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Parkinson's Disease and TCM

Is Parkinson ’s disease caused by genetic factors; toxins; free radicals? The debate continues over the possible contributing causes of Parkinson’s disease, but Traditional Chinese medical (TCM) theory has its own way of delineating this progressive degenerative disease.

Liver Yin Deficiency and Parkinson ’s Disease
Tremors and spasms are an indication of Internal Wind according to TCM. When Liver Yin is consumed, the Liver energetic organ begins to heat up; rising heat creates Wind. This phenomenon can be seen in nature where forest fires create their own weather patterns that can be treacherous for pilots trying to douse the fire. The same laws of nature that apply to the world around us also apply to our bodies. Symptoms would include erratic movements, pain made better by movement, and dark circles under the eyes. Additional indications of Yin Deficiency such as thirst, insomnia, and a feeling of heat in the body may also be present.

Liver Qi Stagnation and Parkinson ’s Disease
Just as Liver Yin Deficiency results in Internal Heat and Wind, so do Liver Qi constraints. The Liver is responsible for the free flow of Qi throughout the body; according to TCM theory, where Qi goes, Blood goes. Long standing Liver Qi Stagnation can therefore result in generalized Qi Stagnation and Blood Stagnation. Hand, foot, and head shaking would be accompanied by fixed, possibly sharp pain and numbness throughout the body. Trouble sleeping and irritability would be common with this pattern.

Qi and Blood Deficiency and Parkinson ’s Disease


Physical tiredness along with loss of strength and spontaneous sweating would indicate Qi Deficiency. Dull eyes lacking spirit and a pale complexion would indicate Blood Deficiency. The two conditions are often seen together in Parkinson’s Disease with a patient who is likely uninterested in speaking or moving. 

Spleen Qi Deficiency with Internal Dampness and Parkinson ’s Disease
Internal Dampness creates a feeling of heaviness in the body, such as a heavy head that is hard to hold up. Pain may be deep and achy with Internal Dampness as it blocks the free flow of Qi in the body. Cold limbs and a desire for warm covers would be likely with this imbalance. Loose or sticky stools and general fatigue would likely be present also.

Many serious chronic disease patterns can be alleviated or reversed utilizing Chinese medicine; Parkinson’s disease would be an unlikely candidate for this type of optimism. However, TCM can be used to help lessen the severity of symptoms associated with this complicated condition. Many times, lessening suffering by only 20-30% can make life tolerable for an individual coping with chronic pain and immobility. Therefore, while not a cure, herbal therapies have their value with Parkinson’s disease.

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