Kids and Acupuncture Techniques

Kids and acupuncture


By Audrey Cortez 

A question we are asked often in clinic is, “Can acupuncture help children for their ailments/conditions?” and the answer is a resounding “Yes!”. The question most ask is  “do you use needles on children?” and the answer is in short is “Yes” and “no”; let us explain first with a little bit of history and techniques used today.


In China and Japan, paediatric medicine historically not as well respected as it is today, due to a multiple of reasons such as: high mortality rate or children were seen as a ‘burden’. During Japan’s Edo period attitudes to paediatric medicine began to change when diseases such as small pox, measles and parasitic conditions became prevalent. In this era the Shonishin technique was born. It was here acupuncturists (especially blind acupuncturists) were not able to needle under law consequently, these acupuncturists developed the “Shonishin” technique which is using specific tools which are non-invasive and results are quite effective (Wernike 2014). In China at the same time, paediatric medicine was more focused on herbal medicine utilising popular formulas and modifying them to fit the child’s needs.

Selection of Shoni Shin tools for pediatric acupuncture

What is Shonishin?

The word Shonishin can be broken into two parts: ‘shoni’ meaning ‘child’ and ‘shin’ meaning ‘needle or needling’. The Shonishin technique is a non-invasive which is pain free and relatively easy to perform for the practitioner. It involves using a simple tool which looks like a nail, and its used to stroke gently on the patient’s skin. The technique itself is like a massage which children are more welcoming than being needled or taking herbal medicine, which sometimes may not be a pleasant experience for both parent/carer and child. One advantage of performing Shonishin techniques is it can be used a whole extensive range of ailments and it be done on from as young as 6 weeks old to adults. Another advantage is the technique is relatively quick to do which is great as children are quick to respond to treatment.


What other techniques used?

Other techniques used for paediatric acupuncture are massage such as Shiatzu or Tui Na and using Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)  devises. These techniques are once again non-invasive which is great while treating because they do not cause pain to the child and can be combined with herbal medicine.


Can you needle young patients?

Macro detail of a pine brush Japanese Shonishin acupuncture tool being used on young boy’s leg

This is an interesting question to answer. In short, yes you can needle children if they feel confident in the knowledge the needles are there to help them then there is no reason for them not to start early. Children are very open to needles and if explained properly. Of course, for those who are scared of needle, they can always opt for the non-invasive techniques if they choose to change their minds at the last minute.

In the next newletter we will be discussing what common conditions paediatric acupuncture can treat and what research supports this.

Here at the Sydney Acupuncture Clinic we offer non-invasive paediatric acupuncture treatments with both the Shonishin technique and laser acupuncture.


Book With Audrey Here



The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email or 02 8213 2888. 

Water in Traditional Chinese Medicine

waterWater in Traditional Chinese Medicine

What is the one ingredient that is found in absolutely every part of traditional Chinese herbal medicine? It’s water, of course. Water is essential to life, but the ancient understanding of water can inform our own lives.

Water as an “Element”

Water is one of the five “elements” in Traditional Chinese Medici ne, along with wood, fire, earth, and metal. Water is the winter element that feeds the new growth, the “wood,” of spring. Not surprisingly, it is associated with the kidneys.

However, the “kidney’ in Traditional Chinese Medicine is not just a physical organ. It is a set of energies that become emotions that in turn become physical objects, all associated with human reproduction and development. The kidneys are the governing organ of the sex organs. Their energies create vaginal fluids and semen, as well as, of course, urine. But they are also the governing organ of “development,” including bones and hair, and the govern the body’s ability to make and detect sound.

Surely this quaint ancient theory does not have any bearing on the modern understanding of health, does it? We invite you to judge for yourself.

The Surprising Importance of Hydration from Head to Toe

Keeping adequately hydrated by drinking enough water with electrolytes is essential to life, but it is also essential to some unexpected aspects of healthy living. Here are just a few reasons we need water in ways that are predicted by Traditional Chinese Medicine.

