Traditional Chinese Medicine is a complete medical system. This means that you can think about it the same way you think about your primary care physician. We treat acute conditions, chronic ailments, and work preventatively. There really isn't any ailment that asian medicine doesn't work on, and that being said, most Doctor's of Oriental Medicine tend to have areas of interest or specialties.
Acupuncture is a component of traditional Chinese medicine that originated in China over 5,000 years ago. It is based on the belief that living beings have a vital energy, called "qi", that circulates through twelve invisible energy lines known as meridians on the body. Each meridian is associated with a different organ system. An imbalance in the flow of qi throughout a meridian is how disease begins.
Acupuncturists insert needles into specified points along meridian lines to influence and restore balance to the flow of qi. There are over 1,000 acupuncture points on the body. In 1997, acupuncture needles were reclassified from "experimental" to "medical device" by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The National Institutes of Health released a consensus statement in the same year endorsing acupuncture for the treatment of a variety of conditions such as post-operative pain, tennis elbow, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Acupuncture is one of the best known of the alternative therapies. The FDA estimates that people in the United States spend more than $500 million annually on acupuncture treatments. Many people have insurance coverage for acupuncture.
-Cathy Wong, Altmedicine.about.com
Chinese herbal formulas are based on balancing a patient's system, to bring it back to health. Formulas usually contain several whole herbs that work together to harmonize each other to bring about ease to a system in dis-ease. Most herbal formulas are not meant to be taken longterm, but taken until the patient's system is back to a state of equilibrium.
Cupping has been and is still used in many healing traditions througout the world. It can be used to remedy coughs, treat the common cold, and relieve tension and pain in the muscles of the body. Cupping is also used to treat sports injuries, low back pain, stress, and menstrual problems.
Moxibusion can be used for many of the same ailments, but instead uses the herb Ai Ye (dried mugwort leaves) to produce heat for the body. It can be burned directly on the skin, indirectly near the skin, or on a needle for warm needling. Moxibustion has been shown to increase digestive function, increase white blood cell count, as well as platelets. It can also be used for conditions of pain, menstrual cramps, diarrhea, hypo-thyroidism, and to turn a breeched fetus before birth.