practice.  Our formulator, Dr. Haihe Tian’s comprehensive TCMCeuticals® digestive line consists of Esophageal Balance for the upper jiao, Digestive support for the middle jiao and Colon Harmony for the lower jiao*.  These three (3) formulas address the most common patterns of digestive imbalance and are based on Dr. Tian’s years of clinical experience in G.I.*.  Read the description below for Chinese Medicine pattern indicated for each of these formulas.

Esophageal Balance is appropriate for the upper GI tract and upper jiao.  It is indicated for an excess heat pattern with liver overacting on the stomach.  The chief ingredients in this formula make up Zuo Jin Wan.  The function of this formula is to clear heat and direct rebellious qi downward.  The remaining ingredients assist with directing the rebellious qi downward and preventing chronic conditions*.

Chinese Medicine Pattern– Liver overacting on the stomach with heat*.

Esophageal Balance contains the following ingredients:

**Huang Lian (Chief Herb)

**Wu Zhu Yu (Chief Herb)

These 2 ingredients are the chief herbs that make up Zuo Jin Wan.  Other ingredients include: Chai Hu, Huang Qin, Xiang Fu, Duan Wa Leng Zi, and San Qi.

 

Digestive Support promotes the function of the stomach, and middle jiao.  The Chinese Medicine pattern is mainly for Qi stagnation in the stomach.  This may be due to over eating or poor dietary habits.  Digestive Support is also useful for digestive problems due to emotional upset*.

Chinese Medicine Pattern: Spleen and Stomach Qi deficiency with Liver Qi stagnation*.

Digestive Support contains the following ingredients:

**Chai Hu (Chief Herb)

**Xiang Fu (Chief Herb)

**Both of these herbs work together to spread the Liver Qi, regulate the emotions, decrease pain, and balance Liver and Spleen disharmony*.  Other ingredients are Zhi Ke, Da Fu Pi, Xiang Yuan, Fo Shou, Zi Su Geng, Chao Bai Shao, Zhi Gan Cao, and Yan Hu Suo.

 

Colon Harmonyassists with harmonizing the lower GI tract to help correct the imbalance of   function and bacteria in the lower jiao.  This formula raises the Spleen Qi, improves Spleen function, and soothes the liver*.

Chinese Medicine Pattern- Spleen Yang deficiency with Liver Qi stagnation*.

Colon Harmony contains the following ingredients:

**He Ye (Chief Herb)

**Ge Gen (Chief Herb)

**Xiang Fu (Chief Herb)

These three herbs are the main herbs in this formula. Primarily, these three (3) herbs raise the Spleen Qi and assist with the liver Qi stagnation*.   Other ingredients to assist with this action include Chai Hu, Chao Bai Zhu, Chao Bai Shao, Shan Yao, Rou Gui, and Zhi Gan Cao. 

 

Questions about any of these formulas?  Contact TCMzone and speak to our herbal consultant, Sherri Taylor, L.Ac. Call 888-788-8086 on Mondays, 12-2pm PT or email any time sherri@tcmzone.com.

Practitioners Corner: February Spotlight, Amy Sear, A.P., Dipl.OM

Oriental medicine practice and utilization in America is in such an exciting period of growth and expansion, and I feel so blessed to be in practice at this time. I did my training in the mid 1990’s inAmy Sear_Best Choice Miami, FL and got my license in early 1997. The times have changed so much, on every front, that many of my students seem so shocked when I tell them stories ‘of the old days’, even though in the grand scheme of things, it was not that long ago.

The most vital aspect of this is the massive increase in awareness of and interest in all aspects of oriental medicine that regular and average citizens have.  This has occurred rapidly and exponentially.  One benefit of this is that doctors and large medical institutions have followed along.  Sometimes driven from the patient level up, and other times because high level accreditations have begun requiring integrative methodologies and integrative medicine departments. And acupuncture is at the top of the list of the most required and desired integrative practices.

