WHAT IS TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE?
Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM, also commonly referred to as Oriental Medicine, is a comprehensive and ancient medical system developed over many centuries in China and regularly employed there as part of the standard medical system. Traditional Chinese Medicine is a multidisciplinary holistic approach to health care which blends centuries old established, organic therapies and contemporary advances in the study of health and human systems, covering all aspects of family health from prenatal to geriatric care on the physical, mental and emotional levels. TCM includes many different therapies, including acupuncture, which is a distinct therapy that regulates ‘qi’, the vital force of the body. Internal and external pathogenic factors, such as wind, cold, damp, dryness or heat, may result in disturbance of qi, causing deficiency, excess, stagnation or blockage. Acupuncture regulates qi by using precise points on the body’s surface with needles or application of heat (moxibustion). Often acupuncture is applied in combination with other therapies of Chinese medicine including electro-acupuncture, cupping, Tui Na (therapeutic massage) and gua-sha (scraping), nutrition, Tai Ji Chuan and Qi Gong (movement therapy). The primary goal in TCM is to release blockages to help the body restore balance and thus health.
The implementation of acupuncture is based on traditional diagnostic methods including observation, inquiry, gathering olfactory and auditory information, palpation and tongue and pulse diagnosis. Traditional diagnostic patterns are also the base for treatment variations. Traditional Chinese Medicine is a complex and limitless system of diagnosis and treatment, of which acupuncture is simply one limb. In addition to the 365 acupuncture points, the 400+ single herbs, which combine into over 200 classical Formulae, and all the traditional diagnostic methods that are taught, today’s acupuncture and TCM students are well informed in modern allopathic bio-medicine.