Patient Cases

Oriental medicine has been enjoying a revival of
interest among both patients and medical
practitioners. For a number of reasons, - practical,
economic and philosophical - people are calling it the
medicine for the new millennium.

The following examples illustrate the reasons why
people are trying Oriental medicine, and ways it can
be used in conjunction with Western medicine:

Mr. S: Back pain
Mrs. A: Menstrual Pain
Mr. K: Cancer
Ms. T: Vegetarian
Mr. Q: Soccer

The cases, I hope, personalize the concept of Oriental medical treatment. They show a variety of
ailments that can be treated through Oriental
medicine and the results that can be achieved. It also
shows that Oriental medicine can be used to great
benefit in conjunction with orthodox medicine. The
exclusive use of one or the other will, I hope, become
a thing of the past in the new millennium.

Mr. S: Back pain

Mr S, a middle-aged public employee, began to suffer
from upper back pain, particularly during stressful
periods. The pain began to increase both in
frequency and severity, so he sought medical help. X-
rays and a physical examination showed nothing
conclusive. He ways put on medication (pain killers)
that lessened the severity, but not the frequency of

In about two years, he found that steadily increasing
amounts of medication were necessary to obtain
relief. At his annual medical checkup, his liver function
was found to be abnormal and he was advised to cut
down on his medication and to exercise more.

Mr. S attempted to do this but found that he was in
so much pain that he was unable to work properly,
let alone exercise. He was therefore faced with a
choice: be in pain be have a healthier liver, or have
less pain be put more stress on his liver.

As a last resort he took the advice of a friend and
tried acupuncture. The treatments progressed and he
found that he needed less and less medication, and
that the pain occurred less frequently. He noticed
that he was sleeping better and had more energy.
He began to exercise with the confidence that he
could always go for a treatment if the pain flared up.

To his surprise, his body responded well and the pain
receded rapidly. After 10 treatments, the pain
disappeared without the aid of medication. His
treatment program was modified to once a month.

Mrs. A: Menstrual Pain

Mrs. A, a housewife in her 40s, said she had sever
menstrual pain. Her gynecologist suspected cancer of
the right ovary and advised surgery. She sought
Oriental medical help and was advised to seek a
second or third opinion from other gynecologists
while undergoing Oriental medical treatment.

In the first series of treatments Mrs. A was
encouraged to relax and talk about whatever issues
were on her mind. The result was that she
approached the new tests in a much better frame of
mind. The tests showed endometriosis (both ovaries
were very inflamed, the right more so than the left),
but that the growth on the right ovary was benign.

With the reassurance provided by the tests and
subsequent regular ultrasound scanning, the patient
undertook a series of Oriental medical treatments.
Within two months, the inflammation had
disappeared and menstrual pain became minimal.
Mr. K: Cancer

Mr. K was hospitalized in the last stages of cancer. A
relative undergoing Oriental medical treatment at the
time suggested acupuncture be performed. Other
relatives and his doctors agreed.

The treatments performed during Mr. K's hospital stay
resulted in positive changes in blood pressure, heart
rate, urinary output and a decreased need for
medication. As a result, Mr. K became more lucid and
felt better cared for.

His life was also extended.

Ms. T: Vegetarian

Ms. T, a 30-year-old freelance writer, was persuaded
by a combination of New Age magazines and
so-called diet experts to become a strict vegetarian,
eating only raw vegetables and no dairy products.
Unfortunately she was also very busy trying to meet
various deadlines and did not have the time to plan
nutritionally adequate meals; eating out was not an
option, due to her dietary restrictions.

From the time her dietary regime began, she had lost
15kg, stopped menstruating, began to look
emaciated and pale and was afflicted with constant
diarrhea. Despite these physical symptoms she said
that she had never felt better, and sought Oriental
medical treatment, because, she said, she heard that
it could "open up the chakras."

The practitioner, concerned for her unhealthy
condition, persuaded her that the chakras would
open up a little easier if she was in better physical
shape. Despite her reservations about not being able
to do some "chakra work" right away, she was
treated with acupuncture and moxibustion and given
a Chinese herb formula to supplement her diet.

After four months, she gained 5 kg, her period
returned and diarrhea had departed. Her weight gain
and improved complexion were due to a more
balanced vegetarian diet chosen under the guidance
of her practitioner. She still complained, however,
that after all this only one new chakra had opened up.

Mr. Q: Soccer

Mr. Q, a teacher in his late 30-s, loved to play soccer
but unfortunately was prone to injury. He absolutely
hated the idea of acupuncture and moxibustion but
decided to try it after his doctor, girlfriend, friends
and even strangers began begging him to give up
the sport.

When Mr. Q first began treatment, he had such a
backlog of injuries that it was difficult for him to state
which area of his body was in the most trouble.
However, after about six sessions nagging problems
began to clear up and he found he was moving
better. This had the unexpected effect of allowing him
to put more speed and power into injuring himself

After this setback, though, he began to be more
conscious of his body and was taught some
breathing and stretching exercises by his practitioner.
He now suffers fewer injuries and recovers better.
Mr. Q always goes in for a treatment before and after
a big game, but still says that he hates acupuncture.

Originally published in the Japan Times, Monday,
February 1st, 1999. Copyright by Edward Obaidey.
Copyright Edward Acupuncture Clinic 2006