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Eastern Medicine is a complete medical system to treat a wide range of disorders To more thoroughly understand this incredible field we have presented the following summaries:


Eastern, or Oriental, medicine as usually used in English publications is commonly associated with traditional medicine of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam etc.. Actually all of these disciplines are various forms of TraditionalChinese Medicine (TCM)

The use of Eastern or Oriental medicine fails to express the original meaning of traditional medicine in China and does not recognize the existence of modern medicine in the East. Unlike modern Western medicine which can trace some roots to classical Hippocratic Greek medicine in the 4th century BC or American Indian folk medicine, both have withered away from current day Western medicine. In China today there exists options or combinations of therapeutic treatment involving Western based medicine and/or Traditional Chinese Medicine

Keeping this tradition alive and well is seen in the U.S. as the emergence of TCM schools across our Country and keen interest in our government and academia to fund research in TCM and its mechanisms.

Significant Branches of TCM are:
  • Acupuncture Meridian Therapy
  • Herbology - Chinese Herbal medicine formulas
  • Tui Na - Massage therapy
  • Food Therapy - Food as medicine
  • Exercise - Movement practices - Tai Chi
  • Meditation - Breathing, Chi Gong - Reflection and Energy Cultivation Practices
Brief summaries of these branches follow::

    Acupuncture Meridian Therapy, Needles, Moxabustion, Cupping
  • The Science of acupuncture along with moxibustion is a branch of T.C.M. which prevents and treats diseases by puncturing specific points on the body with needles, or the burning or warming of the points by applying heat via ignited moxa wool or roll. These procedures are important external therapies of T.C.M. The term acupuncture is derived from the Latin words acus, which means surgical needle, and punctura, which means to puncture. Moxibustion can be defined as the burning, warming, fumigating, or placing hot compressions on certain points for the treatment or prevention of diseases. The two therapies are commonly applied in combination, and are also typically used as compound word acupuncture-moxibustion (acu-moxibustion--Chinese sound "zhen jiu" (which literally means "needling- moxibustion"). See our FAQ Section for answers to common inquiries in this field.

    Cupping involves using special cups that are placed on the body. Either flaming alcohol placed inside the cup (the alcohol is removed before being placed on the body but the heat removes the air) or a hand-held pump is used to create a vacuum inside the cup. This treatment is often used in cases of injury because it helps the body clear out residual inflammation. It leaves a small circular bruise for about a week but it often relieves the pain and stiffness that are so common after an injury. The bruising that occurs is due to the residual inflammation, which is drawn to the surface where our lymphatic system is able to clear it away

  • An adjunctive therapy to acupuncture meridian therapy. Whole-body Ear Micro System, a holographic representation of the body's anatomical and organ systems, maps ear acupuncture points which are accessible with needles and other stimulation techniques

  • Herbology
  • Traditional Chinese Materia Medica (T.C.M.M.) is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (T.C.M.), which studies the theory and application of herbal medication based on theories of T.C.M. Traditional Chinese materia medica differs extensively from herbal medicine as used by many in the U.S. population. It is like comparing a natural prduct pharmacy to folk medicine. In China T.C.M.M. is an officially recognized branch of TCM with standardized medication procedures documented in the state pharmacopeia or equivalent texts. TCMM has a systematic theory as guidance for its practice and application and is major part of the curriculum in TCM medical schools in the U.S.

    In the Traditional Chinese materia medica (T.C.M.M.), medicines are derived mainly from plants, but animals and minerals provide additional sources. The materials are prepared and refined using well established procedures. The English phrase "herbal medicine" generally refers to folk medicine, and in most cases the crude herb or extract is used. Animal products and minerals are generally not included in definitions of herbal medicine. In classical texts, directions are given for instructions on decocting raw herbs into a soup or tea. Generally in the U.S. the herbal medicines are ground into a powder and dispensed as pills, capsules, tinctures, or powdered teas to mix in water.

