Two clients: one with sleep problems, the other with chronic shoulder pain.
The mysterious cause: liver imbalance.
The holistic cure: a perfect blend of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and osteopathy.
Anita was exhausted. The mother-of-two and entrepreneur had struggled with sleeplessness for over five years. Her sleeping pills were not helping, and she dreaded the idea of increasing the dosage as recommended by her medical doctor. Anita yearned for a sustainable solution to lay her sleep issues to rest once and for all.
Meanwhile, Ben was in agony. Treatment provided by manual therapists in the past had done little to ease his shoulder pain, and the prescribed painkillers triggered nausea and stomach cramps. The constant pain affected Ben’s mobility and, as a result, impacted his self-esteem.
Intrigued by the clinic’s integrated healing approach to identifying and addressing the hidden causes of health issues with personalised treatment plans, both Anita and Ben turned to IMI- Integrated Medicine Institute. Despite presenting with different symptoms, both found success with TCM and osteopathy.
How TCM and osteopathy work together to address sleep issues
Inspired by a friend to give acupuncture a try, Anita booked a consultation with IMI Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner Dr Michelle Law.
During the initial consultation, Anita felt heard for the first time. Dr Law took the time to understand the different factors affecting Anita’s wellbeing, which allowed her the space to divulge she had been feeling increasingly angry and resentful. Despite trying different techniques to relax, Anita was finding it hard to quiet her mind. She was easily agitated and frustrated, which was affecting her relationships with family and colleagues.
Dr Law explained that emotions and physical health are intimately linked. Inevitably, one affects the other. To treat Anita’s sleep problems, she would need to treat her liver.
Anita was curious. How is the liver linked to sleep?
“In TCM theory, when the liver and gallbladder are imbalanced, the energy (Qi) does not smoothly flow through the whole body system. While a person may experience accompanying symptoms like head, neck or shoulder pain, sleeplessness, digestive challenges and more, the stand-out symptom is usually stress and emotional disturbance. The liver is linked to emotions like stress, anger, resentment and frustration,” Dr Law explains.
Choosing points on the liver and related meridians, Dr Law supported Anita with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicines. While progress was made, Dr Law noted that Anita’s response to TCM was slower-than-usual. Suspecting a structural misalignment might also be to blame, Dr Law referred Anita to an IMI osteopath.
Working in collaboration, Dr Law continued to address the emotional imbalance while our osteopath used visceral oriented treatment – a gentle, hands-on manual therapy – to alleviate structural imbalance in Anita’s liver.
After a series of questions to determine a history of accidents or trauma to the spine, our osteopath also assessed Anita’s ribs and soft tissues around the liver, and nerves connected to the liver. In three sessions, he used manipulation and mobilisation techniques to release the blood flow to her liver.
Combining TCM and osteopathy treatment, Anita quickly experienced the breakthrough she longed for. She now sleeps more and stresses less.
How osteopathy and TCM work together to heal aches and pains
Ben’s path to optimal health and wellbeing began with osteopathy. Dubious at first, he questioned the difference between osteopathy and the other manual therapies he had tried.
“While other manual therapies focus on mobilising the site of the injury, osteopathy takes a ‘whole body’ approach. Intended to restore the body’s natural balance, osteopathic medicine looks at the relationship between the structure of the body and the function of various organs and body systems.
What makes IMI osteopaths’ approach unique is our awareness of the link between leg, shoulder, neck or back pain on the right side of the body with imbalance in the right-side organs. We go beyond merely treating the shoulder or other structural issues, we diagnose and treat the affected right-side organs for optimal healing.
As Ben was experiencing pain in his right shoulder, our osteopath assessed the right-side lungs, liver and gall bladder and diagnosed by exclusion that Ben was suffering from liver dysfunction. To determine the cause, he asked a series of questions to identify history of accidents or trauma, detoxification challenges caused by exposure to environmental toxins, drugs, alcohol, tobacco or medication; noticeable fluctuations in energy levels, and more.
Based on the assessment, our osteopath confirmed Ben’s shoulder pain was a liver-directed structural pain. While our osteopath worked on Ben’s nerve control, vascular system and ribs surrounding the liver, he suggested Ben consult with Dr Law to tonify his liver and meridian system.
Dr Law assessed Ben’s clinical signs and noted his pulse was tight, particularly in the liver position. Ben’s tongue was a slight purplish red, and he occasionally had a bitter taste in his mouth. Dr Law chose acupuncture points primarily on his liver and gallbladder meridians, which she treated with relaxation and calming points. She released the muscle tension around the shoulder area, and prescribed Chinese herbal medicine to soothe and support his liver, which further helped to regulate the energy and blood flow to his right shoulder.
Once again, the collaborative approach of osteopathy and TCM proved successful. In just a handful of sessions, Ben was pain-free and able to embrace a healthier, happier quality of life.
Can TCM and osteopathy heal your liver?
Adhering to IMI’s integrated healing model, our practitioners are committed to identifying every factor that may be impacting your health and wellbeing. Clients appreciate the personalised care they receive as well as the convenience of being able to access expert practitioners in one location. Clinically proven to fast-track optimal healing, TCM and osteopathy can perfectly complement each other to address both the emotional and structural imbalances affecting your liver and causing an array of health conditions.