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Traditional Chinese Medicine is a term that refers to medicine practices developed in China and other parts of Asia.  Traditional Chinese Medicine generally covers many types of modalities including acupuncture and moxibustion, Chinese Herbal remedies, Tui Na or Chinese Medical Massage, as well as other manual therapies including gua sha (spoon massage or coining) and cupping. In China, the term Chinese medicine (in Chinese it is called Zhong Yi 中医) often refers to the practice of Chinese herbal medicine.  Although it can also refer to the entire practice of Chinese medicine. While acupuncture refers to acupuncture and moxibustion. Some of these therapies are performed only by experienced physicians, such as prescribing complex herbal formulas or doing acupuncture. But others are

“And when you do find one, observe with care…they almost always have crystals in their hearts.” From Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez To understand Chinese medicine better, we also have to think about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine conceptualize and describe the body. The Language of Acupuncture and Chinese medicine Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese medicine is a comprehensive medical system with it own diagnosis and treatment.  The terminology and language is also unique. Sometimes, acupuncture language may sound a little magical.  We may say that a headache is caused by liver qi stagnation in one person but in another person it may be from heat.  Similarly, anxiety can come from heart blood vacuity but it

This is the 4th is a series explaining acupuncture and Chinese medicine theory and background. How is acupuncture more than just acupuncture? Acupuncture is one of the most powerful and versatile therapies in Chinese medicine, but it is not the only one.  Acupuncturists use many techniques of Traditional East Asian Medicine. The most common therapies are acupressure, Chinese herbal therapy, moxibustion, gua sha, and cupping.  I’ve written about the last three in this post. Moxabustion Moxabustion is the burning of an herb call mugwort, ai ye in Chinese, close to specific acupuncture points or on the needle itself.  It is used to warm and add energy to the acupuncture point.  It also is good for moving stagnation. Moxibustion is central to

The birth of the Chinese medicine tradition, which has carried on till today, occurred when the Chinese developed the viewpoint that disease is caused by forces in the natural world rather than spiritual forces.  And through the healthy choices, we can influence our own health.  This post is based upon ideas from Paul Unschuld’s fabulous book, Medicine in China. Originally, disease theory in China was based upon a shamanistic view that illness was caused by evil spirits. The first record we have of healers in China dates back to the Shang dynasty.  The religion of the day was ancestor worship.  They believed the living and the dead lived side by side. The living worked hard to worship and please their