4 Traditional Chinese Medicine Practices to Know
Did you know that many of our uber-trendy lifestyle rituals are actually centuries-old traditional Chinese medicine practices?
Indeed, so many concepts that people still swear by today are rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine; a system that has existed for more than 3,000 years.
TCM, as it’s known, is based on the belief that all health is focused on the circular movement of qi (pronounced ‘chee’) through the body. Qi is equivalent to the energy of life, and when it’s stagnant in the body, signs of ill health will occur. The Chinese believe that this improper movement of qi can also result in an imbalance of yin and yang.
Here are the main forms of TCM that remain popular today.
This alternative therapy is found in practically every small town across the country. Very thin needles are inserted into the skin at specific points in order to address a plethora of internal and external health concerns. One of the most popular reasons to undergo acupuncture is for pain relief, but research by the World Health Organization shows that it can also help high/low blood pressure, morning sickness, arthritis, fibromyalgia, dementia, and substance dependence. Many women in the Western world also pursue acupuncture when trying to get pregnant.
Another type of ancient alternative therapy, cupping involves a therapist placing special cups on your skin to create suction. The cups, which can be made of glass, bamboo, or silicone, act like a deep-tissue massage; helping with pain, inflammation, relaxation, blood flow, and general well-being. While research is limited, The British Cupping Society states that cupping therapy can effectively treat blood disorders, rheumatic diseases such as arthritis and fibromyalgia, fertility and gynecological disorders, skin problems such as eczema and acne, high blood pressure, migraines, anxiety and depression, bronchial congestion caused by allergies and asthma, and varicose veins. Still, despite the limited research, many high profile athletes are fans of the treatment. So if you see your favorite sports star with tell-tale large red circles on their skin, now you know why!
Known as TCHM — or Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine — the treatment of ailments and complaints with herbs is a lot newer than the likes of acupuncture. However, it still dates back to the 12th century AD. Ideally, yin and yang are perfectly balanced in every part of the body. When imbalance occurs, a herbalist will identify the factors by listening to the pulse, observing the body, and asking a series of questions, before attempting to bring qi back into harmony.
Aside from TCHM, there is also Chinese folk medicine. Some of the most popular herbs that are administered are astragalus, ginger, licorice, ginseng, and schizandra. All, not coincidentally, herbs that are just as popular when it comes to supplements that ensure general wellbeing in the Western world!
In the U.S., moxibustion usually involves a practitioner holding a burning moxa stick (made of dried mugwort leaves) close to the surface of the skin. But why? The intention is to warm and invigorate the flow of qi through the body, and it’s common for moxibustion to be performed in conjunction with acupuncture. The treatment is said to also help pain relief, digestive problems, gynecological and obstetrical conditions, and to maintain wellbeing during cold and flu season.