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Depression

Greenleaf Clinic Depression Treatment

 

David was suffering from severe depression and even attempted suicide in the past. It is quite easy to notice when depressed patients come into our clinic as they usually have very few facial expressions, which was the case with David. With an emotionless face and drooping shoulders, David sat next to me and explained to me his condition. He stated he experienced trauma during his childhood, ongoing lethargy, loss of motivation for life, fatigue, loss of appetite, and so on. Based on these symptoms, we immediately clinically diagnosed David with a case of depression.

 

"Would treatment be possible? They say depression can be cured with acupuncture… “

 

Drug treatment aims to control the neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. Psychotherapy guides the patient to understand themselves better so that they can solve the problem on their own. Then how does Eastern medicine treat depression? Is there a separate blood cell that stimulates the brain to regulate the neurotransmitters? Or is there a herb that can cure depression and make you feel better? It is hard to say that there are no such acupuncture and herbs, but Eastern medicine does not approach human diseases in this way.

 

Let us give an example of David. First, we identified David's physiological symptoms aside from his psychological symptoms. Physiological symptoms that Eastern medicine doctors should generally recognize are fever, sweat, thirst, digestion, appetite, feces, urine, thoracic cavity, sleep, menstruation, and fatigue or stress. For David, his body easily became cold, preferred warm water, lacked appetite and had poor digestion. His feces were very watery and had to frequently urinate, which affected his quality of sleep. He was always tired and his body felt heavy. After listing these physiological symptoms, we could see the condition of his body. The symptoms were largely divided into those caused by poor blood supply to the heart and poor fluid metabolism.

 

We believed that using the drug Prepared Aconite would help increase the basal metabolic rate to increase heart output, and that the herbal medicine called Poria would help with a more natural urine cycle. We gave David acupuncture twice a week and had him always place hot packs on his lower stomach at home. David expressed his body was slowly becoming warmer and was much less sensitive to cold about two weeks after continuous treatment. His feces became a little harder and more shaped, and the number of times he urinated decreased. After a month, most of David’s physiological symptoms were normalized. So then, what happened to his depression, which was the main symptom? Of course, he was able to regain his motivation, vitality and expression in life. His body and mind were cured together.

 

Depression is not only evident in people like David who suffer from cold body temperature. Some patients with depression complain of chest tightness and fever, and others come after excessive blood loss, such as postpartum depression. However, depression, which gets worse in the cold and dreary winter of Vancouver, is the most common like in David’s case. We can hypothesize that the heart's blood supply becomes weaker due to the cold weather, and that the control of the neurotransmitter, which affects our emotions, causes the depression to worsen.

 

Depression is often referred to as the 'cold of the heart' meaning it can pass by as lightly as it is, and it can be felt as common as it is. However, colds that are not treated in time can quickly be converted to various diseases, including pneumonia. It can be combined with a disease that you already have and cause serious complications. Depression is a condition in which 80 to 90 percent of patients can be completely cured through both medication and psychotherapy. We personally find depression much easier to treat than any other neurological disorder, such as panic disorder and insomnia. When dealing with depression, it is important to not miss the timing of the treatment and listen to the expert’s advice with quick judgment.

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Insomnia: What’s the Reason Behind It?

Greenleaf Clinic Insomnia Treatment

 

 

A lean caucasian woman in her 40s visited our clinic due to difficulties sleeping at night. Insomnia does not occur suddenly without showing any other problems in the body. As soon as we asked the patient if she had any other symptoms, she began to list them all out hastily. The first problem was difficulty digesting food. She often experienced indigestion, acid reflux and frequent burps. She was also very stressed which made it hard for her to control her anger and emotions. She would even often get red in the face and eyes. Although she would have high temperatures in her face and upper body, the majority of times, she would be cold. Her skin would easily get red and have bumps even from slight scratches, and she would not be able to wear earrings or necklaces that are not made of gold. Her heart felt like it was pounding and felt very stuffy. When we asked whether it was hard for her to fall asleep or to whether it was hard because she would constantly wake up during her sleep, she answered with the former condition.

