Chinese Medicine related articles blogs and faqs from Maired Fahy of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Clinic, Gorey, Co. Wexford

Men’s Health

Clinical Research


Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is hugely effective in helping the body cope with stress, and alleviating symptoms, and research is abundant in demonstrating this.



Research has shown that Acupuncture can be highly effective in treating Impotence.


Sperm Quality and Quantity


Pain Management

Clinical Research

Efficacy of Acupuncture on Osteoarthritic Pain — A Controlled, Double-Blind Study
Albert C. Gaw, M.D., Lennig W. Chang, M.D., and Lein-Chun Shaw, M.D.
N Engl J Med 1975; 293:375-378August 21, 1975DOI: 10.1056/NEJM197508212930803

German Acupuncture Trials (Gerac) For Chronic Low Back Pain
Randomized, Multicenter, Blinded, Parallel-Group Trial With 3 Groups FREE
Michael Haake, Phd, Md; Hans-Helge MüLler, Phd; Carmen Schade-Brittinger; Heinz D. Basler, Phd; Helmut SchäFer, Phd; Christoph Maier, Phd, Md; Heinz G. Endres, Md; Hans J. Trampisch, Phd; Albrecht Molsberger, Phd, Md

Mayo Clin Proc. 2006 Jun;81(6):749-57.
Improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms with acupuncture: results of a randomized controlled trial.
Martin DP1, Sletten CD, Williams BA, Berger IH.

Traditional Acupuncture in Migraine: A Controlled, Randomized Study
Enrico Facco, MD; Aldo Liguori, MD; Filomena Petti, MD; Gastone Zanette, MD; Flaminia Coluzzi, MD; Marco De Nardin, MD; Consalvo Mattia,

Acupuncture Unlocks Frozen Shoulder Pain – New Research

Ginger as a Chinese Herb

Ginger is something we are all mostly familiar with- whether it is as the main ingredient in ginger ale, or as that fibrous  root with the pale yellow color and spicy bite that lends its flavor to those delicious stir frys, Yum! Ginger makes a great additive to soy sauce or honey in marinades and can even be found as a sugary hard candy. But this root has a much deeper and richer history as a Chinese herbal remedy.

Ginger is known as Sheng Jiang in Chinese herbal medicine and if you’ve ever put a piece of fresh ginger root in your mouth, you instantly recognize that its classification as a pungent, warm herb is spot on.  In terms of what it treats, from a TCM point of view,it travels to the Lung, Spleen, and Stomach channels in the body and falls under the group of herbal medicines that are known to” Release the Exterior” in the case of  a pattern or illness called “Wind Cold Invasion”. The Lung channel is the first port of call for invasion by “Wind”….a Chinese term often equated with the bacteria or virus that cause the common cold. The Cold aspect of a” Wind Cold Invasion” indicates that the patient is suffering from a cold that doesn’t involve sweating and usually has a tongue with a white coating. By opening the pores i.e. (Release the Exterior) and inducing sweating, which ginger certainly can do, you theoretically expel the pathogens and can decrease the amount of time a patient is struggling with the cold symptoms! Makes sense huh??.

Ginger also travels to the Spleen and Stomach channels; two channels that have a great deal to do with digestion. This is where ginger’s Chinese herbal medicine actions correspond closely with how Western medicine might use this herb. Ginger is a great anti-nausea and anti-emetic, or anti-vomiting,  supplement. It is typically prescribed for nausea and vomiting related to motion sickness, pregnancy, or chemotherapy.  Several studies involving powdered ginger have shown promise for motion sickness and even for those that showed that ginger didn’t perform significantly different from the anti-nausea medications, it is important to remember that ginger won’t cause the drowsiness associated with those pharmacological meds. When prescribed for morning sickness in pregnancy, ginger performed well and women who took 1 gram a day for 4 days (short term use is recommended) felt less nauseous and didn’t vomit as much as those that didn’t. Of course, it is always recommended for pregnant women to speak with their doctor before starting any herbal therapy.

