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Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese therapy used to treat many different types of illnesses and conditions. Acupuncture needles have been found in China dating back as far as 4,000 years ago, the first being made of stone and later metals such as gold, silver and bronze were used.  Today’s practitioners use needles made of steel which vary in length and thickness depending on the area of the body to be treated.  The most commonly used needles are between half and inch and three inches in length.  Acupuncture needles are left in the skin for anything from a few minutes to more than half an hour, but the usual length of time is twenty minutes.  There are generally no side effects caused by acupuncture however in a very small percentage of patients light-headedness, nausea, vomiting and fainting have been recorded.  The effects if experienced are of short duration.

 

Traditional Chinese medicine is concerned with the balance between the body’s two opposing, yet complementary natural forces known as ‘yin’ and ‘yang’.  If these forces become unbalanced, illness can result. Diagnosis and therapy are directed at identifying any imbalance within the body.

 

Yin – The Female Force

Passive, negative force, which represents darkness, coldness, moisture, and swelling and is represented by water.

 

Yang – The Male Force

Aggressive, positive, active force, which stimulates and represents light, heat, dryness and swelling and is represented by fire.

 

Patients are treated by the insertion and manipulation of acupuncture needles into the skin at special points, which are situated along invisible energy channels known as ‘meridians’.  These channels are thought to be linked to internal organs.  It is believed that the needles un-block, increase or decrease the energy flow, which is known as ‘Qi’ (‘Qi’ also means ‘breath’ and ‘air’).  Regular sessions of acupuncture are thought to cure various ailments/illnesses and can also be a form of preventative medicine. In China acupuncture is also used as a form of analgesia allowing procedures to be performed without the use of western, drug induced analgesia

 

Today acupuncture is used to treat many types of illnesses in most hospitals in China and by some private practitioners in Japan, the United States, Australia and elsewhere.

 

Chinese Herbs

Chinese herbal medicine has been used for more than 5,000 years and is therefore one of the oldest forms of medicinal care.  Its discovery is attributed to a legendary Emperor Shen Nong (3494BC) who is said to have introduced agriculture to his people and in so doing he developed an interest in the medicinal properties of various plants.

 

Chinese physicians believed that most illnesses were the result of deep-rooted problems and that unless long-term treatment was given, the problem or illness would manifest itself repeatedly in different ways in different areas of the body.

 

As with acupuncture, the use of Chinese herbs is to restore the balance of yin and yang in the body and keep the equilibrium.  Diet is also closely associated with Chinese medicine.  The consumption of particular foods helps to balance the forces ie.  Cold foods to reduce ‘heat’ in the body, and hot foods to increase ‘heat’ in the body and rejuvenate the system.

 

Chinese herbs can be used internally in the form of pills, tonics, infusions etc. and externally in the form of poultices, compresses and ointments.

 

Herbs tend to be very specific in their actions.  They not only have different qualities and properties but they are able to target different aspects of the patients’ ailments.  A practitioner is able to carefully formulate various herbs to treat multiple ailments at the same time.

 

Chinese herbs are divided into the ‘five tastes’ and each type of herb has a specific use.