Episode 5: A Synopsis of Alternative Healing Therapies with Yaron Cohen
This week we do a deep dive into the different treatment methods offered within Eastern Medicine in this interview with Yaron Cohen, the Director of Clinical Education at the Clinic, at Virginia University of Integrative Medicine.
Yaron Cohen, L.Ac., Dipl. OM.
Director of Clinical Education
Speaker 1 (00:04):
Integrative medicine has been around for thousands of years and is now a widely used form of healthcare across the modern world. In this podcast we discuss holistic wellness and share how integrative medicine has evolved to become a part of our culture today. This is All Things Integrative brought to you by the Virginia University of Integrative Medicine.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (00:32):
All right, so welcome to All Things Integrative, presented by Virginia University of Integrative Medicine. Today our guest is Yaron Cohen, the Director of Clinical Education at the Clinic at Virginia University of Integrative Medicine. We’re going to have a conversation today, your own about different treatments within the field of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, Eastern medicine as a whole. And so our hope is to be able to have you help clarify some of those treatment methods for the general public.
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (01:00):
Wonderful. Happy to help. Thanks for having me.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (01:02):
Wonderful. So before we go into discussing those specific treatment methods, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (01:11):
Sure. I was born here on the West coast in New York, but grew up in the DC area and Maryland. Went to the University of Maryland, studied pre-med family. It is full of doctors and always interested in the sciences. So, you know, I was deeply immersed in the bio-sciences that were researching different schools to go to medical school. All of a sudden I took a random class at university of Maryland called traditional Chinese medicine and two weeks in my entire life changed. So instead of researching medical school, I started looking into acupuncture and Chinese medicine school. Always wanted to move out West to California, researched California a little bit. They have very high standards for licensure. So I picked up, moved cross country and the rest is history.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (02:02):
Wow. What was it about that class that got you to change? Complete 180 direction?
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (02:08):
While I was doing pre-med in school, my major was actually philosophy. So I’m, I’m very much into thinking and critical thinking in different ways of thinking. So what really attracted me to Chinese medicine was the philosophy behind it and how it incorporated a more holistic approach to medicine instead of a reductionist approach, which are a Western colleagues. And it just made much more sense to me to consider every aspect of someone’s life as affecting their health instead of just one or two isolated things.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (02:41):
Makes sense to me. Sounds like a good choice.
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (02:44):
Yeah, absolutely. I haven’t regretted it since.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (02:46):
Awesome. So as we start to get into the different treatment methods within Eastern medicine we’re gonna, we’re going to ask you to, like I said, tell us a little bit more about those so that the general public has a better of what each one are. Sure. so can we start with acupuncture and you tell us about acupuncture, what it is and how you do it and,
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (03:07):
Sure. Absolutely. So acupuncture is probably the most popular treatment Mo technique and Chinese medicine or Eastern medicine. As people have heard plenty of stories about its pain-relieving qualities and it’s just a simple tool with a very fine thin stainless steel sterile needle that’s inserted into the body and somehow creates different physiological effects. I mean, this was the one curiosity I had when I first entered the field was how metal stuck into different points in the body, creating all these wonderful phenomena. And as I researched it, I noticed that it’s just simply a matter of us not knowing what the body is fully, potentially capable of. Right? So you know, science, medical science is wonderful, but we’re really just kind of at the forefront of understanding how the body works how to manipulate the, how the body works and so on and so forth.
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (04:12):
So acupuncture nowadays is getting a lot of headlines, especially considering the pain and opioid academic epidemic that we’re going through currently as it’s one of the most effective noninvasive methods to treat different pain syndromes. So acupuncture is relatively inexpensive. And what we do is again, we insert these very thin stainless steel fill the form needles that are sterile, single use and the immediately disposed of into different points on the body that correspond to different aspects of the physiological processes. So for example, when you go see your acupuncturist, they’ll diagnose you and assess you and whatever way they do. Then they’ll choose certain types of points on the body to insert these needles to create some sort of physiological effect. Now, how does that work? We’re still beginning to understand that there are many different explanations as to how it works.
