Dr Li Ying-che
Dr Bach’s herbal healing method takes no notice of the disease, thinking only of the outlook on life of the one in distress, which is to say that it sets aside the question of physiology and disease in favour of a direct observation of the patient’s moods and frame of mind when suffering from the disease. It relies on individual temperament and personality in the selection of herbs.
However, many females suffer intensely from their menstrual cramps and the majority of those turn to the simplest method of relief – taking painkillers. Those that are used to Bach flower therapy, however, will first turn to Rescue Remedy. In fact, Rescue Remedy is useful in alleviating symptoms of acute diseases. For a ‘Qi deficiency’ pattern of menstrual discomfort, however, these may not be as effective. After undergoing clinical observations under my supervision, however, menstrual pains of this sort will not disappear, even after ingesting many painkillers.
Lee Dong-yuan, one of the four famous Jin Yuan doctors of ancient China, suggested that ‘constant fluctuations between hunger and fullness are harmful to the stomach, fatigue is harmful to the spleen’ and that ‘insufficiency of centre qi prevents the Yang from upbearing and causes the Yin to become fire’, among other theories. The initiation of the Centre-Supplementing Qi-Boosting Decoction achieved an increase in qi by eliminating heat through sweetness and warmth. But we first leave aside the medical theories and return to the basics of the simplicity and purity of Bach flower therapy.
The clinical characteristic of the ‘Qi deficiency’ pattern of menstrual pains:
1. Body Conformation
Sagging shoulders, hunched back, prefers sitting or lying down, prefers to place arms on armrest or table when sitting, prefers to prop up legs when lying on back, prominent lower belly.
2. Symptoms & Signs
(1) Usually feels bloated in the afternoon and experiences a sensation of swelling in the lower extremities. Experiences bloatedness, hiccups, discomfort in the abdomen when full or fatigued, or anus with some wanting to relieve the bowels, though only releasing gas in the end or passing stool with difficulty. In more extreme cases, may experience soreness or constipation.
(2) The menstrual period brings abdominal bloating, constipation and muscular cramps. May also experience a sore back, water retention in the lower limbs, diarrhoea, constipation or other menstrual symptoms.
3. Physical Examination
Upper abdomen is sunken in, internal organs within the lower abdomen are noticeably filled, and the patient will experience pain in certain parts of the body when pressure is applied.
Depending on the particular character weakness, Olive, Oak and Centaury have been shown to be remedies that impact on the ‘Qi deficiency’ pattern of menstrual cramps the most.
Patients requiring this kind of herb are those that display clinical symptoms of physical weakness and fatigue, such that any engagements, duties or matters could feel like a serious burden. The patient always feels that she is in need of sleep, though sleep does not take away fatigue or lethargy. She may have sagging eyes and pale complexion.
Body conformations reveal stiff neck and shoulders. The shin zone of Olive in the shoulder region (Note 1). There may be noticeable protrusion of the abdomen, and applied pressure at certain points may result in a symmetrical pain on both left and right sides of the abdomen.
Patients requiring this kind of herb are those that feel the stress of their responsibilities. Their bodies may already be weak and fatigued, but they may struggle against it nonetheless to achieve what they must. Another possibility is that the patient is unaware of her fatigue or even the fact that she is sick. Only during holidays might she feel ill. She may feel that she cannot afford to sleep because of work.
Body conformations reveal the right half of the body is lower than the left. There may be noticeable tenderness in the right side of the abdomen. The shin zone of Oak in the patient’s right nape region (Note 2).
(Note 1, Note 2 : Refer to “New Bach Flowers Body Maps, Dietmar Kramer ”)
Patients requiring Centaury flower remedy are those that are zealous in their desire to help others and are especially warm-hearted. They attend to others often to the detriment of their own interests and responsibilities, which they may not fulfil. Their physical strength and energy may be depleted to almost-critical levels. Some may continue to have problems refusing the requests of others even as their own business and interests are left unattended to. Excessive pushing of one’s limits weakens the body, and vital energy is decreased.
(1) It is usually possible to improve the symptom by taking some Chinese medicine. The doctor should inform the patient of the causes behind her condition and advise her to make physical and mental adjustments, as well as making an effort to get enough rest and not overwork herself. With respect to diet, she should eat more meals with smaller portions and avoid eating too many fruits, colder vegetables, tea and drinks, as well as foods that decrease vital energy (such as white radishes, water chestnuts, etc.)
(2) I frequently use the flower remedies in conjunction with one another. On the one hand, I seek to restore the patient’s physical strength and energy. At the same time, I seek to make adjustments to the dissipation of strength and energy that are flowing incorrectly or in excessive amounts. Olive, Oak and Centaury are the three flower remedies I regard the most highly with respect to these problems and the first ones I tend to consider. Of course, distinguishing the cause of illness by observing the patient’s negative archetypal behaviour is still most important. But the other flower remedies should also be considered.
(3) It is possible to use the flower remedies externally as a paste on the body. Based on clinical discoveries, Olive, Oak and Centaury are the remedies I most commonly suggest. I also suggest Rescue Remedy as well.
In addition, it is also possible to coordinate herbal treatment with qigong for good health. Tai Chi, yoga, KTV or karaoke, mountain climbing and then calling out from the top of the mountain can all help to boost moods. With the restoration of spirits and qi, the patient’s decreasing middle qi levels will increase once more.
Activities that facilitate the increase and spread of qi through the body can correct insufficient centre qi levels.
