If you are new to acupuncture, you might have some questions about how it all works, especially if your practitioner has offered you Chinese herbal remedies as part of your treatment plan. In fact, acupuncture is one part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM. For the best results, many acupuncturists also use the other elements of TCM to create a personalized treatment plan. Here is what you should know.
Understanding Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, originated thousands of years ago in China. It is a holistic approach to health and wellness that treats the entire person rather than an identified set of symptoms. According to TCM, illness is a sign that the body is out of balance. The goal of TCM is to return the body to homeostasis and encourage its natural healing abilities.
In the West, TCM is generally considered an adjunct to modern Western medicine. Many Western physicians are open to working with TCM practitioners, and many TCM practitioners are comfortable working with Western doctors. Always seek your doctor’s advice before embarking on a TCM treatment protocol.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has several components, any or all of which might be employed in a particular treatment plan. Before your treatment begins, your practitioner will conduct a detailed evaluation and work with you to develop a fully individualized path to wellness.
The Role of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is the TCM component with which Westerners are generally the most familiar. According to traditional thought, Qi is the life force contained within every living thing. It can easily become blocked by the stressors of daily life, and acupuncture helps to release its flow.
The Role of Chinese Herbs
In TCM, Chinese herbs take the place of modern medications. Today, they are often prescribed as a supplementary treatment. Because the goal of TCM is to promote overall health and wellness, and to bring the body back into balance, Chinese herbs tend to focus on boosting the functioning of various parts of the body, such as the immune system or the digestive system.
The Role of Nutrition and Dietary Supplements
TCM supports the old adage that you are what you eat. If your diet is poor, your body’s systems will become clogged and sluggish. Proper nutrition, supported by supplements when needed, promotes health, wellness, and vitality. Your practitioner will interview you about your current dietary habits, look for signs of poor nutrition, and develop personalized recommendations for improving your diet.
The Role of Lifestyle Changes
Lifestyle also plays a huge role in TCM. For maximum wellness, you need a mix of physical and mental activities, along with plenty of rest. Alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and other substances deplete your body’s resources and should be kept to a minimum. Your practitioner will work with you to make needed changes and maintain healthier habits.
Psychological health is an important component of TCM as well. Your stress and anxiety levels will be assessed, along with signs of depression and other mental health challenges, and improving your mental health will be an important component of your individualized treatment plan.
Putting It All Together
As you can see, Chinese herbs play a vital role in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Modern acupuncturists often use particular combinations of herbs, along with nutritional and lifestyle changes, to enhance the benefits of acupuncture. Of course, herbal remedies are not right for everyone.
Your current state of health will be evaluated, along with any medications that you are currently taking. You should always check with your doctor before embarking on any new treatment regimen, especially if you have underlying health conditions. For many people, though, Chinese herbs play an important adjunct role, improving upon the results of acupuncture and helping to restore the body and mind to optimum wellness.
Located in Pacific Palisades, with satellite clinics in Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, and Beverly Hills, Thumos Health Center offers patients exceptional personalized care. If you are ready to take the first steps toward a more integrative approach to your health care, we invite you to phone 310-927-2792 to schedule an appointment at any of our Los Angeles locations. Our highly knowledgeable and friendly staff will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have.