What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

You might have seen athletes and others with purple/red circles on their backs from cupping. Or maybe you know someone who swears by acupuncture for their backpain or herbal remedies for colds. More and more, people use practices like these from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to not only fight diseases but also prevent it.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an ancient system of health and wellness that’s been used in China for thousands of years. Western medicine focuses mainly on treating disease. But TCM looks at your entire well-being holistically.

What's the difference between Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?

 

The mainstream medical and pharmaceutical world (western medicine) is reactive: a treat-them-after-they're-sick model. Many Eastern holistic healing systems including Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a distinct proactive and preventive system. They both have such important roles, but TCM focuses on preventing disease and relies on individual action about how we live, eat, work, travel, deal with stress and respond to the first signs of illness. 

We can't talk about TCM without the mention of Qi: also life energy or vital energy. The belief is that it runs throughout your body. It’s always on the move and constantly changes. TCM treatments often focus on ways to promote and maintain the flow of Qi.

Yin and Yang: These are opposites that describe the qualities of Qi.

  • Yin: hot, light, feminine, day, hollow
  • Yang: cold, heavy, masculine, night, solid

The belief is that everything in life has a little bit of its opposite, too, and balance is the key. For example, a drug from your doctor might heal a disease. But there are side effects, some minor, some major.  

According to TCM, these ideas play out in our bodies. When you balance the yin and yang of Qi, you feel healthy and well. If they’re out of whack, you feel sick. TCM aims to create harmony and a healthy flow of Qi.

TCM is a holistic system that includes:

 

  • Acupuncture: very fine needles placed gently in the skin
  • Cupping: heated cups that create suction on your skin
  • Herbs: teas, powders, and capsules made mostly from plants
  • Meditation: a way to sit quietly and calm your mind
  • Moxibustion: dried herbs burned near the skin
  • Qi Gong and Tai chi: slow movements and focus on the breath

 

So if you've been curious about any of the above do a bit of research and see if you can find any trusted and qualified TCM professionals in your local area to give it a try! Wishing you a happy, healthy and good Qi day!

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