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Michelle Gellis Thumb

AAC – Treating Cosmetic and Neuromuscular Facial Conditions with Facial Motor Points

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Hi, everyone. Welcome this afternoon. I want to thank the American Acupuncture Council for this opportunity to present on treating the face with facial motor points, and I appreciate everyone coming out in the middle of their afternoon or evening or early morning, depending on where you are. If we can go to the slides, little bit about myself, my name’s Michelle Gellis, and I teach cosmetic and neuromuscular facial classes, facial acupuncture classes, internationally. This is a picture of me teaching a class about a year ago in Maryland. What I wanted to talk about today were a couple of things that work with both cosmetic and neuromuscular facial conditions, but before I did that, I did want to talk a little bit about facial acupuncture in general.

When we use the term facial acupuncture, we are talking about a very large topic, so it encompasses anything having to do with a person’s appearance and/or a function of their face so things like wrinkles and sagging skin, and also neuromuscular facial conditions like Bell’s palsy, TMJ, trigeminal neuralgia, stroke, ptosis, and many other facial conditions. Facial acupuncture is actually the largest growing subspecialty in acupuncture right now and so getting trained is something I’m going to talk about in a moment, but it is very important if you are going to specialize.

Facial hair acupuncture can include everything from just needling to using facial cups, gua sha, or doing microneedling on the face, and facial acupuncture is not some new and trendy thing that the Kardashians are doing on social media. Yes, they are and it is really something that has been around a very long time. When they found the emperor and the empresses in their tombs, they had jade gua sha tools and there are records dating back to the Sung Dynasty and even before that of people talking about facial acupuncture throughout history. I have written two publications for the Journal of Chinese Medicine. I’ve written many publications, but to specifically of interest, one is on treating neuromuscular facial conditions with more of a multifaceted approach.

Today we’re going to be speaking about facial motor points, and this is part of a multifaceted approach to treating the face. I’m a classically trained 5-element acupuncturist. I have been teaching at the Maryland University of Integrative Health, formerly the Tai Sophia Institute since 2003, and my second publication was on the importance of clearing energetic blocks prior to doing any facial acupuncture, and links to both of these can be found on my website facialacupunctureclasses.com. As I mentioned, there have been quite a few studies on facial acupuncture. I’ve listed a few here, and some of them are pertaining to the cosmetic effects and some of these are pertaining to more of the functionality of the face.

These slides will be available on the AAC site and when I teach my classes, I go over these in a little more detail, but I just wanted to let you see that there actually has been researched done on facial acupuncture. When you’re thinking about your practice and how facial acupuncture can fit in, if you’re just looking at the cosmetic aspects, it’s great because you’re not dealing with insurance. It’s a very reliable stream of cash income. Again, you’re not dealing with insurance. You don’t have to bill the insurance companies, and one thing that we’ve learned during this pandemic is just how much people depend on having other people take care of them for their appearance, and people will spend money on vanity before they will spend money on their health.

If you think about some of the signs, the protest signs for things to open up, they were, “I want to get my haircut. I want to get my nails done.” No one was saying, “I want to go see my doctor or my dentist.” People do spend money on vanity and also, if you learn the neuromuscular foundations of a lot of this, it can open your scope of practice. You can see patients or patients will seek you out because you have this subspecialty or someone who will be known for being able to work on the face. A lot of us, we go to acupuncture school where we don’t spend a lot of time needling the face. We’re not comfortable with it. We didn’t really focus on learning those points.

It opened your scope of practice, will give you a very unique skillset. These are some pictures of me doing some microneedling in a class and some facial gua sha. That’s the benefits for you, for your patients done correctly. A facial acupuncture treatment should include body points and should bring chi and blood to the face, to the muscles, to the skin. Facial acupuncture because it is a full body treatment helps with digestion, immunity, circulation, and all of these things. Everything shows up right here, and it will carry nutrients to your cells and by doing that, it helps to stimulate collagen and elastin production.

Also if you’re using intradermal needles, which are very small needles which require some specialized training to be very effective, it will actually stimulate collagen and elastin production. Again, for your patients, if your patients is having any sort of… This patient of mine had ptosis where one eyelid was lower than the other. You could see her eyelid on our right, but her left was lower than her other eyelid, and she was getting married. She was very self-conscious about it and through treatment, I was able to get the levator muscle to function better and help so that her eyelids were even. On a more cosmetic level, people that have rosacea, facial acupuncture treats the hormones.

We do hormonal points if that’s an issue, and it can help with different skin conditions. This was a student of mine in one of my classes and just during the course of class, I worked on one side of her face and she had a rosacea, and you can see how the rosacea cleared after I had done the facial cupping. People asked me all the time, does facial acupuncture work, and these are just a few of my before and after photos. This person up in the center and the top, she had a scar right in her nasolabial fold and through treatment, the scar softened and ultimately, dissipated.

This person down here in the center, had some dark spots and again, through treatment and some intradermal needles through microneedling and I also work a bit in my classes with skincare, with skincare, I was able to really help her to get some of those dark spots to disappear. This other patient here had a tremendous amount of modeling in her chin, a lot of wrinkling and the corners of her mouth were very much turned down. As you can see in the bottom picture here on her left on our right, that the corners of her mouth, instead of being turned down, they were starting to lift up. With her, I definitely used some motor points, which is the topic of today’s conversation.

Again, another patient. This was actually someone who’d been coming to me for years with wrist pain, elbow pain, shoulder pain on and off. She saw that I specialize in cosmetic acupuncture and she was concerned because she was having some asymmetry where her one brow and lid was coming down a little more than the other. I said, “Just get on the table,” and I treated the left side, and the difference was remarkable just from one treatment. Again, I used motor points in that treatment. Getting trained is important. The American Acupuncture Council does require that if you are doing cosmetic acupuncture, that you get trained by one of their certified providers, and I am one of the few people on their list of people who do training.

The reason for that is because there is special documentation, there are precautions, there are red flags and you really need to prescreen your patients for different contraindications. If someone hasn’t been screened properly and you are doing cosmetic acupuncture, you can bring on things like headaches. If they are prone to high blood pressure, it can raise their blood pressure, and many other things. The other part about training is, as you can see, there are 43 muscles in the face. Many of them are very small and when you’re working with the musculature of the face, you really need to know what you’re doing so that you don’t cause asymmetry, overstimulate a muscle or the nerves and the blood vessels, the capillaries on the face.

