Treatment of stress fracture and teenage acne

Josh’s mother has been a patient of mine for many years.  She had originally come to me when she was trying to get pregnant 20 years ago.  Eventually, with treatment, she had Josh.  That is another story, however.  Josh is now an 18 year old athlete.  He is a swimmer and is on the high school cross country running team.  His mother phoned  & asked me to see Josh for a stress fracture in his fibula.  This was his second stress fracture and it was taking a long time to heal.

When I examined Josh, his calf was very painful & swollen at the fracture site.  He was unable to do weight bearing activities,  and  even walking a short distance was painful for him.  The fracture occurred in early July & his first treatment with me was in late August.  It had been a long summer for him.  During his first treatment, I surrounded the fracture area with 4 needles and hooked the needles up to an electro-acupuncture machine.  Electro-acupuncture is useful for moving congestion, such as swelling and bruising,  in an area and speeding the healing of fractures.   I used ear acupuncture to needle the area corresponding to his leg, Kidney, Liver and Spleen.

In Chinese Medicine, the Kidney organ is responsible for bone growth and health.   By stimulating points related to the Kidney, bone formation and  healing is stimulated.  Because Josh was incredibly tight, I needled the Liver area in his ear to relax the tendons.  The Liver energy is responsible for the health of the tendons.  The Spleen is responsible for the production of Qi in the body, which is essential to healing.  Other body points I used were the Kidney shu points on the back, GB 30, 31, 32 & 34, down the side of the leg through the calf.  The focus of the treatment was to heal the bone, reduce the swelling, relax the tendons and increase circulation to the break site.  I advised him to increase his stretching and to take up yoga.

Like most teenagers, the minute the needles were in place, Josh was asleep.  He slept deeply during the 30 minute treatment.  After the treatment, the swelling was reduced and Josh reported that it was less painful and tight feeling.  I made Josh a formula of Chinese Herbal Medicine that combined herbs to invigorate and move the blood at the break site,  with herbs to reduce the swelling and promote healing of the bone.  There are special “messenger” herbs that take the forumla to specific areas of the body.  The herb for the lower body is Nui Xi.  I also gave him a package of   Yunnan Biao herbal patches that I’ve found to be very helpful for healing injuries and my patients love.

Tongue diagnosis is always used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.  Josh’s tongue was very interesting.  Initially, it was very red and coated.  After drinking herbs for a short time, it had changed dramatically.  The color was a more normal pink and the coating was reduced.

Josh returned again three days later and I gave him a similar treatment.  I saw Josh twice a week for three weeks until his leg had substantially healed.  When he returned to cross country running, he complained of shin splints.  I began working on both legs to increase circulation to his calf’s while continuing to  work on the fracture site.    As his leg healed, I  added herbs to his formula to clear up  his acne.

Yesterday was Josh’s last treatment for awhile.   The site of the stress fracture had healed and was no longer swollen or painful.  He had resumed a work-out schedule, though on a modified basis, was competing in school meets & his face was starting to clear up.  I told Josh that I thought his leg was fine and to come in again if it bothered him.   I encouraged him to continue drinking his herbal formula as I thought we could substantially clear up his acne with more treatment.

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Treating babies with Chinese Herbal Medicine

Tommy is an adorable little guy. Just eighteen months old, he is a happy, content baby. I treated his mother, Margaret, for infertility when she had difficulty conceiving Tommy after her first child was born 5 years previously. Now she comes in for monthly treatments.

At her last visit, she mentioned to me that suddenly Tommy had a dramatic change in temperament & behavior. Just after he turned 18 months, he began crying for hours at a time, waking up at night screaming and refusing to eat. His bowel habits had changed from several a day to only once, sometimes skipping a day.

As usual during Margaret’s treatment, Tommy was sleeping in the car with his grandmother. I told Margaret that I thought Tommy probably had had a virus that had affected his digestive system and that it sounded like he was having a lot of stomach cramps and gas. I thought his problem was minor and could be taken care of with one formula of Chinese herbs. I encouraged her to bring him in for me to look at.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we examine babies by looking at their tongues, as we do with adults. We also examine the color and condition of the blood vessel on the index finger of both hands. In adults, we take the pulse at the radial artery, just like in western medicine. In babies, the pulse is too fast and small to be able to diagnose from it so we use the blood vessel in the index finger. By stroking the finger, the vein stands out. Depending upon the color of the vein and the length of it into the finger when stroked, a diagnosis can be made.

Babies frankly hate this process. They don’t like their hand to be held by a stranger and they don’t like their finger to be stroked. It is the most benign process possible, but inevitably, they scream bloody murder. I’ve had patients in the waiting room think that I am performing acupuncture on babies, when in fact, I’m only stroking their fingers! Tommy had a typical reaction, much to the amusement of his mother.

Based upon Tommy’s tongue, index fingers and symptoms, I diagnosed Tommy as having a wind chill in his digestive system. I made a formula for Tommy to move the bowel, increase his appetite and eliminate gas. Margaret called me 4 days later and reported that he was completely better.

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Treatment of a miscarriage

Betty, a new patient, came in last week.  She was 6 weeks pregnant and was in the process of having a miscarriage.  Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine have been used for centuries to help prevent miscarriage as well as facilitate one that is underway.  Betty came in for help in having the miscarriage.  She had started bleeding two days before and had been suffering from lower abdominal pain and cramping, back pain, bleeding, nausea and insomnia.  She was exhausted from the process and obviously in quite a bit of pain.  Her husband accompanied her.  They were both very upset, not just that she was losing the pregnancy, but also that she was in a great deal of discomfort. 

I gave Betty a treatment using points on both ankles, Spleen 6, Conception Vessel 3,  on the low abdomen, and Colon 4, on both hands.  These are points that are generally contraindicated during pregnancy as they can make the uterus contract.  During a miscarriage, they are used to facilitate the process.  Almost immediately, Betty felt a deep sense of relaxation and calm.  The low abdomen pain and cramping ceased and she fell into a deep sleep. 

While Betty slept, I made her an herbal formula from my pharmacy.  The herbs I selected are part of a  formula that has been used for centuries to help complete the emptying of the uterus.  The herbs cause the uterus to contract, preventing any tissue from being retained.  Some of the herbs in the formula were Bai Shao, Rx. Paeonia alba, Dong Gui, Rx. Angeica sinensis, Tao Ren, Sm. Prunus persica, and Hong Hua, Flos Carthamus tinctorios.  These are all herbs used to build and move the blood.  The formula is particularly suited for post-miscarriage or other trauma to the body.

When Betty awoke from her treatment, she stated that her cramps were gone and though she felt tired, she felt much better.  I gave her the herbal formula instructing her how to boil and drink it.  I advised her to refrain from drinking any iced drinks or cold food.  After a miscarriage, Chinese Medicine advocates a warm diet, devoid of cold food or drinks to allow the body to rest and heal after the trauma of a miscarriage.

Betty returned two days later.  She stated that she had taken the herbs as advised.  She had had no more cramping or pain after the treatment and her energy was very good.  I gave her another treatment and a similar formula.  I advised her to let her uterus rest and not try to get pregnant for two months.   Betty was very  happy to have the process essentially over so she could go on with her life, taking care of her other child and working.

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