  • The hair on your head and the skin on your scalp are regenerated by stem cells. Some of these stem cells differentiate into melanocytes, the cells that make the natural color in your hair. Some of these cells differentiate into hair follicles, which generate the hair itself. The two groups of stem cells communicate by hormones and chemical messengers that they send through the tiny capillaries and intercellular fluid in the scalp. If the color-making cells can’t communicate to the hair-making cells, guess what happens? Gray hair. Regular hydration is important to maintain your natural hair colour.[1]
  • The voice In older adults, in particular, tends to shimmer and jitter when the body is dehydrated. Dehydrated people cannot hold a sound so that it blends into other syllables. Their voices have a reduced resonance and a higher frequency (but not in a good way). Drinking water helps to restore the voice. Steam inhalation is useful, too. Voice problems may be prevented by using a nebulizer that provides pure water in tiny droplets.[2]
  • The human body ordinarily keeps almost all of its calcium in the bones and just a tiny amount of calcium in the bloodstream to power muscles and nerves. Dehydration can be a cause of hypercalcemia, too much calcium in the bloodstream.[3]
  • In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the “kidney” (which is a concept more than a physical organ) also governs the knees. You won’t find dehydration listed as a trigger for attacks of knee arthritis (or gout in the ankles and toes), but that is the experience of many people who have to manage these diseases.[4]

How Much Water Is Enough?

Some health-minded people are so intent on staying hydrated that they walk around making sloshing sounds. The best amount of water isn’t more, more, more.  Healthy hydration keeps water consumption in balance with the amount of water that the body uses, no more and no less.

Infants and disabled people are especially susceptible to dehydration because they can’t get their own fluids to drink. Older children are especially susceptible to dehydration because their bodies keep less water in the interstitial fluid around their tissues. The most common precipitating event that leads to death from dehydration is diarrhea. If you get diarrhea, keep hydrated!

It takes as little as 1.2 liters (5 cups) of water a day to keep hydrated. Drinking 3 or more liters of water a day is actually associated with poorer health outcomes, not better.[5] (If you happen to live in the Australian Outback or some other desert, of course, you may actually need more water—but you probably won’t have a longer lifespan as a result of drinking it).

The key is what else is in the water. Water that contains just a little sodium, the ion found in table salt, can keep your body hydrated up to twice as long as water that does not.[6] Almost any natural beverage contains at least a little sodium, even orange juice, whole (full-fat) milk, and tea.  Caffeinated and carbonated beverages are not dehydrating.[7] Tea, in particular, including tea with milk, does not dehydrate.[8]

Hydration Isn’t All About What You Drink

Traditional Chinese Medicine tells us that mastering the “water” element, however, is not just about drinking water and other beverages. The kidney is a yin vessel that stores a property called jing, or essence. This is the set of instructions that the body follows to make its densest structures, such as bone.

The “energy kidney” also consolidates the mysterious energy called chi that governs over our lives from birth to death. It is specifically related to our ability to pro-create, physical growth through childhood, and transition in to old age. Someone with a compromised water element will not have the vitality and endurance necessary throughout our lives to endure, especially during stressful times of change.

You can’t tackle life’s challenges if you aren’t physically hydrated. But you become “spiritually hydrated” by conquering fear, anxiety, and specific phobias. When we master the fluid challenges of our daily lives, we overcome fear. And when we overcome fear, we master the energies of water, unleashing vital energy to make us healthier from head to toe.

Drinking water, tea, and other healthy beverages won’t automatically result in mastery of the watery aspects of human vitality. A great deal of healthy hydration really stems from emotional health, not just diet. But getting at least those 5 cups, 1.2 liters, of water every day is a healthy start to hydration. If you drink water, you have some of the physical sustenance you need to master your life energies. And if you master your life energies, you will keep your water intake and use in healthy balance.


