Welcome to this unique opportunity to expand your options for medical care! I applaud your foresight, compassion, and courage in seeking treatments and understandings of health and healing in this expanded arena. I am honored to work with you and will endeavor to provide the highest quality care.
This practice is unlike others in the Chicagoland area, so it is important that you understand the Scope of Available Services.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a comprehensive system of medicine that has matured over at least a 2500 year span of time. It has developed a holistic view of health and disharmony that inherently incorporates the mind-body interconnection. It organizes the body/mind’s functions by systems that are different from the Western, and so the terminology of TCM will invariably seem strange at first. There are many treatment methods used in TCM, the most well-known of which is acupuncture. What makes TCM unique is that all methods are based on the same system of diagnosis and treatment theory, so each can be used alone or in conjunction with the others. The scope of the Chinese medicine offered by this practice includes the following:
Tui Na Massage : Tui Na is a specific type of massage that is used for both children and adults. Oftentimes various massage mediums such as oils or powders are used. Some techniques can be learned easily and done at home, and this branch of the medicine is ideal for parents to use with their children.
Acupuncture : Acupuncture involves using very fine needles to stimulate specific points on the body, each of which has its own effect on the body’s balance. The Chinese medical system has mapped these points along meridians. Most people find acupuncture treatments to be profoundly relaxing once they experience a treatment or two! The needles used are all solid (unlike blood drawing needles), sterile, single-use, and disposable. Acupuncture can be done with children and adults, though different techniques are applied.
Chinese Herbal Medicine : There are many systems of herbal medicine world-wide. Chinese herbal medicine uses hundreds of herbs each with specific functions to restore balance to the system. Unlike in other systems, the herbs are almost never used individually, but rather in formulas tailored to specific conditions. They may be used for short periods of time or longer periods depending on what is being treated. Herbs are available in raw form, and in pills, powders, and liquid extracts.
Moxabustion : This is a heating technique that uses a specific variety of the herb Artemesia to invigorate the blood and energy of the body through warming and the activating properties of the herb. The herb is used in either a dried, powder form or in a stick that looks somewhat like a cigar.
Cupping and gua sha : These are two techniques that invigorate and affect the energy and blood of the body and also are believed to draw toxins out of the tissues. Variations on these techniques are used in many cultures. Cupping uses glass or plastic cups which are placed on the skin. A vacuum in the cup is then created which holds the cup to the body and allows it to perform its function. Gua sha uses a smooth-edged tool that is rubbed over areas of the body creating increased activity in the area treated. Skin is not broken with either technique, however the skin may show changes which look like bruising (even more like “hickies”).
Qi Gong : This is a broad branch of Chinese medicine that uses specific movements and breathing techniques to change the energy of the body and to calm the mind. Thousands of variations of Qi Gong exist. By adjusting the energy of the body, blockages are released so the body can better heal itself. Qi Gong is non-invasive.
Nutrition and Lifestyle modification : Through dietary changes and changes in lifestyle habits such as exercise and sleep patterns, many illnesses/disharmonies can be alleviated. These are likely the most important tools of Chinese medicine (or any other medicine). They are preventative by nature.
Reiki is an energetic therapy which was reintroduced to the many forms of healing by Mikao Usui from Japan in the early 1900’s. The technique involves the channeling of a healing life force known as Universal or Respectful Qi from a practitioner of Reiki to the client. The method involves light touch or holding the hands near the recipient while the Qi is transmitted. The method differs from massage in that no tissue manipulation is used and the client traditionally remains clothed.
Reiki energy is highly refined, and is considered to act on an individual’s physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies to facilitate healing at all fundamental levels. By working in this way, Reiki energy can be used to treat physical and non-physical disharmonies of many kinds. Most find the Reiki treatment to be profoundly relaxing, instilling an immediate sense of comfort and peace. This is an ideal therapy for people of all ages seeking gentle, non-invasive approaches to health.
Flower Essence Therapy
Flower Essence Therapy is a plant based system that holds at its foundation the premise that humans are deeply connected to Nature, and that our emotions and behaviors can be positively influenced by contact with the energies of specific flowers. Just as a single rose can enhance feelings of love and the state of being that goes with feeling love, and just as a daisy may spark happiness or a lily serenity, so can the energetic essences of many plants affect us for wellbeing.
The practitioner using Flower Essences creates an individualized prescription for each patient that facilitates a transformation from the unnatural, discordant state causing illness, back to the inherent, natural state of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual harmony and health. Flower Essences are used world-wide, and can safely be combined with any other form of medical care. As with Homeopathy, Flower Essence Therapy uses the energetic “signature” of the flower to affect change, and so differs from Herbal Medicine which uses plant chemical extracts to balance the body.
Biomedicine (AKA Western Medicine or Allopathic Medicine)
Biomedicine is the medicine considered mainstream in North America and Europe . In its current manifestation, it involves the use of powerful medications and interventions to affect change in an individual’s health status. Because of the current structure of our medical system, it has moved away from patient counseling and life-style modification toward pharmacologic and surgical tools. Most often, the roots of problems cannot be addressed using this structure, and symptomatic management is the goal.
The system is currently based primarily on a molecular model, and does not utilize a mind-body framework in its research or treatment plans. Interestingly, there is newer yet incontrovertible evidence within Biomedicine’s own science that the mind-body connection should be the dominant model. It oftentimes takes many years, however, for new information to transform into improved practices. Nevertheless, there are many cases where biomedical interventions are needed, and the tools should be used. With severe, especially sudden, illnesses Biomedicine may offer the most effective and often lifesaving methods. Further, in diagnosis of serious illness or genetic conditions Biomedicine may be found superior to other systems.
It is not the goal of this practice to decry or discourage the toolbox of Biomedicine! Rather, Biomedicine may be considered and discussed in its role as an adjunct to other systems of medicine which do incorporate an individual’s condition into a holistic model. In this way, the chances of safely treating the root of an issue are maximized.
While all of these therapies have been and are used by millions of people worldwide, it is important to understand that the non-biomedical medicines are not formally recognized by the general, American biomedical community. These therapies are difficult to evaluate using the models of study that Biomedicine currently understands and accepts, and many of the studies that have been done are thus flawed and limited. Despite these challenges, active research is being conducted by many fore-thinking Western and Eastern doctors and scientists, and validations of treatment efficacy have been found.
In 1998, Congress established the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) to further develop protocols to evaluate many types of therapies. This is a very good resource for finding more information about complementary and alternative ( CAM ) therapies. The information is available on the internet at http://nccam.nih.gov.
In 2005, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) approved a section/interest group on CAMpediatrics. This will also help to develop more sophisticated studies on CAM therapies, so their true efficacies can be revealed. It is the stance of this group of MD pediatricians that children stand to benefit from broadened treatment options, but that well trained individuals must assure quality of care.