Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is one of the oldest continuous systems of medicine in history. The first mention of Chinese medicine existing over three thousand years and written recordings dating back more than two thousand years. Traditional Chinese medicine should not be confused with "Oriental medicine." Oriental medicine encompasses the styles of acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage and exercise that have been developed and practiced not only in Asia, but world-wide. Traditional Chinese medicine is considered a standardized version of the type of Chinese medicine practiced before the Chinese Revolution.
Chinese medicine can be quite complex and difficult to comprehend because it is based on the belief that we live in a universe in which everything is interconnected. The mind and body are interconnected as part of an energetic system, meaning what happens in one part of our body impacts every other aspect of the body. This also relates to organs and organ systems that are interconnected structures working together to keep the body functioning. Although the principles of traditional Chinese medicine may be difficult for some to comprehend, there is little doubt of TCM's effectiveness. Several studies have reported on successes in treating a wide range of conditions, which include nausea and vomiting, skin disorders, tennis elbow and back pain, plus many more.
It is very difficult to translate traditional Chinese medicine into Western medicine because many of the concepts do not have a counterpart in the Western system. The concept of qi ("chi"), is considered the vital force or energy responsible for controlling the whole human system (mind and body). If we were to translate this concept, the closest we could come to in Western terms is ionic charge of a molecule. Qi flows through the body via channels, or pathways, which are called meridians. There are a total of 20 meridians: 12 primary meridians, that correspond to specific organs, systems, and functions, plus eight extra meridians. An imbalance in the flow of qi causes illness, which acupuncture is used to correct this flow, restoring the body to balance. Concepts such as the Yin/Yang and Five Element Theories are equally important in the practice of traditional Chinese medicine and are the basis of this system of medicine.