  • Tui Na
  • Tuina is Chinese therapeutic massage. The word 'tuina' actually means 'push grab'. Some of the common techniques include rolling, pushing, grasping, kneading, rubbing, nipping, vibrating, chopping, revolving, pinching and pressing. These techniques are used individually or combined together, and apply on specific acupuncture points, along a channel or meridian, or a whole area of the body. Although best known for its capacity to heal joint problems and create relaxation, Tuina can help many other disorders

  • Exercise
  • Exercise and movement were an integral part of medical therapies in this ancient medicine for preventative health measures as well as harmonizing physiological imbalances. Many times this was practiced as Tai Chi.

  • Food Therapy
  • Food in TCM is approached from its therapeutic value and the production of energy or Qi (pronounced "chee") in the body. In TCM Qi is one of the vital substances a possible link to the art of TCM, Qi is instrumental in the vitality and functioning of the body's organs. In TCM food is looked at more for its medicinal attributes and ability to provide preventative benefits as well as rebalance physiological disharmonies. Foods are categorized according to their tastes, properties, and organs they affect, much like the medicines in the TCMM i.e. Tastes (Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Pungent, Salty) Properties (Cold, Neutral, Hot ). The five tastes are pungent, sweet, sour, bitter and salty, each of which their functions and characteristics. For example, pungent herbs are used to generate sweat and to direct and vitalize Qi and the blood. Sweet-tasting herbs often tonify or harmonizes bodily systems. Some sweet-tasting herbs also exhibit a bland taste, which helps drain dampness through diuresis. Sour taste most often is astringent or consolidates, while bitter taste dispels heat, purges the bowels and get rids of dampness by drying them out. Salty taste softens hard masses as well as purges and opens the bowels.

  • Meditation
  • Meditation was an important tool in the classical physicians repertoire as was meditation widely practiced in the culture. When combined with breathing and movement a practice call "Qi Gong" or energy practice was used to improve ones energy reserve and correct imbalances. This ancient practice offers health benefits ranging from fatigue to stress and emotional issues.
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Is Chinese medicine an Art or a Science?

The Art -

In each person, as in landscape paintings, there are signs that, when balanced, define health or beauty. If the signs are out of balance, the person is ill or the painting is unattractive. The physician of Chinese medicine looks at a patient the way a painter looks at landscape's signs of nature... as a particular arrangement of signs in which the essence of the whole can be seeen. The body's signs , of course, are different from nature's signs - including color of face and tongue, expression of emotions, sensations of comfort or pain, quality of pulse - but they all express the essence of the bodily landscape.

Chinese medicine concepts of the body's anatomy and physiology...

Chinese medicine is closely linked to Daoist philosophy... which views that the universe exists because of two great opposing yet interdependent creative forces: yin and yang. The body is seen as a microcosmic universe and the inner organs and their functions are classified according to their yin and yang properties. Relationships of these organs form the basis of diagnosis and treatment.

Another central concept is that of Qi (chee) or vital energy. This is said to flow through a network of channels on the body, known as meridians, to vitalize the body's inner organs. Qi also influences blood and body fluids in the body as well as the Spirit (Shen) and is seen as the link between the physical body, the mind and higher consciousness. When Qi flows freely, there is a good balance between yin and yang in the body and good health. If Qi becomes blocked or deficient, owing to dietary, lifestyle or other factors, disorder and disease will ensue.

A working diagnosis of the patient is arrived at through several basic methods: inspection,auscultation and olfaction (listen and smell), interview or inquiry, palpation (touch). Inspection and palpation includes looking at the tongue and feeling the pulse at three locations on each arm.

Therapeutic treatments to bring the body into balance...

When a disease state exists... therapies such as acupuncture, massage, moxibustion (heat), and Chinese herbal medicines are used. to bring the vital substances of the body; Qi, blood, and body fluids into balance and homeostasis.

