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What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the general term for the style of acupuncture which most acupuncturists are trained in and the style which most people practice in the US. The evaluation and treatment is based on harmonizing the flow of energy in all aspects of the person. TCM is considered to be a holistic approach to medicine since it treats the whole person; not only the symptoms of the physical body, but also the mind and the spirit. The majority of recent clinical studies regarding acupuncture usually use treatment technique protocols based on TCM Theory. Many are finding acupuncture to be beneficial for pain and organ dysfunction.

This ancient practice is over 5,000 years old and was developed and refined in China and holds to the belief that a person's health is influenced by the smooth flow and balance of qi (pronounced chee). All parts of a human being, and nature itself, are interconnected and dependent on each other. The process of evaluating signs and symptoms and relating them to one another is based on thousands of years of observing nature and applying those principles to help reveal how they form patterns of harmony or disharmony in the human body.

This starts with the basic yin and yang energies which are both dependent on and control each other. Each symptom or sign is evaluated on the emotional, physical, mental and spiritual levels. This process of examination reveals what type of disharmony of the organ system(s) (lung, liver, kidney, heart, pericardium, gall bladder, bladder, large intestine, small intestine, or triple burner), problems at the Qi, Blood, Fluid, or Essence Level, or channels you may have. The Qi travels along the body on pathways called meridians with each one representing a certain body system or organ function. It is along these pathways that the acupuncturist places the needles. A healthcare plan can be instituted which may include Chinese herbs, acupuncture, nutritional recommendations or other body work, energy work, or massage modalities.  Balancing the Qi flow and harmonizing your internal environment with the external environment are most always goals of the acupuncture treatment.


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