Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is one of the oldest medicines in the world. Currently, one quarter of the world’s population seeks some form of TCM treatment.
TCM is a holistic system of medicine that recognizes an equilibrium within our body and our environment. It optimizes health and well being by balancing/harmonizing the body’s energy systems and strengthening the body’s amazing ability to heal itself. It encompasses many healing modalities, including acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, cupping, Gua Sha, moxibustion, Tui Na massage, Chinese dietary therapy, and health promoting exercises such as Tai Chi or Qi Gong.
Leading international health organizations, including the World Health Organization, acknowledge that Traditional Chinese Medicine successfully treats many health concerns.
A list of conditions for which TCM has particular success are listed at the bottom of this page.
Acupuncture is an ancient system of healing. The earliest acupuncture books were written 4,500 years ago. Acupuncture began with the discovery that the stimulation of specific areas of the skin affected the functioning of certain organs of the body. It evolved into a system of healing as the connection between the skin and the organs was better understood and more sensitive ways of stimulation were devised.
Acupuncture affects the flow of energy (Qi) in the body. Energy pathways, often referred to as channels or meridians, are one of the body's primary communication systems. Meridians are like rivers of energy inside the body. Qi flows through meridians as an invisible current, energizing, nourishing and supporting every cell, tissue, muscle, organ and gland. By unblocking and strengthening Qi flow, acupuncturists help to regulate the flow to different areas of the body. When Qi is balanced and flowing freely, the body’s natural self-healing abilities are activated, enabling internal stability and harmony. The body will flourish and true health and well-being will be achieved.
There are more than 2,000 acupuncture points identified on the body. In order to restore balance and help the body maintain health, various combinations of these points are stimulated using very fine, disposable needles. Studies have confirmed that the use of the needles encourages the release and circulation of many chemicals in the body such as endorphins and opiates. An increase of these chemicals impacts the body in different ways, such as reducing pain and inflammation, increasing blood flow, resetting muscle fibers, and promoting a relaxed sense of well-being.
Typically acupuncture can create a local sensation that feels like a heaviness, dullness, a mild ache or an electrical sensation. The needles can also create a twitch response in local muscle groups if muscles are being rebalanced. Many people report that while an immediate sensation can be felt, this is quickly replaced by a sense of warmth, release and relaxation.
Auricular Acupuncture is a specialized system of acupuncture. The earliest use of ear acupuncture, like body acupuncture, dates back to ancient China. Auricular acupuncture, as we know it today though, is largely the result of the work of Dr. Paul Nogier of France. It involves the stimulation of acupuncture points on the external ear surface for the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions in other parts of the body. The ear holds a microsystem of the body, consistent with the brain map discoveries of Canadian neuroscientist Wilder Penfield in the 1940s. Dr. Penfield found that maps of the body exist on the surface of the brain, known as the "homunculus" or "little man". This same brain map is also projected onto different areas of the body, the ear being one place that the brain projects its "homunculus". The map on the ear is in the form of an upside down foetus, with all of the fine details of every part of the emotional and physical body represented. The ear has the highest density of acupuncture points of the body. For treatment of auricular points, stimulation of active points can be done with acupuncture needles, ear tacks, ear seeds, magnets, manual pressure or electroacupuncture tools.
Chinese herbal medicine draws from a pharmacopeia of thousands of herbs. Herbs can be from plant, animal and mineral sources. Herbs have energetic properties that can have dramatic healing effects. Each Chinese herbal formula contains many different herbs and each works synergistically with the others to bring about the therapeutic effect. Chinese herbs are rarely prescribed individually for it is in combining the herbs that the true strength of Chinese herbal medicine lies.
Each herb has a specific energetic function, flavor, temperature, and affinity for specific meridians. All these properties must be weighed when developing an herbal formula.
Chinese herbal formulas may be prescribed in a number of different ways. For instance, they may be prescribed internally or applied externally. There are also several different forms of internal herbal formulas, including raw herbal teas, tinctures, powdered herbs and pills.
The intention of herbal medicine is similar to the aim of acupuncture – to restore harmony and balance to the body, mind and spirit. Herbal medicine is a very significant part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and is essentially like receiving a treatment each day.
“Tui Na” literally translates as “push pull” and is the name given to Chinese Medical Massage. Tui Na incorporates techniques that are similar to Western and Asian massage, chiropractic, osteopathic, and western physical therapy. Tui Na is used to re-balance the flow and circulation of Qi along meridian pathways, and to re-balance muscle fibers and muscle groups within the musculoskeletal system.
Cupping involves the placement of small cups (glass, bamboo, rubber or silicone) on various acupuncture points or areas of the body. The purpose of cupping is to draw out toxins by stimulating the blood and lymphatic systems, to remove stagnation by stimulating and improving circulation, and to stimulate the peripheral nervous system. Cupping is a very effective method of reducing pain and improving energy.
Gua Sha involves the gentle scraping of the skin surface to increase the circulation of Qi and blood and to detoxify the body.
Moxibustion involves the burning of an herb called mugwort to facilitate healing. It has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years to strengthen and circulate the blood, warm and relax muscles or acupuncture points, activate the flow of Qi and maintain general health.
Chinese Dietary Therapy is an integral component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). You are what you eat and TCM recognizes that all foods have an influence on our body and health. Foods will be recommended based on each individual condition and the time of year. Many food remedies can be used to encourage better health.
Lifestyle recommendations may be given to further optimize your vitality. Specific movements and breathing exercises can develop greater harmony, balance and well-being.
- Pregnancy care
- Endometriosis, cysts, fibroids
- Excessive bleeding
- Irregular menstruation
- Low libido
- Menopausal problems
- Painful menstruation
- Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Acute or Chronic Pain
- Carpal tunnel
- Sports or other injuries
- Degenerative disc disease
- Frozen shoulder
- Hip pain
- Jaw pain
- Knee pain
- Low back pain
- Muscle tension
- Numbness or tingling in arms
- Plantar fasciitis
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Acid reflux
- Bloating, gas, abdominal pain
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Common Cold
- Bell’s Palsy
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Compromised Immunity
- Support during chemotherapy or radiation