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (05:20):
Things as simple as improving circulation improving nerve conduction, balancing hormones balancing the microbiome of the body, hacking the central nervous system and brain to create more systemic physiological responses and so on and so forth. The truth is acupuncture does all that and more, I mean, research is just beginning to unveil exactly how many different layers the acupuncture can affect including things like genetics and gene transcription, which historically medicine didn’t think we could influence genes. However, now with the new science of genomics and so on and so forth, we’re seeing just how amazing this medicine is.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (06:07):
That’s great, that’s a great description you’re on. I really appreciate it. So let’s get to the real heart of why people choose or not to use acupuncture. Does it hurt?
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (06:18):
Not generally. So you are sticking needles into the body, so there are sometimes sensations associated with it. But with a skilled practitioner and with the proper tools, most of those sensations are minimized if not completely eliminated. Wonderful. Yeah.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (06:36):
Yeah. I see. You know, and I say that that’s, that’s one of the more common factors and people not going to an acupuncturist only because of the overarching fear of needles in general. It’s probably a phobia by its own name that I don’t know, but I’m sure it is. And so talking to the general public about getting a treatment where needles are used repeatedly is something that I think we need to kind of address from the perspective of how do we, how do we encourage patients to consider it knowing that there may be some sensation associated with it or maybe even a little bit of pain. Cause like you said, there’s a female going into your skin. But the benefits of it are so enormous, you know, after that treatment. Is it fair to say that the pain, if we can call it pain associated with a needle treatment for acupuncture is well worth the outcome in most cases when you see a patient?
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (07:27):
Absolutely. And in fact, most patients get used to those types of sensations. And I personally don’t usually call it pain because the sensations are in fact warranted in a lot of the treatments. So whether it’s a heaviness or an electric sensations, they all dissipate after a couple of seconds. And then the patient can really get into the treatment. And the most common analogy I like to make is when most of our patients think of needles, they think of hypodermic needles when you’re getting an inoculation or shot from your doctor, right. Those are hollow needles that transfer substance into the body. Acupuncture needles are not hollow. They are very thin and in fact you can fit about 20 to 50 acupuncture needles in one of the inoculation needles. So that gives you a sense of actually how thin it actually is. It’s about a thin hair wall. Yeah. So the sensation is much, much less reduced than your average shot. And most patients eventually get used to it.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (08:31):
Wonderful. I really appreciate that. That’s very helpful. And explaining and understanding what that sensation may feel like. So, my understanding is that the next kind of thing that comes into methods of treatment is the herbal component. Is it fair to say that that’s kind of the next thing that you would go to and if not, what would you go to next?
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (08:51):
Absolutely, and I actually use herbal medicine in conjunction with acupuncture. Most commonly Chinese or East Asian medicine is an entire system of medicine. Self-Contained and acupuncture and herbs are only two of the multiple techniques that we use. They kind of go hand in hand. Acupuncture doesn’t introduce medicine into the body. There’s no chemicals or substances or herbs or anything on the needles themselves. They are inert. All acupuncture is doing is regulating the body’s physiological systems through its own means. Herbs are actually introducing medicine into the body. So there is a whole different approach that can be taken with herbs and in some situations they require herbal intervention to alleviate the symptoms.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (09:44):
Okay. Can you talk to us about an example of when you might have
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (09:48):
Use interval? Yeah, absolutely. So one of the new kind of cutting edge aspects of medicine in general is what’s known as the microbiome and the microbiome is the relationship of the body’s own good bacteria with the bad bacteria of the environment. And we’re noticing in medicine that a lot of diseases, especially a lot of chronic issues STEM or at least have a factor within an imbalance of the microbiome. So one of the amazing things about Chinese medicine and Chinese herbology in general is that it is uniquely suited to bring the microbiome into balance. And it does so in a very harmonious way such that it really minimizes potential side effects. So again, one of the beauties of our medicine is that it’s very individualized and customized for the individual such that it reduces any potential side effects that may occur with an improper diagnosis, for example.
