Posts Tagged ‘dietary therapy’

From http://www.michaeljfox.org/newsEvents_mjffInTheNews_moreMJFFNews_article.cfm?ID=507&headertitle=MJFF

By Sara Castellanos, Aurora Sentinel

For those suffering from Parkinson’s disease, most are willing to take a stab at anything to ease the endless days of being tired.

No doubt, the tremors, stiffness and slowness are par for the course. But it’s the general sense of fatigue that’s particularly debilitating.

“People with Parkinson’s disease still have fatigue even when their sleep problems are treated,” said Dr. Benzi Kluger, assistant professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Colorado Hospital.

The enervation is so overwhelming, that Kluger himself decided to take a stab at a non-traditional approach to reducing exhaustion. He’s leading a research study to determine whether alternative Eastern medicine, specifically acupuncture, can help alleviate the symptoms of severe fatigue in Parkinson’s patients. He secured $350,000 last year from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research to fund the study, which commenced in November 2010. So far, about 20 Parkinson’s disease patients are participating in the study and Kluger hopes that number will increase to about 100 within two years.

In his study, Kluger is also trying to determine how much of acupuncture’s effects — if there are any — are due to the actual alternative medicine, and how much of its effects are due to placebo.

“It’s possible that both the acupuncture and placebo groups will show improvement,” he said. “Whether the acupuncture groups show greater improvement than the placebo groups is another question.”

For licensed acupuncturist Daisy Dong-Cedar, Kluger’s study is simply trying to prove what she already knows.

Dong-Cedar, who is the chief acupuncturist in the study, has been practicing the method for 26 years. She trained in China and joined the University of Colorado Hospital 10 years ago. In the past five years, the form of alternative medicine has grown more popular among doctors, she said.

“Physicians have started to integrate the medicine,” she said. “The public really demanded alternative medicine.” Acupuncture is covered for some conditions under certain insurance companies, but her clients usually pay out of pocket. The cost ranges from $25 to more than $100 per treatment, with the average treatment costing between $60 and $70 with a $100 initial consultation fee.

But the cost is often worth the results for people who are trying to quit smoking, trying to get pregnant, or trying to reduce pain in the lower back and neck, Dong-Cedar said.

“If you’re older and you have a lot of chronic conditions, the reaction to acupuncture is slower,” Dong-Cedar said. “If a person is young and healthy, and the condition is more acute, the result is much quicker, sometimes within one or two treatments.”

Kluger’s research is being conducted as a double-blind study. Also, the patients are blindfolded while they are receiving acupuncture treatment, and Kluger doesn’t know which patients are receiving acupuncture treatment and which patients are receiving placebo. Without divulging specifics about the study, Kluger said the acupuncturist places needles in acupuncture points on the patient’s face and back. For patients who are in the placebo group, the acupuncturist may place “fake” needles that don’t puncture the surface of the skin in spots that aren’t typical acupuncture spots.

Symptoms of severe fatigue are common in about half of the people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The neuro-degenerative disease affects between 1 percent and 2 percent of people over the age of 65 and is second only to Alzheimer’s in neuro-degenerative illnesses, Kluger said. Those diagnosed with the disease will lose neurons in specific parts of the brain, affecting muscle movement and control. About half of those diagnosed with the disease have sought alternative treatments including acupuncture to help with their symptoms, but until now, there weren’t many evidence-based studies to determine whether acupuncture is, in fact, effective.

“Patients, particularly for symptoms like fatigue and pain, are going to other sources and they’re going to acupuncturists, herbalists and nutritionists,” Kluger said. “Their physicians don’t really have any good information to tell them about it. So that was really one of the major impetuses for doing this study.”

If Kluger finds that acupuncture can be used as an alternative form of medicine to alleviate the symptoms of severe fatigue, which plague nearly 50 percent of those with Parkinson’s disease, insurance companies might be more apt to cover the treatment, he said.

If the study reveals the effects of acupuncture are due mostly to placebo, that could be a major breakthrough as well.

