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Traditional Chinese Medicine

Herbs and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, is the general term used for the philosophy, diagnostic principles and treatment modalities developed in China over the last 2000 to 3000 years. TCM modalities of treatment include Acupuncture, Herbs, Cupping, Moxa, Dietary Therapy, and Chinese exercise therapies such as Qi Gong and Tai Chi. TCM is a medical model that looks at the individual as a dynamic, ever changing facet in a constantly shifting, often challenging environment. Because of this, TCM does not isolate a person’s disorder from their emotional health, diet, exercise, and work life balance. Instead, practitioners of TCM see the person as a whole, to identify where imbalance or disorder has come from.

Diagnosis prior to application of Traditional Chinese Medicine

When diagnosing a client, an acupuncturist will often palpate the main area that the client feels pain or disorder, but will also often palpate adjacent areas of the body, following the course of the particular channel that is affected. Diagnosis is a vital element in TCM, as a correct diagnosis is the key to the acupuncture points and herbs that will be used for a client. When diagnosing a patient, an acupuncturist may ask seemingly unrelated questions in order to develop an idea of the pattern of disorder that the client is suffering from. These questions typically involve queries on sleep, appetite, diet, and lifestyle. The acupuncturist will also study the client’s tongue and radial (wrist) pulses, as the tongue and pulse are important indicators of the health of the Qi, Blood, Yin, and Yang. The main objective of diagnosis is to establish and correct the ‘root’ cause of the disorder, rather than to only focus on the superficial ‘branch’ symptoms, in order to prevent the disorder re-occurring over time.

Chinese herbs and formulations

Chinese herbs may be suggested by your therapist to aid your treatment. The herbs are in a pill, capsule, or granulated form. The formula may vary according to your condition and may change from week to week, as your condition changes. If you prefer to use the herbs without acupuncture, we suggest an herbal consultation to determine which formula bests suits your needs. As with all medicines, it is important to have a clear diagnosis prior to taking medication.

Philosophy of TCM and Yin and Yang

A general overview of TCM philosophy starts with the idea of Yin and Yang. Chinese Taoist ideology states that all things can be divided into Yin and Yang. Yin being the dark, feminine, storing, quiet nature of things, and Yang being the bright, dynamic, male, energetic nature of things. Within Yin and Yang are elements of each other, so Yin and Yang are never truly separate and rely on each other to function correctly. In TCM the first place of disorder or disease is the imbalance of the harmony of Yin and Yang within the body. Yin and Yang are then subdivided into 5 Phases (or Elements) that divide the body functions, organs, processes, and essentially all things into either Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and, Water. These Phases form part of an interconnected cycle that governs how we feel, function, and behave. In the body, the Five Phases then are further subdivided into the Main Channels or Meridians that form a network of Qi (“chee” = your vital energy) throughout, and it is these Meridians that acupuncture deals with.

Please contact us if you have any further queries or would like to make an appointment for a Traditional Chinese Medicine health diagnosis and treatment.