Acupuncture (the insertion of very fine needles to promote the flow of energy within the body) is a balancing technique purported to restore the body to optimal health.
The classical Chinese explanation is that channels of energy run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. These channels, called meridians, are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues, blood flow and nervous pulses also follow meridians to run through the body to various parts, structures and organs. An obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers are like a dam that backs up the flow in one part of the body and restricts it in others. Any obstruction and blockages or deficiencies of energy, blood and nervous pulses would eventually lead to disease.
Needling the acupuncture points can influence the meridians: the acupuncture needles unblock the obstruction at the dams, and reestablish the regular flow through the meridians. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body's internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption, and energy production activities, and in the circulation of their energy through the meridians.
According to the needling methods, acupuncture can be divided into traditional acupuncture, ear acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, scalp acupuncture and hand acupuncture etc. Over the last few decades, traditional acupuncture was widely used combining with other techniques, like moxi-needling, cup-needling etc, to increase the therapeutic effects.
Modern science explain the functions of acupuncture as following: Needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones, which influence the body's own internal regulating system.
Acupuncture has been used by Chinese people for thousands of year, and it becomes more and more popular in the Western societies. Here is the BBC documentary film about the acupuncture.
Chinese Herbal Medicine has undergone a considerably long history. As early as in the Chinese primitive society, our ancestors discovered, while going in search of food, drugs and used them for curative purposes. Initially they only used a single drug in a dose. But through long clinical practice, they recognized that a recipe composed of two or more drugs proved more advantageous for treatment of diseases, and various prescriptions were gradually formed.
Chinese herbal Medicine consists mostly of nature herbal plants and mineral substances. The herbal medicine can be used to treat diseases by oral taking or external application. Herbal formulas can be oral taken in a variety of ways. The patient may be prescribed raw herbs. He/she will take home, and following simple instruction, steep these herbs into a tea to be drunk at home. Although we call it "tea," some patients find the taste to be a little less than "delicious." For this reason, many practitioners also offer herbal supplements in pill and capsule form. Herbal formulas tend to be created for a single patient and their specific pattern of disharmony.
As we have already known, some herbs in the nature have not only therapeutic effect but also side effect or even toxicity. However, when these herbs are applied with other herbs togrther, their side effects or toxicity will be inhibited, and the curative effect of the compound herbs will be strengthened. Under the Regulation of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture in the province of British Columbia, only T.C.M. registrants can legally prescribe Chinese herbs to a patient. For the safety of the general public, the College advises you to seek out a licensed registrant.
Tuina is a Chinese word that means manipulation and massage of the human body. Many manipulating techniques have been developed in Tuina in the past few thousand years. They cover a wide range of procedures from the very gentle to the firm or vigorous. Some of these techniques are quite simillar to what the massage therapists, physiotherapists and chiropractors use today. Acupressure is one of these techniques, which gives gentle but firm pressure on some points of the body. As a healing art, tuina is as old as instinct itself - the spontaneous manipulating of a place on the body that is aching, wounded, or tense.
More than five thousand years ago, the Chinese discovered certain points on the body which - when pressed, punctured, or heated - had a beneficial effect on some ailments. Gradually, through trial-and-error and the sharing of experience, more and more points were discovered, and the Chinese noticed that points with similar functions lined up to form 14 meridians in our body. Stimulation of these points or meridians not only alleviated pain but also influenced the functioning of certain internal organs. Now it has been proven scientifically that these points have a lower skin resistance, that is, they transmit a greater current of human energy that is necessary for staying health.
Tuina has much in common with acupuncture. They use the same theory of points and meridians to promote healing through the release of tension and the increase of blood circulation. The fundamental distinction lies in the needles used in acupuncture and the skilled hands used in Tuina.
Although Tuina, especially the acupressure, can stimulate the meridiands and points to relieve various health problems, its most advantage is on its passive movement techniques on any structure as a form of treatment for musculoskeletal disorders. Frequently, tuina is used for soft tissue and joint injuries, relaxation, and preventive maintenance. In some instance, tuina or acupressure is used for replacement of acupuncture for those patients who can not take needles like haemophliliacs.
