Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) originated in ancient China and has evolved over thousands of years. TCM practitioners use herbal medicines and various mind and body practices, such as acupuncture, cupping and tuina (Chinese therapeutic massage), to treat or prevent health problems. TCM views a person as an energy system in which body and mind are unified, each influencing and balancing the other. Unlike allopathic medicine which attempts to isolate and separate a disease from a person, TCM emphasizes a holistic approach that treats the whole person. Many people have found Traditional Chinese methods of healing to be excellent tools for maintaining optimum health and preventing illness.
CHINESE HERBAL MEDICINE
The Chinese Materia Medica (a pharmacological reference book used by TCM practitioners) describes thousands of medicinal substances—primarily plants, but also some minerals and animal products. Different parts of plants, such as the leaves, roots, stems, flowers, and seeds, are used. In TCM, herbs are often combined in formulas and given as teas, capsules, liquid extracts, granules, or powders.
Chinese Herbal medicine has three main functions:
Treat the acute diseases and conditions such as killing bacteria or a virus;
Heal chronic illness such as gastrointestinal disorder, respiratory disorder, allergies, immune system deficiency, etc. by strengthening the body, helping it to recover;
Maintain daily life health by keeping the balance of human body.
In general, herbs can treat a wide variety of diseases and conditions. Comparing with chemical medicine, Chinese herbal medicine is much gentler and safer because it is made of natural herbs. Most of Chinese herbs do not cause side effects. Even some side effects that do occur among a few herbs, those side effects can be easily counteracted with other herbs. For these reasons, people turn to herbal therapy for a number of indications. More and more people rely on Chinese herb medicine as alternative after chemical medicine failed.
Cupping is the term applied to a technique that uses small glass cups or bamboo jars as suction devices that are placed on the skin.
How does cupping work?
There are several ways that a practitioner can create the suction in the cups. One method involves swabbing rubbing alcohol onto the bottom of the cup, then lighting it and putting the cup immediately against the skin.
Flames are never used near the skin and are not lit throughout the process of cupping, but rather are a means to create the heat that causes the suction within the small cups.
Once the suction has occurred, the cups can be gently moved across the skin (often referred to as "gliding cupping). The suction in the cups causes the skin and superficial muscle layer to be lightly drawn into the cup. Cupping is much like the inverse of massage— rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward. For most patients, this is a particularly relaxing and relieving sensation. Once suctioned, the cups are generally left in place for about ten minutes while the patient relaxes.
What are the benefits of cupping?
The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping can loosen muscles, encourage blood flow, and sedate the nervous system (which makes it an excellent treatment for high blood pressure). Cupping is used to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, rheumatism, and even cellulite. For weight loss and cellulite treatments, oil is first applied to the skin, and then the cups are moved up and down the surrounding area.
Tuina is a form of Oriental bodywork that has been used in China for centuries. A combination of massage, acupressure and other forms of body manipulation, tuina works by applying pressure to acupoints, meridians and groups of muscles or nerves to remove blockages that prevent the free flow of qi. Removing these blockages restores the balance of qi in the body, leading to improved health and vitality. Tuina is best suited for rectifying chronic pain, musculoskeletal conditions and stress-related disorders that affect the digestive and/or respiratory systems.
Among the ailments tuina treats best are neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, sciatica and tennis elbow. However, because tuina is designed to improve and restore the flow of qi, treatment often ends up causing improvements to the whole body, not just a specific area. There is anecdotal evidence that headaches, constipation, premenstrual symptoms and some emotional problems may also be effectively treated through tuina.