HERBOLOGY & ACUPUNTURE
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture and herbology are the two main subsets of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Other facets of TCM include massage forms, acupressure, the bleeding of certain points, cupping, gwasha, minor surgeries, bonesetting, wrapping, poultices and moxibustion; all developing from Chinese folk medicine dating back 3 – 5000 years and culminating in an enormous body of information.
Acupuncture is the usage of fine, filament-like needles inserted into specific points to act as antennae or relay stations on the pool of energy resident within that exact point. This energy spike or bolus can then be routed to, or drawn from the rivulet of energy coursing through it. Meridians are the name given to the rivulets which traverse under our skins and within the cores of our bodies to form a network of bio-electric energy. These energy highways are as much a part of our anatomy as our circulatory and nervous systems.
The energy itself is called ‘chi’ (qi, ki), life force and bio-electricity. You cannot see it and to date it is impossible by standard methods to measure. Often treatment effects are not simply repeatable, and these 3 aspects keep it from the scientific community’s ability to accumulate repeatable data, dissect and analyze its’ value as well as its’ very existence.
Best known for treating pain, a series of acupuncture sessions typically restore an individual to a state of pain free balance and harmony. In other words, acupuncture urges the body back to homeostasis. Acupuncture tends to speed healing of wounds and physical aberrations. It restores balance to the nervous system and hormonal upsets, influences circulation, digestion and respiration. As such, it becomes a useful treatment in practically all ills and conditions known to humankind.
Unlike Acupuncture, Chinese herbology is infinitely more tangible, measurable and scientifically ‘reliable’ in terms of returning results. These botanicals, minerals and occasional animal parts contain a fortress of nutrients and values. Chinese study and usage of herbology holds the record for the greatest amount of data on these elements, as well as the most long-standing body of knowledge to reference. It is a very sophisticated system, sporting traditional recipes of compounds, new and innovative combinations, quality distinction, contraindications and synergistic factors. As with acupuncture, Chinese herbology can be used to address any ailment under the sun.
In TCM, herbology takes first place therapeutically, after diagnosis and evaluation. The taking of pulses, qualities of the tongue, face and overall body, voice, smell, behavior, history and assessment of the ‘shen’ (spirit of the person), all indicate directions in the selection of a classical formula. This formula may then be tweaked or enhanced by other herbs and altered periodically as status of the condition changes.
Not so long ago the various formulas were presented in the form of raw herbs to be boiled in a specialized teapot and consumed over the course of days to weeks. This is the ancient, traditional, and probably the most effective way to receive the herbs. Although second nature to older Asian populations, this method proved repulsive and cumbersome, if not time consuming and generally objectionable to modern, non-Asian individuals. Compliance and consequently results, became a major factor having a cancelling effect on TCM overall.
Presently we have pills made from these same formula which stand up to the scrutiny and safety standards set out by the FDA. Herbology in general has come a long way from weeds along the roadside, to distilled and blended compounds with all their natural compliments intact, in an easy to swallow little package of power.