Category Archives: Case Studies

A Cancer Patient Rejuvenates

NOTE: SOME DETAILS CHANGED TO PROTECT PATIENT IDENTITY

Though Traditional Chinese Medicine is roughly 5000 years old, it has a lot it can offer patients who have cancer. In this case history, we will look at a patient who benefited greatly from some basic acupuncture, herbs, and moxibustion. This patient’s story is a really great example.

The patient, whom we will call Mr. C, had been in remission for some 2 years but was still getting chemotherapy twice a year. At that point, the patient was diagnosed with a bladder infection, and shortly after that, he contracted an intestinal infection known as c. diff, which can be life threatening. Additionally, he was informed that the cancer had returned and would need to begin undergoing regular scheduled chemo treatments as well as a new treatment of rituxin. By the time the proverbial smoke had cleared and the infections had resolved, the patient was quite “wiped out”. Furthermore, Mr C also suffered from loose stool (a side effect of chemo), weakness of the legs, and a general malaise and lack of his normal mental vibrancy.

How did we go about helping Mr C regain vitality, improved digestion, improved recovery time after chemo, and increased zest for life? We carried out what, in traditional Chinese Medicine, is referred to as ‘fu zheng therapy. The term means support the normal. Simply put, this means strengthening the normal functions of the body so that it can withstand the chemo and other treatments. Another way to think about it is that therapy is used to reduce side effects of the cancer treatmenent.

As was mentioned previously, Mr. C’s side effects included fatigue, weakness of the legs, unsteady gait/dizziness, loose stools, somewhat depressed affect and feeling cold. In fact, the abdomen and arms and legs on Mr. C were ice cold to the touch. Real improvement was made within even the first week. While acupuncture was used, the biggest contributors were moxibustion and herbal therapy. Moxibustion is a type of ancient heat therapy where a specific herb is burned safely and comfortably over certain acupuncture points to strengthen the body and is particularly indicated in cases such as this, where the body is very cold to the touch, significant fatigue is present, and the pulse is deep and forceless at the radial artery.

An herbal formula, known in Chinese as Shen Ling Bai zhu San was given. The herb formula immediately began to improve digestion and improve bowel movements so that they were no longer loose. Energy levels also began to improve within about a week. Additionally, after 3 treatments of moxibustion, the abdomen was no longer ice cold, but only very mildly cold, and the limbs also felt warmer to the touch. The radial pulse was improved, though not entirely. As of this writing, the patient has reported that he finally feels like his old self, with an enthusiasm for life returning. While no one can predict the future, we plan to keep helping Mr C, doing what we can, to feel the best he can feel under these difficult circumstances. Seeing him smiling and animated again is very satisfying

If you or a loved one is undergoing chemo or other conventional cancer treatments, it may be worth looking into complementary treatments to help improve quality of life and potentially have an even deeper positive impact. Always discuss these matters with your physician before trying anything new.

Success in 3 Cases of Knee Pain

In the last week, 2 different patients came in presenting with knee pain.  The first patient had pain on the medial side (inside of the leg) of their right knee. The pain was related to slipping on a hike.

In this first case, the knee pain was aggravated by both pressing on the area with even mild pressure, and also by going from a sitting to a standing position.  Acupuncture was given by using points in the lower leg as well as placing needles in points on the opposite arm near the elbow. After the needles were removed, there was still some soreness when the knee was pressed. At this point, I then employed a manual technique called PNT. This technique utilizes a very gentle pressing perpendicular to the muscles which run through the knee area. Immediately after, the patient tested the knee by sitting and moving to a standing position. She reported that all pain was completely gone, and the remaining soreness that occurred with pressure was also gone.

In the second patient with knee pain, there was significant soreness and pain just above the knee. Acupuncture needles were gently inserted into the opposite elbow area at points P3, Lu5, and LI11. The patient was then instructed to move the leg, flexing and extending the knee. She immediately reported that there was no longer any pain. Next she tested the knee by walking, and still no pain returned at all!

In both cases, I Ching/Balance Method style of acupuncture was used with good effect.  This is a particular type of acupuncture which typically gives instant pain relief for many types of pain.  As we mentioned, the first patient also needed some manual therapy. PNT is a simple manual technique which is very gentle, and utilizes the body’s own neurologic reflexes to ‘reset’ the muscles.

In many simple cases of knee pain, quick relief can be gained. When a patient has very advanced arthritis, such as when cartilage is completely worn away, and bone is rubbing on bone, then these techniques typically do not provide real relief. However, for mild to moderate arthritis, tendonitis, or bursitis, these techniques have been extremely effective in many patients who have come to New England Acupuncture.

For some people, simple nutritional therapies may also be helpful for joint pain, such as knee pain.  In a third patient who came in for bilateral knee pain (pain in both knees), and had a prior diagnosis of osteoarthritis from her doctor,  we have been able to almost completely eradicate her knee pain, even though she had been suffering pain for years before coming to the clinic.

In her case, we did a course of acupuncture treatment with excellent results. Still, there was a small flare up many months later. Along with a few more acupuncture treatments, it was suggested that she purchase some beef gelatin powder and take some daily. Recently, when the patient came in for a general ‘tune up’ treatment, she reported that the gelatin has been highly beneficial, and she is able to be active without pain in either knee, and also reported that the gelatin has improved her skin, hair, and nails.

These 3 cases of recent patients exemplify how simple and gentle treatments can significantly erase pain and return individuals to a more active lifestyle.