[1] Hsu YC, Li L, Fuchs E. Emerging interactions between skin stem cells and their niches. Nat Med. 2014 Aug;20(8):847-56. doi: 10.1038/nm.3643. Review. PMID: 25100530.

[2] Alves M, Krüger E, Pillay B, van Lierde K, van der Linde J. The Effect of Hydration on Voice Quality in Adults: A Systematic Review.J Voice. 2017 Nov 6. pii: S0892-1997(17)30389-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2017.10.001. [Epub ahead of print] Review. PMID: 29122414.

[3] Fernandes LG, Ferreira NR, Cardiga R, Póvoa P. Severe hypercalcaemia and colon ischaemia: dehydration as an unusual cause? BMJ Case Rep. 2015 Mar 25;2015. pii: bcr2014208809. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2014-208809.

PMID: 25809432.

[4] Abhishek A, Valdes AM, Jenkins W, Zhang W, Doherty M. Triggers of acute attacks of gout, does age of gout onset matter? A primary care based cross-sectional study. PLoS One. 2017 Oct 12;12(10):e0186096. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0186096. eCollection 2017. PMID: 29023487.

[5] Kant AK, Graubard BI. A prospective study of water intake and subsequent risk of all-cause mortality in a national cohort.Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Jan;105(1):212-220. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.143826. Epub 2016 Nov 30.

PMID: 27903521.

[6] Sims ST, van Vliet L, Cotter JD, Rehrer NJ. Sodium loading aids fluid balance and reduces physiological strain of trained men exercising in the heat. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2007;39:123–30.

[7] Grandjean AC, Reimers KJ, Bannick KE, Haven MC. The effect of caffeinated, non-caffeinated, caloric and non-caloric beverages on hydration. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000 Oct;19(5):591-600. PMID: 11022872.

[8] Ruxton CH, Hart VA. Black tea is not significantly different from water in the maintenance of normal hydration in human subjects: results from a randomised controlled trial.Br J Nutr. 2011 Aug;106(4):588-95. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511000456. Epub 2011 Mar 30. PMID: 21450118.



Water fall


The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email or 02 8213 2888. 

Rodd Sanchez Sydney acupuncture and Chinese medicine 

Chai Hu, aka Bupleurum

Chai  Hu

Leaves and flowers of Bupleurum gibraltaricum

The Chinese herb Chai Hu, also known by its botanical name Bupleurum falcatum or just as “bupleurum”, is a mainstay of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM uses bupleurum as one of many ingredients in herbal formulas, although scientific researchers have found unique uses for single unique components of the plant.

What Is Chai Hu?

Chai Hu is an Asian member of the same plant family as carrots and parsley. It flowers in umbels, spherical clusters of dozens of tiny flowers that appear at the top of the plant. This herb was not used in TCM in ancient times, but it has appeared in dozens of herbal “recipes” over the last 500 years.

What Is the Traditional Understanding of How Chai Hu Works?

Traditional Chinese Medicine described the effects of herbs in terms of metaphors that guided practitioners to practical uses of plants. Chai Hu was described as a “cooling” plant. That does not mean it literally lowered temperature. Instead, it corrected hyperactive energies.

In the “Liver,” which[according to TCM] ancient herbalists understood as the place emotions were stored, Chai Hu relieved blockages or stagnation of the Qi energy. Chai Hu was included into a formula to assist release emotion constraints,  so that they did not congeal into physical problems in other parts of the body. These constraints of of Liver Qi energy would and could manifest at liver, breasts and or eyes conditions .

In the “Spleen,” Chai Hu contributed to reduce the effects of gastrointestinal upset. It stopped vomiting, relieved pressure on the chest and took away [any] bitter or metallic tastes that linger in the mouth.

Chai Hu also helped the Qi flow through a channel called the Middle Jiao. It has an upwards lifting effect thus helping with formulas to assist  uterine prolapse and hemorrhoids.

Why Are Medical Scientists Interested in Chai Hu Formulas Today?

