Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a term that gets mentioned when people talk about acupuncture, but what is it really? It is sometimes referred to as Oriental Medicine, Asian Medicine and other similar terms. While there is much discussion on what to call this form of medicine there is a lot of evidence to show just how effective it is.
What Is TCM?
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a complete medical system. The terms used by the ancient practitioners are quite different than we are familiar with. However, they are by no means primitive. TCM is a system of medicine that describes the disease process in the body. It has a framework for descibing the symptoms of the disease and explaining the etiology (cause and progression). It includes treatment principles and a variety of therapeutic methods to return the body to a state of health. The TCM philosophy was weighted heavily in the prevention of disease and not just treatment.
What Is Acupuncture?
As mentioned above, the TCM system of medicine includes a variety of therapeutic methods for treating disease. The most commonly recognized here in the west is acupuncture. Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles in specific points on the body to effect change. In ancient times the change was described as moderating the flow of Qi in the body. Today we understand that the change involves release of cellular chemicals, activation of nerve reflexes at the spinal cord and brain, and the release of neurotransmitters and hormones.
Acupuncture promotes natural healing. It can enhance recuperative power and immunity, support physical and emotional health, and improve overall function and well-being. It is a safe, painless and effective way to treat a wide variety of medical problems.
Who Can Benefit?
Because acupuncture creates change in cellular chemicals, neurotransmitters and hormones, it’s effects are widespread in the body. Acupuncture can be used to assist the body in healing from or coping with many issues. These include:
Other Therapeutic Methods
Other therapies in TCM include herbal medicine, cupping, blood letting, gua sha (scraping), and Tui Na. Tui Na Therapy in China incorporates techniques from the fields of massage, physiotherapy and chiropractics. Here in the west Tui Na is limited to the massage techniques. With its emphasis on prevention, the TCM medical system includes a lot of self-care recommendations from nutrition and lifestyle advice to exercises that promote longevity such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong.
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