What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?


  • Acupuncture

  • Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used medical procedures in the world. Although acupuncture originated in China over 2,000 years ago, it is presently used as a primary healthcare system throughout the world. A method of balancing and building the body’s life force or energy known as qi, acupuncturists use specific channels called meridians to regulate and rebalance the body, thereby restoring health. Very thin, individually packaged sterile, stainless steel needles are inserted into points along the meridians in order to disperse energy blockages and mobilize the body’s innate healing responses. Needling is only one of a number of energy balancing techniques. Actually, the term acupuncture describes a family of procedures involving stimulation of anatomical points on the body by a variety of techniques. American practices of acupuncture incorporate medical traditions from China, Japan, Korea, and other countries. The acupuncture technique that has been most studied scientifically involves penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles that are manipulated by the hands or by electrical stimulation. For more information see http://nccam.nih.gov/health/acupuncture/#acupuncture.

  • Chinese Herbal Medicine

  • Traditional Chinese medicine, in essence, views disease as the result of imbalances or blockages in the body’s natural energy flow. Such imbalance manifests in physical, emotional and psychosomatic stress-related disorders; and aches, pains, and other discomforts are viewed as symptoms of deeper, underlying health problems. Therefore, a comprehensive diagnosis is completed using a holistic model that takes into account all aspects of the patient’s wellbeing. The basis of Chinese medicine is to rebuild the body’s own healing system and that prevention is the best medicine. Herbal medicines are the primary method of treatment. In the EWC clinic, natural herbal formulas as well as prepared tablets are dispensed according to the principles of Chinese medicine.

  • Tuina Massage

  • Tui Na is Chinese body work. It is used in conjunction with acupuncture for a variety of musculo-skeletal and organ-related issues.

  • Cupping

  • In cupping, a glass cup or bamboo jar is suctioned onto the body and kept in place for about ten minutes. This stimulates circulation, relieves swelling, and enhances the acupuncture or electro-acupuncture.

  • Moxibustion

  • Moxibustion is a technique in which a Chinese herb called mugwort or Artemisia Vulgaris is used to heat an acupuncture point, particularly in the treatment of certain debilitating conditions as well as arthritis and pain. Moxa is usually rolled into a stick, lit, and held over specific areas of the body. It can also be placed onto the handle of an acupuncture needle for deeper penetration of heat.

  • Electro-Acupuncture

  • Electro-Acupuncture uses acupuncture needles to conduct small electrical currents. This technique is often used in conjunction with acupuncture to enhance treatment, and has been proven to decrease pain, accelerate healing, and significantly reduce inflammation, edema and swelling

  • Acupuncture Injection Therapy

  • Acupuncture injection therapy (AIT), also called Biopuncture, is the injection of herbal extracts, homeopathic medicines, nutrients, and other compounds including natural or bio-identical hormones and pharmaceutical substances, such as procaine, by hypodermic needle into specific points and sites on the body to prevent and treat disease. AIT may include regenerative therapies, prolotherapy, mesotherapy, neurotherapy, and myofascial trigger point therapy.

  • Homeopathy

  • Homeopathy is the art and science of healing by using substances capable of causing the same symptoms, syndromes and conditions when administered to healthy people. Any substance may be considered a homeopathic medicine if it has known homeopathic provings (effects which mimic symptoms which it is administered to treat), and is manufactured according to the specifications of the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS). Official homeopathic drugs are those that are accepted for inclusion in the HPUS. In homeopathy, much like Chinese medicine, a key premise is that every person has energy called a vital force or self-healing response. When this energy is disrupted or imbalanced, health problems develop. Homeopathy aims to stimulate the body’s own healing responses. Homeopathic treatment involves giving extremely small doses of substances that produce characteristic symptoms of illness in healthy people when given in larger doses. This approach is called “like cures like.” The term homeopathy comes from the Greek words homeo, meaning similar, and pathos, meaning suffering or disease. Treatment in homeopathy is individualized (tailored to each person). Homeopathic practitioners select remedies according to a total picture of the patient, including not only symptoms but lifestyle, emotional and mental states, and other factors.


Definitions are adapted from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM): http://nccam.nih.gov/