Limitation of TCM Therapies

1. TCM cannot cure people with unhealthy life style, such as staying up late or even overnight, excessive use of brain, accumulation of stress, depression, drinking ice water, lack of exercise, eating processed foods, excessive take of western medicine, etc.

2. Result of treatment of organic diseases is relatively poor
Records exist that TCM could cure severe life-threatening diseases such as cancer, and with great success, but there are some restricting factors: 

1) These TCM physicians are limited in number;

2) Some of such experiences are restricted by modern medicine management regulations and cannot be popularized in most places in today’s world. For instance, some prescription have been validated to be very effective in treatment of a variety of medium to advanced cancers; however, because of a crucial yet controversial TCM herb medicine of monkshood, whose toxicity is pretty large by modern standard, the difficulty in populating such prescriptions is tremendous.

(Note: once decocted in water for extended periods of time, the toxicity of monkshood is largely reduced and not comparable with that of crude monkshood, but its curative rationale of ‘counteract one toxin with another’ bear immense efficacy against a multitude of stubborn disease).

As a result, when diseases developed to the stage of organic illnesses, very few TCM physicians possess both ability and condition of treatment to restore patient’s health, while the majority of TCM physicians are powerless under such circumstances.

3. The effect is poor when both Chinese traditional medicine (CTM) and Western medicine (WM) are taken at the same time

It has long been the author’s observation that treatment effect is generally poor on patients who take both CTM and WM at the same time. The reason is these belong to medicine of two different system, between which conflicts frequently arise.

Modern WM has invented tens of thousands of drugs, the reciprocity among them are often unclear even to researchers of WM; many patients actually die of the resulting side effects every year. The reciprocity between CTM and WM is even less studied, leaving the risk of their combined usage much greater. For example, to treat cold according to “Treatise on Febrile Disease”, if diagnosed and treated properly, normally within 3 days the patient is expected to reach full recovery. But if antibiotics is taken at the same time, sometimes it would last for weeks without recovery.

This article is based on the content of “Deciphering TCM” by Tongmei Pan; the original book was written in Chinese.

Can Ancient TCM Works Apply to Modern People?

The answer is it’s not entirely applicable, because there are huge differences between life of ancient and modern people:

1) Time of sleep: 
There was no convenience of electric light in old times, so very few people could stay up all night. Generally people were already sound asleep at 9 PM, and got up as early as 4 to 5 AM.

2) Life style-
Ancient people do not have access to the multitude of entertainment as we do today, such as sound and light stimulation in the form of TV, film, cell phone and internet.

3) No electric products-
Mainly no refrigerator, so ancient people did not have access to ice water or cold food.

4) Means of transportation-
Ancient people did not have vehicles like cars, and had to rely on their feet mostly of the time, which results more exercise than modern people.

5) Food-
There was no chemical fertilizers in old times, so all foods were organic.

6) No Western Medicine in ancient times-
So no one could take both Chinese traditional medicine (CTM) and Western Medicine at the same time.

This article is based on the content of “Deciphering TCM” by Tongmei Pan; the original book was written in Chinese.

Cosmetology Effect of Moxibustion

Where do you think a person is least afraid of cold?

It is the face. You may understand better if recall people in the ski resort, where almost every part of the body is covered except the face. No matter how cold it is, the face will always be exposed, but you won’t feel cold. Why is it so?

It is because the head and face are the areas where Yang Qi is most abundant. So by strengthening Yang Qi in this region, it would be a shortcut speedy cure.

One of the greatest benefit of moxibustion is it could quickly eliminate acne in the face, especially the acne for the adult women. After several times, your face would turn pink and white, and skin texture would improve perceptibly, which is almos as effective as the expensive cosmetics. Meanwhile, it was also found that chronic and allergic rhinitis that have been dragging for years often improve too.

Granted one must be careful not to touch moxa stick with the skin if you don’t want to leave any scar.

If your constitution is deficient in Yang, you could quickly get local channels dredged via moxibustion, and restore luster to the face. If you are past adolescence and deficient in Yang Qi, then effect of this method would be even more amazing- it could slow down aging and rejuvenate.

Furthermore, moxibustion of the Yintang acupoint could also help you discover other hidden conditions of the body. Then you can combine moxibustion with other methods and obtain unexpected health enhancement effects.

Yintang acupoint
Yintang acupoint

Is It Possible to Perform Moxibustion at Home?

