What is Chinese Medicine and Its Impact on the Body?
For those of you who have considered acupuncture or medicinal herbs, you may have come across the term “Chinese Medicine.” But what exactly is it? Traditional Chinese Medicine is the bedrock of natural healing and nurturing. Through Chinese Medicine, I use acupuncture and medicinal herbs to treat a variety of conditions and my practice focuses on such issues such as: stress, migraines, fatigue, anxiety, colds and flu, and women's health.
Keep reading to learn about Chinese Medicine, the key principals and different treatment methods.
What is Chinese Medicine?
Chinese Medicine is a comprehensive approach to healing and wellness developed over the past 2,500 years. Although it is a compilation of several modalities, acupuncture and medicinal herbs are the primary techniques. Treatment is holistic, centering on the whole body as an innately intelligent system with the capacity for self-regulation and healing. Chinese Medicine is integrative and every assessment and treatment involves the interrelation of body, mind and spirit. This approach is what distinguishes it as a time-honored, preventative and effective approach to health and well-being. Chinese medicine can help and heal every aspect of your life including the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
What Does Chinese Medicine Treat?
Chinese Medicine, at its essence, is a preventative system of medicine that seeks to help the body maintain balance and harmony within so that disease does not have the opportunity to manifest.
Here are some of the common conditions that can be treated with Chinese Medicine:
Back Pain, Sciatica, Musculoskeletal Problems
Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia
Digestive Issues, Indigestion, Acid Reflux, Constipation
Menstrual Irregularities, Perimenopause, Menopause, Conception Difficulties, Pregnancy
Post-Operative Recovery, Palliative Care
Preventative Health, Wellness, Seasonal Attunement
Four Key Chinese Medicine Principles
What are the key principles of Chinese Medicine and how do they connect you with yourself and nature? Here are helpful explanations from the Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation (TCMWF).
1. Your Body is a Complete System
Each structure in your body is an important and necessary part of the whole. Along with your mind, emotions and spirit, your physical body structures form an incredibly complex, interrelated system that is powered by life force, or energy.
2. You Are Totally Connected to Nature
There are changes in nature that are always reflected in your body. Chinese Medicine accounts for the particular season, geographical location and time of day, as well as your age, genetics and the condition of your body when looking at your health issues.
3. You Were Born with Incredible Natural Healing Abilities
The body is a microcosm that reflects the macrocosm. Consider this: nature has a regenerative capacity, and you do as well. Occasionally, this ability may appear to be lost or difficult to access. However, in most cases, it is never completely gone.
4. Prevention is the Best Cure
Do you know your body is continually revealing signs about the state of your health? But let’s be honest, it’s common to ignore these signs or symptoms until something more complicated arises. Chinese Medicine teaches you how to interpret what your body is telling you.
Various Chinese Medicine Healing Methods
Along with connecting you to yourself and nature, Chinese Medicine has a variety of treatment methods that can improve your health.
According to TCMWF, “Each and every [Chinese Medicine] modality is based on Qi. We were born with a self-healing ability, and through the use of a healing form, [Chinese Medicine] practitioners recharge that self-healing function in your body. These modalities can increase and balance your Qi, giving your body and being the healing support it needs to regain its healthy function.”
Here are five healing methods found in Chinese Medicine from TCMWF.
Acupuncture is a holistic system based upon 12 primary channels and 8 extraordinary vessels in the body, in which Qi circulates (more on this below). When the balance within the body is disrupted, the flow of Qi can become blocked leading to pain, discomfort and illness. Acupuncture needles are used at specific points to stimulate the Qi along the channels in order to harmonize the body and bring balance and health where there was once imbalance from illness or pain.
Acupuncture needles are made of stainless steel and are used to relieve energy blockages at key acupoints along the meridians to help the Qi flow smoothly. The function of an organ can also be readjusted by acupuncture to help restore internal balance and harmony among the organs.
When addressing pain in acupuncture, it important to note that it can come from different sources. It can come from an external cause, such as a sports injury car accident, or from an internal condition, such as a Qi deficiency or Qi stagnation.
