Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Traditional medicines evolved through careful observation of nature and human physiology. A fundamental theme of Chinese medicine is the mirroring of the universe on macroscopic and microscopic scales. The human body is a microcosm of the universe and functions within familiar natural principles.
Traditional medicines balance the landscape of the body. The body is affected by genetics, climate, environment, lifestyle, and injuries. If natural function and immunity are weakened, small imbalances eventually progress into chronic dysfunction and disease. In a traditional view, acupuncture stimulates energies (Qi) and vital Blood to flow better and harmonizes the person with themselves and with nature.
Traditionally, old customs forbade women to be undressed, aside from exposing a wrist or ankle to take the pulse. Acupuncture developed along with herbal medicine to treat people quickly and effectively. Distal points (below elbows and knees) are powerful and connect with meridians and organs to balance the body. These days, many Asian governments fund Traditional Medicine. Doctors of TCM or KM (Korean Medicine) treat several patients in a communal room, using points below the elbows and knees. Regular acupuncture improves natural circulation and a variety of ailments.
The Four Pillars of TCM maintain good health and longevity:
- Diet & Herbs
- Acupuncture & Moxibustion
- Physical Manipulation (massage, bodywork, chiropractic)
- Breathing (and Exercise)
Chinese medicine has many poetic theories, Root-Branch being one example. The organ is the root, the meridian is the branch, and the sense organ at the body surface is the flower. The health of the flower and branch give insight into
the health of the root (organ).
Classical Chinese medical theory states:
- The Lung governs the skin and body hair and opens to the nose.
- The Heart rules the blood vessels and complexion, and sprouts in the tongue.
- The Spleen governs the flesh (muscles) and opens to the mouth/lips.
- The Liver governs the sinews (tendons), manifests in the nails and opens to the eyes.
- The Kidney governs the marrow (bones and teeth), and opens to the ears.
Theories suggest ways to look at the body, to capture clues about internal mechanisms. Due to mapped connections, expressions of health or pathology can be observed in different areas of the body.
Nothing is read simplistically or out of context. Every sign and symptom is in a relationship with the body. A symptom is evaluated on local and holistic levels. The body is understood as a complex, ever-changing system of natural substances and forces.
Color and appearance of skin are assessed. By palpating (pressing gently along the body), we assess the health of the meridians, which travel in the superficial muscular layers before they delve deeper towards the organs.
The radial pulse is felt at each wrist, to gain information about the blood. Essentially, blood is a fluid and the blood vessel is a tube, subject to the laws of hydrodynamics. When feeling the pulse with the fingertips, we sense information about the volume and viscosity of blood, the tensegrity of the blood vessels, the force of cardiac tensive pressure, regularity, depth, quality, rate, rhythm, shape, strength, volume. Each fingertip position reflects an organ's energy and its influence on the blood and energy of the body.
The tongue is looked at briefly. Because the tongue is viewed as 'half-interior, half-exterior', it is a good representation of the interior. All the meridians flow to the tongue in some way, which in turn connect to the main organs. We look at size, color, coating, cracks, moisture, general shape, and spirit. Redness indicates heat or inflammation, pallor may indicate a lack of blood and energy… every tongue is individual and a legitimate expression of health. Furthermore, tongues can change as health improves! The tongue reflects the conditions of the organs, blood, and energy.
Once diagnostic parameters are observed and noted, acupuncture therapy is then customized to treat meridians and the organs expressing pathology. Acupuncture heightens energy and blood flow in various meridians, encouraging the body to intelligently re-balance and repair itself.