Because of innate risk factor of moxibustion, primarily the various adverse effect, where some could become very uncomfortable and may take weeks to disappear, such as certain rashes; also in come cases, new symptoms, especially those related to past illnesses of the individual, would emerge again after the treatment is performed, which be very confusing and even frightening. So it is not recommended to perform moxibustion without proper guidance.

However, the overall safety record of moxibustion is pretty high, and even the most serious adverse effect could be eliminated with correct measures. In fact, moxibustion is deemed a relatively safe treatment method of TCM, which includes acupuncture, cupping, scraping theropy, massaging, and herbs.

The greatest challenge of performing it at home actually lies in whether one could obtain proper guidance to sail through various obstacless through moxibustion.

  1. What kind of equipment is to be selected?
  2. Where to get quality moxa/stick?
  3. Which moxibustion method is best based on individual case?
  4. What diseases or conditions can be treated by moxibustion?
  5. How to select acupoints that would best treat disease or conditions?
  6. What are the precautions that need to be followed?
  7. What are the diseases/conditions not suitable for moxibustion?
  8. What kind of adverse effect may happen during and after moxibustion, and how serious can they become? 
  9. Most importantly, if adverse effects did happen, are they treatable? and if so, how to treat them?
  10. Are there any other benefits of moxibustion other than treating diseases/discomforts, such as improve constitution and enhance immune system, so that one would be well equipped against possible pathogenic factor in the future?
  11. If any accidents during moxibustion happens, how to deal with them?
  12. And more…

Therefore, we are providing a consultation service that is targeted at solving all questions and doubts you may have about performing moxibustion at home, so you could fully enjoy the immense benefits that have been proven to be effective for over 2,000 years and on numerous people for a variety of diseases & conditions.

Click Here if you are interested in learning more about our consultation service.

Is Moxibustion Suitable for Everyone? (2)

So if someone’s physical condition is suitable for moxibustion, does it mean moxibustion can be performed at any time? The answer is no.

Many people may have heard of the saying that women cannot perform moxibustion during menstruation. I think this makes good sense in principle. Because the innate nature of moxibustion is Pure Yang, once enters the body, it would accelerate blood circulation and significantly ehnance vitality. However, for a girl with heavy menstrual flow, moxibustion during menstrual period would lead to even greater bleeding, thereby weakening the body, which is counterproductive of purpose of moxibustion. Therefore, moxibustion during menstruation should be very cautious.

Suspended Moxibustion
Suspended Moxibustion

There is a reason that I did not shut the door completely about performing moxibustion during menstruation, because it is not absolute. Traditional Chinese Medicine originated from philosophy, and is dialectical in a sense. One example is a classmate of mine, who exhibited symptoms of Blood Stasis. She often performs moxibustion in the middle of her period, which would make her menstruation smoother and her body more relaxed.

The moral of her case is moxibustion must be performed based on wise selection of timing, and depend on individual situation, so as to maximize its effect.

This post is eidted and translated from an article on

Is Moxibustion Suitable for Everyone? (1)

Based on many materials I read, including some books on TCM theory and consultation with doctors of TCM, it seems that not everyone is suitable for moxibustion, and the use of moxibustion does bear certain contraindications.

As a traditional health treatment, moxibustion uses natural product such as moxa or moxa stick, to burn and generate heat and smoke that carries healing and health enhancing power, which could fumigate and stimulate different acupoints in the body, strengthen the Yang, as well as all parts of the body, and remove Cold and Evil. Thus the body would enter a positive cycle and eliminate diseases. After performing moxibustion for a period of time, many people would feel better mood, more energetic, and sleep quality greatly improved, thereby becoming more healthy.

However, despite all these benefits, not everyone is suitable for moxibustion, or at all times.

Suspended Moxibustion
Suspended Moxibustion

One example is my mother-in-law, who always feel dry mouth after moxibustion, and could not sleep well, thus getting more uncomfortable rather than the opposite. Why is this? The answser is from Western Medicine diagnosis, her blood pressure is relatively high, and occasionally she still takes antihypertensive drugs to control her blood pressure. According to TCM diagnosis, she has hyperactivity of Liver Yang and needs to to nourish Yin, regenerate Body Fluid and clear Fire in daily life. Since moxibustion is a treatment that introduces more Fire into the body rather than clear it, her case is not suitable for moxibustion.

My mother also likes moxibustion. While watching me do it, she asked if I could perform it on her too? Afterwards she reported feeling energetic and sleeping well . Every year during dog days in summer, she would feel a little debilitated; but she said she felt energized and comfortable after moxibustion was performed.

This means it varies from person to person, and moxibustion is not suitable for everyone. A word of caution: it is a taboo to perform moxibustion during pregnancy.

