Dr. med. Angela Stahl - Praxis für Neurologie, Psychiatrie, Psychotherapie Akkupunktur undTraditionelle Chinesiche Medizin (TCM) in Norderstedt bei Hamburg

Our philosophy

Angela Stahl MD

Dear patients,

In the course of my everyday activities as a doctor, I am frequently asked what the principles of my medical work are. In reply, I make reference to my surgery logo, which I developed myself a year ago, and try to explain what it means.

The limitations of Western medicine are manifest, with results and findings rather than actual condition of the patient frequently being the only area of interest. If none of the results – such as nuclear magnetic resonance imagery, x-ray images, sonography results and lab parameters – reveal anything conspicuous, the patient is often labelled with the pseudo-diagnosis of a psycho-vegetative malfunction, or suchlike. Unfortunately this does not help the patient; indeed, patients not infrequently complain about being fobbed off with the words "You’ll have to live with it".

In my opinion, Western orthodox medicine fails to take account of the holistic nature of the patient. Viewed quite simply, we consist of a body made from flesh and blood, a soul, energetics and a mind. This is also how it was expressed in the bible.

Any medical system that refers to only one of the three components is bound to fail. Understanding the holistic nature of man also means understanding the interaction between the body, the mind and the soul.

In my logo I have tried to express this in the form of an isosceles triangle, whose purpose is to indicate a certain stability in my basic thinking.

All three ways of looking at the body, the soul and the mind are necessary if we want to have a basic understanding of the symptoms of a patient and apply adequate remedial measures.

These days, needless to say, an orthodox medical diagnosis is essential. If we are dealing with a patient who is suffering from severe headaches, the headache must of course first be clarified in a clinical-neurological examination, and by using the appropriate equipment for electroencephalograms (EEG), evoked responses, Doppler ultrasonography and imaging diagnostics.

But what happens if there are no conspicuous results and all of the parameters are regular? That is where the real work with and on the patient should begin, rather than ending as is so often the case.

This is where the soul and the energetics come into play, i.e. the task is to clarify depth psychological interrelations that provide indications as to the meaning of the symptoms.

According to the criteria of traditional Chinese medicine, however, there should also be clarification of the patient’s specific energetics in his/her five phases of change and their corresponding systems.

The 5 elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, water

When this work is approached and conducted with care, it can frequently be ascertained that the results of a depth psychological analysis and the specification of the underlying basic emotions often correspond to the results of traditional Chinese diagnostics and their corresponding emotional patterns. As a result, an individual treatment programme for the patient can then be constructed on the basis of an orthodox medical diagnosis, psychological analysis and an energetic case history.

How did I come upon this?

In my surgery my patients often ask me how I came upon the idea of treating people in this way.

Let us look back to 1986, when I began my specialised medical training as a neurologist and psychiatrist. During this period of specialised medical training, and particularly during my period of neurological training at St. Georg General Hospital in Hamburg, headed initially by my former teacher, Prof. Seitz (now sadly deceased) and later by Prof. Vogel who is still in charge of the course, I ascertained in my daily work with patients that orthodox medicine in the purely neurological field often paid insufficient attention to psychological aspects.

This applied particularly to patients who showed psychogenic neurological symptoms, e.g. psychogenic hemiplegia or psychogenic epileptoid attacks, without suffering from those organic, manifest illnesses – there was no explanation for the condition.

At the end of the 1980s I therefore decided to take a training course in psychotherapy on the basis of depth psychology, which I duly completed over the next four years in the psychosomatic department of Eppendorf University Clinic (UKE).

During this training course, and in the context of my ongoing clinical neurology activities, I felt confronted by the fact that psychotherapy is not the appropriate therapeutic method for everyone, which of course means that the people in question need a different kind of supplementary treatment. I therefore decided to take on the challenge of physiatrics, and over the subsequent years I completed an additional course of further training as a physiatrics specialist at Hamburg Medical Council.

Parallel to that, I devoted a lot of my time to the neuro-anatomic interrelations of our psyche and was familiarised with the method of neurolinguistic programming. It is most impressive to be able to construct the interrelations between neuronal connections in our brains and psychological processes.

At the Besser-Sigmund-Institut I completed the "Practitioner and Master" training course in neurolinguistic programming. This course provided me with another important piece in the jigsaw for gaining a holistic understanding of the human being in relation to organic, psychological, mental and energetic factors.

I first came into contact with the theoretical principles of traditional Chinese medicine during a physiatrics course at the Hamburg Medical Council.

This way of thinking, understanding the human being holistically as a part of nature and the cosmos and being able to order all of his/her symptoms in specific corresponding systems, and then treating them accordingly, fascinated me so much that even before my training course in psychotherapy had ended, I decided without a moment’s hesitation to concern myself with traditional Chinese medicine.

In 1991 I joined the International Society for Traditional Chinese Medicine and began an extensive training course. I was, and still am, fascinated by the fact that there are very many points of reference between a psychosomatic approach and a traditional Chinese approach to human symptoms.

The concurrent study of psychosomatics and TCM enabled me to gain increasingly deep insights into our being and brought me closer to understanding the interrelation between our body, our soul and our mind.

I began to draw parallels between psychosomatics and TCM and to integrate both aspects into my work with patients. I have now completed several thousand training sessions in various institutions and societies and in many countries. I also work integratively in my surgery, i.e. from the outset I examine a patient from the orthodox medical standpoint, the psychosomatic standpoint and the standpoint of traditional Chinese medicine. I recognised that only the integration of these three treatment principles can do justice to the human body, mind and soul in such a way that a long-term healing process becomes possible.

TCM also pays a great deal of attention to our nutrition. The science of Chinese dietetics developed many thousands of years ago.

Several years ago I supplemented my knowledge of our foodstuffs and their qualifications from the traditional Chinese point of view by taking an additional orthodox medical training course in nutritional medicine at Schleswig-Holstein Medical Council, which I completed a number of years ago.

Equipped with this model, I hope to counter adequately the diverse sufferings of my patients and treat them in such a way that they learn to understand and perceive themselves as holistic beings and that, having recognised their own holistic inner self, they can contribute a lot to their own preventive healthcare in the future.

Special assistance in this field is provided by instructions for a healthy lifestyle according to the five change phases of TCM, suitable Chinese and Western dietetics and the prescription of traditional Chinese drugs for permanent energetic harmonisation.

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