“Placebo is enormously powerful, and really gives us evidence that people have so much capacity to heal but don’t know how to tap into it,” Kluger said.

It may be too soon to tell, but Parkinson’s patient Howard Ewy said he is noticing some results.

“I think it has helped me in that I can walk further and faster and I need fewer naps,” said Denver resident Ewy, 81, and a retired Navy aviator. He was diagnosed with the disease last year and until he decided to participate in Kluger’s study, he had never received acupuncture treatment before this. Ewy said he decided to participate in the study because he’s interested in learning more about all types of therapies available to alleviate the symptoms of his disease, from Western medicine to Eastern medicine.


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Everyday, I answer many questions from visited patients or online inquiries, such as:

For some chronic or difficult-to-treat conditions, such Dystonia, or Parkinson Disease, or diabetes, or a mix of many conditions,

“How many sessions’ acupuncture could cure my condition?”

“How much percentage of cure rate of your treatment?”

“I have infertility, how many sessions’ acupuncture could help me get pregnant?”

And, “If you say you could cure it, I will see you.”

Actually, many conditions or illness,disorders are chronic conditions, many of them are difficult-to-treat also, and patients may use conventional medicine for years too.

Frankly, I say “we could not cure most of them”,  in 8 sessions, even in 16 sessions’acupuncture; Or in one month herbal tea treatment. Many of them need long-term management.

We do see some magic results in some cases; we did cure some patients in a very short-term treatments. In a few cases, we even cure the patients’ condition, which they had that for years, with only one or two sessions’ acupuncture or in one day’s herbal tea treatment!

We did see pregnant only after one acupuncture treatment in a few patients with infertility. We did stop the dystonia in one week.

However, for most of the cases, we could improve them; some patients also did get disappointed with our treatments, because their aims did not become the real in one or two month, or other short period of time.

We do tell patients who have difficult-to- treat illness or disorders, they will see some of improvements over the time, some illness or disorders could not be cured in 100% of patients:  some may get “cure”(this is clinically cure, not absolute cure as patient hoped, sometime may get relapse if patients get some trigger), some get improved, some get slight better(or other condition get better, for example, overall condition better), some no result, some worse (please note, the illness, or disorder will get worse under some conditions by itself, not related to acupuncture or Chinese herbs at all).

We could not imagine how many percentage of the patients get “cure”.  For example, we have over 40 patients get pregnant in recent 4 years. We may say about 40-50% of patients (if they had 2 month or more serious treatments) get pregnant!

However, this is a very rough answer. Why? the condition is very complicated.

In these patients who seek acupuncture/herbs for fertility, patients had different causes of infertility, such as FSH high, POCS, ovulation issue, progesterone issue, tube issue, husband sperm issue, etc; many patients had medications, some of them did acupuncture alone, some of them had Chinese herbs too; some of them followed regular treatment strategy, some of them didn’t follow our strategy very well(due to work, due to personal issue, due to something else–subjective or objective reasons); some of them had IVF, IUI etc(with acupuncture or herbs). We could not tell you very detail in a statistic work.

However, it does work!

For acupuncture and Chinese herbology, to many difficult-to-treat illness or disorders, it works! at least it improves patients’ condition in most of the cases.

Importantly, acupuncture basally has little adverse effect. Chinese herbology also has very less side effect if patients see a trained Chinese medicine doctor.

For most of patients with chronic or difficult-to-treat conditions, no.one thing is adjusting the aim based on understanding their own condition well, don’t see a Chinese medicine doctor – he or she promised you–you will get a cure in several treatments(except for some pain condition). Most of time, patients will need more longer treatments.

Be patient.

For the cost-effectiveness, don’t see a provider who promise you have a good result but you pay very little.Most of well-trained, experienced Chinese medicine doctors offer patients a reasonable, affordable fee schedule. For better result, don’t see a provider who had less training and over low fee.

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Spring will coming, this season is a growing time, easy to get pregnant. Acupuncture and Chinese herbology is one of natural therapies to help the infertility. This morning, one of my patients reported she got pregnant–we had 5 sessions acupuncture.