Another potential medical usage is found in the relief of joint pain from osteoarthritis. This joint pain would most likely be dull and achy in nature and improve when warmth is applied to the area. This indicates that the joint pain is classified as Cold. Thus the warming nature of ginger would help decrease the pain when taken internally.

It must be mentioned that despite the superior effects of ginger, too much of the spicy, warming herb can irritate the digestive tract. Perhaps this is why it is recommended that patients take it internally as a powdered pill or tea instead of as a raw herb and moderate its long term usage.

Luckily ginger is readily found. Many people that consume ginger regularly take a powdered preparation of the root. It can also be used freshly sliced and placed into a cup of hot water or tea. This is one of my favourites when Im feeling a cold coming on! Try it! Youll sweat, but stop the cold in its tracks!. It is a commonly used spice and if you dont already use it, go out and get some today! Its invaluable for so many things. Anybody got any good recipes out there?

Pain Treatment

Article written by Mairead Fahy which appeared in ECHO newspaper February 2007

Lets face it…. We all abuse our bodies abysmally! We eat and drink to excesses we cannot sustain, we heave and haul in the garden and in the house, and still assume that everything will go on working as normal…just because it always has!

>What was normal behaviour for us in our twenties, we assume will still be functioning behaviour for us twenty years later. Unfortunately… and the reality is, -our bodies are getting older! The scaffolding is getting rusty from lack of maintenance, and instead of firing on all cylinders – the internal engine is starting to backfire!

In essence, we take our hard working, uncomplaining bodies for granted … so much so that we ignore the warning signals it gives us, and suddenly…. PAIN Strikes!

You can hardly get out of bed with back pain…. You can barely put on your clothes because of shoulder / arm pain…. You’re crippled due to pains in your knees or the nerve pain travelling down your leg… You can barely use your hand because of the numbness and tingling caused by “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome”… and worse than anything else… your golf swing is affected because of “Tennis Elbow” or “Golfers Elbow”!

Red Alert! Action Stations! Sure… you felt a slight “twinge” when you lifted that piano on your own… or you felt a “niggle” when you were reaching for that goody on the top shelf! But you thought it would go away… after all – it always did before!

Acupuncture and; Chinese Medicine ClinicBut … the symptoms persist, and your first port of call must always be your GP who will advocate the most appropriate treatment. More often than not, this entails medication of the anti – inflammatory type, and sometimes something to relax the muscle spasm.… and quite often this will do the trick.

But sometimes – the symptoms merit still more aggressive investigation. and your GP will refer you for the most appropriate therapy for you.

If, however, despite medication, and despite the intensive conventional medical route, you are still suffering pain… its time to think Alternatively – and more specifically, … the Chinese Medicine route, which has Acupuncture as one of its branches.

Acupuncture is part of the ancient system of medicine called Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which has been in existence for over 3000 years. It is based on the theory that our bodies are made up of Meridians or Channels of energy or “Qi” (pronounced Chee), and when disease or injury occurs, these channels become blocked.

In Chinese Medicine terms –“ Qi and blood stagnation” occurs – and hence we get pain!

Imagine you have a stream at the bottom of your garden, and there’s a mudslide straight into it – the stream can’t flow as efficiently as it used to! Complicate this with dead leaves and rubbish -. and the stream stops flowing completely. The stream wants to proceed as normal but it can’t -. and trouble starts!

This is the same for the blockage of “Qi” within the body. Due to accident or injury – the stream can’t flow freely, and Pain results! By inserting sterile disposable small needles in points along this “stream”, the channel is freed, and the flow is restored!

In effect, just like you unblock a stream with a spade, your Acupuncturist is unblocking the Channel with needles. And no… the needles don’t hurt!

