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Anyone here use any form of Chinese medicine?


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Out of curiosity I decided to look into clinical trials regarding traditional chinese medicine (TCM) and see what information was around.

I found the following:

The majority of the studies were in chinese, which was to be expected really.

Those not in chinese were often of poor quality and often not even controlled.

 

Onwards, to what I did find. Huge focus on accupuncture and little else, but as I don't speak chinese its hard to read the rest :)

 

Electro-accupuncture: It seems to work well as an adjunct to medication.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17898957

 

Combined accupuncture with TCM medicine: Seemed to work better than the TCM medicine on its own.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17955648

 

Accupuncture as monotherapy: Didn't seem to work very well.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17196044

 

Accupuncture as an adjunct for medications in bipolar: Result - but the same result as seen with placebo.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19422756

 

 

Onwards to TCM medicine.

Banxia Houpu decoction: Roughly prozac.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11025166

 

Si-Ni-San: Its basically an antidepressant by its actions on neurotransmitters.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23598923

 

 

 

Basically what I found from all of the studies (There was a lot more I read but didn't link due to lack of controls and other flaws which ruined them) is that Accupuncture+Western medicine is better than either on its own, Basically the sum is greater than the parts. This basically means that if you want an adjunct to medication then accupuncture seems to be great - but I wouldn't expect the same sort of result as medication on its own with accupuncture on its own(I did include one study which was TCM medicine and accupuncture, TCM medicine has an antidepressant action so my point still stands).

I would not suggest you ever take a TCM medicine if you are already on an antidepressant due to the risk of triggering serotonin syndrome or something like it. The risk is there, Its not worth it.

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I haven't used it for depression because like Not Me said, trials are poor and efficacy almost non-existant. Be careful to research what you are taking. Speak to your Pdoc and your Pharmacist before you try any alternative medicines. Just because they are 'natural' doesn't mean safe. 

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i've only tried the auricular acupuncture (five points in the ears).  it seems to lessen my anxiety for a short period of time (like, for the day i do it).  it only takes a half-hour.  if you try it, make sure the acupuncturist is a trained professional (in western medicine). 

 

where i get it done, they offer two additional treatments afterward - one for increased energy, or one for better sleep.  for energy, a teeny tiny needle is placed at the top of the earlobe and covered with a little band-aid.  every time you feel sluggish, you push on your needle.  it doesn't hurt, but i never really found it energizing.  for sleep, two radish seeds are taped to another spot, and you push on those to help you feel tired.  obviously you choose one or the other, or they would cancel each other out.  both treatments can be kept on your ears for a few days (or whenever they fall off in the shower heh).

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That ear tugging thing was the way one of my friends stopped smoking, although I have since lost track of him, and don't know if it stuck. (get it?)

 

I tried acupuncture a couple of times for migraines, but I am under the impression they want it to be a monthly or semi-monthly treatment, and our insurance doesn't cover it. I didn't have luck with my migraines (although as I said, I couldn't try it long). Right after an acupuncture session, I would feel woozy and unsteady on my feet, and would have to go sit in the lobby for 10 or 15 minutes.

 

The one person I knew who used Chinese medicine a lot seemed to be falling for cold readings. She would repeat the conversation with her physician to me, and it was clear she had been manipulated. She was my boss, so I was afraid to say anything.

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i've only tried the auricular acupuncture (five points in the ears).  it seems to lessen my anxiety for a short period of time (like, for the day i do it).  it only takes a half-hour.  if you try it, make sure the acupuncturist is a trained professional (in western medicine). 

 

where i get it done, they offer two additional treatments afterward - one for increased energy, or one for better sleep.  for energy, a teeny tiny needle is placed at the top of the earlobe and covered with a little band-aid.  every time you feel sluggish, you push on your needle.  it doesn't hurt, but i never really found it energizing.  for sleep, two radish seeds are taped to another spot, and you push on those to help you feel tired.  obviously you choose one or the other, or they would cancel each other out.  both treatments can be kept on your ears for a few days (or whenever they fall off in the shower heh).

 

I've also had this done by my neurologist, who is trained in auricular acupuncture.  He does everything though, ie it is like regular acupuncture but is all done on the ears (each point on the body is represented somewhere on the ears).

 

For me it definitely lessened anxiety, but found that it only lasted about a week, then the little needle fell out and it seemed like all the anxiety came back.  It was all covered by insurance, but I had to go back so often it became not worth it.  But it does help. 

