Traditional Chinese medicine is an area of medicine that consists of different natural therapies and treatments that have been used for hundreds of years predominantly in East Asian cultures. In the last 100 years, more immigrants than ever have travelled all over the world spreading the reputation of TCM. With so many Western physicians either not believing in TCM or favoring pharmaceutical medications over more natural therapies, how do you know TCM works?
What is TCM?
Let’s first ask the question,What is TCM? What does traditional Chinese medicine consist of? Acupuncture, tai chi, and herb-based products all fit into the category of traditional medicines like this. These therapies have been studied in clinics and scientific journals, although not everything we’d like to know about them is readily available. There is still a lot to learn about acupuncture’s effectiveness and why tai chi is a better chronic pain exercise program than yoga. Findings like these are often misunderstood and under-explored.
How do you know is TCM is effective?
No pharmaceutical medication is 100% effective in every patient it’s given to. An antidepressant isn’t always going to cure depression nor is an anti-anxiety medication guaranteed to work on one’s anxiety. We are all different, some with very unique body chemistries. There are a lot of variables at play. How do you know TCM is effective for you – keep a journal. TCM’s designed to improve symptoms of certain conditions while also helping with overall quality of life. Some traditional medicines have produced similarly mixed results as pharmaceutical medications. Always write in your journal how intense your symptoms are and if you’ve noticed any difference.
Is TCM safe?
There are occasional stories shared that show how Chinese herbs are contaminated with toxins, heavy metals, pesticides, and micro-organisms. If you’re receiving your traditional Chinese medicine from a trusted source, you can rely on receiving quality, safe product. If you’re buying from cheap, no-name brands, this is where you could run into issues. The problems with Chinese herbs aside, any sort of TCM such as acupuncture or tai chi are completely risk-free, safe, and non-invasive. All in all, you have nothing to worry about undergoing a treatment with most traditional Chinese medicine.
Quick facts about TCM effectiveness
- Tai chi uses gentle movements, mental focus, breathing, and postures to create slow exercise. Tai chi can help with improving balance and stability in seniors, help with certain symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, reduce knee osteoarthritis pain, reduce fibromyalgia symptoms, reduce back pain, and improve overall quality of life.
- Acupuncture has been shown to stimulate the release of natural painkillers in the body, affecting the brain’s ability to process pain as well. Some scientific studies have noted acupuncture’s ability to relieve neck pain, lower back pain, osteoarthritis, knee pain, carpel tunnel syndrome, to reduce the frequency of tension headaches and to prevent migraines.