Friday, March 23, 2012

Evolving Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatments

Last month I traveled to London to study with my mentor Mazin Al-Khafaji.  It was interesting to note the ways in which his treatment approaches have shifted ever so slightly.  Even with his already highly effective treatments, he was finding that certain herbal combinations and their use in particular dermatological presentations could produce a more desirable outcome.  It goes to show that attention to details in the progress of our patients is a must to maximize the treatment results.  Not only this but it gives us insight into what herbs are helping with a particular aspect of the skin presentation.  Once we find a result that can be repeated, we can evolve our medicine to better address the pathology of modern day skin disorders.

I often find myself reviewing and comparing my formulas in clinic to look at how the skin is shifting in relation to modifications made to the formulas.  This is often enlightening and gives me a better understanding of when the formula needs a shift in focus so that the patient can continue on the path of healing.  This process is necessary to continue to benefit our patients and to evolve our medicine.  Just as disease evolves and shifts, so do our bodies and so should our medicine.  If we rely solely on classical formulas and never question the efficacy of our treatments we will fall behind.  I would like to quickly say that the classics are full of wealth and we often look to them for guidance, but we still must follow the progress of our patients so that the treatment is properly tailored to the current presentation.  Even the herbal formulations of Zhang Zhongjing shifted over the years as different treatment approaches evolved in Chinese medicine.   This is a trend that should continue so that we can optimize the efficacy of Chinese medicine.

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