 

Insomnia is divided into three types. The first is difficulty falling asleep. This is the condition where thoughts are clouded in the head and your body is exhausted but you cannot fall asleep. One hour, two, three hours will pass, but no matter how much effort is put into falling asleep, it is impossible. The second stage is frequently waking during sleep. This is when you wake up every few hours and have many dreams. Even if you sleep, it feels like you have not really had a good night’s sleep, and fatigue only builds up. The last of the three stages is waking up early in the morning and not being able to fall back asleep. In this stage, people often wake up around 3 AM or 4 AM and stay awake until they have to get ready for work in the morning. In general, when insomnia worsens, it is harder to fall asleep and easier to frequently wake up during the night. On the other hand, not having any trouble falling asleep and sleeping decently for a few hours, but waking up too early can exist independently.

 

The patient that came to see us experienced the case of having trouble falling asleep. So what was keeping the patient from falling asleep? To start, we saw the main issue as the brain’s excited state not being able to subside. The patient was a very sensitive and emotional person and rather than hiding her anger and suppressing her emotions, she was the type to express herself quite vocally. Trauma caused by certain events often causes the brain to stay stimulated, but in patients who are hot-tempered and sensitive, this condition can persist even without any specific trauma.

 

Next, we looked at body temperature control disorder. For normal sleep to occur, the body temperature should drop a little when asleep. The change in body temperature secretes melatonin and promotes sleep, so taking melatonin for mild insomnia is also effective. Because of this, Canadians usually take melatonin for insomnia. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends taking a warm bath for about thirty minutes two hours before bedtime. It is crucial that it is not a warm shower, but rather a warm bath two hours before you go to sleep. This is to raise the body temperature which will help to promote better sleep. However, it is hard to fall asleep if the body temperature does not drop due to stress. In this patient’s case, she was experiencing a temperature control disorder due to stress, which ultimately led to insomnia. To put it simply, she could not sleep because she was so angry.

 

In Eastern medicine, Rhizoma Coptidis is a representative drug for treating patients like this case. It is a representative drug of bitter medicine, but the use is indescribable, so in China people say, "Life is bitter like Huang Lian (Rhizoma Coptidis)." Rhizoma Coptidis has an excellent effect of suppressing brain stimuli, sympathetic nerves caused by excessive stress. After taking this herbal medicine, the patient was able to fall asleep without any problems. Indigestion, acid reflux and extreme mood swings were also treated with this medicine. Eastern medicine always looks at the surrounding symptoms and the main symptoms together to approach the most effective treatment.

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Early Cold Symptoms: Know Them to Block Them

Greenleaf Clinic early cold symptoms that can block out the virus

 

 

1. What can I do to prevent myself from getting a cold?

 

First off, it is safe to assume that the cold virus is present wherever and whenever. Due to a virus’ complex nature and its constantly mutating genetic structure, complete defense against a virus is difficult even with a vaccination. As we all know we are most prone to sickness when our immune system weakens. So the question we want to ask is, in what moments are our bodies most susceptible to infection. The answer is that we are most vulnerable when subject to a sudden change in temperature. Some scenarios in which this is common are: after you’ve worked out and the wind cools your sweat, leaving the house after a shower without drying your hair properly, when you sleep with thin clothes and kick your sheets off and you feel cold suddenly, and when the days get hotter so you decided to wear thin clothes but you still shiver in the evenings when it gets cold.

 

You might be wondering ‘Doctor, are you stating the obvious that we should wear warm clothes?’, to which I’d answer ‘Yes, of course’. However, as this answer is not very insightful, I will share a secret tip I like to practice. Ideally, you want to make your entire body warm, but there are some circumstances where doing so is impractical or impossible. In such cases, you should focus on keeping your neck and upper back warm. Scarves are a good choice to do so and vests are particularly beneficial for the elderly. One of the more common viruses, rhinovirus, thrives and is most active between 33-35°F. Although the body regulates its temperature around 36.5-37°F, because the mouth and nose are openings that are exposed to the environment, these areas are prone to dropping temperature relatively quickly. As such, wearing a scarf will help keep the temperature higher around your neck and prevent infection. Vancouver is an area that experiences temperature fluctuations daily and even worse, has temperature differences between being in the shade and the sun. Thus, adding a scarf to your outfit is something I cannot emphasize enough if you are looking to prevent yourself from catching a cold.

