There is controversy about traditional Chinese medicine because there is an insufficient amount of rigorous scientific evidence that proves whether or not these techniques actually work. However, traditional Chinese medicine is widely used today in Chinese-speaking countries and also developed into a well-known type of alternative medicine across the world based on its cultural and historical roots. Therapy methods focus on the regulation of bodily functions by improving circulations and easing tension.
The following are a number of different therapy methods that Chinese medicine uses:
Acupuncture is a technique where thin needles are inserted at specific points in the body for a certain amount of time. These needles are positioned at specific acupuncture points that relate to meridians and qi that connect to specific body functions and parts.
Australian natural therapist Nikole Grbin highlights the importance of acupuncture as a way of healing. “Given that there’s so many methods of healing now emerging with varying effects, acupuncture has been one that has certainly stood the test of time. With the right person, it will always be done safely and you’ll feel the results quite soon after it’s finished.”
When qi becomes unbalanced or blocked, it can cause illness. When needles are placed at points that relate to the origins of the illness, then qi can be restored and flow once again.
Small cups, frequently made out of glass, are used by the cupping technique to create suction on an individual’s skin. There are different ways to create suction. There is one method where an alcohol cotton ball is lit and then put inside of a cup. Then the cotton ball is taken out and the heated cup is put on the skin. The air inside of the cup continues to cool down, which results in the pressure drawing up the skin. After the cups have been removed, some light bruising will be created on the skin. The bruises may be prominent. However, they do not cause pain and overall the treatment is a relaxing experience for the patient.
3. Gua Sha
A number of Chinese immigrant parent parents during the 1970s were falsely accused of child abuse because their children’s skin had red marks on it that gua sha had caused. The method involves using a tool to repeatedly scrape lubricated skin. A piece of rock, animal bone, coin, or ceramic spoon can be used for the tool.
Janine Castle runs a health and wellness centre in Australia, and uses Gua Sha as one of her massage techniques on offer. “It isn’t everyone’s cup of tea of sorts, but it is incredibly relaxing afterwards. You feel like a totally different person.”
The smooth edge of the tool is stroked firmly over the skin, beginning with the spinal area, and then moved along meridians which causes light bruises. Gua sha, like other traditional Chinese medicine techniques, is thought to improve blood circulation and release toxins out of the body. Although it can be a painful process, it is designed to relieve tension and blood stagnation and relax muscles by increasing blood flow.
4. Tui Na
The literal translation of tui na is “push and grasp.” It is a type of therapeutic massage where instead of just providing relaxing focuses on treating specific issues. It uses various hand techniques, which include rubbing, pressing, rolling, and kneading. Acupuncture is frequently involved in tui na. The elbow, hands, or fingers are used by the technique to apply pressure on a specific part of the body. Tui na, similar to other types of therapy techniques, aims to regulate qi flow within the body through targeting meridians and points. Musculoskeletal conditions are often treated using these techniques.
5. Chinese Herbs
The most commonly used substances come from various seeds, stems, roots, flowers, and leaves of plants like licorice, rhubarb, ginger, ginseng, and cinnamon bark. The most commonly used substance is ginseng for the broadest treatments.
Australian naturopath Jacqui Watts believes that incorporating a number of Chinese herbs into remedies is part of the changing health landscape we’re living in daily. “People are becoming more and more open to alternative health medicines and foods, including Chinese herbs. They’re becoming easier to obtain, and with more information available about the health benefits of these Chinese herbs, people would be silly not to at least try them.”
If Chinese herbology is recommended by a practitioner as a treatment, then the herbs get combined into a specific formula and provided in powder, granule, liquid extract, or traditional tea form. There is still not a lot of good documentation on how effective Chinese herbology is.