Exercise: Once a client begins to receive TCM treatment they will also begin a series of exercises to reinforce the things that are happening in their body. In this we have an unfair advantage in that Ruth, one of our founders, was the first US patient to receive TCM therapy for treatment of her stroke. Unfortunately few rehabilitation physicians, therapists, and US acupuncturists know firsthand what a stroke can do and the devastation that it wreaks and the physical, mental, and spiritual challenges that a survivor faces.
Each of our clients are evaluated, photographed and videoed upon their arrival. Because we are working with clients daily we are constantly watching progress and assessing them. Exercises are listed and given to clients to complete in their daily schedule. Personal medical assistants assist as needed and provide additional support, massage, electric acupuncture, and manual stimulation of limbs as needed. These Personal assistants are irreplaceable and help our clients greatly in their daily tasks, increasing confidence, and regaining of independence.
Every two weeks we complete a formal evaluation but we are constantly talking with clients, watching them carefully, and modifying exercises immediately to take advantage of new and improving movements and changes. This constant monitoring and involvement sets us apart from other “rehab” programs, each client is an individual and is treated as such. No two individuals and therefore no two programs are exactly the same. Each person responds differently and so exercises and tasks are uniquely provided to each individual and monitored closely by the personal assistants. Ruth found that the phrase, “been there…done that” is very powerful when it means we can think out of the box and create exercises that actually offer improvement and great results. Too often in other programs patients are given unattainable or useless exercises that produce nothing but frustration. Here results of exercises must be “demonstratable” and repeated in order for us to ask the client if the exercises are successful! Only then can we state emphatically the exercises are a true success.
One of the biggest challenges I face is that of educating friends, family, and the public about care in healthcare. Often spouses and family members want to jump in and help too much, are satisfied with what physicians or professionals say is gospel and not up for debate, and their lives or apparent sacrifice should be honored beyond all. Hogwash! I realize that I may make some upset but please take a step back...hold your temper and listen a bit.
I became a stroke expert quite by accident after suffering one, being the first to seek and obtain TCM treatment in China, speaking with thousands of stroke survivors and family members and personally being involved in the treatment of thousands. I've watched family members and survivors try and use less than stellar excuses of why they didn't get the results they wanted. I've heard very educated physicians and medical professionals make statements of what they see as fact because that's all their experience has shown them.
Well I learned one very important thing in life... you see and get what you look for! If you set low expectations then you will reach them because that's what you expect....but if you set high goals you'll reach them too! Expand your thinking.... God is not the God of the possible or probable...if that were true why do we need Him? God is the God of the impossible! Reach for the highest and the best...expect your best and that of others and do not settle for less. Be an individual of hope and faith and if you feel week God will be there for you!
Treatment: Typically in the recovery and treatment phase, stroke patients are evaluated for the cause of a stroke, ischemic or hemorrhagic. They then prescribe medications to prevent reoccurrence and stabilize the health of the individual. The patient is then evaluated to determine what, if any rehabilitation is possible. During rehabilitation survivors undergo one or more of three types of rehabilitation; physical, occupational, and speech. These are the areas of division and a patient is rehabbed to the level to which the rehabilitation doctor or facility deem appropriate or if insurance or Medicare is involved only until a set number of sessions is reached.
Most individuals will tell you that when insurance ran out or session limits were met they were not where they wanted to be. Rehabilitation facilities are in a peculiar position in that they do as much as they can with the time allotted. Here at TCM Restoration we realize that the body needs to heal properly and completely and that TCM will affect and assist that healing. Rehabilitation then works in conjunction with the healing process to maximize results and bring about proper functioning of the body. It is a close relationship between the client, physician, and us… maximizing the effects and outcomes that the client wants. TCM in China is different from that in the US in - acupuncture needle placement, needle manipulation, depth, angles, TCM medications, tuina, costs, massage, personal assistants, and other TCM treatments. To be honest if we could do in the US what can be done here we would but we can’t. So we are here!
One of the most frustrating challenges that we face is that clients often hear of us years after their strokes so we have to overcome time, incomplete healing, bad habits and much more to see exciting things happen. In a perfect world no one would have strokes but barring that…. at least we are trying to get the word out and get people here ASAP! The sooner they are stabilized and can get here, the sooner that more complete healing of the body can occur. Most patients suffer with incomplete healing and are left in a state of mediocrity. We expand hopes and healing and work to create an environment for the body to heal itself and maximum results to be reached. If you know a healthcare provider or individual who has had a stroke encourage them to contact us.
