What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), as the name suggests, is the medicine of China, evolved over thousands of years to what we use today. It is comprised primarily of four pillars. Acupuncture, the insertion of hair thin needles; Chinese Medicinal Herbalism, internal and external herbal therapy; therapeutic Tuina massage and exercises called Qigong.
Combined this medicine is directed at returning your body to equilibrium. This is done by moving resources like blood and an element referred to as Qi. The concept of Qi is difficult to translate, which we explore below. When there are not enough resources to safely move, TCM seeks to add those elements through various techniques, such as herbal and Qigong therapy. Through the building and movement of all of these foundational elements, TCM is able to help the body heal from a great deal of conditions.
As many know, there are times when we stray, wander or just get thrown from our “Path” in life. TCM focuses to look at the root of physical and emotional issues in order to alleviate and ideally, re-balance the mind/body allowing a person to proceed down their “Path” & pursue their destiny.
Click each of the four pillars to learn more
What is Qi?
This question is perhaps the most crucial, especially for Americans, as we have very little frame of reference. Qi, pronounced like the Chee in Cheese, is the primary element in Chinese medicine. Because there is not an easy Western counterpart it often does not get translated.
Many have referred to it as energy, and it is very much akin to energy. Unfortunately when it is referred to as energy it is easy to attach a metaphysical meaning to it and Qi is anything but metaphysical. This is why we like to compare it to breath.
Like breath you can run low on it and get winded; you can train and become more adept at using it. Like breath you can find Qi everywhere; and like breath once you no longer have any, you're in trouble.
Will it hurt?
Acupuncture by definition involves needles puncturing the skin. This means there's always a chance of feeling something. The needles are very small though and we have practiced quite a bit, so any sensation should be fairly mild and not long lasting.
My last Acupuncturist did things very differently, why is that?
Acupuncture has been practiced for a very long time in many different places in the world. This means that there have become many different ways to practice. One way is not necessarily better than another, but many people prefer one way over another. The best thing to do is try a few different styles before you settle on one.
How long will I need treatment?
Every person responds uniquely to this medicine. Some may respond very quickly, others may not. Each condition also responds differently. More acute conditions will almost always respond faster than chronic ones. While some patients see full recovery after one visit, this is rare. Research has shown that lasting results usually occur between three and five visits. We evaluate each of our patient's treatment plans for length and frequency at the first visit.
Is there anything TCM can't do?
This question gets asked a lot, in one form or another. Acupuncture, and Chinese medicine as a whole, is very good at treating a wide variety of ailments. This does not mean it should be the end all be all for your health. It is always good to ask your acupuncturist if there is another field of medicine that might be a better fit for what's bothering you. As a general rule emergency conditions should be dealt with by emergency services, not your acupuncturist. In the state of Oregon Acupuncturists are also not considered Primary Care Physicians.
What is Group Acupuncture?
In a group acupuncture clinic you are treated alongside other patients, as opposed to having a private room. Recently this style of clinic has been making headway in America, due in large part to the affordability when compared to many private clinics.
The best way to prepare for this style of clinic is to wear loose clothing. In this setting only points from the elbows and knees down, along with the head and neck are generally used. You will also be sitting with others who already have needles in, so always be courteous and use inside voices.
Currently Stone Guardian Acupuncture limits group acupuncture to our rural clinics and other off-site treatments.
Adverse Side Effects...
I woke up with a bruise from where the needle was inserted.
This is always a risk of acupuncture. Our bodies of covered in little blood vessels and sometimes the needle can nick these vessels and cause some bleeding. There no need to panic, simply call your Acupuncturist if you have any concerns and they can help answer any questions you have.
I'm sore today after my treatment.
Often times the day after a deep Tuina massage or certain styles of Acupuncture there can be some residual soreness. This soreness is similar to after a really strenuous workout. It is normal and usually nothing to concern yourself with. If the soreness turns into a sharp pain or exceeds a level you are comfortable with, contact your Acupuncturist.
After I take the herbs I was given my stomach hurts.
While a little digestive discomfort can always occur with Chinese herbs if the discomfort does not abate or is severe please stop taking your herbs and contact your Herbalist.
I can't sleep after my treatments.
TCM treatments can often be very moving and energizing. Sometimes this makes falling asleep difficult. This can be a sign that you should be considering early Acupuncture visits. If the lack of sleep persists contact your Acupuncturist. If you are taking an herbal formula and you find your sleep impacted, contact your Herbalist to reevaluate your formula.