Researchers are looking at novel uses of this ancient herb. One team of researchers ( Lorrai I, et al 2017) investigating the use of a chemical component of the plant, a saikosaponin, as a method treating chocolate addiction. [1] Another group of scientists is refining another chemical in Chai Hu as an antidote for panadol poisoning.[2] Yet another research team is using Chai Hu as a natural biofactory to create gold nanoparticles, which creates highly bioactive enzymes.[3]

It has turned out that ancient herbal formulas that contain bupleurum have some remarkable, clinically tested effects when they are used to treat illness as conventional, scientific medicine understands it.

Xiao Chai Hu Tang, which is also known by its Japanese name, sho-saiko-to, and by its English name, Minor Bupleurum Decoction, has a major impact in treating medically defined liver diseases.  Clinical trials have found that this bupleurum formula slows the destruction of liver tissue by fibrosis and fatty infiltration. [In a study by [insert], it was shown to reduce] It reduces the risk of liver cancer in people who have chronic viral hepatitis. [4] A clinical trial at Sloan-Kettering Hospital In New York City confirmed that it slowed the progression of hepatitis C in patients who were [unsuitable] not candidates for interferon (this formula must not be used with interferon) or modern treatments like Sovaldi.[5] A variation of this formula is used to help children reduce the symptoms of tonsillitis to reduce the the possibility of a tonsillectomy  and it has also been used to stop life-threatening symptoms of toxic shock.[6]

Major Bupleurum Decoction, Da Chai Hu Tang, also known by its Japanese name dai-saiko-to,  is clinically demonstrated to relieve severe menstrual cramps.[7] And bupleurum is one of a number of ingredients in a Japanese herbal formula called bofu-tsusho-san, which aid people who have diabetes lose weight.

What Can Go Wrong with Chai Hu?

(Bupleurum )

There is one prominent drug interaction with Chai Hu (bupleurum). People who take interferon should never take any kind of formula that contains Chai Hu. Other than that, the problem with formulas that contain Chai Hu is most likely to be that it works too well.  People who take Chai Hu formulas to prevent vomiting may find they have no appetite at all. People who take Chai Hu formulas to prevent anxiety or tension may find it just a little too easy to, for instance, curl up and take a nap. Used with professional guidance, however, Chai Hu formulas can be remarkably effective.  [Insert something about always disclose to your doctor any herbal medicine/anything you take]

[1] Lorrai I, Maccioni P, Carai MA, Capra A, Castelli MP, Riva A, Morazzoni P, Gessa GL, Colombo G. Suppressing effect of saikosaponin A, an active ingredient of Bupleurum falcatum, on chocolate self-administration and reinstatement of chocolate seeking in rats. Neurosci Lett. 2017 Jan 18;638:211-217. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2016.12.019. Epub 2016 Dec 19. PMID: 28007642.

[2] Liu A, Tanaka N, Sun L, Guo B, Kim JH, Krausz KW, Fang Z, Jiang C, Yang J, Gonzalez FJ. Saikosaponin d protects against acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity by inhibiting NF-κB and STAT3 signaling.

Chem Biol Interact. 2014 Nov 5;223:80-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2014.09.012. Epub 2014 Sep 27.

PMID: 25265579.

[3] Lee YJ, Cha SH, Lee KJ, Kim YS, Cho S, Park Y. Plant Extract (Bupleurum falcatum) as a Green Factory for Biofabrication of Gold Nanoparticles. Nat Prod Commun. 2015 Sep;10(9):1593-6. PMID: 26594767.

[4] Lee JK, Kim JH, Shin HK. Therapeutic effects of the oriental herbal medicine Sho-saiko-to on liver cirrhosis and carcinoma. Hepatol Res. 2011 Sep;41(9):825-37. doi: 10.1111/j.1872-034X.2011.00829.x. Epub 2011 Jun 17.

PMID: 21682829.

