Your parents soon start noticing some strange behavioral changes in their young daughter. You have become very restless. Your teachers now complain that you are being disruptive at school. They also notice that you are developing involuntary facial and verbal tics.
Your parents become alarmed when they see you violently twisting and jerking your head, sometimes while muttering incoherent guttural sounds. It is almost like you are being possessed by demons.
You are referred to a neurological specialist who diagnoses you with a strange disorder called Tourette’s syndrome, a neurological imbalance named after the 19 century French physician who discovered it.
While the cause of this dysfunction remains unknown, it is suspected that sufferers have a genetic abnormality affecting the brain neurotransmitters, in particular dopamine and serotonin.
The neurologist mentions that is often linked with mental disorders in children, especially Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Apparently the intensity of the attacks can range from minor tics with no obvious mental symptoms, to traumatic mental and behavioral changes causing the sufferers to become totally contorted with contractions, while muttering incoherently, or shouting out vile obscenities. Unfortunately, as the doctor dramatically concludes, your daughter’s condition is incurable, although chemical drugs can sometimes be helpful.
A few years later, you reach puberty. You are now developing into a beautiful woman, but your life has become a misery. Your prescribed medication is not helping - in fact, it is giving you severe side effects. You are being bullied at school, and you are struggling with your homework.
Having no control over your affliction, you constantly fear ridicule in public. You avoid social interactions, and gradually turn into a recluse. When your depression gets worse, you start contemplating suicide.
Your parents are now at loss. Nothing seems to help. Before making a final decision regarding possible brain surgery, they take you to a local acupuncturist one of their friends recommended. It is a life changing moment. The improvements are almost miraculous. Soon after, all your symptoms are gone. You can now live a normal life. You start taking singing lessons. You decide to enter a regional beauty contest, and you win the 2012 Miss Arizona title.
This is not a new Mills and Boon novel, but the true story of a young American woman named Jennifer Smestad, who was lucky to meet a remarkable acupuncturist who changed her life.
Miss Jing Lui, who practises Oriental medicine in Scottsdale, Arizona, diagnosed Jennifer’s neurological condition as “a deficiency of Yin energy, resulting in an excess of Yang, phlegm, Liver and fire“.
Our patient was put on an intensive course of acupuncture and herbal medicine three times a week for several months, and her body responded quickly.
After only two months of treatments, her condition had improved by 70% with only one bad episode during that time, which was caused by stress. Three months later, her symptoms had improved by 90%, and she became an A grade high school student for the first time.
When her symptoms totally disappeared, she dropped her visit to Miss Lui’s medical practice to only three to four times a year for regular maintenance, and she won the Miss Arizona beauty contest soon after.
In our Oriental medical framework, childhood diseases with involuntary movements are interpreted as being caused by a weakness of Jing (or essence), which is affecting the child’s brain development. The lack of control over physical movements and mental focus can be seen as a Yin deficiency, resulting in an excess of Yang energy and the build up of heat in the body, especially the head. These excess heat symptoms can be exacerbated by poor diet, and emotions like fear and stress.
It has been noted that young children with Tourette’s syndrome are often shorter than average, which could confirm the Chinese concept of an original lack of Jing or genetic essence affecting both the mental and physical development of the young child. In these cases, the acupuncture and herbal treatment focus is aimed at strengthening the kidney and the liver, clearing the heat and the accumulation of phlegm in the body.
Today, Traditional Chinese Medicine is still routinely used in many hospitals in China for the treatment of epilepsy, stroke and Parkinson’s disease
Today, Traditional Chinese Medicine is still routinely used in many hospitals in China for the treatment of epilepsy, stroke and Parkinson’s disease. Clinical experience has shown that it can sometimes be a very effective and safe form of treatment.
Keeping in mind that every patient’s neurological response is unique, it would be unwise to always expect such spectacular changes as we saw in the case of young Jennifer Smestad. Nevertheless, this heart warming story opens the mind to alternative treatment options when conventional medicine is often struggling to find an answer. (Check Jennifer Smestad singing on You Tube).
Olivier Lejus BHSc.MHSc. is a registered acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist practising in Sydney. A former casual university lecturer and tutor in Oriental medicine with over 15 years experience in clinical practice, Olivier specialises in Japanese- style acupuncture for the treatment of male and female infertility, migraine, pain, and insomnia.www.olejusacupuncture.com