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Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a range of traditional medical practices originating in China that developed several thousand years ago. TCM practices include theories, diagnosis and treatments such as acupuncture, cupping, massage, herbal medicine, nutritional therapy, and physical exercise (e.g. Tai Chi). TCM theory asserts that processes of the human body are interrelated and in constant interaction with the environment. Signs of disharmony help the TCM practitioner to understand, treat and prevent illness and disease.
TCM theory is based on a number of philosophies including the theory of Yin-Yang, the Five Elements, the human body Meridian system, ZangFu organ theory, and others. Diagnosis and treatment are conducted with reference to these concepts. TCM does not operate within a western scientific paradigm but some practitioners make efforts to bring practices into a biomedical, scientific, evidence-based framework. Much recent research has brought great support to the efficacy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, especially acupuncture.
According to the Meridian System, one of the most commonly used models, our bodies have pathways or “meridians” in which blood, energy (Qi), and fluids flow. Patterns of disharmony or “sickness” come from disruptions of the body's energy flow along the series of meridians. There are 12 standard meridians, each corresponding to different organs in our bodies. When referring to these organs, acupuncture works with the biological functions of the organs rather than their physical structural using needles to correct any disruptions. Treatment is often supported further using herbs and food therapy.
Traditional Chinese diagnostics are based on overall observation of human symptoms rather than "micro" level laboratory tests. There are five types of TCM diagnostic methods: observe, hear, smell, history, and touch.
Acupuncture is effective for treating a broad range of illnesses and conditions, including: pain relief, sinusitis, mood disorders, preventing miscarriage, infertility, stress relief, fibromyalgia, headaches, menopausal symptoms, treatment of side effects of chemotherapy, treatment of addictions, acute conditions like the flu, and much more! Side effects of acupuncture may include temporary soreness at insertion spots and bruising.