As I look out at the Garry Oak trees blowing in the wind, and the bright June sunshine illuminating the leaves, I am reminded of why Victoria, BC is one of the best places in Canada to live. Thinking about the family, friends and patients I have helped through the years with Acupuncture treatments to relieve their pain, Herbal formulas to strengthen their constitution, I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to study Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to help to re-set the balance of the Yin and Yang energies in the body. More recently, the World Health Organization has endorsed the use of Acupuncture to help with over 150 conditions. Indeed, the number of people in the West who have experienced and benefited from Acupuncture treatments is growing steadily. It is a practical, interesting and meaningful skill to learn.
In British Columbia, the practice of Acupuncture has been regulated by the CTCMA since 2003. Currently, there are 6 colleges in BC that offer the 3 year Diploma of Acupuncture that is necessary to be able to sit the Board Exams to become a Registered Acupuncturist in BC. Oshio College in Victoria is one of the best. Why? Oshio is a small college with a big heart. Dr. Yin, Dr. Hu and the highly experienced faculty at Oshio have both sound knowledge of TCM, and the kindness and patience required to pass it on.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a complex and limitless system of diagnosis and treatment, of which Acupuncture is but one limb. In addition to the 365 Acupuncture points, the 400+ single herbs, which combine into over 200 classical Formulae, and all the Traditional Diagnostic methods that are taught, today’s Acupuncture and TCM students have to be well informed about modern allopathic bio-medicine as well. It is a huge courseload, and it is important to have teachers who are concise, experienced, and also patient enough to lead new students through the mountains of information.
Luckily, we have a strong team of such teachers at Oshio College in Victoria. For this reason, I believe that Oshio College is truly the best place to study TCM Acupuncture and Herbs in Victoria.
Most Acupuncturists know the best Acupuncture points to stop chest pain and move qi and blood in the chest. Nei Guan, Shan Zhong and Xin Shu are some of the most effective Acupuncture points to treat chronic Chest Pain.
But Herbal Medicine is more effective to move blood stasis, or to nourish the underlying deficiency which results in Chest pain. But which herbal formulas to use?
Well, that’s where the TCM differentiation according to syndromes shines. The following is a brief summary of the 6 main syndromes resulting in chronic chest pain, and their representative formulas. Thank you to Dr. Kai Chen of Oshio College for teaching us how to effectively differentiate and prescribe herbal formulas.
Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang is of course the representative formula for Chest pain due to blood stasis in the mansion of the Blood. If the patient has Heart palpitations with an irregular, choppy pulse and other classic blood stasis symptoms, we can use this formula to Move blood and Open up the channels.
If the patient has a heavier sensation, along with the telltale signs of Phlegm Stagnation, we can give them Gua Luo Xie Bai Ban Xia Tang in order to open the chest and dissolve phlegm.
If they are suffering from Qi Stagnation, with distending pain and a wiry pulse, then a modification of Chai Hu Shu Gan San can be used to smooth liver Qi, open the meridians and stop pain.
If the Chest pain is due to cold invasion, and features a sharp, colicky sensation with a tight pulse and pale/purple tongue, then we can give them Gua Luo Xie Bai Bai Jiu Tang, perhaps with some warming herbs like Gui Zhi or a small amount of Fu Zi.
If the Chest pain is worse after exertion, better with rest, and we suspect that they have an underlying Yang Qi deficiency, then we can warm them and tonify their Yang Qi using the formula Shen Fu Tang.
If it’s not quite that bad, and they only suffer from Qi deficiency, then it’s better to use Sheng Mai San to nourish Yin and tonify Qi.
And if they have chronic, dull, burning chest pain with other Yin deficiency signs, then we can Nourish their Heart Yin using Liu Wei Di Huang Wan with Sheng Mai San.
Of course, if they are having an Acute attack of chest pain, we must refer them to the CICU: Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. Just remember to take out the needles first!!!