Posts Tagged ‘Alternative Medicine’

Liu Wan-Su and the Cooling School in Chinese Medicine

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014 by Sharon Sherman
one of the four great masters of chinese medicine

one of the four great masters of chinese medicine

So, we’ve established that the practice of Chinese medicine has a long and dynamic history—that’s why it’s still around and used actively today. Why and how Chinese medicine has such longevity has a lot to do with when and who brought about innovation and change. We’ve recognized that the when was during the Jin-Yuan period in 13th and 14th century China and the who—the Four Masters of Chinese medicine that lived and worked during this time. But who were they, what did they do and why were they so important?

Amongst the great political unrest of the Mongol Dynasty in the 13th century, where over nine rulers came to power in a short period of time, Chinese medicine improved. The Mongol rulers imposed restrictions on medical practices and began banning certain therapeutics. These changes instigated practitioners to innovate and find new methods. Seeking this progress in medicine was a personal mission for one of the Four Masters, Liu Wan-Su, who lived from 1120-1200. Liu Wan-Su, it is said, decided to immerse himself in medicine when his mother fell ill and later died after multiple failed attempts to secure treatment for her due to his family’s impoverished status.

Liu Wan-Su was a Neo-Confucianist– meaning he was influenced by the both the teachings of Daoism and Buddhism. His Daoist name was Xuan Tong, which translates to “Penetrate Mystery,” was very fitting given his zeal to deeply understand and demystify Chinese medicine. His commentaries and interest were primarily in discovering deeper meaning of the Nei Jing’s Su Wen. The Nei Jing is also commonly known as the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon. It is a Chinese medical text that has been treated as one of the fundamental doctrinal sources for Chinese medicine for more than two thousand years. The work is composed of two texts each containing eighty-one chapters in a question-and-answer format between the mythical Huangdi (Yellow Emperor) and a physician Qi-Bo.

The first of the two texts, the Su Wen (also known as Basic Questions) covers the theory and philosophical constructs of Chinese medicine in relation to causation, diagnosis and treatment of disease. Liu Wan-Su was trying to find and decipher the hidden messages in its teachings. Eventually, Liu Wan-Su developed his own style based on his rigorous studies. This has become known as “The Cooling School.”

His treatment strategies are based on the Five Elements and the Six Influences. Meaning, his system is based on how the predominate climatic factors of each season tend to generate certain types of pathogens that flourish during that particular time of the year. His focus was based on the belief that all pathogens whether they originally were caused by wind, dampness, summer heat, fire, dryness or cold would turn into heat when trapped inside the body. So his herbal focus was geared toward the eradication of hot and feverish, febrile diseases.

The Cooling School utilized cool and cold natured herbs in addition to spicy and sweet herbs to comprise most of his heat reducing formulas. Many of his formulas also included the use of talc, known in pin yin as hua shi. Hua shi is useful in promoting urination. This works as a strategy in removing excessive heat from the body by increasing urinary output. His most popular Chinese herbal formulas include Liu Yi San (Six to One Powder), Yi Yuan San (Powder to Benefit Vitality), Bi Yu San, and Gui Ling Gan Lu Yin (Cinnamon, Hoelen, and Licorice Combination)

While keeping the idea of the pathogenic fire in mind, Liu Wan-Su tailored his treatments – so if a weaker patient couldn’t handle a strong heat clearing medicinals, the herbs were modified carefully to ensure good results.

He believed that acupuncture should be gentle with very shallow needling. He emphasized using jing-well points which are acupuncture points located near the nail bed on both the fingers and toes. Liu Wan-Su’s use of jing-well points facilitated multiple strategies to include opening the sensory portals on the head, resuscitation of the yang, expulsion of pathogenic wind, and the removal of irritability and unsteadiness.

Liu Wan-Su was also a great proponent of self-cultivation. Through his teachings, he encouraged patents to seek personal enlightenment, enrichment and education to help lift one’s self but also to benefit society as a whole. He believed that in order to help a person to see the world differently and to be able to act differently was the manifestation and discipline of a steadfast practice.

Witness and observe to become a sage.

Be in a place of looking out while also looking inward.

Liu Wan-Su’s teachings still influence the way modern practitioners diagnose and treat disease. Although many modern diseases present as chronic and very complex, Li Wan-Su’s basic tenants around lifestyle counseling seem tailored to a modern hectic existence. His philosophy included an approach that centered on slowing down to appreciate the things around you, to open yourself to seeing things differently and to empower people to change themselves in order to change and eliminate disease. Sounds like sensible medical advice to me!

Alternative Medicine – Not So Alternative Anymore…

Thursday, February 17th, 2011 by Sharon Sherman
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are health alternatives

Alternative medicine, acupuncture and Chinese medicine are gaining popularity

While it may be seen as a new or “alternative” medicine in the United States, Chinese Medicine is actually one of the oldest complete medical systems practiced today. In fact, acupuncture – a part of Chinese Medicine – has been in use for over 2,000 years and is one of the most commonly used medical procedures worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80% of people rely on alternative medicine for their primary care in many Asian and African nations and that in many developed nations, 70-80% of people have used alternative medicine.