This post is eidted and translated from an article on

A Difference between West and China- Health Maintenance

Maybe it is because of its rich history (3,000+ years) and a medical tradition of almost the same length, Chinese people are more aware of health and the majority of the population have some basic understanding on medicine, particularly Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is not uncommone to see a senior Chinese lady making comments on someone’s red face and oral ulcer that “he is suffering from Fire flaring upward”, and advise him to “eliminate the Fire”. In fact, Chinese TV broadcast, as well as social media, is inundated with health maintenance programs that are particularly popular among the elderly.

Part of the reason for such more widespread medical knowledge stems from the fact that TCM is a medicine originated more from philosophy than science, which was non-exitent in the ancient past; actually Modern Medical Science did not emerge until beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, and gained its greatest development in the early 20th century, e.g. after WWII. For example, 30% of deaths were still due to infection at the end of the 19th century; but this figure had fallen to less than 4% by the end of the 20th century.

Therefore, a Chinese patient have better chance of understanding a TCM physician because certain philosohpical concept of TCM is well familiarized among the masses, such as Yin and Yang, Qi and Blood, Cold and Heat, etc. For example, the ‘Fire’ mentioned in the above case is a very well-known concept. On the other hand, a typical Western patient may find it difficult to comprehend, not to mention communicate with a WM doctor. For one thing, it is unlikely that he would even understand the sbstruse terminology uttered from the doctor’s mouth. In sharp contrast, it is not a rare scene that a Chinese patient argues with a TCM physician regarding diagnosis and treatment of his disease, because he thinks he too, knows a thing or two about TCM.

The upside of the relatively easy-to-understand nature of TCM is people are hence more aware of their own well-being, specifically what to do to maintain their health, and what factors or life style to avoid. In fact, almost every adult in China could speak of some regiment they know or hear from media or friends and family that may actually work well if executed, not to mention those who pay particular attention to health maintenance and would know a lot more than average people.

When Should One See TCM Physician & What Is True TCM Physician?

When Should One See TCM physician

One should see a TCM doctor when illness is still at its initial stages, but not when the disease has already been confirmed through examination by Western Medicine and symptoms such as hyperthyroidism are already present, or the end phase of a disease; assistance of TCM should be sought when signs or symptoms first appear, such as insomnia, thirst, afraid of cold, fatigue, dizziness and palpitation, etc. In a word, when  diseases has not developed into the stage that can be detected by  Western Medicine.

Upon encountering a disease, first it is necessary to review personal life style and emotions of the patient, next to see a TCM physician (treatment at the phase of meridian disease), and then see doctor of Western Medicine (treatment at the phase of substantive organs disease) when it is beyond the expertise of TCM. This is the proper order of treatment.

If when minor ailment first appeared, immediately administer anodyne and antibiotics, this can only lead to disease of greater severity, and eventually all medicine would fail to work; this is an extremely irresponsible way of treatment.


What Is True TCM Physician?

In the United States, training of a Western Medicine doctor takes at least 7 years, not to mention years of internship before becoming a doctor. On the other hand, only about 4 years is required for the training of a TCM doctor, and after passing certain exams, one can open practice in many of the states, although they can only be called as ‘acupuncturist’.

There are many authentic TM physicians who master the essence of TCM treatment principles, and are able to treat patients at their fingertips. At the same time TCM physicians do differ greatly in their skill level and area of expertise. So extra caution is needed in the selection of TCM physicians.

Simply put, we should look for doctors whose practice is based on traditional TCM knowledge. In the United States, a large number of TCM physicians were originally doctors of Western Medicine in other countries, but unable to become doctor of Western Medicine in US, and instead  became TCM physician after only a few years’ of study. However, because of their familiarity with Western Medicine, they are most  welcomed by the U.S. patients.

Naturally their model of treatment is still based on Western Medicine- administering antibiotics to patients with cold, and anodyne to patients with pain; almost no TCM element is involved in their practice.

This article is based on content of “Deciphering TCM” by Tongmei Pan

Moxibustion at One Location Could Treat Multiple Diseases- Case: Cold & Rhinitis* (II)

Moxibustion at one location could treat multiple diseases (II)

The case of this patient was often encountered in clinic. My suspicion is it should be traced back to rhinitis or respiratory disease he had before, and moxibustion treatment happened to unearth these hidden diseases and expose them under the sun. Further inquiry confirmed my suspicion- turns out he had been afflicted by rhinitis for 7-8 years, which was sometimes better and sometimes worse.

