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Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a medical framework used to diagnose and treat many diseases and ailments in China for thousands of years.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are the two main components of TCM we see in the west.
The basic philosophy of TCM is that if you are in good health, your body is in balance and you are able to adapt to change. Preventing imbalance and disease is a key focus in TCM.
Chinese herbal medicine
Chinese herbal medicine is used to treat conditions including digestive issues, fatigue, women’s health and fertility. It is often used in conjunction with acupuncture, especially for people than would otherwise need to come in for acupuncture more regularly (more than once a week).
- usually prescribed in capsule, tablet or liquid forms
- mostly of plant origin, however some herbs such as MuLi (oyster shell) contain animal elements
- easily adapted for vegetarians and vegans
- contain no endangered species or unethical products.
If you are prescribed a herbal formula, it is important to tell your Herbalist about any medications you are taking as herbs can interfere with some prescription medications.
Herbal medicine formulas may need to be adjusted as your body adapts and responds. If you get a cold/flu or your health stasis changes during the course of your prescription, stop the herbs and check in with your Herbalist.
Cupping and guasha
Cupping is often used in conjunction with acupuncture. Glass cups are placed on the skin to create a vacuum to draw the pathogenic qi out of the body. Cupping can either be stationary (cups are left on for 5-10 minutes) or moving where the skin is lubricated and the cup is glided over the skin creating a massage-like pulling sensation.
Cupping can leave markings on the skin for up to a week– usually the darker the markings the more pathogenic qi has been released. Cupping is often used to treat colds and flu, coughs, muscle tension and pain.
Guasha is similar to cupping in that it is used to clear pathogenic qi from the body and often used in conjunction with acupuncture. Instead of cups, a flat smooth tool made from stone, bone or ceramic is used to scrap the surface of the lubricated skin.
Guasha is usually used to treat the upper back and neck for immune related problems, colds and flu and stiff necks. Like cupping, guasha can leave markings on the skin which usually fade within a week.
Moxibustion, or moxa, is the stimulation of an acupuncture point by burning a Chinese Herb Mugwort leaf (Ai Ye) over the point. This can be done by:
- holding a moxa stick (like a giant incense stick) about 1-2cm above the point until the skin becomes nice and warm, moving it repeatedly to build heat but before becoming too hot
- moulding the moxa herb into little cones placed directly on the skin, on the end of a needle, or rolled into tiny threads for rice grain style moxa
- using smokeless moxa products to take home or if you are sensitive to the smoke.
Moxibustion stimulates the flow of energy through the body, warms the meridians (energy flow) and gets rid of cold and damp from the body.
Chinese medicine takes a holistic look at your entire body. As part of Chinese medicine, you may be provided with dietary advice and tools to use at home to help you move towards finding balance and good health.
This holistic approach means being able to help prevent health issues as well as treat any existing ailments. How you eat, exercise and the healthy choices you (do or don’t) make, all impact your wellbeing.
With our fast paced and often hectic lifestyles, a regular acupuncture session and yin yoga class can really help you feel recharged and grounded.