And, the use of alternative medicine is growing here in the U.S., becoming more of a complement to traditional Western medical treatments, and making it not so “alternative” anymore…

In fact, studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), USA Today, ABC News and Stanford University all point to increasing numbers of Americans using acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. The most recent CDC study found that nearly 3.3 million U.S. adults and children had used acupuncture in the previous year. Additionally, a 2005 USA Today/ABC News/Stanford University Medical Center poll found that 5% of American adults have turned to acupuncture for pain relief.

Even the U.S. military is bringing alternative medicine into the mainstream of its medical services and treatments – the U.S. Army recently announced a program utilizing acupuncture to treat post traumatic stress disorder in soldiers and a recent Army pain management report recommended alternative medicine treatments like acupuncture, mediation and yoga.

In another illustration of how acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are taking hold and being evaluated as not-so-alternative medical treatments, the NIH’s National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine is currently recruiting for nearly 100 clinical trials evaluating alternative medicine as a safe and effective treatment for ailments and diseases ranging from back pain to autoimmune disorders.

The good news is, to meet this growing demand, there are more practitioners of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine than ever before. A study published in the Annals of Family Medicine journal in 2005 cites that there are now more than 50 acupuncture schools accredited in the U.S. and that 42 states have statutes that allow the practice of acupuncture by nonphysicians.

So, it may be that in another few years, “alternative” medicine has a new not-so-alternative name…

Empirical Point Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture Practice Launches “Healthy New Year 2011”

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011 by Sharon Sherman
Chinese New Year  - Year of the Rabbit

Staying healthy with acupuncture and Chinese medicine

Empirical Point, LLC, a leading Philadelphia Chinese Medicine and acupuncture practice, today announced the launch of its “Healthy New Year 2011” campaign, designed to give patients more hands-on information and real-world tips about how to live healthier in the new year. This new program is kicking off today, the first day of the Chinese New Year, with a series of online information and news. More information can be found at

“The new year usually brings with resolutions and promises to improve our health. It also brings a renewed commitment to living well and living healthy,” stated Sharon Sherman, M.S.O.M., D.OM., L.OM and founder of Empirical Point. “Empirical Point was founded to deliver on that commitment – to provide patients with a Chinese medicine and acupuncture practice dedicated to improving their health. I don’t just treat patients. I work with them to get to the root of their ailments and to then map out an interactive and holistic plan to improve their overall well being. This Healthy New Year 2011 program is just one more way for us to provide the latest news and tips to our patients on how to be well.”

The first topic tackled by the Healthy New Year 2011 program is “Alternative Medicine – Not So Alternative Anymore” which will look at the growing use and success of alternative medicine in the U.S. While Chinese Medicine and acupuncture have been used for thousands of years, they are just now really taking hold in many Western cultures as effective medical treatments. Through the Empirical Point website, blog and social media and events at our offices, the practice will explore and offer up information about the growth of alternative medicine – and how it may be helpful for patients who may have not yet considered it for common conditions like stress or chronic pain.

The Healthy New Year 2011 campaign will go on to address the following topics later this year:

• Pain – How to Address and Relieve it with Chinese Medicine

• Building a Strong Immune System…and a Stronger You

• Stressed?  How to Relieve Anxiety and Be at your Best

About Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture

Chinese Medicine is one of the oldest complete medical systems practiced today – encompassing acupuncture, Chinese herbs, nutrition and other modalities – and is recognized as an effective, empirical science. Acupuncture has been in use for over 2,000 years, and is one of the most commonly used medical procedures worldwide. Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture are regularly used to safely and effectively treat a wide range of health challenges, especially the treatment of acute and chronic pain management. Today, the use of and demand for acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is increasing in the United States. Recent reports conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), USA Today, ABC News and Stanford University all point to increasing numbers of Americans using acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. The most recent CDC study found that nearly 3.3 million U.S. adults and children had used acupuncture in the previous year.

About Empirical Point, LLC

Empirical Point’s overarching mission is to empower patients and to optimize their health and well being. Using her extensive Chinese Medicine and acupuncture training and expertise, founder Sharon Sherman has been treating patients and growing the practice steadily since 2001. Ms. Sherman has the highest level of licensure possible – an achievement rivaled by only 8% of her peers in Pennsylvania – and has logged more education and continuing education hours than the vast majority of other practitioners. Ms. Sherman is also licensed in New Mexico, which has one of the most arduous licensure processes in the U.S. Empirical Point welcomes patients at its Center City and Chestnut Hill offices in Philadelphia. For more information, please visit