What is Chinese Medicine and How Does it Work?
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 of Folk Healing?
No. This system has been created by some of the 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 books on Chinese medicine still in existence that were 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 Chine, 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 sign 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 writsts. 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 Re-Balancing 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 too wet, they try to dry it, while if something is too dry, they try to moisen 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 mo styles of Chinese massage, they may prescribe remedial or preventive exercises, such as tai ji, qu 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. Futhermore, Chinese medicine can also speed up the healing process when used in conjuntion with modern Western medicine.
Is Chinese Medicine Safe?
Very. When practiced correctly by trained, qualified professional practitioners, acupuncture and Chinese berbal 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 practioner 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 a 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 world wide propagation. At this time, thousands of practitioners around the world are proving every day that Chinese medicine works no matter where one lives or what race one belongs to.
How Are Practitioners Trained and Licensed in the US?
In the United States, most practitioners of Chinese medicine are licensed or certified as acupuncturists by their State Department of Regulartory Agencies. 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 and have had over 2500 hours of professional training. Chinese medicine as a system is extremely complicated and extensive. It is not just a bunch of techniques that can be added to some other health care profession. Just as one does not call an electrician to fix their plumbing, one should only seek treatment from professionally trained and qualified practitioners of Chinese medicine.