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How Emotions affect our Body by Registered TCM Practitioner, Grace Yu

Friends who are interested in Chinese medicine are aware that Chinese medicine gives much importance to the integrity of the human body. Most TCM practitioners refer to the the Five Elements Theory.

From the chart below, we can see that different organs relate to different seasons, taste, body part and emotions, all supporting and affecting each other, maintaining a certain dynamic balance. However, one’s thoughts, beliefs and existing ideology does affect the health and balance of our bodies.

These are examples of how our everyday emotions affect our body.

Bad Mood = Loss of Appetite

The “Treatise on Febrile and Miscellaneous Diseases” records “See the disease of the liver, know the liver and spread the spleen, and take the spleen first”, which refers to the effect of mood on the spleen and stomach. Chinese medicine believes that the five elements are the same, the liver is the wood, and the spleen is the earth. Wood controls earthmeans the liver and the spleen. Therefore, when the person is wronged and the heart is stagnation, the liver stagnation and stagnation will hurt the spleen and stomach, affecting the digestive system. Have some ginger rose tea to relief.

Anger = Liver Problems

Tension and bad temper often cause endocrine disorders. After endocrine disorders, all organs of the body will be affected. The reproductive system is most closely related to hormones, so the imbalance is more obvious. For example, the occurrence of uterine fibroids and mammary gland hyperplasia is the imbalance of estrogen levels. Caused by. Chinese medicine believes that if the uterus is in the liver meridian, if the temper is irritable and over time, liver qi stagnation, qi stagnation and blood stasis, it is easy to produce uterine fibroids or cause ovarian function decline. Therefore, by adjusting emotions and rooting out the causes of emotions, we can adjust our endocrine imbalances and press our Sanyinjiao points (except for pregnant women).

Emotional Blockages = Breast Health Issues

There are many people with nodules in the breast, which is stressful with modern people. Without proper adjustment and adjustment, they often hide themselves when they are in trouble. Sultry is particularly likely to affect breast health. Because the breast is in the place where “the liver meridian passes by”, the liver is sullen and hurts the liver. The liver qi does not come out, and it is easy to stagnate. , Naturally easy to grow nodules. Chinese medicine says that “a hundred diseases are born in qi”, and it is said that many diseases are related to emotional incompetence, which causes the qi and blood meridians to be impassable.

How does acupuncture support men during IVF

How does acupuncture support men during IVF(In Vitro Fertilization) by 

Experts estimate that 40% of couples with infertility issues are due to women while 30 % of the issues are related to men and 30% of couples suffer from unexplained infertility. However, fertility related support such as IVF acupuncture is always focused on supporting women female and very few men seek for help.

So what does male factor infertility mean?

The issues can range from a mild reduction in sperm count, abnormal sperm function, blockages to prevent the delivery of sperm, complete absence of sperm, to the inability to ejaculate. All these can prevent conception from happening.

How can acupuncture help?

For men, acupuncture can help balance the energy flow through the system. It can improve blood flow to the testes where sperm are produced, restore balance of the body’s natural hormonal level, and facilitate a more relaxed nervous system which often result in improved semen analyses, especially for men with low sperm count, poor sperm motility or poor sperm morphology. Combined with herbal formulas, acupuncture can even help with sex dysfunction such as reduced libido or erectile difficulty which can as a result lead to natural conception. Our fertility acupuncturist and registered Chinese medicine practitioner Master Ruth Lee has worked with many couples where conception could not take place until the male partner received treatment so Ruth always encourage her clients to come with their partners.

How to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture on male’s fertility?

Ruth often encourages patients to bring their past health reports especially any fertility test results for a holistic understanding of the couple’s health conditions. It can also be serve as an evaluation tool to review the effectiveness of the treatment. For example, patients can repeat the semen analysis three months after the treatment to see if the quality of the sperm is improved.
According to the 5th edition of the WHO laboratory manual for the examination and processing of human semen, a normal semen sample should be:
Semen volume: >1.5ml
Total count: >39 million/ejaculate
density: >15million/ml
Progressive motility:>32%
Morphology: >4%
White blood cell: <1million/ml

Is it painful?

