The Benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine

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Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a vast and comprehensive medical system that was first developed in ancient China more than 3,000 years ago. There are several different therapies that comprise this complex and beautiful system. These therapies include, acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, exercises such as tai ji and qi gong, moxibustion, cupping, gua sha, food therapy, and many more. All of these healing modalities are firmly rooted in Chinese culture.

  • Acupuncture, the most well-known branch of traditional Chinese medicine in the U.S., is performed by inserting very tiny needles in various locations throughout the body in order to balance the flow of Qi, or the person’s life-force energy.
  • Traditional Chinese herbal medicine consists mainly of plant materials, but also includes some minerals and animal substances. The number of substances that are most often used have changed quite a bit from ancient times until now, but there are still hundreds of herbs commonly in use today.
  • Moxibustion is the burning of a particular herb, known as ai ye in Chinese, or mugwort in English. This herb has the special property of warming the acupuncture points, which is particularly useful for the elderly, and for most people during the cold months of winter.
  • Cupping involves placing several glass cups on the skin, most often on the back, and creating a suction by using a lit cotton ball. The cups either stay in place on one particular spot that needs a lot of attention, or moved over the back using massage oil, to create a very pleasant massage. The purpose of cupping is to loosen muscles, increase blood circulation, relax the nervous system, and  remove toxins such as lactic acid from the muscles.
  • The most common form of massage used in China is called tui na. This literally means ‘push-pull,’ since the techniques involve quite a bit of this type of motion on the part of the practitioner while working on a patient. Tui na is excellent for any type of physical injury or pain.
  • There are hundreds of different styles of qi gong and tai ji. Tai ji is a form of qi gong, and is a very slow, graceful type of martial art. Qi gong is the parent of tai ji. Tai ji is a martial art, but qi gong is used purely for healing purposes. Although they are both a bit different, what they have in common is their ability to promote the movement of Qi within the body. They are beneficial for all aspects of the person: body, mind, and spirit, and can both treat and prevent illness.
  • Gua sha is a form of therapy in which parts of the body, usually the back, are scraped with a spoon or a special gua sha tool to produce light bruising. This treatment releases unhealthy elements from injured areas and stimulates blood flow and healing.
  • Chinese food therapy is based on Traditional Chinese medicine, and is based on eating with the seasons, and focuses on how food affects health

At Merry Clinic, we focus on herbal medicine only. Dr. Merry Li specializes in treating skin disorders and women’s hormonal issues. Herbal medicine is the most effective form of treatment for these two types of problems. If you would like to have an online consultation with Dr. Li to discuss your health concerns, please use the web link below to get started:

https://www.merryclinic.com/forms/form_general.php

https://www.merryclinic.com/forms/form_general.php

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Teresa is a California licensed acupuncturist in San Francisco, CA

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