[5] Morgan TR. Chemoprevention of hepatocellular carcinoma in chronic hepatitis C. Recent Results Cancer Res. 2011;188:85-99. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-10858-7_7. Review. PMID: 21253791.

[6] Sakaguchi S, Furusawa S, Iizuka Y. Preventive effects of a traditional Chinese medicine (Sho-saiko-to) on septic shock symptoms; approached from heme metabolic disorders in endotoxemia. Biol Pharm Bull. 2005 Jan;28(1):165-8. PMID: 15635185.

[7] Horiba Y, Yoshino T, Watanabe K. Daisaikoto for menstrual pain: a lesson from a case with menstrual pain successfully treated with daisaikoto. Case Rep Med. 2015;2015:929514. doi: 10.1155/2015/929514. Epub 2015 Feb 22. PMID: 25792985.



The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email or 02 8213 2888. 

Rodd Sanchez Sydney acupuncture and Chinese medicine 

Derma Microneedle Roller

192 Needle Derma Microneedle Roller Skin Therapy 


  What is derma roller?

Derma rollers have become increasingly popular over the last decade, and many people use them for all sorts of skin-related problems, such as acne, scars, cellulite, stretch marks, anti-aging, wrinkles, and even hyper-pigmentation. A Derma skin roller is a small barrel-like roller with around 200 tiny micro-needles that, when rolled on the skin, create tiny punctures, pushing the pores open for a short period of time. The body reacts as if it has been damaged, releasing growth factors that stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, forming new, healthy skin. The roller can be used on almost any part of the body, except for the most of sensitive location such as the eyelids and lips.

How to use dermaroller (if you don’t want to bleed)

1) Use dermaroller to roll on your skin vertically for 10 times, horizontally for 10 times to form + shape. Then roll another 20 times with
different directions to form x shape, like the below picture.
2) Apply oil on your skin.
How to use Derma roller (if you want to roll harder with long needles roller until bleed a lot) :
1) Apply lidocaine 10% spray for 30 seconds to numb your skin to prevent the pain later. Click here for the info of lidocain 10% spray.
2) Use Derma roller to roll on your skin for 10 times per direction to form + shape and x shape, like the below picture.
3) Wash away the lidocaine from your face with water.
4) Apply oil on your skin.

How many time I can dermarolling in a month?
It is depend on how fast your skin can heal/recovery. Normally if you roll harder with longer needles causing a lot of bleed, you will need to wait 3 days to let the redness disappear and you will need to wait another 4 days to let the blackness disappear, so total 7 days that you need to wait. You can derma roll again only when all redness and blackness disappear, because if you dermarolling too many times on redness / blackness scars, it will cause hyperpigmentation appear. So 1 week can roll 1 time only if you plan to roll harder until bleed. Laser treatment also can do only 1 time per month right? Because worry hyperpigmentation appear.


What length of dermaroller should I use?

  • 2.5mm or 3mm is for body skins like legs, ass, stomach which have thicker skin.
  • 1.5mm or 2mm is for removing the sink inside scars like ice-pick, pitted / boxcar, rolling scars, wrinkles.
  • 1mm is for dark black scars, hyperpigmentation, pigmentation.
  • 0.2mm to 0.75mm are used to make the beautiful skin become more beautiful, or used to make the skin more easy absorb the nutrition of cream products.
How many sessions that A dermaroller can be used?

30 to 50 sessions. You can use it until the head of needles no longer sharp.
How long it takes to removes all my deep scars completely?
10 months if you dermarolling without apply any cream. 7 months if you dermarolling + revitol / dermagist cream (it is based on 10 days per session).

Should I use derma-roller or derma-stamp?

Derma-roller head is bigger. Derma-stamp head is smaller. So it is better you use dermaroller if you have many scars on big area on
your face, because you will need to spend long long time if you use small head derma-stamp on big area. You can use derma-stamp
on the small area which derma-roller cannot reach, for example the nose area and near the eyes area.

Can I use dermaroller without apply any oil?

