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Reversing Hepatitis with Acupuncture
June 1, 2004


Conventional Western medicine says there is no cure or even a treatment for hepatitis C, probably the most dangerous of the five types of hepatitis, other than the use of drugs for the relief of individual symptoms. But the skillful use of acupuncture, Chinese herbs, enzymes, and nutritional supplements can actually reverse this life-threatening disease, as Patricia's case demonstrates.

SYMPTOMS OF A LIVER WILDLY OUT OF BALANCE. When she was 41, Patricia came for treatment with a clinical diagnosis of hepatitis C. She was suffering from a wide variety of symptoms, all related to her liver. Patricia had severe headaches, memory loss, neck pain that was worse with movement, shoulder tension, knee and hip pain, back pain, kidney pain, shortness of breath, and numbness in her arms, fingers, legs, and feet. In addition, her feet and hands were often swollen, she had chronic nausea, vomited frequently, and had alternating diarrhea and constipation plus bad breath, gas, belching, and hemorrhoids.

During menstruation, she had severe pain and cramping and her cycle was irregular. At night, Patricia slept poorly, endured alternating chills and sweating, and woke up feeling fatigued. She had rashes all over her body which caused considerable itching, her gums were infected, she had a constant low-grade fever, she coughed up phlegm, her sense of balance was poor, and she felt anxious most of the time and was subject to depression.

Patricia's liver was enlarged, tender to the touch, and generally in very bad shape. Her skin color was yellowish, a classic symptom of a jaundiced liver. She had a history of steady drinking, and while this did not in itself create her hepatitis, it contributed to her susceptibility. Another lifestyle factor that contributed to her liver disease was Patricia's terrible diet. By her admission, all she ate was highly processed, high-fat junk foods. As a result, she was about 110 pounds overweight.

Her condition was life-threatening. In many cases, hepatitis C is the precursor to serious liver disease such as cirrhosis and cancer. From the standpoint of Chinese medicine, Patricia had stagnated and congealed liver qi, or life-force energy, of this vital organ. The liver is the body's chief organ for detoxification, but as Patricia's liver was about 80% dysfunctional, all the toxins that it would normally screen out were instead pouring back into her system, generating her long list of symptoms.

Through poor diet and alcohol abuse, Patricia had a highly weakened system and a compromised liver, leaving her susceptible to the infection of heptatitis C.

RELIEVING HER CHRONIC PAIN. My first treatment goal was to free Patricia from her intense musculoskeletal pain. Many of the nerves in her back were pinched, including the sciatic nerve which runs from the lower back down the inside of both legs to the feet.

I used a process known in Chinese medicine as "cupping" to start releasing these pinched nerves. The vacuum suction from the glass cups placed at certain acupuncture points on Patricia's back began to release the nerve tension that caused her back pain. Following this, I applied acupuncture needles to other points on her back.

After three such treatments, Patricia had significant relief from her chronic pain and reported that all her back pain was gone. Then she injured her back when she fell on stage while approaching a piano to give a public concert. In her mother's opinion, Patricia fell because she was drunk. As is often the case with people who are dependent on alcohol, Patricia denied that drinking had led to her fall on stage. Either way, her back pain returned.

Patricia's mother was the one who insisted that Patricia receive acupuncture treatment for her hepatitis. Patricia's steady debilitation required that she live at her mother's house as a near invalid. Patricia was not able to perform everyday tasks; she was in a state of complete collapse, registering pain and discomfort from head to foot.

Patricia was taking numerous conventional drugs from morning until evening, each focused on only one symptom. Prior to seeing me, she had been going to the hospital emergency room almost regularly for flare-ups of intense pain; the doctors only sent her home with a new batch of painkillers, none of which provided permanent relief or directly addressed her hepatitis or diseased liver, the core of her problem.

In effect, her conventional doctors had told Patricia they could do nothing to help her other than to provide temporary symptom relief; she would have to wait and see what happened. One thing that can happen (and often does) from a liver that is this diseased and is treated only by conventional medicine is that the patient dies.

As a result of her fall, Patricia reinjured all the soft tissue in her lower back, so the next phase of treatment had to restore the pain relief we had initially gained. For the next seven treatments I concentrated on the use of acupuncture needles around the spine to free her once again from pain.

With Patricia's pain subsided, I next focused on detoxifying her system, starting with making major changes in her diet. I took her completely off her junk foods and all meats, both red and white, and had her consume only fresh vegetables (both raw and cooked) and fruits, and pure water. Patricia also began taking an herbal formula called Herbal Hepatox (2 tablets, 3X daily) to help detoxify the liver, and another herb called Trichosanthes (1 tsp in 8 oz of water, 3X daily) to deactivate the hepatitis virus.

Signs that Patricia's system was responding to the treatment and starting to clean itself out were soon apparent. Formerly she had a bowel movement only once every 3 days; now she was going once or twice every day. As far as I could tell, she refrained from consuming any alcohol from the time she began treatment with me. To help remove her body's alcohol cravings, I applied needles to acupuncture points on the ears which are well known to acupuncturists for providing relief from substance abuse withdrawal symptoms.

