Matia Brizman Interview

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Interview with Matia Brizman


Today I have had the pleasure of speaking with one of IC's best kept secrets, Matia Brizman, M.T.O.M., L.Ac. D.Ac & C.H. of BOMA-Med in Los Angeles. Matia is a very gifted Doctor of Acupuncture and practitioner of Chinese medicine. She is a truly amazing woman who has dedicated her life to helping people with chronic illnesses. She specializes in the areas of the colon and the bladder and has treated many IC patients successfully over the past six years. I am grateful to Matia for giving me the opportunity to educate IC patients about her treatment methods and beliefs and for allowing me to spread her words of hope to others. I had the pleasure of speaking directly to Matian and can testify to the fact that she is truly a special person, a caring woman who radiates positive energy and hope. I am glad that Matia is on our side in the battle against IC.

Hi Matia, thank you for taking the time out to speak to me today. I have heard so many great things about you from your patients.

Thank you Camille. First I would just like to say that I think your web site is great and I think you are doing a wonderful thing for people.

Thank you Matia. OK, let's begin with a brief description of Chinese medicine.

Chinese medicine has been effective for the treatment of illness for thousands of years and has consequently been gaining popularity in this country since President Nixon "brought it over" during his time in office after having experienced his own treatment during his visit in China, having fallen ill at that time.

It is a system of medicine based on the premise of checks and balances. Balance must be maintained in order to prevent or treat disease. This balance is not as simple as yin and yang, although they are the root. It is a quite complicated system in which each organ must be balanced and in good "communication" with different aspects of each other organ. It is quite deep, and quite complex, and in my own humble opinion, profoundly eloquent.

There is so much more to be said about Chinese medicine that can't possibly be covered in this interview. For more information one can go to


A lot of patients are very skeptical about using Chinese medicine for IC since they are told it is too strong for them and that they can get hurt. Do you believe that to be correct?

First, I should say that although many may think that it is too strong, more most likely have been told or are under the impression that it is ineffective for the treatment of IC. Secondly, I think that all patients seeking treatment for any disease should be well informed about the treatment that they have chosen to undergo and the doctor who is administrating the treatment. One should carefully weigh his or her options prior to commencing any treatment.

Chinese medicine is an invaluable modality for many illnesses, yet despite this fact, as in Western medicine, there are doctors whom are more appropriate to see for specific diseases. There is an unfortunate misunderstanding that all the people in the world practicing Chinese medicine have equivalent abilities. Because of this, if someone seeks treatment through Chinese medicine and it does not work, they assume the medicine is ineffective. They seldom assume they sought out a doctor with inappropriate experience to their specific illness. In Western medical treatment, if you do not get help, you do not criticize the medicine, you change doctors!

For these reasons, I think any patient should be skeptical since they can get hurt in the wrong hands. Chinese medicine is based on the premise that there are many different treatments for the same disease. In other words, individuals with the same disease need to be treated differently. There is not one neat little answer that is "out of the box". This is especially true for IC patients. The more I treat IC the more I realize that there are so many different possibilities of treatment for each patient.

A Chinese doctor lacking experience with this specific disease would treat the patient based upon symptoms, which sound very much like those we have been trained for in Chinese medical school (known as Lin Syndromes, all kinds of bladder disorders). If one follows those principles precisely without the advantage of experience with this disease, you may make the patient much worse.

Another problem I have found is that some people practicing Chinese medicine sometimes go against its principles and they try to practice using one answer for all diseases. This will never work. Hence, these are the kinds of problems one may experience when seeking treatment for IC with Chinese medicine.

I am certain there must be many wonderful people practicing Chinese medicine who are doing great work. What I would recommend is asking if they have had experience with IC specifically and if so, how much. Ask what they are specializing in. If they specialize in this disease, then give it a try. It is normal for one to seek the top specialist in any field of medicine when seeking treatment. It should be no different in this case.


So it is safe to say you do not recommend IC patients treat themselves?

Absolutely not! I never recommend patients treat themselves, for IC or any other illness. A patient trying to use natural methods to treat oneself can be very dangerous. Just because it is natural does not mean it is safe. The general public has a very misguided understanding of alternative medicine in that there is an assumption that if it does not help it can't hurt. This is the furthest thing from the truth. Guidance is definitely required by someone who has had the professional medical training to assess and monitor the patient closely.

You mentioned that when you first began practicing on patients with IC you were not too successful in their treatments?