Yes, you can use dermaroller without apply oil. Actually the purpose of applying cream is just to faster the scars removal progress.





The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email or 02 8213 2888. 

Rodd Sanchez Sydney acupuncture and Chinese medicine 

Diabetes : Syndrome Differentiation of Diabetes Part 1


Diabetes: Syndrome Differentiation of Diabetes

Part 1

Diabetes has been described repeatedly in the ancient Chinese medical literature. Diabetes has been mentioned and treated with Chinese herbs for at least 2,000 years, with the Huang Di Nei Jing describing the condition known as xiao ke. The translation is now known as diabetes or diabetic exhaustion, whilst the literal translation is emaciation thirst. According to this ancient text, the syndrome arises from consumption of excessive fatty, sweet, or rich foods. It is suggested that it typically occurs among wealthy people: The description is suitable that of type 2, or insulin-independent diabetes mellitus, the most common form of diabetes that exists today.

Recent trends have indicated that the number of people living with diabetes is expected to rise from 366 million in 2011 to 552 million by 2030, if no action is taken, this means that approximately 3 new cases every 10 seconds. The greatest number of people with diabetes is between 40 to 59 years of age. Diabetes mellitus is a disease that is classified as a metabolic disease which is caused by high blood sugar, either due to compromised production of insulin or because body is not responding to insulin produced. Diabetes is classed into two separate types and plus a temporary state which can regress: type 1, type 2 diabetes and Gestational diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes:

Can occur at any point in an individual’s life but diagnoses is normally seen at an early age. It is suspected to be caused by the immune system mistakenly turning on itself, destroying beta cells within the pancreas and removing the body’s ability to produce insulin , people with type 1 have severe insulin deficiency and need insulin replacement in order to live; it is caused by the body failing to produce enough insulin, and so requires the persons affected by the disease to constantly inject insulin into their system, or else the body literally starves as it cannot process food . Some may have to take over 14-15 thousand insulin injections in a 10-year period.

Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • extreme thirst
  • constant hunger
  • sudden weight loss
  • frequent urination
  • blurry eyes
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • extreme tiredness
  • infections

Other complications:

Diabetic neuropathy can lead to a loss of feeling in hands and feet. High blood glucose levels inhibit the systemic circulation of blood therefore impairs the healing process which may take weeks to heal a minor injury.

Diabetic nephropathy (diabetic kidney disease) is when the kidneys gradually deteriorate and lose full function, this can lead to kidney failure in severe cases.

Cardiovascular disease is a range of blood vessel system diseases that includes both stroke and heart attack. The two most common types of cardiovascular disease are coronary heart disease, caused by fatty deposits in the arteries that feed the heart, and hypertension, or high blood pressure.

Diabetic retinopathy takes place due to the high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels weakening the walls of the retina; this causes micro-aneurysms which leaks fluid or blood into the surrounding tissue.

Type 2 diabetes:

When the body fails to recognize the insulin produced and therefore is unable to reduce the blood sugar levels of the individual. Type 2 diabetes makes up approximately 90% of all diabetes cases. In some cases people can live for months even years without any knowledge of the disease, this is because type2 comes gradually that symptoms are unrecognised. In comparison to type1 the beta cells over time gradually losses their functions of producing insulin.

Heightened risk of developing type2 diabetes if you:

  • have a family history of diabetes
  • are older (over 55 years of age ) – the risk increases as we age
  • are over 45 years of age and are overweight
  • are over 45 years of age and have high blood pressure
  • are a woman who has given birth to a child over 4.5 kg (9 lbs), or had gestational diabetes when pregnant, or had a condition known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

Symptoms of type2 diabetes:

  • being very thirsty
  • frequent urination
  • blurry vision
  • mood swings
  • tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • frequent skin, bladder or gum infections
  • wounds that don’t heal
  • extreme unexplained fatigue and also lethargic
  • gradual weight gain
  • leg cramps


Almost 60% of all type 2 cases are viewed as preventable, some suggested measures of prevention are:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Regular physical activity
  • Making healthy food choices
  • Managing cholesterol levels
  • Not smoking

Syndrome Differentiation of Diabetes

QI Stagnation due to Liver Depression

Patients with diabetes often exhibit aggravated emotional tension, which is consistent with the theory of TCM that negative emotions could lead to diseases. Liver depression could lead to Qi stagnation and result in some emotional symptoms. This was the first stage of diabetes, and the characteristic was stagnancy.