I ran a private practice, renting clinical space, in a community hospital based breast cancer center because of a fabulous and progressive Medical Director there. We began this in 2005 and this continued and thrived until 2015, when the hospital created a fully comprehensive Integrative Medicine Department.  It was quite a journey and project, with many trials and tribulations to get to that point, but I am since then happily part of a full department and a well supported program.  I am a full time employee along with a full support staff, a second, part time acupuncturist, a nurse practitioner, and a full time Integrative Medicine Doctor, trained by Andrew Weil.  We partner with other departments and programs throughout the hospital that provide massage, yoga, diet and nutrition, mindful meditation, and exercise.

Integrative practice, whether hospital based or not, is not suited for everyone, nor is everyone suited for it.  I love it and find it compelling and stimulating, but it also has challenges and requires compromises.  TCMzone has asked me to do a webinar with them this month.  I will be sharing and providing a wide spectrum of information about hospital based integrative acupuncture practice, including aspects of my own experience.  I will cover the major topics for those curious about hospital based practice.  In a second webinar, also this month, I will cover necessary components and attributes of good quality professional medical records.  This is a vital aspect that we must all strive to do well, especially as we seek greater utilization and more respect by patients and the overall health care system.

Since 2000, I have been a teacher at several schools in our profession, all in Florida.  I absolutely love being a teacher.  I teach in the classroom and continuing education.   I have learned so much from teaching and preparing lectures. I have learned so much from my students. The interaction in the classroom and in seminars is invigorating, and every year the enthusiasm, passion and drive of those in our profession increases.  As someone in the later portion of their career, this is beautiful and I can only imagine how much further they will all take us.

From 2004 to 2010 I had the pleasure to serve as President of the Florida State Oriental Medicine Association (FSOMA). This was an amazing experience and I learned so much and met so many people, all working hard to spread the word and power of oriental medicine, helping us all move forward and come out of the shadows.  FSOMA recently decided to undertake an expensive and difficult task, to challenge the Florida Board of Physical Therapy that had decided to add ‘dry needling’ to their scope. This took great courage and hard work, and required that lots of money be raised.  Just days ago the judge for the case ruled that the Board of Physical Therapy overstepped their authority and ruled against their ability to add ‘dry needling’.  The judge ALSO ruled that ‘dry needling’ IS acupuncture. This is huge.  And this is all extra special because too often acupuncturists do not adequately or consistently enough step forward and donate the kind of money these issues and battles require. This topic is likely not done here in Florida, but the good news is that it has stirred us up and unified us.

Going in to my 22nd year of being licensed and practicing, I have seen and learned and experienced many things. All the way from the days when acupuncturists were arrested for practicing, to having patients of mine tell me that their doctors told them not to do acupuncture. I have seen the amount of licensees in Florida triple and the myths and misconceptions of acupuncture fade away. It is an exciting time for us all and the future will only bring more.

It is a delight to be a webinar presenter for TCMzone.  TCMzone has recorded versions of webinars we have done in the past, available for earning CEUs and NCCAOM PDA’s, including the required topics of Ethics and Safety, including Herbal Safety.

 

 

 

Practitioners Corner: January Spotlight, Dr. Hua Bing Wen, B. Med., MS, L.Ac.

Medicine is the only profession I ever considered. I earned my medical degree from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine in 1987 and then my Masters of Science in Integrated Clinical Medicine. I have always believed that every patient deserves personalizedpic-Dr.Huabing.Wen treatment and so this is how I conduct my practice. Based on the individual conditions, I design a treatment plan specific to each person using acupuncture, herbal treatments, dietary recommendations, and lifestyle counseling.  In order to customize my herbal treatments I find using TCMzone granule packets to be the absolute best methodology for a safe, effective, and simple plan.

First, the granule packets are safe for my patients. Not only are the TCMzone granules manufactured at GMP facilities and tested for quality assurance before packaged. The packets themselves offer a sense of confidence to my patients when they open them for the first time at home. Each dose comes sealed and labeled with lot number, name and amount, adding to higher patient compliance.