 

 

2. I feel like I am catching a cold! What should I do?

 

A common symptom after a virus first enters your body is a general feeling of unwellness creeping up. Whether it be a sore throat or back discomfort, you know how this symptom manifests in you. Whatever it is, observing and knowing your symptoms is crucial as the early stage of infection is the only opportunity you have to block out the virus. If you let this window of opportunity pass by you will have no choice but to experience the full range of sickness. In any case, if you feel your body stiffen you need to find a means to sweat. This is because your body displays symptoms as it rushes blood through the body to fight the oncoming infection. The rushing of blood elevates pressure and body temperature, further contributing to the severity of your symptom. In these moments, sweating will help as it resolves the emergency situation created by the body by releasing the pressure built up by your body. Some may turn to spicy foods to build up a sweat, but I recommend taking a hot bath and changing out into new clothes afterwards. However, as the early stages of an infection are short, if you miss this timing, your nose will start to run and you will begin to cough as your symptoms become more severe. Therefore, when you feel your body becoming stiff, make sure you find a way to start sweating as soon as possible.

 

 

3. Does my child need medicine for fever?

 

In order to answer this question, it is crucial to understand why fever exists in the first place. To fight off the viral infection, your body produces white blood cells. The fever is the byproduct of the fighting which also acts as a signal for your body to produce more white blood cells. This cycle continues until the healing process completes. Thus, your child getting a fever is not something to worry about. In fact, it is a sign that their body is working and fighting. It may be tempting to soothe your child with medication to lower their temperature, but I urge you to fight against it. In the case high fever persists for longer than three days and different symptoms begin to manifest, you should make an appointment with your family doctor. A common misconception people have is that high fever can cause brain damage. However, if body temperature does not exceed 41°F, your child will not experience any form of brain damage, whether physical or mental. Remember, the very fact your child is experiencing fever indicates that their immune response is strong and working. This is a great opportunity for the body to rid itself of unnecessary waste; please try to think of it as a blessing.

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Car Accident Treatments

 

Car accident treatment

 

 

In today’s society, it seems to be difficult to avoid getting into one or two car accidents, including those that involve light contact with cars. However, it is common to not be fully aware of the symptoms from accidents other than the general fact that they cause severe pain. It is important to first understand where in the body you feel pain in order to be fully treated. In this blog, we will discuss the aftermath of car accidents one by one.

 

The pain you can experience from the shock of being in car accidents can vary significantly. The most obvious type of pain is the pain in the neck and back. Our vertebrae are divided into the cervical vertebrae (neck), thoracic spine (back) and the lumbar spine (back). The thoracic spine and lumbar spine have support from the ribs and hips, but the cervical vertebrae does not have any particular support structure. Because of this lack of support, even an impact so minimal can easily cause significant pain and cause imbalance in the body. The resulting symptoms are strained muscles, restricted motion and tingling sensations from the nerves pressing on the muscles. Symptoms affecting the back can also cause one or both legs to fall asleep due to the compression in the sciatic nerve. A key characteristic of car accident pain is that the intensity tends to become much stronger during the night. During the day, the regular blood flow towards the muscles decreases the severity of pain, however the body sends the blood to the internal organs and there is generally less blood flow which causes the pain to worsen. Poor blood circulation in the muscles results in body stiffness, feelings of heaviness and can easily make you tired.

