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Home > Newsletters > December 2007 > Chinese Medicine and the Mind - Page 5

Chinese Medicine and the Mind - Page 5

By Efrem Korngold, LAc, OMD and Harriet Beinfield, LAc


On the one hand, infants and young children are perceived as particularly vulnerable. That is, they are rapidly changing, mentally and physically immature, and sensitive to outside influences. On the other hand, their sensitivity and malleability make them more responsive to modest, positive interventions than older children or adults. This vulnerability and impressionability is most prevalent in the first 7 to 8 months; it is somewhat less through the 7th and 8th years. Psychoneurological and developmental disorders that appear during this period are troubling on the one hand but highly responsive to treatment on the other. Pediatrics has been a specialty within Chinese traditional medicine for centuries. The administration of medicinal herbs, therapeutic diets, massage, and acupuncture are all appropriate when used in a gentle, cautious, watchful manner. Acupuncture, in particular, is often beneficial in the treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders. Infants and small children often respond
quickly and intensely to treatments, so careful and frequent monitoring by the practitioner is the prudent approach.

Obstetrics and gynecology is another age-old specialty within Chinese traditional medicine. Although most if not all modern textbooks on herbal medicine and acupuncture caution against—though they do not expressly prohibit—treating women during pregnancy (especially in the first trimester), there is a long tradition of pregnancy management to enhance
the health of the mother and ensure the healthy development of the newborn child. Special attention is paid to maintaining the psychological equanimity of the mother to protect the fetus from the untoward effects of negative emotions and mental shocks. This is sought primarily through regulation of diet, living habits, and environment and, secondarily, through the administration of massage, acupuncture, and medicinal herbs should problems arise. There are specific herbal formulas and acupuncture protocols for conditions such as morning sickness, restless fetus, generalized weakness, vaginal bleeding, emotional disturbance, and prevention and treatment of eclampsia and preeclampsia, as well as for facilitating delivery and managing postpartum recovery. As with infants and young children, pregnant women are considered to be very vulnerable and are, therefore, treated with extreme care and caution. Conversely, pregnancy is also considered to be an opportunity for correcting preexisting deficiencies and disorders because the woman is in an unusually receptive condition.

The Elderly
Geriatrics is yet another well-recognized and respected traditional specialty that grew out of the ancient Chinese concern with promoting longevity. The old are somewhat like children in their vulnerability but unlike them in their inflexibility and slowness of response. Conditions of the elderly are generally considered to be the result of deficiencies—attritions of Qi, Moisture, Blood, and Essence—that have developed as
a consequence of the natural as well as the unfortunate stresses and strains of living. Because older people tend to be more frail as well as resistant to change, aggressive treatments are avoided. Gentle methods are employed that emphasize nurturance of substance and support of normal function while gradually ridding the body of toxins and accumulations. Mental and spiritual weariness are prevalent among the
aged, and respite from these is seen as equally if not more important than ameliorating physical weaknesses.


Generally, in the minimal studies that have been done, acupuncture
has been found to improve symptoms of depression, reduce
the need for drugs, and attenuate or eliminate various side effects
of pharmaceuticals.


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Table 8. Continued
Study No. of Participants Findings
Han JS. Electro-acupuncture: an alternative to
antidepressants for treating affective diseases?
Intern J Neurosci. 1986;29(1-2):79-92.
Clinical data indicate that acupuncture is
effective in treating depressive patients, with
a higher therapeutic index than tricyclic
Poliakov SE. Acupuncture in the treatment of patients
with endogenous depression. Zh Nevropatol Psikhiatr
Im SS Korsakova. 1987;87:604-608.
167 Patients Response was most correlative with
antidepressants of the pyrasidol type.
Acupuncture was effective in some patients
resistant to antidepressants.


For more information on Chinese Medicine, please visit Efrem Korngold, LAc, OMD and Harriet Beinfield, LAc at:

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

This Month's Articles

December 2007
Volume 5, Number 12

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Chinese Medicine and the Mind

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Recent Research

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