For over 3000 years, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been used effectively to treat a wide variety of health issues. Acupuncture is the oldest continuously practiced health care system in the world and is the primary health care system for one third of the world’s population. The benefits of acupuncture are now clearly recognized and well documented in Western medical journals and medical institutions across the United States.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have evolved over thousands of years. The theory and methods of this medicinehave survived the test of time (those that were not effective were abandoned)… and now continue to survive the test of empirical science.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a holistic, comprehensive system of health care that includes several modalities. Some of the most common elements of TCM are acupuncture, herbal medicine, tui na (massage), cupping and moxibustion. Frequently, a combination of techniques is utilized during each treatment. The modalities used and at what time depends on the patient and the condition being treated. Below is a short introduction to some common TCM techniques. Further questions or concerns will gladly be answered during treatment sessions.
Due to its safety and non-invasive nature, acupuncture has become one of the most popular forms of complementary health care practiced today. Every treatment is tailored to the individual patient to address the unique imbalances they experience. Symptoms are considered in relation to the person as a whole in order to determine the underlying cause of an illness or disease.
A person’s health is influenced by the flow of Qi (energy) in their body. Disruptions can occur if the flow of Qi is insufficient, unbalanced, or interrupted. Acupuncture is used to help restore this balance.
Acupuncture is the best known of the modalities that make up Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM). Traditional acupuncture, which has a 2500-year history, utilizes a holistic approach to health maintenance and disease management – in contrast to the more recently developed medical acupuncture, which uses limited techniques based on Western medical diagnoses. Traditional acupuncture, a highly effective system of medical care, is rooted in the premise that health is dependent on the body’s vital energy “Qi”) flowing in a smooth and balanced manner throughout the meridians (channels), which connect all tissues and organs of the body. When this energy flow becomes unbalanced, symptoms begin to surface and illness results. The acupuncturist restores balance to the patient’s Qi by inserting fine needles into specific points on the meridians, correcting any disharmonies by stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities. In the presence of this subtle yet profound intervention, symptoms resolve and patients often experience renewed energy.
Chinese herbal medicine makes use of individual herbal substances which are combined in formulae that individually address the specific health concerns of each patient. There are presently more than 450 substances used in Chinese herbal medicine. Most are of plant origin, although mineral and animal substances are sometimes used.
Herbs are combined to address not only a patient’s presenting signs and symptoms but also the root of their illness. Therefore, persons presenting with similar signs and symptoms may receive very different herbal prescriptions. Herbal formulae are continuously modified as the patient’s condition changes.
Herbal medicine aims to treat as well as prevent disease. It strengthens the body, enhances immunity and promotes a sense of general well-being.
Moxibustion uses the herb mugwort (artemsia vulgaris), applied directly or indirectly, in order to warm body regions and acupuncture points, stimulating circulation, encouraging a smoother flow of blood and Qi, and protecting against cold and dampness.
Practitioners consider moxibustion to be especially effective in the treatment of chronic problems, “deficient conditions” (weakness), and in the treatment of the elderly. Moxa has proven to be clinically effective for treatment of common ailments such as acute and chronic pain, digestive disorders, women’s disorders and arthritis.
Low Level Laser Therapy
Laser therapy is the therapeutic application of coherent, monochromatic light at low intensities.
Four widely accepted effects are:
1) Biostimulation/Tissue Regeneration
2) Reduction of Inflammation
Laser therapy adds energy to living systems.
While we are able to explain many of its molecular and biochemical effects, it also adds energy at atomic and subatomic levels. When we understand these deeper effects, perhaps we may know much more about ourselves.
Cupping is a non-invasive method of applying acupressure by creating a vacuum next to the patient’s skin. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it involves placing glass, plastic, or bamboo cups on the skin with a vacuum. The therapy is used to relieve what is called “stagnation” in TCM terms, and is used in the treatment of respiratory diseases such as the common cold, pneumonia, and bronchitis. Cupping is also used to treat back, neck, shoulder and other musculoskeletal pain.
Cupping itself is generally painless; however some red marks or bruising may occur, since treatment causes blood to be drawn to the surface of the skin. Red marks or bruising should dissipate within a few hours or days.