What types of ailments does Traditional Chinese Medicine treat?
TCM can treat any number of imbalances; in my private practice, I see such a variety of issues that I can only refer to it as a general practice. I have frequently treated everything from the common cold to the side effects of chemotherapy; most often I see pain issues (chronic or traumatic), menstrual difficulties, auto-immune imbalances, skin problems and anxiety/depression, but I specialize in treating people diagnosed with Lyme Disease, fibromyalgia and migraines. I suppose the short answer would be that in my opinion, there are very few limitations to the application of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Should I contact you to ask what I should be taking?
As a professional herbalist in clinical practice, it is unwise and unethical for me to dispense herbs to people without doing an intake on them first. I am available for consultation and can determine if a particular herb is appropriate for your constitution. Sometimes I am able to determine what you may need with an extensive phone interview, of which I am happy to offer 10 minutes for free, but you may need a personal assessment if the situation is more complex. If you are unable to visit my office, I am now available on Skype, and will be glad to assess your situation free of charge in the first ten minutes of our conversation to determine whether or not I can help you.
Do I have to cook the herbs myself?
No, For the convenience of the modern consumer, herbs are prescribed in a variety of easy-to -take forms such as tincture, capsule or tablets. However, I do have an extensive apothecary on the premises of both the highest quality Chinese herbs available, and premier Western Herbs obtained by responsible wildcrafting and from reputable farms. If clients are interested in having a more intimate experience with their herbs, I can custom-formulate herbal preparations for clients to infuse or decoct at home; instructions included! I also provide herbs to fortify hearty home-made soup stocks with concentrated nourishment, a helpful option when it comes to making your food your medicine and your medicine your food.
Can I just go out and purchase the right herbs for my condition?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of inferior products on the market, including “patent” Chinese formulas that contain pharmaceutical agents not listed on the label, and many mass-market brands offer cheap, but low-quality herbs. You can find a great deal of information about herbs in books, in magazines and online, but remember that herbs are strong medicine and prescribed inappropriately can create more problems than they solve. Too often people with an interest in herbs will self-prescribe and when they don't get the results they desire, will assume that herbs don't work. Herbology is a science, an art and a skill that is acquired after years of practice, and even practitioners rarely self-prescribe because of the lack of perspective that exists when looking at one's own health. I hope that if you have been lead here, you will consider getting a professional evaluation; it is likely to be the most efficient route back to health.
A friend of mine was diagnosed with the same problem as I was, can she just take the same herbs?
Probably not; although in allopathic medicine, diseases are classified and named, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the methods of diagnosis are quite different. It is rather likely that ten people with the exact same “disease” would receive ten different individualized treatments. It is easy to understand this if you look at a few of your friends who have the same diagnosis, some are heavier and more robust, while others may appear frail, one may look pale and another may have a flushed complexion; these are indications that each person is an individual and should be treated as such.
What about drug interactions or side effects?
Most interactions for any/all drugs and herbs are the level of effectiveness that the drugs will have when used with certain herbs. There's a lot of alarmist propaganda out there against herb use... in reality, the herbs often mitigate the toxicities of the drugs (inhibit their level of effectiveness), or assist their effects (like with antibiotics). The exception is with Cumadin. That is a dangerous drug that has all kinds of interactions with herbs, food and other drugs. Chemotherapeutic agents are also tricky because their purpose is to toxify the body and herbs generally will work against that. (When I use herbs for my chemo patients, we generally wait 48 hours after their chemo to administer the herbs).
I often refer to the book, Clinical Pharmacology when researching drug/herb interactions. The data for the interactions is listed as Level 1 through Level 5 evidence. The level 1 evidence is systematic review of random controlled trials, whereas level 5 is conjecture, expert opinion without clinical appraisal (from a medical-not herbal-experts), or animal/bench research. Most (almost ALL) research and reports of herb/drug interactions fall under the Level 5 category.
Personally, I am much more wary about pharmaceuticals than I am about herbs. Herbs are intelligent and adaptable. Drugs are comparatively stupid and brutish. However, if you are uncomfortable about using herbs and drugs simultaneously, I strongly urge you to sink into your heart and follow your inner guidance. Only you can make this choice.
