Monday, November 5, 2007


Chronic: A pathologic term for a thick walled, fibrotic, contracted gallbladder clinically, it is used to describe chronic gallbladder disease characterized by symptoms that include recurrent biliary colic.

Acute: Acute inflammation of the gallbladder wall, usually as a response to cystic duct obstruction by a gallstone.

This condition is characterized by severe pain that becomes localized in the upper right quadrant, radiating to right lower scapula. Nausea &vomiting are common. Murphy's sign is found. Cholecystitis responds well to herbal treatment given time, which the patient may not allow it because of the extreme pain. Diet is pivotal as any fats will precipitate the pain.

Allopathic medicine tends to downplay the role of the gall bladder and of bile in digestion. That may be why the gall bladder is so often surgically removed when gallstones are present, and it is said that such people lead perfectly normal lives thereafter. Even though the absence of the gallbladder is tolerable, the presence of a healthy gallbladder helps ensure digestive effectiveness which directly decreases the chances of arteriosclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and so forth.

The Basic Principles of Chinese Traditional Medicine

The theory of yin and yang is a kind of world outlook. It holds that all things have two opposite aspects, yin and yang, which are both opposite and at the same time interdependent. This is a universal law of the material world. These two aspects are in opposition to each other but because one end of the spectrum cannot exist without the other they are interdependent.

The ancient Chinese used water and fire to symbolize yin and yang; anything moving, hot, bright and hyperactive is yang, and anything quiescent, cold, dim and hypoactive is yin.

The yin and yang properties of things are not absolute but relative. As an object or person changes so the yin and yang components change at a gradual rate. Each of the yin and yang properties of the object is a condition for the existence of the other; neither can exist in isolation.

These two opposites are not stationary but in constant motion. If we imagine the circadian rhythm, night is yin and day is yang; as night (yin) fades it becomes day (yang), and as yang fades it becomes yin. Yin and yang are therefore changing into each other as well as balancing each other.

The Application of Yin and Yang to Chinese Medicine
Each organ has an element of yin and yang within it. The histological structures and nutrients are yin, and the functional activities are yang. Some organs are predominantly yang in their functions, such as the gan-liver, while others are predominantly yin, such as the shen-kidney. Even though one organ may be predominantly yin (or yang) in nature, the balance of yin and yang is maintained in the whole healthy body because the sum total of the yin and yang will be in a fluctuating balance.

If a condition of prolonged excess or deficiency of either yin or yang occurs then disease results. In an excess of yin the yang qi would be damaged, and a disease of cold of shi nature would develop. Excess of yang will consume yin and a disease of heat of shi nature would develop. In a deficiency of yin, diseases of heat of xu nature develop, while a deficiency of yang causes diseases of cold of xu nature.

Chronotherapy: For Some Treatments, It's About Time

Many of our body's internal processes are cyclical. There are daily patterns, like waking and sleeping, monthly patterns, like a woman's menstrual cycle, and even seasonal patterns, like those that cause seasonal-affective disorder (SAD) during the winter months. But doctors are only recently beginning to understand these rhythms' impact on other conditions well enough to more effectively treat their patients.

The idea that medical treatments can be improved based on when they are given to a patient is called chronotherapy. And by making use of this good timing, doctors are finding that they are more effectively treating a wide-range of diseases such as asthma, arthritis and cancer, all while reducing side effects.

"Chronomedicine can help you cope better with short-lasting illnesses such as colds and flu, episodic ones such as headaches and back pain and persistent ailments such as arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer and more," says Dr. Michael Smolensky, co-author of the book The Body Clock Guide to Better Health.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture was developed by the Chinese and has been in use for more than 3000 years. The practice is part of a larger integrated system, the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) system. Simply put, acupuncture is performed by stimulating designated points on the body—through the insertion of needles, finger pressure, the application of heat, or a combination of all these treatments.

Acupunture: Gaining Acceptance

It is quite common these days to hear about people turning to acupuncture as a last resort for relief from chronic health problems. The popularity of alternative therapies such as acupuncture is variable among developed countries, but public demand is strong and growing. In recent surveys published in the Journal of American Medical Association (1998), the percentage of the public reporting use of at least one alternative therapy in the U.S. increased from 38 % in 1990 to 42 % in 1997. Estimates available from Europe show the corresponding percentage to be much higher, particularly for acupuncture and homeopathy (British Medical Journal, 1994). A few years ago, the Food and Drug Administration estimated that 9 to 12 million acupuncture treatments were being performed annually, and this estimate is surely much higher now.

Kicking Complementary Medicine Out of the Closet

These days, telling a coworker or friend that you're off to your acupuncture appointment is unlikely to generate a suspicious look. In 1998, a survey published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 42 percent of the population was using some sort of alternative and complementary medicine, and it's probable that these therapies are even more popular today.

Despite the widespread use of non-traditional therapies such as acupuncture, herbal remedies, prayer, guided imagery and magnet therapy, few people are sharing their use of these therapies with their conventional healthcare providers. Patients tend not to volunteer the information, and doctors don't ask. This lapse in communication may not only prevent patients from getting the best care possible though the integration of different approaches, it can sometimes threaten a patient's health.

Adam Perlman, MD, MPH, is the medical director for the Siegler Center for Integrative Medicine at the St. Barnabas Ambulatory Care Center in Livingston, New Jersey and executive director for the Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Below, Dr. Perlman discusses why doctors and patients need to have an open dialogue about complementary medicineŇ°and offers ways to bridge the communication gap.