Skip to Main Content
5 elements Chinese medicine

What is oriental medicine?

Oriental medicine, also known as Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM, is an ancient medical system cultivated throughout Asia thousands of years ago. It is rooted in the philosophy of Taoism which emphasizes living in harmony with nature. The primary theories of Chinese medicine are yin & yang theory and the 5 elements. These are theories in which natural laws of the universe are applied to health and the human body.

Important components of TCM treatment include a focus on the whole body, looking for root causes rather than just treating symptoms, a focus on prevention, and working to correct imbalances in the body.

In Chinese medicine, illness is believed to be caused by two main factors: 1. environmental influences and pathogens invading the body and 2. a weakened imbalanced body.

TCM practitioners look for clues of underlying imbalances in the pulse, tongue, face, and disposition, and ask patients questions about all aspects of their health in order to identify patterns. We then choose acupuncture points and herbs that correct these patterns and imbalances.

Imbalances can manifest as weakened or stagnated Qi which can lead to pain or various internal disorders. Qi is the energy that runs through meridians. Qi in western terms can be understood as a group of physiological actions in the body such as electricity, nerve conductivity, blood and lymph circulation and meridians are pathways that run along fascial planes, major nerves and blood vessels which connect all areas of the body.

Acupuncture takes advantage of these connections by tapping into this system and regulating its function. The needles create micro trauma that promote healing and ultimately homeostasis.

Acupuncture is just one modality of TCM. Herbal medicine prescriptions are another very important part of treatment. TCM practitioners are trained in other modalities such as cupping, moxibustion, electrical stimulation, and nutritional counseling.