Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been developing for over 3000 years. This sophisticated form of healing is based on the individual’s presentation rather than the disease. Physical, mental and emotional signs and symptoms are all considered on assessment.
In TCM, the goal is to achieve the smooth and correct flow of sufficient qi throughout the body. Qi (pronounced ch-ee), also referred to as ‘vital force’ or ‘vital energy’ flows through a network of channels, or meridians, and drives the proper functioning of the body as a whole. Numerous meridians course throughout the body to ensure all tissues and organs are accessed. These meridians, although similar, are not identical to nerves and blood vessels. There can be deficiencies where qi is not adequately conducted through the meridians leaving the tissue system or organ it supplies unable to function correctly. Similarly, stagnation of qi or blood can interfere with the flow of qi through a meridian. Anything leading to the improper flow of qi further leads to lack of nourishment, maintenance and functioning of tissues and organs. This dysfunction manifests as pain, pathology and disease. One can think of the flow of qi like the flow of water through channels that are irrigating fields. There can be areas of water turbulence (qi stagnation) resulting in certain ‘fields’ (or tissues) getting flooded while other areas lack water supply.
Diagnosis is based on interview, observation, tongue inspection, palpation of wrist pulses and palpation for tender acupuncture points. Treatments can include acupuncture, Chinese herbs, Chinese nutrition, moxibustion, cupping or Tui na (Chinese massage).