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Help with a formula: Arachnoid Cyst


Hello all,
I currently have a large arachnoid cyst located in the top left hemisphere of the brain. I am currently going to my Chinese practitioner and have been on his treatment for 6 months now. After a recent MRI the cyst has not grown but also has not receded. The cost of the treatment has drained my bank account and I have no choice but to stop the treatment within a couple of weeks. I’ve been doing research on what the treatment may consist of so that I could buy the ingredient online and create it myself… then I found this site and would appreciate any help with it. I was able to find multiple formulas on Ovarian Cysts but am not sure if the treatments would work for my specific cyst.

Not only do I take the powder mixed with hot water 3 times a day, I also receive a paste that I place on a large bandage and place onto the top of my head where the cyst presides.

Thank you all for the help!


If you have a large cyst, the long term consequences can potentially be quite serious and depending on the location western surgical procedures (i.e. a shunt) may or may not be helpful/feasible. If you are doing well, I would say you should be very happy with that and continue going to treatment regardless of the cost. In comparison to the costs of surgery, etc. and possibly permanent and/or serious nerve damage and other issues, it is probably a small cost when all aspects are considered.

Also, for the cyst size itself, that is great that is hasn’t grown, usually this means it has actually shrunk at least some. But there is scar tissue/swelling around the cyst so it takes quite a size change in large cysts particularly to really show up well on a scan. But even not growing is good, again all things considered.

One question I do have - are they doing acupuncture and herbs, or just herbs?

On the cost and use of herbs:
So, -some- practitioners do do a pretty hefty markup on the herbs to sustain their practice and to compensate them for the time of maintaining an herbal pharmacy. So if yours is in fact one of these, but you are otherwise happy with their treatment, talk to them and ask them for a discount - you will likely get it.

One of the great advantages of working with a practitioner is that they are generally (not always) fine-tuning your herbal prescription as time goes on and they watch your response to treatment. To you the formulas may look the same, but the amounts and/or ingredients are likely changing. This type of formula balancing is invaluable when working with herbal medicine. In short, you will likely not get the same response trying to create the formula yourself.

That said, if you have your practitioner write out the herbs (in Chinese) and dosages of each you can try purchasing the herbs yourself somewhere else and that -may- be cheaper (it could be more). But what you will be missing is someone watching over your case, following your progress and in short giving you the best care possible. Also, if the formula is a family secret of something along those lines, they likely won’t write it out.

More than likely, if you have a conversation with your practitioner and explain your financial situation they will work with you. If they don’t you should probably find someone else to work with. Personally, I think acupuncture is a critical part of the equation - although herbs are helpful as well. If you were to switch, I would see a practitioner who does both as well as tuina (Chinese medical massage). You will likely get the best results from that combination.

But just to be very clear, no, the formulas that are mentioned on our site for ovarian cysts are very likely inappropriate for your condition. But it really depends on your overall diagnosis from a tcm perspective, not the fact that you have a cyst. For more on this (and why only proper diagnostically based treatments will help you), read “What Does Acupuncture Treat?”.


Had 2 MRIs, and went to 3 neurosurgeons… 1 said it’s ok for now and take these pills to help with the pain, he dosent want to cut into my head and do anything until it gets worse (but it actually is causing blinding headaches, memory loss, mood swings and time loss) the 2nd one said it’s all psychological and i’m insane and need to see a psychiatrist (even though all this was happening for a year before I got the first MRI and found out the cyst was there) and the 3rd one wants to cut me open and remove it completely.

I do NOT want to take pills NOR get cut open or have a shunt put in because after doing some research on this particular cyst, there are far FAR to many people having major issues with every aspect of correcting this.

My practitioner will not tell me the ingredients of the treatment are, I’ve tried this multiple times already over the course of the 8 years i’ve been dealing with him.

I’ve been paying $200 a week because the insurance will not cover it… and after 9 months it’s drained me and i can’t afford it any longer. So my only options (i already asked him for a discount and he can’t do it) is to either stop the treatment all together, make my own and a fraction of the cost, of have surgery done which will fully be covered but I dont want someone poking around in my skull.

As for acupuncture, my wife does it for her neck pain and its amazing. I never thought of it for my Cyst. Once I figure out what i’m doing with the herbal medicine then I’ll get a hold of the acupuncturist and see what he can do. He’s only $70 so it’s no where near as bad, but I may be able to get a family discount from him seeing as though my wife goes there.

What are your thoughts?


$200 a week for herbal treatment is excessively expensive. I honestly can’t imagine how in any way shape or form that cost is justified. Just FYI a normal week’s worth of herbal formula in powdered form probably doesn’t cost him more than 10$, maybe $20 if he’s using something really exotic. Furthermore, depending on which state you live in it’s your legal right to full access to your medical records, which (depending again on state) includes full ingredients of any medications. I would recommend finding someone else. Granted I don’t know the whole story but seems like this person is more concerned with getting your money than making you well.

Like Chad said, I would suggest finding someone that does acupuncture, herbs, and tuina. The use of acupuncture with herbs should provide a much better result than just doing herbal therapy by itself, and the tuina should further help.


Thats what I figured his cost would be around.
I called my acupuncturist last night to see if he would be able to treat the cyst, he said that he can not help with the treatment because it is inside the skull and not “exterior”. He also only does simple herbal treatments and WILL give me the formula but does not have anything for this particular type of Cyst. He did say that he recommends a herbalist but did not have his info on hand and would get back to me.

I’m about 1 hour south of Chicago… if you guys know anyone in the area please let me know! Also, I’ve never head Tunia, so I’ll be looking into this as well.

Thanks again!


I’m getting no where with this. Do any of you know of a forum that has info on TCM formulas? Maybe an ebook or anything?

Thanks all!


We have a quite extensive presentation of both TCM Formulas and Individual herbs on our theory site. That said, doing this yourself is generally a bad idea. You should simply find a better practitioner that won’t rip you off, it shouldn’t be that hard. Call some people, ask them (a) if they treat your condition and (b) if they also do herbs and tuina. The first one that says yes and doesn’t charge more than 60-80/treatment, go see them. You will get better results not trying to piece together a formula yourself, it’s simply not that easy.


And to add to that, any practitioner that says they can’t treat a cyst with acupuncture because it’s not “external” is a practitioner that you will not want to see. That is a very poor answer to your inquiry that indicates they have a weak understanding of Chinese Medicine. This is another reason why you wan’t to see a fully rounded Chinese Medicine practitioners (herbs, tuina, medical qi gong, acupuncture, etc.).

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