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (10:52):
So currently we don’t really have that many good tools, whether it’s in our our pharmacy or our, you know, drug stores to balance the microbiome except for antibiotics and what’s known as probiotics. Unfortunately, those are too strong and too specific to be universally applied to most individuals. So the beauty of Chinese medicine and because it’s so tailored is that it can actually influence the proportion of the microbiome in a beneficial way for most people. And this is what I attribute most of my clinical success to as I specialize in things like autoimmune disorders and more complex types of situations.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (11:37):
Interesting. so I, I don’t, I don’t want to necessarily jump away from the Chinese herbs topic yet. I think that some of the things that you’re talking about here are really important in terms of the public understanding, you know, how these medicines interact and work together. You talked about side effects and side effects by comparison to the commercial that we all see on TV with a medication that says just in case or whatever that final statement is. Side effects may include death. You know among other things, right up to death, you know, how, how do we get the message across to people so that they understand that this medicine has the potential to help and heal and improve people’s lives without the side effects.
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (12:29):
Yeah. So I’ll, I’ll answer that in two ways. The first way, it kind of touches upon what I just said in that this is a very individualized and customized medicine. So when an acupuncture doctor or practitioner assesses and diagnoses the patient they do. So at that moment, you know we as human beings are in constant flux. We are dynamic living beings and we’re always changing. So we have to kind of assess an individual where they are when they approach you in your office. And that individuality of medicine really helps minimize the side effects. Another way of approaching this question is to kind of take a perspective of what the average American perceives as Chinese herbal medicine. Now, unfortunately, there’s not a lot of exposure and education when it comes to East Asian medicine. So a lot of urbalism or herbal medicine is conflated with the supplement industry mainly because it’s regulated within supplements.
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (13:36):
But the difference is that supplements are very basic and there’s not a lot of science to the individualization of supplements, whereas Chinese herbal medicine has thousands of years of empirical evidence and really science behind it to show how to use it properly and effectively with minimal side effects. So one thing I’d like to do in my practice is educate my patients as to why Chinese medicine is different from other things. And this is one of the things I bring up about herbal medicine is that it is our pharmacy. And we know how to use it properly.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (14:14):
Well I think that’s really helpful in allowing the general public to better understand, you know, how that would work. And it’s really important, you know, like we talked about side effects or are scary you know, why take a medication to end up having to take another medication to counteract the side effects. So the better we can do with addressing side effects and treatment, the better overall. So there’s a, there are a couple more things that we want to talk about today. The, the next method of treatment that, that that’s come up in our mind is, is one that we all know from Michael Phelps in the Olympics. I don’t know how many years ago now, five or six years ago, but it’s coming. So talk to us about cupping, what it is,
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (14:53):
That’s how it works and so on and so forth. Sure. So the best way I explain cupping to my patient is similar to a reverse massage. So with a massage, you’re kind of pressing on the soft tissue and muscles of the body. Cupping is creating a suction within a vessel, usually some sort of glass or plastic cup to create a suction of that soft tissue into that vessel. And what it does is a few things actually. First of all, it helps break up the superficial [inaudible] and blood vessels to improve circulation. The second thing it does is it breaks up adhesions in scar tissues in soft tissue to allow for greater flexibility and mobility of the soft tissue. But it’s used in Chinese medicine for a lot more than that. It also helps improve circulation by mobilizing what’s known as dead blood, which is blood that gets stuck in trauma places that doesn’t get circulated back into the general circulation. So a lot of times when we do our cupping, we see what looks like a bruise, although it doesn’t hurt, but it’s purple and purple is deoxygenated blood. And that’s basically telling us that that blood in that area is not getting to the lungs to pick up that oxygen and the nutrients to heal whatever the trauma is in that area. So cupping really helps mobilize those different areas to increase that circulation. And that’s you. And that’s primarily what it’s used for.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (16:29):
What I mean like we started with the, the example that we all know is Michael Phelps. What, what other reasons would you use cupping in your treatment? When would you use it?
