Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine
What is Traditional Chinese medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) dates back thousands of years and is a system of primary health care that includes acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and remedial massage (An Mo Tui Na). In Australia, the most popular forms of TCM health care are acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.
The primary feature of modern TCM is the premise that good health relies on the restoration and maintenance of harmony, balance and order to the individual. TCM takes a holistic approach to understanding normal function and disease processes and focuses as much on the prevention of illness as it does on the treatment.
Chinese Medicine is practised globally and is sometimes referred to as “TCM”, “Oriental Medicine” and “East Asian Medicine”. Its principal treatment modalities include but are not limited to
Instantly recognised worldwide as a Chinese medicine treatment, acupuncture is not only the strategic insertion of single use sterile needles into the known acupuncture points to treat, relieve or heal a variety of diagnosed conditions, but can also be delivered needle free using low level laser light therapy, acupressure and An Mo Tui Na (Traditional Chinese Remedial Massage) that effectively and beneficially manipulates the acupuncture points and the energy channels or meridians through therapeutic massage.
Chinese herbal medicine has been used for at least 5000 years. The ancient healers used foods, plants, minerals and animals in their medicinal remedies to treat illness and to improve and maintain the best health and wellbeing possible for the times.
Moxibustion is a treatment often used in conjunction with acupuncture. The herb artemisia vulgaris known as moxa is burned over acupuncture points producing a therapeutic heat that helps to relax muscles, improve blood flow and relieve pain.
TCM food therapy uses food and balanced nutrition to maintain wellbeing. Food therapy as medicine is an integral part of a treatment where particular foods are specifically recommended by the trained Chinese medicine practitioner. As a clinical nutritional intervention, the diet would be individually designed to achieve inner balance in combination with the Chinese medicine treatment of herbs and acupuncture.
With the aim of maintaining good health, wellbeing through the ageing process, disease prevention and treating illness, using food as medicine is an easily achieved intervention for people to implement in their daily lives.
Chinese Remedial Massage (An Mo Tui Na)
Tui na (pronounced twee nah) is a remedial or therapeutic massage with its foundations based on the same principles and philosophies of traditional Chinese medicine. Hands and fingers are employed in various massage techniques to apply pressure on specific acupuncture points manipulating the flow of energy- Qi (chi) in the channels/meridians. As an holistic therapy that relaxes and balances the flow of Qi through the body, providing musculoskeletal pain relief while improving circulation to enhance healing, this treatment impacts not just on physical function but also mental and emotional wellbeing.
Gua sha (gwa sha)
Smoothed, rounded tools often made from jade, onyx or quartz are used to stroke the skin working on tight muscles and superficial connective tissues. Gua sha may often be used before acupuncture treatments to relax tight spasming muscles to enable easier needle insertion or as part of a Chinese remedial massage treatment.
An ancient treatment used not only in China but also known to be used in ancient Egypt and Greece. A vacuum is created in glass or plastic and, in ancient times bamboo cups and applied to areas of the body to relax tight muscles. Infection prevention and control guidelines allow only glass or plastics cups to be used today because they can be properly cleaned or sterilised between patients.
T’ai chi ch’uan
T’ai chi ch’uan (taijiquan) translated means supreme ultimate fist. Shortened to Tai Chi (ty chee) it is a specifically designed interconnecting pattern of flowing movements, that gently through constant motion, works the whole body relaxing, stretching, helping with balance and calming the mind that is often considered to be meditation in motion. Sections can be used independently as treatment or prevention for specific ailments while regular practise of the whole set of movements helps to improve and maintain physical and mental wellbeing and physical and mental balance. Tai chi can also provide a foundation for defense training in martial arts.
Qi Gong (chee goong) with roots in Chinese medicine literally means energy work and can be practised in 3 ways.
- Dynamic -a system of body awareness, repeated movements and postures coordinated with breath to stretch, strengthen and improve circulation around the body
- Static – holding the postures for periods of time that improves strength, balance and body awareness
- Meditative -has an internal focus using breath, visualisation, sounds and chanting to still the mind and improve the internal Qi (energy) flow
Also incorporated into martial arts training to improve focus, give clarity and inner strength, the individual postures can be performed for the prevention, relief or treatment of various ailments.
TCM treatments focus on the underlying condition as well as treating the presenting symptoms. Treatments work on the basis of individualised formulae for each patient.
Please contact AACMA if you would like the contact details of qualified TCM practitioners in your local area or alternatively click here to find your nearest practitioner.