Some of them are very close to the surface, and really knowing where they are and how to prevent bruising is important. I’ve made a list of some of the neuromuscular facial conditions that I see most often in my practice. When someone within a 20- to 30-mile radius of where I live is looking up acupuncture for one of these conditions, I’m going to come up because this is something I specialize in. Again, specializing in facial acupuncture can be very beneficial for your practice and when I’m treating any of these conditions, of course, I will treat the underlying condition and I do use a multifaceted approach. Meaning, I use some submuscular needling and facial cupping, some gua sha, some scalp acupuncture, but motor points are a big part of treating neuromuscular facial conditions.

Also when we’re working strictly with cosmetic conditions, if you think about our emotions and how they manifest on the face, really understanding each one of the emotions, either from a 5-element perspective or just from a TCM perspective, how these organs being out of balance, what kind of wrinkles that might cause on the face. Using some of the motor points to really as reset switches, and we’ll talk about that in a second, can really help with things like hooded eyelids, the frown lines, crow’s feet and Bell’s palsy. I found these pictures in a book for artists or sculptors. They are artists, but I love them because they show a face at rest and then four different emotions, which of the facial muscles are used.

As we age, these muscles become not as functional as when we get older. Now some of them get overused, some of them don’t work as well. Some of the muscles that we overuse are going to end up causing lines and sometimes early sagginess on our face. You can see here when someone is showing rage, just how many different muscles are involved, and the same thing with joy. Motor points are something that were discovered actually quite a long time ago. Medical doctors have used them. I found an old medical text, and they were using motor points with hypodermic needles and stimulating them. I’ve listed some of the researchers, some of the people that have done a lot of work in the motor point world and what a motor point is, it’s the most electrically excitable part of the muscle.

When you find the motor point, you can stimulate it, and it is where the motor nerve bundle is… The nerve is actually attached into the muscle. Fortunately for us, many of them are acupuncture points. We don’t have to have a deep knowledge of anatomy in order to find them because we have the acupuncture points as reference points. If a muscle is too flacid, it’s not firing properly and if it’s too tense, it’s not firing properly. By stimulating the motor point, you are helping the muscle to function properly, whether it’s to relax or to get back to doing its job that it should be doing. As I mentioned, many motor points are also acupuncture points, but they are not trigger points or ashi points.

A trigger point is really a sore spot and you press on it or you needle it, and it feels good. It could be like a knot, but motor points are different, and there are motor points on the face. All of them are innervated by the seventh cranial nerve, except for the temporalis and the masseter, and those are innervated by the trigeminal nerve. In order to figure out which motor point you should use, if you looked at those other drawings, there’s arrows going in every direction. You have to understand what the functions of the different 43 facial muscles are.

When I teach my neuromuscular class or I have an advanced cosmetic class, I go through every single one of the emotions or every single one of the issues that might come up with a particular, if someone had Bell’s palsy and which motor point to use, but we are going to talk about a couple of them today. Normally, you just needle straight in or slightly at a slight oblique angle, and you want a needle into the muscle, but not through the muscle. I think I just did this slide this morning. I think this is all of the facial motor points. I’ve got one dot for each. I got a little crowded on one side, so I put some on the other side.

As you can see, there are quite a few facial motor points, and then there are others for the platysma and for the temporalis and also for the SCM, but I don’t have those marked out on here. Let’s talk about a couple, and the first two would be the procerus and the corrugator, and they give you the angry eyes or the frown lines. Here’s the corrugator muscle and the motor point. This brings your eyebrows together. It works in conjunction with the procerus, which is right here, but for the corrugator, the motor point is just lateral to bladder two. For the procerus the motor point is actually Yintang, so it’s easy to find. Again, these two muscles work together to bring the eyebrows together.

Another muscle group is the frontalis, which helps to raise your eyebrows, like if you’re surprised or inquisitive. For each wrinkle just about, there is an underlying emotion and it’s a topic for a whole nother conversation, but I just wanted to bring that up. I could talk about this for six hours so I’m trying to squeeze everything in in a half an hour as much as I can so. The frontalis again causes these horizontal wrinkles. The frontalis is two muscles right here and the motor point is gallbladder 14, and I have a little video. I had needle this on a patient and just stimulated it. You could see that her issue was a drooping eyelid on one side, and the frontalis is connected to your eyebrows so I had needled that.

As you can see, it really woke the muscle up. The orbicularis oculi is something that can be affected if a person has Bell’s palsy or a stroke, and the way you would test for it, can the person close their eyes and open their eyes. From a strictly cosmetic point of view, it is involved and these are called crow’s feet. Here is where the orbicularis oculi is, and there’s two motor points. One is between Qiuhou 23 and gallbladder one, and the other one is the extra point right here, which is more or less between stomach two and gallbladder one. Another motor point and this is something that is important for pursing your lips, bringing your top lip up.

If someone had some sort of paralysis around their mouth, if they put their lips together and they blew out, air would come out. If you or I did it, it would come out evenly, or it wouldn’t come out at all, but if someone had paralysis on one side, the air would only come out on the weak side, and it can also cause lip wrinkles. You can see a picture right here of how all of this works, and the name of the muscle is the mentalis. It makes your lip go down. There’s actually three different muscles that are involved in getting your bottom lip up to your top lip, but it can cause wrinkles on your lower chin and wrinkles all around the lips, and here is a video.

I had a student in class who had had Bell’s palsy years ago, and she said she still could not close her lips completely. I went ahead and needled the mentalis, and I noticed immediately that the muscle started twitching. I stimulated it, and you can see what happens. This was a muscle that wasn’t functioning at all. One of the things that comes up right now during this time, we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and our patients should be wearing masks in our treatment room. There was a lot of questions that have come up. I teach my classes now via livestream webinar, and my students have asked, “Well, how am I going to do my job?” Well, I just started back to work last week, and I gave a lot of thought to I can certainly protect myself, but I want to keep my treatment space protected as well.

The first thing I did was I took a box of surgical masks, and I did a little video. If you go to my Facebook group, I have a Facebook group. It’s called facial acupuncture, or my Instagram is also facial acupuncture. If you go to either one of these, you will see I have hundreds of short demonstration videos, articles and this was I think last week. I just took a surgical mask and so anyway, I have a demo video of how I made this, but I just took a regular surgical mask, cut the elastic, folded it. I use some hemming tape, like seamstress might use, or you might use if you wanted to hem your pants without the needle and thread. I just use the tape on the inside, and then I just reattached the elastic.