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (16:38):
So one of the more common reasons I use copying is actually to treat cough. So to create that kind of a suction and pressure over the lungs and thoracic cavity helps break up a lot of the stuck mucus and congestion that can occur within the lungs. And it’s actually really wonderful to treat coughs and I use it a lot in my clinic to treat coughs. Besides the soft tissue injury
Speaker: Chad Egresi (17:06):
Are there any things for people to think about before they choose to ask about this kind of treatment method? Is there anything they should be aware of?
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (17:14):
Yeah, primarily cosmetic. Right. So like I said, the most common side effect of copying is a bruise Mark. Although it’s not a tender, painful bruise, it’s just the broken up blood vessels. And some people care about that. They don’t want to go around with bruises on their backs, sometimes on their faces and so on and so forth. It’s a personal aesthetic thing, maybe even a business thing. So that’s the primary side effect that I warn my patients about. Okay. Otherwise, a good treatment method. Otherwise it’s pretty good to go relatively safe. Yeah, absolutely.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (17:51):
Awesome. so there are a couple other things that I don’t know as much about personally, so I’m gonna ask questions about them. And then we’re going to go in and see if there are any things that we haven’t covered that maybe you want to talk about a little bit more. So talk to us a little about, about moxibustion
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (18:09):
Moxibustion. So moxibustion is a thermal therapy, so in other words, it’s a heat therapy that consists of burning a specific herb called mugwort in English. That provides a heat therapy similar to infrared therapy. Now the specific properties of mugwort are such that when you burn the Irv over a specific area of the body, it doesn’t burn the surface of the skin. It actually creates a heat that penetrates deep into the bones, into the tissues and so on and so forth. Which is where it kind of creates its therapeutic value. Most things that you warm or heat will burn the surface before it actually penetrates. Giving some thermal healing. So mugwort along with different infrared therapies really helps stimulate the body, especially circulation and other factors by providing this deep penetrating warmth.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (19:17):
Interesting. When, when might you use moxa?
Speaker 3 (19:23):
I like to use moxa for conditions that respond favorably to warmth. So for example, we have a lot of patients, especially arthritis patients who are very sensitive to the change in the weather, changing the pressure when it gets colder, you know, they get those creaky joints. So those are the kind of perfect patients to use this deep penetrating heat therapy. And there are, there are also a lot of other occasions to use moxibustion. There even exist certain clinics that specialize in only moxibustion therapy. So besides offering the warmth, it can also kind of a supplement slash replace in some cases acupuncture therapy because it’s still stimulating just in a kind of a different way instead of a physical stimulation. It’s more of a thermal stimulation, but you can kind of use it in certain contexts in the, in a similar way.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (20:18):
Interesting. If you had a patient come in and say they were concerned about the needles that we talked about earlier, would you consider doing moxibustion initial first to, you know, start the process?
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (20:30):
Yeah, I may consider moxibustion, I may consider something like acupressure, which is stimulating those points, but without needles. And there are, there are plenty of tools in our Chinese medicine tool bag to choose from, especially for those needle-phobic patients. But like I said when I introduce them to the needle for the first time with Jen gentleness and patients most of them eventually become accepting of the needle.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (20:57):
Wonderful. Yeah, I could see that. Yeah, I could see that. So one of the other things that, that we, we’ve, we’ve got here to, to discuss and, and I think there may be more to this one than than I even understand. But she gone is commonly referred to in, in my world as an exercise. So talk to us about how you use that as a practical treatment method.
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (21:23):
So she gong and Tai Chi are two of the more common exercises associated with East Asian medicine, Chinese medicine. Kind of similar along the lines of yoga. It’s a practice of both physical posturing but also breathing exercises. We are now beginning to understand, at least in the West, the power of the breath and the influence of the breath on the body. They’ve, you know, in the East they’ve known about this for again, thousands, thousands of years. So nothing, nothing too new there, but we’re kind of beginning to understand scientifically and biologically exactly how breathing and lack of breathing or hypoxia affects the different kinds of communication signaling molecules within the body. So deep breathing mindfulness is kind of a new kind of big thing in the West. Now but when done specifically and with intention, it could actually cause a lot of different physiological responses. Mostly favorable responses. So we are actually able to control and manipulate the breath to cause different physiological responsiveness depending on what the patient needs at that time.