Evaluation: Prior to being accepted into the TCM Restoration program you are evaluated for your level of determination and physical status and opportunity for healing and change. Just because someone applies to our program does not mean that they will be accepted. Because we have a number of clients here at any given time they must integrate well with the group and have the desire and ability to succeed in the program.
We are unique in that we see and work with clients daily and so we are constantly evaluating them and suggesting new techniques and exercises to maximize their personal outcomes for restoration. Every two weeks we complete a comprehensive evaluation to determine effectiveness of treatments and exercises. Because you are receiving TCM five days a week the doctors are also regularly assessing their treatments and modifying them daily as needed. This makes TCM Restoration truly unique and individualized in our approach. As we implied in Part 1 "attitude is everything" and it more than anything else will determine if an individual can be successful. We only maintain the highest standards and expectations so we look for and expect the best from our clients. Because this travel, program, and TCM medicine is extremely affordable and our margins are slim we currently can make no "scholarships " available but the amount is easily raised with a gofundme.com page so that no one who is seeking restoration cannot obtain it.
Environment: One of the biggest challenges that faces those recovering and trying to regain their independence is the "Environment" that people recover in. Typically survivors are in traditional rehabilitation programs as in-patients or are at home traveling to out-patient facilities. The problem here is that these individuals are treated like patients under the control and dictated to by physicians and other medical professionals. TCM Restoration is different in that each individual is staying in a five star hotel facility for the length of the entire program. Next each individual has control over their own schedule and we work together with them to accomplish their daily treatments and tasks.
They each have a full breakfast buffet...not that "complimentary breakfast" that has cold cereal, juice or coffee out of a machine and a piece of fruit. This is a full complete breakfast buffet that has vegetables, fruits, juices, Asian choices, fresh pastries galore, bacon, sausage, juices, coffees of your choice, and multiple chefs to make what you want and don't see. The staff here treat you like family and in the evening there is a happy hour offering, free wine, juice, or beer, two hot dishes, finger sandwiches, salad and a dessert bar. The facility is on the river walk with complete exercise facilities and each client is evaluated for a 24/7 medical personal assistant.
Each of our clients remarks that they feel like they are rehabilitating in a spa and vacation atmosphere. The one thing that they have and need is that level of control of their own lives and schedule. When you have a devastating disease or injury you need to regain that level of confidence that you once had, by exercising control over your own schedule you begin to regain that. Even at an out-patient facility you are dogged with travel and the tasks of daily living in between. In an out-patient facility you are also limited in the amount of treatment you are allowed to seek...and the choice of paying it by yourself is not even an option. Here you are a client not a patient and you are in control of your life and future.
The number one question that we are asked by stroke survivors is this..."can I do tomorrow what I did yesterday?" They are seeking desperately to regain their independence...the one thing that they lost in the instant the event occurred. We are going to look at what makes TCM Restoration and our program different.
Mind: Mindset of a survivor is particularly critical and anyone who says otherwise is deceiving themselves. Most often stroke survivors live in a "fog" as they recover. Their personal confidence is shattered and they typically react with fears of "what if". Physicians and other providers often share that what the patient recovers in the first six weeks to 6 months is all they will recover.
This makes that fear increase and can bring about depression. A new diagnosis has now been marketed in the drug arena, that of "Pseudobulbar Affect" which is often referred to as emotional incontinence, and is characterized by involuntary crying or uncontrollable episodes of crying and/or laughing, and/or other emotional displays. Typically PBA occurs secondary to a neurologic disorder or brain injury and once "diagnosed" drugs can be prescribed. Once these drugs are prescribed they come with multiple side effects and it is almost impossible to get patients off of them.
Neurologic disorders (such as stroke) or brain injury patients have that emotional switch affected but it can be restored with TCM. Inappropriate crying and/or laughter is indicative of the damage that has been done but the medication route does nothing to heal it. Drugs only cause temporary effects that are only maintained with continued use and whose use also brings about increasing side effects.