Liver and Stomach Heat Stagnation

Liver and stomach heat stagnation belong to the stagnancy and heat stages of diabetes. The patients of this type showed some emotional and digestive symptoms such as irritability, distention and fullness in the chest and rib-side, drinking too much fluids and the production of increased urine, eating too much food, hunger, experiencing a bitter taste, dry mouth, and constipation. And patients usually have a red tongue, and a rapid and stringy pulse.

Phlegm and Heat Stasis

This syndrome often appears in the “heat” stage of diabetes, and the patients are relatively obese because in the theory of Chinese medicine, “obese people tend to have copious phlegm.” Patients with this type may have some symptoms such as abdominal obesity, a sense of chest suppression, abdominal distention, and dry mouth. They might also prefer cold drinks, drink much more fluids, and be irritable and have a bitter taste in their mouth as well as constipation. Patients also have a red and fat tongue with yellowish greasy moss, yellow urine, and a stringy and smooth pulse.

Excess Heat in the Stomach and Intestine

This syndrome generally occurs in the diabetic middle stage or in the “heat” stage. In the middle stage of diabetes, patients eat large amounts of food, which stagnate and form heat in the stomach and intestine. As such, its principal symptoms are abdominal fullness and distention, constipation, a bitter taste and dry mouth, halitosis, thirst with a desire for cool water, drinking and eating too much, and hunger. Patients usually have a red tongue with yellow moss and a rapid strong pulse.

Intestinal Damp and Heat Syndromes

This syndrome has unique features, intestinal damp and heat syndromes always appear in the diabetic middle stage or during the heat stage. Its principal symptoms are thirst with no desire to drink, hunger with no desire to eat, a bitter taste, a sticky and greasy sensation in the mouth, and abdominal distention. Patients also show a red tongue with yellow and greasy moss and a slippery pulse. When damp and heat affect the large intestine, smelly greasy stools might also form.

Deficiency of Body Liquid due to Excessive Heat Syndrome

The deficiency of body liquids due to excessive heat syndrome is more commonly found in the diabetic middle-late stage or the heat and deficiency stages. Impacted by the fire and heat pathogens from the early and middle stages of diabetes, qi is consumed and liquids are injured gradually. As such, its principle symptoms are dry throat and mouth, thirst with a desire for cool water, overeating and hunger, frequent micturition volume, irritability, bitter taste, red urine, and constipation. Patients also commonly have a red tongue with yellow fur and a rapid pulse

Dual Deficiency of Qi and Yin

The dual deficiency of qi and yin syndrome occurs in the late diabetic or the deficiency stage. The fire and heat pathogens further dissipate the primordial qi of zang-fu organs, and then the generalized qi is consumed. In addition, fire and heat pathogens scorch liquids and damage yin. Therefore, the main symptoms are dry throat and mouth, thirst with a large intake of fluid, fatigued spirit and lack of strength, shortness of breath and reluctance to speak, emaciation of the body, aching lumber and knees, spontaneous and night sweats, feeling palm and arch fever, upset, palpitations, insomnia, a red tongue with scant liquids and thin white dry tongue fur, and a fine rapid pulse.

Traditional Chinese Medicine does not offer a cure for diabetes, but instead aims to optimise the body’s ability to function normally. There is still a great need for more and better research on the efficacy and safety to integrate the two forms of care must all recognize the importance of careful monitoring of blood glucose levels, as well as monitoring for potential side effects such as drug-herb interactions.


