Can Chinese medicine offer a treatment for RP? With hundreds of video testimonials attesting to the success of his treatment, Dr. Weidong Yu of Wellspring Clinic for Holistic Medicine has been on my radar for years. I recently went to visit Dr. Yu’s Clinic to find out more. He was very gracious and encouraged me to talk to many of the patients who were in the clinic being treated that day. I’ve summarized what I learned below:
RP Tunnel of Sight: Why so long between acupuncture treatments?
It is a treatment that lasts 10 days or two weeks, then you go home. While at home you take your tea and do your exercises for 3 months. You return approximately 4 times over the course of a year for the full two weeks or ten-day treatments. Once you have done the four courses of treatment you can then wait for six months to a year to come back for another 10 days/ two-week treatment. Eventually, you won’t have to come back unless you have a slip in your vision which can take as long as six years.
RP Tunnel of Sight: Why is there a difference in the number of times per day during the 10 day/ two-week treatments that people have to have the acupuncture?
The treatments are based on the individual, so for each person, it is different. Chinese medicine is patient-centric, not disease-centric.
RP Tunnel of Sight: What is the goal of acupuncture?
The treatment creates more energy flow and promotes the bodies ability to heal itself. It is a holistic procedure which means that it is not specifically treating the eyes but treating the body so that it self-heals.
RP Tunnel of Sight: What sensation can someone expect? Are the needles put in your eyes?
Some people have mild pain, like a mosquito bite, some experience a mild tingling. The needles are not put in your eyes, they usually are placed into the top of the head.
RP Tunnel of Sight: How many sessions of acupuncture does someone need before they see results?
It is a daily treatment for the 10 days. Results can happen very quickly for some people for others it takes longer but the treatment has been improving over the last twenty years. The treatment today, March 2018, is better than it was in January 2018.
**Dr. Yu keeps perfecting and working on the treatment and at this point, he says he has had some people improve in just fifteen minutes.**
RP Tunnel of Sight: In the case of the tea, the Chinese Herbals, what kinds of things are in the mixture and what do they do/accomplish?
Each concoction is different and based on the patient’s health. There can be as many as thirty-two herbs. These herbs nourish the body and help it get into the state of self-healing.
RP Tunnel of Sight: I spoke to several paitents that were in the clinic the day i was ther and they told me that the tea didn’t taste bad, in fact it could be quite pleasant.
RP Tunnel of Sight: Is the tea something a person would have to drink for the rest of their life?
A person should drink the tea until their eyes stabilize and may need to continue drinking it or start drinking it again if the vision starts to slip.
RP Tunnel of Sight: How long does it take to do the eye exercises you recommend?
The series of exercises will take fifteen minutes to perform and for best results, one should do four sets twice a day, so about two hours per day of exercises. The exercises are to stimulate circulation around the eye. It is best for people to buy the exercises online and start doing them for a month or so before coming in for treatments. Dr. Yu no longer teaches them separately, he encourages you to just get them online and do them that way.
RP Tunnel of Sight: When is it too late for a patient to seek this treatment?
When a person can only differentiate light from dark, it is too late. If the person has lots of time and money to burn, Dr. Yu would be willing to try but he is hopeless at that point as he has never seen it work.
RP Tunnel of Sight: Which Universities are you working on future research with?
The University of British Columbia was trying to do a clinical trial but as RP is an “orphan disease”, meaning that no one is interested in it because the population affected is so small, and they can’t really make any money from it, they haven’t been successful in getting funding. He is also trying to work with the Chinese government to do a clinical trial and Moorfield’s Eye Hospital in the UK, but so far, the funding or grants are just not being made available.
RP Tunnel of Sight: What is included in the $6000 per treatment?
The ten days treatment and three months worth of herbal tea.
RP Tunnel of Sight: Are there ways to have the payments made for you? Insurance? Sponsorships?
Some people go to their churches or hold a fundraiser, some use their credit card and pay it off that way, but at this time there is no insurance or government funding because they can’t get the clinical trials to prove the efficacy.
Wellspring Clinic for Holistic Medicine
Dr. Yu has been practicing for twenty-one years and has never had a complaint. He has a perfect record with the Better Business Bureau and is well respected with optometrists at UBC and at Moorfield’s Hospital in the UK, he is a board member of the College of Traditional Chinese medicine of B.C.
Dr. Yu was adamant that I understand that his treatment is just that, a treatment not a cure. He told me that in China they have been using a version of this treatment for many years, and he has been working diligently on perfecting it for over twenty years. The treatment won’t cure RP, but it may slow down if not regress the progression of the blinding disease until there is a cure.
My Final Thoughts
I have done a quick cost breakdown of what it would take to go through the entire year of four treatments:
Treatment = $6000
Return Airfare, approximately = $1200
Accommodation through Airbnb = $1500
Food: made at Airbnb and lunch brought to the clinic: $300
Transportation and miscellaneous expenses = $250
Total Cost per Treatment: $9,250
Total Cost for the first year: $37,000
I can’t tell you if this treatment is right for you, only you can decide that. I know for me, if there is hope, I am willing to try. I will be doing a crowdfunding project later this year to see if I can raise at least part of the funds to be able to give it a try. If I can raise the funds I will participate in the full one-year program and report back as to my findings. I still have some questions that can’t be answered until I know for sure that the treatment does work as many of the patients I spoke to attested to and that so many others through video testimonials claim. If it does work, why can’t we get someone to fund a clinical trial? Why won’t the health insurance companies and government agencies look at the options, considering that it could take a lot of people off the disability roles and get us back into the workforce? What can we do to access this kind of hope?
If you would like to donate before the crowdfunding campaign begins you can send donations to: