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Depression - extreme exhaustion of Body, Mind and Spirit

by Patricia Jade Nguyen Unlike physical illnesses, mental disorders are not openly discussed. Mental illness tends to be a hushed personal battle because of social stigma. Although depression is one of the most common mental disorders and is treatable, only 1/3 of suffering patients seek help. Depression is an illness shrouded in silence and shame. Therefore, friends and family who have only experienced a temporary bout of sadness often misunderstand depression. They try to be supportive and urge with good intentions, “Cheer up,” or “Snap out of it.” Those words, however, actually can be harmful by making dispirited individuals feel inadequate and subsequently more depressed. They desperately want to feel cheerful but are incapable of extricating themselves from the darkness binding them....

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Weight Loss

by Mickey Nguyen Every New Year a typical resolution is to get in shape and lose weight. A common question I get from patients, friends and family around this time of year is “Can Chinese Medicine help me lose weight?”. The short answer is yes. The follow up question is often “How can it help me?” or “How does it work?”. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, fat gain is a product of excess phlegm. In western medicine phlegm is defined as a thick and viscous substances that is secreted by the body’s mucous membranes. Most of you are familiar with the physical aspect of phlegm. However, in TCM phlegm can be described as any condensed fluids that have stagnated...

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Western science approaches TCM

by Sven Etzelsberger  Can Traditional Chinese Medicine really cure diseases that the West considers “incurable”? National Geographic published a great article about western science learning more about Traditional Chinese Medicine. Just like Aspirin was originally a plant based herb, naturally occurring in the bark of a willow tree, there are many powerful natural remedies in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Did you know that the latest Malaria medication is based on an old TCM formula from 400 A.D.? The researcher who recently re-discovered and created a western version of it, received a Nobel prize for it. The National Geographic article also touches on the dark side of TCM, the fringe practices that contribute to the extinction of endangered species and the suffering...

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Digestion

by Mickey Nguyen Around the holidays I often see more cases related to poor digestion, and it is no mystery why this occurs. The holidays can be a joyous time to share food with family and friends, but for some it can be a challenging culmination of weeks or even months of irregular food choices and overeating that often ends up throwing our digestive systems out of whack. Poor digestion can have a large effect on a person’s daily life. Most people have experienced bouts of stomach aches, indigestion, heartburn, or diarrhea at some point. To understand how food can affect our bodies, let’s briefly look at the key factors that are involved in the process of digestion from a...

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Insomnia

by Patricia Jade Nguyen Good sleep is essential for getting well and staying well. What characterizes good sleep? In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the best sleep is falling asleep quickly, staying immobilized in deep sleep from 11pm to 7am, and waking up refreshed. If you have a hard time falling asleep, staying asleep, or you wake up tired, then you have insomnia. There are actually five types of insomnia. To understand the different causes of insomnia, you have to understand the energetics of nighttime sleep compared to the energetics of daytime activity. The energetics of sleep and activity depend on two deeply intertwined forces called Blood and Yang Qi. Most people are familiar with Blood, but the concept of Yang...

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