I recently spoke on a podcast and the subject of “processed food” came up frequently during the interview. After we had concluded I realized that I could have elaborated on the different levels and methods that are utilized in the processing of food. Not all processed food is unhealthy and in our often-busy lives, it’s helpful to make a distinction so we can choose efficiently and wisely for our health. Nowadays our grocery store aisles contain food products that have been hugely altered from their original states in ways that would have been unimaginable 100 years ago. Many staples such as bread, yoghurt, cereal, and baked goods have gone from being just simple processed food items to becoming ultra-processed food (UPF). Awareness and education of what we think we are eating and what we are actually eating is crucial not only to our own health but for the health of our children and grandchildren born into this world of quick, easy and addictive food products.
Sabine Schmitz (M. Med. TCM) is a graduate of the Zhèjiang Chinese Medical University in Hángzhou, China where she majored in Chinese medical dermatology. Her enormous knowledge treasures from China as well as her many years of experience benefit many patients with chronic and complex skin diseases – such as psoriasis and eczema – but also many other patients with various diseases. Sabine has a busy TCM practice specializing in skin diseases, gynecological disorders and infertility treatment. Her first book with Singing Dragon, Treating Psoriasis with Chinese Herbal Medicine (Revised Edition) was published in 2020 as part of a new dermatology series. Her second book with us, Treating Acne and Acne Rosacea with Chinese Herbal Medicine, will be published in November 2021.
When I look at social media these days, I see more and more reports from patients describing improvements in their skin diseases by using Chinese herbs. That is a good thing because it spreads awareness of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and gives other patients, who might currently be looking for a suitable therapy, options and ideas. Sometimes, patients upload pictures of granules, sometimes raw herbs or, in rare cases, I see pills. However, today I would like to discuss why raw herbs are best in the treatment of chronic and complex skin diseases from a therapist’s point of view, who sees difficult skin diseases every day.
Using decoctions as treatment
The wide variety of treatment options developed over the centuries and the extensive range of internal and external applications TCM offers are a direct response to the flexibility required in curing complex disease patterns. When talking about raw herbs, I am referring to “decoctions”, in Chinese this is called jiān jì (煎剂). As seen in practice, decoctions, or teas, of raw herbs are the most effective form of treatment. They are easy to prepare and drink. And when I say easy to prepare, I mean boiling raw herbs up for a couple of hours a week – it’s not rocket science and most patients will do this when the benefits are properly explained to them. Continue reading →
In this video, Sabine introduces her book, the first comprehensive English-speaking guide to treating psoriasis with Chinese herbal medicine.
We have implemented some exciting changes into this edition:
We’ve vividly enriched the book with illustrations, photographs of both the skin and the tongue (including a tongue atlas), as well as in-depth case studies and new information based on the latest research.
It is beautifully designed and type-set – readers will now find it much easier to navigate and dip in and out of the text as needed.
The perfect resource for Chinese medicine practitioner or student interested in treating skin conditions, this is the first ‘Western’ Chinese medicine publication dedicated specifically to psoriasis, and it takes a modern, practical approach to treatment, looking at the root cause of the condition from a Chinese medicine viewpoint, examining the most common Chinese medicine syndromes and formulas that have been proven to be most effective, and discussing the role of environment and emotional health.
New TCM Dermatology Series with Singing Dragon
This book is the first of a new TCM dermatology handbook series that Sabine is working on with Singing Dragon, with practical books about the most common skin diseases.
We’re creating the ultimate resources for practitioners to use in clinical practice – easy to read, use and navigate in day-to-day practice, and based on her many years of experience in treating skin conditions with Chinese medicine.
To keep an eye out for upcoming books in the series, subscribe to the Singing Dragon mailing list by clicking here.
Our new book, Chinese Medicine Psychology: A Clinical Guide to Mental and Emotional Wellness, is the culmination of many years of clinical work, teaching, research and collaboration. It includes and expands upon some of our previous conference and published papers. It also contains a lot of new material to provide a more complete guide to Chinese medicine’s practice response, management and cultivation of mental and emotional well-being.
What does the book cover?
The book applies classical ideas to the contemporary clinical setting, modern disease categories and individual patient presentations, and is in two parts. Continue reading →
As part of our Meet The Singing Dragon Author series, we speak to authors to discuss their motivation for entering their respective industries, inspiration for writing their books, what challenges they faced, and who they would recommend their books to. Is there a specific Singing Dragon author you would like to hear from? Let us know in the comments or join the conversation using #MeetTheSDAuthor.
How did you become interested in Chinese medicine and acupuncture?
