A Brief Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine

Practitioners of TCM believe that in nature there is balance. The energy at the center of that balance is Qi (pronounced "chee"). Simply put, qi is "vital life force energy" found in all living things. Qi courses through your body just as it does through all animals and plants, even minerals.

The pathways by which qi moves through the body are known as channels, or sometimes, meridians. TCM recognizes twelve meridians, each one associated with an internal organ or primary body function, such as heat regulation. Imagine meridians as rivers carrying qi throughout the body, from one vital process to another.

Along the meridians are acupuncture points, sometimes called trigger points or "ah-shi" points. These points, studied and mapped over centuries of practice, may be seen as reservoirs where qi can become blocked or pooled. There are over 300 main points along recognized channels and over 500 points not located on channels that are less frequently used.

Central to TCM, Acupuncture stimulates a healing response by encouraging the flow of qi along meridians with the gentle insertion of extremely fine, flexible, and sterile needles. Since the needles are so thin (.25 to .30 mm. in diameter, about one tenth the width of a needle used for injection), there is very little sensation at the insertion point. Sensations at insertion and after vary widely between individuals. Following insertion, there can be a localized dull ache or a warming sensation, even a sense of calm wherein many patients relax to the point of sleep.

To support the healing response initiated by acupuncture and to engage the patient more in "self-care", specific herbs are prescribed and provided by our clinic. These herbs, mostly Chinese in origin, are generally provided in a bulk, dried form to be prepared at home as an infusion, or strong "tea", for daily drinking. Based on the patient's preference, herbs can also be provided in pill form, but history has shown the less processing the herb experiences, the greater its healing power.

A complimentary, though external, use of herbs, moxibustion, remains popular and effective after thousands of years of use within TCM. Moxibustion is a method of burning a moxa herb stick (made from the compressed, dried leaves of the mugwort plant, Artemisia vulgaris) just above the skin, along the acupuncture meridians and at specific points, for warming and to stimulate healthy circulation. In time, the unique smell of moxa will take on a positive association.

If our natural balance can be lost, it can also be regained. If we become "out of balance" by unhealthy practices, such as leading a stressful life, ingesting an unbalanced diet, or by being involved in accidents that force our bodies and our lives into disharmony, TCM can encourage a deep healing of the entire system.
Diagnosis

Tongue -
Your tongue tells a very immediate story of your overall health. Employing the focus of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncturists and herbalists from the very beginning have paid close attention to the external appearance and demeanor of the patient. TCM regards these outward manifestations as a reflection of internal process. In particular, diagnosis by visual inspection of the tongue has been central to TCM as far back as the Shang Dynasty (circa 16th Century BC - 1066 B.C.), the earliest Chinese dynasty from which we have written evidence.

Pulse-
Far beyond western medicine's focus on a single pulse or heart-rate, TCM works with multiple pulses on different levels. For an accurate diagnosis, an experienced practitioner will feel both wrists for the pulses of the patient to locate areas of disharmony within the body and determine the overall constitution.

Palpation-
A simple and concentrated method of manual examination, palpation is the practitioner employing the sense of experienced touch on areas of concern. By feeling any unusual sensitivity, temperature, and tenderness, a trained practitioner can discover swelling, inflammation, or area of impaired circulation.

Lab work-
The use of laboratories outside of the clinic can be extremely beneficial for diagnosis of internal and digestive disorders. Examples of helpful lab work are CDSA (Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis) to provide a thorough, non-invasive evaluation of the digestive tract and X-rays for possible bone maladies
Treatment Plan/Treatment

Following a careful and thorough diagnosis, Jorgen Jensen will recommend a treatment plan. The treatment plan, agreed upon by the patient, will include a reasonable combination of the modalities within TCM and allopathic medicine.


Acupuncture

Herbs

Naturopathic Preparations

Cupping

Moxibustion

Trigger point therapy/myofacial release

Infrared heat therapy

Dietary recommendations

Breathing technique / exercise

Corrective exercise / Stretching

Lifestyle education
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