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Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture

Traditional Chinese Medicine has evolved into a complete system of healing through continuous practice and experimentation over the past 2500 years. Chinese medical philosophy views the human body as a dynamic organism animated by vital energy which is in a constantly shifting balance. When this energy is harmoniously regulated, health and vigor are preserved. When the vital energy is disturbed, the organ systems of the body cease to function smoothly and symptoms arise. These symptoms may be due to deficiency of energy in certain areas of the body or obstructed circulation of blood and other nutrient fluids. The goal of traditional Chinese medicine is to re-establish the harmonious function of the body by employing the tools of acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition, and exercise.

In order to treat a patient the acupuncturist must make a careful diagnosis. This is accomplished by interviewing the patient and performing a physical examination. The complex of symptoms and signs exhibited by a patient, when analyzed through the sophisticated models of Chinese diagnosis, resolve into a three dimensional image of interacting forces. Physical findings, including pulse, tongue, and facial diagnosis, help to complete the analysis of the specific disease syndrome. When a final diagnosis has been reached, a plan is formulated for reinforcing and regulating the physiological activity of the body. This is accomplished by inserting and manipulating needles at specific acupuncture points along the meridians (or energy channels) on the body surface. Other techniques may be employed by the acupuncturist such as heat applications and the prescription of Chinese herbs. The goal is always to promote or invigorate the flow of vital energy and to harmonize the interaction of organ systems. At each visit the acupuncturist will re-examine the patient and modify the treatment according to the person’s energetic and physiological state.

A typical course of treatment with acupuncture will involve an extended initial interview followed by weekly or biweekly treatments for eight to twelve weeks. Then, depending on response and the individual’s progress, less frequent visits will follow as symptoms gradually lessen in severity. Treatment should simultaneously lead to a return of vitality, strength, and adaptability.