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How does Traditional Chinese Medicine work?

by / Monday, 18 July 2016 / Published in Article

A Traditional Chinese Medicine assessment will involve me identifying imbalances in your body based on symptoms and other information that I gather from you. I look at the same symptoms that you describe to your allopathic medicine doctor, but perceive these symptoms differently, without resorting to blood work or scans. I use this information to categorize the state of imbalance in the body using several dimensions, including heat/cold, interior/exterior, deficiency/excess, and yin/yang.

Each state of imbalance will exhibit its own pattern of specific symptoms. While different states may have very similar symptoms, I look for specific differences to arrive at an accurate diagnosis

For example, if patient A is suffering from post-menopausal hot flashes, symptoms may include feelings of constant intense heat and sweating, with excessive thirst and appetite. I compare these symptoms with your tongue coating and radial pulse and, given that the pulse and tongue coating match the patterns exhibited by excess and heat dimensions, may come to a conclusion that imbalance is “excess heat in the Yang Ming (stomach) region”. Patients who fall into this category may have a rapid and large pulse pattern, along with a red or yellow tongue coating.

Once the specific imbalance is determined, I prescribe an herbal formula to remedy the imbalance. In the case of patient A, one solution is to release excess heat from the body. A remedial formula may be the Baihu (White Tiger) decoction. This formula contains herbs that release excess heat from the Yang Ming (stomach), yet replenish fluids in the body lost in the form of excess sweating. Even though the formula name is “White Tiger”, the formula is 100% plant-based and contains no animal parts. The reason why it is dubbed “White Tiger” is due to one of the minerals in the formula, gypsum fibrosum, traditional referred to as the “White Tiger” in TCM literature.

After patient A takes the herbal tea and excess heat is released from the body, the patient should report an improvement in symptoms. The skill of the practitioner is extremely important during the course of treatment, in terms of obtaining a correct diagnosis using information gathered from the patient, and in deciding on the appropriate formula to remedy the imbalance.

To learn more please contact Rob at Newmarket Acupuncture, or your local licensed Acupuncturist/TCM practitioner.

Disclaimer: This entry explains how Traditional Chinese Medicine works. Please do not treat yourself with herbs or acupuncture, even if your symptoms resemble those outlined above. Also, please visit a licensed acupuncturist or TCM practitioner in your area. I am not responsible for any health or bodily harm caused by misuse or self-treatment after you read this entry.