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (22:37):
So you mentioned Tai Chi in that conversation with [inaudible]. Is there a difference between Tai Chi and Qigong and if so, can you?
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (22:44):
There is some difference between Tai Chi and CI gong, although a lot of it overlaps. They are both breathing exercises with certain postures. Tai Chi tends to be a little bit more movement oriented whereas she gong will probably be a little bit more breadth oriented. So, so it’s kind of along the same trajectory. That’s basically the difference.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (23:07):
Okay. Yeah. We talked a little bit about breathing in the, in this part of our conversation here and, and so I’ve done a little bit of yoga myself. I know that when I take time to really deep breathe deeply that it calms me down. Can you talk a little bit more about them? Because I’m speaking from a personal perspective, how I feel, but from a practical perspective and practitioners perspective, what’s happening?
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (23:33):
Yeah, absolutely. So the average person breathes with just about one third of their upper respiratory system. So we kind of take shallow breaths. We rarely take a nice deep breath at night when we’re tired, when we’re yawning, we can experience what a nice deep breath feels like. So we know that we’re not doing that all the time. So deep breathing just stimulates the body’s physiological responses to regulate the body. One of the main mechanisms it does is through the Vagus nerve and the Vagus nerve is responsible for resting and digesting and different physiological responses based off of that. Now the body is actually pretty intelligent. So there are ways to manipulate this deep breath to do one thing or another. And I’ll give you a couple of examples. Think about what I just said at night. When you’re tired, what does your body automatically do it yawns so what exactly is a yawn?
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (24:36):
It’s a deep breath emphasizing the inhale, right? So what we’re doing basically is we’re gathering as much oxygen from the environment as possible. And as we know, oxygen is what fuels ourselves. So we’re basically trying to spark a little bit of fuel to stimulate the body. So we’re strengthening the body whenever we’re emphasizing an inhale, like a yawn, and then let’s think about the opposite of that. So the opposite of Aeon is a site. When do we say, when we get angry and frustrated, right? So we emphasize the exhale, right? Right? Now it’s interesting enough in the English language, we have a terms built in for this. So when someone gets angry, what do they do? They vent, right? So venting is like sighing, right? So when we’re stressed up, when we’re built intention, we want to just let it all go, sigh it out.
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (25:33):
And this helps reliefs relieve stress intention and those types of things. When we’re tired and we’re weak and we’re kind of deficient, we want a yawn to build up the strength, right? So what she gone does is basically based off of the observation of nature, find tunes, these practices for more powerful physiological response. So that’s basically what I do in my clinic. I just enhance my patient’s breathing, make them a little bit more aware and conscious of how they’re breathing so that they can assess themselves and then tell them to practice. And this is these, this actually takes a treatment to the next level and it takes results to the next level and it’s amazingly powerful stuff. And everyone breathes. How often do you think you prescribe homework to your patients after they leave with something like this? Every patient. Almost every visit. Wow. Yeah, absolutely. So you believe very strongly in it? I do. A because the primary focus of my personal practice is empowering the patients to take care of themselves. Right. And since everyone has to breathe, if they just did it a little bit better with a little bit more intention they can transform their health in really profound ways actually.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (26:50):
Wow. Yeah. I thought that was the last one we were going to talk about because maybe it wasn’t as useful, but I sounds like we’ve, we’ve debunked that myth in my mind. Absolutely. so you’re on, can you tell us about any other treatment methods that we haven’t discussed here that come to mind that you use
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (27:07):
Frequently? Absolutely. So like I initially said, Chinese medicine, East Asian medicine is a holistic system of medicine, so it really doesn’t, does not neglect any aspect of living. And therefore nutrition in Chinese dietary therapy is very critical, especially for our population. Unfortunately in America it’s difficult to find good quality food. And even if we could, we’re not really taught on what a property eats for our individual selves. Right? Again, there’s no universal kind of diet that’s good for each individual. So part of what I do in the clinic is I teach and again empower my patients to make better decisions. Whether they make those decisions or not is up to them, but at least they’re making informed decisions. Right? And in some cases dietary changes are necessary in some cases not. But as we’re experiencing more and more chronic illness and as it’s being linked to some of our dietary habits some of these changes are essential. Yeah, definitely. So nutrition, nutrition, absolutely. Yeah.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (28:25):
We’ve talked a lot about different methods of treatment that you use in your practice and acupuncturists or practitioners could use in their practice, but there’s been a lot of, of change over the last five to 10 years in terms of adoption and acceptance of this kind of medicine. What do you think is the most in demand right now in terms of what people are really looking for?