  • Syndrome Differentiation of Diabetes by the Traditional Chinese Medicine according to Evidence-Based Medicine and Expert Consensus Opinion: Jing Guo, Hongdong Chen, Jun Song, Jia Wang, Linhua Zhao, and Xiaolin Tong; Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2014 (2014),


For More information or online tools please feel free to contact Diabetes Australia

Amenorrhea and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Amenorrhea and Traditional Chinese Medicine

By Audrey Cortez


What is Amenorrhea?

Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation — one or more missed menstrual periods. Women who have missed at least three menstrual periods in a row have amenorrhea, as do girls who haven’t begun menstruation by age 15.  There are many causes or reasons why women do not have their period, such as late entering of puberty , due to stress or higher level hormonal changes. Depending on the cause, the amenorrhea condition can fall under categories:


  • Primary Amenorrhea is when there is no period by the time a teenage girl is 16 years and does not display other sexual characteristics such as breast development whereas;
  • Secondary amenorrhea is where there have been periods and then it would stop for more than a few cycles. Most women fall under Secondary amenorrhoea.

Testing of amenorrhea usually involves blood testing for hormone levels. The hormone levels which are investigated are  Prolactin, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), +/– serum Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), Luteinizing hormone (LH), Oestrogen and Progesterone. Other tests conducted to rule out other conditions include MRI imagining and ultrasound in the case of a structural problem.


So how this is relevant to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?


It is relevant because the very nature of TCM is to bring the body back to balance. In the case of amenorrhea, the body is internally imbalanced. This imbalance is either  excessive  or deficient of the fundamental substances Yin / Yang , Blood or Qi. There are  suggestions  that the cause could be from overwork, stress, constitutional, emotions or could be a symptom of conditions for example Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) . When this imbalance occurs there are channels which are affected are the Spleen, Heart, Liver and of course the Kidneys as well as two extraordinary channels, the Ren Mai (or Conception vessel) and the Chong Mai (or Thoroughfare vessel). Some of the syndromes which amenorrhea falls under are:


  • Qi and Blood Deficiency
  • Stagnation of Qi and Blood
  • Kidney Qi Deficiency
  • Phlegm and dampness obstruction


Can Acupuncture and Herbs help?Amenorrhea

Acupuncture may assist with the treatment of the amenorrhea signs and symptoms such as weight gain or weight loss, unusual breast secretion, acne, excessive facial and body hair and dry skin. Acupuncture can address the imbalances of the body by directing the energy to where it needs to. Additionally, using moxibustion may be used during treatment and at home to aid the nourishment of the body and to also warm the Yang of the body .


Chinese herbal pharmacopoeia can definitely assist with amenorrhea,  by introducing herbs with therapeutic actions to specifically target the imbalances. This is done via clear up any stagnation of Qi or Blood and by nourishing the deficiency of Qi Blood of specific Zang Fu Organs. There are hundreds of benifical herbs which could be used which may assist with amenorrhea including : Man Jing Zi (Vitex), Dang Gui, Shu Di Huang, Shan Yao and Chai Hu to name a few. In addition we utilize herbal formulas like Ba Zhen Tang (as a qi tonic), Xiao Yao San (to help with stagnation within the Liver channel and nourish the Spleen channel) and Zuo Gui Wan (to nourish Kidney channel).


What about Diet and Lifestyle?

Diet and lifestyle modification can be important for dealing with the condition. One can follow the following : Eating plentiful amounts of iron rich foods, either derived from animal or plant, increase your vitamin C and B substances, fibre from green vegetables and good essential fatty acids (e.g. almonds, salmon even flaxseed oil). Other factors to consider is to include moderate exercise and improve stress levels with meditation, yoga or tai chi. Overall we can use acupuncture and herbs to enable the body to mend itself.


Written By Audrey Cortez



The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email or 02 8213 2888.

Rodd Sanchez Sydney Acupuncture and Chinese medicine