You can see the front and the back, and this wasn’t the best version. This was a version that I did. I hadn’t tucked the sides in, but other than LI20 and right around the top and bottom of my lip, if someone is wearing this mask, you can get to their entire face and neck. If they were to cough or sneeze or whatever, it’s still contained under a mask which works. I used one six times last week and I just give it to my patients, and then throw it out. Surgical masks are easy enough to get on Amazon right now. They’re inexpensive too. The next level that I’m working on, I saw this idea on the right, which was designed for aestheticians, and it’s a lucite box. I actually ordered one, but for my purposes, it was too open.

I was concerned that it was just too open, so I’ve actually been working with the manufacturer. I have designed this box on the left. I don’t have a photo of it, until I let them know how many I want. I’m not going to be selling these for profit. I’m going to probably order five or 10 or a hundred, and then just have them shipped to acupuncturists, so they can safely treat their patient’s face. Your patient’s head would go here. There’s holes for your arm. It’s very high up. It’s 15 inches, so your patient doesn’t feel claustrophobic, and I angled this part. When you’re sitting and working on their face, you can lean over and get a little closer. The little dots here, these boxes are actually collapsible.

When it comes in the mail, it’s whatever five pieces, and then you just put it together, and that way you can take it apart if you’re traveling or if you just want to store it, you don’t need it, but it was my extra level of sneeze guarding because a large part of my practice is treating people’s faces. That is my very quick talk on facial motor points, and I am going to open it up for questions. Alan, if you’re there, I don’t know what to do with my slides while we’re doing questions though. I see. Something in the chat box, leave the slides. Okay. I left the slides. No questions. Yeah. If you have questions, you can put them in the comments, and I will answer them later.

If you have questions afterwards, you can just put them in the comments and I can answer them. Okay. Thank you again for tuning in, and you can visit my website, facialacupunctureclasses.com. There’s information about my livestream and my recorded webinars, and I want to thank the American Acupuncture Council again for giving me this opportunity. Thank you so much.

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Moshe Heller & Stephen Cowan

Phlegm – Etiology pathology and treatment Moshe Heller

Hi, my name is Moshe Heller. First I’d like to thank the American Acupuncture Council for hosting this show, and providing this really wonderful platform for writing information.

I’d like to start talking today, and today’s lecture would be, I will talk a little bit about pediatric phlegm, or phlegm in general. I want to just have a short discussion about etiological factors, pathology, and also the treatment. Since phlegm is actually a very, very common thing nowadays because of, as we know, a lot of … The flu is very common and upon us. As disease progresses, I see many children presenting with phlegm presentations in the past few weeks.

Let’s start. I think the slides are on, and you’re seeing it. The first thing I’d like to just talk about is that … Why do children actually have phlegm, or tend to have phlegm? There’s a famous saying that children produce phlegm very easily, and there’s a few reasons for that.

It all starts with the fact that, actually, children are born with very weak spleens. We assume that, at the beginning of their life, they will always have spleen vacuity. That presents with their tendency to have difficulty digesting, also having very soft stools. That’s a normal thing for them, and that’s a very clear sign their spleen is deficient. Therefore, when you have a spleen deficiency, dampness can easily accumulate and therefore transform into phlegm.

Also there’s another saying that the exterior of children is not secure, and they contract pathogens very easily. WHen the child contracts a pathogen, it influences the way that the lung functions, and the spleen. Therefore, also, the end result could be an accumulation of phlegm, or dampness and then phlegm.

There are a few other supportive factors to the production of phlegm, and one of them has to do with … What I see very commonly now is that the feeding schedule is not as … Parents tend to feed babies on what we call “on demand”. Therefore their scheduling of feedings are random, and sometimes cause this eating on various times, and end up a lot of times overeating. That in itself can also cause an issue with or become a burden on the spleen, and therefore produce more phlegm.

Also, as the children grow, and we start to introduce new foods, a lot of times wrong foods can be presented to them. Meaning either they’re too cold or difficult on the digestive system, and that could be because one of the most common thing is introducing fruits earlier on, or too early. As we believe in Chinese medicine, that fruits are cold and therefore can really burden the spleen, also.

There’s also the issue of formula. I think that sometimes the formula is very heavy and is actually over rich, and therefore not so easy to digest. A lot of children, once they’re put on formulas, actually start developing phlegm. It’s a very interesting thing to watch, because we have then the issue of, what to we do if there’s no other sources of food, and we have to look at different formulas as solutions?

I also want to mention one other thing that’s really commonly seen in my office is that a lot of times antibiotics are given inappropriately, meaning that … Antibiotics definitely have a place and a time to be used, and they are very important. Nonetheless, if they’re used inappropriately, they can produce a dampness very easily because of their nature. As we know, from a Chinese medical perspective, antibiotics are cold and bitter, and therefore they are hard on the spleen. If we have a cold condition, and it’s a cold exterior condition, and we give out antibiotics, the end result will be that there will be some phlegm developing, or damp and then phlegm.

How do we diagnose? How do we know that there is phlegm in the body? Sometimes in children the easiest way is that we see it. As we saw in the first picture of the slides, sometimes it’s very visible, but sometimes it isn’t. If there’s no discharge, there are other telling signs that are important to realize.

One thing ends up as a result of this, especially if the phlegm is stuck in the sinuses, the child becomes a mouth breather. A lot of times we’ll see that their lower lip is a little saggy. Especially if they’re trying to concentrate, you’ll see that their lower lip opens and falls down, and it doesn’t shut down. A lot of times it will also result with some more drooling, or a tendency to drool, heavier if they’re at the teething age.

We have this drooped lower lip, and then mouth breathing. Then we can hear them breathing a lot of times. Another telling sign is snoring at night. Snoring at night usually indicates there’s something that’s blocking, and that phlegm is one of the causes of snoring in kids. Mouth breathing, heavy breathing, or snoring at night, those are all really strong signs.

