For those who practise acupuncture the integration of this treatment modality with herbal formulae can broaden the scope of the therapeutic range and allow for greater flexibility. The first thing that should be stressed is that, whilst in a few cases a herbal formula fits the patient’s disharmony well and can therefore address the whole condition, in most cases of chronic diseases, it is unrealistic to expect a herbal formula to address the whole constellation of patterns of disharmony.
The condition of most patients with chronic diseases will manifest with at least two patterns, and often more. For example, it would not be unusual for a patient to suffer from Liver-Blood deficiency, Liver-Qi stagnation, Liver-Yang rising, Spleen-Qi deficiency and Dampness in the Middle Burner. Although two or even three formulae can be used in combination, it is sometimes preferable to integrate acupuncture with a herbal remedy. One can therefore use a herbal formula to address a certain pattern of disharmony and acupuncture to treat another.
The integration of acupuncture with herbal formulae is advantageous because it allows us to use one formula only and also because it simplifies the acupuncture protocol. Furthermore, the integration of acupuncture and herbal remedies works particularly well if we are clear about the diagnosis, the differentiation between Root (Ben) and Manifestation (Biao) and the treatment principle.
Read more on the Integration of Herbal Medicine with Acupuncture in this article.