A 42-year-old woman said she became a believer in Chinese herbal remedies because they made her pain free.
Wendy Small, an active mother of three, suddenly found herself plagued by lightheadedness, weakness and pain.
"My husband had to massage my legs at night just so I could fall asleep because I was in pain,” Small said.
Small suffered a bout of mono just a year before her symptoms started. Doctors believe the Epstein-Barr virus, which causs mono, is to blame, but what Small has now is difficult to treat. After dozens of tests and questions, frustration set in.
"I felt a little lost before, a little hopeless, a little stuck,” Small said.
Along with her regular doctor's appointments, Small also tried a more natural approach. She found Dr. Melissa Young at Cleveland Clinic. Young is an expert in blending Easter and Western medicine.
"Those patients who either aren't getting benefits from their purely conventional care, or patients who have multiple symptoms, multiple diagnoses, Chinese medicine looks at that patient differently and is able to create a treatment plan that is very effective for them,” Young said.
Young said Chinese herbs can be safely used along with traditional medicine. They tend to be more gentle on the body and are individualized to each person.
Small's plan calls for acupuncture, dietary supplements and a blend of herbs to target digestion, fatigue and circulation.
“After a week of being on a week dose of herbs, the leg pain I had at night was completely gone,” Small said. “That was a lot faster than even she had thought would happen so I think I'm a rare case as far as one week, but I was just blown away."
Young emphasized it's the combination of medicine philosophies that really makes a difference.
"This is actually, I think, integrative medicine at its best,” Young said. “It's complimenting Eastern philosophies, Western medicine, dietary therapies, manual medicine to the best of the patient, of what their individual needs are."
Small said she's doing more now than she has ever done before and is relieved to be feeling better.
"I think that we have great traditional medicine and it's needed and there's a need for medications but there is also a place where you can find healing in other ways,” Small said.
Young said it's important for those considering Chinese medicine to be under the care of a physician and to seek out a board certified Chinese herbalist.