Wellspring Clinic For Holistic Medicine Services Cosmetic Acupuncture

Wellspring Vision Improvement Program

Since 1999, patients from all over the world have been treated at Wellspring Clinic.

Some have travelled from other parts of Canada, including Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec, whilst others have come from many different countries, including the Netherlands, United States, Germany, Mexico, United Kingdom, Brazil, Singapore and many more!

In order to accommodate patients from out of town, Wellspring Clinic has designed the following program:

PHASE 1:

You travel to Vancouver for 6 to 10 days during which time you will receive 18 Acupuncture treatments.

PHASE 2:

Wellspring Clinic will provide you with a 3 month-supply of your specific herbal recipe to take back home with you. These must be taken every day in the form of a tea. Once the 3 months is completed, you are advised to undergo an eye exam and visual field test by your specialist. Then, the cycle starts again, and you travel back to Vancouver to start the next round of treatment.

Retinitis Pigmentosa Treatment

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a family of genetic diseases leading to progressive degeneration of the retina. RP is characterized by progressive night blindness and a loss of peripheral vision (so called ‘tunnel vision’).

The disease eventually involves loss of color (blue) and day vision. The majority of patients become legally blind before the age of 60.

The prevalence of retinitis pigmentosa is about 1 in 4000 individuals. There are about 1.5 million people presently affected with RP around the world. In western countries RP is the most common cause of blindness in people under the age of 70. The cause of RP is unknown, although it may be inherited. It is a rare condition.

There is no effective treatment for this condition. In the past, many treatments have been empirically tried on RP patients with limited success, these include:

Diet modification: such as restriction of food rich phytannic acid (animal fat and dairy products) and phytol (green leafy vegetables) for Refsum disease; low protein (arginine) diet for gyrate atrophy;

Nutritional supplements: vitamin A, vitamin E, B–carotene, vitamin B6, vitamin B complex, essential fatty acid, lutein, digestive enzymes, amino acids, coenzyme Q10.

Oxygen therapy: HBO, ozone.

Ultrasound, electrical stimulation.

Surgery: cervical sympathectomy, muscle transplants, injection of placental extracts, fetal neuroretinal cell transplants, retinal pigment epithelium transplants.

Pharmaceutical: steroids, vasodilators, methyl sulfoxide.

Immunomodulation therapy.

Application of growth factors and cytokines for RP treatment is still in its experimental stage. Gene therapy may be the answer for the treatment of RP; however, whether to introduce a normal copy of a defective gene or to manipulate the endogenous gene expression is still unclear. It will take years before the first clinical trials of these methods are performed on humans.

In China, medical researchers have conducted clinical research on the effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Medicine on RP patients since the 1960s. Acupuncture and/or Chinese herbal medicine was used in this research.

Those research have demonstrated some very positive indications in RP patients:

visual acuity improvement

visual field expansion

Electroretinogram: increase of the amplitudes of summed OPs, the 30Hz flicker index response times were improved.

An Austrian research study has repeatedly demonstrated that acupuncture treatment can lead to a marked increase of blood flow velocity in the supratrochlear artery in a RP patient. Although the effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Medicine remains to be established in further, better designed, clinical trials, it is safe to say that TCM is a valuable treatment option to be explored or tried by RP patients and medical researchers.

At Wellspring Clinic in Vancouver, Canada, we have developed a treatment protocol for RP patients—-Wellspring Vision Improvement Protocol (WVIP), which mainly consists of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and antioxidants supplementation. Since 1999 we have treated over 550 cases of retinitis pigmentosa. Our treatment has demonstrated some consistent improvement in these RP patients:

Night vision improvement: one patient couldn’t see and walk at night before treatment. After 3 months of treatment she not only could walk at night but could also drive at night. After 11 months treatment, she could walk at night in her house without turning on the lights.

Visual field expansion: tested by Humphrey, repeated in every patient. Please see attachment in the ‘Wellspring Case Report’ section.

Although our research is still preliminary, it has demonstrated a possibility or a potential of what WVIP could achieve in the treatment of RP.

