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Local woman pens book on Traditional Chinese Medicine

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ - Ruth Lycke of rural Marshalltown has helped people from around the world access Traditional Chinese Medicine. She shares her belief in TCM and case studies, in her book “China or Die: The Shocking Truth About Your Complete Recovery Options After Suffering a Stroke.”

Ruth Lycke of rural Marshalltown has spent 12 years helping people from around the world access Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a style of treatment she says has prolonged her life and boosted her recovery after sustaining a life-altering stroke in 2001. She shares her belief in TCM, as well as case studies, in her latest book “China or Die: The Shocking Truth About Your Complete Recovery Options After Suffering a Stroke.”

“Looking at me, you wouldn’t assume I’ve had a stroke. My husband would say I was in the process of dying, but not doing a good job,” Lycke said.

On Nov. 12, 2001, she suffered a bleed in the left pontine area of her brainstem and a secondary stroke. At the age of 42, she was not expected to survive.

“I was expected to die within the first 24 hours and survived only to endure the next several years that proved to be the most horrific of my life,” she said.

Lycke, a former nurse, paramedic, surgical specialist, clinical manager and a mother of three, found herself confined to a wheelchair. She had no feeling on the right side of her body, endured double vision, struggled with her speech and had no balance. For three years, she pushed through the debilitating pain and felt that her doctors were not equipped to treat her condition in the long-term.

“We were hosting two exchange students from China, and they would say, ‘mom you need to try Traditional Chinese Medicine.’ I finally gave in and did some research,” she said.

In 2004, Lycke spent three months in Tianjin, China and received TCM. She noticed improvements in her health after two weeks of treatment. Since 2006, Lycke has helped over 600 people worldwide get connected with TCM in China. She is a founding partner and volunteer with the TCM Restoration Programs there alongside Vivian Zuo. Lycke spends nine months of the year working with these patients in China.

“(The treatment) isn’t covered by most American insurance companies, but you can use a health savings account. It costs $28,000 for three months and includes treatment, meals and staying at a five-star hotel, if you don’t need to be hospitalized. It is very different than it is here,” she said. “My hope is to see insurance plans cover this and you can apply for insurance out of area.”

TCM consists of several elements including the use of acupuncture, moxibustion (burning an herb above the skin to apply heat to acupuncture points), Chinese herbal medicine, tui na (a type of therapeutic massage), dietary therapy and tai chi and qi gong (which combine specific movements or postures, coordinated breathing and mental focus). TCM has been practiced in China for over 2,500 years.

“The reality is that the type of TCM available and practiced in the U.S. is limited,” Lycke wrote in the book. “The TCM in China is vastly different and TCM medications that are available here in China are only partially available in the U.S. and most often times in formulations they are required to leave out vital ingredients to get them into the country or they are combined with other ingredients that may not be affective.”

The book combines Lycke’s first-hand experiences, plus those of other TCM patients. It includes a 90-day journey that helps people not able to receive TCM in China, or have and are looking for ways to maintain what they’ve learned once they’re released from care.

“It’s a matter of existing to help others,” Lycke said of her work. “It frustrates me, because I struggled and screamed it from the rooftops, but people have been so limited in expectations (with Western medicine) that they don’t realize what they can have.”

Lycke will be signing her book at Stepping Stones Christian Bookstore from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Nov. 30. She encourages those curious about TCM to come and ask her questions.

The book, published through AuthorHouse, is available as a hardcover, paperback and E-book. To learn more about Lycke, visit www.tcmrestoration.net

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com