Category Archives: Conditions

Yang Deficiency


by James O’Sullivan Lic.Ac (China)

Ancient Chinese people were greatly interested in the relationships and patterns that occurred in nature. Instead of studying situations and things in isolation, they viewed the world as a harmonious and holistic entity. In their eyes, no single being or form could exist unless it was seen in relation to its surrounding environment. By simplifying these relationships, they tried to explain complicated phenomena in the universe.

Yang is the energy that is responsible for warming and activating bodily functions. When Yang is in decline or deficient you feel cold and your body begins to slow down, displaying signs of under activity. There are a number of simple methods to tonify Yang.

Clinical pIcture: Deficient Yang syndrome is manifested as aversion to cold, cold extremities, soreness and weakness or cold pain in the lower back and knees, impotence, spermatorrhea, sterility, watery leucorrhea, enuresis, pale, wet and swollen tongue coating, deep slow, weak, pulse, wheezing and diarrhea (without odour).

Foods that benefit Yang, with the greatest tonics in bold:

Grains:             Quinoa, sweet (glutinous) rice, wheat germ

Vegetables:     Leek, mustard greens, onion, radish, scallion, squash, sweet potato, turnip, watercress

Fruit:                Raspberry, Cherry, Lychee, Logan berry, Peach, Strawberry

Nuts & seeds: Chestnuts, Pistachio nuts, Walnuts, Pinenuts,

Fish:                 Lobster, Mussel, Prawn, Shrimp, Trout, Anchovy,

Meat:              Lamb, Venison, Kidneys (both beef and lamb), Chicken,

Herbs and spices: Basil, Clove, Black pepper, Chive seed, Rosemary, Fennel seed, Fennugreek seed, Horseradish, Caper, Cayenne, Cinnamon bark, Dill seed, Garlic, Ginger, Nutmeg, Peppermint, Sage, Savory, Spearmint, Star anise, Tumeric, Thyme, White Pepper

Beverages:      Jasmine tea, Chai tea,

Common supplements: Algae, Brown Sugar, Korean Ginseng, Malt Sugar, Vinegar

Every day western foods examples that can be used to Tonify Yang

  • Mussels cooked with a little garlic
  • Roast chicken with sage and thyme
  • Roasted vegetables with and rosemary
  • Rice porridge with cinnamon, nutmeg and a little brown sugar
  • Leek and potato soup with black pepper
  • Or by adding any of the many spices as listed above to dishes when cooking.

Foods to avoid. If you are experiencing Yang deficiency then it is important to avoid foods that will further deplete your body’s Yang energy. Cold food and liquids fall into this category. Here ‘cold foods’ refers not only to those directly taken from the fridge but also to raw foods, as these require extra energy for digestion compared to pre-cooked foods. This may mean choosing a pasta salad over a green salad or switching from muesli to oat porridge for breakfast.

It is important to remember that we can change the “nature” of food to warming foods by cooking or warming them. This will preserve their energetic and nutrient value, while increasing their Yang nature, therefore soups, porridge and slow roasted foods show become the dishes of choice for those with a Yang deficiency. The herbs and spices mentioned above are warming and as such in small amounts encourage digestion and circulation throughout the body. While it may seem reasonable to achieve an improved warming effect by using the stronger spices such as black pepper liberally, care needs to be taken as these can be used to excess, inducing sweating which in fact actually has a cooling drying effect on the body.

Herbs That Tonify Yang

In general, herbs that tonify Yang are warm and dry in nature.  They can injure Yin and give rise to fire, so they are contraindicated for a person with deficient Yin and excessive fire syndrome.

Incomplete – Come back for more later………..


Harmonising Aggressive Energy

This treatment protocol is based on Five Elements and is a simple effective treatment for clearing Aggressive energy, reducing stress, nourishing the Soul, Strengthening the body.

Half inch (1/2″) needles are inserted just barely under the skin, from top to bottom and right to left, usually inserting BL-15 as the last point.

The points in this treatment:

  • BL-13 – Fei (Lung) Shu Acupoint
  • BL-14 – Xin Bao (Pericardium) Shu Acupoint
  • BL-15 – Xin (Heart) Shu Acupoint
  • BL-18 – Gan (Liver) Shu Acupoint
  • BL-20- Pi (Spleen) Shu Acupoint
  • BL-23 – Shen (Kidney) Shu Acupoint

Needles are retained in the patient for 20 minutes.


The Health Benefits of Ginger


My students would have heard me advocating the benefits of “Ginger Soup” during a cold or flu, especially when it’s at that stage of the itchy throat before it have had time to penetrate deeper into the body. It’s not my recipe but I’m passing on here as so many people have benefited from it.

Ginger is a medical herb used for centuries as a spice and also for its therapeutic qualities. The underground stem, the rhizome, can be used fresh, powdered, dried, or as an oil or juice. Ginger is part of the Zingiberaceae family, as are cardamom, turmeric and galangal.
What are the therapeutic benefits of ginger?
Below are examples of some scientific studies on ginger and its current or potential uses in medical treatment.

Inflammation of the colon or large intestine

Ginger Root Supplement administered to volunteer participants reduced inflammation in the colon within a month. This was the findings of a study carried out at the University of Michigan Medical School. Experts say that inflammation of the colon is a precursor to colon cancer.

Muscle pain caused by exercise

Ginger has excellent anti-inflammatory properties and can bring relief to those sore muscles post exercise. Float some ginger essential oil into your bath to help aching muscles and joints. A study by Patrick O’Connor, a professor at University of Georgia published in The Journal of Pain that ginger benefited muscle pain when those muscles were subjected to strenuous exercise.

Nausea caused by chemotherapy

Dr Julie Ryan, lead researcher at the University of Rochester Medical Center presented a study findings at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Orlando, Florida, in 2009 that ginger supplements administered alongside anti-vomiting medications can reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea symptoms by 40%. Dr. Ryan said “By taking the ginger prior to chemotherapy treatment, the National Cancer Institute-funded study suggests its earlier absorption into the body may have anti-inflammatory properties.”

Ovarian cancer

Researchers from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found that ovarian cancer cells, when exposed to a solution of ginger powder resulted in their death in every single test as reported at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting in Washington D.C., 2006.


Researchers at Columbia University found that certain components of ginger can alleviate symptoms of asthma as reported at the American Thoracic Society International Conference 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Liver damage

Liver damage is associated with certain popular painkillers such as Acetaminophen or “Tylenol” or “paracetamol”. Researchers from the National Research Centre in Egypt reported “Our results demonstrated that ginger can prevent hepatic injuries, alleviating oxidative stress in a manner comparable to that of vitamin E. Combination therapy of ginger and acetaminophen is recommended especially in cases with hepatic (liver) disorders or when high doses of acetaminophen are required.”

High blood pressure

Researchers from Chiang Mai University in Thailand found that cassumunar ginger extract was more effective than prazosin hydrochloride in reducing blood pressure in hypertensive laboratory rats.

Dysmenorrhoea (painful menstruation)

researchers from the Islamic Azad University in Iran found that Ginger can help reduce the symptoms of pain in primary dysmenorrhoea (period pains). The researchers found that the 82.85% of the women taking the ginger capsules reported improvements in pain symptoms compared to 47.05% of those on placebo.


Researchers from VALI-e-ASR Hospital in Iran found that ginger powder is as effective in treating common migraine symptoms as many pain killers that are common for treating migraine.


Poor appetite or Spleen Qi Deficiency (TCM). Eating fresh ginger about one hour before lunch has been shown to improve a poor appetite and help us get those essential nutrients for everyday life. Its also good at helping to reduce flatulence!

Optimum Absorption of Essential Nutrients

Ginger improves the absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients in the body.

Post Surgery Nausea

Eating a piece of raw ginger dipped in honey helps to overcome nausea after energy saping surgery.

Nose and throat congestion

Drink some ginger tea to release congestion from these areas and the ginger will also keep you warm during times when there’s a nip in the air. Ginger clears the ‘micro-circulatory channels’ of the body, including the sinuses that tend to flare up at certain times.


In Ayurvedic texts ginger is considered the perfect herb when you want to induce a little zest in the bedroom. Add some ginger root to a bowl of soup to spice up your lovelife.

Side Effects are rare but they need to be mentioned here.

  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach upset
  • Mouth irritation

James O’Sullivan from Galway is a credible and engaging speaker, a people friendly practitioner and lecturer of Integrated Medicine, serving his patients, his students and the public with the positive benefits of both Conventional Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. He is a respected author and has appeared on many public media.

