Technology and Health Care

I was very thrilled to see how, sticky paper are used to provide third-world countries some form of affordable, convenient lab diagnosis. I love it when technological advancements create tools in healthcare that would help make care more accurate diagnosis, and affordable treatments. There are now so many Ipad apps that help physician and health practitioners make more accurate diagnosis and treatment,  communicate with patients and more! New York Times had a recent article on how IPad Apps has been changing the way medicine is practice. It’s great that the practice of medicine is changing for the better but it is important to remind ourselves that we want to practice patient-centered care.

Let’s remind ourselves not to overemphasize on disease or be over-obsessed with technological diagnostic tools but focus on the patient. This is when I appreciate the practice of Chinese Medicine where we look at the body as a dynamic system (almost like a mini eco-system within) and give a person the tools to help them achieve optimal health.

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Lesson 1: Lingering cough

As a student learning anatomy, pathology, chinese medicine and western medicine, you get a different learning experience from simply being ill.  Who knows that my lingering cough has become one of my valuable learning experience, right? I read about respiratory symptoms and treatments but never really know what it really feels like. Usually I can only live through the Symptoms my patients experience but now I get to experience it first hand! BUT, in the last two days.. I experienced what real wheezing felt like, cough attacks, phlegm with tinged blood, etc. ..

What I learned when I’m sick:

– Running makes me wheeze. If I continue running, it will only make it worse

– The more I try not to cough, the more it backfires then it  would turn into a horrifying cough attack.

-Now I have a few food remedies for coughs 🙂

Vegetarian for a Week

After a night of indulging pounds of meat, my body is screaming for a “cleanse” and I agreed. So, I challenged myself to a one week vegetarian diet (starting Saturday). It is the second day and I feel great. I am limited to my options since I am accustomed to some sort of meat (fish, chicken, beef) in my meals but this is when limitation creates opportunity to try something new and room for creativity. I bought taro and a turnip, thinking of making my CNY dish but i forgot that those dishes requires minced pork and “lap cheung”.–failed attempt since I am trying to be vegetarian for a week. So I spent the afternoon figuring out how to use my “special ingredients” and finally cooked two dishes: green onions taro stew and fried eyes with diced taro and green beans. It was not bad for a noob cooking :). This vegetarian challenge is actually making me plan out my meals for the week. I am starting to like it….

I also like the feeling of abstinence. It feels like my mind is more powerful than my stomach. :D. FIVE MORE DAY TO GO…

[the meal that started this vegetarian challenge]

Best way to ease a Headache

This is not the typical headache. It’s the headache that I get when I resume to my working schedule after a nice relaxing weekend. It’s the headache that tells you,”Ah, I need to get use to this fast pace life again–headache”. It’s the headache that makes me realized that I’m undergoing stress. So, now what? One may suggest, “pop in a pill!” but is it the best way to deal with it? The pill will only suppress the symptoms temporarily, until my body adjusts itself and I don’t want to be depended on a pill. On a mission to ease my headache, I tried to do a few things that helped my headache (HA).

1) Ask for a Back Rub/Head Rub — this actually alleviated the tension on my back and neck. According to one of the clinicians, headaches often are caused by the tension in the trapezius muscles and the neck muscles. The massage felt good and for a little while, it really helped ease the HA,

2) Socialize with a good friend — Yes this did distract me from my pounding HA.  I did feel a little better when I’m in the middle of the conversation but my right temple was still pounding after the talk

3) Playing Music — I seriously think this is my way of therapy for myself. I sit in front of the keyboard and let whatever notes float through my fingers. As I get  immersed into the melody, I would feel like I am in a different world. It’s quite phenomenon experience. I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s like feeling of creating something or being productive without using any effort, it’s a interesting yet GOOD feeling.

4) Listening to some BACH Bradenburg – similar to the #3 experience (kind of). I feel like my brain is on “yoga” when i listen to BACH or something similar to his classical pieces. It helps me clear my mind yet “strengthens” it. It’s interesting how I  get more energized after listening to a good BACH piece.

5) A Good Hug — Nothing feels better than a good hug from mama and/or friend(s). I guess this is the therapeutic touch effect? Whatever it is, it’s working :).

I wonder if these approaches would work for everybody? Maybe it only applies to my Headache, who knows.

