Traditional Chinese medicine, shortly known as TCM, is a folk or traditional healthcare system adopted in China about 5000 years ago. It has gone under development since that time. It includes use of fine needles and therapy is known as acupuncture. It also includes the use of herbs, diet as medicine, exercise, cupping and massage techniques. Nowadays, it becomes an important part of the CAM (complementary and alternative medicine). It spreads to western culture and demand of acupuncture therapist and TCM expert is increasing day by day. TCM is effective in chronic diseases, which include cervical spondylosis, back pain, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and other systemic diseases.
Origin & short history of TCM
Traditional Chinese medicine, a healing modality originated in the prehistoric period over 2500 to 5000 years. Therefore, theories of TCM are time tested and well recognized for 5000 years. However, TCM origin is lost in the history due to mouth-to-mouth transfer of information about its techniques. Before Shang Dynasty, there are no written documents found about it, so it can be recorded as “legendary”. The precious treatises became available from the Shang Dynasty. The Shang Dynasty is very old and its time is expected by archeological scientists about 14 to 11 centuries BC. According to Joseph Needham, acupuncture techniques were used by some health experts in the Shang Dynasty.
TCM is an ancient medical system that deals with diagnosis, causes, treatment of the human diseases. It includes ancient theories of physiology, diagnosis, pathogenesis, prevention and management of various diseases. It is an integrated science, which includes some theories and hypothesis about the diseases and their treatment methods. It is developed from the experience of the China’s public since 5000 years and spread by mouth to mouth from very long period. The continuous struggle with diseases and experiments with their treatment have evolved the new science known as traditional Chinese medicine and it leads to well recognition of TCM throughout the world. In China, around 40% people are getting treatment through this science and it is approved in government health care centers in China.
Basic Theories of TCM
The basic principles of TCM depend on the yin and yang and zang-fu organs. It further includes theory of five elements and meridians. Treatment system includes three main theories:
Knowledge of six climatic factors can help the physician to advise some measures to people for prevention of various diseases. Some experts believe that TCM theories are influenced by ancient concepts of materialism and dialectics with yin and yang ancient text. This concept may be further integrated as basic principles of traditional Chinese medicine.
Main Treatment options in TCM
Various techniques and methods are used in TCM for treating diseases and they are given underneath:
- Massage techniques
- Chinese’s Dietetics
- Balancing energies between mind and body
TCM theories about diagnosis, causes, pathogenesis and management of diseases are different from the conventional western medicine. In the past, there were a little research study about the safety and efficacy of TCM, but now many researchers have worked on it and have established the effectiveness of TCM in various diseases. In the last few years, it gained popularity throughout the world. Now, TCM is well recognized in Australia, USA, Canada and European Countries.
Benefits of traditional Chinese medicine
The efficacy of TCM in chronic diseases is well researched and studies. It is very effective in low back pain or lumbar spondylosis, cervical spondylosis, arthritis, fibromyalgia or muscular pain, chronic fatigue, Bell’s palsy, paralysis, cancers, atopic dermatitis, allergies, stroke rehabilitation etc. The benefits of TCM are listed below:
- TCM advocates changes in the lifestyle and diet to keep people healthy. Therefore, TCM can be used as preventive medicine.
- There are no cures in western medicines of various chronic and long-standing diseases; TCM promise the treatment without having any severe side effects.
- Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture is a great alternative to spinal surgery. Many patients are well managed their spinal diseases with the use of acupuncture, moxibustion and cupping therapy.
- If conventional painkillers are taken more than a week, they cause ulceration in the stomach and bleeding in the intestines. They further have severe side effects and affects kidney and liver functions. Moreover, they can cause liver and kidney failure if taken continuously. The common problems observed while taking analgesics are gastritis, burning sensation in the chest or acid reflux. Therefore, acupuncture is the safest method to cure pain disorders.
- Some diseases such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gouty arthritis have no promising cure in western medicine. When people are taking western medicines, they feel some improvement due to the analgesic effect of medicine. When they stop the medication, they experience pain again. However, in TCM and acupuncture, people are getting permanent cure. Traditional Chinese medicine helps to arrest the degenerative process in the joints, aids to repair damaged cartilages, thus treat the disease. It is not yet possible with western medicines.
- Furthermore, TCM is effective, safe, inexpensive and long-term option for treating muscular and other diseases.
Points to remember
- All TCM and acupuncture practitioners require a license to practice in USA, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom and other European Countries. Therefore, find a qualified licensed TCM practitioner to take treatment. They can provide herbs, acupuncture treatment and moxibustion.
- If you are going for acupuncture treatment, ask your doctor for sterilized needles. Needles need to be sterilized before using.
- Tell your doctor if you are taking some herbal remedies, traditional Chinese medicines because some of these natural remedies may have side effects if taken with western medicines.