Monday, March 9, 2009

What is Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM? By Bob Hubbard

What is Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM?
By Bob Hubbard

Medicine today is high technology field, involving all types of advanced equipment, complex chemicals, and designer drugs. American’s spend billions of dollars every year on treatments and doctor visits. But what if there was an alternate to the complex and sometimes complicated system of healing?

Enter Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM for short. What is it? Let us start with what it is not.

TCM is not a substitute for regular checkups with your primary physician, a miracle cure, or black magic. It is an alternate system of healing and healthy living that has been developed, researched and refined over several thousand years by one of the oldest continuous advanced civilizations in the world. By comparison, in conventional, or Western medicine, you visit your doctor when you feel ill, and your doctor will often prescribe medicine to treat your symptoms. Take this to stop your nose from leaking, take this to calm your stomach, and so on.

TCM by comparison seeks to diagnose the cause of illness and unrest, treat it, and prevent it from happening again. It seeks to restore balance to your body, believing that a body in balance is healthy, by treating the whole person, not just trying to mask the symptoms of illness. TCM practitioners seek to balance ones life force, also called chi or qi (pronounced chee) through a combination of healthy living, and controlled redirection under the care of a trained professional.

Some of the methods used include:
  • Acupuncture – A system where thin steel needles are inserted into certain specific points on the body to unblock and rebalance the flow of chi.
  • Acupressure – This is similar to acupuncture, but uses manual manipulation of these points rather than needles.
  • Herbal medicines – Chinese herbal treatments such as ginseng and ginko work to rebalance the body from within. Self treatment is highly discouraged, and a trained herbalist’s skill is essential for proper and safe treatment.
  • Tai Chi – Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art known for promoting energy flow and flexibility in the body using slow graceful movements, most commonly in a low to no impact environment. Most Tai Chi taught in the US today focuses on the therapeutic rather than the martial aspects, and is a good match to senior citizens looking to maintain or improve their health.
  • Qi gong – Qi Gong is a sort of moving meditation, combining slow careful movements and focused breathing. Qi Gong is a component in Tai Chi and many other Chinese arts, but is also a system all it’s own. Practice is recommended under the guidance of an experienced instructor as incorrect Qi Gong can cause problems.
When choosing to visit a TCM doctor, be certain to check credentials.
Here are four basic questions to ask when choosing an acupuncturist, herbologist or doctor of TCM:
1) Where did he or she train?
2) How many years did he or she been train?
3) How many years has he or she been practicing acupuncture or herbology?
4) Does he or she have an NCCAOM certificate in acupuncture or herbology?.
Another important point is to check for a valid license and certifications. In the US, NCCAOM is the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. They put out the National Exam that most, if not all, states recognize.

If you are in the US visit the NCCAOM web site at and check credentials and find qualified TCM practitioners in your area.

TCM is a safe and reliable alternate system of healing that has been practiced for generations and is worth looking at in conjunction with the Western system for a complete healthy existence.

Bob Hubbard is an administrator of the popular martial arts portal site and president of SilverStar WebDesigns inc., a web site design and hosting company specializing in affordable solutions for martial artists. Bob can be reached at

Article Copyright © 2009 - Bob Hubbard - All Rights Reserved. This article may be reproduced provided all text, the author bio and these terms are kept intact.

No comments:

Copyright © 2009 Bob Hubbard. All rights reserved.