Second, the TCMzone granule packets are effective. This comes down to manufacturing and quality standards. However, the TCMzone packets in both single herbs and formulas also allow me, asH. Wen_s_private practice the practitioner, to customize my herbal protocols for each patient condition. I can modify a granule packet formula by adding sealed single herbs to the protocol or I can build my own herbal formula using the single herb packets to address specific conditions.

Finally, the granule packets are convenient. They are simple in packaging for my patients to use. They are easy to open and pour into water to make their daily tea, drinking half in the a.m and remainder in the evening. They are also easy for my patients to travel with and to carry. They can keep the granule packets in their purse, luggage, pockets and take during their travels or work day.  This dosage form offers my patients convenience, which is essential when taking Chinese herbs.

TCMzone granule packets

Practitioners Corner: December Spotlight, Haihe Tian, Ph.D., A.P

I started my training back in 1982 at one of the top medical schools in China, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine where I studied both Chinese medicine and Western medicine for 6 years. I continued my Master and Doctoral programs by following Dr Dong,Tian_current Jian-hua, the most famous TCM gastroenterology expert in China. I moved to the U.S. in early 1997 and have been practicing and teaching acupuncture and Chinese medicine for over 21 years at my clinic, Chinese Acupuncture & Herbs Center.
My teacher was the top TCM expert in China, specializing in G.I. diseases, and I learned a lot from him. I also practiced western medicine and performed endoscopes to see underline physical and pathological changes inside the GI tract, further developing the G.I. specialty for myself. There are about 30,000 licensed acupuncturists in America now treating common health problems, such as pain, so I think it’s important to build practitioners’ own specialty to distinguish themselves from other practitioners. I found that G.I. conditions are very well indicated with acupuncture and herbal medicine, because patients with G.I. issues can get excellent results from using acupuncture and Chinese herbs.
I recently started working with TCMzone as the formulator for their new TCMCeuticals digestive health product line. I combined both my teacher’s more than 60 years’ and my own 20 plus years US practice experience to create these 3 formulas suitable for American’s gastrointestinal health. I know that I can only help a limited number of clients in my clinic, but now practitioners can access my formulas and use them to help more clients. I recommend all 3 formulas and have many exciting stories that I will gladly share in future blog posts and webinars.

Practitioners Corner: November Spotlight, Sherri Taylor, L.Ac., Dipl.OM

My practice is called The Herbal Kind and I chose that name because my passion is herbal medicine and it is a significant part of my practice. I chose to go to school for herbal medicine first, then acupuncture. One of my goals was to bring an awareness to the natural options people have to choose from when improving their health including herbal medicine and acupuncture. I practice Traditional Chinese Medicine and specialize in Women’s Health, Fertility, and Internal Medicine. I enjoy treating complex cases with herbal medicine and acupuncture.  I’ve been practicing for approximately 13 years and can’t imagine doing anything else for a living. Another interest of mine is teaching. I enjoy educating patients on their health conditions as well as teaching Chinese Medicine students and practitioners herbal medicine.
I think you need to start simple when beginning your herbal practice and building your herbal pharmacy. First, it is important to do the research and ensure that the herbs that you have in your pharmacy are high quality and free of any toxicity. You want to know what you are giving your patients and feel good about the product you are supplying to them. Second, start with a few herbs that make up some common formulas based on the population you see. You may also make this decision by the seasons. For example, you may have Yu Ping Feng San and Yin Qiao San on hand in the fall and spring because you may encounter more people suffering from cold, virus or allergies during these 2 seasons.  I think for patient compliance, you first have to come across confident about your decision of prescribing a formula and let them know up front what they will experience.  I always prepare patients that the herbal medicine doesn’t taste sweet and it’s not supposed to.  Explain to them that it is medicine and plant medicine from the earth!!   Also, assure them they have options if for some reason a granule formula or raw formula doesn’t work for them.  I have granules and pill form in my clinic. Be sure to give clear instructions and write them down for the patient to take home and follow.  Follow up with patients regarding how they are taking the medicine, to make sure they are taking it correct.
One of my favorite success stories was a fertility case that I had 2 years ago.  A 35 year old woman presented with pre mature ovarian failure.  Her cycles were 19-30 days long.  It varied month to month.  She was diagnosed with hypothyroidism that was being controlled with medication. She had 2 pregnancies, one child and one miscarriage at 9 weeks.  At the time she consulted with me, she was not ovulating and her FSH was 20.  Her doctor suggested that she consult with a specialist for IVF.  I told her to give me approximately 3-4 months to work with her and then we will retest her hormones.  I prescribed herbs for her during the phases of her cycle and they were customized formulas that I made for her.  She did Acupuncture once per week and herbal medicine daily.  After 3 months she had her labs drawn and all her hormones were all within normal range including her FSH which was a 7!! However her AMH was .09  At the beginning of the 4th month, she fell pregnant!! Not only did she have one but 2 babies!! I asked if twins were in her family and she said No!! So this 35 year old woman went from being peri menopausal to ovulating and conceiving twins naturally!!  I also kept her on herbs for her first trimester and she had a very healthy pregnancy, working up to the very end of her pregnancy.  She never required bed rest!
Practitioners Corner is a spotlight of In the Zone monthly e-newsletter, a resource for licensed healthcare practitioners. 

My Post-Grad School Training in China, By Cynthia M. Cano

Hello everyone, my name is Cynthia, thank you for taking a moment to read about my adventures in China and student training organized by TCMzone, LLC.

cynthia new crappedLet’s begin with a brief introduction about myself, I am a recent graduate from Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture (PIHMA) in Phoenix, Arizona. Before seeking a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (MSOM), I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with a concentration in Health Science from California State University San Marcos (CSUSM). During my academic career at PIHMA, I gained a deeper appreciation and enthusiasm for Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture. My clinical supervisors encouraged me to be bold, and my wise instructors shared their knowledge on how to become a better practitioner and healer.

In November 2017, I became part of the TCMzone team, a company that plays a crucial role in the herbal industry serving integrative healthcare practitioners and TCM students, like myself. I feel extremely honored to have worked alongside Dr. Dan “Jipu” Wen (TCMzone founder and president), Jennifer Knapp (Vice-President) and the entire team at TCMzone, LLC.

TCMzone is recognized for organizing overseas practitioner-level trainings, however this year they decided to embark on a new venture, a student-level training. From September 14 to 28, I took advantage of the incredible group 1opportunity to travel to the source of the medicine. I traveled to China with my father, my dearest friend and classmate Ofelia, and a group of amazing students from Wongu University of Oriental Medicine. Truthfully, this adventure would not have been the same without this group of like-minded individuals—sharing the same passion for the medicine, culture, and history.

The first 2-days of our trip, which is truly a cultural learning journey, we visited some of the most iconic and breathtaking landmarks in Beijing, including the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, Temple of Heaven, and the Summer Palace. The fact that we were able to see so much in a short amount of time was impressive. I applaud Michael, our tour guide, for going above-and-beyond providing historical and culture information, fun-facts, answering all of our questions, and of course demonstrating how to “properly” eat Peking duck. Most of us bought jade bracelets, others bought souvenirs for loved ones, and many including myself tried snack after snack, such as cucumber or tomato flavored lays, pocky sticks, a diversity of Chinese bread, bubble tea, lamb kidney, and more!tian tan

After saying “Zàijiàn Beijing”, goodbye in Chinese, we then took a 5-hour high-speed train known as Gaotie from Beijing to Shanghai, ready and eager to begin to learn. The next portion of the trip consisted of the clinical observation training at LongHua Hospital, and afternoon lectures at Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (SUTCM) International Education College.

