Chinese Medicine is a collection of therapeutic modalities traditionally used in China that includes acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, Qi Gong, Tui na, and T’ai Chi Chu’an to improve health and well-being.
Chinese Medicine Practitioner(s):
Acupuncture is one modality within a centuries-old system of medicine that originated in Asia and is practiced around the world today. By shallowly inserting and manipulating hair-thin needles into acupuncture points on energy meridians, the practitioner rebalances our emotional, mental and physical body to remove the energetic causes of illness.
The teachings of acupuncture are based on the theory of balancing the five elements: fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. Within each of these elements, there is an associated yin and yang energy meridian, a color, smell, taste, body tissue, organ, time of day, etc. By taking a thorough case, doing a physical examination (looking at patterns in the tongue, skin color, eyes, body type and taking a diagnostic pulse), acupuncturists develop a diagnosis, then use the appropriate acupoints that eliminate the pattern of imbalance.
Many acupuncturists use other tools such as Qi Gong, Tai Qi, Meditation, moxibustion, Chinese herbal therapy, electric stimulation of needles, cupping, Asian massage techniques like shiatsu, tui na, etc. to support the resolution of the pattern diagnosis and resolve health issues. When the vital life force energy qi (pronounced “chee”) in the body becomes blocked and unbalanced, the acupuncturist uses these techniques to optimize the movement of energy, thereby restoring health.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese Herbal Medicine is part of the system of Chinese medicine that includes Acupuncture. Herbs are prescribed to restore harmony, resolve disease states and increase vitality. Many modern illness can be effectively treated with Chinese Herbal Medicine.
Chinese Herbal Medicine Practitioner(s):
Meditation is the practice of quieting the mind and looking within, acquiring a state of consciousness unlike that of the normal waking state, with the goal to experience our essential nature of peace, bliss, and harmony. Meditation can be practiced in groups or alone, sitting or lying. It is a systematic approach to learning how to calm the mind and not be distracted by it, enabling a deepened awareness of self. Originally from the Hindu tradition, meditation practices developed in Taoist China and Buddhist India around the 6th and 5th Centuries B.C.E.
Qi Gong is a therapeutic form of movement, breathing exercises, a form of meditation, a treatment modality and a form of martial arts. Like T’ai Qi, it is steeped in the traditions of Chinese medicine, dating back to the 2nd century and gets its name from the vita; energy that defines being alive. It is a form of inner and outer cultivation practiced by Chinese physicians and is also used as a form of energy medicine, like acupuncture, that can be performed on a patient alone or during an acupuncture session.
Qi Gong movements are therapeutic and purposeful. Each form consists of many movements strung together with a therapeutic theme based on the five elements (fire, earth, metal, water, wood) and often incorporate themes from nature, reminding us that we are one with everything. Some movements are very graceful and slow-moving and others are stronger, faster and more cardiovascular in nature. All forms can be used to improve one’s physical fitness, energy, mood, flexibility, focus, sense of connection to others and to spirit. Some forms are short and can be performed in under fifteen minutes and others can be done for hours, depending on the practitioner’s purpose/ All forms can be modified to be more tonifying and soft, or amplified to be more energizing.
Ancient Chinese masters learned their Qi Gong forms from their masters who, in turn, passed it down to the next lineage holder. It is only with permission of one’s teacher, may a student teach others the forms. Qi Gong is practiced by millions of people around the world, old and young, with a common purpose – inner cultivation.
Qi Gong Practitioner(s):
Shiatsu (指圧) (shi meaning finger and atsu meaning pressure), also referred to as acupressure, is a type of Japanese bodywork consisting of massage using pressure with the fingers and palms to specific points to relieve aches, pains, tension, and symptoms of disease. These points access energy pathways through the body and can be tender when the flow of energy is blocked. By manipulating those points the energy circulation gets enhanced. However, tender energy points are not usually where the complaint is. For example, to relieve a headache, points might be stimulated on the arms or legs.
Shiatsu is based on the accumulated knowledge of 5,000 year old Chinese medicine. Similar to acupuncture, the person is evaluated based on the five elements: metal, earth, fire, water, and wood. During the intake, the practitioner evaluates the patient’s elemental balance in relation to the physical, emotional, and spiritual being and focuses on bringing the elements back into balance.
Shiatsu can be described as a modality between massage and acupuncture. It addresses soft tissue concerns without needing to get undressed, an advantage for those who feel shy about receiving a massage. Similarly, it allows those with a fear of needles to go deeper and address issues beyond those addressed in massage alone. It can be used to address physical discomforts and symptoms like sleeping disorders, digestive problems, muscular discomfort, or headaches. It can help bring excess emotions like anger, fear, grief, worry, and sadness back into a normal range.
T’ai chi (T’ai chi ch’uan)
T’ai Chi is an exercise system that focuses on slow, smooth body movements to help the mind and body relax. This system was originally developed in China as a form of self-defense, but has evolved into a gentle exercise regimens that focuses on slow and graceful bodily movements, each movement flowing into the next. T’ai Chi is commonly practiced outdoors at dawn. The practice can help to achieve both mental and phsyical relaxation, while strengthening the immune and cardiovascular systems.