 

Next, abnormal symptoms of autonomic nerves such as headache, dizziness, ringing and nausea can occur, which could signify a minor concussion. Symptoms come from parts of the body where the brain’s nerves are directly connected such as the eyes, ears and stomach. Dizziness can occur as a result of a problem in the brain or be caused by tensions in the neck muscles. When you grab onto your neck, you can easily touch the sternocleidomastoid muscle. Tension in this specific muscle is one of the causes of dizziness. There are also cases where the body can swell and urine flow can be difficult. These symptoms result from problems in the lymphatic circulation that regulates the metabolism of water.

 

 

Car accident treatment

 

Last, anxiety and sleep-deprived neuropsychiatry symptoms can also appear. In fact, a lot of people who have had car accidents overlook this part, but it can be more serious than you think. After the car accident, many people experience increased heart rates, sweaty palms and frequent flashbacks of their car accident when the speed of the car they are in increases even slightly. Thus, many people begin experiencing insomnia due to such anxiety. This is what we call PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

 

Now that we have the symptoms listed, how would we treat them with Eastern medicine? There are a variety of possible treatments, but the most basic would be using herbal medicine to increase blood flow circulation. It is important to look at the condition of the stool but if constipation occurs after the car accident, treatment time can be delayed. In this case, using medication that increases blood flow and speeds up stool movements can be very beneficial. Luckily, acupuncture is an officially recognized treatment by ICBC for people suffering from car accidents. The sooner you start acupuncture after a car accident, the more effective it can be at treating your pain. The benefits of acupuncture extends beyond simply treating physical pain; it can also treat autonomic neurological disorders such as headaches, dizziness and anxiety. The advantages that patients receive from acupuncture are considerable so we can easily foresee that acupuncture will become a popular form of treatment for car accident injuries.

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Acupuncture Treatments for Recurrent Cystitis

Bladder Inflammation Eastern Medicine

 

 

Cystitis is a common inflammation among women to the point where it is safe to say that very few women have probably never experienced it in their lifetime. Women are more susceptible to this infection than men because they have much shorter and straighter urethrae, which results in a greater likelihood for germs to enter. There are many cases where women develop this inflammation in the bladder after sexual relations as bacteria around the vagina or anus can enter the bladder through the urethra. When you experience cystitis, you tend to frequently have the urge to urinate and during this process, you often feel pain while in some cases, the urine can be mixed with blood. Bladder inflammation is luckily quite easy to diagnose and treat, and usually is healed with antibiotics after one week. However, a new problem can arise if the inflammation returns even after being treated.

 

This was the case with patient A who visited last winter. At first, she took antibiotics and was quickly treated, but the inflammation would return after one to two years. The problem was after that period, she noticed that the inflammation became much more frequent and even with the antibiotics, her discomfort continued. It appeared that she needed treatment that was more radical in order to successfully get rid of the recurring inflammation, but is this possible with Eastern medicine?

 

We started by asking several questions about her condition and measured her pulse. We discovered she always felt exhausted, her lower abdomen was always cold, she easily became cold and her pulse was very weak. These were all common symptoms of people with frequent bladder infections.

 

From an Eastern medical point of view, the solution to this problem is not that difficult. Infection, after all, means that germs from the outside are breaking through our body's defense system, so we can just reinforce the defense system rather than solely focus on the bacteria itself. If you look at antibiotics that destroy and eliminate the bacteria itself, Eastern medicine makes more effort to keep the bacteria out in the first place. Acupuncture, moxibustion and herbal medicine have the ability to achieve these results and strengthen the body’s defense system.

 

Patient A received treatment for acupuncture, moxibustion and herbal medicine. After the treatment, the patient's anxiety about bladder inflammation was eased and she remained in good health. Sometimes, we recommend surgery for very frequent bladder inflammations and some patients have undergone these surgeries. However, these surgeries would not target the body’s resistance to bacteria. We recommend that you always leave surgical operations as your last remedy and give Eastern medicine a try to treat your conditions.

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Eastern Medicine’s Approach to Fight the Cold

Eastern Medicine

 

 

There are many prescriptions for colds. Many people also develop their own remedies that have been proven to be useful from personal experiences. The most common solution to fighting colds is to drink lots of water, eat fruits rich in vitamin C and get a lot of rest. If that is the case, how does Eastern medicine approach colds and cure them? For this blog, we will talk about such viruses and influenza from the perspective of Eastern medicine and not from the Western medical approach.

