In today’s world, we only think about getting medical attention once a problem has arisen. People don’t think of getting treatment for ourselves beyond our yearly physical. However as society is becoming more health-conscious, we are beginning to realize there are several ways to take care of ourselves before illness arises. Of course, there are several different approaches to do this but let’s explore the benefits of acupuncture and Chinese medicine.
Legend has it that in ancient China, every family was treated by an acupuncturist on a regular basis. The families would STOP paying the acupuncturist once a person became sick because the acupuncturist was NOT doing his job! (Today, we only visit our physicians once we become ill!) Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) views the body in terms of energy and balance. Energy courses through the body in channels that are named after organs. These organs have the same names as traditional Western medicine but the function are very different. When energy becomes out of balanced or disorganized, disease begins to present itself. Therefore, it is necessary to check in with the body’s energy on a regular basis to ensure that all aspects remain in balance. The purpose of acupuncture is to guide minor imbalances back into order. For example, many people do not consider a little insomnia to be cause for concern. However, if the insomnia continues over time (even if it is only the ability to get 6 hours of sleep per night) is a sign that energy is beginning to go awry. The earlier these small “problems” are address, the less likely they are to spiral out of control and affect other body systems!
The acupuncturist facilitates this process by asking a long series of questions about the patient’s general health. Many of our patients come for one specific problem but are asked about all aspects of their health–from sleep habit to bowel movements. The answers to these questions are clues for the acupuncturist as to which energy channels are involved. To confirm the diagnosis, the acupuncturist feels the radial pulses and look at the tongue. The pulse is felt in three different positions on each side. Each position corresponds with a different energetic channel and the acupuncturist is feeling for the quality of the pulse—wiry, weak, wide, etc. The quality of the pulse indicates the strength or weakness of energy in each channel. The tongue is also diagnostic. Different areas of the tongue correspond with different organs and in this case, the acupuncturist is looking at the color, tongue coating, shape and movement of the tongue. For many people, it is exciting to see the changes in the tongue as a measure of their progress with acupuncture treatment.
In treating patients preventatively, the treatment course usually involves acupuncture treatments every 4-6 weeks. We always ask our patients to call us sooner if they are feeling a little “off” or are going through a period of higher stress. Of course, TCM treatment involves much more than just monthly acupuncture sessions. Once a person understands their unique energetic tendencies, it is important to adopt lifestyle choices that support balance. Diet and exercise practices in particular are important to maintain on a daily basis to support the work from acupuncture sessions.
Curious to try a session? Give us a call at (248) 737-7126.