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Sweat is the Fluid of the Heart

Yesterday I saw quite the unique patient. She was a 43 yr old female who was originally dx with congestive heart failure. 2.5 yrs ago while walking in a park she had a sensation like her head was swelling and about to pop. She went to the ER and was given the above dx. She was given a laundry list of medications none of which helped her get better. Asking her doctor what kind of dietary changes she should make she was told that diet has no influence on her health and all she has to do is to continue to take her meds. After which she abandoned her western medical course of treatment and travelled far to see a chiro and a TCM practitioner. They both told her that she did not have CHF and the chiro even said go ahead and stop all your meds and see (definitely not legal). Anyways with the supplements and herbs she was given she began to see improvements in her health. She also drastically changed her diet. You might wonder how a 43 yr old women of normal build develops CHF. Apparently she was working herself to death. She has 7 kids, runs a small business, and was in a number of toxic relationships. Coffee was not strong enough for her, she relied on red bulls to power her through the day. After years of this self-abuse she severely damaged her heart and kidney. The two alternative practitioners helped her to learn how to relax, which was a foreign concept to her before then. She also saw an ayurvedic practitioner locally who also helped with supplements and dietary advice.

When she came to see me she said she was in a much better state, but nonetheless she was a complete mess. She fit the perfect mold of a Shao Yin Yang deficiency case, dispirited appearance, with slow confused speech. Somnolence, though because she had severe edema on the lower extremities and retention of fluids in her chest she could not lay down for long periods of time. Even sitting and conversing she was panting and tired and had a persistent cough. Her chief complaint was the edema in her legs, they would swell to near bursting for which she would have to take a water pill that would make her constantly urinate.

Debating between whether to supplement the heart or kidney, I ultimately went with heart because she constantly feels cold and her left Cun pulse was nearly imperceptible. Since she was unable to lay down I treated her in a sitting position. After 25 minutes of needle retention I came into the room to take out the needles. She said she was calmer and more relaxed. After a moments pause she also mentioned that she had begun sweating during the treatment which she hadn’t been able to do for the past several months. At that instance I was once again struck by the efficacy of Sa’am acupuncture. I sent her home with Gan Jiang Ling Zhu Tang + Fu Zi and will see her next week.


fascinating case - thanks for sharing - please do keep us posted on how this case develops.

Saw the patient yesterday. She felt much better in the past few days. Cough has reduced, speed of speech and cognition improved. No longer dizzy, more energy, appetite returning, etc. I supplemented HT again and prescribed Zhen Wu Tang. She didn’t take her waterpill this morning and blew up significantly, she looked 9 months pregnant.

Seeing her again on Thursday, thinking of either using +LI or +KI but we’ll see what she presents with on that day.

Cases are great to learn from, thank you for posting. Although not considered in this tradition as Toby has passed down, I am curious what is her tongue like? Swollen, scalloped, pale?
You said you were thinking of LI+, I am wondering if LU+ would fit for her as well given her exhaustion. How are her resources, thenar eminence, skin?

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I am also curious about using Lung+ for this case. I’ve used it for edema from exhaustion with flat thenars even when the skin is dry.

Just a reminder that really depleted patients often do better changing up the treatment each time.

Please let us know how she makes out. Thanks!

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