Chinese Medicine Seattle

Chinese Medicine: Not Just Acupuncture

Today many people are familiar with acupuncture and its effectiveness with a variety of health issues. Lesser known is how it fits within the broader scope of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and its connection to herbalism.

At its core, TCM sees the body as energetic in nature. In addition to the circulatory, lymphatic, and nervous systems, TCM distinguishes an additional connecting system called jing luo (jing low) or meridians. Of all the connectors in the body, TCM views the meridians as the most important because they circulate and transmit the body’s most vital substance, qi (chi), the essential energy of life.

Each of the main meridians represents a biological energy system centered around one of the twelve vital organs. Qi flows from one meridian to another in a certain order, forming a fine, intricate grid, until the entire network is covered, delivering vital energy to every part of the body.

An understanding of the meridian system is just the beginning. While Western allopathic doctors start with a symptom then look for a specific cause, TCM views the body holistically. TCM practitioners regard symptoms as part of a “pattern of disharmony” and use Yin/Yang and Five Element Theory to classify the pattern and to determine effective therapies. This way of viewing the body helps the practitioner in identifying the proper course of action.

Not as widely known, is that herbalism is a major element of TCM. In China, herbal formulas are the primary mode of treatment, while in the west, acupuncture is often equated with TCM, (missing the broader scope of the system). These herbal formulas impart their healing benefits to the body as much through the meridian complex as through the bloodstream. This energetic understanding of how medicinal herbs work differentiates TCM herbalism from some other schools of herbalism.

Using herbs, a TCM practitioner can stimulate one of the main meridians and cause a specific effect on the connected organ, as well as a general effect on the entire system. The task of the clinical herbalist, then, is to determine the most likely and frequent patterns of interplay among the vital energies that emanate from the organs. Based on that information, they can recommend appropriate herbs to bring about harmony.

Herbalists using TCM also have a long history of traditional use (over 5,000 years) to draw from as well as an impressive number of scientific studies from the last several decades that confirm its efficacy. With its time tested results and modern scientific affirmation of its effectiveness, TCM offers you a proven path for returning to wellness.