What is the easiest way to understand Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a long history of over 4,000 years. In that time billions of people in China have relied on TCM for treatment of all of their health problems. A peer-reviewed joint study by Harvard Medical School and MIT was published in late 2008 showing that acupuncture has an effect greater than placebo, and the World Health Organization has acknowledged the vital impact this health care system has had on the sick and suffering.
Traditional Chinese medical theories possess two outstanding features: their acknowledgement of the body as a whole, and their application of treatment according to the differentiation of individuals and their respective symptoms. According to these traditional viewpoints, the body's organs are the core of the human body in which tissues and sense organs are connected through a network of energetic channels and blood vessels. Chinese medicine believes that disruptions in an organ or channel energies (Qi) can create a disease that imbalances one's health.
Not only is the human body an organic whole, but it is also a unified entity within nature, and changes in the natural environment will invariably affect it. Seasonal variations and alternating weather systems can change the functional condition of the human body. Changes in our living and working environment may also physically and emotionally impact us all differently. All these factors, and many more must be considered during diagnosis and before treatment are given.
The TCM approach is fundamentally different from that of modern Western medicine. The goal of TCM treatment is to adjust and harmonize Yin and Yang - wet and dry, cold and heat, body and mind. This is accomplished by regulating the body's energy (Qi), Body Fluids and Blood in the Organ and Channel networks. Weak organs are strengthened, excessive organs are reduced, congested channels are opened, heat is cooled, cold is warmed, tightness is softened, agitation is calmed and dryness is moistened.
Acupuncture is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and is useful for treating many different types of pain in the musculoskeletal system such as sprains and repetitive strain injuries all the way up to paralysis. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg; gastric upset, ulcers and cysts, menstrual issues, arthritis, migraines, tinnitus, menopause....the list goes on and on. It can also be used to deal with emotional problems such as anxiety, depression, stress, and emotional volatility as well as other physical ailments like chronic fatigue, asthma, back pain, and infertility. The long list of conditions which are often treated by over the counter medication are often treated effectively by acupuncture and with fewer side effects, according to research by the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture.
The number and frequency of treatment is dependent on the severity and length of the medical condition as well as the overall health and vitality of the patient. Adverse side effects of acupuncture are extremely low and significantly lower than conventional western medical options. Those who suffer from complex or long-standing medical problems may need to seek treatment as often as once or twice per week for several months for lasting results.
Acupuncture has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization as safe, natural, and drug-free. Most importantly it is an effective method of addressing the root causes of disease, and not just the symptoms of many health challenges. Its use in China, Japan, and other parts of Asia for thousands of years speaks to its efficacy as well.
It’s a natural and powerful medicine refined by great masters and practiced effectively over 4000 years. And yes, it works.
Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into the body at specific points proved to resolve many health problems. There are over 300 points on either side of the body with a vast array of influences on the organ and channel systems. Acupuncture is safe and without any serious side effects. The stainless steel needles themselves are pre-sterilized, and they are disposed of after each treatment. Government bodies and associations regulate acupuncture needles as medical devices, and rates them in the category of safe and effective.
Needles may appear scary to some people but are the quintessential part of acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture needles are nothing like that you will receive at the doctor's or a dentist. They are typically 0.2 mm thick and sharp to the point of painlessness. The initial insertion of an acupuncture needle through the skin is generally not noticed, while the activation of the point below the skin can elicit sensations such as a mild electrical dullness to a temporary strong surge in current. Generally any discomfort will pass within the first 10 to 15 seconds after a needle is inserted, and the rest of the treatment is relaxing and comfortable.
Herbal formulas have always been the backbone of Chinese medicine. The bulk of herbal medicine consist of 400 types of roots, barks, flowers, leaves and occasionally minerals and animal products. They are used to treat every day simple problems to the most complicated of conditions. All herbal treatments will begin with the raw herb being boiled with water to make its ingredients active, and then drunk as is, granulated or formed into small pills. They are never synthesized compounds, rather decoctions of 100% natural ingredients.
Chinese herbal medicine can have interactions with Western medicine, but this is more typical with blood pressure and anti-coagulation medicine and is still very low on potential side-effects. It is important to make any practitioner prescribing medicine to you of any medication you are already taking.