The Founding President and Honorary Advisor of ICTCMV
Author of over 40 TCM books and globally known for his complete translation of the Yellow Emperor’s Classics and Difficult Classic.
Founding president of TCMABC (Traditional Chinese Medicine Association of BC, the first TCM professional association in BC).
Member of the earliest board of CTCMA (College of TCM Practitioners and Acupuncturists, the licensing body of TCM in BC).
Dr. Lu founded the International College of Traditional Chinese Medicine of Vancouver (ICTCMV) in 1986. Dr. Lu still develops the accredited curriculum and has translated over 30 of the best TCM books in the Chinese medicine including his worldly acclaimed translation of the Yellow Emperor, the Chinese Medical Bible. Dr. Lu has helped initiate TCM and Acupuncture legislation in BC and is widely respected in North America, Europe and all over the world. Dr. Lu sat on the Federal Board of Natural Health Products in Canada.
Dr. Henry Lu received his Ph.D. Degree from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. He taught at the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary between 1968 and 1971, and has practiced Traditional Chinese Medicine since 1972. As mentioned above, Dr. Lu is best known for his translation of Nei Jing and Nan Jing from Chinese into English. But now, 23 years later, Dr. Lu has completely revised the translations.
Dr. Lu has received many awards from TCM and acupuncture organizations worldwide.
How TCM and Acupuncture Should Be Learned and Practiced
Dr. Henry C. Lu
PhD, Dr TCM, Founding President of ICTCMV
First, to acquire a sufficient amount of knowledge in a variety of subjects
It is important to know that your teachers can only show you how to learn and what to learn, but they cannot learn for you. Learning is very much your own task; and the main sources of materials to learn are from textbooks. You cannot learn the subject matter without textbooks, which is why for each subject; you should select a textbook most suitable for you.
A classmate of my university years told me about his personal experience. This classmate was an average student in class, but when we graduated, he took part in an entrance examination to the graduate school; he turned out to be the best of all successful candidates. Many of us wondered why and how he did it. His explanation was that he loved reading and he had read not only the textbooks used in classrooms, but also many other textbooks translated from English into Chinese in a wide variety of subjects.
Second, to start clinical practice with clinical manuals
To acquire knowledge in class is paving the way for clinical practice. TCM doctors and acupuncturists need clinical manuals for their clinical practices for the same reason that they need textbooks for their subjects of study. To practice TCM and acupuncture without clinical manuals is like attending classes without textbooks.
Clinical practice, like classroom activities, is also a learning process. The difference between textbooks and clinical manuals consists in the fact that a textbook is a theoretical work, which should be sufficiently detailed and necessarily complicated in order to provide an adequate amount of knowledge to the readers. On the other hand, a clinical manual is practical, which should be comprehensive but easy to apply in clinical practice. A clinical manual can facilitate clinical practice in many ways.
(1) Convenience: once a patient came to consult me for atrophy of gums, because her dentist told her that her gums will be gone fairly soon and she would lose all her teeth. But I had never treated atrophy of gums before, which was new to me. I opened my clinical manual and found the following listing: Atrophy of gums has three most likely syndromes: stomach fire, kidney yin deficiency, and simultaneous deficiency of energy and blood. I diagnosed the case as simultaneous deficiency of energy and blood, and treated it accordingly; a few months later the patient reported that her gums returned to normal.
(2) Accuracy: once a colleague prescribed an herbal formula for a patient with “sensations of an object stuck in the throat, which cannot be swallowed or coughed out.” Subsequently he found out in one of his clinical manuals that instead of the formula he prescribed, he should have prescribed another formula, Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang as recommended in a famous classic.
(3) Speed: A complicated theory in a textbook may be translated into a simple application in a clinical manual. As an example, it is a complicated procedure to determine what points to use at a given time in acupuncture of stems and branches, but when it is transformed into a clinical manual, it takes only a few seconds. Again, it may take quite a while to figure out how to apply the four mother-child methods in clinics, but when it is transformed into a clinical manual, it takes only a few seconds. And also, how do you apply your knowledge of TCM and acupuncture classics in clinical practice? A clinical manual is the best tool.
(4) Choice: An acupuncture clinical manual may collect different sources of treatment points that can provide more choices in selecting treatment points.
Third, individual syndromes vs. integrated syndromes
In TCM diagnosis, the doctor needs to collect data from the patient in different ways, notably by questioning the patient, observing the patient, and taking the pulses, etc. which I call diagnosis of individual syndromes.
