About Oriental Medicine

The Concept of Qi

meridiansAt the center of oriental medicine is the concept that qi (pronounced “chee”), or life energy, flows through the body through meridians. As long as qi is abundant and flowing freely, the body remains in balanced heath, also known as homeostasis. When the qi flow is obstructed, it becomes backed up in one area of the body and restricted in another area. There is a saying in Chinese Medicine: “If there is pain there is no free flow; if there is free flow there is no pain”.  

 Many life factors can influence the quality and quantity of qi within the body; these factors are also implicated in the obstruction of qi.  Common sources include trauma (both physical and emotional), poor diet, stress, lack of exercise or overexertion, and seasonal changes. Acupuncture promotes and reestablishes the free flow of qi, allowing the body to self-correct. 

Oriental medicine includes the following:

  • Acupuncture
  • Herbal therapy
  • Cupping
  • Moxibustion
  • Tui na
  • Chinese dietary therapy 

Acupuncture 

acupunctureAcupuncture is just one of several modalities used in Oriental Medicine. Acupuncture seeks to correct health on the level of qi. There are pathways within the human body through which qi flows.  These pathways are called meridians or channels. Small, sterile, single-use needles are inserted along these meridians into specific acupoints to influence the qi that flows to the internal organs.  This process affects both the structure and function of these organs. These acupoints were mapped by practitioners in China over 2,000 years ago, and in the past few decades research has confirmed the existence and location of these points. 

Needles can also work on specific areas of pain that may not be associated with internal problems – sport injuries, for example. A needle inserted near the area of a pulled tendon or overstrained muscle will increase the flow of qi to that area; this decreases the pain and accelerates the healing process. 

Chinese Herbal Medicine

chinese-herbal-medicineChinese herbal medicine treats the full range of human disease. It is especially good for promoting the body’s ability to heal itself. Herbs can be used to treat illnesses such as
the common cold, as well as chronic diseases
such as autoimmune disorders, gastrointestinal issues, and gynecological conditions. 

Other modalities within oriental medicine:

Cupping is an ancient method used to move qi and blood deep within and on the surface of the body. The cup creates suction and is applied to the skin. Cupping is used to treat conditions such as muscular pain, joint pain, common cold/ flu, asthma, and dysmenorrhea. 

Moxibustion, commonly called Moxa, uses the Chinese herb mugwort (Artemisia bulgaris), a species of chrysanthemum. The herb is applied to the top of the needle or directly on the skin to warm the meridians and promote smooth flow of qi. Moxa is used to treat neuropathy, autoimmune disorders, gynecological issues, and generalized weakness or fatigue. 

Tui Na is Chinese massage therapy that combines acupressure and various massage techniques to promote qi flow through the muscles, meridians, and joints. 

Oriental dietary therapy differs from western nutrition. The focus is placed not only on the nutritional content of a specific food, but also on its properties such as taste and temperature. Emphasis is placed on awareness of the foods we eat and when we eat them, in order to maintain internal balance.