Traditional Chinese Medicine is an overarching wellness and health system in which treatment can encompass a range of therapies including acupuncture, moxibustion (the burning of a herb on or near the skin), cupping, massage, nutrition and herbal medicines.
TCM an ancient Chinese wellness and health system that has been practised for thousands of years. Unlike western medicine that solely focuses on the illness, TCM concentrates on the entire being, providing treatments that restore balance and harmony to the body
It focuses on the energy force known as Qi (chi). In a healthy body, this life force flows smoothly and strongly through the body. Should this force become weakened or even blocked, illness is likely to result. Qi is composed of opposing elements – yin and yang – which also need to be kept in balance for good health.
Preventing health problems before they arise is as important as treating them in TCM. Knowledge of a person’s lifestyle is an important consideration for a doctor of TCM. Diet, exercise, sleep and the surrounding environment are all important factors when assessing a patient.
What are the benefits Traditional Chinese Medicine?
As a wellness and health system, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treats a number of issues and ailments from a holistic perspective. People use TCM for treatment of pain, IBS, colitis, infertility, neuropathy, arthritis, insomnia, stress and depression. TCM can treat chronic and/or acute problems as well.
People also report benefits such as improving sleep, regulating menstrual cycle, improving menopausal symptoms, improving digestion, improving breathing, an increase energy and reducing cold and flu symptoms.
What does a typical TCM session look like?
TCM practitioners assess your situation in its entire context. They listen to your story, as well as gather information from “nonverbal elements,” such as your demeanour, movement, voice, bodily sounds, and complexion.
Often, they will examine your tongue, take your pulse and temperature, and then feel your skin, muscle tone, internal organs, etc, as appropriate. They are working under a set of diagnostic principles that strive to identify imbalance.
Imbalance is made manifest by patterns of disharmony (known as bian zheng). An example of imbalance may manifest in you feeling a headache. The TCM practitioner would look at the headache in a large context, seeking to find if this disharmony is caused by excess (like too much stress or activity) or deficiency (like not enough food or sleep).
The TCM practitioner will then prescribe a treatment of combination of treatments to bring your holistic being back into harmony.
How do I find a TCM Practitioner that suits me?
Many practitioners may be doctors from China who have a degree from five years’ full-time training at university then a year’s practice in hospital. While TCM is not typically regulated in the West, there are a number of self-regulating professional bodies, such as the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ATCM).
Professional bodies regulate their members to ensure that they follow strict hygiene and safety standards. Their aim is to protect the public and to ensure quality and safety of treatment. Typically, to be registered, practitioners must prove they are qualified and experienced, must pass interviews and exams and provide evidence of continuing personal development.
It is therefore wise to choose someone who is a member of a regulated professional body. Ask a practitioner for their accreditation and qualification. You should not feel shy, and most practitioners would have no problems furnishing you with this information, and you may want to bypass any who do not.