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What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a system of healing arts designed to address the mind, body and spirit.  Its philosophy embodies the idea that physical and mental harmony are inseparable.  It addresses the uniqueness of each individual in his or her environment and seeks to understand the whole person, not simply a part of the body.

TCM views people as microcosms of the macrocosm, the universe.  For thousands of years the Chinese studied the cycles of nature and conformed to its patterns in order to survive.  TCM evolved into a medical care system designed to improve ones capacity to balance, sustain and renew internal resources.

The most familiar therapies of TCM are acupuncture and herbs.  Meditation, dietetics, movement arts (such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong), tui na (a form of Chinese massage therapy), feng shui (the Chinese art of practical ecology) and spiritual work complete the TCM system.  All are designed to foster health and maintain homeostasis, a dynamic balance of our body’s vital functions.

Vital Energy
Traditional Chinese medical theory is based on the premise that qi (pronounced chee), a vital energy or life-force, permeates all forms of life. Extracted from the food we eat and the air we breathe, qi circulates throughout the body along pathways called channels or meridians. The quality, quantity and balance of qi circulating through the body determines state of health and span of life.

If qi is abundant and flows smoothly one experiences health and well being.  If qi is deficient or its circulation disrupted, discomfort or disease results.

Acupuncture and Herbs
Acupuncture and herbal medicine are used to regulate qi and balance the dynamic forces of yin (water) and yang (fire) in the body.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin, solid, sterile stainless steel needles into acupuncture points on the meridians. Each point has a general effect on the body’s qi through the meridian complex as well as a specific therapeutic effect on the related organ and the body areas covered by the meridian.  Stimulation of the points is achieved by needle insertion techniques, moxibustion (a form of heat therapy), acupressure, electricity, massage and with magnets.

Chinese Herbs are used both internally and externally to adjust and harmonize the body’s energy.  Herbs are classified into preventive, curative and tonic categories according to their functional effects and are usually combined into formulas that enhance their individual properties and actions.  The pharmacological traits of herbs are matched with disease pathology to counteract the cause of disease and relieve associated symptoms.  Herbs are administered as decoctions, brewed from raw herbs, or as patent formulas prepared as powders, pills, tablets and syrups.

How is Traditional Chinese Medicine used?
Based on Traditional Chinese medical theory, oriental medicine diagnoses and treats disorders of qi, body fluids and organ networks.  The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes a variety of conditions for which acupuncture is appropriate including:

Acupuncture has also been successfully used for weight management and smoking cessation.  It is an adjunct therapy for eating disorders and drug and alcohol addictions.

Treatment
Acupuncture treatments take approximately one hour, and may incorporate herbal remedies, dietary and exercise recommendations and tui na, a form of Chinese massage therapy.  It is recommended that you eat lightly prior to your treatment and wear loose comfortable clothing.

The nature and history of a condition will determine the frequency of treatment.  Acupuncture may be scheduled as often as three times per week or on a seasonal basis, once every three to four months.  Responses vary and as symptoms improve, fewer visits are required.
 
 

"You the individual can do more for your own health and well-being than any doctor, any hospital, any drug, any exotic medical device."
-- J. A. Califano
                                                                           former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare