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What is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?
TCM is an ancient system of medicine practiced in china. The 3 important components of TCM are:
- The 5 elements of Life: Fire, water, earth, metal and wood form the 5 basic elements of life. According to TCM, these basic elements represent how your tissues and organs work.
- Qi: This refers to the energy that runs throughout your body and regulates your physical, mental, emotional or spiritual wellbeing. Any imbalance in Qi results in illness.
- Yin and Yang: Yin and Yang are the opposing forces that describe Qi. For healthy living, a balanced yin and yang is necessary.
Examples of Yin: light, feminine, hollow
Examples of Yang: dark, masculine, heavy
Types of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
The important types of TCM include:
Chinese herbal therapy involves the use of herbs and minerals to treat illness. Herbalists draw the methodology from the text ‘Materia Medica’ to prepare herbal teas, capsules and powders. Chinese herbs may be used to treat pain, colds, breathing problems, improper digestion, menstrual problems, certain sleep disorders and can help heal your body after cancer treatment.
Meditation is a self-directed practice for relaxing your body and calming your mind to concentrate and redirect your thoughts. Meditation can help you:
- manage stress
- control pain and anxiety
- decrease blood pressure
- fight addiction
- improve sleep
- increase concentration and memory
- promote emotional health
Acupuncture involves the practice of introducing very thin needles into the skin to stimulate specific anatomical points in the body which have therapeutic benefits, known as acupoints or acupuncture points.
Acupuncture balances the movement of energy (Qi) in the body and helps in the restoration and maintenance of health. It is used to treat various illnesses including:
- High blood pressure
- Thyroid problems
- Chronic pain
In addition to the customary method of piercing the skin with tiny needles, the practitioner also employs other techniques such as suction, friction, electromagnetic waves, heat and pressure for stimulating the acupoints.
Moxibustion involves the burning of a stick made of mugwort or wormwood leaves at specific points on the body. It is believed to increase the flow of Qi and often performed during acupuncture. Moxibustion may involve burning moxa over a layer of garlic, ginger or salt placed on your skin or holding moxa near the acupuncture points combined with heat application.
Moxibustion is used to treat illnesses including:
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Colds and flu
- Menstrual cramps
- Joint pain
Cupping or Vacuum Therapy
Cupping or vacuum therapy is an alternative therapy that uses suction created by placing suction cups on the body. The vacuum created by these cups suctions the skin and pulls up the underlying soft tissues. A rubber pump may also be used to create a vacuum. Suction from the cup helps to loosen rigid tissues and increase blood supply and lymph (defence mechanism of the body) flow to the muscles and skin. It also triggers the nervous system, which helps in relaxing your body and mind. The therapy helps reduce muscle weakness, tiredness, pain, cramps, spasms, numbness, tightness, stiffness, swelling and scarring.
Cupping is used to treat several medical conditions including:
- Post-injury trauma
- Musculoskeletal problems
Tai chi is a form of exercise that involves specific movements and gentle stretching in a focused manner with deep breathing. It is safe for all ages and helps to:
- improve muscle strength and joint function
- decrease stress, anxiety and depression
- increase energy and stamina
- enhance the quality of sleep
- lower blood pressure