Of course, palpating the lymph glands is a very important diagnostic procedure in children, because if the lymph glands are swollen, that’s a really strong sign that there is some phlegm accumulating, and a very particular type of phlegm, which we’ll talk in a second. Then, also, the actual history itself of the disease. If there’s chronic sinusitis, or chronic ear infection, or tonsillitis, all these are signs that maybe there’s this phlegm that’s lingering, and is a part of the pathology of the disease.

Another thing that’s really important to use as a tool is listening to the lung sounds. That’s something that, if you’re seeing children, you should probably have a stethoscope with you, because listening to the lung sounds can help in your diagnosis, another sign that can help you in the diagnosis of the patient.

For example, if you hear wheezing when you listen to the lung, you know that that is a constriction of the bronchials. That means that there’s Chi stagnation. But, if you hear crackles, crackles are the sounds like little balloons popping, that is a sound that there is phlegm in the lung. I use it as a diagnostic technique. I listen to the lung. If I hear those crackles, I know that I’m going to need to clear phlegm from the lung.

I want to go over two patterns, this is diagnostic patterns, that are very common in children. The first one I want to discuss is accumulation disorders. We discussed this many times before, but I’m just want to remind you that a lot of times accumulation disorders are the reason that children are presenting with phlegm.

What it is is that … It’s like food stagnation in adults, but its difference is that this could be just from either overeating or eating things that are very difficult for them to digest, and then that accumulates in the stomach and creates this heat and phlegm. The heat symptoms manifest with these red cheeks that are there all the time. This is heat rising from the stomach, and you’ll see these little, almost like stop lights, with the two red cheeks. They’re very distinct. It’s a sign that the digestion is a little overheating and stagnant.

Of course, that will also affect their … They’ll be a little more cranky and irritable, and maybe have difficulty falling, or staying, or waking up frequently. These children don’t sleep as well because something’s not digesting well.

Of course, once these fluids go up and stagnate, they can cause phlegm to accumulate. Then you’ll see this green nasal discharge, exactly like you saw in the first picture. Then you’ll probably see cough involved with it that is very rattly, and maybe some slippery coughs. These are all phlegm signs that come from the accumulation disorder.

When we recognize or diagnose accumulation disorder as the source, we always need to think of Si Feng as the treatment points. Of course, Stomach 36, Stomach 25, and CV-12 are also really important to help, and San Jiao 6, which really helps to move the Chi and resolve the blockage in the digestive system. These are all really important points, but the main treatment point will be Si Feng.

Then the formula that you might be considering has to do with helping the digestion. I have a great formula that’s based on Bao He Wan in my new motion line. I have a website that will be at the end of the slideshow. You can log on and look at digest. It’s a really fantastic formula for supporting the digestive system in situations just like that.

The other aspect is lingering pathogenic factors. Lingering pathogenic factor, a lot of times either cause phlegm or are the phlegm itself. When we diagnose lingering pathogenic factors, we usually have three types or three syndromes under that. One is more of a deficient kind that’s a little more rare, and it involves spleen Chi deficiency. The other one is called retention of phlegm, and retention of very thick phlegm.

We’ll go over the last two just to remind you how we diagnose them. When we only have retention of phlegm, usually you’ll see that there’s this recurring infection, and it can be anywhere from the sinuses, to the throat, to the chest, to the ears. There’ll be a lot of phlegm or discharge from the nose, or cough with a gurgling or rattling sound. There’ll be mouth breathing, like we discussed earlier. There’s emotional state where they want things, but they don’t really want them. They’ll say, “I want this,” but when you give it to them, they’ll throw it away. That’s a very typical sign of that. Then, also very choosy, and wanting only sweet or white foods.

Sometimes you’ll see a manifestation of that phlegm on the stool itself. That’s question we have to ask parents. How does the stool look? Does it change color? Have you noticed any changes in … If there’s this glistening, or it’s a little bit shiny, that’s a sign that there’s phlegm in the stool. Then, of course, enlarged lymph glands, which is really a very important sign for the lingering pathogenic factor.

When it becomes thick phlegm, there’s a lot of the same symptoms. A lot of times the thing that triggers me is that, when I ask, when we discuss the illness history with the parents, they’ll always say a sentence like, “Since their illness, they haven’t been really the same.” The underlying mechanism is that the child’s character is altered or really changed. There’s something either subtly or really more significant change in their character.

Then, that’s very typical of that, when we think that phlegm is becoming so distinct that it actually changes the spirit, or changes … With an adult, we’ll say that there’s phlegm blocking the heart orifices, and then the Shen is not as clear. That’s when we start seeing that in children.

A lot of times there’ll be two other signs that I want to say. They’ll have these energy crashes. They’ll suddenly have periods where they just are really cranky, and they only want to really rest. Also it is sometimes associated with intermittent abdominal pain. These are all signs of the lingering pathogenic factor with very thick phlegm.

The treatment, when you recognize that, is combination of four points, Bai Lao, which is an extra point in the back, UB13, 18, and 20. This is the basic protocol. Sometimes I combine it with the Shao Yang combination of Gallbladder 41 and Triple Warmer 5. Also I will palpate UB43. If it feels very full and excess, I might needle that also.

The main form that I use for that is a combination of Xiao Chai Hu Tang. We’ll talk a little bit about Xiao Chai Hu Tang, because it’s not the first formula that you would think for phlegm, but I found it really helpful with many children, especially with children, to resolve phlegm. I guess because [Ban Xia 00:21:00] is in that formula, but it really is a mild way to resolve phlegm. Helps the children resolve it. I’ve used it many times. You can see that, once Xiao Chai Hu Tang is used in its correct formula, you will see a slow drying of that phlegm, and the symptoms are reduced. I really want you to remember Xiao Chai Hu Tang, especially with kids when they have phlegm.

I want to give a case example that I was treating, actually, a few days ago, last week. There’s this two-year-old boy that came to my office that the parents were saying that was experiencing back-to-back ear infections. Again and again, the ear infections would repeat. Also it always comes with fever and pain. The child really is two years, but still is talking already, and expressing pain in the ear. He mostly tugs and pulls on the left ear, but both ears is something that he’s experienced.

His mother says that everything was normal during pregnancy. The delivery was fine. At the end he needed to be vacuumed, but he was healthy otherwise. Around nine months of age, something around then, she had to stop breastfeeding, go back to work. Although she was giving him formula beforehand as a supplement, at around nine months, around that time, formula was a the only thing she was giving, of course and the introduction of solids.

