Like most people, you're probably most familiar with western medicine, the approach to health care most common in the United States. As a licensed practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, people often ask me if it could help them improve their health and give them more energy. As a result, I decided to address the most frequently asked questions here to help you decide if this treatment is right for you.
How Does Traditional Chinese Medicine work?
There are several basic diagnostic techniques. For example, examining the pulse gives me a good deal of information about whether or not a patient's body is out of balance, and if it is, what the source of the problem may be.
I carefully observe a patient's physical appearance, particularly the tongue and its coating. Finally, like in a western medical exam, I ask a series of questions about any current symptoms a patient may have as well as questions about his or her past medical problems, lifestyle and family medical history.
This information is critical in helping me reach an accurate diagnosis and to develop the most effective treatment program, should that be necessary.
How Will you treat any problems you find?
Traditional Chinese Medicine offers three primary means of treatment:
Acupuncture, involving the use of small needles, stimulates various pressure points on the body to produce a specific treatment outcome. There are roughly 380 such points on our bodies.
Moxibustion, the heating and applying of an herb known as mugwort (and no, it does not burn you), to various pressure points on the body to help boost specific organ systems.
Finally, various herbal formulas and medicated oils are prepared and tailored to address specific diagnoses.
Do the Needles Hurt?
Needles conjure up fear for a lot of Americans. This fear is usually based on a bad experience that they had from the business end of a hypodermic needle from a nurse or Doctor. This is understandable since a hypodermic needle has a hollow serrated tip which is designed to rip and tear flesh in order to inject or remove a fluid. In contrast, acupuncture needles are solid shafts that smooth down to the microscopic level and most will even fit inside of their western counterparts. Since there is no fluid to inject with acupuncture needles, most patients experience a small prick like that of a half second long mosquito bite then the pain, if any subsides. After the insertion of an acupuncture needle, a patient may experience nothing, up to a dull throbbing ache. Once all of the needles are in patients usually begin to feel more relaxed and quite often forget that the needles are even there.