What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese medicine dates back to A.D. 600, and includes principles of bodywork, nutrition acupuncture, and herbal medicine. This system of medicine follows a clinical tradition, and its therapies are accepted by the National Institute of Health due to its applications across:
- Internal medicine
- Neuro-muscular skeletal problems
- Conditions of mental health
As per NIH’s estimates, the number of US adults who have used acupuncture previously is in excess of 8.2 million. Today, this practice is becoming increasingly popular due to low risk and its high rate of effectiveness.
In the year 1995, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) put acupuncture needles under the category of medical instruments, assuring people of their effectiveness and safety. Since these pre-packaged needles are extremely thin, their insertion can barely be felt.
No side effects
It has been found that traditional Chinese medicine has none of the side effects as experienced during surgery or from the use of medicinal drugs. It has even been found to equally or more effective than other methods of treatment.
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“Alternative Medicine and Acupuncture In America” -an article by Monica Legatt
What is so unique about traditional Chinese Medicine?
Chinese Medicine is a holistic system of medicine, which is governed by the principles of an energetic model instead of the biochemical model followed in Western medicine.
By holistic, it is meant that no symptom can be traced back to a single cause, but needs to be viewed in relation to the entire body. Energetic is used to say how vital energy (Qi or Chi as per Asian culture) is the foundation of health and life. The ancient Chinese were able to recognize the presence of vital energy behind all life processes and their forms.
To develop an understanding of a disease, its prevention, and cure, ancient physicians studied how this cyclic system of energy flowed across specific pathways called meridians through the body. Diseases arise due to an imbalance or deficiency in vital energy (Chi) within their meridians and their interlinked physiological systems. This imbalance is further known by bringing into account all circumstances in a patient’s life, inclusive of mental, emotional, and physical components. In stark contrast to this, Western medicine isolates a particular disease on the basis of a specific system or region of the body.
Ancient physicians understood how every pathway was associated with a specific physiological system as well as an internal organ. It is this system of energy that lays the foundation for acupuncture theory.
The meridians of energy communicate with body surfaces at particular locations that are known as acupuncture points. Every point has a predictable effect on the vital energy that goes through it. Modern science has measured the electrical charge at such points, thus reiterating the median locations as mapped by the physicians.
Traditional Chinese medicine has come up with the way to determining flow within the meridian system through a system of tongue and pulse diagnosis. These findings, when combined with other symptoms are able to formulate a composite diagnosis. The diagnosis leads to the creation of a “personalized” treatment plan, meant to bring about a balanced state of health.