At that time, there was a lot of dairy products that were introduced. That created a lot of wheezing, or he started to have these episodes of wheezing, almost like asthma. Went to the doctor, the doctor gave steroids in a nebulizer, an inhaler. That really calmed the wheezing, as the mother was reporting.

Then, a few months later, he got another really bad cold. Then that developed into an ear infection, and he was given antibiotics. Since then, it’s been repeated ear infections and rounds of antibiotics. Last round of antibiotics was about three weeks ago. He was given Amaxicillin, and he is currently still complaining of ear infection, although there’s no fevers, which the mother was relieved. She took her to the pediatrician a few days before the appointment, and there was still accumulation of fluids behind the ear drum. The doctor was saying that they may need to consider doing ear plug operation. That’s why they were looking for an alternative way to treat him.

The mother was saying that the baby is a very picky eater, and in the last month they were trying to get him off of dairy, because they thought that that could be a problem, and that’s why he’s having the ear infections, which I agreed. We also agreed that, from now on, they should probably stop wheat.

Bowel movements are two to three times a day. The mother thinks it’s pretty normal, and they don’t seem to be too soft or hard. He doesn’t complain of stomach aches. But, his sleep is not good. He wakes very frequently. He drinks a lot of water throughout the night, and also the mother reports that he’s addicted to the pacifier throughout the day. She’s wanting him to stop, or trying to wean him off of that.

On examination, I found submandibular lymph nodes that were positive or enlarged. His finger vein, which is something that I observed, was very dark, which means heat, and wide. That means that the pathogen is strong, and it’s reached the wind gate. It hasn’t really penetrated extremely deep. Therefore we could address it by resolving it on the [Yan 00:26:43] layers. I’ll explain in a second. Also, when I was examining him, it was clearly that his breathing was heavy and he sounded very congested.

Out of that, I was very clear that his diagnosis was that he had what we call thick phlegm LPF. I believe that it had developed from what we might call a food accumulation, or an accumulation disorder prior to that. I needled the points San Jiao 5 and Gallbladder 41. That is a combination I use for ear infections, because when we address the Shao Yang, it opens up the flow of Chi around the ear. That could be, in itself, the treatment for the ear part of the disorder.

I also added Bai Lao UB13, 18, and 20, as we know, because of the lingering pathogenic factor. I also prescribed Xiao Chai Hu Tang. The first days after the treatment, I got a report that the child was sleeping much better, which was I think a very important sign to see.

I’m running out of time, but I wanted to just mention a few formulas that we usually use for phlegm. Including Er Chen Tang, is an important basic formula for phlegm that we know. Sometimes you can combine that with Xiao Chai Hu Tang. I usually think of Er Chen Tang when I see a spleen deficient at the background of the phlegm accumulation. If there’s spleen deficiency at the background, Er Chen Tang is what I would think for.

Ban Xia Hou Po Tang, another really important formula for phlegm. The difference between that and Er Chen Tang is that Er Chen Tang is more spleen-y, and whereas Ban Xia Hou Po Tang is more liver-y. If the spleen is really deficient and is the cause of the phlegm accumulation, then we can use Shen Ling Bai Zhu San. Or, if there’s an accumulation disorder at the background, Bao He Wan is the choice. As I mentioned, you can check my variation of Bao He Wan in the motion herbs website.

There’s other two formulas I just want to mention that is related to cough. Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan is the famous phlegm heat, or sometimes called Pinellia Expectorant. That clears phlegm heat from the lung. That’s when you have a lot of this cough, which is productive with yellow phlegm. But, if there’s more phlegm dryness, we think of Bei Mu Gua Lou San as the formula for resolving phlegm and dryness.

I think that’s about the time that I have for this presentation. Thank you very much for joining me, and I hope we will meet again in our next session.

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Moshe Heller & Stephen Cowan

Harmonize the Earth To Treat Many Disorders


Hello and welcome to the show. I’d like to first thank the American Acupuncture Council for hosting this show. It’s great to be here and my name is Moshe Heller. For those of you who have seen me before here I teach, together with Dr. Cowan, a course on Chinese pediatric acupuncture. And today I’d like to speak about harmonizing the earth to treat many disorders. So let’s dive in. I hope that the slides are up.

When we talk about children especially, and we believe that children are born with a really weak digestive system and therefore the digestive disorders are usually the root of many childhood disorders. And so that’s an important thing to remember when we are treating children because although we may see various different disorders, the root cause or the reason that they are suffering from whatever, we’ll see a little later what these might be, are rooted in a weak digestive system so we have to support that in order to resolve the issue.

What we will see is since these kind of patterns of digestive dysfunctions cause different issues in the child such as accumulation disorders or exposure to foods that are not appropriate, those cause different issues of poor transformation and therefore affect the child’s ability to transform. And therefore this accumulation can cause heat and we can see that affecting the fire or the heart with overreacting and overstimulation. We can see also that it can affect the lung and cause issues of accumulation of dampness in the lung and also affecting the kidneys with cold. The cold foods can create different types of issues such as inability to resolve toxicity. And also we can affect, of course, the liver that will cause also wind and affect the emotional state of the child as having different anger issues and so on and so forth.

We can see that although the root cause is in the earth, it can affect any of the five other organs to cause issues of imbalance. I also wanted to point out and remember for those of you who have heard our previous lectures about this really important triad that we call the gastro immune, neuro triangle that each one of these parts are affected by or help to be regulated by the others. So when one part of this is not functioning correctly, then it can affect the others. We have the gastro part, which means that the gut, the digestive system, our gut biome, all that can affect our immune system and also our neurological function.

It can cause issues with either imbalanced immunity or different neurological disorders starting from having inability to focus, to even inability to communicate. So we can see that kind of triangle and really a very important triangle in treating children.

I also wanted to point out that there are many books starting with traditional books like the Pi Wei Lun where Li Dong Yuan talks about the importance of balancing spleen and stomach to resolve many, many disorders both in children and adults. This doesn’t stop at at the child. It can affect also many disorders in adults and I think that even if you are treating an adult and a really important aspect of of that is to look at their diet and see what’s going on in the digestive system to to support many of the treatment many of the conditions that you might be treating. I also wanted to point out that that Li Dong Yuan talks about another concept of what he determines is yin fire, which is a little bit like a yin vacuity of the spleen.

