Treating Dizziness with TCM

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Nearly all of us would get dizzy spells in our life time. When was the last time you had it?

Dizziness or giddiness is a general word that people use to describe light-headedness, or vertigo. Lightheadedness is when you feel like you are going to faint, whereas vertigo is feeling of unbalanced or seeing things like they are moving or spinning.

Dizziness can happen when the body is weak or anemic. This is commonly found among ladies. It can be accompanied by lower blood pressure and a general lack of energy or lethargy. Boosting the body with tonics or supplements may help in strengthening the body and eliminating the dizziness.

Another kind of dizziness may affect the middle-aged group. The sufferer may have the sensation that the head is “expanded” with excessive pressure, a tight and uncomfortable neck, insomnia, feeling hot especially in the upper body, losing hair, tinnitus (sounds in the ear), or a tendency to get irritable and angry. Such dizziness is normally exacerbated by spicy or “heaty” food, anger, alcohol, and late nights. A blood pressure check is advised as it may indicate elevated blood pressure, although there are also cases where the blood pressure is normal. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is effective in treating such dizziness or elevated blood pressures, before starting to use blood pressure medication.

The third type of dizziness has to do with the digestive function. A young adult patient once sought treatment for dizziness, loose bowels and lack of appetite. While acute food poisoning can also give us giddiness and digestive symptoms, this patient did not have abdominal discomfort or nausea. After diagnosis, the TCM physician discerned that it was due to an excessive intake of cold drinks and “cooling” herbal drinks over the period. In TCM, such a dizziness is loosely translated as “clear Yang not rising”. Essentially, the Yang energy (Yang in the Yin-Yang relationship) in our body is not able to rise up to the head due to blockage in the abdomen. Such cases happen when the digestive function is weakened by coldness, causing a damp obstruction the rising of Yang energy. It can happen to anyone, but is usually preceded by a period of exhaustion, excessive or inappropriate food and drink intake. The good news is such dizziness responds well to TCM treatment and normally subsides after one to three visits to the TCM physician.

1.《中医内科学》,周仲瑛主编,中国中医药出版社,新世纪第二版,2008年2月。
2. A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Wang Wen Juan et al., Shanghai Scientific and Technological Literature Publishing House, Dec 2004.

(by Tan Shiau Tse, TCM Physician, Copyright® HST Medical Pte Ltd)