And then the doctor needs to determine what syndrome or syndromes are established from the individual syndromes, which I call diagnosis of integrated syndromes. Typically what a Chinese doctor does is to analyze the individual syndromes through reasoning and come up with an integrated syndrome or syndromes.
Unfortunately, to come up with integrated syndromes simply through reasoning may be too subjective or unreliable. This, from my point of view, seems to stand out as a most serious theoretical gap between individual syndromes and integrated syndromes in TCM, which must be improved accordingly in order to make TCM a more complete system of medicine.
I build bridges between individual syndromes and integrated syndromes in five objective methods (mathematically calculated) to make objective diagnosis, so that a practitioner can “cross the bridges” easily, so to speak, without making mistakes. What is objective diagnosis? Objective diagnosis means to make diagnosis objectively, neither by sweeping generalizations, nor by speculations, so that different doctors making it will arrive at the same or similar integrated syndromes in a given clinical case.
1. Comparison method (identification method); if you want to identify a person, you can be shown a few pictures and identify him or her by the pictures.
Treatises on Diseases of Invasive Pathogens?SH?NG HÁN LÙN?says, “When a greater yang disease displays fever, perspiration, aversion to wind, and a relaxed pulse, it is called wind stroke.” Suppose a patient displays fever, aversion to wind, perspiration, and a superficial and relaxed pulse, we can diagnose the patient as wind stroke syndrome, because the indications of the patient are comparable to those of wind stroke,
2. Inductive method (democratic method): This method of objective diagnosis may be compared to voting during an election. The syndrome that shows the highest number of votes is to be selected as the integrated syndrome to be treated in a particular clinical case.
3. Deductive method (chief complaint method or textbook method): first, identify the chief complaint or complaints, trace their syndromes, and then use the syndromes of other indications to select the syndrome or syndromes with high scores as the final diagnosis.
4. Counterevidence method: If a patient displays two chief complaints, we can reject any syndrome that contains only one chief complaint.
5. Determine body type method. In order to apply the objective methods, we need a comprehensive list of syndromes under each indications and a comprehensive list of indications under each syndrome. I have conducted extensive research and finally compiled the above-mentioned two comprehensive lists of information. A comprehensive list of syndromes under each indication enables us to identify the possible integrated syndrome of the disease under treatment. Suppose we are treating a patient with diabetes mellitus, we must know what possible integrated syndromes we will be looking for. On the other hand, a comprehensive list of indications under each syndrome enables us to identify the possible syndrome of the disease under treatment. Suppose we want to know whether the integrated syndrome is or is not cold-wind restricting lungs, we must have a list of indications under the syndrome.
Fourth, herbal therapy vs. acupuncture
The fundamental difference between herbal therapy and acupuncture in clinical practice consists in the treatment of syndromes. Treatment of syndromes is indispensable in herbal therapy and a doctor without knowledge of syndromes cannot practice TCM, whereas in acupuncture, treatment of syndromes is only an option, because it also heavily relies on about 50 principles of selecting treatment points.
Some students want to learn only acupuncture, not herbal therapy, which is very unwise. In fact, herbal therapy can be simpler than acupuncture in many ways, so long as the problem of integrated syndromes is resolved. Both a TCM practitioner and acupuncturist can practice TCM food cures, which is based on body types fairly easy to master.
Fifth, Assessing Your Own Confidence in Diagnosis
Look at the following clinical case:
Patient: male, age 48. The patient has suffered insomnia with dreams for a long time, with mental confusion, dizziness and headache, decreased memory, sore loins and ringing in the ears, feeling miserable & hasty with fever, thin coating and fine pulse.
Spend a few moments, if you like, to decide on the integrated syndrome or syndromes for the clinical case.
(A) Blood deficiency; (B) No communication between heart and kidneys; (C) Heart blood deficiency; (D) Spleen-kidney yang deficiency; (E) Others.
If you have questions, you are most welcome to attend my seminars or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
TCM and Acupuncture Books in English
The number of books of traditional Chinese medicine in English is just a drop in a bucket compared with the TCM books in Chinese?that may stand in the way of developing traditional Chinese medicine in the Western world.
To view my 25 new books, visit www.amazon.com and enter online at: Paperbacks by Henry C. Lu, PhD
Books are divided into the following categories: 1 Theory and philosophy, 2 Textbooks, 3 Clinical guides, 4 Special topics, 5 Licensing examinations guides, 6 Food cures, 7 Language learning.