Acupuncture Continuing Education

Nursing CEUs for All States

Nursing Continuing Education Course

Sample Excerpt: High Cholesterol Pt. 2: Chinese Medicine Theory


This course is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing for 4 nursing CEUs for nursing continuing education credit.



This is part two of a three part series on hyperlipidemia (dyslipidemia). Part One details western medicine and hyperlipidemia. Part Two focuses on the Chinese Medicine Theoretical Principles of dyslipidemia and prepares the reader for Part Three. Part Three focuses on Chinese Medicine Prevention and Treatment of dyslipidemia with a special focus on food cures. The combined series empowers nurses with an in-depth understanding of dyslipidemia and with tools such as lifestyle practices, food therapies, and simple herbal remedies to prevent and treat this disorder safely and effectively.

Course Outline for High Cholesterol Pt. 2: Chinese Medicine Theory:

2. Dyslipidemia in Chinese Medicine- Theoretical Foundations

2.1 Introduction to Several Important Concepts in Chinese Medicine
2.2 Fundamentals of Dyslipidemia in Chinese Medicine

2. Dyslipidemia in Chinese Medicine

Management of any condition, including dyslipidemia, with Chinese Medicine (CM) requires an understanding of CM ideas, and CM physicians study for many years to gain proficiency in CM’s unique understanding of physiology, pathophysiology, treatment, etc. The aim of this course, therefore, is not to train high-level CM physicians, but rather provide nurses and other biomedical health practitioners with sufficient knowledge to employ CM dietetics, lifestyle practices, and simple herbal remedies to aid in the management of dyslipidemia.

2.1 Introduction to Several Important Concepts in Chinese Medicine (CM)

Firstly, CM has two ways of classifying any given illness- these are disease and syndrome. Disease, also know as disease name, is similar to biomedical classification of disease, for example diabetes, hypertension, migraine headache, gastritis, and dyslipidemia. However, in CM these are not descriptive enough to guide treatment as each of these diseases can present with different signs and symptoms. It is this presentation, which varies between individuals and even within the same individual at different stages of disease, which is called syndrome/zheng. Differential diagnosis of this syndrome is called bian zheng ??, or in English syndrome differentiation.

Therefore, in order to effectively treat dyslipidemia with CM one must be able to differentiate the patient’s current syndrome, and not use reductionist thinking in an attempt to find the magic-bullet herb or remedy that will normalize serum lipid levels in every patient. The latter is a hit-and-miss approach that will work on patients that are fit for the particular remedy, but fail in the others who are not, and in extreme cases may aggravate the condition or cause other side effects.

That said, there are often similarities between syndromes in patients with the same disease. In other words, many diseases have tendencies, and the syndromes they produce may have similarities. In the case of dyslipidemia there are some general tendencies, and these will be discussed later.

Second, this course will include discussion of the internal organs as understood in CM. It is crucial to understand that the CM notion of the internal organs is different from the biomedical understanding. The CM organs are named after the anatomical organs (liver, spleen, kidneys, etc.), and while in some cases they include some of the functions of the anatomical organs for which they are named, each organ is in fact more akin to a group of related physiological phenomenon. To distinguish the CM organs from the anatomical organs, the former will be capitalized, while the latter will remain in lower case.



2.2 Fundamentals of Dyslipidemia in Chinese Medicine

Dyslipidemia is not a traditional disease classification in CM, rather it falls within the scope of several traditionally recognized conditions such as phlegm turbidity, phlegm dampness, turbid obstruction, and obesity. The main organs involved in the disorder are the Spleen, Liver, Kidneys, and Heart.


The Spleen in CM is somewhat akin to the digestive system, and is in charge of digestion of food and liquid, assimilation and transportation of nutrients, and also plays a role in the elimination of metabolic waste products. The Spleen is responsible for transportation and transformation. Transformation refers to the Spleen’s role in transforming food and drink (digestion), wherein the Spleen separates the “clear”(nutritious) part of food and liquid from the “turbid” part (metabolic waste). Transportation refers to upward distribution of the “clear” nutrients derived from food to the Liver, Heart, and Lungs where they are incorporated into the blood, and the downward movement of the “turbid” metabolic wastes into the intestines where they are finally eliminated from the body via the urine and stool.

More material in the course....