When considering acupuncture, it is important to consider the needle, acupoint and your practitioner. Acupuncture, also called “energy acupuncture,” requires deep insight into what has caused the health problem and which organs have been affected. The needle is used as a vehicle between the practioner’s Qi and the patient’s Qi. At the end of the day, it’s the education, skill and energy level of the acupuncturist that makes acupuncture work, and not only the needles or the selection of certain acupoints.
For your first appointment, plan your first office visit to take about 90 minutes. Returning office visits, when needed, last 60 min. I begin with a detailed intake of your current concerns as well as assessing your constitutional nature, and then move onto treatment that is specific to your concerns. Sterile single use acupuncture needles are applied followed using Tuning Forks (gentle vibration therapy) and moxibustion (heat therapy). Also, when indicated, an herbal formula may be recommended.
Authentic Chinese Medicine acupressure, called tuina (twee nah) in China, uses specific hand techniques, and occasionally tools, to stimulate acupoints and meridians. With acupressure, Qi that is blocked or stagnant can be released and allowed to flow freely once again.
This technique is different from acupuncture, but acupressure can be just as effective. For certain conditions, like sports injuries and minor sprains, this method is more useful and easier on the person receiving treatment. Sometimes, when it is appropriate, Chinese Medicine practitioners use acupuncture and acupressure in combination, which can accelerate the healing benefits.
3. Classical Herb Therapy
Medicinal herbs are an integral part of Chinese Medicine. Herbal medicine focuses on achieving health and balance within an individual's body.
Medicinal herbs can strengthen, support and nourish the body in an effective, safe and natural way.
Did you know that an extremely wide range of objects fall into the category of Chinese herbs? These include dirt, stones, bones, insects and a diverse selection of animal parts, as well as more common plant parts, such as leaves, blossoms, stems and roots. Chinese medicine recognizes that everything is energy, and so unique energies that can impact the human body and energy system are not limited to the plant kingdom.
Our medicinal herbs are made from fresh herbs that have been cultivated, dried and prepared as needed. Every formula is customized to suit each individual patient's current needs.
At Green Lake Natural Health, we only dispense herbal medicinals manufactured with the highest standards. All medicinals carried at Green Lake Natural Health have been strictly tested for the absence of pesticides, heavy metals and/or other contaminants.
We offer herbal consultations that typically last around 30 minutes. I start with a detailed intake of your current concerns and provide an individualized herbal prescription, taking into consideration any current medications you are currently on.
4. Eating for Healing
One method of Chinese Medicine that you have total control of is eating, and eating for healing. Chinese Medicine has always understood the healing properties of food and it knows the value of accumulating healing benefits from everyday actions, like eating, one day at a time.
Chinese Medicine goes beyond physical characteristics such as calories, minerals and nutritional content like carbohydrates, protein and more. Chinese Medicine realizes that each food has a special essence, a healing essence that works in the body at the energy level.
5. Qi Gong
Qi Gong is an ancient system using gentle movements, intention and the breath to reduce stress, increase flexibility and improve health.
In a literal translation, Qi Gong means “energy work.” Qi Gong breaks down energy blockages and promotes the free flow of energy throughout your body’s meridian system, the invisible pathways through which Qi moves and that connect everything in your body.
Consistent Qi Gong practice increases and balances your body’s Qi. Working directly on your body’s meridian system—your energy body—it stimulates and nourishes the internal organs, making the energetic communication between them more efficient. And by increasing the effectiveness of all body systems, Qi Gong helps conserve Qi.
We offer personal Qi Gong lessons; contact us today to schedule your own appointment.
Engaging with Chinese Medicine
Chinese Medicine is an ancient and wonderful way to heal your body and prevent illness and pain. If you are interested in learning more about acupuncture, Chinese Medicine and our other services, call us or schedule an appointment today.
About Green Lake Natural Health:
Green Lake Natural Health provides natural healing services and medicinal herb counseling to patients. The mission of Green Lake Natural Health is to provide customized care to patients to effectively treat their health concerns in a natural manner that restores harmony and healing in the body. Services include, but are not limited to, acupuncture, massage, medicinal herb counseling to treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain and more. Proudly serving the Seattle community since 2010.