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Aupuncture helps infertility

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Interstitial Cystitis (IC) is very difficult to treat, and it induces pain and burning sensation, or very uncomfortable sensation when patient urinates.

The symptoms are less when patient gets rest and gets worse at evening or tired, so it is related to patient’s energy level.

We use acupuncture to adjust patients’ energy level, and at the same time, drain the bladder heat-damp to treat IC in recent years. The results are very good.

Patient J. B., is an active member in ICA, Interstitial Cystitis Association, who has had IC and/or PBS (painful bladder syndrome) for 5 years. The problem started after a horse ridding accident.  She had pain in the bladder area, and especially when urinating, the pain was difficult to deal with. She also had frequent urination and nocturia. The symptoms were on and off. Each time the pain lasts for at least 3 months. She has had many examinations and treatments, and the last diagnosis was IC.

In four sessions’ acupuncture treatments, Ms. J.B.’s burning pain in the bladder area has disappeared, and frequent urination and nocturia were almost gone. She is very happy, and recommended me to the president of ICA. Currently, she still comes to our clinic for tunning up treatments, the IC condition has been under the control.

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” I initially came to Dr.Fan for help with back pain. My L5 vertibrae is broken in two places and the disc is degenerating along with this, there is some arthritis there–I am 57 years old, so that’s not unexpected. Several months of acupuncture and herbal treatment have led me to be almost completely pain free.”

“While treating me for this, Dr. Fan also used acupuncture to treat my inhalant allergies and a long standing problem with fatigue–both of which have improved greatly.”

“At his repeated recommendation, I decided to try Tai Chi. I was absolutly stunned to find out how much energy I had from just doing a few basic moves.”

“After a lifetime of trying different exercise regimens, supplements, medications, and eating programs to overcome this fatigue problem of a lifetime. I just couldn’t believe what 5-10 minutes of Tai Chi did for me!!! I now have the most amazing amount of energy and I just generally feel better. I now do Tai Chi everyday–I wouldn’t miss it! Also, my back feels good. I was reluctant to try Tai Chi because I thought that moving around would mess up back and initially it did. But after a few weeks of doing it, I built up the core muscles enough to support the Tai Chi movements and now I find that it keeps back pain away!”

“Do Tai Chi!!!  Best advice I’ve ever been given!”

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Chinese medicine doctors and many acupuncturists focus on the patient’s constitution when they conduct a diagnosis, for example, taking pulse, looking the tongue, etc.

However, nowadays, patients may use a lot of medications, Vitamins or other supplements in their daily life.  So, the problems or illnesses / disorders that we face every day may no longer be from the original physical or mental problem alone, but may be caused, or at least affected, by the chemicals patient uses.  When we conduct the diagnosis procedure, we should remember to ask –”Is there anything you take for your health issue or just for daily wellness?”

Recently I met a patient who had an abnormal taste sensation for over 2 months.  I asked him many questions but there were no clues related to his condition.  The cranial nerves examination basically is fine, except the taste part.

At last I asked him, “Do you use any medications?”  He said, “No, I am basically very healthy, I also don’t like to take medications”. After a while, he added ” I did use one medication called OMEPRAZOLE CAPSULES, for about a half-year. I have stopped using that for over 20 days, even though my family doctor had asked me use it for one year to help a gastric ulcer.”  This patient already saw two conventional medical doctors and they could not figure out why he had abnormal taste sensation.

The problem is OMEPRAZOLE could induce abnormal taste sensation. I really don’t know if this abnormal taste sensation is recoverable or not at this moment. Since the patient’s tongue had a red-color and with yellow coating, I gave him some herbal tea which is clearing the “gastric heat”.

Another patient had strong case of morning sickness. Her symptoms stopped when she stopped using a special brand of Vitamin Compounds for early stage of pregnancy. So, sometime Vitamins may also causes such problems.

I also aware of other patients also have some interesting sign changes when they use some medications. For example, when using progesterone, the patient’s pulse is a little bit slippery and patient may feel much warm / hot than before , and it is easy to get a yeast infection (if using progesterone vaginal cream).  If using prednisone/cortisone the patient may also show some extent of heat or damp-heat syndromes.

If using anti-hypertension medications, the patient may also have some changes depending on which type of medication patient uses. For example, if the medication acts on dialect the arteries, patient’s pulse may become larger and soft-slippery, instead of string and slippery. Some patients using certain brand of anti-hypertension drugs may look pale, other may look red (basically feel tired than before), depending on drugs’ action.

Many medications could change patient’s vital signs of pulse, tongue, etc. may also cause some symptoms or induce disorders.  So, many conditions, we treat every day, also may be related to the side/adverse effect of medications, etc.

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Dr. Fan was a neurologist for 10 years, an internist for 16 years in Nanjing, China before he moved to Washington DC area. He had treated over 240 Tourette’s syndrome (tics) patients in China, mainly using Chinese herbology, i.e. individualized herbal tea, or prepared herbal pills/extracts.  Most of Tourette’s syndrome patients were Children. One of his formulas is registered in the China FDA Jiangsu Provincial branch as an herbal medicine (hospital use) for Tourette’s syndrome.

In the USA, because his special background in both Chinese Medicine and Neurology, some Tourette’s syndrome patients also come to see him. Using acupuncture, mainly scalp acupuncture, sometime combining herbal medicine, he has treated over 20 patients, most of them are adults. Most of patients feel very good, at least such a CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) modality help them minimizing the tics and also diminishing the anxiety, most important, almost no adverse effect.

Dr. Fan has been invited by a local Chinese medicine association, called Association of Chinese Medicine Doctors from China Mainland in the Greater Washington DC, to discuss the treatments and efficacy in Tourette’s syndrome on April 11, 2010 in Rockville, Maryland.

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If you are interested in reading more online about dystonia etiology, clinical features and treatments, there is a book here: http://books.google.com/books?id=bMKypn_B0tIC&pg=PA188&lpg=PA188&dq=dystonia+acupuncture&source=bl&ots=NQGwLxPXyM&sig=2r0ctp6cWWbcZgU-8TgQ6UnP0EQ&hl=en&ei=kiYDS8i8BNXVlAeendnuAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CB8Q6AEwCTgy#v=onepage&q=dystonia%20acupuncture&f=false

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One herbal medicine (capsule) for dystonia(generalized dystonia, cervical dystonia/Spasmodic Torticollis, Meige’s syndrome, etc)  and related neurological conditions, has been approved by China Local FDA agency. It is priced at $50 per bottle (100 capsule). The dosage is 3 capsules each time, 3 times a day (a total of 9 capsules a day). Three bottles will last for a month, which makes the monthly total $150. 

For individualized herbal “tea”(decoction) based on Pattern Differentiation Technique (the information of tongue and pulse diagnosis, as well as bowl movement, etc will be used) the cost is $85 per week.  One treatment course is four weeks ($340; includes evaluation and prescription costs).

Basically, $490 is the price for one treatment course.

How long until the patient sees improvement?

Generally 2 weeks are need– around 80% patients see improvement by then.

If your cannot come, we can consider mailing the herbs to you. You can pay related mailing fee (depending on your mail handler) and handling fee($10).

We waive the cost $150 for evaluation, we help you to save some money.

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 Regarding to Long Distance Dystonia Issue Consultation

Acupuncture; Chinese herbal tea (individualized herbal decoction, capsule, etc)

TCM evaluation:Pattern differentiation

[Patient e-mail] 

Dear Dr. Fan

I saw on your website that you work on neurological disorders and chronic pain like dystonia.

My brother lives in S.D.. He has been suffering from Spasmodic Torticollis (ST) or Cervical Dystonia for the last 2 years. He has been to an acupuncturist and has gone through a lot of different treatments. None of them have helped.

As your website says, it is important to go to a very specialized person who knows acupuncture as well as neurology. We will appreciate it if you can identify and recommend such a person in S. D. so my brother can get treated.

