Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a time-tested, highly sophisticated medical system developed by scholars and doctors in ancient China. It is based on a philosophy of internal medicine which explains the body in terms of organ systems and channel pathways. The organ systems of the body are seen as having energetic properties with dynamic functions, beyond what is understood in standard anatomy and physiology. Chinese Medicine is considered a holistic medicine because practitioners view the patient as a whole being, with an interconnected mind, body, and spirit. Chinese medicine practitioners respect the body's innate intelligence to heal, and use methods to stimulate and optimize these self-correcting mechanisms. They treat the root cause of illness, not just the symptoms.
In Chinese medicine it is said, "where there is obstruction, there is pain; remove the obstruction, remove the pain.” Treatment is aimed at freeing the flow of energy (or Qi), strengthening where there are deficiencies, reducing where there is excess, and harmonizing the yin and yang. The yin and yang refers to opposing but complementary forces in the body, such as cold and heat. Chinese medicine is founded on fundamental observations in nature, and the logic of balance & moderation. Treatment plans are taylored to each unique individual, based on their physical and emotional constitution. As part of the treatment, the body's channels can be accessed and influenced through acupuncture points. Acupuncture enhances communication between the physiological mechanisms in the body, thereby correcting underlying imbalances.
Although the terminology of TCM may seem foreign to those accustomed to Western Medicine, there are numerous parallels in the two disciplines. In fact, some studies in the biomedical community support the theory that acupuncture works by increasing the release of endorphins, recognized in Western medicine as our body's own natural pain killers or "endogenous morphine". Western medicine and Eastern medicine differ greatly in their treatment approaches; however the two systems can be successfully used concurrently and/or interchangeably. They each have their strengths and weaknesses. Often where one is ineffectual, the other excels. Whenever possible, less intrusive treatments should be tried first.
Western medicine is no doubt irreplaceable. Modern technology, surgery, and medications like antibiotics have saved countless lives. However conventional medicine offers little in terms of proactive measures to strengthen the body and prevent illness. Furthermore, pharmaceuticals can be life-saving when necessary, but detrimental when overused. Drugs with serious side effects are best avoided until safer treatment options have been exhausted. Just as holistic medicine is not appropriate for all cases, neither is Western medicine.
Chinese medicine is well suited for chronic illness, pain conditions, stress-related ailments, and syndromes that don't respond well to conventional approaches. TCM treats the individual, not just the disease; therefore it can be used to treat a wide variety of people and health complaints. For people who suffer from age-related pain and discomfort, acupuncture may provide relief without dangerous or unpleasant side effects. Even for those who have conditions which cannot be reversed, a holistic approach can improve quality of life. Chinese medicine is also useful in treating the emotional components of illness because the discipline doesn't separate the body and mind. It can assist people in realizing and managing the emotional journey of life.
Within the scope of Chinese Medicine there are various treatment tools including acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutritional counseling, tui na massage, cupping, and moxibustion. Any one or several of these modalities may be used in the course of your treatment plan. When used in conjunction, they create an optimal environment for healing within your body. For information about the individual treatment modalities and what to expect in your first visit, please see our FAQs page.
"It is more important to know what sort of patient has a disease, than what sort of disease a patient has."
-Dr. William Osler
"Father of Modern Medicine"
A Holistic Approach
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