Phytotherapy or Herbal Medicine is perhaps the oldest facet of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It Originates in first books describing TCM diagnosis and treatment, and is still one of the largest parts of clinical TCM today.
Herbal Medicine is the most important therapy in Chinese medicine and is of increasing importance in the West. It is the intimate link between diagnosis and treatment, performs a fundamental role in the understanding and actions of meridians, and is the root stemming into many other medical systems such as Acupuncture, current Western Phytotherapy and even Allopathic Pharmacology.
The TCM approach to herbal medicine is still one of the most relevant today, used by 1/3 of the world’s population, offering excellent clinical results from a truly developed and unique therapeutic understanding. As one of the few indigenous medical systems remaining on the planet – which has been tempered over thousands of years through countless clinical trials and healing experiences – it has, and continues to adapt to the changing landscape of human health, to be at the forefront of modern medicine, while still holding a flame defining itself as a traditional, classical, and natural therapy.
Moxibustion and Tui Na
Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine therapy using moxa made from dried mugwort. It plays an important role in many eastern traditional medical systems of China (including Tibet), Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Mongolia. In preparation, it is usually aged, then ground and meshed into a loose floss; practitioners burn the floss or process it further into a cigar-shaped stick. They can use it indirectly; with acupuncture needles, on a medicinal medium, or with out direct contact of the patient. I can also be used directly by burning it on the patient’s skin.
It is a very important facet of acupuncture treatment, as shown in the actual Chinese character for acupuncture, translated literally, means “acupuncture-moxibustion.” It is generally used to treat conditions where cold and stagnation are involved, but can also be used in a variety of ways for the general maintenance of health. Not every treatment will require moxibustion, but some definitely will, depending on the specific condition and diagnosis.
Tui na is a form of Chinese manipulative therapy often used in conjunction with acupuncture, moxibustion, fire cupping, Chinese herbalism, t’ai chi, and qi gong. Tui na is a hands-on body treatment that uses Chinese taoist and martial arts principles in an effort to bring the eight principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) into balance. The practitioner may brush, knead, roll/press, and rub joints, channels, and meridians to attempt to open the body’s defensive (wei) Qi and get the energy moving in the meridians and the muscles. The practitioner can then use range of motion, traction, and massage, with the stimulation of acupressure points. These techniques are claimed to aid in the treatment of both acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions, as well as many non-musculoskeletal conditions. Tui na is an integral part of TCM and is taught in TCM schools as part of formal training.
In ancient China, medical therapy was often classified as either “external” or “internal” treatment. Tui na was considered to be one of the external methods, thought to be especially suitable for use on the elderly population and on infants. Today, Tui na is subdivided into specialized treatment for infants, adults, orthopedics, cosmetology, sports medicine, and more.
A supplemental therapy, powerful in it’s own right.
Used broadly in many Countries and Cultures around the world, Cupping is a therapy in which a jar is attached to the skin surface to cause local congestion through the negative pressure created by introducing heat in the form of an ignited material. In Chinese Medicine cupping is described as having functions of warming and promoting the free flow of qi and blood in the meridians, dispelling cold dampness, diminishing swellings and pains. In clinical applications cupping method is mainly used to treat bi syndrome caused by wind dampness, such as pain of the low back, shoulders, and leg, gastrointestinal disorders such as stomachache, vomiting, and diarrhea; and lung disease such as cough and asthma. It can also be applied to support a wide variety of other manual therapies such as Acupuncture, Moxibustion, Tui Na, Facial Rejuvenation, Sports Medicine, and more.
TCM Diet Therapy
TCM Diet therapy (Shi Liao) is the art and science of combining foods based on their inherent energetic properties. Unlike Western medicine, the diverse properties of different foods are well understood and an integral component of treating and preventing disease in TCM.
Each food item is described as having energetic properties such as warming or cooling, with flavors that act on the body in certain predictable yet different ways. Various food combinations may be used to maintain and support the balance of Yin, Yang, Qi, Blood, Body-Fluid, and Essence thereby maintaining optimal health. When disease occurs, certain food combinations may be employed to return the body to a balanced state.
Food therapy is one of the 5 fundamental branches of TCM and a powerful component of TCM treatment.