 I appreciate your help in this regard.

 With regards,

A. D.

Details of his condition:  He was diagnosed with Spasmodic Torticollis in August 2007; He has done physical therapy and taken Botox injections in the past but they do not seem to work.

His current symtoms are:

(1) Pain in neck and shoulder; (2) Tightness/spasm in muscles; (3) Rotation/tilting of head; (4) Restricted movement of neck.

[Dr.Fan’s Reply e-mail]:

Subject:  Chinese Herbs for ST,  Treatment of Spasmodic Torticollis / Cervical Dystonia

Dear Mr.  A,

I do not know any acupuncturist very well in your area, who knows dystonia and had Chinese medicine training in that sope. You could let your brother to see a Chinese medicine doctor (CMD) /acupuncturist and collect basic information, such as tongue, pulse diagosis, etc.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM), the herbology is the main therapy and acupuncture and others are adjuvant to that. However, in US and most of western countries, acupuncture seems the first choice in TCM, due to it is easy to understand.  Herbology needs more trainning.

Individulized herbal tea, which containe 10 or more herbs and patient drinks the decoction(juice, after cooking), is the main part in Chinese herbology, the capsule, pills, tablets, etc are next it. But doing this needs more patient’s information, such as pulse, tongue and appetite, bowl movement, etc.

 He may see the effects in two weeks, basically, the spasm less.

 Arthur Yin Fan, PhD,CMD,LAc

[Patient e-mail in black color, Dr.Fan’s reply in red color]:

Dear Dr. Fan,

My brother is considering starting your treatment. He has a few questions about the information you asked for:

(1) For pulse, I guess it is easy: give you the pulses per minute(Dr.Fan replies: not so easy as you thought, please see a CMD or an acupuncturist who know how to take pulse.)

(2) For tongue: what specific information should he send(pls see a CMD or an acupuncturist who know how to see the tongue information.)

(3) For appetite: should he say whether he has large, normal or low appetite. Please let us know if you are looking for something else.(yes, how about the stomach condition?)

(4) For bowel movement: Do you want to know if he has constipation and the number of times he passes stool? (loss or constipated?) 

Also, he just started taking some Indian herbs a few weeks ago(Effective or not?). Please let me know if your treatment will be affected by any other herbs he is taking.

Thank you very much.

With regards,


[Patient e-mail]:

Dear Dr. Fan,

 My brother saw an acupuncturist and got the following information:


Regarding Tongue and pulse…. 

Mr. PD has come to my office regarding his chronic neck pain and spasms. Today he arrived after having taken 5 mg. valium one hour before my examination of his pulse and tongue. 

His pulse rate was normal at the  time. There was a sense of excess, slightly bounding quality to the heart position in the upper jiao on the left wrist and a slight superficial, thin quality to the triple heater position on the right wrist. The kidney position was deep and deficient on the left wrist. His tongue was notably red and without coat on the anterior one third with a thin, white coat down the center and throughout the back area. The tongue body was normal in size but pointed on the tip. All signs indicated heat in the upper jiao. His poor sleep and worry also indicate heat in the heart/heart Yin deficiency. 

Appetite: Normal, stomach condition: normal 

Bowel Movement: Mostly regular once per day in the morning. Stool not very soft not very hard.


He would like to start your treatment as soon as possible. You had indicated the costs earlier for herbs and special tea.  

With regards,


[Patient e-mail in black color, Dr.Fan’s reply in red color]:

Dear Dr. Fan,

Thank you for the clarification. My brother wants to do the more effective individualized tea you mentioned. 

You had mentioned that with the individualized tea and capsules he should see effects in 2 weeks, like the reduction in spasms from ST.  We are hoping that this will happen, and so are keen to get your individualized medicine for better impact.  The reason we searched for you and contacted you is because you were the only Chinese medicine doctor who mentioned Spasmodic Torticollis specifically and you mentioned success in treating the condition. We trust that your “decoction” will help my brother. [I am the right person who had training in both TCM and neurology, esp. treated many patients like your brother.   I sincerely hope the treatment will work well.  But for some patients, it may take time.  I only could say, our treatment might be better than others, esp. for those have no experience.  The effectiveness depends on many conditions, not everyone have same effectiveness–someone may have no effectiveness at all, esp.those have a try for one or two weeks–we need work hard to see the effects.] 

