What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a holistic medical system which combines the use of acupuncture, Chinese herbs, diet, and movement exercises (known as Tai Chi or Qi Gong) to bring the body into balance. A Chinese medicine practitioner first observes the general characteristics of the patient, then asks specific questions to discern a relationship between the symptoms in order to establish what is called a “pattern of disharmony”. The practitioner often does a brief physical evaluation which includes a pulse and tongue diagnosis. After a thorough evaluation of all the presenting signs and symptoms, the practitioner will determine a Chinese medical diagnosis based on its own language and terms (e.g. Liver Qi Stagnation)
The treatments can include any of the following methods:
- Acupuncture: Sterile single-use super thin needles are inserted into specific areas on the skin to stimulate the point. Generally, there is a “qi sensation” when the needle arrives at its acupuncture point. The needle is usually removed after 15-20 minutes. Most of the people find it relaxing, and often they fall asleep during the treatment. (There is an option of using specialized tuning forks instead of needles for those who are needle shy)
- Moxibustion (Moxa): This entails placing an herbal cone shaped object onto the skin and allowing it to slowly burn. Not to worry, the practitioner will remove the herbal cone before it does any harm to the skin.
- Herbal Medicine: Based on your Chinese medical diagnosis, an herbal prescription is given. The method of dispensing can be in the form of pills, tinctures, or teas. For external therapy, creams and poultices are often used.
- Qi-gong: This is an ancient form of movement therapy aimed toward stimulating and harmonizing your mind and body.
- All of the treatments are aimed toward restoring harmony and bringing balance back to your body.