What is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?
The theories of TCM come mainly from practice and have been continuously expanded throughout its long history. The basic characteristics can be summed up under two concepts: the concept that the human body is a whole organism closely related to nature, and the concept that diagnosis and treatment should be based on an overall analysis of signs and symptoms.
Great importance is placed upon the unity of the human body itself and on its inseparable relationship with external natural surroundings. Man lives in nature and is influenced by movements and changes in nature; humans make corresponding physiological and pathological responses to natural occurrences and cycles.
Four methods—observation, listening and smelling, inquiring, and feeling and palpating the pulse—are used to collect the set of signs and symptoms (syndromes). This information is analyzed to arrive at a diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Focus is not so much on the disease itself as on the differing symptoms a disease might have.
In the past 100 years, the use of Western medicine has become widespread in China. Today, most Chinese medical scholars advocate that Eastern and Western medicines should co-exist, cooperating with and learning from one another. Each has merits and shortcomings; by working together, they can best serve the people who are the objects of their study.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a system of medical therapy that has been part of Chinese medicine for more than 3,000 years. It is used to diagnose and treat illnesses, prevent disease, and promote well-being. The practice of acupuncture includes the use of needles, physiotherapy, moxibustion, cupping, and acupressure. These treatments have proven to be effective in alleviating illnesses, and because of their effectiveness, they have been embraced throughout the world.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), two energy forces, Yin and Yang, control all body processes. A life-force, Chi, flows through channels/meridians throughout the body, each affects a particular part of the body, and happen to be influenced by Yin and Yang. If life-force has an interruption, pain or illness will result. At this point, the necessary and supportive acupoints will be identified along each of the channels by the acupuncturist. Then, one or more will be used to insert needles into and provide relief of the symptoms. By regulating the Yin and Yang, pain and illness can be alleviated, and optimum health restored.
Throughout the long history of TCM, much research has been conducted. As the positive results of acupuncture become more universally recognized, modern scientific research directed toward discovering and explaining how acupuncture works continues. This research has inspired a large amount of many carefully documented theories helping to evolve the underlying themes centered around the vital role of the channels and collaterals, and the positive effects of acupuncture when applied to selected acupoints. Listed below are among some of the positive results associated with acupuncture:
Control of pain by releasing endorphins (powerful, natural pain-killers)
Healing of soft-tissue injuries by relaxing the muscles and increasing blood supply
Prevention and treatment of a wide range of diseases
Anesthesia for most minor and major types of surgery
An acquired and maintained state of general good health and increased stamina
Do acupuncture needles hurt and are there after-effects from treatment?
In the hands of a skilled practitioner, the extremely fine (about the size of a think hair) disposable needles, are rarely felt entering the skin. Sensations such as warmth, pressure, or numbness may be experienced as the needle reaches the correct depth. No harmful after-effects from acupuncture are associated. Initially, when you begin your treatment, you may feel tired or sleepy, notice more frequent bowel movements and increased urination, or experience a worsening of symptoms and/or pain. Any of these reactions should not be a cause for concern, rather, they usually indicate that your body is responding to the treatment and trying to achieve a proper and healthy balance.
What are different acupuncture treatments?
Filiform Needles Method — In China, several kinds of needles are typically used, but because of they’re solid, very fine, and variance in length, the sterile and disposable filiform needle, imported from China and Japan, is use solely in the modern Western acupuncture.
Physiotherapy — Eastern physiotherapy is a combination of acupuncture and modern technology. Several types of equipment are used in accordance with the theories of Eastern medicine to send infrared, electromagnetic waves, or herbs to the selected acupuncture points and energy channels. All treatments involve electro-pulse stimulation, magnetic-wave conduction, herbal medicine, thermal energy penetration, or any combination thereof, with or without the use of needles.
Cupping — By warming the air inside a small jar and then applying the mouth of the jar directly to the skin at selected points, a vacuum is created, which brings increased blood to the area, diminishes swelling and pain, and promotes health.
Moxibustion — Moxa wool (herbal leaves) is ignited and applied to specific acupuncture points, either to the body directly by moving it just above the skin or to the air around an inserted needle. The action warms the channels by expelling cold and increasing the flow of Chi, which reduces swelling.
Acupressure — This is a method of preventing or treating disease by using the fingers to stimulate specific points on the body or by placing herbal seeds on particular points on the ear and then stimulating them.
What conditions may benefit from acupuncture?
Pain syndromes: back, neck, shoulder, knee, sciatica, arthritis
Gastro-Intestinal Disorders: constipation, diarrhea, gastritis, ulcers
Neurological Disorders: paralysis, numbness, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Stress-Related Syndromes: migraines, anxiety, depression, insomnia
Gynecological Disorders: infertility, menstruation, menopause
Heart Problems: high blood pressure, palpitations, high cholesterol
Sexual Dysfunction: impotence, premature ejaculation
Addictions: drugs, alcohol, tobacco
Soft-Tissue Injuries Allergies and Immune System Deficiencies
Temperomandibular Joint Syndrome
How many treatments will I need and how long will the effects last?
Because each person is unique, the number and frequency of treatments will vary. Also the nature of your illness, the length of time you’ve had the condition, your general state of health and vitality, and your overall response will also contribute to your individual treatment plan. In general, often when people respond well to acupuncture they retain their improvement for months or maybe even years after the initial treatment. For those people whose symptoms reappear, only a few additional treatments will be necessary to regain the experience of improved health. Also, acupuncturist do not advised discontinuing treatment as soon as you start feeling better since doing so, may result in possible relapse of symptoms, and regress your long term improvement. Ask your acupuncturist about a maintenance plan that will meet your individual needs.