Shortened for TCM, traditional Chinese medicine comes mainly from ancient China and have gone through evolution for thousands of years. Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine utilize herbal medicines often combined with different mind and body routine practices, like tai chi and acupuncture. This is all used for treating or preventing any health problems. In the US, many people utilize TCM mainly for a complementary approach to a healthy body. Below is an overview of what to expect from traditional Chinese medicine.
Main Points of TCM
Is it safe? Many people that are concerned about the use of traditional Chinese medicine are worried about its safety. If you know that the practitioner is legalized and licensed to operate, then you already have an assurance that they are practice safety of their service above all else.
One of the many concerns with patients is the use of acupuncture. In the past, acupuncture was seen as something that quack doctors do. However, the medical world has seen the effectiveness of acupuncture, which is why it is recognized as a good alternative medicine these days. It is generally considered safe when they are done by an experienced practitioner utilizing sterile needles. When they are poorly performed, it can create dangerous side effects.
Qi gong and tai chi are two of another practice of the mind and body utilized in TCM and they are considered safe as well.
When it comes to herbal products, there have been reports wherein the products are contaminated with toxins, drugs or even heavy metals or other things that are not listed in the ingredients. Some herbs that are used with Chinese medicine oftentimes react with drugs and even have serious side effects. They are also considered unsafe for people that have certain medical issues that need their primary health care provider’s approval. In other words, if you are planning to visit or go with an alternative approach to treating your medical condition, don’t forget to inform your primary health care provider so that they can give you advice or even refer you to a Chinese medicine doctor that they can recommend to you.
Traditional Chinese medicine covers various practices which not only include acupuncture, which many people associate readily with TCM. It includes moxibustion, which is the burning of a herb set above the skin and applied with heat to the acupuncture points; tui na, which is a Chinese therapeutic massage; Chinese herbal medicine; qi gong and tai chi, which are practices that mixes up specific postures or movements, mental focus and coordinated breathing; and finally with dietary therapy.
The origins where traditional Chinese medicine could be traced as far back as 2,500 years ago. In fact, it is based on the ancient philosophy of Taoism. Traditional medicinal systems also exist in South and East Asian countries including Japan, wherein they have a popular medicine named Kampo. Korea is also a part of this ancient type of medicine, too. A couple of these systems have heavily been influenced by traditional Chinese medicine and that they are similar in some ways. However, each of these regions has developed features that are distinct from traditional Chinese medicine.
It is not known as of this writing to the exact number of people that uses traditional Chinese medicine, but back in 1997, it was estimated to have at least 10,000 practitioners have served over a million patients annually. According to the NHIS in 2007, wherein it also included a detailed survey of the utilization of the complementary health approaches by the local Americans, it has an estimate of 3.1 million adults that have used the acupuncture in 2006. The frequency of visits between 1997 to 2007 has tripled. The very same report also showed 2.3 million Americans practicing tai chi and another 600,000 practicing qi gong.