Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a complete medical system which originated 5000 years ago and has been used continuously to treat and prevent illness. Far from being an outdated system of medicine, TCM is continually evolving, adjusting its boundaries to encompass the body of biochemical knowledge which has advanced so rapidly in the last century.
Acupuncture made headline news all over the world in 1972 during Richard Nixon’s state visit to China, when one of the pressmen covering the trip developed appendicitis. James Reston, a columnist for the New York Times wrote an account of his appendectomy, performed under acupuncture and local anesthetic, describing how he remained conscious throughout. After surgery, more acupuncture and moxibustion were administered to hasten recovery and Reston reported that ‘the swelling went down within an hour and the pain never came back’.
Central to the understanding of TCM is the concept of Qi or life energy, the subtle energy that animates not only the human body, but also all manifestations in the universe. The channels, or meridians, that comprise the complex system through which qi flows are entirely separate from the circulatory or nervous system or from any other concept of modern physiology. Neither the channels nor Qi can be seen with the naked eye, although its existence has been established by modern researchers tracing the flow of energy with semiconductor diodes.
Disease can be caused by the inhibited flow of Qi in our bodies. TCM works to restore and balance the flow of blocked Qi . Health is more than the absence of disease. It is the free and harmonious flow of Qi which translates into a positive feeling of well-being and vitality from the body, mind and spirit.
TCM is safe and without side-effects. Its actions are regulatory, encouraging the body to make natural changes from within. TCM can treat acute and chronic conditions and can help in many situations where Western medicine may have limited solutions.
TCM not only treats illness, but can also prevent disease and help build the immune system. It can help increase energy, preserve youth and promote longevity.
In diagnosing a complaint we observe the patterns and symptoms of the patient to arrive at a diagnosis which identifies the root cause of the symptoms. We then use a combination of acupuncture, therapeutic massage, Chinese herbs, nutritional and dietary changes to treat the root cause and address the disharmony to alleviate the symptoms.
A patient with frequent headaches, a red tongue, fast pulse and dark urine, for example, would be diagnosed with excess heat in the body. The TCM Practitioner would then apply a treatment plan of acupuncture points and herbal formulas which clear heat from the body, and would recommend that the patient refrain from alcohol, deep fried foods, chocolate and sitting in the sun – all of which would intensify the patient’s root condition and resultant symptoms.