Traditional Chinese Medicine 101

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been practiced for several thousand years. It is said to have evolved from ancient Indian Ayurvedic principles, starting off in China but also being adopted and further developed in Japan, Korea and elsewhere in Asia. China, being such a huge land mass, had different schools of TCM springing up in various parts of the country. Each school had its own approach and techniques.

Emperors would have their own private physician who’s life depended on being able to keep their leader healthy and thriving.

What Does TCM Treat?

TCM can treat a myriad of conditions, including musculoskeletal problems, pain, digestive problems, hormonal imbalance, nervous system imbalance and many others.

A Holistic Approach

Rather than looking at an individual and how they have a specific problem with one or more parts of their body, TCM looks at that person as a whole. A practitioner assesses a person using observation, palpation and a series of questions. These can include the following:

  • Appetite
  • Digestion
  • Energy
  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Body temperature perception, fluctuations
  • For women, Menstrual cycle

You In The World

You are inevitably influenced by the setting in which you reside, include factors such as:

  • The terrain; setting, be it urban, rural or somewhere in between
  • Climate
  • Your dwelling, where you (hopefully) spend at least 12 hours of your day nourishing yourself and resting
  • Workplace or learning environment
  • What you do for work
  • The level of business or stress you are under and how you manage it. Of course,

People have varying capabilities for managing stress and factors such as constitution, socio-dynamics and socioeconomics of the home or family environment and current health can play into this.

Treatments - Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient technique of inserting fine needles into points in order to stimulate the body’s own healing mechanisms. Modern research has shown that stimulation of points along acupuncture channels leads to chemical changes at nerve endings, which in turn stimulates or relaxes the peripheral or central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).

Treatments - Massage

Massage techniques can be applied along the acupuncture channels to improve flow of blood, lymphatic fluid and Qi (vital energy). While particular areas can be focused upon, a skilled practitioner will usually treat upstream or downstream of a problem to encourage flow. Moxibustion, Cupping and Gua Sha are other massage techniques. 

Treatments - Traditional Chinese Medicine

Chinese Herbal Medicine - A practitioner chooses a formula, which is a group of herbs which

work together to correct imbalance in the body and mind. Formula ingredients and dosages can be tailored to the individual and adjusted as a condition changes or improves. Herbs are foraged from or grown in very specific regions in China, known for their specific growing conditions which influence the herb’s potency. In ancient times, herbs were dried and boiled into tea or taken as powder or mixed into honey pills. These days, these methods can still be used or for convenience of storage and dispensing, commercially prepared pills or granulated (just add hot water) herbs can be made into formulas.

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