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (28:48):
So what people are looking for is what they’ve been exposed to, which is primarily acupuncture, right? So over the last five, 10 years, whether it’s in the news or on social media or wherever acupuncture is, is kind of coming into its own as its own therapeutic modality. Now again, acupuncture is only one of the different techniques we use as Chinese medicine practitioners. But this is what people, this is what is bringing people into the door and primarily for pain relief, right? Low back pain, shoulder pain, so on and so forth. You know, even 10 years ago, you would rarely ever get a referral from a doctor for these types of things. Now it’s almost commonplace, right? So, so we do offer solutions that other practitioners unfortunately can’t cause they don’t have the necessary tools.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (29:42):
Okay. do you think are any of the methods that we’ve talked about primed for greater acceptance at this point? Outside of the vacuum?
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (29:52):
I do. I actually think one of our treasures is Chinese herbology. Primarily for the reasons I mentioned before, which is it’s, it’s significant effect on the microbiome and how critical that is for proper health and longevity, especially related to chronic illnesses. Right. So I don’t think that Chinese herbs are recognized for how powerful they actually are. Again, it’s the fact that it’s conflated with the supplement industry, which I totally understand. But one, eventually I believe it’ll, it’ll have its day and it’ll, it’ll revolutionize medicine.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (30:37):
You think it will ever sit right beside a pharmaceutical on the shelf? Are we going there?
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (30:42):
I hope so. I hope so. I, I really do. I really do hope so. Okay. Yeah.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (30:51):
Speaking about the patient and their expectation and what they should look for as they come in to see a practitioner. What do patients have the ability to choose what treatment they want to get?
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (31:07):
Yes and no. Right? So it’s, it’s difficult for a patient who isn’t well-versed in the entirety of Chinese medicine to be demanding specific interventions. However it’s difficult to force patients to do things they’re not consenting to. So probably it should be impossible. So I’m, I’m more of a realistic type of practitioner. I, I meet the patient where they’re at, so I give them my best recommendation and then I try to work with them as much as possible as to what they’re able to do. So, for example the optimal dose of acupuncture is just about daily, right? So a lot of the research out of China shows this, but there’s no kind of consistent guidelines in the West to dictate that. So we usually see patients maybe once a week, maybe once every other week, and so on and so forth because it’s actually kind of hard to take five to seven days out of the week to invest into healthcare like that.
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (32:18):
So, you know, I get that. Also with herbal medicine, you know, there are different forms of verbal medicine. Luckily we don’t always have to drink tea. It tastes wonderful. Sometimes we can actually take capsules sometimes, but you know, it’s difficult for individuals to create new habits sometimes, so, you know, have to kind of build upon things in a certain way to be able to incorporate things that they can use for the rest of their lives. Because my focus isn’t on my patient to be perfect for 60 or 90 days, it’s for them to really incorporate sustainable practices that they can incorporate into their lifestyle going forward. You know, because health doesn’t end when treatment is over. Health never ends until life ends, right? So it’s, it’s a constant process. So I try to educate my patients as much as possible. I tried to empower them with as much as possible and I try to work with them as much as possible with whatever they’re comfortable with. However, there are points where I have to be solid and firm about. Sure. you know, if we don’t make this specific change, if you don’t stop eating cake, you may not start losing weight, something like that. Right. So, so there are, there are limits, but there is a lot of flexibility within Chinese medicine.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (33:45):
That’s good to know. I think that makes for a more welcoming environment. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I don’t, I don’t think we’d expect anything different with a master Western medical doctor. Right. Not many people can go into a doctor’s office and demand gallbladder surgery. Right. You know, this is going to have to be some tests first, some interaction. So when, when this is a bit more complicated in terms of the type of patient that comes in, but when we have someone that comes in with various ailments, how do you choose which method of treatment is most suitable for the patient?
