The Benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)originated in China over 5000 years ago and is fast becoming a very popular form of alternative medicine worldwide. It has not only evolved into a complete holistic medical system unto itself, but it has become a very effective form of health care.

What is TCM all about?

At the heart of TCM lies the philosophy that Qi or Vital Life Force flows through the body. Qi animates the body and protects it from illness, pain and disease. Qi flows through numerous pathways called meridians, and connects with every organ, gland, cell, tissue and muscle in the body. Just like a stream or river, when there is an obstruction, one part becomes blocked, and flow of energy becomes cut off and stagnates. This causes imbalance and becomes detrimental to a person’s health.

What causes disease or imbalance?

There is a classic Chinese saying, "To live is to have Qi in every part of your body. To die is to be a body without Qi. For health to be maintained, there must be a balance of Qi, neither too much nor too little.” Our lifestyles, environmental and emotional factors are primarily which bring us to a state of imbalance: stress, trauma, poor diet, lack of exercise are among many things that influence our Qi.

So what can a TCM practitioner do for me?

During an initial visit, a full health history is taken. The acupuncturist spends time studying the patient, observing their facial colour, tongue colour, coating or shape, body language, tone of voice. They will also utilize the wrist to test the pulses and diagnose pathologies in the body. A treatment plan then is structured and organized.

Acupuncture is the primary part of the treatment plan. After diagnosis, fine, disposable, sterile needles are strategically placed on various points, called acupoints on the body. These are relatively painless although a slight pinprick is usually felt at the site. Needles are usually left on the body anywhere from a few seconds up to an hour. The practitioner may also choose to utilize adjunct therapies such as burning some moxa, or mugwort, which stimulates acupoints and assists the body to heal. Another form of TCM treatment, especially for back pain, cold or large muscle groups is cupping – where using glass or bamboo cups, creates a suction over the painful areas and drives out pathogenic factors through the skin. Chinese herbs can often supplement acupuncture treatment, through the form of tea, pills or capsules, as well as dietary or food therapy, utilizing specific foods as medicine and treatment, either by eliminating or adding, to restore balance and health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has cited well over 108 different conditions that acupuncture and TCM can treat, a few of which include digestive disorders, asthma, allergies, common cold, chronic fatigue, osteoarthritis, shoulder and wrist pain, vomiting, headaches, addictions to smoking, drugs or alcohol, fibromyalgia, depression, and much more.

Acupuncture and TCM is a safe, effective and drug-free form of therapy. In short, it provides maximum benefits with minimal or no side effects.

Olena Gill is a Registered Acupuncturist and Holistic Health Practitioner. She practices out of her clinic, The Mind-Body Connection Centre located in Errington, BC. Contact her by calling (250) 954-2204 in Parksville and area or (250) 716-0677 from Nanaimo.