By: Carlos M Viana, CCN, OMD
With my eyes closed my airplane instructor twists and turns the plane so that it is not flying level. This is a classic “unusual attitude” training every pilot needs to repeat to stay a safe pilot. I groan as I fight to keep from vomiting my breakfast. “OK, open your eyes and straighten the aircraft”, orders my instructor.
I open my eyes to find my instructor has covered my airplane instruments. Not good my instincts scream. Facing out to sea I cannot tell the difference between sky and ocean and my brain is telling me we are turning left. The seconds tick off as I try to adjust the aircraft to what I feel is going on. “Now”, I say implying that I think I have control of the airplane to my instructor as he uncovers my airplane instruments. As I look at my instruments. I am headed into the ground turning slowly in a classic flying problem, called the “graveyard spiral”.
I have done this maneuver before and I know that in a spinning cockpit I have to trust my instruments even though my sense of balance, coming from my middle ear is telling me different. I line up the plane according to my instruments and start feeling a sensation of whirling or tilting that causes a loss of balance, a dizziness that puts my stomach wanting to give up breakfast. “Vertigo”, I complain as my instructor intently watches to make sure I have regained composure of both the plane and myself. Vertigo from Latin that means “whirling about” describes a medical condition in which somebody feels the sensation of dizziness with the room spinning. Dizziness is an indistinct term which describes a variety of conditions ranging from lightheadedness, unsteadiness to vertigo and spans a large range of symptoms. These symptoms range from the most dramatic, vertigo, to the least severe, imbalance. Included in these feelings is fainting, which results in a loss of consciousness.
As a private pilot I know it is the sensory system located in the inner ear that helps the body to maintain balance. Balance in the human body is coordinated by the brainstem, which collects information from other parts of the brain and sensory organs throughout the body. The sensory organs that play critical roles relaying information to the brain-stem include the skin, eyes, muscles and joints, and the vestibular system in the inner ear. Dizziness may result with dysfunction in any of these components or in the nerves that connect them. French physician Prosper Mèniére described Mèniére’s disease as having four particular symptoms: vertigo lasting for an hour or more, but less than 24 hours; ringing or buzzing sounds in the ear; feeling of pressure or fullness in the ear; and some hearing loss. Some people are affected in both ears; others just one ear. Onset of Mèniére’s is sometimes related to stress. Regular medicine usually looks for problems with the inner ear for dizzy symptoms. However, most people that we see have been dizzy for more than a couple of days.
As a Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) physician I know the liver is involved in many problems with dizziness. The liver detoxifies our blood and an overworked liver produces a condition that we call “liver fire”; whose symptoms are dizziness, pain on the sides of the head at the temples, a sensation that you are choking, heart palpitations, and stomach upset. People with liver fire usually have a green hue around their mouths, wake up around 3:00am and get angry easily. Lifestyle choices, including eating processed foods, taking pharmaceutical or other drugs, working or living with chemicals, bombardment of EMF’s (electrometric fields) and not getting enough exercise all contribute to our toxic overload, making it impossible for our livers to work efficiently.
Interestingly, historically this condition was known here in Aruba and was called ‘madder”. TCM views a healthy Liver as “The General” who sends energy in the form of fluid to various parts of the body. If the General’s “palace,” the liver, is on fire, the chain of command is broken. Menstrual flow becomes heavy or “reckless” and menstrual problems; bladder and painful lower stomachs develop. Although, sexual desire drops, satisfying sexual activity is a great way to help “calm” the Liver. In our clinic we have found acupuncture treatments to be fantastic in improving a “hot” Liver, therefore helping dizzy symptoms. Black Cohosh root, Don Quai Root, Red Clover and Rhodiola root as well as Evening Primrose Oil are beneficial herbs and oils for the liver as well as N-acetylcysteine (NAC). You improve liver function by slowing down alcohol consumption, exercising and eating natural food that is good for your metabolic type and prepare food that has not been fried, helps dramatically.
Get The Point! Modern life can affect our body’s equilibrium, particularly because of the toxins we are exposed to every day in our air, water and food. Additionally, sedentary lifestyle, chemicals, medicines, electrometric fields from computers, electrical transformers and cell phone towers all affect our balance. The right diet, acupuncture and herbs can help our body regain control of the spinning room. After you and you have explored possible infections of your inner ear, ruled out anemia, brain tumors, stroke, migraines, epilepsy, or multiple sclerosis, all which may result in feelings of dizziness; come in to have a TCM liver evaluation. Let us help you cool the fire in your body’s palace and stop the whirling room.
CARLOS VIANA, Ph. D. is an Oriental Medical Doctor (O.M.D.) having studied in China; a US Board Cert. Clinical Nutritionist (C.C.N.), an Addiction Professional (C.Ad.), Chairperson of the Latin American Committee of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT), a Rejuvenating Cell Therapist specializing in Age Management, has a weekly radio program, writes and lectures extensively. For information: VIANA HEALING CENTER, Kibaima 7, St Cruz TEL: 585-1270 Web Site: www.vianaheal.com
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