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Chinese Traditional Medicine

Chinese medicine is different to western medicine as it follows a holistic approach, which maintains that a person’s ailments or psychic dysfunctions are related to his/her psychic and spiritual sphere. As a consequence, it is structured according to a precise system of interconnections, described by terms such as Qi, Yin and Yang, Meridians, 5-phases, etc., summarized in the flow cycle diagram.

In an updated and revised form, TCM is taught in Chinese universities and practiced in hospitals, alongside conventional medicine.

TCM mainly makes use of the following therapeutic means:

  • pulse diagnosis, a method of patient examination focusing on specific body parts: wrists, tongue, eyes, skin, etc.;
  • Chinese herbal and food therapy, which uses plants, minerals and animal substances differently to western medicine;
  • Acupuncture, performed by inserting very fine needles at certain sites in the body, along the energy meridians;
    Tui-na massage: it can be applied to the tendon-muscle system, the skeletal and joints system, the meridians system, and to single acupuncture points;
  • Exercise therapy: the patient performs specific exercises, of varying intensity, coupled with specific breathing techniques.
Among the complementary techniques employed by TCM are also:

  • Moxibustion, in which moxas (small cones of dried leaves, usually Artemisia) are burned on designated areas of the patient’s body, generally the same points as those used in acupuncture;
  • Cupping: heated cups are placed on the patient’s skin; the hot air in the cups creates a vacuum effect, which in turn induces a suction of the skin;
  • Acupressure, acting on the meridian points, which are treated by simply exerting pressure with the fingers.

These days, TCM is also approached through new methods, or paired with other disciplines, ranging from electrical stimulation and laser therapy to phytotherapy, homeopathy, Bach flowers therapy, osteopathy, yoga, and shiatsu.

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