As we've seen, individuals who have suffered a neurologic disorder (stroke) or brain injury the fog can and is removed through TCM. TCM Restoration is very different in our acknowledgement and dealing with this "fog". We work together with the TCM physicians to fix the problems permanently using acupuncture to reconnect pathways and open data streams. We constantly assess and work with clients to maintain and increase focus, build and maintain a positive attitude, and teach and educate the client and their family to the challenges that they face and need to overcome.
It's easy to talk the talk when trying to "sell" something but actual results speak louder than words. One our clients was involved in a vehicular accident that caused a compression injury to his spine and resulted in him becoming a paraplegic. Two and a half years after his injury he is in China seeking rehabilitation and treatment. Because the spine was not severed there is hope for his case. After 12 treatments he is demonstrating an increasing ability to control his limbs and voluntarily push and pull them. As demonstrated in the video captured below.
While this is exciting there is still a long road ahead to restore feeling, strength and more motor control. It demonstrates that there is continued hope and healing available even if it sounds impossible. He has his work cut out for him but the first two weeks have been extremely rewarding.
This client is demonstrating the ability to control his legs pushing and pulling on request of the action. After 12 treatments.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views arthritis as a blockage in the smooth flow of Qi and Blood throughout the meridians in the body. It is classified as Bone Bi which is an impediment that affects the bones and joints. The pain and reduction in the range of motion determines the presence of a blockage.
The immediate cause of Bi syndromes is related to the environment. The influences of Wind, Cold, and Dampness are said to penetrate the body's defenses and become lodged in the muscles, tendons, and joints. They create the obstruction and cause pain, stiffness, and other symptoms.
The occurrence of these influences in the affected areas also can lead to the generation of Heat, manifesting as inflammation. Long-term Bi syndrome can lead to the formation of Phlegm and the deformation of bones and joints.
While the Qi is typically strong enough to resist effects of the environment, several internal disharmonies in the Qi and the Blood can make someone susceptible to Bi syndrome.
Individuals under stress frequently suffer from obstructed flow of Qi and Blood in the body because stress affects the Liver, which is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi. Obstruction creates an environment in which the people Influences can invade and become lodged.
Insufficient Blood and Qi can lead to the body's energetic pathways being completely filled, allowing pathogens to invade.
Genetic predisposition, poor diet, overwork, and insufficient exercise can weaken the Zang Organs, such as the Kidney or Spleen (responsible for supplying the kinds of Qi that maintain overall resistance) allowing Influences to occur.
TCM typically does not make a diagnostic distinction between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Instead, it makes a diagnostic distinction based on the predominance of Wind, Cold, Damp, or Heat symptoms. While many of these pathogenic factors usually are found together—Wind is said to carry the others into the body—each has a separate set of symptoms, with one factor playing a primary role.
Diagnoses of secondary manifestations of conditions such as Blood Stasis and Phlegm are based on symptoms as well. Bone Bi may be differentiated into the following categories:
Wind Bi: Wind predominates when a patient exhibits pain that begins and ends rapidly, limits the range of comfortable movement, and moves among different parts of the body. Windy weather can make the symptoms worse. Such patients also may have an aversion to wind, have a floating pulse, and a normally colored tongue with a thin, white coating. Because this type of Bi moves from area to area, it is also known as "Wandering Bi."
Cold Bi: Cold predominates when the pain is severe, limits the range of comfortable movement, and has fixed locations. Cold temperatures worsen the condition, and warmth improves it. A patient suffering from Cold Bi may have an aversion to cold, his or her pulse may be tight, and the tongue may have a white coating. Because this type of Bi usually results in severe pain, it is also known as "Painful Bi."
Damp Bi: Damp predominates when the pain is characterized by soreness, limits the range of comfortable movement, and is accompanied by feelings of heaviness and sometimes numbness. While many areas of the body may be affected, the pain tends to remain in those places. Dampness worsens the condition and there may be swelling in the affected areas. These patients usually have an aversion to damp weather. Their pulse may be slippery and their tongue may have a greasy coating. Because this type of Bi is characterized by fixed areas of pain and sensations of heaviness, it is also known as "Fixed Bi."
Heat Bi: Heat predominates when a Wind-Cold-Damp syndrome results in a greatly reduced flow of Qi and Blood through a joint, causing constraint. Constraint in TCM theory can cause Heat. Heat Bi is characterized by inflamed, red, swollen joints. The tongue may be red with a yellow coating, and the pulse may be rapid.