Sometimes what hinders men to come for acupuncture is the phobia on needling. Ruth ensures that the disposable needles she uses for acupuncture are hair-fine and often painless. What you can feel is the electrical charge which is the Qi arrival and that is crucial for an effective acupuncture treatment. The sensation comes from the point of insertion along the meridians to unblock the qi and blood flow inside your body. Due to the rebalanced and harmony of body and mind, most people find it very relaxing and will doze off during the treatment.

How often should you have acupuncture?

During the IVF, the man’s main contribution is to provide sperm during the testing stages and on the day of egg collection. It takes around 10 weeks for the sperms to get mature in the system and the result is actually a reflection of your health conditions two months ago. Ideally, Ruth will suggest couples to get started 3 months before the process and usually have one or two acupuncture treatments a week before the testing and egg collection day.

If you or a loved one is suffering from infertility, Ruth can provide assistance
Please contact us at +852-25303315 or appt@balancehealth.com.hk for a personalized consultation.

How acupuncture and Chinese medicine support Intrauterine insemination (IUI) ?

IUI is often the first recommendation to patients experiencing difficulty with conception in a fertility clinic as is more affordable and less invasive compared to IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation). It is a method which combines hormone treatment for the woman and a painless insemination procedure where washed sperm is placed directly into the uterus, followed by the natural fertilisation in the womb.

Who should consider IUI?

If you or your partner experience the below conditions, you may consider IUI as your fertility treatment:

• Failure to ovulate caused by stress, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome(PCOS) or over-weight
• Hostile cervical mucus that prevents the sperm from penetrating
• Mild male factor infertility such as poor motility, low count, or abnormal morphology
• Sexual dysfunction including premature or inhibited ejaculation or erectile dysfunction
• Unexplained fertility
• Donor sperm

How does acupuncture work to support IUI?

Research shows that for women, acupuncture improves blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, which can lead to improving the egg quality and ovulation, as well as nurturing an uterine lining that is more receptive to implantation.

Here are the seven benefits of acupuncture support to IUI:

1. Regulate the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian-axis for a balanced system.
2. Enhance the production of healthy follicles and eggs.
3. Stimulate the ovulation.
4. Decrease the side effects of hormone medications.
5. Calm down the stress response.
6. Facilitate healthy endometrium and the internal environment of the uterus.
7. Support implantation by preventing uterine contractions.

How often should you do acupuncture for IUI support?

Acupuncture works before, during and after the IUI process. I recommend that treatments begin 3 months prior to the procedure. If this is not possible you should begin treatments as soon as possible. One should consider booking an acupuncture treatment and consumption of herbal formulas once a week before fertilization and schedule an acupuncture treatment one day before and after the procedure for best results.

How does Chinese herbal help for IUI and fertility?

Traditional Chinese medicine is one of the most sophisticated herbal systems that exists and has been used for more than two thousand years to treat gynaecological disorders including infertility. In the last decades, experimental and clinical studies have shown that the appropriate use of Chinese herbs increases fertility two-fold within a four month period[1].

A case study showed that by optimizing the uterine and ovarian health, Chinese herbal formulas works well to improve follicle count and quality[2]. The report reviewed a 43-year-old woman with diminished ovarian reserve and multiple uterus fibrosis treated with Chinese herbal medicine for 6 months and achieved a natural conception and a live birth of a healthy baby.

What are the ingredients in the herbal formulas and are they safe?

Herbal treatments rarely use single herbs, but are rather prescribed as balanced, targeted formulas to provide holistic cure and lead to a higher conception and successful pregnancy rate. After a proper diagnosis, I will select around 10-20 different ingredients among thousands of herbs in the Chinese pharmacy that best fit your condition. Some commonly use herbals include angelica root, rehmannia root, Chinese dodder seed, glossy privet fruit, and sometimes minerals like fluorite or ingredients from animal-derived ingredients like Antler Pilose Antler and Colla Corrii Asini. The formula is customized based on one’s dietary restrictions and preference.

Working with a qualified professional who will help ensure that herbal ingredients are pure, without any additives, or chemicals like pesticides or heavy metals is the key to a successful pregnancy. I only select herbal manufacturing companies which are of excellent quality adopting systematic standard operating procedures that are strictly in compliance with the GMP standards of the PRC and Australia and the USP.

