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I suffer from a condition called Gilberts syndrom, its basically a faulty gene/missing gene in the liver.

Q. Hi, i suffer from a condition called Gilberts syndrom, its basically a faulty gene/missing gene in the liver. A family friend has acupuncture for a different liver problem and she said maybe i should try it, the main symptoms i have are nausea/dizzyness/tiredness. Is this something that acupuncture could help with? Also i suffer with anxiety (mainly from my health problems) would it aid with this as well? thanks

A. This is one of the problems which illustrates rather well the difficulty of talking named conditions in one system of medicine and their treatment in another. As you are better away than we, we are sure, Gilbert syndrome can be relatively asymptomatic, although you have been in the unlucky minority for whom nausea and dizziness are common. There is no research of which we are aware which suggests that acupuncture can successfully treat GS. However, what we are talking about is a functional disturbance of the Liver (understood in the West as a genetic abnormality), which in its capitalised form is a Chinese medicine definition of the Liver which embraces the liver as understood in western medicine. And, from the Chinese medicine perspective, the Liver is indeed often involved in pathologies like nausea and dizziness, which are very often a part of Liver syndromes.

Of course, nothing is that straightforward! The essence of Chinese medicine is to treat the individual, not the disease, and although the distress might be expressed through Liver symptoms the art and skill of the practitioner lies in looking at the overall context and seeing what might be causing this distress. Sometimes this is a primary Liver imbalance, and sometimes it is the Liver reacting to an imbalance elsewhere. This makes a profound difference to the way that a practitioner will treat the person, and create what many in the West find quite anomalous, twenty patients with a named condition being treated in twenty different ways.

We would suspect, though, that given that these problems can often be traced back to disturbances of Liver function there may well be something which acupuncture can assist.

The treatment of anxiety is an area where, in spite of the difficulties of translation between systems, there has been a great deal more research which suggests that acupuncture treatment has a role to play, as our factsheet

shows. It also tends to be one of the more omnipresent conditions accompanying other main complaints with which people present. From a Chinese medicine perspective it is often the sign of a not unreasonable response to a challenging situation being maintained long after it is appropriate to do so. Appropriate is a key word in Chinese medicine. It is fine to be anxious for a short term, but there comes a point where it persists and becomes a problem. Restoring someone's balance should in theory go some way to addressing these kinds of inappropriate ways of dealing with the world, but it can take a long while. Anxiety can unwittingly become a way of life.

What we always advise is that someone visits a local BAcC member to get a sense of what may be possible. Most of our colleagues are happy to give up a few minutes without charge to prospective patients to ensure that they are properly informed about what make work for their own unique case before committing to treatment.

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