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By Dr. Allan Fradsham

  • An Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is about 3500 years old as we know it today.  It stems out of a rich tradition of observing the natural world and all of its interactions, along with the human body and the correlations between the two. Through trial and error the medicine became perfected over the course of literally billions of treatments.

What the early practitioners found was that they lived in a dualistic universe. That is to say that there are two fundamental polar opposites that make up our reality.  They termed these Yin and Yang. We can see examples that everything has an opposite, up/down, day/night, left/right, in/out, hot/cold, hip-hop/country.  Not only does everything have an opposite but they have a balance and harmony between them. 

Early TCM practitioners defined this relationship and interaction between Yin and Yang as Qi pronounced (CHEE). This interaction between the material and function of the body (Qi) was the dynamic force of life, and that lifestyle, food, exercise, age, illness would all play a role in ones health.  They also found physical therapies and ways that they could influence the bodies systems. These are Acupuncture, Tui Na (massage), cupping, and herbs. Lets look at each in turn.

Acupuncture

This is the insertion of fine filiform needles onto specific sites on body that illicit a change. The placement of the needle can have a multi layered affect.

On some levels it can block pain receptor sites in the brain via a "two gate theory". The long and the short of which says the brain can only take one phone call at a time and if you keep it busy talking with the needle it doesn't have the capacity to process the pain signals.

On another level, the needles stimulate the nervous system which opens up the vascular aspect of local and targeted tissues which allows for changes in inflammatory response, healing, and even organ function.

Herbs

Herbs can be thought of as very potent superfood. They are very nutrient rich and have high levels of active ingredients like essential oils, alkaloids, and amino acids.  They are able to affect the body in many different ways such as anti-bacterial, immune boosting, phlegm transforming, nourishing (organs and tissue), and sedatives just to name a few.  The key is to know what herbs do what and when to take them.

Cupping

One of the basic truths in health is that everything in the body happens in a fluid medium. If fluid isn't able to get in and out of the tissues, nothing can heal. Cupping is a great way to do this as you put a suction cup on the surface of the skin and it will draw blood and body fluid just below the surface of the skin, freeing up space for fluid to move through tight, stagnant tissue. Yes, you will get those cool circular bruises that everyone shows off with.

Tui Na (massage)

Of course putting hands on a person and working sore, tight, damaged tissue is an age old method to help the body heal. Tui Na relieves tension, boosts immunity and reduces inflammation.

At Acupuncture Collective, our TCM Practitioners are trained in all of these modalities. Through a detailed and thorough intake, we can determine a treatment plan that is designed specifically for you, taking into account all aspects of your physical and mental health.