Six ways you can benefit from Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture
15 May 2019
As patients look beyond the walls of traditional western medicine to help with ailments and prevent diseases, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is becoming a popular option with many.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
TCM originated in ancient China and has been around for more than 2,000 years. It is based on natural medicines and designed to stimulate healing mechanisms in the body. Practitioners of TCM use herbal remedies and various mind and body practices such as acupuncture, dietary advice, stress/emotional support, exercise including tai chi and qi gong, cupping and moxibustion to treat or prevent health problems.
Based on a philosophy of balance with nature and flow of qi (pronounced as chi), this ancient form of medicine has many physical and psychological benefits, many of which you may not be aware of.
1. You can manage chronic pain with cupping. This trendy, but old form of alternative medicine, includes a therapist putting cups on the skin for a few minutes to create suction. As part of the process, the therapist puts a flammable substance like alcohol or herbs in the cup, and sets it on fire. These cups are inverted and placed on your skin once the fire goes out and suction created.
Cupping can be useful to manage chronic pain and also supposed to minimise circulating toxins, improve blood flow and help with digestion, although these are not proven by any study.
2. Acupuncture is another way to manage pain in the lower back, neck or knees. It is also used to manage osteoarthritis, headache and migraines. Probably the most commonly known stream of TCM, acupuncture is a highly individualised treatment. By inserting needles in combination across some of the 350 acupuncture points in the body, energy flow (qi) is balanced and this brings relief.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) also identified that acupuncture may be effective for high or low blood pressure, gastric conditions, morning sickness, sprains, rheumatoid arthritis, chemotherapy-induced vomiting and a few other conditions.
3. TCM herbal treatment can help reduce inflammation , which serves as a root cause of many different diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and even cancer.
In TCM, a combination of acupuncture, herbal treatments and acupressure can help reduce inflammation.
4. You can improve muscle strength and flexibility with TCM. Practicing tai chi regularly provides you with an important aerobic workout. Often described as ‘meditation in motion’, it can improve your balance, help you maintain or even enhance your flexibility and agility and boost the overall strength in your muscles.
5. Along with physical health, TCM is beneficial for your mental health. In TCM, physical wellbeing and mental health are linked. TCM practitioners don't see mental disorders as any one syndrome. Instead, TCM treats specific symptoms. The goal is to re-balance the body's inner functions. Both Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture are used as a course of treatment of mental health issues in TCM.
6. TCM can help improve your sleep quality. Poor sleep may be associated with fatigue and irritability, as well as health issues such as impaired cognitive function, muscle stiffness and fibromyalgia. By combining acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicines as per the advice of a qualified TCM practitioner, balance can be regained in the body and sleep problems may be reduced.
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