Monday, July 30, 2007

Introduction to Alternative Medicine

'Faced with the decision on what form of alternative medicine to use, I write for your advice?' she wrote, detailing her husband's rheumatoid arthritis. This is a case in point for many folks who have reached a crossroads at which Western medicines have failed them.

Alternative medicines, and in particular Traditional Chinese Medicine, are concerned with re-balancing the whole person, treating body, mind and spirit; both healing, nourishing and tonifying Qi, commonly translated as "our vital energy," and restoring the patient's control over their own therapies and medicines, all of course while providing the necessary guidance and adjustments by a licensed practitioner.

Our Three Branches of medicine are among the world's oldest organized forms of medicine. Concerned that without proper diet or exercises or supplementation we would in fact age much faster, wither and die, the ancient herbologists and healers developed the Three Branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Qi Gong, Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine which, working together, bring wellness to the patient, restore health and longevity.

In Brief...

Loosely termed, Qi Gong is a form of exercise. It aims to revitalize the internal vital points located in a sort of invincible chain throughout the body. These in turn, when activated correctly respond in a beneficial manner to aid and recuperate the body much faster. The breathing exercises incorporated into Qi Gong (pronounced Chi-kung) provides us with the essential breathing techniques that relax and benefit the body, mind and spirit, all the while providing us with a centralized focus into ourselves and the world around us.

Acupuncture, or the science of nerve stimulation by needlepoint, is perhaps the better known of the Three Branches here in the West, perhaps due to our fascination with the exotic. Consisting of the insertion of tiny needles at designated points for specific illnesses, it employs patterns that help rebalance the body and the organs. It is especially useful in cases of pain, injury and stress and is usually accompanied by traditional herbal formulas to speed-up healing and success.

Herbal therapy is the oldest of the Three Branches, dating to pre-historic time. It is perhaps the best documented, yet the least accepted and understood in the Western world.

Over centuries the Chinese developed a system of diagnosis that often baffles the uninitiated. It takes approximately 7 years to become a doctor (MD) in the West versus 12 years to become an OMD (Oriental Medical Doctor).

As for the case study at the beginning of this article, a practitioner will combine all the therapies to balance the patient's constitutional confirmation. The key of proper diagnosing lies in the proper interpretation of each individual's constitutional confirmation and the interpretation of the symptoms as a pattern. It is the goal of the practitioner to restore health by eliminating the symptoms and re-balancing Qi, allowing circulation of the blood and its nutrients to do the rest, aided by supplemental herbal formulas, proper diet and proper exercise.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, we are alive and healthy because our bodies maintain a state of harmony. It is this harmony practitioners seek to restore. When a person is healthy, equilibrium is maintained; but when this is damaged and not restored, illness and disease take hold.

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