Healing with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Healing with Traditional Chinese Medicine
A TCM diet plan
Practitioners often give diet suggestions.

WHAT TO EXPECT: A practitioner will work with you to create a highly personalized meal plan combining foods that correspond with yin (cooling, moistening, salty, sour, bitter) and yang (warming, drying, pungent, sweet, bland).

HOW IT WORKS: The TCM diet does not look at vitamin content or nutrients. Instead, food is used to counter imbalances in your body. Practitioners may also prescribe an energy-based diet to mitigate the effects of lifestyle and yin/yang constitution on your health, says Linda Prout, nutritionist and author of Live in the Balance: The Ground- Breaking East-West Nutrition Program (Da Capo Press, 2000). Warming yang foods include beef and lamb, root vegetables, squash, oatmeal, and spices like cinnamon and ginger. Cooling yin foods are melon, cucumber, pears, beans, white fish, and spices like parsley and dill.

Acupressure & tuina massage
Acupressure is the stimulation of acupuncture points with fingers rather than with needles. Tuina (pronounced “twee-naw”) is a type of traditional therapeutic massage that can include acupressure.

BEST FOR: Musculoskeletal or neurological- based pain throughout the body.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Tuina and acupressure sessions can last 30 to 60 minutes. Recipients are often fully clothed. Expect hard pressure and vigorous stimulation.

HOW IT WORKS: Meant to manipulate the “energy” along meridians, acupressure and tuina work in the same way as acupuncture: they trigger the release of painreducing endorphins and increase or reduce blood flow. Neither treatment is considered as effective, but they can help people warm up to acupuncture therapy if they feel nervous about needles, says Lillian Huang, L.Ac., Ph.D., an acupuncturist in Hayward, Calif.

Ask your practitioner (search for someone who’s qualified at nccaom.org) to explain what’s happening during your treatment.

QI (pronounced “chee”): The essential life force that flows through the body. TCM manipulates qi, restoring it to organs that are deficient, and moving it away from areas where energy is blocked.

YIN AND YANG: Dynamic forces such as heat/cold and moist/dry that are in constant opposition. Disease results from a prolonged state of yin/ yang imbalance.

MERIDIANS: The 12 major channels through which qi flows to all parts of the body.

“LIVER” AND “KIDNEY”: When diagnosing your symptoms, your practitioner may mention your Liver or Kidney qi. These are not biomedical references. Liver describes central nervous functions and can be implicated in conditions like depression, anxiety, and headache. Kidney is associated with growth, development, reproduction, and metabolism of fluids.