Vertigo is a symptom of dizziness and blurred vision, and of an illusionary sense of
rotation and movement.. It is classified as either constant vertigo or paroxysmal vertigo. In mild cases, vertigo may be eliminated after lying down with the eyes closed. In severe cases, patients feel a constant
rotating and gyrating motion as if sitting in a sailing boat or a moving vehicle so that it
is difficult to stand upright, which is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. If the
condition worsens, it may be accompanied by other symptoms and recurrent attacks.
Vertigo is frequently seen in diseases such as hypertension, cereriosclerosis, anemia,
neurosis, aural vertigo and kinesia in western medicine.
The cause of vertigo is related to emotional disturbance, preference for greasy
and sweet foods, and excessive over-exertion. Emotional depression may result in
qi stagnation which transfers into fire, and then causes a stirring-up of wind-yang;
that results in irritability, anger, and violent hyperactivity of the liver-yang, which
then disturbs the cleart orifices. Preference for greasy and sweet foods may result in
dysfunction of the spleen's ability to transfer and transport, leading to accumulation and
obstruction of phlegm-dampness in the interior, which may later cause failure of the
clear-yang to ascend. Instead, the turbid-phlegm is misted upwards into the clear orifices.
Congenital weakness or constitutional weakness after prolonged illness may result
in insufficiency of qi and blood, causing malnutrition of the clear orifices. Excessive
overstrain may consume the kidney-essence, causing the brain and marrow to be
malnourished. Either one of the above causes may lead to the occurrence of vertigo.
The pattern of hyperactivity of the liver-yang may be accompanied by restlessness
and irritability, a bitter taste in the mouth, tinnitus, red tongue with yellow coating and
a wiry pulse. The pattern of obstruction of phlegm-dampness in the interior may be
accompanied by heaviness of the head as if it was wrapped, oppression in the chest and
nausea, a fat tongue with a white greasy coating, and a soggy and slippery pulse. The
pattern of kidney-essence deficiency may be accompanied by soreness and weakness in
the loin and knees, seminal emission, light-colored tongue and a deep, thready pulse.
The pattern of qi and blood deficiency may be accompanied by lassitude and debilitation,
sallow complexion, light-colored tongue and a thready pulse.
Acupuncture has a good therapeutic effect for vertigo. The treatment of primary
diseases should be considered as well.
For the paroxysm of vertigo, it is advisable to instruct patients to close their eyes
and calmly lie on their backs. If vertigo is accompanied by vomiting, the vomit should be
prevented from entering the trachea.
For patients whose vertigo is caused by phlegm-dampness, spicy and greasy foods
should be reduced as much as possible.