Tourette’s tics have no cure in Western medicine but it can be sometimes controlled with drugs. Many sufferers of Tourette’s have found out that Chinese medicine can help eliminate tics.
A neurological condition in which the brain signals causes a person to involuntarily utter oral noises, sniff, tic, twitch, or even blurt out random words Tourette’s syndrome or TS , for short has causes that still eludes Western medicine. In the treatment of TS, unlike Western medicine’s use of drugs, TCM or traditional Chinese targets the energy meridians of the body to alleviate the symptoms of TS in a safe way that’s free of side effects.
For almost 20 years, a patient of Dr. Jungyun Gao suffered from uncontrolled shaking and twitching for unknown reasons. The patient diagnosed the patient with Tourette’s syndrome two decades after the onset of the symptoms. An acupuncturist herself, Dr. Gao, decided to treat the patient with tiny needles inserted at specific points of her body. The needles stimulated the meridians in her body bringing it back into balance. Over time, and after several treatments later, the patient’s tics completely disappeared.
Another case of acupuncture’s usefulness in treating TS involved a patient of Dr. Dr. Daohe Fang. The patient was an 11-year old female who was suffering from tics that gradually grew worse over time. She was diagnosed with TS seven years earlier. Dr. Fang, who was also an acupuncturist, decided to treat the girl’s condition with acupuncture. The patient was treated for three weeks three times a week. During the course of the treatment the tics significantly improved. Her maintenance treatment was one acupuncture treatment every two or three weeks coupled with herbs to keep her tics in check.
TCM Medicine Balances Energy
Dr. Fang explains that acupuncture works because it causes the release of endorphins in the body. Acupuncture needles transmit neural impulses to the brain that results in endorphin production and release to the pituitary gland. From the viewpoint of TCM, TS acupuncture treatment is all about the clearing or cleaning of pathogenic wind from the meridian related to the liver. Pathogenic wind arises due to any abnormal body movements. In order to dispel this wind, needles need to be introduced into the skin at specific acupoints on the body including points on the ankles, wrists, back, and neck in order to realign and rebalance the affected meridians.
To support the body’s natural ability to align energy and achieve chemical balance, herbs are also used in the treatment. Herbs provide half the cure to acupuncture’s other half, said Fang. An herb known as gastrodia is traditionally used to address tics and treat convulsions in children. Gastordia is also related to the liver meridian. This herb has dopamine-like qualities which is ideal in better handling the symptoms of TS.
Western Treatment for Tourette’s Syndrome
The exact cause of TS is unknown which forces Western medicine to focus in controlling the symptoms. Physicians often prescribe Ritalin, Zoloft, Prozac, Haldol, Clonidine and other dangerous drugs that were created to treat other conditions (for ADHD, depression, and hypertension). There are sufferers who gain symptomatic relief from these medications; however these drugs can never eliminate completely the symptoms and moreover, the severe side effects of these drugs discourage a lot of TS sufferers from taking them.
Acupuncture Treatment Backed by Research
Acupuncture’ effectiveness in treating TS is backed by a handful of scientific studies. Most of them were done in China. A total of 156 patients participated in one of these studies that was done in the Tianjin College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and led by Wu Lianzhong. This study claims that 73% of the 156 patient were cured and the rest of the 27% still experienced symptoms although only 12 of them claimed zero significant improvements.
Western Medicine vs. Eastern Medicine
A couple o studies comparing the effects of the drug Halperidol to that of acupuncture revealed substantial differences in success rates between the two.
A total of 23 children were treated with acupuncture and 22 with Haloperidol in a study performed at the Changsha Hospital in Hunan China. More than 65% of patents in the acupuncture group experienced improvements while only 32% of the children in the Haloperidol group experienced good outcomes. These results mirrored that of the study pitting acupuncture’s effectiveness to that of drug therapy.
Acupuncture Provides Benefits for Those Who Try It
Several TS sufferers unfortunately don’t get treatment because they prefer living with tics to that of the medications’ strong side effects. TS can be treated or even cured with acupuncture without the risk of side effects. That’s always worth a try, if I say so myself.