Traditional Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture and Herbal medicine)
is a system of healing which has been practiced in China
and other Eastern
countries for thousands of years. Although often thought of as a
means of pain relief, it is, in fact used to treat people
with a wide range
of illness. Its focus is on improving the overall well being of the
person, rather than the treatment of isolated symptoms.
Chinese Medicine maintains that preserving the strength and integrity
of the body as a whole is the most important defense against the
development of disease. This means that whilst efforts are made to
an equal emphasis is placed on restoring the body’s balance and
coordinating the activity of the body’s primary organ systems.
It is the ability of the organism to sustain it’s own defensive
capability and regenerative potential that enables it to remain adaptable
The essential element in this co-ordination (as in Chinese philosophy
in the broader sense) is the restoration of balance and equilibrium
within the body systems - hot must be balanced with cold, wet with
dry. Only when this balance is achieved can energy (what is known
as the Chi or ‘life force’) flow freely through the body and
body function properly.
Many people come to Traditional Chinese Medicine for help with specific
problems such as depression, insomnia, joint pain, hypertension or
digestive complaints. However they find that the treatments not only
relieve their particular symptoms but lead to higher energy levels,
a feeling of well being, better sleep and relaxation. Some people
go on to use acupuncture as a preventive measure to strengthen their
or when they feel ‘out of sorts’ without being ‘ill’ in
the conventional Western sense.
From the perspective of Chinese Medicine an allergy occurs when the
immune system mal-functions. Chinese medicine treats allergies by
regulating the immune system and is often highly effective in eliminating
tendency to over-react. It is especially effective when combined
with appropriate dietary and life style changes.
Eczema, from a very early age often accompanies or precedes the development
of allergic asthma. That asthma and eczema have the same allergic
root is demonstrated by the whealing skin reactions occurring on
of allergen in individuals suffering from extrinsic asthma. According
to Traditional Chinese Medicine, eczema is caused by an underlying
deficiency or imbalance in the Lung and Kidney defensive energy systems.
The Lung and the Skin in Chinese Medicine are closely related and
often one condition will appear as the other improves. For example,
often appears first at an early age to be followed later by asthma
when the child is around 4/5 years. This pattern is more likely to
occur if the eczema is suppressed by the application of a steroid
cream. Similarly asthma, if suppressed, may manifest later as eczema.
Medicine uses many safe treatments which are suitable and successful
even for young children. Certain dietary changes should also be considered
- avoidance, for example, of shellfish, spinach, mushrooms and dairy
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine illness is the result of
a depletion, obstruction or unnatural alteration of the body’s
constituents and derangement or imbalance of the functions of it’s
organ systems. So poor digestion or food intolerance will be the result
of a disruption or insufficiency in the digestive system - the ‘Stomach/Spleen’ network
responsible for processing food and nutrients.
With the advent of the spring season, warmer weather and the new
growth of plants, flowers and grasses, many people will be afflicted
fever or allergic rhinitis. Chinese Medicine works well in relieving
distressing symptoms of seasonal allergy without inducing the side
effects, such as sedation that are often produced by western medication.
But it also addresses underlying constitutional imbalances to prevent
Chinese Medicine has proved helpful for those attempting to overcome
drug, tobacco and alcohol addictions and in coping with withdrawal
symptoms. It has also proved effective in pregnancy management and
for pain relief in labour !
Practiced by a qualified and experienced practitioner, Chinese Traditional
Medicine is a totally safe and very effective treatment for all ‘dis’-ease.
To find a qualified practitioner in your area contact the British
Acupuncture Council, 63 Jeddo Road, London W12 9HQ Tel. 020 8735
Barbara Hezelgrave practices in north London and you can contact
her at www.northlondonacupuncture.org.uk
First published in 2003
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