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I've done acupuncture. I was already getting it for body aches and pains but I was fairly symptomatic at times. We would discuss things before each treatment and he would place the needles in different locations depending on which symptoms were more pronounced. It did help with the body aches and pains. Whether or not it helped with the BP, well, I can't say. I'm pretty sure it didn't make it worse but I can't say for a fact if it helped or not.

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I did acupuncture for anxiety, and it was a placebo effect. Basically, I would have been perfectly calm in that darkened room with the music, without the needles. It didn't hurt anything except my wallet (I only have $500 of alternative medicine treatment a YEAR, and that's, well, the first visit) I felt good for a few days after the first session, then the "doctor" wanted to up it to three times a week at $120/day. I tried it weekly, but the effects wore off quicker each time.

 

I also had the needles in my ears, which didn't do much except make me poke at my ears more. She also told me to take out all of my ear piercings because they were making me moody. Um, sure? I WISH it were that simple..

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I think you would be far better to stick to regular scientifically scrutinised medicine. Some herbs have psychoactive compounds which may have some effect on depression, but those dispensing them are unlikely to have any understanding of the pharmocology. Most are not particularly potent, poorly studied and generally unreliable. Acupuncture has an effect, but almost all studies show that it makes no difference whether the needles are placed at the traditional points or just randomly. Nobody really knows why it works, but something about being pricked triggers the release of endorphins.

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I did acupuncture for anxiety, and it was a placebo effect. Basically, I would have been perfectly calm in that darkened room with the music, without the needles. It didn't hurt anything except my wallet (I only have $500 of alternative medicine treatment a YEAR, and that's, well, the first visit) I felt good for a few days after the first session, then the "doctor" wanted to up it to three times a week at $120/day. I tried it weekly, but the effects wore off quicker each time.

 

I also had the needles in my ears, which didn't do much except make me poke at my ears more. She also told me to take out all of my ear piercings because they were making me moody. Um, sure? I WISH it were that simple..

 

having that kind of financial limit sucks.  where i live, it's free for anyone who wants it for any reason - the department of health trained everyone who works with MI, and a lot of nurses in general.  it's most popular for addiction, apparently it's supposed to help the detox process.

 

i agree with the placebo effect, and how that could work for most people for a short time.  the room is dark, there's soft music/sounds/meditations playing, and relaxing tea if you want it.  forcing yourself to sit still in that environment is calming.  people fall asleep with the needles in all the time.  i think i'm the only person i know who had to get up and leave 5 minutes in once (the meditation was very upsetting to me at the time, i was IP for serious depression).  so i sat in a regular room with the lights on and the needles in, and it still worked for the rest of the day even though i had been in a bad place.  but that's just me.

 

and taking the piercings out?  that's pretty funny.  i've never heard that one, i've just heard some people being asked if they can take certain ones out for a half hour so they don't get in the way of the needle placement.  i worry more about them getting stuck in my hair when they fall out (well when my hair was long anyway).

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I did - for a while. I had some initial successes with acupuncture but it seems like I got diminishing returns. Regardless of whether or not there was any real benefit for me, it ended up being way way WAY more expensive than paying a pdoc and getting a script - even without insurance.

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Acupuncture worked great for me for female troubles many years ago when I lived in L.A. and there was an acupuncturist on nearly every corner.  I tried it for depression some years later (but was no longer in L.A.) in conjunction with the anti-depressants and therapy I was doing at the time, and it didn't seem to help much, although I was at the bottom of the abyss at the time.  I also don't think the doctor was as qualified or experienced as the first one I saw.

 

I haven't tried it where I am now because there are hardly any doctors available.  When I had success with the female issues the doctor told me up front that it would take a couple of times a week for a couple of months, then weekly, then monthly, and then I would be done.  Since the other alternative at that time was exploratory surgery, I signed right up, and I'm glad I did.

 

I would be willing to use acupuncture again with no qualms, but I don't think I would try any of the herbal remedies because as others have pointed out, there is little to no info on how they interact with western meds.

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The treatment of MI individuals in China is among the worst in the world.

 

Out of curiosity how are people with MI treated in China? (ie, what do they do?)

 

This is interesting to me. I've talked with a lot of people and online and some just say "depression" is a first world problem. But its not. I was watching CurrentTV last night and one documentary was about China's pollution. They interviewed a guy who said in his form of Chinese that he was very very depressed. Could it be the pollution or could it be something else or he's just depressed????

 

I don't think the Chinese government will make available MI meds or treatments to the masses. Only to the wealthy.

db

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