TRADITIONAL ORIENTAL MEDICINE Q & A

What is Traditional Oriental Medicine?

Traditional Oriental Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the oldest and longest practiced medicine in the world. TCM  is a style of traditional medicine based on more than 2,500 years of Chinese medical practice that includes various forms of Herbal medicine, Acupuncture, Moxa, Gua Sha, Massage (tui na), exercise (Qi gong), and dietary therapy.

Today, modern Western and Traditional Oriental Medicines are the two dominant medical systems in the world

One of the basic tenets of TCM is that “the body’s vital energy (ch’i or Qi ) circulates through channels, called meridians , that have branches connected to bodily organs and functions.

“Concepts of the body and of disease used in TCM reflect its ancient origins and its emphasis on dynamic processes over material structure, similar to European hormonal therapy.

TCM describes health as the harmonious interaction of these entities and the outside world, and disease as a disharmony in interaction. TCM diagnosis aims to trace symptoms to patterns of an underlying disharmony, by measuring the pulse, inspecting the tongue, skin, and eyes, and looking at the eating and sleeping habits of the person as well as many other things. 

Is Traditional Oriental Medicine just a system of folk healing?

No. This system of medicine was created by some of the brightest doctors and scholars in Chinese history. These doctors have recorded their theories and clinical experiences from generation to generation across thousands of books. It is estimated that there are between 30-40,000 existing books on Chinese Medicine written before 1900. Since then, thousands of additional books and articles in professional journals have been written and published in China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

What can Traditional Oriental Medicine treat?

Chinese Medicine is a complete medical system used to treat the full range of trauma-related, infectious, or internally generated diseases, both acute and chronic. If a disease is extremely virulent or advanced, however, TCM alone may not be sufficient. Chinese Medicine is a particularly excellent and effective choice at the onset of any disease, or for diseases which modern biomedicine either does not understand or treat effectively. The World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health both recognize that acupuncture can effectively treat many different ailments. These include:

  • Pain (acute or chronic) (head/back/neck, muscle/joints/bone & etc)

  • Fatigue syndrome

  • Cardio-vascular problem (Hypertension, High Cholesterol & etc)

  • Gastro-intestinal disorder (IBS, GERD, Constipation & etc)

  • Emotional & Mental Problem (Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Dementia & etc)

  • Sleep problem

  • Women’s & Men’s health issues

  • Allergies

  • Skin conditions

  • Eye & Ear problem

  • Infectious disease (Colds, UTI, URTI & etc)

  • And Much more

Is Traditional Oriental Medicine safe?

TCM is extremely safe when practiced correctly by qualified, licensed practitioners. In fact, when practiced correctly, acupuncture and herbal medicine result in zero side effects and almost never produce iatrogenic (doctor-caused) disease. Should a patient reports side effects from a chinese medical treatment, the practitioner modifies the treatment until healing occurs and side effects are absent.

How does Traditional Oriental Medicine work?

Chinese Medicine works by re-establishing balance and harmony within the body not simply on eliminating a single symptom.This includes balancing the Yin and Yang forces with the five major organ energy systems, the qi (energy), plus blood and other body fluids. This balance can be effectively re-established and strengthened by acupuncture and herbal medicine.

How does a 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 involves exploration of one’s signs and symptoms, medical history, and course of disease; the second is the visual inspection of one’s face and body, focusing on the tongue; the third is to listen to one’s voice and breath, and make note of any bodily odors; and the fourth involves the palpation of various areas of the body, particularly the pulse of both wrists. Using a combination of one’s signs and symptoms, tongue examination, and pulse diagnosis, the practitioner can determine the pattern of disharmony that requires rebalancing.

How is rebalancing accomplished?

If something in the body is too hot, the practitioner seeks to cool it down; too cold, the aim is to warm it up. If something is too damp, it must be dried; too dry, it must be moistened. If something exists in excess, it must be reduced; exists in deficiency, it needs to be supplemented. If qi or blood is not flowing well, the practitioner will help improve their circulation. If qi is traveling in the wrong direction, the direction of flow is corrected.

The main methods of re-establishing balance in TCM are Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine, which form a powerful synergistic healing combination. Acupuncture seeks to regulate the flow of qi and blood in the body through the insertion of fine, sterile needles at certain acupoints.

Herbal Medicine in the form of herbal teas are generally customized for each patient according to his or her condition.

In addition, Medical Practitioners may also use Chinese Massage, Moxa, Tui Na, or prescribe remedial and preventative exercises, such as Qi gong, Breathing Exercises, Tai Chi. Patients will also be counseled on Diet and Lifestyle, maintaining accordance to the theories of Chinese Medicine in order to promote optimal health.

Ross Behikeesh

MD(IR) LAc