In Chinese Medicine, this blockage may often be complicated by “Damp”, “Cold” or “Heat”… you will often hear these terms in the Acupuncture clinic. and your treatment will be modified according to these findings.

Acupuncture can treat all types of pain, but the most common musculoskeletal pains it can treat include:

  • Acuppuncture and; Chinese Medical Clinic - Waterfallneck pain and related headaches,
  • shoulder pain including Frozen shoulder,
  • lower back pain and related nerve pain, (often called sciatica),
  • hip pain,
  • knee pain,
  • ankle injury,
  • arthritis,
  • tennis elbow,
  • golfers elbow,
  • carpal tunnel syndrome,
  • all sports injuries,
  • and many many more pains and aches.

So – the moral of the story is … maintain the scaffolding, or you may have to visit your Acupuncturist!

Migraine Relief

Article written by Mairead Fahy which appeared in ECHO newspaper March 2007

Question… when is a headache not a headache?

Answer………when it’s a migraine!
Acupncture & Chinese Medicine Clinic - Tai ChiMost of us at one time or another… has suffered a headache! It may be the result of a nagging wife, hot-headed husband, fractious children or cantankerous boss…. and all the associated stresses and strains that go along with them! We women… subject to hormonal influences as we are… may get them whenever it suits us!

It may be an excuse… it may be genuine…but until you know differently…it’s a headache guys! It may even be the result of a “bad pint” for all you guys and gals out there who indulge… but of course…never the result of the nine good pints …AND THEN SOME… that went along with that! (That’s dehydration by the way… but that’s another story for another day)!

Anyway… the point is.. that for most of us… the headache eventually goes! Two Panadol, a hot shower, a change of scene and some peace and quiet ..(and lots of water!)…and your life continues as normal!

Acupuncture & Chinese Medical Clinic - ScreamNot so however for the poor Migraine sufferer! What may start as a mere headache for them inevitably develops into an insufferable debilitating pain which may last for two days or more.. despite medication! Add to that.the symptoms of nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light, and life becomes intolerable for the victim of a Migraine attack! Work, home and family life all suffers!

Sometimes the only thing that will help (not relieve) the pain is to lie down in a dark room and try to sleep… not always possible however! And worse than this…. It could happen more than once a week! And – it doesn’t even end there….when the pain eventually goes.. the migraine victim is left with a dull heavy head similar to a hangover…but the problem is… they haven’t actually enjoyed the getting of it!

Ok… so what can be done? Conventional medicine will tell you … nothing! Your GP will prescribe medication and may even have to give an injection … and hopefully this will minimise the pain. However … this may or may not work! So when all conventional avenues for pain relief have been exhausted … look to the East … and to acupuncture!

What makes Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) different in so many ways to conventional or Western medicine.. is that it looks to the CAUSE of the problem… not just the symptoms! And again … because we are dealing with such an ancient system of medicine… a diagnosis for the CAUSE … may tend to sound a bit abstract… almost nonsensical to those of you grounded in the theories of the West! In the case of Migraine… the CAUSE is determined by the theories upon which all of life and nature is based…. The theories of Yin and Yang!

Ok I hear you say … That’s Chinese stuff… and indeed it is! But let me explain a little about Yin and Yang! Not only are they good names for dogs and cats… The Yin and Yang theory of opposites, despite being a concept more than three thousand years old, is actually the principle upon which all modern Physics is founded! Everything whether material or abstract has an opposite. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t exist! Confused yet?

More than two thousand years ago, the Chinese philosopher Lao Tse used a cup to demonstrate the principle… the material of the cup was Yang, the inside of it Yin. Although there was nothing inside the cup but space, – if the space wasn’t there… it would have no use as a cup!

The original meanings of Yin and Yang, referred to the sunny and shaded sides of a hill, Yang being the sunny side and Yin being the shady side. Also, because in Ancient China, men worked in the fields and in the sun, and women worked indoors and in the shade… the terms also came to mean Male and Female!

