Why traditional Chinese medicine works
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a style of medicine based on more than 2,500 years of Chinese medical practice that includes various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage, exercise, and dietary therapy, but recently also influenced by modern Western medicine.
In TCM’s basic tenets, the body’s vital energy (chi or qi) circulates through meridians, or channels, that branch out to connect with organs and functions.
In the United States, most people use TCM primarily as a complementary health approach. However, acupuncture can help with so much more. Many chronic and acute conditions respond very well to TCM, such as: asthma, allergies, acute respiratory conditions, high blood pressure and cholesterol, gynecological and gastrointestinal concerns, stress and mood issues, and of course chronic and acute pain. Tell your health care providers about any approaches you use to give them a fuller picture of how to manage your health and to ensure coordinated care.
Qi is your life force (electrical current). It runs through 12 main and 8 extraordinary meridians in your body to connect different organ systems in the body.
There are internal and external connections which are located along nerve pathways connecting over 350 different points in the body.
An imbalance of the flow of Qi through the meridians can cause pain and disease. Acupuncture points are selected to balance the flow of Qi through the meridians.
These points, once balanced, can create homeostasis, therefore easing pain and helping organ systems function optimally.
Yin and Yang
Yin and yang are thought of as forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts. According to this philosophy, everything has both yin and yang aspects (for instance, shadow cannot exist without light, female-male, young-old).
- Two opposing forces are joined together to balance and complement each other.
- When these two forces are balance, homeostasis occurs.
- Each have different attributes: Yin is negative, dark and feminine; Yang is positive, bright and masculine. Their interaction influences the destinies of creatures and things.
- Learning about your body’s response to stimuli helps you and your practitioner treat you during acupuncture or massage.
Acupuncture & What to Expect from Treatment
There are many practitioners of Acupuncture and/or Massage in the U.S. For the former, below are some highlights of what you will experience during a treatment session.
- A discussion of chief complaints
- Single use sterile needles
- Tongue and Pulse diagnosis
- New Sensations you may feel in your body
- You will be treated as a whole person, not just “shoulder pain”
Our bodies are a communications network. Helping your practitioner understand your body aids them in balancing your energy.
Based on observations in nature, we are a part of the whole. Imbalance in one of these elements causes disease.
Each meridian is associated with a different element.
We experience 7 emotions: Fear/fright, Anger, joy, worry/pensiveness and grief. These 7 emotions, when out of balance, can create disease. They each affect a different organ/meridian system in the body. Emotions can be treated with TCM and balance can be created.
There are also external pathogenic factors causing imbalance including wind, cold, damp, heat, summer heat and dryness. Modern life, specifically our posture, can also create a sense of imbalance in our system. Our genetic Influences and lifestyle can also be helpful or hurtful.
Benefits of traditional chinese Medicine (TCM)
TCM can treat pain stiffness, recurring issues with muscles and posture, and many other diseases as mentioned in the first part of this article. Overall, you should expect improved sleep, improved stress response, stabilized mood, improved energy and circulation, decreased pain and a general sense of well-being.