Before I came to study in America, I had worked with Integrated Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Western Medicine in two municipal hospitals of Shanghai for 15 years. Now I am engaged in the family practice and preventive medicine in the San Francisco General Hospital. To provide my patients with a more effective and comprehensive service, I obtained the acupuncture license of California. As most hospitals in the USA do not integrate Traditional Chinese Medicine in their programs, several years ago, I founded a clinic integrating TCM and Western Medicine outside our hospital, serving the need of those who believe in TCM and prefer to combine it with their Western medicine treatment.
From my years of clinical experience on integrative Medicine, I have got a deep understanding that both Chinese medicines and Western medicines have their advantages and shortcomings. By integrating them into treatments, we can make best use of the advantages and bypass the disadvantages. To those who are afraid of certain treatment methods of Western medicine, Chinese medicine also offers an alternative treatment option. Here I share some cases in this aspect.
1. A patient was diagnosed to have lymph node enlargement and needed to do a biopsy. He was concerned of the procedure and came to my clinic for treatment. I prescribed him Nei Xiao Luo Li Pian of Guang Ci Tang brand. His lymph lump disappeared soon after.
2. Some patients at their 40’s or 50’s often feel distress in chest, ECG examinations ordered by doctors of Western Medicine do not reveal any abnormity, thus a correct diagnosis cannot be reached. In such cases, doctors usually just prescribe some pain killers, which do not help much. After they came to my clinic and were diagnosed with Traditional Chinese Medicine, I found tongues of these patients were dark red and their hands and feet chilled, suggesting that their blood circulation is stagnated. I subsequently prescribed Xue Fu Zhu Yu Pian for them and achieved very satisfactory results.
3. Several female patients used to have dysmenorrhea. Their symptoms included abdomen distending before menstrual period and irregular menses. They had been suffering from this painful illness for a long time. They went for Western Medicine but found Western medicines had too many side effects. After they later came to me for treatment, I gave them Yi Mu Cao Chong Ji and Xiao Yao Pian of Guang Ci Tang and told them to take these medicines three weeks after their menses. After one week treatment, their symptoms were relieved by 70%. After another 3-6 treatment regimen, most of them were totally recovered from dysmenorrhea.
4. I also use Guang Ci Tang’s Fang Feng Tong Sheng Pian to treat patients for different conditions, such as colds with mixed symptoms, slight constipation, itching skin and pollen allergy, and obtained very satisfactory results.
5. With Gui Pi Pian and Xiao Yao Pian, I have successfully treated patients with symptoms of insomnia and dreaminess, which were caused by stress at work.
6. Even more impressively, I used a combination of Ling Qiao Jie Du Pian and Bu Zhong Yi Qi Pian of Guang Ci Tang to deal with paranasal sinusitis with symptoms of headache and lung Qi obstruction in over 50 cases and got remarkable results.
The above-mentioned successful cases indicate that Traditional Chinese Medicine may deal with quite a wide range of health conditions, even for conditions that are not readily explained by theories of Western Medicine. Once a disgnosis is properly made according to dialectical treatment theory of Tradition Chinese Medicine and right Chinese medicines are prescribed, magic result is often to be expected. However, two factors are essential to achieve the best result.
One is prescribing Chinese medicines according to the symptoms. We know that traditional herbal decoction pays particular attentions to compounding Chinese herbs that play different roles as master, deputy, assistant, and envoy at doses adjusted to the condition of individual patients to achieve the desired outcome. The same principle also applies to the modern scientifically concentrated Chinese medicines. We should pay attention to combining different Chinese medicines and adjusting doses even for the same symptom as it may be caused by different underlying reasons at different patients.
The other factor is choosing good Chinese medicines. For brands of patent Chinese medicines, their place of origin, quality and reputation are all very important. The same Chinese medicine of different brands can have great variance in quality. Currently some poor quality Chinese medicines exist on the market.
As Chinese herbal practitioners, we should be very careful in choosing quality Chinese medicines because no matter how skillful a doctor is, it will be just one step short of success when poor quality herbs are used by mistake. I chose to use Guang CI Tang Chinese medicines produced by Shanghai TongHanChun Herbs Factory, a leading TCM manufacturers in China with a history of over two hundred years. My clinical practice has proven that Guang Ci Tang is indeed a supreme brand that enjoys great praises among Chinese medicine practitioners in America.
With the constant advance of modern technologies, I believe that Chinese medicines will embrace new developments. The future is bright in integrating Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine to benefit human health.
(Translated from the original in Chinese)