Utilizing Traditional Chinese Medicine for optimum health – 4 approaches to consider

Nadine Watters
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For more than 2,000 years, a vast collection of Chinese medical theory has been used and practiced with tremendous success. So much, in fact, that it is still widely used today – and its popularity is growing fast. Today, it is known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

This holistic-based system consists of many facets, devised to promote ideal health. If you have heard of herbal medicine, therapeutic massage, and acupuncture, then you have already been introduced to the basic concepts of TCM, even if you didn’t know it!

Practitioners of TCM believe that the body-mind systems are not only related, but inseparable, and connected to each other with the life force known as “qi” (pronounced “chee”). They use various methods (outlined below) to shape and mold your qi to adjust imbalances in your body, spirit, and mind in order to treat your particular problem or imbalance.(1)

If you are interested in employing a natural, holistic, and proven approach to improve your health, read on for details of how specific TCM therapies can assist you in your goals.

1. Acupuncture

Possibly the best known form of TCM, acupuncture consists of the insertion of extra-fine needles into very specific points on your body. No worries, the needles used are sterile, and are no thicker than a strand of your hair!

TCM contends that the body has channels or meridians through which energy flows; practitioners find very specific acupuncture points, each with a specific function for healing. (2)

What is acupuncture used for?

Overwhelmingly, patients seek out this practice for pain relief, with excellent reported results. Science agrees, showing that acupuncture is equal to, or even better than conventional pain-relief methods – without the side effects! (3)

Other practitioners use acupuncture to treat disorders including:

  • Eczema
  • Allergies
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea

In exciting news for menopausal women, acupuncture has been found to be extremely effective relieving the bothersome symptoms that come along with that season of life. (4)

2. Herbal medicine

Practitioners of TCM can prescribe various herbal formulas as a complement to other medical treatments. For example, herbs such as ginkgo, green tea, and ginseng (among many others) can be mixed into elixirs to enhance healing and to balance hormone disturbances, help with breathing disorders, and boost immunity and disease resistance. They can also be helpful in easing the side effects from cancer treatments such as chemotherapy. (5)

3. Acupressure

In TCM, acupressure practitioners use their hands, fingers, palms, or special devices in a massage technique to put pressure on specific points on the body in need of balancing. Using the same energy centers (or channels/meridians) that acupuncture targets, the goal is to correct imbalances that cause disruptions in mind, body, and spirit. (6)

Acupressure is most commonly used for musculoskeletal pain relief. It is believed that by focusing pressure on specific points, natural endorphins (neurochemicals that relieve pain) are triggered. (7)

4. TCM and dietary principles

According to TCM theory, food has a powerful influence on our bodies, and different temperatures and flavors of the foods we consume can influence our health in various ways. (8)

Just as important is the method in which we eat our meals, for example, it is recommended that one should:

  • Avoid skipping meals
  • Eat according to season
  • Remove distractions
  • Remain seated
  • Eat organically and locally

These suggestions are helpful whether or not one practices TCM!

In conclusion

Implementing Traditional Chinese Medicine into your personal health plan doesn’t need to be an all-or-nothing proposition. The many ideas and methods used for more than 2,000 years have a lot of merit, reports of dramatic health transformations, and even some scientific backing!

Investing some time for research and investigation into some or all of the ideas could prove highly beneficial for reaching optimum health.

Sources for this article include:
(1) nccih.nih.gov
(2) www.healthcommunities.com
(3) anesthesiology.duke.edu
(4) news.therawfoodworld.com
(5) www.cancer.org
(6) www.webmd.com
(7) www.acupressure.com
(8) www.comoxvalleyacupuncture.com

Image source: flic.kr

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