If you or your loved one is suffering from infertility, please contact Balance Health at +852-25303315 or appt@balancehealth.com.hk for a personalized consultation.

[1] Karin Ried. Chinese herbal medicine for female infertility: an updated meta-analysis.
Ried K. Complement Ther Med. 2015 Feb;23(1):116-28. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2014.12.004. Epub 2015 Jan 3.PMID: 25637159

[2]Benqi Teng, Jie Peng, Madeleine Ong and Xianqin Qu. (2017) Successful Pregnancy after Treatment with Chinese Herbal Medicine in a 43-Year-Old Woman with Diminished Ovarian Reserve and Multiple Uterus Fibrosis: A Case Report. Medicines (Basel) 2017 Mar; 4(1): 7.
Published online 2017 Feb 9. doi: 10.3390/medicines4010007

Chinese Medicine’s approach in Dealing with Depression

Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner
PHD, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine (HKU)
MChinMed Acupuncture (HKU)
BChinMed (HKU)

According to the World Health Organization, clinical depression (Major Depressive Disorder) is a common mental disorder affecting more than 264 million people worldwide.[1] It is also the leading cause of disability and a major contributor to the global burden of disease. The most common symptoms of depression include continuous low mood or sadness and loss of interest and pleasure in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional, physical and social problems like feeling hopeless/helpless, change of appetite and sleeping pattern, avoiding social contact and activities, etc which will eventually decrease a person’s ability to function effectively in life.

We use the term depression a lot in our daily life, however, most of the time it is used to denote various depressive symptoms, low mood or situational depression instead of clinical depression. Situational depression is also known as “adjustment disorder with depressed mood.” It often resolves in time. This short-term form of depression is normally triggered by a traumatic event or major change in a person’s life, like divorce, loss of job, or death of a close relative. If the person can come to terms with these major life changes, he may eventually come out of the depressive mood and recover. Conversely, if the depressive mood lingers for a prolong period of time, it may also advance to clinical depression.

Apart from stressful life events, genetic pre-disposition, imbalance of chemical in the brain, early childhood trauma, medical conditions, drug use and environmental stress, all play a role in the development of clinical depression. Although most of these factors are not controllable, researches indicated that properly managed stress, especially chronic stress, could help to prevent the advancement of situational depression, and reduce the recurrence of depression episode. Chronic stress elevate stress hormones such as cortisol, and reduced serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, which links to depression. When these chemical systems not working normally, the biological processes like sleep, appetite, energy, and sex drive, and normal regulation of mood will also be disrupted.

Conventional depression treatments normally include psychological treatments (e.g. counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy) and the use of antidepressants (e.g. selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors -SSRIs, tricyclic antidepressants -TCAs). Depression, especially clinical depression is considered to be difficult to treat, with high relapse rate. Non-compliance, intolerance of side-effect of the prescribed drugs, and high cost of the therapies, all contribute to the relapse. As various genetic, physical and emotional factors might be involved in the etiology of depression, there is no universal cure. In recent years, more patients suffered from depression turn to complimentary and alternative medicine to seek for treatment options that suit their personal needs. Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture are among the popular choices.

Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) views human being as an holistic entity, stressing that the physical, emotional, psychological and even spiritual components of a person are interconnected and interdependent. The health of a person is achieved by maintaining the dynamic homeostasis of all these components, which is also known as a state of “Yin-Yang balance”. The energy raised from different emotions will affect their specific corresponding organ systems. Repressed or over-expressed emotions can disrupt the function of the organ systems, causing psychosomatic ailments (e.g. insomnia, gastrointestinal problems) and actual physical damages overtime.

Depression as we mentioned in modern days is very similar to the “Stagnation syndrome –鬱症” , a condition which TCM has been treating for centuries. Symptoms of stagnation syndrome, such as sleeping disorder, fatigue, headache, gastrointestinal problems, and emotional restlessness, are also classic symptoms of major depression. Habitual suppression of emotional experiences and ruminating over problems predict the onset and the severity of major depression. Likewise, the onset of stagnation syndrome is induced by the inhibition of emotions, leading to “qi” (vital energy) stagnation or blockage that can elicit clinical symptoms. Besides, modern epidemiological studies also indicated that there is significant positive correlation between the 2 diseases

Based on the wealth of knowledge TCM accumulated in treating stagnation syndrome, both acupuncture and herbal medicine are commonly used to treat patient with depression. The treatments target to 1) regulate the specific depressive symptoms, 2) promote the proper qi flow in the body so as to restore the internal balance, and 3) strengthen the organ systems related to the depressive symptoms and raise the energy level of the patient so that one can better manage the stress induced by the environment.

