Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Acupuncture is the most well known modality of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a patient-centered healthcare system that has helped billions of people over the past 5,000 years. Currently about one-quarter of the world's population uses TCM as a primary form of health care, and its popularity in the United States is growing steadily as more and more people seek effective natural treatments free of debilitating side effects.
Central to TCM is the concept of life energy (qi, or chi) flowing throughout the body along pathways called meridians, bringing vitality to all the organs and tissues. Due to injury, stress, nutrition and lifestyle choices, these energy flows can become blocked or depleted, resulting in physical or mental pain, disease or disharmony. The task of the practitioner is to determine how the patient's energy flows are out of balance and to then create an individually tailored treatment plan using acupuncture, Chinese herbs, cupping, moxibustion, dietary therapy or other techniques to restore the healthy flows of energy and assist the body in healing itself.
Acupuncture involves inserting extremely fine needles at specific points on the body. This allows for the rebalancing of the energy flows, which leads to healing. Even people who are frightened of Western medicine needles are delighted to discover that receiving acupuncture is very comfortable and relaxing!
Chinese herbs, like acupuncture, help bring the body back into a state of health and harmony. Herbal medicine can be used in conjunction with acupuncture or as the main form of treatment. Chinese herbs are used in multi-herb formulas which are carefully balanced and can be tailored to suit each patient's specific needs.
Cupping involves using suction to secure glass or plastic cups on the broad muscles of the back to release stagnant energy and relieve soreness and pain.
Moxibustion is a treatment using mugwort in various forms to gently heat acupuncture points, as another means of rebalancing energy flows.
Dietary therapy, in the context of TCM, sees the food we eat as a major influence on our health and well-being. The specific energetics of different foods can either support or impede the energetic flow in a person's body, depending on the individual's constitution. Therefore, acupuncturists frequently make dietary suggestions to support the healing process.
TCM is recognized by the World Health Organization as safe and effective treatment for a large number of symptoms and diseases. Though modern science still cannot explain to Western minds exactly how acupuncture works, more and more controlled research is being undertaken, much of it validating centuries of clinical evidence of the effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
What sets TCM apart from modern Western medicine is the ability to provide effective and lasting relief without the harmful side effects associated with medications. This complete healthcare system can provide care for the individual from conception into old age, treating both diseases and injuries, as well as promoting health, well-being and longevity.