What Beautiful Women Eat

People will always be attracted to beauty and have a desire for it. Theres nothing wrong with looking good, in fact when we look in the mirror and see the beauty both inner and outer, our overall wellbeing improves. Staying naturally beautiful and what you eat is closely related. Many foods that people eat everyday not only contain nutrients that the body needs, but they can also maintain beauty and health. When Chinese medicine is added to some foods, they  have a delicious flavor and curative effects, which help maintain beauty.

Here are some recipes that also have Chinese medicine.

1. Porridge with red date and chrysanthemum:

Ingredients: 50 grams red date, 100 grams rice, 15 grams chrysanthemum
Add these ingredients into a pan with water, boil until it becomes a dense porridge. Then add some red sugar to taste. This porridge is beneficial for the spleen, blood, liver and eyes. Consumption of this porridge for a long time can prevent illnesses and maintain one’s beauty.

2. Lotus porridge:

Ingredients: 30 grams lotus, 30 grams Qianshi, 50 grams Yiren rice, 10 grams longan, honey
Soak lotus, Qianshi and Yiren rice in water for 30 minutes. Cook these ingredients and the longan into porridge over low heat, and then add some honey to taste. Longan can help re-energize people; lotus is beneficial for the spleen and stomach; Yiren rice and Qianshi are good for the spleen. Medical research has shown that Qianshi is abundant in Vitamins A, B, and C, while honey contains collagen and enzymes which stimulate the growth of cells and accelerate metabolism. This porridge is the perfect medicinal food for beauty, having the effect of eliminating wrinkles and whitening the skin.

3. Beauty porridge for enriching the blood

Ingredients: 3 grams Chuangong, 6 grams angelica, 2 grams safflower, 4 grams Huangshi, 100 grams Geng rice and chicken soup
Wash the rice and soak in water. Put sliced angelica, Chuangong and Huangshi in a small cloth bag. Put the bag and the chicken soup in a clay pot and boil. Add the rice to the soup and cook into porridge. Last, sprinkle green onion slices, MSG and ginger slices over the porridge. This porridge has enriches the blood. Long-term consumption of this porridge can help women regulate menstruation, enrich the blood and maintain one’s beauty. Take it once a day for 15 days as a treatment period.

4. Beauty tea

Ingredients: 500 grams ginger, 250 grams black tea, 100 grams salt, 150 grams licorice, 25 grams clove and 25 grams Chenxiang
Mash all the ingredients into a powder. Take 15 grams to 25 grams for each dose. Fry them or make them into tea early in the morning. It can be drunk several times a day. The tea is good for recovering the spleen, strengthening the stomach, enriching blood, soothing the nerves and curing depression. Long-term use of this tea can whiten and soften the skin and reduce wrinkles.

5. Porridge with white fungus and cherry

Ingredients: 50 grams white fungus, 30 grams cherry, sweet osmanthus and rock sugar
Boil the melted rock sugar and white fungus for about 10 minutes, then and add the cherry and sweet osmanthus. This porridge has the effect of recovering energy, enriching the blood, whitening the skin and maintaining one’s beauty.

James O’Sullivan is a credible and engaging speaker, a visiting lecturer to Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, a people friendly practitioner of Integrative Medicine at Galway Smiling Body Acupuncture Clinic, serving his patients, his students and the public with the positive benefits of both Conventional Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. He is a respected author and has appeared on many public media.

(Source:, Translated by Women of China)


Fibromyalgia is characterised by chronic widespread pain and allodynia (a heightened and painful response to pressure). The exact cause of Fibromyalgia is unknown but it is believed to involve psychological, genetic, neuro-biological and environmental factors. Fibromyalgia symptoms are not restricted to pain, leading to the use of the alternative term fibromyalgia syndrome for the condition. Other symptoms include debilitating fatigue, sleep disturbance, and joint stiffness. Some patients also report difficulty with swallowing, bowel and bladder abnormalities, numbness and tingling, and cognitive dysfunction. Fibromyalgia is frequently accompanied with psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety and stress-related disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Not all fibromyalgia patients experience all associated symptoms. Fibromyalgia is estimated to affect 2–4% of the population, with a female to male incidence ratio of approximately 9:1. The term “fibromyalgia” derives from new Latin, fibro-, meaning “fibrous tissues”, Greek myo-, “muscle”, and Greek algos-, “pain”; thus the term literally means “muscle and connective tissue pain”.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Fibromyalgia

Traditional Chinese medicine views pain, in terms of stagnation of qi energy and expressed in this famous Chinese saying: “Bu tong ze tong, tong ze bu tong” which means “free flow equals no pain, no free flow equals pain.”