Sliding Cups

The cupping methods always felt like a mystery to me until today. One may ask what is cupping. There is no better way to explain but to use pictures to explain. Here what it entails:

A flame (or suction) is used to create a “vacuum effect” in the cups. It’s kind of the same concept of a kid trying to suck out all the O2 in a glass cup to make it stay on their face (as my friend commented). This therapeutic treatment is also notorious for its temporary marks (as below) but is often a misinterpretation of the cupping method. Often time, certain marks reveal the person’s condition (read more about cupping here). The site actually does a good job in explaining what happens to the body during cupping.

SOO..I experienced the “sliding cups” –where the cups were slid back and forth instead of stationary cups. It left no marks and felt AMAZING!  Before I had the sliding cup treatment, my shoulder and neck were tense from studying. After the few minutes of Sliding cups, my body feels GREAT! My goodness, didn’t know cupping was that effective on musculoskeletal issues. It’s as good as a body massage if not better! This therapeutic model definitely has potential, especially for those who are athletes! I will definitely need to fine tune my skills on this. I’m looking for volunteers to practice on…. :D.

Laryngitis

This is my first experience of Laryngitis aka “losing my voice”

It started on Friday night then my situation exacerbated.. (well it’s not that severe as it sounds since i can still whisper and squeal?) But it’s pretty bad. I picked up the home phone and my aunt could not make out what I was saying. Basically, I was a mute person (but I still attempted to scold at my little cousins… -__-). I should of done some research on acute laryngitis earlier so I can avoid doing things that would make my situation worse (i.e. whispering a lot, swallowing saliva, eating spicy food, attempt to use my whisper voice to youtube Karaoke and….).

Well at least, I webMDed some facts on Laryngitis and have a general idea what is happening to my body. And guess what.. I also did a search on  alternative approaches (how predictable of me?) to treat laryngitis (i.e. homeopathy, TCM Herbs). I really want to understand the TCM theory behind laryngitis but I have not master my TCM foundations yet.  Man,  I should of saw this swelling coming when I had sore throat problems (which subsided with some honey, mint tea). Then I noticed my uvula was bright red (but I thought this was just an extended symptom of my sore throat, I guess it’s warning for other things).   But I’ve been drinking a lot of liquid and special tonic Tea to relieve my throat. I hope I get better soon… it shouldn’t last more than 2 weeks but it might take a week to get better. If I rest more, I may recover faster (crossing my fingers).

I must rest more.

Herbal Tea – Cinnamon

As I reviewed my notes for my”Herbalogy ” (with an British accent) final, I definitely have found Chinese Herbs much more fascinating than before. I further developed an interest on how herbs are incorporated to gourmet dishes. How these herbs can enhance flavor and add a medicinal effect on food. Little did I know that this type of culinary arts have been used thousand of years ago during the Chinese Dynasties. It was like brushing the tip of a glacier where there is much more to learn about. This makes me want to improve my Chinese so I can read through Chinese historical cookbooks. I wonder what those would look like? Would they have measurements? or would it be like how my grandmother does it: by “experience”. Did I mention how my grandmother never really measured how much seasoning she puts in the food, she just knows. Perhaps, this is how I adapted a quite versatile cooking style. Or Perhaps, this is why I always fail at baking because it always required an exact measurement and order (like a stubborn baby??). Recently, I have been experimenting with herbal teas :).  I made concoctions of  herbs that are good for digestion,  insomnia, strengthening the body, and others all in one tea. It’s fun to experiment with the taste while knowing the function behind each herb.

For the Winter time, the TCM Clinician recommended a herbal tea that includes Cinnamon, Ginger and Dried Red Dates (aka Jujubees) to warm the body. What amazes me is how these herbs work? So, I looked up some facts about Cinnamon and found that it is not only a delicious spice but has many functions. It strengthen the circulatory system and is usually used in TCM treatment for  lower back pains, cold hands and feet, fatigue, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Is this why during the Winter season, Ginger and Cinnamon is used so often? Perhaps, traditions last this long for a reason?

CINNAMON-GINGER-DATES Herbal Tea – I tried it today and it’s delicious. It also feels very warming and the sweetness from this tea makes it very smoothing for the body. ENJOY!  -S

HOW TO MAKE IT:

Gather your 3 ingredients: (1) 1-3 Cinnamon Sticks/bark, (2) 2-3 slices of Ginger, (3) 3-5 Dried Red Dates

Boil them for 15-20mins and serve it hot.