Important Questions About the Benefit of Medical Measures – Ben or Biao?

August 6, 2015

The following article was composed by Severin Buehlmann based on a professional development session conducted by Dr Johannes Schmidt in Zurich, Switzerland (April 2015). Severin Buehlmann is the founder of Complemedis and also a medical practitioner. He was one of the first Western doctors being trained in Chinese Medicine and was and still is a pioneer in bringing certified Chinese herbs into Switzerland.

After an earlier presentation on clinical epidemiology and evidence-based medicine, where Severin Buehlmann (SB) explained basic concepts and at the same time pointed out that conventional medicine often spread their views on uncertain terrain. It appears that it [Conventional medicine] often comes up with deceptive statistics and figures to perhaps misguide the layperson. Severin however encourages practitioners of Chinese medicine – provided that they stick to some rules – their work and resulting evidence is by no means any inferior to Western medicine. This evening also represented a follow-up to the previous event.

For this current discussion, Severin invited an expert in clinical epidemiology and an advocate of the so-called, ancient Chinese medicine family, Dr Johannes Schmidt. Dr Schmidt is also founder of Paracelsus Heute (an integrative multidisciplinary clinic) in the heart of Switzerland.

Clinical epidemiology deals with the benefits and risks of medicines. 25 years ago, Dr Schmidt was in the spotlight of health policy when he questioned the benefits of regular mammograms, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and regular cancer smears in women to prevent malignant melanoma.

About 12 months ago the Swiss Medical Board, which was dealing with the same subject at the time, reiterated that in light of the data available, the bottom line is that there is no benefit from the conduction of regular mammography’s. This caused an outcry of gynaecologists and radiologists and it came to ruinous defamation with the aim of damaging the serious work of the Swiss Medical Board. However, recently it was shown by a prominent German authority that there benefits for the early detection of melanomas (malignant melanoma = MM) does not exist.

Here is a report presented by Dr J Schmidt in 1999:

There exists – the apparently only limited sensible idea – that a cancer is more dangerous, the more it has developed and that it would therefore be useful for it to be detected and removed as early as possible. Using the example of MM (malignant melanoma) the critical feature is the thickness of the tumor. The thicker the tumor is, the more it penetrates into deeper skin layers and forms metastases. One divides into 4 stages of tumor thickness. It was found in a campaign for the prevention of MM that, as expected, more, namely 40 cases of MM were detected, in contrast to a region in which no campaign was carried out and only 20 cases were available. In the first campaign group, it was found that 20 cases were in stage I and 10 in stage II and 5 each in the severe stages III and IV. In the latter group, only 5 cases were found in any of the stages.

If you compare the figures in percent, there are, 50% in stage I, 25% in stage II, and 12.5% ​​resulting in stages III and IV. In the group with no campaign there are only 25% in all stages of progression. Now, a clever individual might come along, compare the groups III and IV compare and conclude that with the campaign, we have lowered the rate of serious cases by 50%, from 25% to 12.5%. But in absolute terms, it was indeed in the two groups, the one with and without campaign that 5 cases were found in stage III and stage IV. Hence, there was no winner. It can only be concluded that thanks to the campaign, many cases in early stages were detected which lowers the percentage of severe cases. Reasons why, despite the campaign fails to prevent the serious cases, can be diverse. Here is a table: (e.g. incidence of 10,000):

Distribution of thickness of tumors/stages


Actually, smart individuals benefit from such campaigns and those deceptive figures. Unfortunately, even those who are not closely scrutinizing these figures or not correctly understanding or interpreting them, fall for them, health politicians including. It does seem in any case that the minority of those who really understand the numbers take decades to convince those groups less educated in clinical epidemiology of the nonsense of certain campaigns. However, the ones benefiting most (financial and/or reputational nature) from the distorted data, and before being caught out, usually argument that with current diagnostic methods cancer can be detected better (mostly earlier) which will confuse the situation even more.

With these topics, it’s essential to ask the correct questions so the source of the problem can be found, which leads us to Chinese medicine:

Zheng Qin-An (1824-1911) is the founder of the fire spirit school and quite a few TCM experts are of the opinion that he was one of the most important figures that TCM has produced in the last 200 years. One of his students was Tang Buqi (1917-2004) and from him, Hin Chun Got (* 1946) learned. He left strong marks in Switzerland as Fu Zi (Aconite)[1] has become the second most popular single herb prescribed in this country. The Fire Spirit School (Huo Shen Pai) equates with Fu Zi, but is targeted too short as emphasized by the students of this movement. Based on the Nei Jing and Shang Han Lun, the importance of yang-building is strong, Zheng Qin-An pointed out. Without a strong yang, the body either functions poorly or not at all. It is the nature of yin that is cold and dead if it is not moved and invigorated by heat and energy (yang).

A missing or weak yang is therefore the root (Ben) of many evils and one may give attention to this fact in designing the therapeutic plan and not give attention to a superficial treatment of symptoms (Biao). Symptoms of Biao disappear by themselves when Ben is strengthened. Treatment of Ben often requires time, sometimes years. One should not be irritated by inter current and dramatic situations, when due to increasingly strengthened yang, the body might come up with all sorts of tricks, because its ability to modulate increases. Heat symptoms often correspond with false heat, a vacuity heat. They must not be confused with real heat. Empty head needs to be treated with warming methods.

The following table is attempting to show if symptoms indicate a positive development or if they are a sign of worsening of the situation. It can serve as an incentive for reflection and further development and it is not intended to be exhaustive or of absolute validity.

