Alternative and natural therapies have boomed and more and more people are seeking treatment from Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners. This practice has been helping people for over 2500 years with anything from anti-aging, preventing disease to treating serious disease and conditions.
What is traditional Chinese medicine?
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a long lived medical practice starting a long 2500 years ago. Chinese medicine incorporates the use of herbs, massage, acupuncture, exercise and dietary therapy to heal and repair the body, mind and spirit. The focus of TCM is within the energy or chi that flows through the body into the different organs. If there is a blockage of flow then the patient will not be as healthy or happy as they can be.
TCM practitioners have various methods to figure out what underlying condition a person may have, such as simply looking at a patients tongue, this gives clues to what is happening on the inside of the body and what body part the issue is presenting in. Colour, shape, cracks, size and dryness of the tongue are all analysed to prescribe treatments and to effectively help cure the patient.
TCM is a complete medical system used alongside western medicine in Chinese hospitals, where it is used not only to treat disease but to prevent it from occurring in the first place. It is also now becoming more and more available in western countries.
Traditional Chinese medicine practices
To balance our chi and create harmony within ourselves TCM uses a few different practices, these can be used in combination or alone to achieve the desired health outcomes.
- Acupuncture- this is a technique that involves a trained acupuncturist to insert tiny needles into your skin in certain areas around your body. This practice is aimed at reviving the flow of chi, relieving pain and treating a wide number of diseases and ailments.
- Acupressure- this is similar to acupuncture although it does not involves needles, instead pressure is applied to acupressure points around the body.
- Herbal remedies- there are around 450 different substances that can be used to treat and prevent different medical issues. These substances come from hers, flowers, minerals and animal products.
- Tai chi- an ancient form of exercise that focuses on breathing and awareness, it can help with stress, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease among other problems.
Is it safe?
The various methods used through TCM are generally considered safe when performed by a qualified practitioner. Although care and research should always be practised to avoid complications. Practices such as acupuncture and acupressure can cause serious side effects if not performed correctly, and acupuncture should always be performed with sterilised needles.
The herbal remedies that are used through TCM should be thougherly researched prior to consumption as many herbs can interact with prescription and OTC drugs as well as with many medical conditions. There have also been reports of some herbal remedies being contaminated with drugs, toxins and heavy metals and not having the correct ingredients on the labels.
You should also remember that most TCM herbal products are marketed as a supplement which does not have the same Government regulations as prescription and OTC medications do.
Is it effective?
Although TCM is widely used these days there is still insufficient evidence supporting its effectiveness? Although Practitioners and most patients are very happy with results and continue to use TCM to treat disease and ailments. TCM has continued to grow in its 2500 years, with new diseases and conditions appearing it continues to find ways to treat them. People who have tried TCM had had noticeable results from pain when using acupuncture, stress and anxiety is lowered and controlled with Tai Chi and herbal mixtures and overall health has been better once starting on TCM preventative remedies.
Until TCM is more thoughrally researched it is really down to the individual to determine whether or not the practice has worked for them.
Traditional Chinese medicine has been helping people for over 2500 years and although it’s classed as an alternative medicine it might just be the answer to all your health worries.