Our immune system is built to cope with a certain amount of stress temporarily, but not with long-term irritation, stress, or repetitive injury. Long-term stress will cause various known and unknown symptoms. In the holistically oriented viewpoint of Chinese Medicine, all this “dis-ease” is a phenomenon of imbalance and disharmony in our body either physically or mentally and may cause long-term and often chronic irritations, disorders, or diseases.
The holistic principles of TCM incorporate a scientific and systematic approach to treat the disharmony and imbalance in the body and the mind. The main disciplines of TCM are Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine – the former being an applied form of advanced needling techniques, while the latter incorporates a multitude of special herbal remedies for various ailments. Chinese herbs are alkaline in nature compared to the (mostly) chemically processed medications, which tend to be acidic. It is a well-known fact that body acidity is a fostering component for disorders of all kinds, whereas a well-balanced alkaline body supports the immune system and the natural capabilities of the body to heal itself using its own natural resourcefulness. These two sub-categories of TCM therapy can also be supported with acupressure and gua-sha massage, moxibustion (including deep tissue stimulation with the help of TDP mineral lamps), and cupping, to name only a few.
To give an example of TCM in practice, let’s look at a patient with a chronic cough. The Western medicinal approach would probably be to directly treat the lung or respiratory system. However, in Chinese medicine, the practitioner would first look for any other symptoms, such as whether the patient’s coughing includes pain/discomfort in the lumbar area. Furthermore, any issues with the urinary bladder or kidney system would be looked at in more detail since the cough may have arisen as disharmony/disorder from this part of the body. Thus the final treatment strategy may incorporate a far more extensive treatment programme that includes all related issues and not just the superficial ones.
This example shows that the TCM approach can explain and treat complex states of chronic health issues and decay. Most people intuitively know that when they feel ill over a long period of time, there are likely to be many factors that contribute to their state of health. Here is where TCM can help, by applying a holistically orientated approach where the restitution of the harmony of body, spirit, and mind, is paramount.