Regulate the depressive symptoms

From the TCM point of view, the cause of an ailment can be repressed or over-expressed emotions, but the ailment itself can also lead to a further development of the emotion imbalance. In actual clinical practices, we frequently come across depressed patients with insomnia symptoms. The root cause of the insomnia could be the depressive mood, however, if the symptom is not properly treated, the energy of the patient will be further depleted and lead to an advancement of the depressive mood. Prompt treatment of the symptoms caused by depression could prevent the down-spiraling effects. Small success in treating the specific depressive symptom could also boost the patient’s confidence and help him to regain control of his current condition. The most common depressive symptoms like sleeping disorder, fatigue, headache and gastrointestinal problems can all be properly treated by herbal medicine and/or acupuncture.

Restore proper qi flow and internal balance

As mentioned above, the onset of depression is often related to the habitual suppression of emotional experiences. Suppressed emotions disrupt normal qi flow in the body. Disrupted flow leads to blockage or stagnation of the vital energy, blood and body fluid in the body which could further lead to other physical symptoms (e.g. blood stagnation could lead to chronic headache). Restoring the normal qi flow could solve of the root cause of emotional imbalances. The restoration is normally achieved by using acupuncture to regulate the qi flow of the meridian of specific organ system corresponding to depression and its related symptoms. Other manual therapies, like cupping and acupressure may also be employed to promote the overall yin-yang balance of the patient.

Strengthen the related organ systems

Sadness is the pre-dominating emotion in both functional and clinical depression. According to TCM’s Five Element framework, sadness or grief corresponds to the lung system. Excessive sadness is normally rooted in the deficiency of lung qi, and continual unresolved sadness will further deplete the vital energy in the lung system, form a vicious cycle. Common symptoms of depression like shortness of breath, shallow breathing, sweating and fatigue are the manifestation of lung qi deficiency. This condition can be improved by tonifying the vital energy in the lung system and strengthening the spleen (digestive) system to support the lung functions.

Dysfunction of the liver system also contribute to the development of depression. Liver is responsible to a large degree for the movement of qi through the body. Liver qi can become blocked due to stress or other reasons, resulting in qi stagnation which is the major cause of depression from the TCM perspective. Regulating the energy of the liver system by strengthening and detoxifying the organ play a key role in treating depression and its related symptoms.

Chinese herbal medicine assumes a key role in tonifying and regulating these organ systems. When the herbal medicine is prescribed to treat depression, empirical TCM formula with proven efficacy will be used but also supplemented with other herbs which could restore the patient’s balance according to their current conditions. This multi-drug, multi-target approach of TCM fits perfectly within the multifactorial pathophysiology of depression.
Personalized formula and dosage do not only improve efficacy but also minimize unnecessary side effects.

In summary, depression, from a TCM perspective is caused by an imbalance of organ systems that eventually results in dysregulation of the brain function. It is a multifactorial illness with a variety of pathological mechanisms in different patients. A TCM practitioner typically identifies the principal cause of depression that is unique to each patient and applied acupuncture or medicinal herbal treatment. Apart from treating the symptoms , the therapeutic objectives also include proper releasing of the stagnated vital energy and restoring the balance of the related organ systems of the patient.

Reference:

1. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression
2. https://www.webmd.com/depression/features/stress-depression#1
3. Ng SM, Leng LL. Major depression in chinese medicine outpatients with stagnation syndrome: prevalence and the impairments in well-being. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2018 Sep 13;2018.

How Can Traditional Chinese Medicine Improve Your Health?

Ruth Lee
29 April, 2020


With the global COVID-19 pandemic, many people are looking for ways to boost their immune system to lower their chances of being affected. Other than maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise, some may even take supplements to help boost their immunity. While that is good and all, have you ever considered going for something more natural, like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)? TCM involves the use of herbal medicine, acupuncture, cupping, qi-gong and many other traditional therapies to treat illnesses and it can certainly help boost your immunity during these times!

TCM: A therapy steeped in tradition

The traditional philosophy behind TCM is this: our bodies consist of Qi (which means ‘air’ in Chinese) and Blood, which are vital energies circulating through us at all times. If this normal flow is interrupted or blocked, we may easily fall sick as it negatively affects our bodies. So TCM is all about making sure these vital energies are flowing normally.

Acupuncture: Let the needles do their magic therapy steeped in tradition


Acupuncture works by stimulating specific portions of the autonomic nervous system through selected acupoints. While that sounds like a mouthful, it basically means that it triggers responses in the immune system to enhance blood circulation, which unblocks pathways.

‘Does it hurt?’ This is probably the first question every client asks when I tell them about acupuncture. I don’t blame them for asking, because I’ll be inserting needles into their bodies! I would say that it’s a different experience for everyone, but it’s usually not painful. The needles are hair thin, so you’ll only feel a slight prick. I have treated kids and even babies with acupuncture, so yeah, it’s definitely a bearable experience.

The needles will remain in your body for around 20-25 minutes before they are taken out. It may sound peculiar, but patients often feel so relaxed that they doze off with needles all over them! People who come out of an acupuncture session feeling relaxed and refreshed, and that’s because the flow of their Qi is restored.

Cupping: The only hickeys you can show off to everyone

Cupping works with the same principles as acupuncture. It involves suctioning which is created either by heated cups or a handheld pump. The cups will remain on the skin for 5 to 15 minutes, often leaving their signature circular hickey-like bruises once they are removed.

These bruises are indications of internal pathogens such as coldness or dampness, which will fade within a few days. One thing to note is that the darker the bruises, the more stressed your body is. While cupping can alleviate the muscle pain and stress, it should also act as a good reminder to take care of yourself!

Herbal Soup: Basically TCM at Home

Stewed soups are no doubt a staple for Chinese family dinners, especially in Cantonese cuisine, famous for its Lao Huo Tang (Double-stewed soups). These soups use simple ingredients like pork, chicken and vegetables, but can also incorporate traditional Chinese medicinal ingredients like ginseng, goji berries and Chinese yams where you can get in TCM stores.

I would like to introduce a medicinal ingredient you might be familiar with: fish mint. It is an ingredient that is in season right now. Fish mint is very common in TCM, and it is seen as a natural antibiotic by Chinese medicine practitioners.

Chinese people also put fish mint in stewed soups to prevent cold and flu, so you should try making this soup at home too! I have just shared a video above to demonstrate how to make a Fish mint lung cleansing soup with Fish mint, sugarcane, water chestnuts and apples. It is a delicious drink for everyone in the family.

Cupping at Home: Definitely an Instagram worthy experience

To maintain regular wellness, I usually recommend undergoing acupuncture 1-3 times a week and cupping once a week. This ensures that your pathways are unblocked and open to protect you from falling sick. But with everyone stuck at home, I recommend an alternative: cupping at home!

Yes, you can actually do cupping yourself. This set of AcuTouch energy cups that I’ve created makes cupping a treatment that is very doable at home. These AcuTouch cups are made of silicone, so you can form the vacuum simply by squeezing the cup to expel the air. This means that anyone can do cupping at home and enjoy the benefits they like. I think filming the process is going to be interesting, so what better time to do it than now!

This article was written by Ruth Lee and originally appeared on Nana Asia. It is shared with their kind permission.

Why One Must Take Care of the Womb

by Grace Yu

The health of one’s uterus is connected to the female menstruation cycle. From fertilization to giving birth, this female organ plays an important role.Whether or not one would want to bear a child, one must take care of the uterus as it controls the female hormones. The ovaries connected to the left and right sides of the uterus are responsible for the secretion of female hormones.

From the perspective of Chinese medicine, the coordination of the five organs including the liver, spleen and kidney are key. Once these are not harmonious with one another, neither the ovaries nor the uterus can function normally, and blood and lymphatic circulation will also deteriorate, causing adverse effects on the whole body.