We don’t think of that in general, but also at the end of this I will point out an article by Steven Clavey, which is a really good source to read about this concept of a spleen yin vacuity. Also in more modern books we can see Bob Flaws in his handbooks of TCM pediatrics points out that a weak digestion is the cause for many childhood diseases such as colic, earache, cough, swollen glands, allergies and pediatric asthma and eczema. And that’s what we are going to see also as we continue. Julian Scott in his book on pediatric acupuncture points out that there are five really common patterns of illness that that are at the root of many disorders. And the interesting thing is that three of them are issues of spleen vacuity and all of them in the treatment, you will see that they’re really focused on supporting the spleen.

I’d like to stay with Julian a little bit and just to point out these five common patterns, he names them as spleen qi vacuity, hyperactive spleen qi vacuity, accumulation disorder, hyperactive kidney qi vacuity and lingering pathogenic factor. And if you look in his book and see each one of them addresses the spleen vacuity as the main treatment principle. So whichever one of these five disorders, you’ll see that spleen is something that’s in the treatment protocol.

But I want to look at two of them for this lecture. The first one of course is the diagnosis of spleen qi deficiency. So although when we see this diagnosis, we’ll see that the child will have a sallow complexion or being very pale. Their skin tones and limbs are flabby. By the way, one of the disorders that I see frequently in in my office is low muscle tone in kids and that’s very closely linked to spleen qi deficiency as of course, we know that the spleen is in charge of muscles and when the muscle tone is low, it does point for me, it’s a strong indication that there is a spleen deficiency that needs to be addressed.

The lips are pale. Another really important, very common thing that I note is that I look at the lips and if the lower lip is a little bit protruding or I call it flabby, it kind of falls forward and and a lot of times you will see that the child is drooling very easily because they’re not able to close the lips appropriately. That’s another really strong indication for a spleen qi vacuity. Of course we’ll see either frequent loose stools or constipation, diarrhea alternating. But one of the most important things is that when we have a spleen deficiency that is pure spleen deficiency, the stools don’t usually smell bad. And that’s an important differentiation because sometimes the spleen deficiency can be, or it can look like a spleen deficiency, but there’s actually an accumulation disorder and in this case the stools will have a stronger smell to them.

You’ll see that there’s also a lot of times issues of sleep. The pure spleen deficient child will prefer to sleep during the day and always have difficulty falling asleep and would all kinds of manipulations in order not to go to sleep. And another important thing to see when you have a spleen qi deficiency is that these children always have a lot of phlegm and dampness, so they’ll have a tendency to get colds, coughs and other illnesses that’s associated with phlegm or damp accumulation.

And now the really, really important issue too that needs a lot of times to be addressed is their very poor appetite and picky about food. They are the classical what we call mono diet. They only eat one thing. A lot of times it’s sweet and when I say sweet, it’s not necessarily candy or something like that, but even pasta that is called a sweet food, right? It’s something a lot of times I see they’ll only eat pasta, even not with cheese or anything, but that’s what we call a mono diet. They are not open to a variety of tastes. They’re very strict on on eating things that have a sweet property and that’s something we really need to work on, and we’ll see a little later about different things that help to open up that appetite and have a little more variety.

There’s also sometimes a tendency for vomiting and gag reflex being very easily created and we’ll see, of course, the body, the tongue will be pale. There may be a white or thick or greasy tongue coating and the pulse is usually weak or slippery. And one other thing is, especially if they’re young and below or under a two year old, I always look at the finger vein. Finger vein diagnosis is very helpful I think. And the differentiation between a spleen deficiency and something that involves more stagnation and heat will determine the shade of blue that you will see in the finger vein. As a reminder, when we look at the finger vein, we rub the finger a little bit and there are three gates. We call them the wind gate, the qi gate and the life gate. And we see how far the finger vein continues. If it passes the wind gate, it means that the pathogen is starting to affect the qi. If it passes the qi gate, it is affecting the qi. And if it is reaching the life gate, it means that it is actually life threatening, so we have to be careful of that.

But the most important thing is that when we look at the shade of the blue, if it’s a pale blue, that is considered more of a cold condition, whereas where it is more of a dark blue, then that’s a sign of heat. When it’s almost black, that’s really a sign that there’s a lot of heat going on. And if you see a black and purplish hue to it, that means there’s heat and stagnation. In this case, when it’s spleen qi deficiency, we’re talking about more of a cold condition.

When we look at treatment, the points are pretty standard and these are points we use a lot. And the important thing is that we have to understand, although they are points that are very common, they are very effective, especially with children. When we combine large intestine 10 for example, with stomach 36, we are tonifying both qi and blood and that’s a really important combination. Stomach 36, shou san li of course tonifies the qi and large intestine 10 helps to regulate the stomach and intestine and reduce digestive stagnation, which is a tendency that children have. This is a very, very important combination for kids who have spleen deficiency.

We also can consider using spleen six. It regulates and strengthens and tonifies the spleen and also regulates the stomach. This again supports this combination of large intestine 10 and stomach 36. We’re supporting it by adding spleen 6. I also really like using CV-12. It strengthens the spleen and again regulates and strengthens the function of the stomach. I wanted to point out a very helpful treatment protocol that was passed on to me by Alex Tiberi. He always used to say that when we can address our digestive capability or strengthen our digestion by using spleen one for problems with digesting fat, spleen two with problems for digesting protein and spleen three for problems with digesting carbohydrates.

These are things to remember because a lot of times you’ll see that children might have difficulty digesting fat or the parent will say every time he eats avocado, for example, you will see that his stomach is bloated or that there is some issues with bowel movements or every time they eat some type of protein. Then you can use these points appropriately to help in that digestion.

I really like the last combination that you’ll see here, which is a combination of spleen three and spleen eight for those children who really have these sugar cravings. Combining spleen three and spleen eight will help reduce sugar craving, according to Alex Tiberi, and I’ve seen it work really well throughout the years of using them.

I also wanted to remind you all of this four-needle technique. We sometimes call it the Korean four-needle technique in which when we recognize that there is a weakness or an excess in a channel or organ system, then we can use the four needle technique to support that. And sometimes you can use these four needle techniques as a take home treatment with using magnets, for example, because with magnets we can clearly create tonification or dispersion by using the bio north or bio south. And when we have the four needle technique ideas that when we have a spleen vacuity and we need to strengthen the spleen, we use supplementation on heart eight and spleen two and then we have to drain liver one and spleen one and we can do that by either leaving little magnets or by during the treatment just connecting these magnets to the points and then taking them off because heart eight for example, is a weird point to leave. I mean the child may peel it or won’t continue to leave it for the treatment and it will support during supplementing the spleen.