However… apart from being a theory of opposites… it also encompasses the theory of co – dependence for a harmonious life!

sunset over lakeThis means for example, Daytime MUST flow into Night time and vice versa (Yang into Yin), otherwise natural law would be affected. Hot must have its opposite cold – and not a dominance of one over the other but a balance between the two, otherwise again, natural law is interrupted. Likewise Man MUST have Woman. Apologies to all you feminists out there… but again, it is natural law!

The Yin Yang theory can even explain why men are from Mars and women are from Venus! Basically…Yin and Yang nurture each other and depend on each other!

So what has this got to do with a Migraine attack? Well, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine most organs of the body also have a Yin and Yang aspect to them… and when this goes out of balance due to stress, diet and numerous other factors, pain can be the result.

In the case of Migraine, – it is the Yang energy of the Liver organ, which goes into excess and rises to the head causing pain! This does NOT mean however that there is something functionally wrong with your Liver…no need to go racing off to your GP saying … “that Acupuncturist down the road says there’s something wrong with my liver”… no I’m talking purely from a Chinese Medicine perspective!

It is the excess of Yang in the head which causes the pain… and it is this which over time the acupuncturist can bring back into balance and allow it to become “anchored” once more by the Yin.
Quite often acupuncture can relieve an ongoing Migraine attack… and it will certainly minimise the frequency and intensity of subsequent ones!

So for all you Migraine sufferers…there is hope!

Fertility – How Acupuncture can Help

Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine - Mother & Baby HandsInfertility in all its guises has long been an emotive and complicated issue for many couples, and with many couples now deciding to postpone starting a family because of lifestyle and / or financial reasons; infertility has become an increasingly prevalent problem of contemporary society.

There are many physiological reasons for infertility, many of which include Endometriosis, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and Uterine Fibroids, but Hormonal imbalances, which can include elevated FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) or Prolactin levels can account for a huge proportion of a woman’s inability to conceive, as can Anovulation (failure to ovulate) and irregular menstruation. However, there are many unexplained reasons for infertility also, which may have stress, diet and lifestyle influences as a portion of the causative factor.

The male role in this cannot be underestimated either. Good quality and quantity of sperm with adequate motility is essential also for conception to occur.

How can Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine enhance fertility?

Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine - Ying & YangChinese Medicine has been treating infertility for over two and a half thousand years, and its effectiveness cannot be underestimated. Its main function is to bring the body back into balance in every way, harmonising Yin, Yang, Qi and Blood and because of this it can therefore:

  • Normalise hormonal imbalances
  • Regulate menstruation
  • Increase blood flow to the uterus and increase uterine thickness
  • Diminish chances of miscarriage
  • Improve sperm count, motility and morphology
  • Reduce stress and anxiety.

Many couples are now also choosing to use acupuncture as an adjunct to IVF fertility treatment. Recent research has been published to demonstrate the role of acupuncture in helping to increase success rates of IVF around the time of embryo transfer. The research, which was published in the British Medical Journal of 7/2/08, states…”acupuncture increased the odds of clinical pregnancy by 65% compared to the control groups”.

How can Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine help with IVF and ICSI?

  • Improves the function of the ovaries to produce better quality eggs
  • Helps to regulate hormone levels to help produce a larger number of follicles
  • Increases blood flow to the uterus which in turn creates a thicker uterine lining which enhances the likelihood of implantation of the embryo
  • Relaxes the uterus during implantation to minimise painful cramping
  • Decreases the side effects of the drugs used in IVF, e.g., emotional instability, insomnia, palpitations, headaches etc.,

It is always advisable though not essential, for preparation with acupuncture to begin 3 months prior to commencement of IVF. In this way, the optimum environment for implantation can be naturally achieved. The treatment method will vary according to the patient’s individual diagnosis and degree of infertility, but it is not unheard of, for the lady to become pregnant naturally in this time!