I have some herbs leftover from a practitioner I saw a few years ago, can I still take them?
The herbs that are prescribed for you are specific to your condition at the time you were examined. If too much time passes after specific herbal preparations are recommended for you, their appropriateness will be in question and the Rx will need to be adjusted. Herbs will also lose their potency after a while; if a formula is still suitable for your condition after several months have passed, be sure to check the bottle for an expiration date. Herbs, unlike drugs, do not become dangerous if they are expired, but they will be less potent.
In TCM the practitioner will observe the client’s facial tone and color, the condition of their nails and flesh, their ease of movement, the brightness of their eyes as well as listen to the tone of their voice, what they say and how they say it. A practitioner of TCM will ask many questions surrounding not only the nature of the problem, but also regarding routine functions of the body such as diet, rest, exercise, menses, elimination and more. Essential to the diagnosis is the methods of pulse taking and the examination of the tongue. Both are ancient techniques that give an abundance of valuable information to the practitioner regarding the conditions of the vital organs, the blood, the Qi and other key pieces of information necessary for a complete and accurate picture of the client’s state of health. The goal of the treatment is to bring the body to a state of balance.
How many treatments do I need before I’m “cured”?
The word “cure” is one that gets tossed around a bit too liberally; there are a lot of factors that go into one’s healing process and most of them are the responsibility of the patient. Factors such as proper dietary choices, plenty of rest, fresh air, exercise and healthy relationships are the foundations of good health, however there are times when we need more support than even that can provide. That being said, in general, the rule of thumb for chronic conditions is that for every year a person has been out of balance, it will take at least a month of regular treatment to restore harmony. For acute problems, results are seen much faster: weeks, days or even hours or minutes.
My doctor says that my disease is incurable, and that I will have to take my medication for the rest of my life. Is there any hope for me?
Although there may not be a “cure” in the traditional sense of the word, it may be that within the paradigm of modern medicine there is little information for your physician to work with. This happens all too frequently. Generally speaking, the difference is that allopathic medicine attempts to target the “disease” and suppress or eradicate it, while Traditional Chinese Medicine seeks the root cause of the problem and prescribes a treatment plan designed to bring balance to the body and deal with the problem at its source. I have personally treated numerous imbalances -using TCM practices- that were diagnosed by a medical doctor as “an incurable auto-immune disease” with remarkable success.
How long do the appointments take?
The first appointment is always a long one. I usually take at least an hour and a half to get to know all the nuances of my new clients. Often hearing all the details of a person’s health history is very time-consuming, but I feel it’s not only important in order to make a good diagnosis, but it gives the client a rare opportunity to be fully heard without time constraints. It also helps to build a good foundation for our working relationship which I take very seriously. The follow-up visits usually take an hour in the beginning, but as the client begins to become more balanced in their health, less time is required.
How much do you charge?
For the first appointment I offer a choice, if it is not a terribly complicated case, one hour should be sufficient, and that would be $100. For more complex, chronic and difficult cases, I charge a flat rate of $185, no matter how long it takes. Thereafter, appointments are $50 per half hour and the frequency of follow-ups is entirely dependent upon the type and severity of the ailment.
Auriculotherapy by itself costs $45, but packages are available. I also provide acupressure and Reiki in the form of a Taoist Balancing Technique applying pressure and the highest quality essential oils to points on the wrists and ankles. This treatment is amazing! It is extremely relaxing and centering and each session takes well over an hour. A two-plus hour session is also available; the prices are $120 and $220, respectively.
That sounds like it would get expensive!
At first it can be, but most people are able to see the value in their improved health. I do understand the financial limitations of a lot of people, so I have created options for those that are really in need of treatment, but don’t have the money. I am willing to discuss a sliding scale with anyone struggling with a fixed income because I feel that quality healthcare is a right and not a privilege. Many clients who have done the initial visits have continued to see me seasonally so that I may literally keep my finger on their pulse and make adjustments to their formulas, give guidance or use auriculotherapy to nudge them back toward balance.
Do you take insurance?
While the current system is not open to various helpful complementary healing practices, some personal health insurance providers offer an option that allows you to keep track of your preventative and alternative healthcare expenses for credit. Ask your provider for more information about their version of this program.
