Traditional Chinese herbal medicine (TCM) has been around for thousands of years. One of the basic tenets of TCM is that the body’s vital energy (ch’i or qi) is circulating through channels called meridians having branches connected to bodily organs and functions.
To restore balance, a system of diagnosis, therapy and medication is prescribed by boosting the body’s immune system in an attempt to fight off pathogens. Treatment includes a combination of medicinal herbs, nutritional therapies, physical treatments such as acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, massage or Tuina – (depending on nature of illness).
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a holistic system of medicine that uses many modalities to harmonize organs, systems and energetic/blood flow in the body which leads to healing and strengthening one’s body and health
What does Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine include?
The modalities include:
- Nutrition – healthy diet is a building block of our body and plays a major role in Chinese medicine. People are prescribed specific diet targeted towards their health goals and seasonality
- Acupuncture – stimulating (needling) specific points on the body is proved to release meridians and improve circulation of blood, energy and lymphatic fluid as well as innervate neural endings inducing the healing processes
- Moxibustion – heating therapy is used to warm the meridians and stimulate circulation in people suffering from immune weakness, digestive and chronic lung diseases
- Cupping – uses glass, plastic or silicone cups to release facial adhesions and blood stagnation on the muscles. It improves mobility and circulation as well as alleviates muscle aches
- Gua Sha – scraping technique used to disperse stagnation and promote lymphatic detoxification
- Blood Letting – used in toxic blood conditions as well as high fever and delirium. It “cools” the blood and lowers blood pressure
- Tui Na – acupressure massage that uses point stimulation to achieve more health benefits
- Herbal remedies – prescribed as an “at home” continuation of treatment to reach better and faster results. Also extremely effective for skin and autoimmune conditions
- Qi Gong – system of body-posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for health and spirituality purposes. People practice qigong for recreation, exercise, relaxation, preventive medicine, self-healing, meditation, and cultivation of qi (“life energy”)
Traditional Chinese herbal medicine doctors look at the balance of body, mind, and spirit to determine how to restore qi, the yin-yang balance, and good health. Therefore, each patient is treated using a different combination of the modalities specifically targeted to their state of health and wellbeing
Tu Youyou has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine by finding drugs to treat diseases from Chinese medicine. The latest major discovery was the treatment of leukemia by arsenic, which went from almost zero to nearly 90% effective.
TCM is very effective when used correctly by a highly trained professional.
However, for Traditional Chinese Medicine to be effective you want to make sure that:
- Your Doctor/Practitioner is TCM certified (as opposed to RMP or Chiropractor acupuncture license)
- He/she specializes in specific issue you want to be treated
- Your practitioner has been licensed to prescribe herbal formulas (together with acupuncture it will give you the desired outcome much faster)
- There should be lifestyle/diet change recommendations, which if adopted will hasten your progress
- Consistency is key with both acupuncture and herbal prescription. Make sure you follow your doctor recommendations
Unlike western medicine, which takes a mass production, one formula fits all approach, traditional Chinese medicine takes a very personal, very individual approach. While the basic formula might be the same, doctors need to talk to the patient, understand his/her individual situation, body type and existing conditioning. The doctor also needs to learn about the patient’s lifestyle and habit and based on all that, add and/or remove ingredients and basically tailor the medicine just for that person.