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What You Need to Know About Traditional Chinese Medicine

What is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)? 

Traditional Chinese Medicine can be traced back to ancient China where they have always been used to treat various diseases for thousands of years. In China today, these medications are being used alongside Western medicine in many health facilities. However, traditional Chinese medicine is considered as a form of alternative medicine in the USA.

What are the theories behind these medications?

Traditional Chinese medicine is rooted in a philosophy referred to as Taoism. The theory behind these medications is that all the organs in our bodies mutually support each other. This implies that, for one to be healthy, all the organs and their functions must be in balance. In order to attain part of this balance, there must be a harmonious co- existence between and yang and yin, the two opposing but complementary energies that are thought to affect all forms of life.

Another theory behind these medications is that vital energy, known as chi or qi, flows throughout our bodies through various pathways, also known as meridians. According to this theory, physical, mental, and emotional problems, as well as diseases develop when qi becomes blocked. This implies that when the flow of qi is restored, one attains the necessary balance between yin and yang, leading to wellness.

How do they work? 

There are quite a number of different therapeutic practices when it comes to traditional Chinese medicine. In addition, these therapeutic practices emphasize individualized treatments. This means that healing methods vary from one patient to another. The following are some of the methods used in Chinese medicine: 

  • Herbal medications. 
  • Acupuncture: This practice involves stimulating specific points on your body using a number of different techniques. The most popular and widely used acupuncture technique involves penetrating the skin using thin, solid, metal needles. 
  • Nutrition.
  • Acupressure: This is an ancient Chinese practice that involves precise finger placement and pressure over specific points along the body. The activation of these points using pressure can lead to improved blood flow, unblock chi, and release tension.
  • Tui Na: A type of Chinese massage.
  • Moxibustion: This refers to burning an herb near the skin.
  • Certain exercises such as tai chi and qi gong.

How are herbs prescribed in Chinese medicine? 

Practitioners of Chinese herbal medications usually combine several different herbs in specific formulas for specific patients. 

These formulas may be prescribed as capsules, powders, tinctures, or teas. Some of the most popular herbs include the following: 

  • Ginseng, 
  • Ginkgo biloba, 
  • Gotu cola, 
  • Cinnamon, 
  • Astragalus, 
  • Red Yeast Rice.

Health conditions that respond to Chinese medications

The following are some of the health conditions that are known to respond to Chinese medications: 

  • Depression,
  • Alzheimer’s disease, 
  • Asthma, 
  • Allergies, 
  • Obesity,
  • Insomnia, 
  • Back pain, 
  • Diabetes, 
  • Chronic pain, 
  • High cholesterol,
  • Parkinson’s disease, 
  • Menopausal symptoms, 
  • Irritable bowel symptom.

What you need to know before using Chinese traditional medicine

The following are some of the most important things that you need to know: 

  • It is important to work with a qualified physician. 
  • You should not attempt to self-treat using these medications. 
  • Do not use TCM to replace your doctor’s prescription medications. 
  • Do fail to see your doctor just because you are using Chinese medicine for your health condition. 
  • Always look for published research studies on these medications for the health condition you want to treat.
  • Seek to know the training and experience of the TCM practitioner you want to see.
  • Do not use the medications if you are pregnant or nursing before consulting your doctor. In addition, if you want to treat your child using TCM, consult your doctor first.
  • Upon visiting your doctor, it is very important to let him /her know about any form of alternative treatment option you are using.