ETCMA member story: Building a Community of Clinical Exchange
SZKMA in Slovenia is focusing on building a community of clinical exchange. Evidence suggests coronavirus could cause a chronic debilitative post-viral syndrome in some people.
"Building a Community of Clinical Exchange: Experience of Managing Long-COVID with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs"
By Rachel Cheng Akupunktura TKM (Slovenia)
SZKMA in Slovenia is focusing on building a community of clinical exchange. Evidence suggests coronavirus could cause a chronic debilitative post-viral syndrome in some people. Many people are now facing the long-term consequences of COVID-19, suffering from lingering and debilitating symptoms often for months after their ‘recovery’. Holistic healthcare and acupuncture can help patients overcome the lingering symptoms of long-COVID. Since late 2020, I have been seeing patients suffering from long-COVID and the result is satisfying.
Symptoms of long COVID-19
The symptoms of long COVID-19 vary greatly from person to person and can include:
- Loss of smell and taste
- Chronic fatigue
- Body aches
- Poor memory
- Rapid heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Reduced eyesight
- Wheezing or reduced lung capacity
The cause of long COVID in the view of TCM
Many people believe that it is the virus that causes the problem. But in the view of TCM, we believe that if our internal power is strong, the external pathogens cannot do harm. In other words, as long as our immunity is strong and functioning, we should be able to battle the infection. On the contrary, if we get hurt by external factors, there is always a corresponding internal factor. This is the concept of Yin/Yang, two sides of the story always coexist.
Fighting external enemies while strengthening internal army
The application of TCM in management of infectious diseases dates back thousands of years. Pestilent diseases have been described in detail in TCM literature. During the Han dynasty (202 BC-220 AD), the book Treatise on Febrile Diseases Caused by Cold (Shanghan Lun) written by an eminent physician ZHANG Zhongjing (150-219 AD) is the earliest monograph on the treatment of acute infectious diseases with TCM.  TCM has been used in the treatment and prevention of COVID-19 in China, and the clinical evidences indicated that TCM regulates immunity and exerts anti-viral effect simultaneously. 
Unfortunately, due to the policy difference, TCM is not used in Slovenia for acute COVID as the way is in China. Many people in Western countries know virtually nothing about the role TCM can play in dealing with COVID-19. Our clients who come to us for the management of long COVID are usually our old patients or friends or relatives of them. A few new patients look for us on the internet hoping to find alternative medicine when the conventional medicine has too little to offer.
The management of long COVID started immediately after a positive test. Our old patients called us for a phone consultation, we made them a herbal mixture to speed up the recovery. Many of them report symptoms of flu, loss of smell and taste and a majority recover in a matter of days.
For those old patients who suffer more diverse and intense symptoms, they come to us as soon as they are released from the quarantine. We use a combination of herbal mixture, acupuncture and aromatherapy to strengthen the internal system, giving them a nourishing support for regeneration while cleaning out toxins that could lead to inflammation or blockage in circulation. This group of people usually fully recover in the matter of weeks.
The trickiest group of patients are the new patients who come to us when they already suffer from long COVID or old patients who have severe chronic illness. They have a lot of preexisting weaknesses and toxins making the management of recovery complicated. If they take our advice seriously by making necessary adjustments on lifestyle and diet, and follow up regularly for treatment, they can still recover in a matter of months.
Natural remedies for long COVID
There are many natural herbs (medicinal plants) that we use to improve your immunity and prevent infection. They include:
- Radix Glehniae (Bei Sha Shen)
- Radix Paeoniae Alba (Bai Shao)
- Chinese red dates (Jujube)
- Ginger (Sheng Jiang)
- Folium Isatidis (Da Qing Ye)
- Sweet orange
- He Gu (LI4)
- Tai Chong (LV3)
- Nei Guan (PC6)
- Zhong Wan (CV12)
- Ying Xiang (LI20)
The information of herbs and acupuncture is for reference only. Do not self prescribe without the guidance of a trained practitioner.