What is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?

The practice of TCM has developed from knowledge accumulated through clinical observation and treatment over several millennia. It is a comprehensive system used to diagnose and treat pain and illness, prevent disease and improve wellbeing. The philosophy behind TCM is that energy or qi (pronounced ‘chi’ and translated as ‘life energy’), circulate around interconnected channels (also known as ‘meridians’). When this flow of energy is impaired, imbalance can occur in the form of pain and/or illness. The focus of TCM is to help promote and maintain the flow of qi. Acupuncture is an important and unique part of TCM.

Together with acupuncture TCM includes the following:

Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese herbal medicine is a highly elaborate system of natural healing that has been used by millions of people for all kinds of health conditions in Asia. It uses herbs to facilitate balance of the patient’s physiology to enhance healing.

Cupping is the term applied to a technique that uses small glass, bamboo or, more recently, electric silicone cups which are placed on the skin to create suction. Cupping serves many purposes including to help relieve pain, inflammation, muscle tension and to improve blood flow.

Moxibustion is the application of indirect heat using a herb called mugwort (Artemisia Vulgaris). This heat is believed to improve blood flow, relax muscles, improve energy and eliminate cold.

Qi Gong
Qi Gong is a system of coordinated body-posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for the purposes of health and spirituality. Qi Gong is traditionally viewed by the Chinese and throughout Asia as a practice to cultivate and balance the flow of ‘qi’ (pronounced approximately as ‘chi’ or ‘chee’) and translated as ‘life energy’.

Dietary recommendations according to TCM principles
In TCM diet is an important factor in maintaining health or recovering from illness. TCM classifies food according to its energetic effects (such as warming, cooling or damp forming) rather than just its nutritional parts. Patients are always advised to eat seasonal, unprocessed foods where possible and include multiple colours and flavours covering a variety of healthy foods according to their individual constitution and ability to digest.

In TCM there are also specific guidelines on how food should be prepared and our habits around eating foods. Each patient is unique; two people with the same western diagnosis may well receive different dietary recommendations.

Lifestyle recommendations according to TCM principles
In TCM, prevention is key. Making appropriate lifestyle choices means making good choices every day that enhance health and help prevent disease. Many health factors are in our individual control, through quality food choices, moderate exercise, restorative sleep, positive mindset, minimising toxins and stress management. Research demonstrates that many chronic diseases are largely caused by lifestyle choices and habits.

Each patient is unique; two people with the same western diagnosis may well receive different lifestyle recommendations.