Pain is seen as a disharmony and particularly stagnation of the flow of Qi energy within the body. This disharmony of Qi that results in fibromyalgia is usually associated with disharmonies of the Liver, Spleen, Kidney and Heart Systems.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Treatment

Traditional Chinese medicine does not recognize fibromyalgia as one particular disease pattern. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each patient depending on their constitution, emotional state, location and intensity of their pain, digestive health, sleeping patterns and an array of other signs and symptoms. Therefore, if 10 people are treated with Traditional Chinese medicine for fibromyalgia, each of these 10 people will receive a unique, customized treatment with different acu points, different herbs and different lifestyle and dietary recommendations.

The symptoms of fibromyalgia are highly variable form one person to another, and therefore a wide array of traditional and complementary treatments has been shown to be the most effective way of treating this difficult syndrome. A treatment program may include a combination of psychological or behavioral therapies, medications, exercise, acupuncture, herbal medicine and bodywork.


The Webinar includes material from both Western and Eastern perspectives. In addition to Traditional Chinese medicine being a general medical discipline  it is primarily complementary and part of an integrated approach to healthcare.

Western Medicine
Definition of Fibromyalgia
Incidence and Risk Factors
Signs and Tests

Traditional Chinese medicine
Pattern Identification, to include diagnosis, principal of treatment and prescription of acu points
Herbal Therapy (TCM)
Nutritional Therapy

Dates: See Calendar (Scroll through)

A webinar is an online lecture, seminar or presentation.

Tuina benefits Depression

Pinching spine: A potential treatment for depression

In my clinic I use Tuina Chinese Medical Acupressure or Massage because it is an essential skill that I have found to be a vital part of effective treatments. Studying Tuina in Taiwan under the excellent tutorship of Hung Shui Chen I was so impressed by the range of conditions that improved with the use of Tuina Chinese Medical Acupressure or Massage and it is interesting recently to learn that the scientists have studied its effectiveness to treat depression in clinical trials. Tuina is the hands on application of medical massage techniques on Qi points (the same Qi points that acupuncturists use, to improve the body’s ability to combat or prevent disease. It is practiced in nearly every hospital throughout the Orient and its effectiveness is recognised all over the world.

The study illustrates the broad effectiveness of this ancient hands-on therapy. The study was conducted by researchers from Nanjing University and can be found published in the US National Library of Medicine. The researchers used a special Tuina technique called Spinal Pinching on rats to alleviation of depression symptoms. I do not agree that research on any animals is necessary to establish the benefits of Tuina as there is no contraindications or adverse effects to its use in the case of the treatment of depression. Chronic unpredictable stress (CUS) techniques were used to cause rats to experience depression and then Tuina pinching spine technique was applied daily for one week.During the study the rats had various measurements cataloged such as their body weight and their sucrose intake and at the end of the study, a microarray genome wide expression analysis of their hippocampus was calculated.

The researchers found that the Tuina spine pinching techniques improved behavioural activity and sucrose spending. These were increased due to the stress responses. They also found decreases of several genes related to energy metabolism, olfactory receptor and anti-oxidation. Several genes related to homeostasis, immunity-inflammation, and restriction of activities and ingestion was increased. They concluded that the pinching spine techniques showed a “potential antidepressant like effect” most likely related to chemical changes in the hippocampus.

Abstract in US American Library of Medicine

Smiling Body Clinic

Fertility Support – Acupuncture

As part of our commitment to offering the best training in acupuncture skills, techniques and protocols, we have created a comprehensive 50/50 theory and practical course outlining the way fertility issues are treated according to traditional Chinese medicine. The course covers the fundamental treatment protocols according to TCM and include point prescriptions and their correct needling techniques.

You must be a qualified Acupuncturist to participate on this course

Dates: See Calendar (Scroll through)