Yes that is true. There was a lot of trial and error in the beginning but with much tenacity, eventually I was able to unlock the treatment methods that would effectively treat the IC patient. In order to learn how to treat IC I did a lot of detective work. I began to understand the ailment and I began to see that I had to develop my own treatment methods. I realized that the traditional methods for treatment of urinary diseases according to Chinese medicine were inadequate for the treatment of IC. So I combined a traditional Chinese medical understanding and a modern physiological understanding of the condition and merged them together to form my own treatment methods for IC. Eventually I began to unlock the disease and started to make a lot of progress and I am still making progress to this day. I hope to continue to do so in the years to come. It is my goal to make the treatment faster and easier and to be able to anticipate what each patient is going to require ahead of time before administering treatment. Since IC is a very complex disease I have a long way to go but that is my goal.

So it is safe to say that there is a lot less trial and error with IC patients today? Also, how do you go about treating new patients?

Yes there is a lot less trial and error. When a patient walks into my office I sit with them for at least an hour and go over their total history. Then I take what we call in Chinese medicine the pulse and tongue. After assessing the needs of the patient I start off with a regimen that is fairly conservative since the IC patient is so sensitive and then I build from there. Since I have acquired a great deal of practice and knowledge in mixing herbs and placing needles for many IC patients over the years about 70% of those patients do well right from the beginning. With other patients I have to do some adjustments to get the right treatment for them. I stay in very close touch with new patients. I keep the lines of communication open and stick by them until we get it right. I am always available to my patients, even in my off hours. I am very much a part of the lives of my patients until they improve to the point that they don't need me anymore.

I know that you use acupuncture as part of your treatment methods for IC patients. Can you tell me a little bit about that and how it works?

When patients are in town I always recommend acupuncture because I think it is an invaluable treatment asset when done "properly". Properly means consistent with my methods. So, I ask that long-distance patients refrain from acupuncture, as I then have no control over the treatment methods of the other acupuncturist. So acupuncture done in accordance to specific treatment methods is a great help and will facilitate healing. Other treatments with different applications and approaches can actually increase the pain and worsen the condition.

The insertion of acupuncture needles when placed at certain points and in particular combinations can stimulate the body's healing process in many ways. However, the needles must be placed with the same amount of precision that the herbs and supplements must be combined. Treatments that are inconsistent with the patient's needs can actually make the patient feel worse and stimulate them in the incorrect way. This, however, is true for all illnesses, not just IC.

Do you recognize that there are other diseases involved with many IC patients and if so how do you treat or address those other diseases?

There are many typical illnesses that accompany IC and there are also many that are not typical to the IC patient but which must also be addressed.  Let me be more clear.  Some common conditions, which come with IC are:

Bowel problems either constipation or diarrhea.
Epigastric problems (Either acid reflux or ulcer).
Chronic Fatigue.
Vulvodynia in women (a medical term meaning vagina pain).
Painful periods in women.
MVP (Mitral Valve Prolapse).

These conditions are common because they are associated with the constitutional condition of the patient. It is not a mistake that these conditions so often come together. They are connected and tied in ways that are understood through Chinese medical diagnosis. Hence, as the IC is treated, typically the other problems are addressed as well.

In addition to these problems, the human condition being what it is, there are often other problems to contend with simultaneously. These could include such things as hypotension (low blood pressure), herpes simplex virus, panic attacks, or more serious conditions. When these kinds of problems are present during the treatment of IC, all problems must be taken into consideration for effective treatment to take place.


Have you ever treated any patients with severe IC or patients who have had IC for many years successfully?

Yes I have. Sometimes these patients may take longer to improve due to "layers" of complications or the length of time that they have the disease however sometimes they do not.

Do you believe bacteria and yeast are connected to IC?

Many of my patients have yeast and bacteria but many do not. However, let me back up and say that just because someone does not test positive for yeast and bacteria does not mean that they don't have it. So I always treat at least a little bit for it. I have had patients get better though with very minimal treatment for yeast and bacteria.

What do you think causes IC? It is all speculation I know but I would love to have your views.

There is a very long and involved answer to this question in terms of Chinese medicine. I will keep my answer brief here because to explain anything about Chinese medicine requires a lot of conceptual explanations first, and I think I will bore most people before they finish the first paragraph.