Moxibustion is a form of heat therapy where an moxa stick which made from the dried leaves of Artemesia vulgaris, is burned and used to indirectly heat specific acupuncture points or regions of the body. The Chinese character "Jiu" is used to describe the art of moxibustion, and literally means 'to scar with a burning object'. Moxibustion does not now involve scarring, but moxa is still used to provide local heat over acupuncture points.
Acupuncture and moxibustion are considered complementary forms of treatment, and are commonly used together. Moxibustion is usually used for the following ailments such as pain which aggravated by cold and damp, chronic fatigue, poor circulation, asthma, certain types of paralysis, fetal incorrect positions like Breech fetus, some arthritic disorders and so on.
Cupping is a modality that uses a partial vacuum on various parts of the body for curative purpose. This is one of the oldest form of therapy. According to document records, this therapy was used not only in ancient China but also in Egypt. The ancient Chinese used bamboo, wood or coconut shells to serve as "cups". Howerver, the cups widely used now are usually made by glasses, metals or plastics.
When applied to the surface of the skin the underlying soft-tissue is drawn to the cup. The treatment gives the tissue a superb massage. It breaks down adhesions and thus removes hindrances to the circulation. Sometimes, the cups may be moved to provide an extensive form of massage and skin stimulation. After the cupping, slight bruising might take place in the treated areas, but this is of little consequence.
Cupping is unique in its ability to provide a suction effect on the soft-tissue. Among the numerous complaints and diseases that can benefit from cupping are any painful congested area, bronchitis, swellings, arthritis, lumbago, low backache, sprains, and soft-tissue injuries.
Scientists have known for years that the most troublesome health problems plaguing Westerners -- heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer of the breast, colon and prostate -- are far less common in China. For every 5 American women who die of heart trouble, only one Chinese woman suffers the same fate. The disease kill 17 times more middle-aged men in United States than in China. And China has the lowest rate of breast cancer in the world.
The difference is not just a matter of having the right genes. Studies tracking Chinese born in the Unite States, whose diet has changed to American style, find they wind up with about the same health risks Americans face. In recent years, scientists have found that some classic Chinese food and spices are loaded with chemicals that fight disease. The following are some examples of latest findings:
Tea Tea compounds called polyphenols may ward off cancer and heart diseases. In Beijing study, precancerous mouth sores shrank in patients treated with tea. Meanwhile, a Netherlands survey found that drinking one to two cups of black tea daily nearly halved the odds of developing severe atherosclecosis.
Soy This is a popular food in Chinese cuisine like Tofu, soy sauce, soy milk etc. Experts suspect generous servings of soy may partly explain why breast- and prostate-cancer rates are so low in Asia. The focus is on isoflavones, plant estrogens with antioxidant and other tumour-blocking powers. Isoflavones also seem to bolster bone density and may ease menopausal symptoms.
Shiitake Mushrooms A shiitake ingredient called lentinan, which appears to boost up the body's production of immune cell, is aboundant in Chinese mushrooms. Japanese doctors have reported that some stomach-and colorectal-cancer patients survived longer when they took purified lentinan with chemotherapy. Eritadenine, also from shiitakes, may lower cholesterol.
Ginger In Chinese medicine, ginger is usually used for lessening nausea and vomiting. The recent studies indicated that gingerol, a major ingredient in ginger, soothed inflammation and alleviated fever in animals. In one South Korean study, rubbing gingerol on shaved mice protected them from developing skin cancer.
Garlic Garlic juice kills various microorganisms and may protect the heart by lowering cholesterol and easing blood pressure. There is growing evidence it may nip cancer in the bud thanks to pungent sulphur compounds. One Chinese study found that the stomach-cancer death rate was lowest in northern provinces, where garlic is eaten regularly.
