In this week's blog I wanted to share an interesting case that I
am currently treating in the veterans' clinic in Lombard. A Vietnam
veteran came into the clinic three weeks ago for acupuncture to
help with sarcoidosis. He is a 56-year-old black male who was
diagnosed sarcoidosis two years ago.
Sarcoidosis is a disease that results from a specific type of
inflammation of tissues of the body. It can appear in almost any
body organ, but it starts most often in the lungs or lymph nodes.
The cause of sarcoidosis is unknown. The disease can appear
suddenly and disappear, or it can develop gradually and go on to
produce symptoms that come and go, sometimes for a lifetime.
As sarcoidosis progresses, microscopic lumps of a specific form
of inflammation, called granulomas, appear in the affected tissues. In
the majority of cases, these granulomas clear up, either with or
without treatment. In the few cases where the granulomas do not
heal and disappear, the tissues tend to remain inflamed and become
scarred (fibrotic). (Mayo Clinic, 2012)
My patient has sarcoidosis in both eyes and has completely lost
vision in one. He has sarcoidosis in his spinal cord and lungs. As
a result, he is hemiplegic and has suffered many complications. The
patient feels that this is result of Agent Orange he inhaled when
he served in the Marine Corps during one of his tours in
My patient's symptoms are shortness of breath, fatigue, skin
rashes, poor vision, blindness, tinnitus, weight loss, depression,
and arthritis in the joints. He also has bowel issues and a Foley
catheter, and has a history of diabetes and high blood pressure
controlled by medication. He is currently taking over 20 different
medications prescribed by the VA hospital.
Acupuncture therapy for sarcoidosis is aimed at draining excess
and especially resolving phlegm accumulation. ST-40 (fenglong) is a
well-known example of a point used to transform phlegm-damp.
Acupuncture may be especially suited to addressing individual
constitutional patterns and symptomatic manifestation of the
disease (e.g., one might add GB-23,zhejin, in cases of sarcoidosis
yielding difficult breathing), while herbal therapies can be used
to address the more general characteristics of the disease.
In addition, I have been working with my patient on dietary
counseling and Tui Na for arms, hands and shoulders. After the
first treatment, my patient has shown improvement with his posture
range of motion, and says he feels better after each treatment.
Resource sites: Mayo Clinic 2012 and Subhuti Dharmananda,
PhD, director, Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland,
Oregon, May 2000.
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Acupuncture can be used as complementary treatment for stroke,
head injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder (PTSD). I am currently treating a 29-year-old
Marine veteran who suffered a stroke and a traumatic brain injury
While there is no definite evidence that acupuncture treatments
can cure severe brain injuries, studies and clinical experience
demonstrate that victims of brain injury and stroke have a higher
chance of recovery and rehabilitation if acupuncture treatment is used soon after the
My patient case is very complex and unique. His acupuncture
treatment focus is on his brain injury, stroke and PTSD. His main
objective is to bring back feeling and function to his body, help
with vision, speech impairments due to apraxia, spasticity
(uncontrolled movements) in both his hands, and regulate stress and
His TCM DX (diagnosis) is shen disturbance with trauma bi. His
treatment strategy is to calm the shen and relieve bi pain. I use
scalp acupuncture, but I also incorporate Tui Na (Chinese massage)
and Sotai. Sotai is a systematic form of exercise using active and
passive exercises. It is similar to kinesiology, but the key to
Sotai is correct breathing and a natural balancing of one's weight
while moving. Sotai treatments are often immediately effective in
reducing the effects of the stress on one's body.
he comes in for treatment he responds well overall. His wife has
seen the improvement in his conditions over the past 9 months at
our Lombard clinic.
His progress has been slow and steady, but significant. He also
receives chiropractic treatment, speech therapy, cold laser
therapy, massage, equestrian therapy, and intense physical therapy.
His motto continues to be Semper Fi!
It is an honor and a privilege to treat him. His dedication and
determination is inspiring to me and those around him.
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