Traditional Chinese medicine application in mental health

Traditional Chinese medicine, one of the oldest medical systems in the world, has a long history of application in mental health. Based on an individual’s symptoms and signs, the pattern of bodily disharmony is described in term of yin and yang, external and internal, hot and cold, excess and deficiency. Additional systems, such as qi, blood and body fluid differentiation, and zang fu differentiation are also used. Treatment principles and specific herbal formula or acupoints are derived.
We have conducted or are conducting a number of randomized controlled trials on acupuncture, auricular therapy, and Chinese herbal medicine for treatment of psychiatric disorders. We welcome collaboration and postgraduate students interested in TCM research.

Major research areas include:

Sleep and mood disorders

The focus of this research area is to examine TCM diagnosis and treatment of sleep and mood disorders. Our research has established that acupuncture is efficacious for insomnia. We are now looking at combined acupuncture and auricular therapy and the use of pattern-based individualized acupuncture for insomnia.

Related publications

1. Yeung WF, Chung KF, Poon MM, Ho FY, Zhang SP, Zhang ZJ, Ziea ET, Wong VT. Chinese herbal medicine for insomnia: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Sleep Medicine Reviews 2012;16:497-507
2. Cheuk DK, Yeung WF, Chung KF, Wong V. Acupuncture for insomnia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Sep 12;9:CD005472. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005472.pub3.
3. Yeung WF, Chung KF, Tso KF, Zhang SP, Zhang ZJ, Ho LM. Electroacupuncture for residual insomnia associated with major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Sleep 2011;34:807-815.
4. Yeung WF, Chung KF, Zhang SP, Yap TG, Law AC. Electroacupuncture for primary insomnia: a randomized controlled trial. Sleep 2009;32:1039-47.

Recent grants as PI

1. A systematic review of traditional Chinese medicine treatment for insomnia. HA contracted research ($299,336) (2010-2012)
2. A randomized controlled trial of electroacupuncture for persistent insomnia symptoms associated with major depressive disorder. HHSRF ($880,472) (2010-2013)
3. Combined electroacupuncture and auricular acupuncture for primary insomnia: a randomized controlled trial of dose-response effect. HMRF ($997,250) (2012-2015)
4. The efficacy of Gui Pi Tang, Suan Zao Ren Tang, and Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan for insomnia: a pilot randomized double-blinded trial. Chinese Medicine Research Grant, HA ($684,918) (2012-2015)

Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders

We examine the use of Chinese herbal medicine for reducing antipsychotic-related side effects.

Dementia and cognitive disorders

The focus of this research area is to explore Chinese herbal medicine for cognitive disorders.