Perform for five minutes three times a day
Topical application of the flower remedies
General use calls for two drops of flower remedy or four drops of Rescue Remedy mixed into 100 ml of water. Soak a piece of gauze or cotton make-up pads in the mixture. For Olive remedy, two separate pieces may be used, one applied on each shoulder. For Oak remedy, the gauze or pad should be applied on the right side of the nape. For Centaury remedy, the gauze or pad should be applied on the right wrist. If Rescue Remedy is used, it should be applied on the abdomen, and in particular where pain is most obvious. (For the shin zone of the flower remedy and external use , refer to “New Bach Flowers Body Maps, Dietmar Kramer”)
Most of the externally-applied flower remedy should be effective for 2-4 hours, although the effectiveness will vary from person to person. If pains are not relieved after the first application, a second application can proceed. There is no limit to how many times the paste can be applied each day as there is no threat of an overdose. It is also possible to change to orally-ingested remedies once the externally applied medicine has provided some relief. The dosage is not much higher, but if the patient continually sips at the concoction, its curative effects are much greater. How much is orally ingested should all depend on individual needs.
There are many case studies for the ‘Qi deficiency’ pattern of menstrual pains. Below are presented two of these for reference.
Miss Zheng. Married. Born March 20, 1969. Case Number 001217. Experienced aching on the right side of the abdomen during menstruation from 2004 until she received treatment from this clinic. Patient experienced allergic rhinitis and menstrual cramps for many years. A year and a half earlier, she had endometriosis and chocolate cyst of the right side ovary. She received surgery.
Three months later, she began experiencing menstrual pains again, but it was only recently that these pains began to intensify. She would experience soreness in her waist for several days before menstruation, which would become most painful three days into the period. The pain could only be alleviated with painkillers, although these would not always be effective. She would feel straining in her right abdomen during these pains. At the fifth day, the body would begin to relax. Her menstrual period generally lasted seven days. She felt fatigue in her entire body when pain was present. She wasn’t able to even sit comfortably and was very irritable.
Diagnosis and treatment
(1) Application of Vervain and Chicory on the shin zone or parts of the abdomen that experienced pain with applied pressure had no effects.
(2) Changed to another flower remedy for treatment: Rescue Remedy externally applied; symptoms were slightly alleviated and the patient was able to lie down comfortably, albeit only with a bent waist. She was still unable to stand up straight.
(3) Further physiological examination revealed abnormality on the shin zone of Oak and Willow and that internal organs were noticeably more filled in the upper abdomen area than the lower abdomen area. Oak flower remedy was externally applied on the right side of the nape. The pain inside the lower abdominal area was greatly alleviated by over 70%.
(4) Her waist was still sore, however, and she would still experience pain when pressure was applied on her lower abdomen. Willow flower remedy was applied. The patient could not sit or stand comfortably and was irritable, so Impatiens flower remedy was applied. About a minute later, the patient’s aches had completely vanished.
After her symptoms were alleviated, the patient began flower therapy on a daily basis (Impatiens, Oak, Willow). In addition, she did not take painkillers during future menstrual periods, as dictated by Chinese medicinal treatment methods.
Miss Wu. Married. Born October 2, 1958. Case Number 000798. Underwent surgery prior to marrying due to myoma of the uterus and cyst of the left side ovary. A portion of her left ovary was removed. She underwent treatment in Chinese medicine, and had already experienced menstrual pains for a year. She now has two boys.
In January 2005, she felt that she had no energy in her hands and was even unable to use chopsticks. She came to our clinic to undergo flower therapy (including Centaury, Holly, Oak, Willow and Chicory). The treatment was effective and she is fully recovered.
She was recently busy preparing for an international conference and continued to have responsibilities to her children. She felt unable to shoulder these burdens due to a lack of physical strength, but was unable to detach herself from these responsibilities.
During last month’s menstrual period, she experienced severe menstrual pains. Starting in the afternoon and before getting off from work, she would experience pain on the right side of her lower abdomen, soreness in her waist, total body fatigue and weariness. At night, she had to push out her buttocks when sleeping to alleviate the pain in her lower abdomen. She came in for an examination on March 25, 2005, just as her menstrual period was beginning. The pain in her abdomen and back was unrelieved through painkillers or hot compresses.
Diagnosis and treatment
(1) A physical examination revealed that internal organs were noticeably more filled in the upper abdomen area than the lower abdomen area. It also revealed abnormality on the shin zone of Oak, Chicory and Olive. Application of those three remedy alleviated the symptoms.
(2) After her symptoms were alleviated, the patient began the flower therapy on a daily basis (Olive, Oak, Centaury, Elm, Chicory).
External use of flower remedies
External application of the flower remedies is excellent for the ‘Qi deficiency’ pattern of menstrual pains, with lack of self-knowledge leading to an exhaustion of physical strength and energy.
Those requiring the Olive remedy are those that need to restore energy to their systems; those requiring the Oak remedy are those that have misplaced responsibilities and don’t know that their own physical strength is overdrawn, struggling to perform a wide range of duties nonetheless; those requiring the Centaury remedy are those for whom their wish so grows upon them that they become more servants than willing helpers and are in danger of totally consuming all their energy. Without the flower remedies’ assistance, these patients will continue with their harmful lifestyles and their conditions will continue to plague them.
The doctor must inform the patient of the causes of her disease and how she may be misled in her beliefs. Suitable advice from the doctor is very important for the patient to make a true recovery.