About Chinese Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicine is one of the main treatment methods within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM is the world’s oldest, continually practiced professional medicine.Its written history stretches back to no fewer than 2,500 years and its practice is undoubtedly much older than that. Although acupuncture was the first Chinese modality to gain wide acceptance in the West, Chinese herbal medicine is quickly establishing itself as one of the most popular and effective alternative therapies.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into the body at specific points which is proven to be effective in the treatment of specific health problems.These points have been mapped by the Chinese over a period of 2,500 years. Recently, electromagnetic research has confirmed their locations.

What problems can be treated by acupuncture?

The World Health Organization has said that acupuncture is suitable for treating the following: 

Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders Toothaches, pain after tooth extraction, earaches, sinus inflammation, nasal inflammation or dryness. 

Respiratory Disorders Uncomplicated bronchial asthma in children or adults. 

Gastrointestinal Disorders Digestive tract problems, hiccups inflammation of the stomach, chronic duodenal ulcers, inflammation of the colon, constipation, diarrhea, dysentery caused by certain bacteria. 

Eye Disorders Inflammation of the conjunctiva, inflammation of the central retina, nearsightedness (in children), and uncomplicated cataracts.

Nervous System and Muscular disorders Headaches, migraines, certain facial paralysis or nerve pain, partial weakness after a stroke, inflammation of nerve endings, bed wetting, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, sciatica, low back pain, and osteoarthritis.

How deep do the needles go?

That depends on the nature of the problem, the location of the pints selected the patient’s size, age, and constitution, and upon the acupuncturist’s style or school. Usually, needles are inserted from 1/4 to 1 inch in depth.

Does it hurt?

If your practitioner has obtained the correct stimulus of the needle, the patient should feel some cramping, heaviness, distention, tingling, or electric sensation either around the needle or traveling up or down the affected meridian, or energy pathway. In any case, if you experience any discomfort, it is usually mild.

Does acupuncture leave scars?

No. Very fine needles are used for acupuncture. If done correctly, the needles do not leave scars.

How does acupuncture work?

Modern Western medicine cannot explain how acupuncture works. Traditional acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories of the flow of Qi and Xue ( Energy and Blood) through distinct meridians or pathways that cover the body somewhat like the nerves and blood vessels do. According to ancient theory, acupuncture allows Qi to flow to areas where it is deficient and away from where it is excess. In this way, acupuncture regulates and restores the harmonious energetic balance of the body. In Chinese, there is a saying, "There is no pain if there is free flow; if there is a pain, there is no free flow."

Are acupuncture needles safe?

Yes! Now acupuncture is performed with sterile and disposable needles approved by the FDA.

How many sessions do I need?

Since each patient’s condition is unique, the number of session you need for treatment vary. Among the determining factors are the type of condition, whether the condition is chronic or acute, and the vitality of the individual. Again, you should discuss your treatment program with your acupuncturist.

How often should I have an acupuncture treatment?

Two or three sessions a week for the first two weeks and then one or two sessions a week for the following weeks after reviewing the progress. However, it greatly depends on the mental and physical condition of each patient.

How long does each session take?

Normally, each session takes 20 to 30 minutes. It depends on the sensitivity of each individual and the kind of diseases and conditions. 

Generally speaking, the quality of acupuncture treatment relies on the experience and skill of the acupuncturist and varies to the combination of diagnosis, the accuracy of occupants, timing, depth and angle of needle insertion, techniques of manipulation, etc.

Should I stop taking other medications?

No. You should continue to follow your current physician’s instructions. Please remember that acupuncture is used as complement and supplement for your physician’s treatments, not a replacement. You can discuss this issue with your physician and acupuncturist.

What is the difference between Western drugs and Chinese herbal medicine?

Western drugs often control symptoms but do not alter the disease process. For instance, antibiotics eliminate bacteria but do not improve a person’s resistance to infection; diuretics help to get rid of excess fluids but do not improve the kidney function. Chinese herbs treat the underlying condition as defined by TCM and rarely cause unwanted side effects.

What is Chinese herbal medicine good for?

Chinese herbal medicine treats the full range of human disease. It treats acute diseases, like stomach flu and the common cold, as well as chronic diseases, such as allergies, gynecological disorders, dermatological disorders, autoimmune diseases, chronic viral diseases, degenerative disorders due to aging and many more. 

In particular, Chinese herbal medicine is especially good for promoting the body’s ability to heal and recuperate.

How are Chinese herbs taken?

The most common method of taking Chinese herbal medicine is as a tea decoction. This means that the herbs are simmered for an hour or more and then strained and drunk 2-3 times per day. However, there are also herbal pills and powders for those who do not have the time or cannot tolerate the taste of their decoctions


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