Also, I want to mention and get your comments about: 

(1) My brother may have to take Botox because he is obligated to consult a western medicine doctor and follow his advise. He will try to avoid Botox but cannot refuse treatment if the doctor insists. Is that OK and will it interfere with your treatment.[he could continue to use Botox, but he may reduce it if he see our treatment results–at least, herbal tea,or capsule/pills have no conflict to Botox: herbal tea and capsule work internally, adjusting our central nervous system, Botox only works on local muscle, which cause muscle slight paralysis, no longer spam during 3-4 months]

(2) As I mentioned earlier, he is taking some Indian herbs. He is seeing some positive effects of that and he wants to continue that along with your treatment. Will that be OK in your opinion? [I don’t know if it is ok or not. I have no information and training in india herbology]

(3) Please send detailed instructions about how to take your medicine. [Yes,you could see the instruction in our blogs, in Chinese Medicine ABC part]

(a) Directions for cooking herbs/tea [ see above comment]

(b) Time of the day for having the capsule and the tea [morning and afternoon, 2-3 times, after meal or with a little bit food]

(c) Should they be had before or after food

(d) Should the capsule and the tea be had together [no matter when, we evaluate the result after a while]

(e) Any restrictions on diet when under your treatment, any food to avoid etc

(f) Any other instructions you want to send

[no spicy food, avoid any food affected his stomach or intestine; avoid too much stress, keep a regular sleeping schedule]

[If have gas in stomach, add 2 pieces of fresh Ginger with the herbs during cooking.]

With regards,


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This Testimony was provided by Patient Y. Q. M., Rockville, MD

Brain Injury

Almost two years ago, I tripped and hit my head while running. This resulted in a brain injury. The doctors & neurologists took many tests on my brain, but could not determine how to treat my constant pain, dizziness, & disorientation. My life changed & I was not able to think clearly, work, cook, drive or carry on daily activities & hobbies as my once busy life demanded. Worst of all, my brain could not function. It was as if information received from my senses of seeing, hearing, etc., would overload my brain, cause excruciating pain & force me to pass out for several hours, almost daily. After six months of doctor visits, tests, and no help, my neurologist recommended Dr. Arthur Yin Fan. He indicated that Dr. Fan had successfully treated patients with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) & acupuncture when western medicine failed.

Dr. Arthur Yin Fan

My husband & I found Dr. Fan to be patient, understanding, kind & knowledgeable. He has a background in Eastern & Western medicine. He was recognized in China for his success in treating patients with difficult neurological problems. He was given government funding to establish a medical center so that he could teach other doctors his methods in treating patients. He also worked two years in a brain hospital & is familiar with many types of brain injuries that brain scans, MRIs, & other tests cannot detect. Dr. Fan met with me, reviewed the tests & immediately knew how to treat me.

Treatment: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) & Acupuncture

We began a program of TCM & acupuncture. Dr. Fan is an expert in the medicinal effects of Chinese herbs & foods. In addition to daily drinking the medicinal herbal tea he prepared for me, he also recommended eating certain foods & avoiding others. I followed all of his advice. After several weeks the pain lessened. As more time passed, I was able to think clearer. My speech was not as affected & now I can speak normally. I could walk in a straight line. The dizziness & disorientation lessened. As more time passed, I could read & spend short periods of time on the telephone & computer. I can now also listen to music without it causing pain. Initially, I was passing out for several hours almost daily. Now, this rarely happens.

