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Traditional Chinese Medicine response for COVID-19 disease

5000 years of Traditional Chinese Medicine at the service of your body to prevent and treat the symptoms of COVID-19

What is COVID-19

Coronaviruses are single positive stranded RNA virus.

The new coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2, belongs to the same family of viruses as six other known coronaviruses that we have known about for years or even decades.

Four of these are human coronavirus which causes disease varies from mild winter cold to serious acute respiratory infections (e.g. SARS, MERS), which could be life threatening.

In late December 2019, a series atypical pneumonia outbreak was found in China, which is found to be caused by a type of novel coronavirus, which later cause the global pandemic

On 11 February 2020 the WHO gave the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 an official name: COVID-19, short form of coronavirus disease 2019.

Range of severity

COVID-19 shows wide range of variety of symptoms and severity, from no symptoms at all to life threatening.

There are people who became infected but not showing any symptoms at all, there usually unaware that they caught the diseased but they still able to pass on the virus to other people without realizing it.

Therefore, it is essential to keep social distancing and a good hygiene practice.

Symptoms

Most common symptoms are sore throat cough at the early stage of disease. Some may develop shortness of breath or chest pain.

Fever is also commonly seen.

Some people may experience sudden loss of sense of smell and taste.

Other symptoms may include headache, fatigue, muscle ache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and skin rash.

COVID-19 in Chinese medicine perspective

COVID-19 is classified as a dampness pestilence because of its clinical manifestation. It presented the symptoms of dampness, heat, toxin, deficiency and stagnation.

Traditional Chinese medicine believe that, when there is sufficient healthy vital qi inside the body, pathogenic factors have no way to invade the body (正氣存內,邪不可干); when pathogenic factors accumulate inside the body, the parts of the body must be deficient in the vital Qi (邪之所湊,其正必虛).

This could explain why some people could be asymptomatic after contracting the virus because they have strong vital Qi.

Of course, one has to still be careful and keep social distancing even they have very strong vital Qi, because Chinese medicine also believe that when pathogens prevails over vital-qi, the disease tends to invade.

PREVENT DISEASE

Although there is still no vaccine against COVID-19 available in the market, it doesn’t mean catching the disease is inevitable.

By keeping social distance and wear a mask, we could reduce the chance of contacting the disease. As we mention before, according to the the concept of TCM, Qi is the basic substance that maintain normal function and protect the body from catching disease.

We could prevent disease by strengthening vital Qi and thus help strengthening the immune function with phytotherapy and acupuncture.

MINIMIZE SYMPTOMS

In China and South Korea, Chinese medicine is essential in treatment of COVID-19 and is included in the guideline as a treatment option for COVID-19.

According to clinical manifestations of patients who infected with COVID-19, it can be classified as “wet, heat, congestion” in their lungs.

With Chinese medicine decoction and acupuncture treatment, we could strengthen vital Qi, disperse wet, expel heat and unblock congestion inside the body, and thus eliminating the pathogens.

RECOVER YOUR BODY

According to ancient Chinese medical literature, the aftermath of pestilence disease usually shows the symptoms of impairment of Qi and body fluid.

With acupuncture and phytotherapy, we could tonify Qi and nourish body fluid, thus helping to tackle common sequelae like loss of taste, loss of smell, fatigue, shortness of breath, joint pain, chest pain, cough, headache, etc.

Concept of Post-acute COVID and Chronic COVID (BMJ)

British scientist has proposed a new concept of Post-acute COVID-19 / chronic COVID (long COVID).

It occurs after recovery from COVID-19 even after a relatively mild acute illness.

The symptoms of the condition vary widely. Most commonly are cough, low grade fever and fatigue, all of which may relapse and remit. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, neurocognitive difficulties, muscle pains and weakness, gastrointestinal upset, rashes, metabolic disruption (e.g. poor control of diabetes), thromboembolic conditions, and depression or other mental health conditions.

The time frame of those symptoms varies also. Some experience the symptoms together with the onset of COVID, others might have their symptoms onset even few weeks after recovery.

These symptoms extending beyond 3 weeks from first onset of symptoms or even beyond 12 weeks.

Research shows around 10% of patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 remain unwell beyond 3 weeks, and only 65% of people had returned to their previous level of health 14-21 days after diagnosed positively.

On average, people remain symptomatic for 40 days. The real situation might be much worse as the research is still on going.