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (34:20):
That depends on a, what the patient will consent to in terms of treatment. B, if the patient is fully on board with the treatment plan and see, unfortunately the reality is that sometimes insurance has to be able to cover and accept treatment patients. So, so those three different factors usually kind of inform exactly what types of modalities and so on and so forth. We’re going to go towards now. Now most of these techniques work really well and harmoniously together. So I tried to do as much as possible that’s best for the patient. So acupuncture, herbal medicine, Xi gong and breathing exercises, those are my top three in that they all will affect the body in different ways. So there’s not too much overlap or redundancy. We’re just approaching the same thing through three different kinds of interventions, actually four, if you count nutrition and diet, right. So any kind of combination of that will work perfectly well together and they actually integrate really well together.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (35:35):
Back to the other kind of modalities and methods of treatment. Are there any methods of treatment being used outside of the United States, maybe in Asia, where the medicine orient, you know, came from that you think should be adopted here or you think we should be looking towards?
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (35:51):
So, so similar to how I answered a previous question is, again, most people think of Chinese medicine as acupuncture, right? Right. So there’s so much more to East Asian medicine, primarily including the herbs and the cheek. Okay. So in, in Asia, herbs and Cigala are just the way of life, right? So you go to the park, you see, you know, the older population doing their Tai Chi and Qigong you go to the, you know, drug store, the corner drug store, they have all their urban, horrible patents and so on and so forth. So it’s, it’s integrated into their way of life such that at this point it’s, it’s like you know, it’s I don’t know, I forgot the term, but you know, like a grandma’s medicine at this point. So it’s like, it’s like part of who they are. And here we have different things, so we have like, you know, chicken soup and, you know, Tylenol and all those types of things. So I think if, if we can somehow kind of incorporate breathing exercises and kind of nutritional therapy and herbs into our life I think we would all be better off. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (37:02):
Sounds like from what you’re talking about, I would agree completely. The last question that we have, your own is really about your perspective on integrative medicine. So can you really talk to us about what integrative medicine means to you?
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (37:16):
Yeah, that’s, that’s a wonderful question. And it really touches upon my background. Like I said, I was I’m a, I’m a science guy. You know, I love science. My uncles were doctors. I’m a premed guy. So I’m, I’m all about that life. And then I was exposed to the philosophy of Chinese medicine. So you know, biomedicine does a really good job at explaining how things are happening. Right? So we look at the cells, we look at the components of the cells and we can kind of assess those different responses. East Asian medicine or Chinese medicine is more holistic, right? So instead of looking at the individual cells, we’re looking at big systems and I think that’s where the integration lies, is kind of not integrating one into another. But combining the big understanding of holistic medicine and the small understanding of biomedicine into a complete understanding of everything.
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (38:22):
There’s really no contradiction between East and West. So, There isn’t if you understand everything properly. So I’m kind of part of what I do and part of, part of my purpose at this school is to increase the scientific literacy of our students, such that they can understand Chinese medicine properly to be able to communicate with our other medical colleagues. Because it’s possible and we don’t have to resort to poetic metaphor such as energy and CI and those types of things, when we have better explanations at what exactly is going on. So I think the integration really begins at the philosophical level of one informing the other. With really no contradictions. Wonderful.
Speaker: Chad Egresi (39:14):
While you’re on, I, I really appreciate you taking time to talk with us today. It sounds like you do wonderful work in the clinic and hopefully some people will hear this and, and come see him.
Speaker: Yaron Cohen (39:25):
Thank you. I appreciate it. Thanks for being. All right.
Speaker 1 (39:28):
Thanks for listening to All Things Integrative. Be sure to tune into our next episode where we’ll share more information on how integrative medicine can help you lead a happier, healthier life.