I still have symptoms of the brain injury, but all to a much lesser degree. In order to understand & better treat me, Dr. Fan recommended that I maintain a daily log of my brain’s condition. Each day pain is given a value of zero to ten. Zero being no pain; ten being the worst pain I have experienced. I also record the duration of the pain. At the end of each day, the pain value was multiplied by the hours of duration. The result is a pain index. At the end of each week, the seven pain indexes are totaled. I share this with Dr. Fan & he adjusts my Chinese medicine accordingly. My husband put my log in an excel spread sheet that is below (the headache index has been decreased from about 400 to lower than 150). This shows how my pain levels have lessened overtime. I look forward to a full recovery. [Dr.Fan’s notes on Oct.4, 2006: currently patien’s headache index is about 17 per week, that means patient almost has no headache, according to her latest visit and e-mail].


I also had other health problems that were minor in comparison to my brain injury & discussed these with Dr. Fan. I have suffered with asthma since childhood. Each summer I used daily steroid inhalers to try to prevent or treat the asthma attacks. Without the inhalers, asthma attacks were a daily occurrence. Dr. Fan adjusted my Chinese herbal medicine & I have not had an asthma attack since that. I feel as if I have a new life without asthma. Steroid medications can have long-term negative impact on the body & reduce a person’s immune functions. Ridding me of asthma & the inhalers has multiple positive benefits for my health.

Carpal Tunnel

I also suffered from the early stages of carpal tunnel syndrome. Every hand movement was painful. I was tested by a specialist & the doctor indicated that there was no cure for carpel tunnel other than surgery. Yet, he could not guarantee that surgery would stop the pain & return mobility to my hands. He recommended that I try to wear wrist & hand braces to prevent further damage. Since I was already undergoing acupuncture treatments with Dr. Fan, I asked him if this could help relieve the pain. He treated my wrists & in three sessions, my wrists were free of pain & my mobility was restored.

Polymorphous Lighteruptus

Long before my brain injury, doctors at George Washington University Hospital tested & diagnosed me as having polymorphous lighteruptus, a condition that causes a severe, itchy rash whenever I am exposed to direct or indirect sunlight. I saw many doctors over the years, hoping that a cure was discovered, but I was always told the same thing. There is no cure for polymorphous lighteruptus. They advised me to stay indoors as much as possible & avoid the sun. For years I?ve been living in shadows, under umbrellas, & always wearing long sleeves & pants when venturing out. Sun blocks have no effect. Dr. Fan recently began treating me for this condition. He successfully addressed my other health problems & I look forward to someday being free to enjoy outdoor activities.

Treating the Entire Person

In addition to TCM & acupuncture, Dr. Fan recognized that I needed to address my brain injury in other ways in order to recover. One way was to calm down my personality. Having a Type A personality, I at first had a difficult time doing this. I was always active, restless, impatient, wanting to do more with less time & always living a stressed life. Dr. Fan indicated that I have a choice on how I respond to every day life. I now consciously choose to respond to life?s challenges in a calmer way. Thus, I have learned to calm down my personality. Dr. Fan encouraged me to also try Chi Kung & Tai Chi. Both of these gentle, meditative, energy-building martial arts helped to calm my brain & personality. This has had a tremendous effect on my life. Small things no longer bother me & I am much happier. I am grateful to Dr. Fan for advising me in this way.

Recommended by Other Physicians

My primary care physician is an excellent western doctor. She is so impressed with my health improvements for conditions that were seemingly not curable, that she inquired if she could recommend other patients to Dr. Fan. I also learned that other doctors who cannot help their patients send them to Dr. Fan as well.

My husband & I agree that we are most fortunate to have Dr. Fan as our physician.

Rockville, MD

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The criteria of top acupuncturist or best Chinese medicine practitioner may be very different from different perspectives.

Some years ago, “Washingtonian” Magazine published 100 “Top Acupuncturists”  in the Greater Washington DC area each year.  However, many people did not agree with its criteria.  After  it  stopped to publish such “Top Acupuncturists” names, it suggests patients to search NCCAOM website (the national board for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, www.nccaom.org) to see a qualified acupuncturist.

