Treating Dizziness with Traditional Chinese Medicine

March 12, 2018

Nearly all of us would get dizzy spells in our life time. When was the last time you had it? 


Dizziness or giddiness is a general word that people use to describe light-headedness, or vertigo. Lightheadedness is when you feel like you are going to faint, whereas vertigo is feeling of unbalanced or seeing things like they are moving or spinning.


Dizziness can happen when the body is weak or anemic. This is most commonly found among ladies. It can be accompanied by blood pressure that is lower than normal and general lack of energy or lethargy. Normally boosting up the body with tonics or supplements would help in strengthening the body and eliminating the dizziness.


Another kind of dizziness may affect the middle-age group. The sufferer may have the sensation that the head is “expanded” with excessive pressure, a tight and uncomfortable neck, insomnia, feeling hot especially in the upper body, losing hair, tinnitus (sound in the ear) or tendency to get irritable and angry. Such dizziness is normally exacerbated by spicy or “heaty” food, anger, alcohol and late nights. A blood pressure check is advised, as it can indicate elevated blood pressure, although there are also cases where the blood pressure is normal. Traditional Chinese Medicine is effective in treating such dizziness, before starting to use blood pressure medication.


The third type of dizziness has to do with the digestive function. A young adult patient once came in seeking treatment for dizziness together with loose bowels and poor appetite. He had been having it for a few days and thought it was due to the hot weather. While acute food poisoning can also give us giddiness and digestive symptoms, this patient did not have abdominal discomfort or nausea. He reported that during the past weeks, he was drinking more cold drinks and “liang teh” (cooling herbal drink). After diagnosis, it turned out it was not the weather that was making him dizzy, but most likely excessive consumption of cold drinks and cooling herbal drinks that he had been taking.


In Traditional Chinese Medicine, such a dizziness is loosely translated as “clear Yang not rising”. Essentially, the Yang energy (Yang in the Yin-Yang relationship) in our body is not able to rise up to the head due to blockage in the abdomen. Such cases happen when the digestive function is weakened, causing dampness and phlegm to obstruct the rising of Yang energy. It can happen to anyone, but is usually preceded by a period of over-working, fatigue, or excessive or inappropriate eating and/or drinking. The good news is such type of dizziness usually responds well to TCM treatment and normally takes only one to three visits to clear the symptoms.

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