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Severe Vertigo and Vomiting
Sea sickness is usually confined to sea travel. But what happens if the problem occurs outside of the marine environment? Usually this is termed as Menier's disease or some kind of problem with the vestibulo-cochlear function of the ear, resulting in lack of balance and sense of nausea. Unfortunately there is only a name for the problem but there is no real treatment in modern medicine. This problem however is a fairly easy condition to deal with in Chinese Medicine.
Recently I treated a patient with a similar issue. His problem seem to have come about almost suddenly. As such, the exact "disease" name was not really confirmed yet. He got some medications from his doctor but they didn't improve the situation. The patient was guided into my clinic with the help of family, because his vertigo is so severe he can't walk by himself. My assessment revealed a few interesting things that were not surprising.
First, his main complaint was a sensation of the world swirling around him. It is so severe that it persists even if he lies down. He also feels nauseous and has vomited already a few times, including another time during consultation in my office. At the same time, his digestion has always been poor in the past and he ate very little on a regular basis. For a man of his age, he was too skinny I believe. Furthermore, he looked a bit pale as well.
During consultation I could hear his stomach gurgling almost constantly. At the end of the assessment I finally told him his problem is not really an issue of his ear, but that of his digestive system. He seem shocked. In Chinese Medicine, when the digestive system under-performs, excessive fluids are retained within the body and causes gastrointestinal and circulation issues. His nausea and vomiting are manifestations of the gastrointestinal compromise, while his vertigo is a result of the imbalanced fluid circulation of the inner ear. I gave him Acupuncture and during the treatment his stomach started gurgling more, yet he reported that he felt a sense of release, as if something drained down.
In Chinese Medicine we call this "something" the "qi"(pronounced 'chee'), or the energy flow of the stomach. After the treatment his vertigo had decreased significantly and was more able to walk by himself. I also gave him herbs to strengthen his GI system for 1 week. When he came back, his overall condition had improved markedly, as he looked much more rosy. I repeated the treatment for another 2 weeks and he was quite fine; his appetite was much better and the vertigo and nausea have not come back since.
At the moment, problems such as this are only dealt with in modern medicine by "management", which is an euphemism for saying they don't know what to do with it. Fortunately, Chinese Medicine was able to come to his aid at this time so he had to endure relatively short periods of agony. To me, like most conditions, from the simplest to the more complex, the "disease" doesn't really matter to me, because that's not what Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture treat.
Yet, the problem ends up being treated in the end anyway. This may seem surprising, but it is not. Oriental wisdom is all about looking beyond the material and superficial aspects of phenomena since the greater forces behind are much more pertinent for consideration. This case is a very good example for illustrating this philosophy, where the main complaint of the patient is, to a Doctor of Chinese Medicine, only the superficial.