Ancient health practices—Traditional Chinese Medicine

TCMpharmacyAncient health practices from thousands of years ago are being increasingly incorporated into today’s conventional medical establishments.

The Department of Complementary-Alternative Medicine at Medical University of South Carolina, reports that according to a 2013 study of 3,200 western physicians, more than 50 percent planned to begin or increase use of alternative (natural) medicines.

The survey was conducted by Health Products Research, which concluded that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) was among the most promising for modern health of all ancient health practices.

The reason is because many medical schools are now recognizing the importance of training students and staff in ‘mind-body’ practices that emphasize disease prevention and holistic treatments.

Modern medicine has focused on treating specific diseases  rather than preventing them by lifestyle choices and stimulating the body’s own healing mechanisms.

Traditional Chinese Medicine takes into account all aspects of a patient’s life, rather than just signs  or symptoms.

TCM practitioners view the body as a complex network of interconnected parts, rather than separate systems or organs.

TCM calls this practice Qi (vital energy, pronounced ‘chee’), which is considered essential for overall health. Qi is said to circulate throughout the body along pathways called meridians, and proper Qi is needed to keep all systems in balance.

Treatments such as acupuncture and acupressure focus on specific meridian points which can be located anywhere in the body from the head to the soles of the feet.

Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that all these meridian points are connected to specific organ systems.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, TCM treatments aim to correct imbalances in the body, and primarily work in three major ways:

Addressing a patient’s external factors and environment

Helping patients relate to their internal emotions in a healthier way, including managing stress

Improving lifestyle factors, including diet and exercise

Organs such as the kidneys, heart, spleen, liver, adrenal glands, lung, gall bladder and large and small intestines are particularly focused on during TCM treatments.

Some of the health problems most commonly treated with TCM therapies include:

Chronic pain, arthritis, fatigue, infertility, liver disease, headaches, indigestion, hormonal imbalances, high blood pressure, PMS and menopause symptoms, as well as cancer recovery or chemotherapy damage.

In addition to acupuncture and acupressure, herbal medicine is used to control inflammation, fight free radical damage and boost liver function.

Massage is applied for soft tissue manipulation which improves blood flow, and various exercise for flexibility, strength and concentration.

Unfortunately, most insurances, including government, do not reimburse for TCM therapy and other ancient health practices.

But perhaps that will change as more and more progressive medical facilities incorporate these treatments into their programs—having recognized that many ancient health practices can be of great benefit to modern human maladies and overall health.