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What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been part of Chinese culture for more than 3000 years. This holistic system of medicine was designed based on the ancient Chinese’s perception of human beings as miniature beings influenced by the universe which they live in. The purpose of TCM is therefore to optimise human life by preserving the conditions within which it thrives.
The philosophies and principles of TCM explain how the body works as an integrated system. These concepts closely parallel the theories that Western medicine is now discovering. Acupuncture, arguably the most well-known TCM technique, serves as a good example. There is now an understanding in Western medicine that the acupuncture meridians serve as channels of communication that follow the fascia (a thin sheath of fibrous tissue which encloses a muscle or organ). This supports the TCM principle of the body as a networked system. TCM recognises that the accumulation and balance of attributes within an individual, such as Yin-Yang, heat-cold, and blood-Qi, determines their internal climate and health.
Let us look at some of TCM practices in more depth.
Acupuncture is a technique in which practitioners insert thin needles through the skin to stimulate specific points on the body. Some studies have shown that the body releases natural painkillers as a result of the stimulation through acupuncture, and even affects areas in the brain involved in processing pain. Some trials even suggest that real acupuncture and sham acupuncture are equally effective, indicating a placebo effect. However, results from a number of studies suggest that real acupuncture may help ease types of pain that are often chronic, which may include lower back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Acupuncture may also be applied to help reduce the frequency of tension headaches and prevent migraine headaches.
Tai Chi is a non-competitive martial art that combines fluid and gentle movements, mental focus, breathing, and relaxation. Research findings suggest that practicing Tai Chi may improve balance and stability in older people and those with Parkinson’s disease. It may also reduce pain from knee osteoarthritis, and help people cope with fibromyalgia and back pain. For people suffering from heart problems, Tai Chi can help promote quality of life and improve their mood.
Chinese Herbal Products
Chinese herbal products have been used help with many medical problems, such as stroke, heart disease, mental disorders, and respiratory diseases. The first science Nobel Prize awarded to a China-based scientist was to pharmacologist Tu Youyou. Her discovery of artemisinin (a key antimalarial drug credited with saving millions of lives) was rooted in TCM. This piqued the interest of the global research community, as scientists are always searching for novel therapeutic agents from TCM since it is a rich source of potential leads for drug development. The synergistic property of multiple herbs and constituents, known as formulae, are key to TCM’s therapeutic efficacy. Depending on symptoms and characteristics of a patient, formulae are designed to encompass a combination of various kinds of crude drugs that generally assume that a synergism of all ingredients will bring about the maximum therapeutic effect when combined.
It is safe to say that TCM is an essential part of the health care system in most East Asian countries, and has been playing a very important role in health protection and disease control for thousands of years. Here at ReSupp, we believe that we are able to harness the benefits of TCM, coupled with the rigour of Western scientific research, to help our consumers tune their bodies and reach their optimal state. Visit our e-shop to try our products today!