Chinese medicine is a
system of medicine partly based on the idea that an energy, called qi
(say "chee"), flows along pathways in the body called meridians. In this
belief, if the flow of qi along these meridians is blocked or unbalanced,
illness can occur. In China, doctors have practiced Chinese medicine for
thousands of years, and it is gaining in popularity in many Western countries.
Spiritual and religious well-being may help improve quality of life.
It is not known for sure how spirituality and religion are related to health. Some studies show that spiritual or religious beliefs and practices create a positive mental attitude that may help a patient feel better and improve the well-being of family caregivers. Spiritual and religious well-being may help improve health and quality of life in the following ways:
Decrease anxiety, depression, anger, and discomfort.
Internal forces, such as emotions of joy, anger, or
Lifestyle factors, such as poor diet, too little sleep, or
too much alcohol.
Another important concept in Chinese medicine is the
concept of yin and yang. In this approach, all things, including the body, are
composed of opposing forces called yin and yang. Health is said to depend on
the balance of these forces. Chinese medicine focuses on maintaining the
yin-yang balance to maintain health and prevent illness.
medicine doctors look at the balance of body, mind, and spirit to determine how
to restore qi, the yin-yang balance, and good health.
What is Chinese medicine used for?
Chinese medicine to treat many illnesses from
asthma and allergies to cancer and
infertility. Chinese doctors may use several types of
treatment to restore qi balance.
Chinese medicine therapies
Acupuncture, which uses thin metal needles
placed along the body's meridians.
Acupressure, which uses the
hands or fingers to apply direct pressure to points along the body's
Chinese herbs, combinations of herbs, roots, powders, or
animal substances to help restore balance in the body.
which uses warm air in glass jars to create suction placed on areas of the body
to help stimulate qi.
Diet. Yin and yang foods can help restore the
yin-yang balance in the body.
Massage (tui na) on specific areas of
the body or along the body's meridians.
Moxibustion, which uses
small amounts of heated plant fiber (moxa, or Chinese mugwort) on specific
areas of the body.
Qi gong, which uses movement, breathing
techniques, and meditation.
Is Chinese medicine safe?
Research in China and
worldwide has shown Chinese medicine to be helpful for many types of illness.
Because Chinese medicine differs from Western medical practice in diagnosis and
treatment methods, it is difficult to apply Western scientific standards to
For example, in Western medical practice, any two people with
a similar infection (such as
sinusitis) may be treated with a standard course of
antibiotics. In Chinese medicine, each person might receive a different
treatment for the same illness depending on the person's own qi and yin-yang
The United States accredits schools in Chinese medicine,
so a practitioner certified by an accredited school has had extensive training
in Chinese medicine.