Basics of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Acupuncture is one of the three main divisions of Chinese Medicine. The other two branches are Herbal/Diet Therapy and Qigong/Tui Na (massage). Acupuncture itself has a history that dates back 4,000 years or more. All three branches concern themselves with influencing qi (chee).
Qi (vital energy) is the most important concept in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). For optimum health, there must be an adequate supply of qi, and it needs to circulate freely around our bodies. If the supply or circulation of qi is compromised, our bodies are open to various disease states. The purpose of acupuncture treatment is to regulate and balance qi flow.
Qigong, which means energy work, encompasses meditation and exercise. The purpose of qigong is to cultivate our body, mind and spirit. Qigong is even older than Acupuncture. Its earliest form was probably dance-like movements to strengthen the body or ward off disease. Over many thousands of years hundreds of distinct systems have developed.
Medical qigong is specifically concerned with treating illness and developing a stronger, healthier body. The Medical Qigong Practitioner guides the client through exercises that may involve physical movements, special breathing techniques, meditative exercises and guided imagery. the practitioner may also use special techniques or massage to strengthen and guide the client's qi.
Of course proper diet is essential to good health. Chinese Medicine uses food therapy as part of the over all picture of your health. Specific foods are added or avoided in a diet to speed up healing. Recommendations may change with the seasons, the stage of your illness or even with the local climate. In many cases Herbal Therapy is just an extension of dietary therapy, since many herbs are foods or seasonings in everyday life.