Preventative medicine...

The best treatment is prevention. Ancient Chinese physicians were expected to keep their patients in good health and to lead by example by living in harmony with the seasons, eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly. Preventative therapies include dietary and lifestyle advice and energetic exercise

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The Science -

Acupuncture has been employed as a heath care modality in China for over 3000 years. Practitioners of this ancient medical practice have experienced clinical success with a variety of health issues. Today, acupuncture is receiving wide acceptance as a respected, valid and effective form of health care.

Acupuncture is a family of procedures involving the stimulation of anatomical locations on or in the skin by a variety of techniques. There are a number of different approaches to diagnosis and treatment in American acupuncture that incorporate medical traditions from China, Japan, Korea and other Eastern Countries. The most thoroughly studied mechanism of stimulation of acupuncture points employs the penetration of the skin by thin (� 0.25 mm.), solid, metallic needles, which are manipulated manually or by electrical stimulation.

What is known about the physiological effects of acupuncture? In 1997 National Institute of Health (NIH) Consensus on Acupuncture reports that "studies have demonstrated that acupuncture can cause multiple biological responses, mediated by sensory neurons, to many structures within the central nervous system. This can lead to activation of pathways affecting various psychological systems in the brain as well as in the periphery."

NIH consensus also suggest that acupuncture "may activate the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, resulting in a broad spectrum of systemic affects. Alteration in the secretion of neurotransmitters and neurohormones, and changes to the regulation of blood flow, both centrally and peripherally, have been documented. There is also evidence of alterations in immune function produced by acupuncture
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Mechanism of Acupuncture-

Below are some current theories about acupuncture....
  • Neurotransmitter Theory - Acupuncture affects higher brain areas, stimulating a secretion of beta endorphins and enkephalins in the brain and spinal cord. The release of these neurotransmitters influences the immune system and antinociceptive system.

  • Autonomic Nervous System - Acupuncture stimulates the release of norepinephrine, acetylcholine and several type of opiods, affecting changes in turnover rate, normalizing the autonomic nervous system, and reducing pain.

  • Gate Control Theory - Acupuncture activates non-nociceptive receptors that inhibit the transmission of nociceptive signals in the dorsal horn, gating out painful stimuli.

  • Vascular-Interstitial Theory - Acupuncture manipulates the electrical system of the body by creating or enhancing closed circuit transport and tissues. This facilitates healing by allowing the transfer of biochemicals and charged ions between normal and injured tissues.

  • Blood Chemistry Theory - Acupuncture affects the blood concentrations of triglycerides, cholesterol, and phospholipids, suggesting acupuncture can both raise and lower peripheral blood components, resulting in regulating the body toward homeostasis.

Many studies in animals and humans have demonstrated that acupuncture can cause multiple biological responses. These responses can occur locally, i.e., at or close to the site of application, or at a distance, mediated mainly by sensory neurons to many structures within the central nervous system.

Despite considerable effort to understand the anatomy and physiology of the "acupuncture points" the definition and characterization of these points remains controversial. Even more elusive is the scientific basis of some of the key traditional Chinese medical concepts such as the circulation of Qi (energy), the meridian system, and other related theories, which are difficult to reconcile with contemporary biomedical information but continue to play an important role in evaluation of patients and the formulation of treatment in acupuncture.

Acupuncture as a therapeutic intervention is widely practiced in the United States. There have been many studies over the last few decades of its potential usefulness. Promising results have emerged, for example, efficacy of acupuncture in adult post-operative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting and in post - operative dental pain. There are other situations such as addiction, stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma where acupuncture may be useful as an adjunct treatment or an acceptable alternative or be included in a comprehensive management program. The ancient health care system is proving itself as an effective modality for a wide variety of problems. So much that the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) awarded grants that directly relate to acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medical research, to University Of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine totaling $ 10 million dollars. See more information detail at Evidence-Based-Studies.

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