A lot of times the reason I like to use this combination is we’ll see that there is an imbalance between the spleen and the stomach where the spleen will be deficient yet the stomach will be excess and Li Dong Yuan talks a lot about this in the Pei Wei Lun about this kind of the stomach tends to be more excess, whereas the spleen tends to be more deficient and so you might need to combine a strengthening treatment combination for the spleen, whereas you will use a dispersing treatment for the stomach.

You can see those points all listed here and this is a great technique to use in the clinic. I also very frequently either perform or teach the parents Tuina or pediatric Tuina, and I really love this hand technique where you can see that there is actually the presentation of each of the organs at the tip of the fingers. So for example, you see here on the little finger, on the pinky, the top part is Shen Jing, meaning that represents the kidney. On the ring finger, it’s Fei Jing, which represents the lung and Shin Jing here is the heart, Guan Jing the liver and on the thumb this is where we see Pi Jing, which is the spleen.

Generally speaking, in this technique, when we do rotations, when we take the thumb and we rotate, usually with our thumb, this rotation is supplementation, whereas where we are pulling upwards, this is considered dispersion. So we can either disperse this spleen or strengthen the spleen and as we can see that the stomach is actually just below the spleen so we can disperse the stomach by pulling upwards and we can strengthen the spleen by doing rotations. I’ve noted this here and on the slide. You can see that. And the arrow is pointing downwards, but it could be upwards or downwards. It doesn’t really matter. I prefer upwards actually. And I combine that with clockwise rotation around the umbilicus, which is also a great way to support the spleen.

As in abdominal diagnosis, we know that the spleen is manifest around the umbilicus. Of course on the left side we will have the liver. On the right side, this is the lung, the heart is on top and kidney is below. I also always look at the abdomen while I’m working to see any issues and palpate it to see what I’m feeling to support the diagnosis.

I also wanted to mention one other thing is the use of tiger warmer. This is a great way to treat kids. You can create heat and pressure at the same time and they respond really, really well to tiger warmer and you can use both supplementation points. You can use, for example, when you see a spleen Qi deficiency strengthen bladder 20 or bladder 21, the [inaudible 00:26:29] of the spleen and stomach, CV 12 and stomach 36 this is a great way to work the points. We’re applying both heat and pressure and it is great way to stimulate the points and kids usually respond really well to it.

Also, you can use regular moxa salt, on spleen CV8 is a great supplementation of Yuan Qi and also this kind of connection between kidney and spleen where you can strengthen the kidneys’ relationship with the spleen by using salt moxa on the umbilicus.

Last thing when we were talking about spleen Qi vacuity of course we can use herbal treatment and there are many formulas, depending on the little symptoms that you want to address. For example, our classical strengthen the spleen formula is Liu Jun Zi Tang, although technically I always prefer to use the Xiang Sha with kids. Xiang Sha means that we have the Liu Jun Zi Tang plus [inaudible 00:28:04] and [inaudible 00:28:04] that is [inaudible 00:28:04] Xiang is the Qi moving. It helps to move the intestines, it moves Jian in the belly and that’s a great addition to this formula and Sha Ren is extremely important in promoting appetite and so it’s a really important herb, especially for those kids who have this mono diet where they are not open to to experiencing other tastes. I think of Sha Ren. Also Shen Ling Bai Zhu San, which is the best formula, I think, for spleen dampness. If you you see a damp spleen, so a combination of spleen Qi vacuity with dampness, there’s nothing like Shen Ling Bai Zhu San.It’s an amazing formula for that condition and the two main symptoms is diarrhea and soft stools and lack of appetite, low appetite. These are really the two main symptoms for Shen Ling Bai Zhu San.

Of course we can also use Gui Pi Tang, which is this kind of relationship between where the spleen is actually deficient, but the heart has some what we might see as a blood vacuity or a heart Qi vacuity with some irritability, difficulty sleeping, and the Gui Pi Tang combination addresses that kind of both heart and spleen.

Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang, of course is for lifting the central Qi. That’s very important. And Xiao Jian Zhong Tang also is a great formula, a very simple formula for this kind of when the spleen is really deficient, the center is a week. I also want to point point out I’ve developed a combination of herbs, a line of herbs actually that I’ve called Moshen herbs. It plays on the word Moshen and the word Moshen and the word shen there is affecting the spirit. But the idea is that I’ve created a few pediatric formulas that are really helpful for… I’ve found them really effective for different disorders.

One of them I’ve called Digest and this is a combination that will address children with spleen Qi acuity and or the the next pattern that we will see, which is an accumulation disorder. It’s a formula that addresses both things and and very effectively. Please check it out on moshenherbs.com and you can read the ingredients and see how the functions of this formula. But it is a formula that I use for digestive disorders in children when those… it could be even that when I suspect that when a child comes in with eczema that I suspect comes from this weak spleen that we can use Digest to address that. And especially if they have a tendency to get asthma, for example, or a lot of phlegm disease, then we can still use Digest to resolve that.

Let’s move to the next common disorder and we call it accumulation disorder. It is pretty much similar to the concept of food accumulation in adults, but it’s manifestation in children is a little different and it is is associated with exposure to foods that are not appropriate to or are difficult for the child to digest. One of the most common reasons for an accumulation disorder, unfortunately, is the use of formula in kids. I think that the issues with the formula is that it is over rich. Therefore, it’s very hard on the digestive system and therefore it causes a lot of issues. I know sometimes we need to use it, but we have to recognize or realize that it can cause a problem. Another issue is that children are sometimes offered food too early when they’re not really ready for food and therefore that causes also issues.

It’s very common that we see accumulation disorders around six months of age. That’s when solids are being introduced to the diet. And this is a period where accumulation disorders can develop. One of the most important symptoms that I see for accumulation disorder is this redness in the cheeks. And I can almost see that, I can suspect it already when I see the patient in the waiting room and I see those two red lights as cheeks. They’re really red. I have a picture in the next slide so you will see that. And that’s a really common symptom. A lot of times you have to ask the parent, “Oh, does he have these red cheeks all the time, or is he just hot or something like that?”

