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Smell of Burnt



I have a patient that tells me he smells burnt for the past 6 months. I cannot smell it on him, he smells it inside his sinuses.

Here is some more background information:

  • Has been living for 10 years in a very harsh, humid and cold climate and suffers from joint pain (knees, elbows, spine, ankles)
  • The society he lived in was very abraisive and he has felt held back in his work and there is a lot of sadness, resentment and hopelessness in "wasting his time for the past 10 years". Worries a lot about finances.
  • He lost a lot of weight in the recent year
  • He is now living in a warmer climate which is much better for his joint pain
  • He gets easily exhausted
  • He gets easily agitated and to a point of severe anger, afterwards he feels completely drained
  • His tongue is swollen on the sides, shifts between light purplish and red. Usually a wet tongue.
  • Had some problems with green stools a few months ago
  • Has tried eating vegetarian food, but it makes him very weak, must have protein and meat.
  • In the past months suffers from feeling of anxiety around bedtime. Heart races and suddenly the energy drops and falls down through his body out his feet.
  • Catches colds easily. Dislikes cold drinks, food and weather.
  • Itchy ears, sometimes very wet with wax. Fluctuates between wet and dry.
  • Eye sight is getting worse.

Now the smell of burnt he has associated with aneurysms.

Could you please provide some input in terms of treatment, food and other helpful advise.

Thank you!


Smell of burnt in 5 elements is heart problem, heart&#39s mother is Liver, so sooth liver Qi is the treatment proposal.


There are some very serious causes of a burnt smell (unlikely, but serious nonetheless) - most notably a brain tumor. The chance of this is, of course, small. If this has been going on for awhile and after perhaps 1-2 months of treatment there is no change whatsoever experienced, I would suggest he has an MRI - just to be safe. Generally, there is either an issue with the brain affecting the olfactory functions (less likely) and/or some sort of sinus, respiratory or even digestive issue. From a pure Chinese Medicine perspective you simply treat what you see. Just step back entirely from the burnt smell and what you think it might be in western terms and treat directly using the diagnostic framework within Chinese Medicine. Sounds like primary Liver Stagnation with perhaps some spleen qi deficiency leading to dampness. From our system, in addition to standard tcm points, I would check and treat the huatuo of C3 (eye, sinus, ear), generally with deep tuina but light needling is ok as well, GV 19 (sensory cortex), GV 22 (limbic system) - also palpate out from GV 22 on either side a cun or two and needle any sensitive areas.



thank you very much for this answer.

I will go ahead and treat him according to your suggestions. I am very grateful for your input. I will then see if the burnt smell is still reported.

The patient does not want to have an MRI as he is completely outside of the western medicine.

Is there any way I can treat a possible brain tumour from the TCM framework?



With regards to the possible tumor... there are ways to address it very directly if you know exactly where it is and what type (i.e. -if- he has one and from the MRI results). That said, just treat what you see and add the few points I offered and he should do well.


By the way, the smell he has is close to "tobacco" or "insence".

He has been smoking tobacco for 1 year and just stopped and because of this noticed that the smell of burnt in his sinus area was there despite not smoking anymore.


Certainly smoking could lead to this, but it would rarely stay for a long period of time. Obviously not smoking would be a great way to find out if that is all the issue is.... again, between treatments and not smoking if it isn&#39t gone within 1-2 months (4-8 treatments), I would probably get a scan if possible...


Thank you Chad. I will take all your advise into consideration. I really appreciate the feedback!


Your patient could benefit from self-care practices to reduce his stress. They may and may not address the burnt smell he notices. But they can help calm the liver. If there is a Universal Healing Tao practitioner in his area he can attend a class or get a private session to learn three basic practices: The Inner Smile, which promotes relaxation; The Six Healing Sounds, which transform emotions and toxins lodged in the vital organs; and the Microcosmic Orbit (sometimes called Small Universe) which connects, refines, and circulates qi in the conception vessel and governing channel. All of these practices will bring calm and balance to his system. They are described in the book by Mantak Chia, Transform Stress to Vitality.

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