The clinical rounds in the morning consisted of outpatient and inpatient departments including: Oncology, Dermatology, Gastroenterology, TCM Internal Medicine, and Acupuncture. I truly enjoyed watching highly respected TCM doctors utilize IMG_9802acupuncture or prescribe Chinese herbal medicine for their patients. Some of the highlights from the clinical rounds was seeing our medicine in action. Flash cupping therapy was used on the face for those who had facial paralysis or Bell’s Palsy, moxibustion was burned over ST-36 and other acupuncture points to help invigorate the flow of Qi and blood in the body, ear seeds, electrical stimulation, and cupping was used on every patient, and Vitamin B-12 injections were injected in acupuncture points for various conditions.IMG_9595 (2)

The afternoon lectures included an array of topics such as Ear Acupuncture, Needling in the Neijing, Acupuncture Research by Dr. Wang Fan, Acupuncture and Moxibustion for Asthma by Dr. Zhang Bi-Meng, and we even had the opportunity to practice Ba Duan Jin qigong. On the last day of our clinical training, we had the pleasure to visit SHUTCM main campus for a graduation ceremony wherein we received a formal certification from SHUTCM for completing our student training and for a tour of the Medical History Museum of SHUTCM. I was inspired by all the rich history of TCM dating back to the stone age to modern days. The museum housed thousands of items exhibiting the TCM artifacts, such as ancient surgical instruments and TCM equipment like cupping, guasha, and needles, bronze acupuncture models, and hundreds of Chinese herbs were displayed for all to see. It really was quite stunning and spectacular to say the least, in fact it was one of my favorite things to see.classroom teaching

During our off time, we had the chance to explore the surrounding areas of our hotel and gained a first-hand experience of all that Shanghai has to offer. We visited the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower, we used our bargaining skills and shopped throughout Nanjing road, we even watched a Shanghai SIPG F.C. football match at the Shanghai Stadium, and sang at a local KTV karaoke bar. Like any foreign tourist, we wanted to impress our taste buds and try something new. In fact, we tried dish after dish not knowing what it was due to the language barrier, luckily pictures on menus helped us decide which dish was worth trying. We ate dumplings, organ meats, noodles, soups, and foods that till this day I’m not sure what it was, but it was sure delicious. What makes the cuisine in China so special for us TCM enthusiasts, is that many of the foods incorporate Chinese herbs, such as Sheng Jiang (fresh ginger), Gou Qi Zi (Chinese Wolfberry), and many more. At some restaurants, rice was cooked with Hong Zao (Red Chinese date) and soups were made with various Chinese herbs to serve a medicinal and satisfying purpose for the body.Pudong now

We also had the opportunity to visit one of China’s largest granule herb manufacturers, Tianjiang Pharmaceutical Company. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, where I gained first-hand knowledge on the manufacturing and efficacy of herbal granules. We walked through the state-of-the-art modern facilities where processes such as multi-function extraction, purifying, vacuum concentration, spray drying, and dry granulation techniques take place. All to produce the quality granules that are the TCMzone finished herbal products. We were also treated to a detailed presentation by the manufacturer wherein we were given the opportunity to ask questions. The tour ended with a magnificent dinner celebration put on by the manufacturer.Tianjiang-visit

TCMzone also organized a 1-day excursion to Hangzhou, the capital of China’s Zhejiang province, known for their iconic Grand Canal where we were able to take a short boat ride tour during the Autumn festival. We also visited the Hangzhou Longjingshan Tea Plantation and tried delicious roasted ‘Dragon Well” green tea. In the evening, we explored and wandered through the Wushan night market. Silk, tea, souvenir trinkets, and an abundance of street food was sold. If you are not familiar with stinky tofu, it can certainly take you by surprise and no, unfortunately I wasn’t that adventurous!hangzhou tea

“All good things must come to an end.” As we said our farewells and exchanged contact information, we were packed and ready to fly back to the states. Looking back at this trip, I know I will be going back, as there is so much to see in China, the medicine, the culture, and the history. Perhaps, once I pass my national boards and become a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist I will take advantage of TCMzone’s Practitioner-Level China Training. Thank you for taking the time to read my post-grad school training in China.