When one is under stress, one’s defense mechanism activates and will start to protect the body to gain some balance, especially the liver. Therefore, the blood or nutrients needed to maintain uterine strength will be stopped, affecting the secretion of female hormones.

Excessive weight loss, abdominal chills and obesity cause female hormone secretion to become abnormal, leading to poor blood circulation and other physical issues.

Suggested Exercise

Kneel down with knees naturally separated. Kneel comfortably on the bed, straighten the waist, bend forward so that the chest and face are as close as possible to the bed surface for 5 minutes. Then lie down on the bed and exercise the abdomen and hips. Keep it up for as long as possible, and feel the uterus contract with the body. Doing it once a day can improve some gynecological problems.

Herbal Tea Recipe

  • 2 pieces of roses,
  • 1 piece of jujube,
  • 5 pieces of gojiberry,
  • schisandra 3g,
  • rice beans 3g,
  • coix seed 3g,
  • Lobed Kudzu vine Root 2g,

  • Ophiopogon japonicus 2g,
  • licorice 1g,
  • privet 2g,
  • Spine Date Seed 2g,
  • floating wheat 2g,
  • barley 2g,
  • angelica 2g,

Add ingredients to 500ml of hot water and soak it for about 15 minutes.

This herbal tea can help women with hair loss, early graying and lack of energy during menstruation, or women experiencing menopause or postpartum and experiencing mood swings.

*For pregnant women, please consult a professional physician before use.

To book a Traditional Chinese Medicine consultation with Grace Yu:

Please call 2530 3315 or
Email appt@balancehealth.com.hk



Chinese Medicine Herbal Tea Formulas to Boost Immunity Against Flu, Coronavirus

by Dr. Grace Yu

Do you want to stay safe from viruses such as the coronavirus?
Keep a healthy diet, sleep properly, exercise regularly, and maintain a positive outlook are the key points to help improve immunity.

Here are three recommended Traditional Chinese medicine recipes that help combat the flu and other viruses.

1. Yupingfeng San (for person with Qi Deficiency)

Scutellaria baicalensis 10g
Saposhnikovia divaricata 10g
Atractylodes 6g

Mix ingredients with 1000cc water until it boils and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.

This tones the spleen and stomach, strengthens the external qi, and enhances one’s immune system.

2. Clearing Heat and Detoxifying Formula (for Heat-trapped person)

Honeysuckle 6g
Forsythia 6g
Raw licorice 3g

Mix the ingredients with 1000cc water until it boils and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.

This recipe clears heat and detoxifies to prevent virus invasion.

3. Asian Pear Lungs Nourishing Soup

Scutellaria baicalensis 10g
2 dried monk fruits (Luo Han Guo)
2 Asian pears
800cc water

Wash the pears, peel and slice them. Peel the dried monk fruits.

Add water to the pot, boil over high heat.

Add Scutellaria baicalensis, Luo Han Guo, and pears. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, and turn over low heat for 10 minutes.

The first soup is to enhance resistance. If infection occurs, the second soup can be used to clear the heat and detoxify to prevent virus invasion. It is always recommended to consult a professional first.

Traditional Chinese medicine emphasizes the individuality of medicinal materials according to individual symptoms. If there are no symptoms, it is not recommended to use them arbitrarily.

Please consult a Chinese medicine practitioner based on your symptoms.

For health concerns and TCM inquiries please schedule an appointment with Dr. Grace Yu at 2530 3315 or appt@balancehealth.com.hk.

Remote consultations are also available.

How Traditional Chinese Medicine Can Help with Infertility Problems?

In this blog post, Balance Health is pleased to interview Dr. Ruth Lee – Registered Chinese Medicine practitioner. She will share with us the root causes of infertility problems, as well as give us an overview of how those problems can be successfully tackled with the help of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

1, Dr. Ruth Lee, thanks for participating in this interview. Infertility is a growing medical problem in the modern world. Do you often treat patients with infertility-related problems?

Yes, I am a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and practitioner of Chinese medicine specializing in women health and fertility. I have helped many previously infertile patients to get pregnant and stay pregnant. Some of them have already adopted assisting reproductive technologies, such as IVF (In-Vitro fertilization), and wanted to use acupuncture and herbals to boost the success rate before the egg is implanted into the uterus. Some just came for natural ways to regulate their body’s balance to get themselves prepared for the future pregnancy.