My interest in Chinese medicine began in my teen years, when I started practicing yoga and macrobiotics at seventeen years old in New York, to which I continue to practice both disciplines today. This was in part to the “sixties revolution” where consciousness and ecology came in on the boot heels of the Beatle’s personal explorations. I took classes in shiatsu with Shizuko Yamamoto in New York and Boston, and opened macrobiotic centers in Boulder, Colorado and Santa Fe, New Mexico after a stint in the natural food business in the early 1970’s. Continue reading →
As part of ourMeet The Singing Dragon Authorseries, we speak to authors to discuss their motivation for entering their respective industries, inspiration for writing their books, what challenges they faced and who they would recommend their books to. Is there a specific Singing Dragon author you would like to hear from? Let us know in the comments or join the conversation using#MeetTheSDAuthor.
How did you become interested in cupping therapy? Were there any challenges in entering this field?
I would not be exaggerating if I said that I was born into the cupping therapy world! My grandmother, who at the time was living with us in Lemba in Cyprus, was a renowned midwife and herbalist. She would often use this technique to treat the expectant mothers for their various complaints, including colds and muscular aches and pains. It was my mother’s duty – and, much later, mine – to wash and clean up the cups after each use. Later on in 1982, when I studied traditional Chinese medicine in Melbourne, Australia, to my surprise I discovered that cupping therapy is also part of the traditional Chinese medicine treatment tools. Needless to say I was so familiar with the techniques that our professor, Dr Wang, asked if I could assist him during the sessions! Continue reading →
John Kirkwood has been working, living and playing with the Five Elements for 30 years. In this article, he discusses how we can explore the Water Element – that of fear – during the coming winter season. John is the author of The Way of the Five Elements and The Way of the Five Seasons.
In the northern hemisphere winter is beckoning. Nature’s focus slides down and goes within.
As practitioners we are not separate from nature and its changes. To be fully present in the treatment room we must take account of the season and our relationship to it. Winter conveys the essence of the Water Element and all of its associations. Great yin: dark, cold, deep, within. How comfortable are we with what we find there, deep inside ourselves – the hidden places, the dark secrets, the cold corridors of our history?
The prevalence of those who have encountered trauma in their lives is staggering. If my medical practice is any indication, roughly 75% of those I treat have signs and/or symptoms of past traumatic events. And whilst most patients seeking treatment (and most medical providers for that matter) don’t recognise the connection of their symptoms to traumas that may have occurred even decades prior, not addressing the traumas can create a major roadblock to successful treatments, handcuffing the practitioner and frustrating the patient who does not fully find relief.
Rebecca Avern is a traditional acupuncturist and founder of The Panda Clinic, a children’s acupuncture centre in Oxford. She is also a senior lecturer and clinical supervisor at the College of Integrated Medicine, Reading, UK. In this piece, the author of Acupuncture for Babies, Children and Teenagers discusses the values of acupuncture for children and the diverse range of conditions it can help treat.
Acupuncture is used all around the world to treat children. In the developing world, where antibiotics and vaccinations may not be available or affordable to many families, acupuncture may be used to help children through acute illnesses. Treatment during, for example, a severe febrile disease may reduce the chances of the child being left with significant morbidity, such as breathing problems or even paralysis. Some of my colleagues in the wonderful World Medicine charity (www.worldmedicine.org.uk) treat children hit by poverty, trauma and natural disasters all around the world. Acupuncture’s ability to treat both the body and the spirit means it is of great value to these children, who may have suffered huge amounts of trauma, as well as coping with enormous physical hardships.
Charles Buck is widely respected as a practitioner, educator and author in the field of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Originally from a medical science background he became one of the first to practise and teach Chinese herbal medicine in the UK over thirty years ago. He has since gained respect for his knowledge and insight and has made significant contributions to its development in the UK and Europe. In this article, he gives a short overview on how traditional Chinese therapies, such as acupuncture and moxibustion, first made their way to Europe, based on his book, Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
Between 1580 and 1680 Jesuit missionaries, traders and diplomats brought a slow trickle of hearsay medical knowledge to the West from China. Trade with China introduced Europeans to Ming and Qing dynasty ideas and aesthetics through fine commodities such as porcelain, silk and tea. Information on acu-moxa treatment filtered into Europe on the back of the wider romances with Chinoiserie that occurred in the 17th and 18th centuries. Around the same time the Chinese purgative herb da huang (Rheum palmatum) was supplied as a medicinal product to apothecaries across Europe – coming along the Silk Route it was distributed via Istanbul and known as ‘Turkey Rhubarb’.