Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Yin and Yang of Lyme

I have spent my professional life merging East and West and feel that this is an area of Lyme treatment that is unrecognized. Most Chinese medical practitioners claim that antibiotics are not needed and most Western doctors fail to recognize the problems such as blood stagnation, organ dysfunction,and yin and yang imbalance that results from both the infection and from multiple long term antibiotics. I firmly believe that to become well you can and should combine treatments. This is how I treat hormone imbalance and now because of my illness am learning to do so for chronic Lyme.

I have been taking IV Claforan for 3 weeks now and have felt much better…my spirit and energy improved within days of starting treatment. One of the known side effects of Claforan is to lower the blood counts. As I progressed in my therapy I began to have increasing night sweats, uncontrolled tearfulness and sadness and increasing fatigue despite more rest. Most LLMD’s would say, “Great you are herxing.” But what is herxing really?? I understand that Herx reaction is the body’s reaction to dead bacteria/spirochetes but I also recognize that according to Chinese medicine it is blood/yin/Qi deficiency/liver stagnation, etc.

As I felt more unwell my liver function tests began to rise and my white blood cells began to fall. So I went to my Chinese Herbalist in Chinatown (Boston) and asked who the local acupuncturist is. (Doctors will not survive long in Chinatown if they are not successful with patients). Dr W (who takes insurance, so I pay only my $20 copay), has been practicing for over 25 years. I saw him yesterday. He was immediately angered by my state of health. He carefully explained, “your Yin and Yang are so very weak, and out of balance-stop the antibiotics.” (I was infusing during the exam!). He performed acupuncture and prescribed herbs to balance my organs ($17/week, told me to walk every day, sleep by 10pm, eat more vegetables and less meat and do less. I am used to merging modalities and I know that I will (for now) continue the antibiotics but I will also get my yin and yang balanced.

When I returned home my LLMD has left a message to stop antibiotic infusions because the white cell counts were too low. We discussed my theory and she agreed to adding Chinese Herbs and acupuncture to improve my kidney and liver yin, which will help my counts.

I will keep you posted- but no tears since acupuncture and clear happy head this morning. I will also post here the signs and symptoms of yin/blod and Qi deficiency. The symptoms look (and feel) a lot like Herx reactions…night sweats, tears, dizziness, heat intolerance…

I am do plan to transition off IV antibiotics in the upcoming months (hopefully) - they have done me good but I believe they should not be used long term. I will have a Bicillin injection today to prepare for IV withdrawal. I spoke with Dr S (Maryland) who says that he has less relapse when stopping IV using Bicillin injections in the last weeks of IV and then continues Biciillin (often with Omnicef) after the IV is discontinued. While I do this I will continue to get weekly acupuncture and boil my somewhat ghastly tasting herbs to restore my yin, yang and spirit.

I sincerely hope that this is not confusing to people. It is important to repair/restore the body while taking antibiotics and most "Chinatowns" throughout the world have skilled doctors. I trained in Australia with a Chinese doctor, in Melbourne’s Chinatown. The herbs are ancient and universal and they (the Chinese) have been treating spirochetes (Syphilis) for centuries. We have much to learn from them, and vice versa

I also believe that one does not have to spend a life’s saving to be well. I have lived with Lyme disease most of my life- lived it fully using combined treatments and I plan to live a long full life beyond today in the same way.


  1. Very interesting post. I fully agree about the use of "hybrid" treatment - eastern/western medicine. If your organs aren't working properly, how the heck can any meds be of help? Your body needs to detox properly and I'm learning mine isn't doing that so all the treatment I've been taking is just re-positioning the toxins throughout my body. Not good. I plan on starting acupuncture soon. Thank you for sharing this important ideology.

  2. I live near boston and have been looking for a REALLY good Chinese acupuncturist.... I also have lyme... Is there some kind of referal list???