 

Eastern medicine recognizes colds as something that originates from outside of the body. However, Eastern medicine is more interested in the body's response to the virus than the external causes of the virus that modern medicine focuses on. First, the body reaction that Eastern medicine focuses on is sweat. An important lesson learned from the progress of patients with colds or infectious diseases was that once they started sweating, their symptoms often got better. As a result, the idea was, sweat it out even if we have to force it. Experiments such as eating spicy medicine including green onion roots and cinnamon then eating hot porridge were tried in attempt to sweat out the cold. The result turned out to be very good and colds were easily treated through this method.

 

How do you think this was possible? What modern science says is that the first symptom of a cold virus after it enters the body is that the back of the neck becomes stiff. You are probably already aware of these common cold symptoms of body discomfort. The reason why the back of the neck feels stiff is because the body discharges the blood to fight the virus. The body prepares itself to fight the virus by increasing the pressure and temperature. However, if you sweat in this situation, then the pressure can naturally be relieved. Because we were able to focus on how the body reacted to the virus rather than how the virus entered the body, we were able to discover such valuable clinical information. Thus, folk remedies like eating red pepper powder and spicy ramen, are all aimed at sweating out the virus.

 

If you look at what people from previous generations have done, adults always wore vests and scarves in the winter to protect their neck and upper body from the cold temperatures. This is just another way to stop the growth of one of the most common cold viruses – the rhinovirus. The rhinovirus is most prolific between the temperatures of 33 and 35 degrees Celsius. Our bodies maintain a temperature of 36.5-37 degrees, but the temperatures of our nose and throat are likely to be lower as they are more exposed. Covering the neck with a scarf in this situation can help prevent the spread of a virus infection. The previous generations seem to have clearly understood that maintaining normal body temperature was the best way to prevent colds.

 

Lastly, we will discuss one of the most common symptoms of a cold, which is a fever. When the body is infected by a virus, it produces white blood cells to fight the virus. During this process is when the fever occurs in the body. Fevers are an important component as the body creates more white blood cells to heal during this process. Thus, it is important to not always view fevers in a negative way. If you think that you can handle the fever, taking any kind of fever reducing medicine is not always necessary as there are benefits of fevers to the body. As long as the body temperature is lower than 40 degrees Celsius, this is a great opportunity for the body to filter and cleanse its system.

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Can Eastern Medicine Treat Insomnia?

eastern medicine treat insomnia

 

 

Insomnia is an extremely oppressive condition to live with, attacking both our physical and mental well-being. Unfortunately, many people continue to suffer unnecessarily. Their concerns may be dismissed by people who have not personally suffered from insomnia, and who usually fail to fully appreciate just how life-affecting it can be. Some may dismiss the seriousness of insomnia by suggesting that the person cannot sleep because they are not really tired, or do not need to sleep as much. Others simplistically suggest that reading a book before bedtime will enable better sleep. Of course, such advice provides no help.

 

Insomniacs who seek treatment may be prescribed sedatives, but such drugs can be highly addictive. In addition, patients commonly experience side effects such as dizziness, lassitude and drowsiness throughout their day. Not surprisingly, many people with insomnia choose not to take sedatives regularly or, if possible, avoid them altogether.

 

Eastern medicine, in contrast, has been used very successfully to treat insomnia, and without any unwanted side effects. The approach is to improve the self-healing ability of the patient. The treatment is as effective as Eastern medicine treatments for other mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, although the treatment period is typically longer.

 

More and more patients are visiting our clinic seeking relief from insomnia. Given this trend of growing interest and need, we will be writing over the next few weeks about different aspects of this condition. Today, we will start by sharing the Eeastern medicine approach to diagnosing insomnia, and then describe the three main types of this condition.