So, Basically, I think that IC is a combination of problems occurring simultaneously caused by:

1. Weakness in the bladder and the kidneys, and the colon on a constitutional level.

2. Intestinal health imbalances eventually effecting the body systemically to the point where pathological bacteria and or yeast have penetrated the tissues of the bladder as well as other areas of the body. When bacteria and or fungus (yeast) gets into areas of the body where it does not belong it causes pathological tissue irritation and this, I think leads to the ulcerations and subcutaneous bleeding that urologists are looking for in diagnosis. Where there is any amount of tissue change, there will be pain as a result. In addition, the yeast or bacteria themselves congesting the urinary system and compromising tissue will create additional urgency, burning and discomfort.

I think these are the two basic problems. However, how they manifest themselves through Chinese medical diagnosis may be very different. For example, If you have a weakness in the kidney "system" according to Chinese medicine, your disease could manifest in a lot of different ways. You could have menstrual problems, bowel problems, heart problems, etc… all because of weak kidneys. So, what happens is IC patients all have the basic problems in common, but manifest the disease differently and require different treatments to feel better.

Some patients have a strong weakness and need more support, while others need more bacteria or yeast killing treatment. Some patients need more attention on regulating blood flow because disruptions have taken place over time. Changes need to be made to support the progress that the body is making as the process continues until the patient is no longer in treatment.

Other complicating factors are all of the treatments that patients have undergone prior to the time that I see them. The installations and the medications can add on to the layers of problems that the patient manifests.

In my work, I try to clean out the urinary system of pathological material, rebuild the kidneys, bladder and tissues, and re-establish proper energy and blood flow simultaneously. At the end, a balance is restored.
I think that these problems come about through:

1. Imbalanced eating habits. Such as overuse of alcohol, sugars, carbohydrates, etc. This weakens the immune system and allows inappropriate growth of pathological matter.
2. Overuse of antibiotic therapy, which kills your good bacteria and therefore throws off the balance of health in the gut allowing bad bacteria or yeast to grow.
3. Use of certain kinds of prescription drugs, which can cause an unlimited number of imbalances including immune suppression and dysregulation of energy flow which, in itself, can cause disease.
4. Inappropriate use of natural or prescription bowel cleansers or laxatives or other colon therapies which further weaken the immune system of the bowel and encourage the downward movement of bacteria into tissues outside the colon.
5. Incorrect use of natural supplementation for many conditions which can also transfer yeast and/or bacteria into the bladder from the colon.


Why are you so passionate about what you do and why have you devoted your life to bladder and colon diseases?

Several years ago I was very, very sick and there was little that Western medicine could do for me. I was left feeling hopeless with nowhere else to turn. So I turned to Chinese medicine. When Chinese medicine helped me regain control over my life I vowed that I would be dedicated to helping others. I had a lucrative and successful career in another area but I quit and decided to go to school to learn how to practice this type of medicine. Giving people their lives back is what I live for. I love to take someone who has tried everything and can't get better any other way and heal that person. Again, giving people their lives back is what I live for.

What is the difference between Western and Chinese medicine?

I think it is important for us to remember that there is not one answer that is right for anything in life. It is always important to establish the appropriate solution for the appropriate problem. It is no different with medicine. It seems however, that many of us want only one of these medicines to have validity and this is where I think misunderstanding comes to play.

There is no replacement for Western medicine when it comes to many things. Things such as miraculous surgical techniques, ER procedures, incredibly advanced diagnostic capabilities, prosthetic limb replacements, vaccinations, and more. I myself would not be alive today without the life-saving gift of a particular surgical procedure.

However, for many other ailments especially those of a chronic nature, I think Chinese medicine is more efficient and appropriate. By recognizing these chronic ailments through a different system of diagnosis, conditions are treated with a quite different approach with the idea of correcting the problem whereas Western medicine would treat that same problem with drugs, which only manage the symptoms. This is the fundamental difference between Western and Chinese medicine in the treatment of certain ailments. Some might say that there is nothing wrong with the management of symptoms since it is easy and it usually ends the suffering quite expeditiously. Yet, there can be many side effects that the body is subjected to with drug management whereas with Chinese medicine there are none when administered correctly.

I think the perfect world in medicine will be when medical doctors and alternative doctors of all kinds will be able to co-exist and guide patients back and forth and route them to the appropriate caregivers as necessary.

IC is known to be an "incurable disease" yet you say that you can help people. What makes you think that you can?

First let me start off by saying that one of the principles of Chinese medicine is that illnesses are simply imbalances, which once addressed will be corrected. This is a fundamental difference between Western and Chinese medicine. There, of course, is controversy on this issue in our field because there are practitioners with very different levels of conviction. I have known many practitioners who have expressed absolute horror and disbelief in some of the things that I have endeavored to treat and I know just as many who treat other illnesses, which I would be too frightened to even think of treating. I would say, however, that I am among those with an immense amount of conviction and belief in this philosophy. Although I cannot effectively treat all diseases, it is my opinion that there are effective treatments for all diseases and finding the appropriate person qualified for this task is the obvious challenge.

