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TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is thousands of years old and it is an umbrella term overseeing several therapeutic modalities, such as: acupuncture, cupping, gau sha, moxibustion, nutrition, and qigong for example. TCM also has its own unique method of diagnosis.
Under the Traditional Chinese Medicine Act in Canada, here is the scope of practice statement: “The practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine is the assessment of body system disorders through Traditional Chinese Medicine techniques and treatment using Traditional Chinese Medicine therapies to promote, maintain or restore health.”
In the province of Ontario, acupuncture became regulated in the year 2013, designating it as a controlled act and protecting the title “Acupuncturist.” Prior to this regulation healthcare practitioners could get a weekend course in acupuncture and practice that limited version of acupuncture. Since the regulation, a true TCM Practitioner and Acupuncturist needs to have at least 2000 hours of scholarly and clinical training, that’s a minimum of three years of credible education. This expanded depth of learning finally does acupuncture justice. Without this formal training of knowledge, a person cannot hold themselves out to be an “Acupuncturist” and cannot bill under acupuncture.
Medically speaking, acupuncture is the insertion of disposable, one-time use, needles. There are several versions of needles, such as: thumbtack, seven star, plum blossom, three-edged, filiform. Needless can also be used with electrical stimulation. Also, there are several styles of acupuncture, such as: scalp acupuncture, auricular acupuncture, ankle & wrist acupuncture and so forth.
There are a few versions of cupping: (1) Fire cupping; (2) Suction cupping; (3) Wet cupping. In general, cupping is performed to reduce the stagnation of qi (energy) and blood.
Tuina is a manual therapy that stimulates the acupuncture points and could be viewed as a
form of acupressure.
The scraping action of Gua Sha stimulates the circulation of qi (energy) and blood.
Moxa is from the mugwart tree. Generally, it used to warm the meridians and expel cold as well as to induce the smooth flow of qi (energy) and blood, prevent disease and maintain health. There are several ways to apply moxa (direct, indirect) and there are several types of moxa such as cones, sticks and the warming needle.
This form of acupuncture can be used for patients with numbness such as leg numbness.
Auricular acupuncture is commonly used for addictions such as alcohol.
CHINESE MEDICAL NUTRITION
Food can be classified into several areas when it comes to TCM. For example, there is the famous concept of the “5-elements” whereby certain foods are appropriate for certain meridians. Food can also be classified according to its nature such as hot, cold, or damp for example as well as the person’s constitution. A variety of factors come into play when determining the best recommendation of foods and liquids for any one person.
TCM addresses several lifestyle choices in terms of diet, emotions, mental attitude and physical well-being. Qigong and Tai Qi are two of the main body-mind disciplines. Meditation is also highly regarded.