TCM is a range of traditional medical practices that has been developed over 3,000 years. TCM treats the human body as an organic whole, which is closely related to nature and the environment. Today this would likely be considered as a “holistic approach”. Aristotle said, “The whole is more than the sum of its parts.” Therefore, a holistic approach takes into account the whole patient rather than just focusing on the symptom or the part that has the problem.
TCM is based on the concept of Qi (pronounced “chee”), which is vital energy or life force. TCM believes good health depends on the free circulation of Qi throughout all the organs and areas of the body. Qi in turn, depends upon the harmonious balance of the two opposing energies of yin (negative, dark, and feminine) and yang (positive, bright, masculine). Hence,
Inner Harmony = Qi Flow = Health and Longevity.
The TCM diagnostics are based on overall observation of human symptoms rather than "micro" level laboratory tests. A practitioner assesses a patient’s syndrome or pattern of disharmony by using a set of diagnostic skills that involve:
• Inspection of the tongue, complexion, general demeanor, body language, etc. • Listening to the tone and strength of the voice. Smelling of the body excretions, the breath, or the body odor. • Questioning the patient about symptoms, medical history, diet, lifestyle, history of the present complaint, and any previous or concurrent therapies received. • Palpation of the pulse at the radial arteries of wrists, the meridian and/or acupuncture points, and the abdomen.
The main focus of the TCM treatments is to help the body to heal itself. Our body, mind, and spirit function optimally when in a state of balance or homeostasis. Frequently, our lives and lifestyles throw us out of balance. Through a detailed diagnostics process, a practiciner will look for the signs of disharmony in the external and internal environment of a person in order to understand, treat and prevent. By discriminating the exact pattern of the body’s physiological response to pathogenic factors, the necessary treatment strategy can then be determined to prompt healing process. TCM’s principle of wholism prompts Eckhart Tolle to say: “Homeopathy and Chinese medicine are two examples of possible alternative approaches to disease that do not treat the illness as an enemy and therefore do not create new diseases”.
TCM therapeutic interventions include acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, cupping, manual therapies such as gua sha, moxibustion, and exercises such as Tai Chi or Qi Gong, as well as Chinese herbal preparations and dietary therapy.
Are treatments derived from Traditional Chinese Medicine effective?
The Washington Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Association (www.waoma.org) has a list of conditions and circumstances for which people commonly find acupuncture and oriental medicine treatment to be effective: