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Introduction to Neijing Classical Acupuncture Part III: Clinical Therapeutics

Author: Edward Neal

Chinese medicine currently stands at a critical crossroad in its development, and today exists at a significant distance from the ideas that gave birth to its practice. Shared concepts and terms resonate through classical texts and modern theories, and yet - especially in the West - there exists a significant divide between what was originally envisioned and what is currently practised and taught. This poses significant challenges for the profession. Knowledge of classical principles allows for advanced clinical problem solving, the successful treatment of complex illness, theoretical innovation, meaningful collaboration with other healthcare professions and the ability to perform clinically relevant research. Without this knowledge, many of these activities are significantly compromised. The distinctions between classical and modern practice can be seen most clearly in the daily clinical care of patients. Part III of this series of articles examines some basic therapeutic principles of Neijing classical acupuncture and reviews several case histories to illustrate their clinical implementation.

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The First Materia Medica: The Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing

Author: JulieAnn Nugent-Head

The oldest surviving Chinese materia medica, the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing (Divine Farmer's Classic of Materia Medica), categorised 365 herbs according to three categories: 120 'upper' (上 shang) herbs, 120 'middle' (zhong) herbs; and 125 'lower' (下 xia) herbs. This article discusses the clinical implications of this tripartite organisation, which goes far beyond being a mere indicator of the level of toxicity of the herbs documented. It also includes a discussion of the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing's categories of jun, chen, zuo or shi (chief, assistant, envoy and messenger), the meaning of which differs significantly from the typical current interpretation of these terms.

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Bonding, Visceral Hypersensitivity and Gui Zhi Tang (Cinnamon Twig Decoction) in Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Author: Nir Salomon

This article shows how the integration of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) with modern biomedicine can lead to a more thorough understanding of a stubborn and chronic disorder such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and how this disorder can be successfully treated with traditional Chinese herbal medicine. The article is based on the case of a 19-year-old soldier who presented with IBS manifesting as diarrhoea and abdominal pain, and includes discussions of the interaction of emotions and physiology, and how deficiencies in Earth-phase energetics can manifest as gastro-intestinal disorders such as IBS.

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The Treatment of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Author: Michael P. Milburn

Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is a condition characterised by intolerance to chemicals commonly found in the modern environment. Symptom patterns are typically multi-systemic, ranging from neurological impairment to digestive and respiratory problems. The condition remains controversial among the biomedical community as basic research, diagnostic criteria and effective therapies are still in development, and it has become a legal and human rights issue due to patients experiencing health challenges from exposures in public spaces and workplaces. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is able to effectively respond to new diseases using a diagnostic system based on the discernment of system-level patterns of disharmony and therapeutic tools capable of restoring systemic dysregulation. With an understanding of MCS and its associated special requirements for patient management as outlined in this paper, TCM practitioners will be able to develop and apply an effective multi-modal treatment plan. Effective treatment of MCS requires specific in-clinic patient accommodations combined with patient lifestyle modification and appropriate treatment using acupuncture, herbal medicine, qi gong and/or nutrition.

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Traditional Chinese Medicine - Science or Pseudoscience? A Response to Paul Unschuld

Author: Peter Eckman

This article was motivated by the interview in Issue 103 of The Journal of Chinese Medicine (October 2013) with Professor Paul Unschuld. Although Professor Unschuld is a prolific translator of Chinese medicine texts, and thus a gatekeeper to vital information for practitioners who do not read classical Chinese, this interview (together with other communications from Professor Unschuld) raises questions about his perspective on Chinese medicine. It appears that Unschuld characterises Chinese medical theories as 'magical' – i.e. pseudoscientific – thinking. This article examines the tacit beliefs which appear to underlie the work of Professor Unschuld (and that seem to be shared by other prominent authors such as Joseph Needham and Ted Kaptchuk) that deny Chinese medicine equal status with modern biomedicine - as being based on scientific fact. In addition, the question is asked: Should Chinese medicine be subject to verification by the methods of Western biomedicine, and if so, which part(s) of Chinese medicine meet that standard?

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An Interview with Professor Shen Pi’an

Author: Daniel Maxwell

In early October 2013 the UK was fortunate to receive a visit from Professor Shen Pi'an, who was in London to teach on the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with Chinese medicine. I took the opportunity to interview him on behalf of The Journal of Chinese Medicine, so on a brisk autumnal morning we met at his hotel in Hampstead. A sprightly man in his late 70s and immaculately attired, Professor Shen still works four sessions a week at his hospital, seeing 60 patients a day. When asked to expound on matters relating to medicine, his authority, force and passion were obvious. Professor Shen originally graduated in 1962 from the Shanghai College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and since then has worked as a doctor in the Shanghai Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital [where he has been Professor and Director of the Rheumatology and Immunology Department since the early 1980s]. A prolific author, Professor Shen has written more than 10 books related to immunology, rheumatology and materia medica pharmacology. He recently published his first English-language text, Shen's Textbook on the Management of Autoimmune Diseases with Chinese Medicine (Donica, 2012).

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Book Reviews

Book Reviews in this issue

  • The Geology of The Modern Cancer Epidemic Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
    Tai Lahans

    Book on order

JTCM Abstracts in this issue (from August 2013 and October 2013)

  • Curative effect of acupuncture and moxibustion on insomnia: a randomised clinical trial, by GaoXiyan et al.
  • Curative effect of scraping therapies on lumbar muscle strain, by Wang Yingying et al.
  • Ear therapy and massage therapy in the elderly with dementia: a pilot study, by Juan Rodriquez-Mansilla et al.
  • Curative effect of heat-sensitive moxibustion on chronic persistent asthma: a multicentre randomized controlled trial, by Chen Rixin et al.
  • Influence of moxibustion temperatures on blood lipids, endothelin-1 and nitric oxide in hyperlipidemia patients, by Ye Xianfeng et al.
  • Guidelines on common cold for traditional Chinese medicine based on pattern differentiation, by Jiao Yang et al.
  • Efficacy of Huadananshenmistura on insomnia: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, and multi-center clinical trial, by Li Huafang et al.
  • Integrated Chinese-Western therapy versus Western therapy alone on survival rate in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer at middle-late stage, by Lin Guoqiang et al.
  • Clinical treatment of myasthenia gravis with deficiency of spleen and kidney based on combination of disease with syndrome therapy, by Jiang Chao et al.
  • Effect of reinforcing kidney-essence, removing phlegm, and promoting mental therapy on treating Alzheimer's disease, by Ping Liu et al.
  • Effect of "yang-warming and kidney essence-replenishing" herbal paste on cold-related asthma exacerbation, by Tang Binqing et al.
  • Analysis on Traditional Chinese Medicine syndrome elements and relevant factors for senile diabetes, by Wei Junping et al.
  • Mechanisms of qi-blood circulation and qi deficiency syndrome in view of blood and interstitial fluid circulation, by Yao Wei et al.
  • Treatment of constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome by focusing on the liver in terms of Traditional Chinese Medicine: a meta-analysis, by Li Qianwen et al.
  • Effect of soothing liver therapy on oocyte quality and growth differentiation factor-9 in patients undergoing in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer, by Gao Xing et al.
  •  Effectiveness of external Sanjierupi Gao on mastalgia caused by mammary glad hyperplasia: a placebo controlled trial, by Fan Yingyi et al.
  • Curative effect of warming kidney and fortifying spleen recipe on diarrheapredominant irritable bowel syndrome, by Su Xiaolan et al.
  • A quantification model of Traditional Chinese Medicine syndromes in children with idiopathic precocious puberty and early puberty, by Lin Yanyan et al.

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