Traditional Chinese Medicine (abbreviated as TCM) is the world’s oldest, continually practiced professional medicine. Its written history stretches back over 2,500 years and its practice is probably much older than that. One basic principle of TCM is that everything is connected. TCM philosophy connects the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of the individual. This is a relatively new idea in Western Medicine.
What is Qi?
At the core of acupuncture and TCM is the philosophy that Qi (sometimes spelled ‘chi’) or Life Energy, flows throughout the body. Qi animates the body and protects it from illness, pain, and disease. A person’s health is influenced by the quality, quantity, and balance of Qi. A harmonious relationship between the physical, mental and spiritual allows the Qi to flow properly, thereby restoring the necessary balance.
How does Qi move?
Qi flows through specific pathways called meridians. There are 14 main meridians inside the body. Each of these is connected to specific organs and glands.
Meridian pathways are like rivers flowing inside the body. Like rivers bring water, meridian pathways bring life-giving Qi that provides nourishment to every cell, organ, gland, tissue, and muscle in the body.
How is Qi disrupted?
Physical and emotional trauma, stress, lack of exercise, overexertion, seasonal changes, poor diet, accidents, excessive activity, and many others can all influence the balance of Qi in your body.
Normally, when a blockage or imbalance occurs, the body easily bounces back, returning to a state of health and well-being. However, when this disruption is prolonged or excessive, or if the body is in a weakened state, illness, pain, or disease can set in.
What does an acupuncturist do?
During the initial consultation, a full health history is taken. Questions are asked regarding health, symptoms, and life style.
Gathering this information is crucial for the practitioner to effectively diagnose and detect any specific imbalances of Qi that may have contributed to a patient’s health problems. The practitioner can then create a well-structured treatment plan.
Once the patient’s imbalances of Qi are noted, an acupuncturist will place extra-fine, sterile needles at specific acupoints along meridian pathways. This safe and painless procedure can unblock and balance Qi in the problem areas. Once this is completed, Qi can freely circulate throughout the body, balance is restored, and the patient’s pain can be eliminated.
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