Auricular therapy is a tool that I employ on many cases. It is a method of energy work similar to acupuncture that requires no needles and uses several points on the outside surface of the ear. Applying small spheres measuring 1-2 mm in diameter with special adhesive to the outer surface of the ear sends endorphins to the corresponding site on the body, thereby achieving almost instantaneous pain relief. Auriculotherapy provides substantial relief within moments and lasts for days. It does not simply mask pain; it has long-term benefits and actually promotes healing. This treatment is not limited to pain relief; it can help with anxiety, insomnia or the symptomatic treatment of nearly any problem. The “ear seeds” can be left on the ear for several days, ensuring continued effectiveness. The results are remarkable!
Each session begins with a twenty minute Chinese Medical evaluation that will illuminate the areas that require harmonizing. An hour long acupressure session using the Elements to guide a natural progression of key acupressure points brings the body and spirit to harmonized peace. This blissful session is enhanced with Reiki and medicinal-grade aromatherapy essences chosen specifically for the individual. The beautiful precious stones that are placed upon the body to align the chakras as well as the Pure Medicinal Grade essential oils by Wisdom of the Earth make this an exceptionally powerful therapeutic session.
How does Medicinal Aromatherapy fit into your practice?
For Medicinal Aromatherapy Consultations I offer insightful wisdom to my patients for their personal growth and attunement. Aromatherapy can be used to treat not just physical imbalances, but emotional and spiritual dis-harmonies as well. Results are often dramatic as clients reconnect to their highest self, Nature and their Life's Purpose. I use only 100% Pure Medicinal Grade essential oils by Wisdom of the Earth in creating a wonderfully transformative experience.
How can I insure that my herbalist has adequate credentials?
This is a good question. There are voluntary governing boards for herbalists in the US and the most well known is the American Herbalists Guild (AHG). They have a careful screening process and only herbalists with plenty of experience and professional referrals are considered for the title of Registered Herbalist. Not having this accreditation does not necessarily mean that your herbalist isn’t a competent practitioner; one of the most famous and gifted herbalists of our current era, Rosemary Gladstar does not boast any letters after her name to signify her importance. Your best bet is to ask a lot of questions about their practice, experience, education and so forth; most times you’ll find out a common truth: everyone likes to talk about themselves! Your intuition is also one thing you really want to rely upon; if the practitioner doesn’t feel right to you, keep looking until you find someone who does.
What are your credentials?
I am Nationally Board Certified in Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). This is the governing body for all practitioners of Acupuncture and Chinese medicine in the US and boasts a powerful lobby for natural healthcare. For an herbalist that practices Traditional Chinese Medicine, this is the highest credential one can receive. I am also a Registered Professional Herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild, a voluntary board with strict standards for admission and a strong code of ethics. I have been certified as an Advanced Medicinal Aromatherapist, an Acu-Detox Facilitator, an Auriculotherapist and I am a Reiki Master. I have been trained in various healing techniques such as Cranio-Sacral Therapy, the Taoist Healing Sounds, Crystal and Gemstone Therapy, Therapeutic Systematic Realignment and Quantum Touch. I teach a variety of classes for many different modalities including Herbology, Medicinal Aromatherapy and Auriculotherapy.
Lisl Meredith Huebner, Dipl.CH, RH
Diplomate Chinese Herbology (NCCAOM), Registered Herbalist (AHG)
"Herbalisl” is a nationally board certified Chinese Herbalist with the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and a Registered Herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild. Lisl is also a certified Medicinal Aromatherapist, a Reiki Master, an Acupressurist, an Auriculotherapist, a plant photographer, a renowned diagnostician, a teacher of Herbal Medicine and Medicinal Aromatherapy and a published writer in private practice for over fifteen years. She is available by appointment.
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Please call 860-480-0115; email at LislMeredith@hotmail.com and Skype me at Lisl.Meredith if you have any questions, would like to schedule an appointment, attend meditations, weed walks, or are interested in taking classes.
I am now offering Skype and Phone consultations, and your first ten minutes are free of charge. I love your questions because it means more people are seeking natural alternatives!!