Chinese Practices for Staying Healthy in Mind and Body
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Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been practiced for over 4,000 years and even today many people prefer these treatment methods as an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs. Of course, these practices are more popular in Asia, but they’ve been gradually spreading to the Western countries. Chinese herbal medicine, in particular, is getting more popular nowadays.
In the majority of cases, there isn’t enough scientific research to prove TCM is indeed as efficient as regular medications. However, some specialized studies indicate that some of these practices contribute to the positive outcome of a comprehensive treatment program.
Understanding the Origins and Types of Traditional Chinese Medicine
The principles of TCM are rooted in Taoism, a philosophy focused on seeking harmony and balance of powers that govern the universe. One of the central principles of this medical practice is the belief in qi, the ‘life energy’ that flows through our bodies and supports our health, both mental and physical. TCM deals with stimulating and regulating the flow of this power in order to treat various health conditions.
Chinese medicine also embraces the principle of yin and yang, two opposite but interconnected energies that define everything. It’s believed that when these two energies are in perfect balance, the body and mind would be in perfect health.
Practitioners of TCM strive to achieve this balance through a variety of methods. A holistic approach is one of the most important principles of this medical therapy, so any TCM treatment program includes a few or all of the following practices:
This form of Chinese medicine is based on piercing the body with thin needles at specific acupuncture points to normalize the flow of energy through the body. Nowadays, some practitioners replace the needles with hat, laser light, or pressure. The applications of this practice vary and research indicates that it can be effective for relieving some types of pains as well as nausea induced by chemo therapy and many other causes.
Herbal medicine is the basis of many TCM treatments. Chinese doctors have been using herbs for thousands of years and some of the earliest recipes are as popular today as they used to be before the creation of pharmaceutical drugs. Chinese herbal medicine is an extremely complex art. Even the simplest of remedies contains no less than 10 herbs mixed in specific proportions based on the patient’s personal symptoms and a variety of other factors. These medications come in the form of pills, capsules, powders, and teas that must be taken at specific times.
This is a form of traditional Chinese martial arts that helps one build up their physical strength and normalize the flow of ‘life energy’ through the body. Health benefits of tai chi revolve around the ability of this physical practice to strengthen specific parts of the body as well as improve overall fitness and stimulate blood flow. Regular exercises also help one develop a good posture, which is essential for maintaining your general health.
This is a special form of Chinese massage that works in conjuncture with acupuncture and tai chi. This treatment is usually complemented with Chinese herbal medicines.
This is a practice of burning bunches of special herbs and applying the heat and fumes over specific acupuncture points.
This is another form of physical practice similar to tai chi, though qi gong puts more focus on meditation, moving meditation in particular.