Most of the interviewee are still feeling unwell until the day of taking part of the survey and the course of their disease is still not long enough.

Therefore, the survey had included only the data until the 6 week after the onset of COVID.

There is still no known reason on why some people are affected by these complications. However, according to Chinese medicine theory, febrile disease weakening Qi and impairing body fluid, thus causing the impairment of healthy Qi and lingering of pathogenic symptoms.

Therefore, it is vital to enhance Qi and replenish body fluid, targeting the lingering pathology, in the view of rebuilding the immunity of the body.

TCM (Acupuncture) and post-Covid treatment

HEADACHE

It is also very commonly seen after recovery of acute COVID-19. According to survey 1, around 30% of people experience headache up to 6 weeks after COVID. In Chinese medicine theory, when there is blockage, there is pain.

As COVID-19 is a type of damp pestilence, it causes blockage of energy. Acupuncture could help in relieving headache by unblocked the blocked energy and reduce the sensation of pain.

FATIGUE

It is the most common non-specific problem that persist after suffering from COVID-19. 1/3 of people was suffered from mild fatigue and 1/3 was suffered from moderate fatigue even after 8 weeks of the onset of disease.

In Chinese medicine, fatigue is due to lack of Qi (healthy energy) inside the body, which is usually seen after severe or long-term disease.

With acupuncture and sometimes with herbs together, we can replenish qi thus promote the energy level inside the body, and thus restore the normal function of the post-COVID sufferer.

NEUROLOGICAL AND COGNITIVE SYMPTOMS

Research found out there are many people suffered from certain extend of neurological symptoms, notably concentration problem, insomnia, loss of taste and loss of smell.

At the 6week of the course of COVID, nearly 40% and 38% suffered from insomnia and concentration problem respectively.

Other reports change in personality, reduced attention, disorientation and reduced working memory.

With the use of acupuncture, we could help to resolve concentration and improve sleeping quality.

Acupuncture could also help in improving the sense of taste and smell after suffering from loss of taste or loss of smell during the course of disease.

COUGH AND SHORTNESS OF BREATH

Chronic cough and shortness of breath is very common symptom after recovering from acute COVID-19. More than 30% of people who recovered from acute COVID-19 has the symptom of coughing and nearly 40% of people experience shortness of breath up to 6 weeks.

According to Chinese medicine theory, acute febrile disease usually attacks the upper channel especially the lung meridian.

COVID-19 is a type of febrile disease that targeting the lung and causes the weakening of lung Qi. When lung Qi is week, the recovery of symptoms from lung meridian, such as cough, shortness of breath or chest pain would be prolonged and Acupuncture could help in replenish lung Qi and thus relieving cough and speed up the recovery from lung related symptoms.

PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS

This could affect every people, not only the post COVID patient, but also their family members, their caregiver and general public.

Many post COVID patients, especially those who were severely ill and hospitalized, suffered from certain extend of psychological sequelae and some of them even suffered from post-traumatic disorder.

Their family and caregiver may also suffer from certain degree of psychological stress because of increased responsibilities and lack of sleep to take care of the patient, or anxiety on losing their family member to the disease.

Those who experience lockdown may also experience anxiety, stress, conditions related to broken routine and social isolation especially for those who live alone.

While most people recover after return to normal life, some may remain fatigue, anxious or insomniac.

TCM is effective in improve psychological condition. Acupuncture could help in relief anxiety and stress, improve sleeping quality and help them to recover their health status.

TCM is effective in improve psychological condition. Acupuncture could help in relief anxiety and stress, improve sleeping quality and help them to recover their health status.

Hongguang Dong

TCM Specialist, Dr. Dong Clinic

Traditional Chinese medicine, Swiss Standard.

Dr. Dong Clinic is composed of three medical facilities. 

Our medical team are specialists who have received advanced medical training and have years of practical experience in China
and abroad (Germany, Spain and Switzerland).  

Our treatment techniques are a harmonious combination of Western medical principles and traditional Chinese medicine.

The Clinic collaborates with Hospital de la Tour (Geneva), Groupe medical d’Onex, China Academy of Chinese Medical Science (Beijing), and World Federation of Acupuncture and Moxibustion Societies (WFAS).

We provide preventive care and treatment with traditional Chinese medicine (including acupuncture). We offer:

  • a wide variety of medical services,
  • well experienced practical expertise in traditional Chinese medicine,
  • personalized diagnoses and treatments.