What is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?
In TCM, disease is generally perceived as a disharmony (or imbalance) in the functions or interactions between the body and the environment. Diagnosis and treatment are based on patterns of disharmony. The TCM practitioner uses tongue and pulse diagnosis as well as a complete health history and list of symptoms to discover your unique pattern(s) of imbalance. To help your body get back to balance, the TCM practitioner uses several tools, such as acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, cupping, gua sha, tui na, and electrostimulation.
Amy’s TCM Tools to Enjoy Balanced Health
ACUPUNCTURE – The insertion of ultra-thin needles in specific points along lines (meridians or channels) of energy that run throughout the body.
CUPPING – Using glass cups to create suction on the skin increases blood flow (circulation) to promote healing, locally and throughout the body. I use it for pain relief as well as to help clear the lungs from infection, like from a cough or cold.
GUA SHA – A smooth-edged tool is rubbed across the skin with mild pressure several times to relieve muscle pain or release the common cold or sore throat. It leaves a “sha” rash, which can take 2-4 days to heal. The rash is not broken blood vessels. It’s created, because it increases local circulation by causing extravasation of blood from the peripheral capillaries.
ELECTROACUPUNCTURE (E-STIM) – Acupuncture needles are attached to a device that generates continuous electric pulses. I use e-stim to help relieve pain, induce labor, and more.
EAR ACUPUNCTURE – Based on the assumption that the ear is a microcosm of the entire body, I use ear points for stress relief, addiction and management of cravings, boosting the immune system, and more.
SCALP ACUPUNCTURE – The majority of these points are best for motor impairment of the arms and legs, balance issues, essential tremors, and stroke.
COSMETIC ACUPUNCTURE – The use of acupuncture to reduce wrinkles on the face.
InfiniChi – Energetic treatments without needles.
QI GONG EXERCISES – Movements developed to increase the flow of Qi and promote healing through the alignment of breath, movement, and body awareness.
What is Qi?
The energy that motivates all of the functions of your body. Also called life force, Chi, or motive force.
The ultra-thin acupuncture needles access your body’s natural healing abilities, freeing up blocks and getting your energy to flow the way only your body knows how it should flow. When your Qi is flowing, thus flows your life. When your Qi is blocked, thus flows your life.
Here’s my freeway analogy for Qi flow in the body. Living in California and driving the 405, or various other traffic-infested freeways, gives us a good starting point. So, you’re on the 405 by LAX, traffic slows until you’ve eventually stopped. Each time you move, your speedometer makes it to 5 or 10 miles, then you brake again. It’s frustrating. You feel like you will never get where you want to go. You do get there, but it takes longer, and your energy is much more depleted by the time you arrive.
Our bodies work much the same way. For our hearts to beat, our cells to regenerate, our joints to move, etc. we need energy. For anything to move, it needs energy, a motivating force, Qi. That Qi runs through our bodies like a freeway. There are several channels, or pathways, that run from our heads to our toes and connect in many ways. Along those pathways, there are points which allow me, your acupuncturist, to access your body’s energy.
When you overwork, eat poorly, think negative thoughts, think about things obsessively, can’t sleep, and any number of stressors, your body’s Qi (freeway) gets blocked. The Qi slows down and eventually stops. It will free up in spurts once in a while, like the 405. But, in the meantime, your mind, body and spirit feel stuck. Your Qi will try other routes, but the other routes are not the most direct or efficient. Your body’s energy gets more and more exhausted trying to break through the blocks. Over time, symptoms develop, such as pain or a cough or disease.
TCM, in my experience, is the most direct way to unblock the energy pathways in your body. Once again, when your Qi is flowing, thus flows your life. When your Qi is blocked, thus flows your life. A body that is working most efficiently stays healthier, heals faster (even from acute illness, like coughs and colds) and feels stronger.