I think we are as capable as the amount of limitations and constraints we place upon ourselves in our lives.

How many IC patients have you treated?

I have treated many patients from 1995 when I was in my internship to present. I started practicing on my own in 1996. I have been strongly building my practice since 1996 and now I see about 65 patients per week of which about 60% are bladder related.


What are your suggestions for long-term, continuing lifestyle?

I think health is greatly misunderstood in our culture. We are of a society that is under the impression that sitting in front of the television, eating chips and drinking alcohol on a daily basis is fine. Somehow we have created this illusion for ourselves that we do not have to take any responsibility for our health and that our body should be able to sustain itself with the terrible things that we put in it. I do not subscribe to this theory and I think if one does not correct certain abusive behavioral patterns one's general state of health with always be poor.

Now, this is not to say that one can not resume eating and drinking many things that they were required to abstain from during treatment, however, moderation and balance is key to the perpetuation of long-term health.

I teach my patients about health and longevity because I want them all to live out extraordinarily long lives. I think all human beings would live many years beyond what they currently do if the common abusive habits that are so acceptable in our society were simply, not so acceptable! If a person adheres to this theory, a healthy body will support him or her through a long and happy life!

You are based in Los Angeles. Are you able to treat IC patients long distance?

Yes, I treat patients long distance. I have enough experience now where I can take the patients history over the phone and mix the right herbs for them. However, it may take longer for the patient to get better without the acupuncture. I must also add that I highly suggest that the long distance patient not go to anyone else for acupuncture. If the needles are not placed in accordance with the treatment I am administering, they can be way too strong and can lead to more harm than good.

Is it true that most health insurance does not cover Chinese medicine?

Some years ago that was true but not so today. 95% of our patients are covered by health insurance. Most of our patients have to pay only small co-pay or a percentage of the bill.

One more question for me personally before we finish. Since you have seen my website I am sure you are aware that I feel that there is a possibility I got my IC by taking birth control pills. Birth control pills = yeast = toxic body = bacteria = IC. Sometimes that just sounds totally nuts to me but I can't help but feel that there is some sort of connection. Do you think that I am crazy?

I think that synthetic hormone supplementation is absolutely unhealthy. I very much believe that this kind of medication can cause poor health and disease.

The idea of chemically controlling the body at all unless there is absolutely no other choice is beyond my comprehension. The pill is meant to synthetically control our menstrual cycles by altering our natural hormone fluctuations. Whenever you go against what is meant to be in the body you have created an imbalance. Wherever there is an imbalance created many more will follow.

For every action there is a reaction. This is a simple law of physics, so to think that you can put something in your body to cause unnatural physiological effects and that there will be no other unwanted effects from altering what is otherwise natural is at best naïve.

Furthermore, I have treated patients whom I believe became ill because of the pill. I can not prove this theory. I can only share my experiences. Additionally, it is my impression that, if there are yeast and or pathological bacteria in the body that they will be fed off the hormones we put into our bodies. This is partly why IC symptoms are worse during ovulation and menstruation, because of the high load of hormonal activity during those times.

Basically, I believe that we need to work with the body at all times so as to maximize its efficiency instead of synthetically controlling it in any way, which will only serve to weaken it at best and create illness at worst.

There is a great book to read on this subject for all of us women no matter what age. It is called "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Menopause, by Dr. John R. Lee and Virginia Hopkins. This is wonderful information for all women. There is also a book out now that is written by the same authors for younger women specifically. The book is called "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Pre-menopause, Balance your Hormones and your Life from Thirty to Fifty". Get the books!

I am glad to hear that I might not be crazy after all. I know that a lot of my friends who take the pill do not want to get off of them and have no intentions of doing so no matter what happened to me or what I think. However, at the very least, I still try to urge them to take acidophilus, anti- fungals and to keep their immune systems healthy while taking the pill. I also encourage them to take breaks and not stay on them six years straight like I did. There are many women who see problems with yeast as vaginal and no more then that, just like I once did. If there is a possible risk involved I feel that the people I love should at least be aware of it.

Matia, thank you so much for your time. I am so glad you are on our side.  Please don't ever stop doing what you are doing.

Good day, Good night and Good health everyone!!!!!!!!

For more information about Bomamed please see their website at Or contact them at 310-231-3300.

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