A lot of times when it’s an accumulation disorder, they’re pretty much consistent. The cheeks are red most of the time. They’ll also suffer from a lot of irritability, insomnia and a lot of lingering illnesses, especially this green nasal discharge. When you see this little kid with the green nasal discharge in his nostril and that’s something that the parents are complaining about.They’ll say this child is always sick. Everything that’s around, he immediately gets it. And he immediately gets this kind of nasal green nasal discharge. That’s a another very typical accumulation disorder symptom.

The interesting thing is that this accumulation disorder pattern usually can transfer or develop into a lot of what we would categorize or Western doctors will categorize as food allergies. So we’ll see how that develops in a second. These are the main symptoms. We can see here that this kind of red cheek, you see this baby with these kind of red cheeks, looks really cute. You think this is a a healthy little kid, but actually this is sign of a problem a lot of times, especially when it’s been going on for a little bit, you’ll see that then the skin becomes a little bumpy around the the cheeks. And when you see this kind of little bumpy area as well as red cheeks, it’s pretty much a food accumulation involvement.

We can see that in babies, the reason why you’ll have an accumulation disorder is overfeeding cow milk formulas. As we said, poor sleep and and dysbiosis are really the major causes in babies. In children we look at poor quality of foods, cold, raw foods, sugars, or sugar can be a cause for an accumulation disorder and a lot of this kind of very what we call children food are usually like pizza. Amazing. A great way to cause food accumulation in a child is give them lots of pizza. That’s something that we have to pay attention to.

Definitely also a general poor eating habit and I think one of the things that we have to remember is that one of the things that’s really strengthening to the spleen is the creation of a routine of eating, so that eating at the regular times and creating this kind of a regular pattern of eating is something that is not necessarily something that we need to teach our kids. And I think that’s a problem with a lot of parents that they don’t enforce it so that the tendency is to feed children as they want or on demand as we call it, on demand feeding, where that actually sets the grounds or creating an accumulation disorder.

It’s about eating mindfully and creating these mealtimes and involving children in that process is really, really part of strengthening the spleen and preventing food accumulation. What we’ll see is this hunger with no real desire to eat. They’ll say, “I want this”, and then they won’t eat it. And then there’s this kind of sensation that you’re hungry but you don’t know what to eat. Never satisfied. Sometimes reflux. You’ll hear them eating and then they’ll have a lot of burping up of gas, these red cheeks, green stools babies. This is another really very important sign, yellow nasal discharge and congestion and also chronic ear infections, chronic cough, chronic or even asthma. Sometimes the breath sounds like a little sour, so it is affecting the stomach and you can actually smell it. Eczema, cradle cap. The skin is starting to be affected by that and a lot of restlessness, hyperactivity and sometimes behavioral issues develop from this kind of accumulation disorder. Although it starts out in the digestive system, it affects many, many areas of imbalance.

The best time to, to catch or to address this food accumulation is when the children are really young and the best treatment the Sifengwen points, the four points. And you can see their location here and the bends. I know that traditionally they’re saying that you need to prick it and squeeze it until some yellow fluid comes out. I just insert the needle in all four areas and I get great results. You don’t really need to stand and squeeze it. I also recommend to use these points at the end of the treatment so when it hurts and the baby’s not crying in the room, you can do it and have them go and that’s a really a good way to use these points.

I teach the parents this kind of a massage of the thenar eminence that helps to reduce food accumulation and then also disperse the stomach. These are all techniques that really help to resolve food accumulation. With older kids, we can look at using CB 12 and stomach 36 as we remember. Large intestine 10 also helps with this kind of regulating of the stomach. Oops, sorry about that. And another combination that I really like to use is the combination of CV10, CV12 and CV13 that helps to regulate the flow of stomach and opening and closing of the sphincters. This is a really important thing. Stomach 36 of course is a great point for stomach pain and if there’s a lot of phlegm we do need to use stomach 40. If there’s a lot of phlegm in the lung, I usually don’t start with using stomach 40. I start with using CV 22 to start kind of resolving the phlegm in the lungs and only then I will use stomach 40, so that’s another important thing to remember.

What herbs? There’s Bao He Wan. This is the classical formula for food accumulation and, as I said, if there’s a lot of them, if the spleen is deficient and there is accumulation of dampness, I always think of Shen Ling Bai Zhu San. In this case it’s mostly when there’s soft stool. So if there’s this kind of a stinky diarrhea most of the time then I would use Shen Ling Bai Zhu San. Otherwise I’ll use Bao He Wan if there’s this alternating constipation diarrhea. Then Digest, again, is the herbal formula that I developed and you can read about it in moshenherbs.com and I wanted to point out another formula that I’ve been working with. It’s called React. I called it React but it’s based on Wu Mae Wan and I know that Wu Mae Wan is usually a parasite formula, but I’ve used it very effectively for for for food allergies, food sensitivities and in general this kind of tendency to be very allergic, whether it’s allergic asthma or allergic skin reaction.

All these things are really very affected, can be addressed by the use of React, which is an herbal formula based on Wu Mei Chuan and I’ve changed it a bit to be very well used with children. Please take a look at that because it’s a very good tool to use for different types of conditions in pediatrics and also adults actually can use React in this case, especially where there’s food allergies as a basis for many problems.

I also wanted to point you to a very interesting article about this kind of spleen and stomach yin deficiency. It’s not something we see so frequently. But Stephen Clavey wrote a wonderful article about the differentiation and treatment of spleen and stomach yin vacuity, so please read it. It’s from the journal of Chinese medicine from January of 1995. I know it’s a while ago, but it’s a great article, and I wanted to point out that these are things that you will see very frequently with children is that they’ll have trouble digesting food, easily full after eating small amounts, typical right? Bloating and feeling of uncomfortable fullness after eating, loss of taste discrimination, so they only want to eat sweet things, dry lips, different type of ulcerations in the mouth.

Look at these symptoms. These are things that I see very frequently and in this article he will help you differentiate between them and the use of different formulas. So a very good resource. Okay. I think I went over time, but I’m not sure. Anyway, I want you to thank you for listening and being with me today. I have here, if you want more information about Moshen herbs, please go to moshenherbs.com and also I wanted to point out that this is the certification course that’s going to start in March, jingshenpediatrics.com.Thank you very much and I will see you again in, I think it is in February.

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