Cabbage In China, cooked cabbage is a remedy for stomachaches; cabbage soup with honey, a cure for coughs and sore throats. Honey-sweetened bokchoy broth is given for ulcers. The cabbage family is loaded with tumour-fighting compounds. Sulforaphane cranks up the production of enzymes that help rid the body of carcinogens. Indole-3 carbinol appears to slow the abnormal growth of breast cells, a stage in the initiation of cancer.
Food therapy is one of the most important parts of the Chinese Medicine. The Chinese believe there are two vital forces in our body, Yin and Yang. When these are in a state of balance, we are healthy and when they are out of balance, disease will occur. Since foods also can be classified as yin and yang, or neutral, depending on the energy they impart to the body, they therefore can be used for preventing or treating many diseases. For example, if you suffering from "Yin diseases" like anemia, Yang foods may relieve such problems, on the other hand, if you suffering from "yang infections" like sore throats, measles, you had better to eat Yin foods; Intake of right food in right time can keep or restore the body's Yin and Yang in a balanced situation. To preventing diseases, the Yang season, like summer, should eat more Yin foods, and winter more Yang foods on the other hand.
As we know, the right mixed food is vital to good health, and sometimes can even heal a very difficult health problem. Yin foods, with cooling nature, are said to have a calming effect, whereas yang foods, with hot and warming nature, are used to exhilarate people from weak to strong, dull to bright and cold to warm. Neutral foods, such as rice and other whole grains, provide balance. Here are some examples of Yin, Yang and neutral foods.
Yin Foods: Bean curd and sprouts, the cabbage family, carrots and celery, cucumber, duck, some fish and some fruits like banana, watermelon, melons, American ginseng, most greens, honey, milk, pears, pork, potatoes, seaweed and soybean products, white turnips, water and watercress, winter squash, most white foods.
Yang Foods: Bamboo, beef, broiled meats, catfish, chicken and chicken soup, eggs and eggplant, garlic and ginger, Korean ginseng, glutinous rice, some fruits like Lychee, longan, green peppers, hot and spicy foods, leeks and onions, liquor, mushrooms, peanuts, persimmons, pig's knuckles and pork liver, red foods (beans, peppers, tomatoes, etc.) sesame oil, shellfish, sour foods, tangerines, vinegar and wine.
Neutral foods: Wheat, Rice, fruits like orange, grape, grapefruit and apple.
The cooking methods can be classified as Yin and Yang as well, for example, steamed or boiled ways, or food eaten in raw belong to Yin, and fatty and fried foods belongs to Yang. Therefore, if you want your foods less Yin or Yang, you can cook it in an opposite way. For example, many Chinese seniors love to eat watercress for their constipation, but they don't like its "cool nature" because it makes them feel uncomfortable (e.g. stomachache, gas, cold hands and feet or dizziness) after eating it, so they fried the watercress with fresh ginger, eating in this way, they don't worry about its "cool nature" any more.
Some herbs without bitter taste have been used for food therapy to increase the therapeutic effects of foods.
The following table includes some food therapy menus for some common diseases. Because the suggested menu is for the mild ailments, if you can not find benefits after taking it, you should find a Chinese Doctor to check your Yin/Yang situation.
Health Problems Suggested menu
|Health Problems||Suggested menu|
|* The word inside the bracket is the Chinese pronunciation for that herb or food. This herb or food can be found in the Chinese herbal stores or groceries|
Qigong is an exercise involved deep breathing, concentration, and relaxation techniques used by individuals for themselves. Qigong had been incorporated into Chinese medicine for very long time.
In Chinese Medicine, there is only one cause of illness and that is congestion. When Qi (vital energy) is blocked within the body system, the Yin and Yang become imbalance, then the body eventually manifests some physical imbalance or sickness. Qigong, like other practical methods as acupuncture, tuina etc, can influence the flow of vital energy and naturally help relieve congestion and therefore, is beneficial to health.
Some Qigong masters claimed that they had cured a wide variety of diseases including cancer, heart disease, AIDS, arthritis, and asthma etc. Unfortunately, until now, there are no large, scientifically organized clinical trials to support these claims. Therefore, although Qigong can undoubtedly improve fitness and general well-being, there's no reason to believe that it will cure any serious disease.