2, With years of experience in TCM, do you think that modern-day changes in lifestyle such as stress and unhealthy foods contribute to infertility?

Sure, they do. People are eating processed and genetically modified food, seafood loaded with mercury; exposed to radiations, hectic work hours; all of them lead to problems such as abnormal fallopian tubes, hormonal problems, cervical infections and uterine troubles. They all will lower the reproductive potential.

3, In addition to those factors, what are the other causes of infertility among women?

I would say aging is another major factor for female infertility. Research tells us that women become less fertile after the age of 35. And nowadays, women focus on building their career during their younger ages so they miss the golden time for conception.

4, Is infertility an increasing phenomenon among men as well?

Yes, infertility can stem from the male factors, such as low sperm count, abnormal sperm shape, abnormal sperm motility, etc. Why is men’s body producing dysfunctional sperms? It is mainly due to hormonal irregularities and genetic disorders. Exposures to toxins like tobacco, alcohol or some drugs like steroid or antibiotics, radiations, heavy metal will all affect the normal sperm production or damage the DNA in sperm cells. And in TCM terms, these external pathogens will damage our Kidney, Liver, and Spleen Systems which will disrupt the internal balances of our qi (life energy) and blood flow.

5, Can you please share with us how TCM therapies can assist with pregnancy?

Various studies done in the West and China have shown that TCM therapies, such as acupuncture, herbals, cupping, womb warming tuina and ear-seeds treatments, can address the underlying imbalances so that the body can function healthily. By applying the right treatments, it can help increase the qi and blood flow to the uterus, regulate the hormones to help with the growth and release of a mature and healthy egg during ovulation, improve the thickness of the uterine lining, stabilize the nervous system to allow the body to handle stress better and detox heavy metals inside the body. For men in particular, TCM can also help to stimulate the teste to produce normal and active sperms. These can improve the chances of conception.

6, How does an IVF (In vitro fertilization) acupuncture treatment look like?

Before the treatment, I will first review the patient’s medical history and evaluate his/her body constitution, analyze the tongue and pulse characteristics. Then I will insert ultra-fine, sterile, disposable acupuncture needles into specific acu-points on the body along the selected meridians according to the diagnosis. The patient will lie still for around 30 minutes with the needles in place and infrared heat on top. Usually people find it very relaxing as it is a process of balancing the qi and blood flow.

7, How do Chinese herbals work for infertility?

Chinese herbals have been used for healing infertility in the past two thousand years. The ancient masters found that reproduction functions are tightly linked to the Kidney system. They documented formulas that can heal infertility by strengthening the Yin and Yang of the Kidney, which are proven by current studies, very effective to promote hormone balance and regulate the menstrual cycle. That’s why Chinese herbals are not only great for facilitating fertility, but also for alleviating premenstrual syndromes like acne, cramps, tender breasts, bloating, backache, depression and anxiety. In addition, I strongly believe that Chinese herbal tea can act as a very potent anti-oxidant which can slow down the aging process — good news for those who try to conceive over age 35.

Every time I see the patient, I will prescribe combinations of herbs that are uniquely tailored to his/her detailed health history. The personalized formula is carefully balanced to accentuate the patient’s strength and works for his/her particular form of infertility. It is made into powder form, which can be dissolved into water and taken just like instant coffee.

8, And if an infertile couple wants to come for IVF acupuncture and herbal, when should the treatment begin?

True healing takes time. Primordial eggs cells take 120 days to mature before one is released during ovulation, so I will usually recommend my patients to take three to four months before progressing to IVF for a proper pre-conception care to ensure healthy egg quality. This will increase the chance of conceiving and decrease the risks of miscarriage In general, a course of acupuncture once or twice a week combined with herbals will have the best therapeutic effect.

9, Is there any lifestyle advice that you would like to share for couple who wants a successful IVF treatment?