Dr J Schmidt emphasizes, that not everything can be learned, but time, muse and individual experience is needed until one achieves confidence in his or her therapeutic approach. Each patient is unique and must be recorded in its entirety. To treat diseases in an abstract way, does not make sense. The host in which the disease is located, has to be treated and the constitutional and other conditions that make the host appear in its singularity must be understood by the practitioner.

The assessment of clinical symptoms

SymptomReaction of strengths „clean up“Reaction of weakness „Suffocate“/Overload
BloatingComparable to a fire kindled in wet conditions, it smokes until the flames come through – the bloating is bearable.Comparable to a suffocating fire that starts to smoke – the bloating is considerable.
Cold feetUnder increasing inner fire (yang) the cold must dissipate, the feet and legs are colder, possibly increasing calf cramps. The nocturia decreases.The lack of inner fire (yang) leads the body to increase the cold with the result of cold feet, possibly also with calf cramps. The nocturia increases.
Hot feetHeat disappears and the cold feet become noticeable.Almost always a sign of cold storage, that is running hot.
Constipation / sluggish digestion Increasing heat (yang) in the stomach leads to better formed stool that can no longer be so easily emptied because the heating / strengthening of peristalsis is lagging behind – with a hearty appetite.Increasing constipation by increasing yang weakness – unpleasant cold blockage with disturbed appetite.
Diarrhea / loose bowel motions Cold escapes from the center, diarrhea mostly 1-3 times per day – abdomen relatively pleasant, good appetite that can be briefly disturbed.Cold / cool overruns the center, nausea, unpleasant stomach.
Joint pain The warming body pushes cold / wet conditions out of the joins which causes pain, the pain is severe when the “ice breaks” – good appetite and sleep slightly impaired.Joints collect the cold that is rampant throughout the body and converts to heat / inflammation – Appetite and sleep may be affected.
Finger pain Dissipation of cold in the neck / shoulder with reinforced temporary pain in hands / fingers – no deformations.Never seizing cold in neck / shoulder which increasingly leads to pain in hands / fingers – with deformations.
Headache / Sinus pain A healthy and strong body begins to clean up old burdens – sinus pain can be fierce, but only briefly.A weakened body with old stagnation is vulnerable to new disturbances / colds that it cannot eliminate – chronic development.
Headache / Migraines As a symptom of fatigue, migraines will increase with a positive course of disease because the stronger body begins to better mark the levels of loading (and its limits).With increasing weakness migraines may decrease, expressing the fact that the body is too weak to react.
Fatigue A warm body is pleasantly tired, the fatigue is more clearly – at the same time the quality of sleep is better.A cold body can no longer sleep, it’s weak and tired.
Metastasis Inflammation as part of mobilization of congenital disorders (Original cold) – can escape via a ‘tumor fever’ (with the formation of aching blisters, similar to cold sores) from the body.A failed attempt to self-healing which overwhelmed weak resistance and leads to death (compare with flu).
Flu / flu infections Eliminates cold that penetrated through fever and sweating and reinstates health – also triggers the elimination of longstanding cold.Can contribute to weak / blocked defenses producing neither real fever, nor sweating, this causes the infection to produce only a few symptoms and remaining as a burden in the body – it can result in death due to weak resistance.
Night sweats An alert mind can possibly cause stress temporarily as it accepts more challenges.Is a sign of stress, mostly of wood / metal-imbalance.
Thirst Real thirst when the Yang is strong an active, depending on physical performance and amount of sweating.False thirst due to dry mouth and internal cold, in which the water is not evaporated and nor moisturizes.
Heat Yang building can temporarily increase false heat.Increasing cold transforms into heat, feet out of bed, take covers off, thirsty at night.
Dysuria Disruptive urinary urgency when cold leaves through bladder, no increase in nocturia.Burning sensation with urination, pollakisuria, nocturia – is also a tiding up during an acute bladder infection.Chronic dysuria with difficult urination and increasing incontinence.
Stitches /
stabbing pain
Blood stasis, „scar pain“ through penetration of new xue, for example with ligaments/ligament insertions, chest, abdomen – can be intense, often only seconds, minutes or a few days or up to 3 weeks, without appetite or sleep being disrupted.Stagnation of xue that increases and impacts the general well being or sometimes leads to fatal complications. (for example infarcts).
Dizziness With increasing strengths of the middle, (spleen energy) dizziness can occur in a sense of being shaken into the right direction, pause, sort yourself out – with unrestricted appetite.Increasing weakness and deficiency entailing dizziness and nausea.
Hot flushes The flushes overrun the controlling behavior of the liver and hence the person relaxes with a ‚homemade’ gift. It channels the letting go as solution and hence strengthens the middle.The weakness of the middle can no longer balance the ascending of the liver and the descending of the lung, which will lead to exhaustion of the middle and to endless flushing.
DepressionUnpleasant painful sensation that something is wrong, that ideas and beliefs do not correspond with reality and are not satisfied – pondering leads to “stretching out the feelers” and with yang construction (light) finally the recognition of another friendly reality (may take months or sometimes years).Unpleasant painful sensation that with increasing yang exhaustion (darkness) cannot fathom what is missing and is chronic (antidepressants suppress the yang and complicate the redemption).

Dr Johannes Schmidt conducts monthly meetings with students of the fire school and it is possible to connect with this group. Also ATMA  (German, French) follows the principles of the fire spirit school.

[1] Fu Zi (Aconite) is allowed to be prescribed in Switzerland.

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