Traditional Chinese Medicine Today
Beliefs and groups of techniques regarding health care
Chinese Traditional Medicine (TCM) is a form of preventative medicine opposite to traditional western scientific medicine treatments applied by doctors to individuals with physical acute illnesses, emergencies or psychiatric conditions. TCM doctors diagnose and treat the whole human body system according to an “elaborate system” developed over many centuries.
To delve a bit further, it has been said that within the Chinese Traditional Medicine’s agenda – Taoism principles are attached. The correlation is between the Chinese medicine’s philosophy that the human body is a small scaled mirror reflection of the cosmos, and the Taoism’s principle that there is a “right path” finding one’s place in the universe.
This theory leads to the Chinese medicine’s core application of treating imbalances within the whole human body or the whole human body and the higher nature (universe or cosmos) to create balance and harmony.
Another specific teaching of Taoism is that there is a universal energy called “qi” (which is defined as a person’s degree of vitality). Within “qi” is a dual energy of “yin” and “yang” or so called element energies: fire, water, earth, metal and wood that are prevalent . These energies can be distinguished by the various mental, emotional and physical components of an individual.
Defining an imbalance of the energy does not constitute a proper diagnosis for treatment. TCM doctors consider other sources of the “elaborate system” when diagnosing imbalances of the human body and may employ certain techiques. Some considerations are the ten major internal organs and meridians. The meridians or invisible three-dimensional pathways that circulate the blood and “qi” and regulate the “yin” and “yang”.
The most crucial concept is that of “qi” – the energy of life. As mentioned these forces pervade the body and cause most physiological functions that maintain the health and vitality of the individual. Techniques applied may include acupuncture, qigong moxibustion, cupping, bleeding, massage, manipulation, herbal medicines, and diet therapy in both humans and animals.
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Techniques of Traditional Chinese Medicine Therapy
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a multi-faceted group of techniques and beliefs regarding health care as practiced in China for many years. Here is a brief overview of each of just a few of the techniques.
Acupuncture is a form of treatment in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). The Chinese words for Acupuncture is ZhenJiu. Zhen means acupuncture and Jiu means moxibustion. Acupuncture is the insertion of various needles into points on the body. These points are located and join together in ‘channels’ or ‘meridians’, along which Qi flows. The points used in treatment are carefully chosen by the TCM practitioner to disperse any blockages and to bring the patient’s Qi into balance. Animals are also receiving acupuncture treatments as an alternative form of medicine.
Cupping is a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) technique. A vacuum is induced in a small glass or bamboo cup, which is then promptly applied to the skin surface. The vacuum brings blood and lymph to the skin surface under the cup, increasing local circulation. This technique is used to drain or remove cold and damp “evils” from the body.
Moxibustion is the process whereby Artemesia vulgaris (a dried herb) is burnt, either directly on the skin or indirectly above the skin over specific acupuncture points to warm the Qi and blood in the channels. Its purpose is to affect movement of a person’s energy or”qi”. Moxibustion is most commonly used when there is a requirement to expel cold and dampness from the body.
Qi is the traditional Asian Medicine term for the energy of life. TCM doctors apply certain techniques to define the “dual energy of “yin and “yang” within qi. These energies are diagnosed or felt as to how they flow through the body; and by concentrating on specific pathways called meridians. Emotional, mental and physical components of an individual are considered when applying this type of techniques. Traditional Asian Medicine views the body as an energetic expression of qi.
Qi Chong (pronounced chee gong) is an ancient Chinese healing discipline that is rapidly attracting attention throughout the world. It consists of breathing and mental exercises, often combined with physical exercise. The purpose is to balance the subtle energy system (“qi”) within the body. Eighty million people in China get up early every morning to practice Qi gong.
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Tai Chi Chuan is a form of exercise developed by the Chinese, but is more than just exercise, much more. Tai Chi Chuan is an internal cultural art and is the Chinese path to mental, physical and spiritual fitness. The art of Tai Chi Chuan originated about 500 AD and people from all walks of life have practiced it to promote their health and inner tranquillity by releasing the natural energy of the body.
Chinese herbal medicine is very complex; however in the mid 1970’s the Chinese Medical Academy of Science published a collection of traditional herbal remedies of common use. There were over 750 prescriptions derived from over 230 plant or animal ingredients. A team of American pharmacologists researched and evaluated the remedies and found that over 44 % are useful.
This is perhaps why many westerners consuming the Chinese herbal formulations may not experience problems when self – prescribed. Many of the “”new medicine blends”, are formulated and processed in controlled, quality assured western laboratories, using a biochemistry analysis to dissect the Chinese herbal remedies and the theories of disease.
The problems that may be experienced is mixing Chinese herbal therapies with different alternative medicine therapies such as Ayurvedic, European folk, or Native American and Western medicines. These types of cross mixtures can create a dreadful or deadly cocktail. It is suggested that individuals consult a qualified medical practitioner.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is becoming increasingly popular in our lives.