Medicinal Herb Therapy
Acupuncture has a well documented history spanning more than 2,000 years, and is still one of the most commonly used medical procedures in the world today. Acupuncture has been promoted by the World Health Organization to treat many illnesses and disorders. The National Institute of Health (NIH) Consensus Conference on Acupuncture in 1997 stated, "The data in support of acupuncture are as strong as those for many accepted Western medical therapies. One of the advantages of acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs and other accepted medical procedures used for the same conditions."
To treat a patient, the acupuncturist uses hair-thin needles to stimulate special points on the body. The acupuncture points are chosen based on the appropriate Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnosis and the meridian theory. There are 12 regular meridians and 8 extra meridians running through the whole body, all of which are connected by many minor connecting meridians to form a web of continuous channels for Qi (vital energy) and blood to circulate in.
According to TCM theory, illness and pain arise when there is:
external pathogen invading the body, or
imbalance of Yin, Yang, Qi and blood, or
blockage of Qi and/or blood circulation.
Acupuncture stimulation of certain points can eradicate pathogen, balance Yin, Yang, Qi, and blood, or open up the blockage in the channel, thus treating both the symptoms and the root of the disease.
MEDICINAL HERB THERAPY
Herbal medicine is by far the largest component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). At about 200 B.C., The Divine Husbandman’s Classic of the Materia Medica was written. This book is known to be the first reference book of Chinese herbal medicine. It includes information of 365 herbs - their taste, temperature, toxicity, processing methods, and indications. Many of those herbs are still commonly prescribed today.
Since then, TCM herbalogy has continued to be rigorously tested and greatly advanced upon, and around 1550 A.D., another famous herb text was published with 1,892 herbs and over 11,000 formulas.
In this herbal classic, herbs are categorized into three groups:
The first group is called “food herbs” which are eaten as part of one’s diet for general fortification, prevention, and maintenance.
The other two groups are called “medicinal herbs,” which are dispensed to each patient as an individual formula based on one’s constitution, environment, and medical condition. The herbs are available as raw herbs, powders, or pills.
Medicinal herbal therapy works in concert with acupuncture by providing the nourishing support for the energetic “re-programming” and “re-balancing” efforts of acupuncture. After diagnosing a pattern of disharmony and administering acupuncture treatments, a TCM doctor often writes an herbal formula guided by TCM diagnosis. Herbal formulas are composed in ways to enhance the potency of single herbs and reduce side effects.
Tuina is effective for musculoskeletal problems such as sports injury, neck pain, shoulder tension, lower back pain, and numbness and tingling sensation in the limbs. Tuina is also good for relieving headaches, stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Unlike many modern drug-based or surgery-based treatments, Tuina has minimal side effects.
Tuina’s techniques range from light stroking to deep-tissue work. They include the use of hand techniques to massage soft tissues (muscles and tendons), as well as stretching, acupressure, and other techniques to realign musculoskeletal relationships, relax muscle spasm, mobilize joints, and reduce inflammation. Herbal ointments or liniments can also be used topically to enhance the above therapeutic methods.