Getting sick is never a walk in the park, but the treatments should never be more harmful than the disease itself. Though modern medicine has advanced by leaps and bounds, there are still so many side effects that come with most modern treatments. There are alternatives to mainstream medical care to consider. There is medicine, holistic healing, and then there is traditional Chinese medicine.
What Is Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese medicine has been used for thousands of years in China and other parts of Asia. Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine focus mainly on non-invasive methods that use body and mind practices to heal. Some of the more well-known methods are tai chi, acupuncture and herbal alternatives. All of these and more are used to treat common health problems, mental illness, and even more serious health concerns.
To many, traditional Chinese medicine is considered pseudoscience as there is no identifiable mechanism of action. That being said, it has been effective in treating and curing a wide range of ailments for generations. Traditionally, it can be said this form of natural healing comes from the Compendium of Materia Medica and Compendium of Huangdi Neijing which dates back to the times of the Ming Dynasty.
Types of Traditional Chinese Medicine
There are several different types of TMC which we will go over in more detail below. Each offers its own health benefits, many of which overlap. They all have varying degrees of success, some have even proven to be effective in cases where traditional medicine has failed.
Tai chi is a mixture of breathing, mental focus, gentle movements, relaxation, and targeted postures. The practice of Tai chi is thought to help boost stability and balance in those who practice the forms. It has proven to be highly effective in the older population and in those who suffer from Parkinson’s disease. It is also an effective way to help manage the pain that is caused by osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. In some cases, even chronic back pain can be reduced through regular Tai Chi.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese treatment in which sterile needles are inserted into specific points on the body. These points are linked with the nerves, and each nerve is connected to organs and other body symptoms. Acupuncture treatment is intended to help release pent up energy as well as stimulate the brain to release natural painkilling chemicals. According to years of study, properly applied acupuncture has been proven to ease many forms of chronic pain. Neck pain, lower back pain, osteoarthritis, and other chronic body pains respond well to the treatment. Many people who suffer from chronic migraine and tension headaches have also benefited from the use of acupuncture.
Traditional Chinese Herbal Products
Herbal medicine is one of the oldest forms of treatment in most parts of the world. Chinese herbal products have been used for centuries effectively. A lot of modern medicine can be traced back to the ingredients and methods used in TCM. It has been effective in treating a range of health issues such as respiratory diseases, stroke, mental illness, heart disease, and much more. These treatments are popular not only in China but all over the world.
Is Traditional Chinese Medicine Safe?
Traditional Chinese medicine has been used for centuries in Asia and other parts of the world. Though there are some basic tenants that people follow in its application, each treatment will vary depending on the practitioner. Like most holistic treatments, there is no clear or uniform science behind TCM. Though many applications are effective to a degree, there are also risks involved.
There is not always a way to know if the herbal supplements or herbs used in your treatment are pure. Some may have been contaminated with harmful animal or plant material, heavy metals, or even pesticides. Harmful drugs such as diclofenac and warfarin have been found in many TCM herbal medications. These can interact with traditional medications or cause allergic reactions, organ damage, or worse.
Acupuncture is relatively safe so long as it is performed by a skilled practitioner. Patients may have complications arise from the use of dirty needles or the needles not being properly placed. Tai chi is the safest of all being that there are no invasive procedures or herbs consumed. It is basically a low effort mediation and exercise method that carries little to no risk of bodily injury.
The Bottom Line
Traditional Chinese medicine is an effective way to treat some conditions without the need for harmful medications or invasive procedures. Like with any treatment, if you are thinking about using traditional Chinese medicine to treat a health problem, it is important to speak with your doctor before starting any new treatment. It should never be a replacement for regular medical care or skilled medical advice.
Southlake Natural Family Wellness
Our mission is to support the health and well-being of our patients by offering individualized, comprehensive holistic care including acupuncture, herbal recommendations, customized nutritional counseling, allergy elimination (NAET), whole food supplements, lifestyle suggestions, moxibustion, and cupping, as well as helping couples get pregnant and STAY pregnant by supporting all the paths to conception.
About Farrah Hamraie
Farrah Hamraie, L.Ac, MOM, Dipl.OM (NCCAOM), is licensed and board-certified in Acupuncture and Herbal medicine in the State of Texas with a Masters of Oriental Medicine from the Dallas College of Oriental Medicine. She is also a Diplomat of NCCAOM (the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine), a Board Certified Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist, and a member of the American Association of Oriental Medicine.