Traditional Chinese medicine is a system of medicine based in part on the idea that a type of energy, called qi (pronounced “chi”), flows through the body through pathways called meridians. In this belief, if the flow of qi through these meridians is obstructed or unbalanced, disease can occur. In China, doctors have practiced traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years and its popularity is increasing in many Western countries Sananga.
The causes of qi imbalance are believed to have to do with:
External forces, such as wind, cold or heat.
Internal forces, such as the emotions of joy, anger, or fear.
Lifestyle factors, such as poor diet, lack of sleep or excess alcohol.
Another important concept in traditional Chinese medicine is that of yin and yang. In this approach, all things, including the body, are made up of opposing forces called yin and yang. It is said that health depends on the balance of these forces. Traditional Chinese medicine focuses on maintaining the balance of yin and yang to maintain health and prevent disease.
Traditional Chinese medicine doctors look at the balance of body, mind, and spirit to determine how to restore qi, yin and yang balance, and good health.
What is traditional Chinese medicine used for?
Some people use traditional Chinese medicine to treat problems such as asthma, allergies and sterility. Traditional Chinese medicine doctors can use various types of treatment to restore qi balance.
Traditional Chinese medicine therapies include:
Acupuncture, which uses fine metal needles placed along the meridians of the body.
Acupressure, which uses hands or fingers to apply direct pressure to certain points along the body’s meridians.
Chinese herbs, combinations of herbs, roots, powders or animal substances to help restore body balance.
Cupping, which uses hot air in glass jars to create suction that is placed on areas of the body to help stimulate qi.
Feeding. Yin and yang foods can help restore the balance of yin and yang in the body.
Massage (tui na) in specific areas of the body or along the meridians of the body.
Moxibustion, which uses small amounts of plant fibers that are heated (moxa or Chinese mugwort) and applied to specific areas of the body.
Qi gong, which uses movement, meditation and breathing techniques.
Is traditional Chinese medicine safe?
Research in China and around the world has shown that traditional Chinese medicine is useful for many types of diseases. Because traditional Chinese medicine differs from the practice of Western medicine in its methods of diagnosis and treatment, it is difficult to apply Western scientific standards to it.
For example, in the practice of Western medicine, two people with a similar infection (such as sinusitis) can receive a traditional course of antibiotics. In traditional Chinese medicine, each person may receive a different treatment for the same disease based on each person’s own qi and yin and yang balance.
In the United States, traditional Chinese medicine schools are accredited, so a practitioner certified by an accredited school has received extensive training in traditional Chinese medicine.
The National Institutes of Health, through the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and other institutes, funds ongoing research into many complementary therapies to determine their benefits and risks. In general, acupuncture is safe when performed by a certified acupuncturist. Treatment can be expensive and time-consuming.
Like conventional medications, traditional Chinese herbal medicines can also cause side effects, trigger allergic reactions, or interact with other prescription and over-the-counter medications or herbs. Before using any traditional Chinese therapy, be sure to tell your doctor about any prescription, over-the-counter, or natural supplements you are taking.
Talk to your doctor about any complementary health practices you would like to try or are already using. Your doctor can help you better manage your health by knowing about all of your health practices.