Chinese Medicine is the medical system of which Acupuncture is just one part. Chinese Medicine was the dominant medical system in China until European medicine became more influential in the 19th century. The two primary components of Chinese Medicine are Acupuncture and Herbology, much like modern medicine has surgery and medication, though it also includes other treatment methods such as cupping, moxa, and massage. While any useful medical system has complex systems that define and treat disease, two important foundational concepts of this system are Yin and Yang and the Five Elements.
Acupuncture is the insertion of tiny solid needles the size of a hair into points on the body. The effect, while mild, has been shown to be beneficial for many health problems, including pain conditions, injuries, depression, anxiety, menstrual irregularities and many others. The insertion of needles relaxes muscles, improves circulation and activates the nervous system, calling on the body to return normal function and homeostasis to imbalanced aspects of physiology. Acupuncture’s effectiveness has been supported by many organizations, including the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization and the Oregon Medical Board.
Chinese Herbology has been practiced continuously for at least 2000 years. Herbology helps with mental-emotional conditions, digestive problems, fatigue and women’s health. Many modern pharmaceuticals are derived from herbs, but they lack the holistic effects that make herbs safer and more effective for most applications.
Moxa is a warming therapy that works well for chronic injuries and conditions that present with fatigue or other depletions. Moxa is also called artemisia argyii or mugwort. This herb is ground until it is fluffy, then burned on or near the skin or on a needle. It is quite relaxing and warming.
Cupping (sometimes called Fire Cupping) is the application of glass cups with a mild suction to the body (usually the back). This technique re-organizes the micro-circulation in the area applied, relieves muscle tension and reduces toxicity.
Gua Sha has effects similar to cupping, but uses a smooth tool (sometimes a japanese soup spoon) rubbed over the affected area with a penetrating massage oil.