Preparation is key for optimizing fertility. And below will be my tips for anyone who want a healthy pregnancy:

1. Eliminate mercury containing fish, refined sugar, genetically modified food, caffeine and foods that you are sensitive to.
2. Do not smoke.
3. Limit your alcohol intake.
4. Watch out for workplace hazards. Use protective clothing, proper ventilation and face masks to reduce your risk of absorbing toxins.
5. No hair dye.
6. No extreme workouts.
7. Eat plenty organic food and fermented veggies.
8. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation, mindfulness training and journal writing to reduce stress.

Disclaimer: The interview above is for informational purposes only. The practitioner and editor have attempted to verify information in this interview, but neither ones should assume any responsibility for errors, omissions, or your interpretation of the above contents. If you have any medical problems or healthcare needs, please consult your healthcare provider.

To book a TCM appointment at the Balance Health clinic, please email: appt@balancehealth.com.hk or call us: +852 2530 3315

Facial Acupuncture: A Revolution for Your Beauty.

facial acupuncture=


More and more wrinkles appear everyday at the corner of our eyes. We are constantly looking for the next magic beauty treatment that can take us back to our youthful glow. Botox, fillers and beauty poisonous substances are so passé.

Facial acupuncture is the new weapon in the anti-aging war.

Praised for hundreds of years in Asia for its anti-age benefits, facial acupuncture brings about a revolution in our quest for beauty. Facial acupuncture can reduce wrinkles, lift sagging skin, eliminate fine lines and improve skin colour and texture. Many have found it to be effective even after one treatment.

It is no doubt that more and more celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston are switching from botox to facial acupuncture. It is a safer option: no foreign substances, no risk of disfigurement and no swelling. Acupuncture does not hurt. The needles are as fine as a strand of hair. A sensation of numbness or tingling is usually experienced.

Erica Chan, our new practitioner at Oriental Health, explains that needles are inserted at pressure points, energy and endorphins are released. This minor trauma improves blood flow and stimulates cell re-growth. Erica puts needles in at focal points where energy is coming from the organs. When energy flows more efficiently, circulation is improved, helping the body regain the youthful glow.

Dr. Erica Chan

Dr. Erica Chan is a registered TCM Practitioner under the Chinese Medicine Ordinance of Hong Kong Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner, has a Bachelor of Chinese Medicine of HKU and is a professional in Acupuncture, Pediatric Tui-Na and Chinese Herbal Medicine.

Languages: English, Cantonese, Mandarin, French


The 5 Power Foods to Strengthen your Immune System

power food


During winter cold and flu season your immune system needs extra support.

Feeding your body certain foods may help to keep your immune system running strong. Plan your meals to include the following powerful immune system boosters. You may increase everyone’s chances of fending off those winter bugs before they get sick.

Try these 5 immune-boosting power foods:



Burdock

Burdock (牛蒡)
Burdock enhances the vitality of the body cells. It increases the production of the white blood cells, which is important for the immune defense.
Furthermore Burdock has hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects: it lowers the blood pressure, strengthen the kidney and has a laxative effect. Burdock also inhibits cancer cell proliferation and removes heavy metals in the water.


Raddish
White Radish (白蘿蔔)
Chinese medicine theory believes that white radish goes into the lung and stomach meridian. White radish is rich in vitamins and minerals and its interferon inducer activity is very strong. Interferons are important for the body’s immune response against pathogens as viruses and bacteria. Therefore white radish helps to enhance the body’s immune function.


White Raddish Leaves
White Radish Leaves (白蘿蔔葉)
White radish leaves are rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. Especially the vitamin C content is 4 times higher in the leaves than in the rhizome. White radish leaves prevent the aging of the skin and keep the skin white and tender. Furthermore it helps against digestion problems.
And most important during the cold season: it is good against cough!


Carrots
Carrots (胡蘿蔔)
Carrots are regarded as top grade dishes. It is the “national dish” in the Netherlands. Carrots contain a high amount of Vitamins A, K and Biotin and help to enhance the body’s immune system. Furthermore carrots are good for the liver function and the eyes.


Cinnamon
Cinnamon (肉桂)
Cinnamon is a popular spice in winter, providing a warm and spicy flavor for your meals and drinks. You can use cinnamon in your biscuits, pies, pastries, puddings, smoothies, soups (add a small amount in lentils and black bean soup). Cinnamon helps strengthen the immune system, improves brain function and is good for your heart health. It contains essential oils and therefore has strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.