Some organizations may suggest the medical doctors (MD), Chiropractors(DC), or orthopedics (DO) who also learns acupuncture courses (200-300 hours or so) as the “Top acupuncturists” or the best Chinese medicine practioners.  In a few states of United States, the law made by MDs even requires patients to see MDs, DCs, DOs. “acupuncturists”.   If an acupuncturist has not with MD or DC, DO license, he or she will be illegal when he/she helps a patient.

Some patients may more concern about providers’ professional background, such as whether the provider had enough training in acupuncture or Chinese medicine, and whether the provider has experience in the field of patient’s condition, such as OB/GYN illness or disorder; However, some others may concern more about the affordable issue, it is not uncommon–some patients assume all acupuncturists or Chinese medicine practitioners had same quality in their training as long as they have license, and the patients may prefer to go the provider who charge patients less. Yesterday,  a friend told me her aunt had seen an acupuncturist 20 miles away, instead of saw a very good acupuncturist nearby, the only reason is this acupuncturist fee is slight higher than that very far away. From this patient’s perspective, the criteria for good acupuncture or Chinese medicine provider should include in considering the patient’ affordable issue first (sometime, some patients may have a habit to negotiate with the provider, no matter the price is reasonable or not).

Of course, the expensive practitioners don’t always belong to the top or the best. We do see some acupuncturists with less training or less experience charge patients much. The reason patients like to pay and feel they are good/best may be related to such providers have a good clinic environment or a good patient-relationship.

And, some practitioners’s offices are in high-end building in city downtown, they do charge patient much, but they are- not necessarily-the best or the top doctors.

However, acupuncture or Chinese medicine is a healthcare profession.

From the view of professional, acupuncture is one of specialties in Chinese medicine, which is totally different from the conventional medicine (i.e. MDs, etc.).  It means, a MD, DC or DO may be a “Top specialist” in their own medical scope, if they haven’t enough training in Chinese medicine, they actually could not practice or give patient any advice in such field.  It is very often to hear from a  patient, who was told by their MDs, DCs, DOs the advises or comments in Acupuncture / Chinese medicine, “do” or “not do” such, such…… actually it is improper.

Passing NCCAOM examination and getting a certificate is one of basic requirements for practicing acupuncture / Chinese medicine, actually it is not the only criteria for best or top acupuncturist or Chinese medicine practioner.

The “Top Acupuncturists” or the “Best Chinese Medicine Practitioners” (Oriental Medicine Doctors- OMDs, Chinese Medicine Doctors- CMDs, etc) should have:

(1) Best education in acupuncture/Chinese Medicine: 3 years training in acupuncture (1400 to 1800 hours) is acceptable, but if the practitioner had 4,000 to 5,000 hours college/University training (such as in China), even better. Such providers may have master or doctor degree in Chinese Medicine / Acupuncture.

(2) Have post- college training and extensive clinical experience, such as internship, residency (in Chinese medicine hospital), etc.  And, every sub-specially, if the doctor/practitioner also had apprenticeship with a famous Chinese medicine doctor, it will be a very good additional training.

(3) If possible. the provider has some specialty training, esp.hospital experience, such as Chinese Internal medicine, Chinese pediatrics, Chinese OB/GYN, Chinese dermatology, Chinese neurology, Chinese ENT, Chinese Ophthalmology, acupuncture (it is a specialty, also be used in other specialty as a therapy), etc.

(4) If the practitioner also had training in conventional medicine, even better. Because such practitioners  understand how to bridge the Chinese medicine with western conventional medicine, help patients much broader and deeper.

(5) Treating patient likes brother and sister. Nice to patient and have a good communicating skill.

This is from patients’ interest.

By Dr. Arthur Yin Fan, CMD, PhD, LAc.

If you want to read more or schedule an appointment with Dr. Fan online, you could visit the home page of www.ChineseMedicineDoctor.us.

McLean Center for complementary and Alternative Medicine, PLC

8214A Old Courthouse Road, Vienna, VA 22182.


For best or top acupuncturists or Chinese medicine doctors in Washington DC, or Northern Virginia, you could read the info in the link below.


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