Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
is a holistic medicine taking into account all components of a person’s lifestyle, habits, and history. TCM examines these components and determines where imbalances have developed allowing for certain disorders to arise. TCM will then determine which types of treatments will be the most effective for a given patient and can include acupuncture, moxibustion (a type of burning herbal treatment used often in conjunction with acupuncture), cupping (a type of massage tool), herbal medicine, nutritional counseling and lifestyle advice.
is the art and science of specific placement of fine, filiform needles into areas of the body to assist with the relief of dysfunction. A thousands-of-years-old medicine from China, acupuncture today is practiced worldwide and practitioners are trained as generalists, able to diagnose and treat disorders of the entire body. The body is viewed as a metaphorical landscape, throughout which circulation of Qi (pronounced “chee”) must flow unimpeded. Qi is often called “vital energy” or “life force”, but we witness more the effects of Qi in our everyday activities of living, eating and breathing. If Qi does not flow smoothly, as in a traffic jam along a highway, then dysfunction results: from pain to indigestion to emotional stagnation. Acupuncture needles relieve the obstructions along the highways of the body landscape, thereby allowing the body to function normally. Since each person is different, even two people with the same complaint may receive two completely different very individualized treatments. Acupuncture is a cumulative medicine, so disorders that have taken some time to develop will often resolve over a series of visits, as TCM endeavors to instill lasting change and not a 'quick fix'.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
a complementary partner to acupuncture, is often used to address disorders that need daily attention, as herbs can be consumed everyday. Herbs are prescribed in many forms, from raw plants that are decocted into teas, to powders and pills and topical preparations, such as plasters and linaments. Not all acupuncturists are herbalists, so be sure that your practitioner is a board-certified herbalist, because although herbs are natural substances, they can be unsafe if used inappropriately.
For more information:
NCCAM/NIH on acupuncture
Evidence Based Acupuncture