RESTORING THE WILL TO HEAL. As she felt fewer cravings for alcohol, Patricia began feeling more will power to continue with her new program. Part of this came from a therapeut-ically helpful pressure exerted by two members of her family: her mother, who was supporting and nursing her, and her five-year-old daughter, who was entirely dependent on her.

They both wanted her to survive and told her this every day. Initially, it seemed that Patricia mustered the will to heal on behalf of her daughter who desperately wanted to have a mother. Later, she wanted to survive for her own reasons.

Patricia continued with the diet, Herbal Hepatox, and Trichosanthes for another three weeks. She began to feel better, experiencing less sluggishness and more energy. She could feel the difference the treatments were making and this encouraged her.

Next I put her on Gypsum fibrosum (calcium sulfate) and Magnolia (1 tablespoon of each in 8 ounces of water, 3X daily) to "cool down" her liver and support its detoxification. I also gave Patricia a Chinese herb called Bupleurum (1 tablespoon in 8 ounces of water, 3X daily) to help disperse excess liver heat, to keep her liver from "exploding" with too much energy and heat. These herbs would work to gradually release and regulate the qi, or energy, of her liver.

At this point, we were almost four months into the treatment plan. During this time, Patricia remained on her conventional drugs primarily because to stop them suddenly while her liver was still so endangered could have sent her system into seizures. The most prudent approach was to gradually decrease their dosage at a rate her system could handle.

RELEASING PATRICIA'S SUPPRESSED EMOTIONS. In Chinese medicine, we regard emotions and physiology as the two sides of one hand. It was inevitable that once Patricia's liver improved, the repressed emotions it was "storing" would come to the surface and seek _expression.

Patricia began to have emotional releases in the form of constant arguments with her mother. Remember, when you are chronically depressed, you do not have the energy to feel anger or to express it. The fact that Patricia was now arguing with her mother was a positive sign. It indicated that her liver was beginning to release its suppressed emotional energy, or fire. She had more energy now and this energy was being used to vent old anger.

It also meant that we were getting to the fiery core of her liver problem, which was not a viral infection or toxicity from alcohol abuse alone. Rather, at the core was unexpressed anger over being abandoned by her husband. Patri-cia's husband had left her and her daughter years before, leaving her a single and struggling parent.

Over the years since this incident, Patricia had stored her emotions internally. It was like piling blankets on a fire: she ended up suppressing the flames, or in the language of Chinese medicine, stagnating her liver qi. Locking her emotions inside localized them in her liver which, traditionally, is regarded as the organ corresponding to the emotion of anger. Her lifestyle factors made her vulnerable to hepatitis, but if anything "caused" this illness, it was stuffing her emotions, leading her liver energy to congeal.

In light of this, I told Patricia's mother that her releasing of anger was normal and a sign of returning health and that she should try to put up with it. To help smooth Patricia's liver fire and calm her emotional reactions, I prescribed a daily vitamin B complex. Meanwhile, I gave her weekly acupuncture treatments. Patricia still wavered in her commitment to healing, but she had her mother strongly encouraging her and her daughter almost pleading with her to continue treatment.

Patricia showed other positive signs of getting better. By this time, she had lost 35 pounds on the special diet and her feet and hands were far less swollen as her body released the excess water. To gradually boost her energy levels, I started her on several Chinese formulas, including Jade Energy pills (2 tablets, 3X daily), Liver Qi Drops (to stimulate the life force energy in her liver: 5 drops, 3X daily), and Liver Formula (10 drops, 3X daily).

A COMPLETELY CHANGED WOMAN. In a case as serious as Patricia's in which the liver has been sick for a long time, the physician must allow the liver a fair amount of time to heal itself. My treatment plan was to keep Patricia on the herbs and diet for many months, and supplement them with regular acu-puncture sessions until all her systems had become healthy and in balance.

At the end of the third year of treatment, standard clinical tests used for liver evaluation revealed that the enzyme levels in Patricia's liver (a standard marker of liver function or imbalance) had returned almost to normal. This of course was additional proof that the combination of acupuncture and herbs had been successful in reversing her hepatitis.

At this point, Patricia's system was strong enough that it could handle supplemental minerals, vitamins, and digestive enzymes to start rebuilding her overall health. Had she taken these substances earlier, her liver, still weak and underfunctioning, would have been unable to assimilate them.

Four years after Patricia started acu-puncture treatment, I was able to introduce the last element necessary to restore her health. This was a homeopathic nosode for hepatitis to remove all subtle energy residues or taints of the hepatitis infection. Patricia took this in the form of ten drops per day for at least three months.

Today, Patricia is a completely changed woman. She has experienced major shifts in her self-identity and in the quality of her emotional life. She has lost 80 pounds, looks much better, and feels good about herself. Nearly all of her original presenting symptoms have disappeared. Now she looks forward to receiving treatment and has no trouble staying on the supplement program. She no longer needs her mother or daughter leaning over her shoulder to keep her healing.

Patricia acknowledges the value of Chinese medicine in restoring her health. "You're the one who saved my life," she told me recently. Given her grim condition four years ago, had Patricia continued with the limited symptomatic relief offered by conventional medicine, it is quite likely she would have died.

I want to emphasize that if you have this form of hepatitis or other serious liver condition, it doesn't automatically mean your life is over. Don't give up and wait to die. There are many ways alternative practitioners, including acupuncturists, can work successfully to restore your health



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