I assured him that these manifestations showed moxibustion was effective on him. In fact it is a good opportunity to cure both his cold and rhinitis in one shot. I believe if he sticked to moxibustion for longer, these reactions would gradually decrease, and all original diseases would be cured.

So I advised him to continue moxibustion treatment; once all these reactions were eliminated through moxibustion, the diseases would be heal. There were two problems in his treatment: first, insufficient moxibustion time; and second, moxibustion was not performed thoroughly.

Despite all the adverse reactions, one should not stop moxibustion at this time. If stopped, it would give Evil a break for it to make a comeback, whose adverse effect could become even worse than this time. Such relapses are very detrimental to the diseases.

I explained to him the process of moxibustion again; this time especially emphasized that he should intensify moxibustion of Yingxiang , Yintang and Dazhui acupoints. Yingxiang is next to the nose, which is effective in treating nose diseases. Bird-pecking moxibustion could be performed, that is, the moxa stick is to be moved up and down towards this point, as in the move of a bird pecking. It should last for about 15 minutes.

Furthermore, another acupoint was added this time-Feishu, which is located on the Bladder Meridian of Foot, and effective in treating Lung Meridian and respiratory diseases, such as cough, asthma and stuffy nose. This acupoint can be used together with Yingxiang point to enhance the curative effect. Feishu is an acupoint in the back. 

Feishu acupoint
Feishu acupoint

The patient said he couldn’t figure out the precise location of the acupoints, and worry that the moxibustion would go wrong because of it.  Moxibustion carries a great advantage in that it’s not necessary for one to know the exact location of the acupoints, which is much different from acupuncture. In acupuncture, a needle is inserted into acupoints, which requires accuracy, therefore it is very difficult for people who have not studied TCM or do not understand meridians or acupoints. Moxibustion, on the other hand, involves a small area including the acupoints, so people who do not understand TCM or acupoints could perform it too. I pointed out the location of Feishu in his back, and told him to put  moxibustion box in this area next time. As long as moxibustion sense is felt in this region, it would be effective.

He followed my advice and continued moxibustion for one than week. In the end, not only was his cold cured, but also the rhinitis that had been plagued him repeatedly for years was gone. So he performed moxibustion in one place, and treated two diseases at the same time, which shows power of moxibustion. In fact the same routine could be done in the future, so as to improve immunity and prevent cold.

*These cases are selected from a book “Various Diseases Treated by Moxibustion”, written by Shan Xiamin, a renowned Chinese doctor.

**Severe adverse effect may occur, one should not perform any type of moxibustion without instruction of person of rich experience or professional.

Moxibustion at One Location Could Treat Multiple Diseases- Case: Cold & Rhinitis* (I)

Moxibustion at one location could treat multiple diseases (I)

As a doctor who has practiced for more than 30 years, I started to write blogs about my decades’ of experience after retirement. One of the purpose is to help those who are perplexed by illnesses yet unable to seek proper treatment.

Many of the inquiries I receive were about how to use moxibustion to treat diseases. Based on my own experience, moxibustion as a method for treatment is inexpensive, simple to operate, and very effective. It has proved for good result on most common diseases and chronic diseases. Another advantage of moxibustion is performing on one site could treat multiple diseases, which seems only possible in TCM. 

Yingxiang acupoint
Yingxiang acupoint

One of my patient was affected with common cold, whose main symptom was runny nose. I introduced him to a common moxibustion method** for treating colds: light a moxa stick, and suspend the burning end above skin at a distance where perceived temperature from the burning moxa stick is just tolerable. The distance could be further at the beginning, and shortened as one gets more comfortable. Next, start to move the moxa stick from Yingxiang acupoint upwards Yintang acupoint along bridge of the nose; hover above Yintang acupoint for a while, and then to the temple along the eyebrow; practice this repeatedly until skin turns flushed under the moxa fire. This is a moxibustion method called Mild Moxibustion, which would not harm the skin. I also told him it is only when the nose no longer feels hot, but a little cold, will it signify completion of the process. The effect would be best at this time, and could get the job done.

Yintang acupoint

He followed my advice and tried this method at home, but it did not work. He called me the next day and reported the cold felt worse after getting up in the morning; so he performed it again. Unexpectedly he found blood in snot after sneezing, and he felt dry mouth dry during the next few days. He asked if it moxibustion did not work on him, and worried whether new problems would happen besides blood in snot.

*These cases are selected from a book “Various Diseases Treated by Moxibustion”, written by Shan Xiamin, a renowned Chinese doctor.

**Severe adverse effect may occur, one should not perform any type of moxibustion without instruction of person of rich experience or professional.