Oriental Medicine is a complete medical system that originated in China, and has been practiced in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years. It’s based on the concept that disease results from disruption in the flow of Qi, and imbalance in the energies of yin and yang.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Qi is the vital energy, or life force. Qi is everywhere, and everything is made of Qi. Oriental medical treatment assesses the state of one’s Qi, yin and yang, so as to bring them into harmony and balance, thereby improving and maintaining health.
Yin represents the cooling, moistening and nourishing aspects of the body. Yin corresponds with the blood, organs and physical structure of the body. Yang represents the heating, functioning and active processes of the organs and the whole body. One way to understand this is to think about your car. The motor and physical structure of the car are yin, while the energy, or horsepower, is the Qi. The functioning of the various parts of the vehicle and the movement of the car correspond with yang. You can’t see the Qi, or horsepower, but you can feel its effects. It’s the same in your body. So, the state of balance or imbalance of Qi, yin and yang in the body governs a person’s physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health.
According to Chinese medicine, health is achieved through balancing yin, yang and Qi, while disease is caused by an imbalance in these energies. To restore proper function and health, I use several different techniques to balance your energy. One or more modalities may be used to provide treatment for your individual health issues.
During your initial visit, and on an ongoing basis during your course of treatment, any or all of these techniques may be used. Oriental medical treatment provides patients with a course of treatment individually tailored to their specific situation. As your health improves, the treatments will be modified to reflect your current state of health.
Acupuncture is among the oldest healing practices in the world. Acupuncture refers to the stimulation of specific points on the body by inserting hair-thin needles into the skin. The needles are sterile and non-toxic.
Qi flows through the body in what we call meridians, or channels. Think of them as rivers of energy running through your body. The meridians cover all parts of the body and connect with all of your organs. Imbalances of Qi, yin and/or yang can lead to blockages in the flow of Qi along the meridians. Proper Qi flow can be restored by using acupuncture at points on the body that connect with these meridians.
For example, pain is caused by a blockage of Qi flow in the area you feel the pain. By inserting acupuncture needles in points that open up the energy flows in the affected area, the blockage is removed and the pain is reduced or eliminated.
Acupuncture is mostly painless. Most people feel no pain at all on insertion of the needles, although some people may experience slight discomfort. Most people feel pleasantly relaxed after an acupuncture treatment.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Herbal medicine is an important part of Oriental medicine. Chinese herbs are generally prescribed as a combination of herbs in a formula designed to repair imbalances in the Qi, yin and/or yang. Many of the common formulas used were recorded over 1,000 years ago, thus having a very long history of use, safety and efficacy. Chinese herbs treat a wide range of conditions. Herbs are prescribed to keep working on the problem after the acupuncture treatment is finished. In fact, some people’s health conditions require treatment more with herbal medicine than with acupuncture. I only use herbs prepared by reputable companies using good manufacturing processes and testing for purity.
Chinese nutrition is very different from Western nutrition. Rather than only looking at aspects like vitamins, calories, fats and proteins, Chinese nutrition uses the energetic effects of foods on the body. Similar to herbs, foods have their own energetic natures and functions, and affect the body differently. For example, if you eat a lot of ginger, or garlic, or jalapenos, they’re hot and spicy and can make you sweat. People that tend to feel hot should avoid eating these foods, as they can make you feel even hotter.
Nutritional counseling is an important part of Chinese medicine, because what you eat can help or hinder your condition. As part of your treatment plan, I provide recommendations of foods to eat and avoid, specifically for your individual constitution.
Many people overwork, have too much stress, and don’t get enough sleep. Sometimes, these lifestyle factors are a big part of the person’s health problems. Chinese medicine can help improve sleep and help people be more relaxed so they aren’t as affected by stress. Lifestyle counseling is provided as part of your treatment plan.
Moxibustion refers to the burning of a particular herb for therapeutic purposes. The herb is moxa, in Chinese; Artemisia vulgaris is its Latin botanical name. Its common name is mugwort. Moxa is burned on or near acupuncture points, or on acupuncture needles to help warm, move and replenish the Qi. It is safe and painless, and mainly used in conjunction with acupuncture treatment.
Cupping refers to a method of applying a jar with a partial vacuum to the skin. It is an old technique, also used by many cultures other than the Chinese. It helps to remove stagnant, stuck energy, and is great for certain types of conditions. Cupping is painless.
Qigong (pronounced “chee-goong”) is an ancient Chinese system of cultivating or strengthening the body’s Qi, and is both part of Chinese medicine, and a stand-alone system. Qigong consists of many different practices and techniques to heal and balance the body. I’m a 14th generation teacher of the 800 year-old Emei Qigong lineage. I use Qigong healing techniques with my patients, and teach Qigong in San Diego, both classes and seminars.
Practicing Qigong can strengthen and balance your Qi, leading to better health, decreased stress, deep relaxation, emotional balance and higher levels of consciousness.
Qigong energy healing may be incorporated into your treatment, or may be used as a separate treatment in some situations. Read more about different Qigong healing techniques.