For decades since the appearance of acupuncture in the United States, there has been a bit of a language barrier between eastern and western medical practitioners. It is important to note that the reason for this is that Asian medicine based their concepts, principles, techniques and pathologies on their views of the world, their culture and things found in nature. Thereby when they spoke of disease, pathogenic influences or imbalances within the body, their terminology didn’t exactly match with that of western-trained practitioners.
Today, due largely to the positive integration between eastern and western medicine, acupuncture physicians are able to communicate effectively in either realm. For example when an acupuncture physician speaks with another, they may do so using traditional parlance. However when communicating with western medical practitioners, they will do so using western medical terminology as is part of their training.
Several simple, yet commonly used terms relative to Traditional Chinese Medicine have perhaps seemed somewhat nebulous when viewed from a western biomedical viewpoint. Listed below are a few that when demystified, should become much more easily understood.
QI: (chee) Literally, ”life-force” - The body’s own bioplasmic energy field composed of ions, positively charged protons and electrons affecting chemical changes and metabolic processes within the body.
MERIDIANS: An extraordinarily complex neuro-chemical network within the body with a profound effect on the organs, neurovascular system and immunity, with the ability to inhibit inflammation and restore homeostatic balance.
ACUPOINTS: A body-wide array of subdermal switches, triggers or keys, that when stimulated, produce an energy wave along its related channel, affecting the tissues surrounding the channel and allowing the point to communicate directly with its related organ.
ZANG FU: Organs. Act like the roots of a tree with the meridians being the branches and the acupoints being the buds on the end of the branches. Organs have their own intelligence, logic, intent and are in constant communication with one another.
At East West College of Natural Medicine, we have a clinic that provides services by highly trained and licensed natural medicine professionals and also serves as a hands-on training facility for our Oriental Medicine students. We are open Monday through Thursday 9am-9pm, Friday 9am-5pm, and Saturday 9am-1pm.
Dr. Steven Roensch, AP
Instructor/Admissions Committee Chair