Traditional Chinese Medicine consists of three main therapeutic procedures – acupuncture, manual therapy or Tui Na, and Chinese herbal medicine. This natural therapy originates from China, where it looks back on a history of thousands of years. Traditional Chinese medicine is a constantly evolving discipline.
Why is it traditional?
In China, doctors of traditional Chinese medicine are considered to be on equal footing with Western doctors. Besides studying disciplines pertaining to modern medicine, they also study acupuncture, herbal medicine, classical medical texts, etc. In order to make a distinction between the two professions, and to put emphasis on the traditional approach to medicine, doctors specialising in acupuncture are called doctors of traditional Chinese medicine.
Traditional Chinese medicine is based on thousands of years of clinical experience, and it’s characterised by constant evolution, with the starting point always being the classical medical texts and previous work of doctors of traditional Chinese medicine. Thousands of years of experience coupled with knowledge that is continuously sophisticated is what makes Chinese medicine extremely valuable. This is what makes it traditional.
Why is it Chinese?
This discipline originates from China, however, Chinese people studying at Western medical universities or practicing Western medicine are not doctors of traditional Chinese medicine. However, a non-Chinese person that studies traditional Chinese medicine can become a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine.
In this context, the word Chinese denotes the unique medical approach and principles that govern the work of doctors of traditional Chinese medicine.
Chinese medicine and Western medicine
In China, traditional medicine and Western medicine are intertwined and coexist. The Chinese medical system brilliantly combines the two in order to achieve the best possible results. In Western hospitals, there are usually one or two traditional medicine departments, where acupuncture, manual therapy, herbal prescriptions are available as a complementary way to help the healing process in a gentle and natural way.
Each year, the Chinese government spends millions on an increasing number of high-tech research on the effects of acupuncture and Chinese herbs. These studies find newer and newer ways in which Western and traditional Chinese medicine can work together. Likewise, these studies are an important tool in combining these two very different, yet similar disciplines.
Chinese herbal medicine has been proven to be efficient for thousands of years. The syndrome differentiation unique to traditional Chinese medicine makes it possible for doctors of Chinese medicine to prescribe a unique combination of herbs to patients taking into account the health status and particular needs of each patient.
Thus, these herbs produce their effects gradually and without side-effects, helping patients to heal and providing symptom relief. Ideally, herbal supplements are prescribed on a weekly basis, so that the health status of the patient can be monitored, and because, depending on the severity of the disease, the herbal therapy may last for weeks or even for several months.