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.
By Gretchen Rubin
When our two daughters were little, they'd greet my husband and me with wild enthusiasm whenever we walked in the door, and they often cried miserably when we left. More recently, however, they had sometimes barely looked up from their games or homework or books when we walked in or out. It was a relief, in a way, but also a little sad. And too often, my husband and I didn't give warm greetings or farewells to the girls or to each other, either.
I had already made a long-standing...
Internal forces, such as emotions of joy, anger, or fear.
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.
Chinese 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?
People use 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 include:
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 meridians.
Chinese herbs, combinations of herbs, roots, powders, or animal substances to help restore balance in the body.
Cupping, 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.