What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine is an ancient and venerated system of healthcare that has been used in China for thousands of years. Also known as TCM, it offers an alternative to Western medical practices that rely heavily on chemical input and focusing on disease and symptoms.

Instead, TCM practitioners view health in a much more holistic way, looking at the overall wellbeing of mind and body as a whole. The two pillars of philosophy Traditional Chinese Medicine is built on are:

Qi – This describes a sort of vital energy or life force that exists within our bodies. It is thought that Qi naturally ebbs and flows and is in a constant state of flux. Balancing Qi or increasing it is often the focus within Chinese medicine.

Yin and Yang – These two values are balancing qualities of Qi. Yin is classed as night, cold, dark, negative and feminine while Yang is day, warmth, light, positive and masculine. If you look at the symbol for Yin and Yang, you will see that each half combines a little of the other, and that they come together to form a complete, balanced whole.

This perfectly encapsulates that aim for balance and harmony and how everything can be dangerous in excess – the secret lies in achieving this delicate combination. When you balance these two opposing forces in your Qi, you are happy, healthy and well but if they get out of sync, you may become ill.


What Are the Benefits?

Traditional Chinese medicine is a different approach which can work in harmony with some aspects of Western medicine as well. It also includes elements of functional medicine (where symptoms or differential diagnosis may be one of many contributing to an individual’s illness).

There are significant success rates for some treatments, and integrated practices are becoming increasingly common as Chinese therapies become more available in Western medical practices. TCM may be very effective for conditions such as:

  • Fertility issues
  • Back pain
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Menopause
  • Diabetes
  • Skin conditions such as Eczema and Psoriasis
  • Allergies

Any of these types of conditions that you have, it’s worth exploring what Chinese medicine has to offer. Most of the treatments may be used alongside any other medicines you are taking, as long as you consult your Doctor or healthcare practitioner first.


What Kinds of Treatments Are Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Chinese medicine embraces a whole range of therapies aimed at achieving this harmony. They can include:

Meditation – A way of focusing your mind and calming your thoughts, which can also include breathing techniques

Herbs – The use of different natural herbs is very prevalent in traditional Chinese medicine. You can try powders, capsules and teas that use these medicinal herbs

Moxibustion – This process uses dried herbs which are burned near the skin

Cupping – Many people became aware of this practice seeing athletes and celebrities with the tell-tale round red marks on their skin. Cupping involves placing gently heated cups onto strategic points on the body to create suction and improve energy flow.

Acupuncture – This process involves finding the body’s meridian points, or areas of energy flow, and inserting very slender needles gently into the skin for healing purposes.

Acupressure – The same principles as acupuncture, but with pressure and tapping used instead of needles.

There is so much to Traditional Chinese Medicine. With thousands of years of history, it is a healthcare practice that includes many different modalities. It can integrate with both functional medicine and western medicine to produce better health outcomes for patients. It is worth a try!


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