What is Chinese Medicine? And how does acupuncture fit into the picture?
Chinese Medicine is a system of healthcare that has been in continued and live use for at least 2000 years. What this means is that there has been plenty of time for a tremendous amount of information about human disease and health to accumulate, time to evolve, and time to form a holistic system of healthcare. How this system takes care of you is by acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, Chinese herbs, and dietary advice.
Acupuncture is the use of very fine needles to stimulate points on the body to promote blood flow, call on the body’s pain-killers, and induce anti-inflammatory processes. The way to think about acupuncture is to compare it to chess. If each chess piece is a point on the body, needling the right point is like moving a chess piece. While the right gambit wins a chess game, the correct combination of points creates a strategy aimed to improve health. An acupuncturist has studied a lot about each point, how to use that point, and how to apply the right point combinations suited for your particular health condition.
Moxibustion is heat therapy. It is primarily used for chronic conditions in Chinese Medicine. Think of it as a sophisticated way of using a heat pack. The importance of moxibustion is reflected in the Chinese characters describing acupuncture. The direct translation of acupuncture from Chinese is ‘needling-moxibustion’. Due to legal dictates in Japan that require separate licensing to use moxibustion, Japanese practitioners have fined honed moxibustion into a therapy with many different forms and techniques. To find an acupuncturist who is also competent with moxibustion, it is best to seek someone with training in Japanese moxibustion techniques.
Cupping is a therapy use to promote blood flow on a larger scale than acupuncture. The therapy uses heated cups to create a suction force on the skin. It has been traditionally used for colds and flus, but in recent times, it has been used to ease tense muscles.
Chinese herbs is drug therapy in Chinese Medicine. A close cousin is diet therapy. Whatever you put into your mouth is ultimately going to change your biochemistry, and therefore, impact your health.