WHAT IS TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an ancient form of oriental medicine that employs Acupuncture and Herbs as a form of treatment. TCM views disease or lack of wellness as an imbalance in the body.
The art of Chinese medicine has a history that dates back a few thousand years and integrates the concepts of Yin and Yang, the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, water), and the union of man and nature. This unique medical theory is rooted in Chinese philosophy and is one of a kind in the medical community. Its outstanding therapeutic efficacy has gained worldwide respect and recognition.
Chinese Medicine is a complete medical system that is currently integrated in modern hospitals and clinics throughout most of Asia and many nations around the world. A basic principle of this medicine is that every person is composed of both electrical (protons, electrons, and neutrons create atoms that course through our entire being) and chemical energies (like the hormonal system). These energies are closely described as ‘Qi’ and ‘Blood’ or ‘Yin’ and ‘Yang’. Chinese Medicine can intervene on both levels through the use of Acupuncture and Chinese herbs.
Every patient is unique and is treated according to the overall patterns of strength or weakness / health or dysfunction they exhibit. Patients are encouraged to share all their symptoms, regardless of whether or not they believe these symptoms to be significant.
TCM practitioners are trained to restore the body back into balance so that it can function optimally. But first the practitioner must assess (via a questionnaire and interview) and diagnose by reading the pulses on both wrists (there are three points and three depth levels that to a well-trained therapist reveal enormous amounts about the body’s organ systems and their condition).
Treatment then depends on which energy channel (meridian) is affected so that the experienced practitioner can address the imbalance with herbal remedies, dietary recommendations, acupuncture or acupressure massage.
A typical TCM assessment comprises:
- Determination of the balance between yin and yang
- The balance between the energy (Qi) and blood
- The balance between the systems that are in excess and those that are deficient
- The balance between the five elements of Chinese Medicine which govern the following organ systems: Liver, heart, digestion, lung, kidney
- Determination of which organ of the network needs attention first
TREATMENT MODALITIES MAY INCLUDE:
Herbal medicine is an integral part of Chinese medicine. The majority of the Chinese herbal medicine is from organic plant substances and certain minerals. Herbal formulae rarely elicit side effects, as they have been used safely for centuries across large populations. These formulations, when prescribed by a well-trained practitioner, can be used by adults, children, and the elderly. The combination of Chinese herbs and acupuncture produces a very effective treatment protocol for many ailments. Each herbal formula is customized for the individual to target the symptoms as well as the root cause of a disorder. As the patient improves, the formula will change.
Acupuncture is a safe, gentle, effective treatment that works. It involves the insertion of fine needles in specific points along the body that either directly relate to or influence the disorder that your acupuncturist is seeking to balance.
Studies show acupuncture can help a wide variety of pain conditions including back and neck pain, migraines, sciatica, osteoarthritis, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia or trigeminal neuralgia.
However, acupuncture is also an effective treatment modality for functional disorders like allergic reactions, digestive disorders, respiratory disorders, fatigue, symptoms of autoimmune disease, women’s health issues (eg infertility, morning sickness, menstrual problems), anxiety, mood and stress-related disorders, sleep issues and addictive behaviours (including substance abuse and obsessive habits such as nail-biting). It also promotes general health and prevents or limits the progression of disease.
This is a treatment technique in which local suction is created on the skin to allow toxins and stagnant blood flow to rise to the surface. Clearing stagnations allows the tissues to heal and enables proper function to be restored. Cupping is powerful in treating respiratory diseases such as asthma, the common cold, pneumonia and bronchitis, as well as being effective for skin complaints, gynaecological disorders and pain conditions.
A form of heat treatment to stimulate specific acupuncture points. A small cone-shaped amount of mugwort herb is placed either on top of an acupuncture point or on top of an inserted acupuncture needle, or may involve the practitioner lighting one end of a moxa stick then holding it an inch or two away to indirectly bring mild warmth to the area.
This is a healing technique which involves palpation and cutaneous stimulation applying pressure in a stroking fashion using a round-edged instrument. As in cupping, the skin may discolour but in doing so is promoting normal circulation and metabolic processes, providing relief from musculoskeletal pain, stiffness, fever, chill, cough, nausea to name but a few.
Also known as auricular therapy, it is based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine and is regularly incorporated into an acupuncture treatment. Widely used to manage addictions, mood disturbances, obesity and pain.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO ACHIEVE RESULTS?
In general, acute conditions require fewer treatments and chronic conditions often need a longer commitment to regular treatment. Since every patient’s health condition and constitution is unique, the number of and frequency of treatments varies. Typically, the recommendation is 1-2 treatments per week for a month or even several months. Many patients experience some relief after the first few treatments. Some conditions may require 9 to 12 months to completely change the body’s energy flow and restore balance. Pain syndromes may require multiple treatments each week, tapering off as the pain is reduced. Fertility issues often require only once-a-week treatments, but the treatments may require 3-12 months to regulate the hormonal balance. Just like the seasons, healing occurs in cycles. Recovery may include periods of change and then may plateau. While undergoing therapy for one aliment, other problems may resolve and over time, general health will be enhanced.
Chinese Medicine works best when patients are dedicated to their own healing, by adopting healthy daily habits (balanced and informed nutrition, exercise, stress-reduction). Because TCM has such a strong preventative component and is often employed to maintain health rather than to treat illness, TCM practitioners in China were once paid to keep people well and were not paid when they were required to treat a patient who had fallen ill.
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