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An Introduction to Chinese Medicine

Updated: Apr 19, 2020

Chinese medicine is an ancient medical practice arising over 3,500 years ago and gaining its wisdom throughout evolving social, political, economic, and climatic periods. Its medical philosophy is guided by the concept of qi, otherwise understood as inertia, and the movement of qi throughout the body. Proper movement of qi contributes to our physiological processes and overall health. Chinese medicine understands this function in relation to meridians which make up the body and which have their respective role in our metabolic functions. The movement of qi along these meridians is further responsible for our mental and emotional states. The goal of Chinese medicine is to ensure proper movement of qi and to correct this dynamic when it is interrupted by acute and chronic diseases.

The practice of Chinese medicine includes the use of acupuncture, herbs, moxibustion, guasha, cupping, tuina, qi gong, and dietary therapy. A physician of Chinese medicine uses diagnostics to determine a treatment plan which may include any combination of these therapies. Classical diagnostics include pulse diagnosis, tongue diagnosis, palpation, and observation in addition to the patients report of signs, symptoms, and medical history.

Chinese medicine aims at addressing the individual’s health concerns as he or she presents at the time of treatment. Health goals are reassessed as the patient progresses throughout the course of treatment. This means, not every treatment will be the same since the individual is constantly changing in response to treatment, lifestyle factors, and environmental factors.

Chinese medicine further offers preventive measures once the individual has achieved his or her preferred quality of life. A physician of Chinese medicine may choose to focus on imbalances which are inherent in the individual’s genetic makeup and which also result from changes in season and stages of life. In other words, all individuals are predisposed to certain disease states at different phases of life. By identifying these disparities, a physician is better able to strengthen the individual and promote long term wellness.

Overall, Chinese medicine supports the whole individual and seeks to promote wellness by balancing the physical, emotional, and mental states of an individual. It is a system of medicine which comprises a wholistic approach and is highly effective both independently and as supportive healthcare for those seeking integrative care.

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