If you are an Acupuncture & TCM student interested in joining a TCMzone Student Training, contact TCMzone. If you are a practitioner looking to join TCMzone’s annual practitioner-level China training you can find out more here, https://tcmzone.com/shanghaitour2018 or contact TCMzone, education@tcmzone.com or 888-788-8086.

Changing Seasons and Transitioning into the Metal Element

by Sherri Taylor, L.Ac., MSOM, FABORM

As summer comes to an end, we prepare for another season change, transitioning into fall. How do we prepare our patients to stay healthy during the time of transitioning from summer (yang) to fall (yin)?

Chinese Medicine describes our innate ability to harmonize our biological clock with nature.  Naturally, we are able to adapt to the changes in the weather, sleep/wake cycles, and dietary habits.  We educate patients on the importance of eating and dressing appropriately for the seasons and getting enough rest. However, we do have patients that resist these changes and become more vulnerable to illness.  They are unable to adjust their lifestyle and resist the changes that are necessary to keep in harmony with nature.  Due to one’s internal disharmony, it simply takes the change in environment for someone to fall ill.  A sudden drop in body temperature will lead to a wind cold especially if the wei qi is unstable to begin with.   Western Medicine describes this phenomenon as viruses being able to survive longer in the dry, cold temperatures rather than solely the cold environment.  Hence, the Cold and Flu season.

As practitioners, we see Eastern Medicine diagnoses of Wind Cold, Wind Heat, Lung Qi Deficiency, Phlegm Heat in the Lung, Phlegm Cold in the Lung, and Wei Qi deficiency during the fall season.   Upon entering the Metal element, it is important to have the following herbal formulas in stock to help balance your patients internally during this vulnerable time.

  • Yu Ping Feng San– can use preventatively during this time to boost Wei Qi and Lung Qi. It is also the “go to” formula when your patients suffer from allergies during the seasonal transition*.
  • Yin Qiao San- is for the beginnings of a sore throat and Wind Heat invasion*.
  • Gui Zhi Tang- for Wind Cold Invasion with sweating that is due to an imbalance of the Wei Qi (defense) and Ying Qi (nutrient qi)*.
  • Sang Ju Yin- Clears Wind Heat, descends the Lung Qi and stops cough*.
  • Xiao Chai Hu Tang- Harmonizes and releases Shao Yang for alternate fever and chills, dry throat, coughing, nausea, vomiting, acid reflux, rib side pain and stiffness of the neck*.

Currently, we are making the transition from the Earth Element to the Metal Element.  The Spleen and Stomach meridians should be well prepared if we were in harmony with the season.  This will also be dependent on how well we endure the changes.  The function of our stomach has always been a key factor in maintaining our health.  What we eat plays a significant role in how healthy the gut flora is.  Our microbiome is always changing with diet.   A diverse, healthy microbiome is necessary to maintain healthy flora and a strong immune system.  If we are not eating correctly with the seasons, too much of the wrong food can lead to inflammation of the gut and less diversity in the microbiome.  Low diversity of bacteria in the body contributes to inflammation and overgrowth of bad bacteria.   One must eat large amount of fruits and vegetables to remedy this.  The microbiome starts to change in just 3 days from dietary modifications.  In order for the modifications to have a lasting effect, one has to sustain the diet of primarily fruits and vegetables.   The Chinese medicine principle of warming, cooked, easy to digest foods always applies anytime you want to improve the microbiome.

It is important during this time to continue to strengthen the Spleen and Stomach meridians since they play a vital role in the immune system as well as boosting the Lung and Large Intestine meridians to prevent Wind Cold, Wind Heat, and Phlegm Cold & Heat in the lungs.

 

*The information provided here is for healthcare professional practitioners only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.