What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a comprehensive natural healthcare system that has been used successfully in Asia for centuries. TCM practitioners use acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, Tuina massage, Medical Qigong, and nutrition to treat the root cause of symptoms, prevent illness and preserve health.
TCM practitioners use a sophisticated and complex system of diagnostic methods to discern patterns of imbalance and determine the underlying cause of symptoms. Practitioners may recommend integrative medicine and work with M.D.’s and other healthcare practitioners, with the objective to improve and extend a patients quality of life.
Effectiveness, affordability, and lack of adverse side effects are three primary reasons why TCM is currently one of America’s fastest growing choices for primary healthcare.
What is the philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Underlying the practice of TCM is a unique view of the world and the human body. In this view, the human body is regarded as a microcosm of the Universe interconnected with nature and subject to its forces.
TCM practitioners believe that we live in a universe in which everything is interconnected. The mind and body are not viewed separately but as part of a complete energetic system. Health and disease relates to the balance of this system.
There are over 360 acupuncture points on the human body, connected by 20 pathways called meridians. Central to the understanding of TCM is the concept of a vital life energy force called Qi that circulates throughout the body along the meridians. TCM philosophy states that health is the ongoing process of maintaining balance and harmony through the circulation of Qi. As long as Qi flows freely, health is maintained. When the flow of Qi is inhibited due to stress, lifestyle or other imbalances, health is disrupted and pain and illness can occur. TCM restores the balance of Qi throughout the body.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one of the primary forms of treatment in traditional Chinese medicine and is one of the oldest healing practices in the world. It involves the stimulation of points on the body using very fine needles to correct imbalances in the flow of qi through channels in the body called meridians. It is used to treat a wide variety of conditions, to reduce pain, provide immune enhancement, and promote overall good health.
TCM practitioners apply in-depth TCM diagnostic techniques to determine the specific combination of acupuncture points required to address potential patterns of disharmony that may cause disease. Our health centers use only sterile, single-use disposable acupuncture needles.
Does acupuncture hurt?
While each individual experiences acupuncture differently, the majority of patients feel little to no discomfort when acupuncture needles are inserted on the skin. After treatment, many patients feel relaxed and refreshed.
Is acupuncture safe?
When practiced by a licensed, trained acupuncturist, acupuncture is extremely safe.
What is Chinese herbal medicine?
Over a period of 5000 years, the Chinese perfected a herbal medicine system recognizing the profound and powerful healing nature of herbs. This brilliant and accurate diagnostic system of traditional Chinese medicine allows a practitioner to diagnose the underlying cause of illness. For example, lower back pain is caused by cold in the meridians, so practitioners will prescribe an herbal formula that warms the body, removing the root cause of the symptom.
The most common method of taking Chinese herbal medicine is as a decoction or tea. Herbs are cooked at a low boil for an hour or more and strained. Other forms of herbal medicines include herbal pills, tinctures and powdered extracts. There are hundreds of formulas called patent remedies that are carefully crafted to address an individual’s primary symptoms as well as their pattern diagnosis.
What is Tuina massage?
Tuina is a medical massage based on the principles of Chinese medicine, providing benefits to patients without the use of needles. Tuina massage utilizes acupressure, stretching, and gentle manipulation, with emphasis on the meridians and acupuncture points, to restore balance and harmony in the human body. It is both a treatment as well as a preventative modality.
For children, Tuina is the primary means of treating illness in Chinese medicine, offering a gentle, nurturing method to positively influence their health and development.
What is Medical Qigong?
Your one-hour medical qigong session begins with a brief interview about your health condition and intention for coming. A Medical Qigong treatment lasts about 25-35 minutes and includes an energetic assessment as well as a pulse and tongue diagnosis.
Using energetic perception and listening skills, a Medical Qigong practitioner senses disturbances or areas of weakness in the body, all of which provide information about your energetic state. Using various energetic techniques, the practitioner purges areas of excess or stagnation, strengthens areas of weakness and deficiency, and completes the session by regulating your energetic matrix. In a sense, the practitioner does qigong for you, initiating patterns of health and well being that you can continue to nurture with qigong exercises that may be prescribed specific to your condition.
Medical qigong addresses the body, mind, and spirit, and therefore can be used for a wide variety of conditions. Qigong works well as a stand-alone modality or in conjunction with Eastern and Western medical practice.
What can I expect on my first visit?
Your first visit will begin with your TCM practitioner taking a detailed health history. Traditional Chinese medicine follows a more holistic approach to patient care so you may be asked questions about your sleep habits, ability to tolerate heat or cold, dietary habits, etc.
After reviewing your health history, the practitioner will begin the process to diagnose your imbalance. The diagnostic process includes a tongue and pulse diagnosis, a technique common in traditional Chinese medicine.
Using all of the information obtained in your health history and during diagnosis, your TCM practitioner will identify the root cause of your symptoms. Depending on your condition, your practitioner will determine the best course of action; acupuncture, an herbal prescription, massage, qigong or another form of treatment. Your first visit will last up to 60 minutes.