WCHM What Is RP
Wellspring Clinic For Holistic Medicine Services Acupuncture

TCM Perspectives and Therapeutics

Traditional Chinese medicine has been used to treat night blindness for centuries in China. In modern time these experiences were applied directly to the treatment of RP, because night blindness is the most distinctive symptom of RP.

According to TCM, vision of the eyes is dependent on the continuous supply of blood from the liver and Yang energy from the spleen. The blood nourishes the eye and keeps its physical integrity. The Yang energy enables the eye to see things. In a healthy person, Nature’s Yang energy rises during the day; the body’s yang energy also rises following the Nature’s, which enables eyes to see better because of increased supply of Yang energy. At night Nature’s Yang energy goes down, the body’s Yang energy also goes down following it – leading the eye to see things less clearly at night.

Most RP patients are deficient in Yang energy. When the body’s Yang energy is lowered at night, people with deficient Yang energy will have more difficulty seeing things – leading to night blindness. When Yang energy continues to become lower and lower, it leads to a loss of day vision and eventually blindness. However, some RP patients are due to liver blood deficiency which is often the secondary result of spleen yang deficiency. Liver blood deficiency could then affect the physical integrity of the eyes, resulting in poor vision.

According to the above understanding, we have designed a clinical protocol—-Wellspring Vision Improvement Protocol (WVIP) for the treatment of RP. WVIP consists of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and antioxidant supplements.

Acupuncture: Very fine needles are placed on the face, arms and legs. Patients receive acupuncture once a day, twice a day or 2-3 times a week, depending on the patients individual situation. Each course of treatment consists of 15 to 20 acupuncture. It will take 1-3 month before we start the next course of treatments.

Chinese herbal medicine: We have formulated a proprietary herbal formula ‘Guang Ming’ for the treatment of RP. Guang Ming formula contains 18 herbal ingredients. It is modified to meet each individual patient’s need when applied to treatment.

Patient’s symptology and constitution are the main determinants in the modification process. Patients are asked to boil the herbs as a decoction drink 2-3 times a day. One course of treatment lasts 3 months. Patients take the tea on a continual basis.

Antioxidants: The eye is one of the most vulnerable organs of the body to oxidation damage from free radicals. Thus, it is believed to be beneficial to take some antioxidants for the protection of the eye from further free radical damage. Patients are asked to take antioxidants on a daily basis.

Future Research

Our clinical experience in the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa has indicated that Traditional Chinese Medicine may have some potential in improving RP patients’ night vision, day vision, visual field and quality of life. Further, a well designed prospective study is needed to investigate the efficacy of WVIP treatment. We call for the cooperation of ophthalmologic research groups from around world to advance this promising treatment.

The following issues need to be verified in future research:

Monitoring system: developing a system of tests to monitor the progress of RP patients objectively. We initially propose the following tests: Retina exam and photography; ERG (electroretinograms); Humphrey visual field test; visual acuity test; dark adaptation test; Colour vision test. We welcome feedback from other professionals in the field.

To determine which subtypes of retinitis pigmentosa is more responsive to WVIP treatment. Treating various subtypes of RP patients with WVIP, to determine which type is the most sensitive to treatment. The study population should include all types of RP, and match with age, gender, the severity of vision impairment and length of disease. The sample size should be 3 to 5 patients per subtype of RP.

To determine which therapy is most effective:

Our WVIP treatment employs three modalities – acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and antioxidant supplements. Once we know which subtype of RP is most sensitive to WVIP treatment, then we could select about 40 patients of that type to be studied. The study could be divided into 4 groups: group 1 is treated with acupuncture, group 2 is treated with Chinese herbal medicine, group 3 is treated with antioxidants, group 4 is treated with WVIP – all three modalities together.

To study the mechanism through which WVIP works:

Much pharmacological research has demonstrated that Chinese herbal medicine does have anti-mutagens effects on genes. Would Chinese herbal medicine be an effective tool to manipulate the expression of genes in RP patients? This is a field of research worthy to be explored.

Wellspring Clinic For Holistic Medicine Future Research

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Wellspring Clinic for Holistic Medicine
916 West King Edward Avenue, Vancouver, BC V5Z 2E2

Toll Free: 1-877-737-7876 (USA/Canada)
Local: 604-737-7876