Traditional Chinese Medicine and You

“To keep the body in god health is a duty, for otherwise we shall not be able to trim the lamp of wisdom, and keep our mind strong and clear,” wrote Buddha several centuries ago.

Today, many people search out holistic treatment for the same reason. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) offers a total focus on wellness and prevention as well as healthy cures for the entire body. TCM works to optimize health, wellbeing, and sustainability in life.

Many TCM practitioners may work alongside a direct primary health care plan. Here is a list of common ancient treatments which could help you.

 1. Acupuncture

Recognized by mainstream medicine and the FDA as a form of complementary medicine, acupuncture is a system of inserting tiny needles into the skin and tissues to help relieve pain. Still gaining popularity in the West, acupuncture serves as a treatment for a variety of conditions, including:

•physical

•mental

•emotional

In a randomized, controlled study of back pain which compared the results of acupuncture with normal treatment, “almost half the patients treated with acupuncture needles felt relief that lasted months. In contrast,” explains CBS News, “only about a quarter of the patients receiving medications and other Western medical treatments felt better.”

Co-author of the study Dr. Heinz Endres from Ruhr University Bochum, Germany explained that “patients experienced not only reduced pain intensity, but also reported improvements in the disability that often results from back pain and, therefore, in their quality of life.”

Moxibustion

2. Moxibustion

A part of acupuncture, moxibustion uses the mugwort herb topically to facilitate healing in the muscles by strengthening and stimulating blood flow. There are two main ways to perform the treatment. The first involves placing the moxa, a name for the herb, directly on the skin in the acupuncture point and burning it. Indirect moxibustion is the second form which uses a burning moxa stick to gently heat the area for a few minutes until it turns red. A third method involves inserting a needle on the acupoint and wrapping the tip of the needle in moxa which is then ignited.

3. Shiatsu

Though shiatsu is actually a Japanese method of bodywork, it is based on traditional Chinese medicine and aims to cure illness by restoring balance and natural flow of energy known as qi. Translated, shiatsu means “finger pressure” and when practiced resembles a deep tissue massage.

Shiatsu therapists use their fingers and palms to apply “pressure to energetic pathways, called meridians” to assist the flow of qi. When examined scientifically, Shiatsu seems o calm an overactive sympathetic nervous system thus improving circulation, relieving achy or stiff muscles and releasing stress.

4. Tai Chi

A mixture of slow calculated movements and meditation, Tai Chi is an ancient low impact exercise. While facilitating relaxation, it also improves balance and strength, both mental and physical. Surprisingly, its gentle movements can burn almost the same number of calories as downhill skiing. And because of its low impact nature, Tai Chi helps to reduce pain in muscles and joints.

It might sound like more of an exercise than a medical treatment. And because it is, Tai Chi embodies the essence of TCM by working to keep the body balanced and active, thus preventing illness and strain. Tai Chi works to heal the body before injury or illness happens.

Along with the use of herbs and another practice called cupping, acupuncture, moxibustion, shiatsu and Tai Chi represent some of the backbones of traditional Chinese medicine.

Image from www.eqwellness.ca 

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