 

 

tcm for insomnia

 

 

When diagnosing insomnia, it is important to first determine whether any physical issues are contributing to sleep issues. If a patient cannot sleep due to physiological pain, then the pain should be addressed as a first step. This is, perhaps, an obvious approach when the patient is experiencing physical pain. But it gets more complicated when the physiological pain is more like dysfunction than clearly experienced pain. Take, for example, the more complicated case of indigestion-related insomnia. Many patients who complain of insomnia have weak digestive systems due, for instance, to over-eating or starvation habits. The point is that we must first identify and treat any physiological causes of insomnia, and only afterwards focus on persisting insomnia.

 

 

Once we eliminate physiological pain as a contributing factor, and determine that the issue is solely a sleeping issue, we then categorize the type of insomnia the patient is experiencing from among three broad categories.

  1. Difficulty falling asleep. No matter how tired the person is, they lay in bed for hours before finally falling asleep. Often, they cannot stop overthinking things.
  2. Waking up throughout the night. The person can fall asleep, but frequently wakes up throughout the night. The person will wake up every couple of hours aware of a lot of dreams, and does not feel rested in the morning.
  3. Inability to fall back to sleep once awakened. The person will wake up around 3 to 4 am, and simply space out until they have to get up for work. Many patients with this type of issue dream of staying asleep until daybreak.

 

 

The second and third types are both easier to treat and, for the patient, easier to bear. The patient at least has some sense of having been asleep, if not soundly or uninterruptedly.

 

The first type is by far the most challenging to bear and to treat. We will focus on this type of insomnia for the rest of this post.

 

Difficulty falling asleep can be caused by either our sympathetic nervous system (SNS) or our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). Together, these nervous systems form our body’s autonomic (involuntary or unconscious) nervous system, which registers our reactions to stress. When we endure great stress, our SNS goes into overdrive and awakens our mind. The role of the PNS is to counter this hyperactivity, but when it fails to do so, the heightened state of awareness makes it difficult to fall asleep. So, difficulty falling asleep can be caused by either a hyperactive SNS, or a sub-performing PNS. A hyperactive SNS can be caused when we are very angry, resulting in SNS initiated insomnia. Worry and overthinking affects our PNS, resulting in PNS initiated insomnia. Eastern medicine seeks to restore balance, so that both the patient’s para- and sympathetic nervous systems are operating in a healthy way, allowing patients to fall asleep.

 

The inability to fall asleep may also be caused by psychological disorders such as anxiety, which manifests itself in the upper body. Anxiety causes heart disease like symptoms, such as chest tightness and palpitations, and puts our bodies in a nervous state. This prevents us from falling asleep.

 

 

In the weeks to come, we will discuss in more detail each of the three types of insomnia and methods of treatment.

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Asthma

I’ve had lung problems from a young age, with asthma, shortness of breath, and more recently mucus build up in my lungs and coughing. I went to see a general practitioner and they said there is nothing wrong with me in particular and to keep using my inhalers. It reached a point where daily activities became difficult to do and my energy levels were affecting me mentally as well as physically.

 

I was referred to Greenleaf Clinic for acupuncture but I was skeptical at first, never having tried acupuncture before, but I was open minded about it. After my first session I felt a difference in my circulation, and after a couple weeks there was a significant improvement in my breathing. Dr. Na and the staff at Greenleaf Clinic were specific in finding the issues with my body and solving them at their source. Now my coughing of mucus and shortness of breath is gone, while my increased energy has benefited me mentally and physically.

 

I highly recommend Greenleaf Clinic to anyone who it willing to improve their overall wellbeing.

“Matt”

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A testimonial for vomiting

I was vomiting for 1 week none stop. I went to 2 private doctors and 3 times to emergency but in vain . I tried all kind of med until I went online and read about Greenleaf acupuncture and herb clinic. I said why not giving it a try . After the first session, I stopped vomiting for the first time . I gained my weight back after 1 week with the help of herbs and acupuncture.The clinic is very clean and Dr. Na knows what he is talking about. Highly recommend this place.

Khalid

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The patient history form

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