What is Chinese Medicine & How Does It Work?

Acupuncture Chinese Medicine History

Chinese medicine is the oldest, professional, continually practiced, literate medicine in the world. This medical system’s written literature stretches back almost  2,500 years. And currently 1/4 of the world’s population makes use of it. One can say that modern Western and traditional Chinese medicines are the two dominant medical systems in the world today. Isn ‘t Chinese medicine just a system offolk healing? No. This system has been created by some of tbe best educated and brightest scholars in Chinese history. These scholars have recorded their theories and clinical experiences from generation to generation in literally thousands of books. It is estimated that there are between 30-40,000 extant books on Chinese medicine written before the turn of the century. Since then, thousands more books and articles in professional journals have been written and published in the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

How does Chinese medicine work?

Chinese medicine works by re-establishing balance and harmony within the body. This means balance between yin and yang, balance between the five phases, balance between the viscera and bowels, and balance between the qi, blood, and body fluids. This balance is re-established by supporting the body’s healthy or righteous energy and attacking any unhealthy or evil energy.

How does the Chinese medical practitioner determine what is out of balance?

Practitioners of Chinese medicine diagnose what is out of balance in a person’s body by employing four basic examinations. The first is questioning about one’s signs and symptoms, medical history, and course of disease. The  second is visually inspecting one’s face, body, and especially one’s tongue and its coating. The third is listening to one’s voice and the sound of one’s breathing as well as smelling any odors emanating from one’s body or  excretions. And the fourth is palpating various areas of the body and especially the pulse at both wrists. Using a combination of one’s signs and symptoms, tongue diagnosis, and pulse diagnosis, the practitioner can determine the pattern of disharmony which requires rebalancing.

How is this rebalancing accomplished?

If something is too hot, the practitioner seeks to cool it down. If something is too cool, they try to warm it up. If something is toowet, they try to dry it, while if something is too dry, they try to moisten it. If something is too much, they try to make it less. And if something is too little, they try to build it up. If something is stuck, they try to move it, and if something is flowing inappropriately, they try to make it flow in the right direction and  amount.

What methods are used to re-establish balance within one’s body?

The main professionally applied methods of re-establishing balance are Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture/moxibustion. Chinese herbal medicines may be prescribed internally or applied externally. Acupuncture and moxibustion seek to  regulate the flow of qi and blood within the body by either inserting fine, sterile needles at certain acupoints or warming certain acupoints by various methods. In addition, Chinese medical  practitioners may also use tui na or an rna, styles of Chinese massage, they may prescribe remedial or preventive exercises, such as tai ji, qi gong, or dao yin, and they typically counsel their patients on diet and lifestyle, all according to the theories of Chinese medicine.

What is Chinese medicine good for?

Chinese medicine is a complete medical system which attempts to treat the full range of diseases, acute and chronic, traumatic, infectious,    and internally generated. That being said, if a disease is extremely virulent or far advanced, and especially if there are serious changes in organic tissue, Chinese medicine by itself is sometimes not powerful enough or too slow. In particular, Chinese medicine is an excellent and effective choice at the  beginning of any disease or for diseases which modern Western medicine either does not understand or for which it has no effective treatment. 15 Chinese medicine safe? Very. When practiced correclly by trained, qualified  professional practitioners, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are extremely safe. In fact, when practiced correctly, they have no side effects and produce no iatrogenic or doctor-caused disease. If a patient reports side effects from a Chinese medical treatment, the practitioner modifies the treatment until there is healing without side effects. This is because .Chinese medicine seeks to restore balance to the entire person, not just the piece or part.  Side effects mean there IS imbalance which needs to be corrected. Does Chinese medicine only work for Chinese? Chinese medicine has worked for thousands of years on literally billions of people. Because of  the diverse population of China and its varied geography, Chinese medicine has proven itself effective on all sorts of ethnic groups in all sorts of climates and lifestyles. In fact, Chinese medicine is so universally effective that  the World Health Organization has selected it for worldwide propagation. At this time, thousands of practitioners around the world are proving every day that Chinese medicine works no matter where one lives or to what  race one belongs.

How Can I find a practitionerof Chinese medicine?

In the United States, most practitioners of Chinese medicine are licensed or certified as acupuncturists. Therefore, the best way to find a professionally qualified practitioner of Chinese medicine is to look in your Yellow Pages under acupuncture. Be sure your practitioner is state licensed, registered, or certified if acupuncture is regulated in your state. In addition, practitioners who follow their names with the abbreviations Dipl. Ac. and  Dipl. C.H. are nationally board certified in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine respectively. Chinese medicine as a system is extremely complicated and extensive. It is not just a collection of techniques that can be   added to some other health care profe ssion . Just as one does not call an electrician to fix their plumbing, one should only seek treatment from professionally trained and qualifi ed practitioners of Chinese medicine.