There are various ways a TCM physician can adopt to customise treatment strategy to bring balance and harmony to the body. Treatment modalities can also be prescribed singly or in combination to treat a disharmony.
Prescriptions are usually made up of a combination of various herbs that not only boost the efficacy of the treatment but also minimise the side effects of certain herbs.
The herbs may be taken raw, brewed or as a drink of herbal powders mixed with water. Some herbs also come in powdered concentrates and are packed into sachets, tablets, pills or capsules where no cooking is required and can be easily consumed.
Patients are strongly advised to seek the TCM physician’s advice on the exact dosages of the herbal medications prescribed.
Acupuncture is one of several ancient Chinese medical procedures. It is believed to help relieve pain and treat diseases by restoring the normal flow of energy through the body.
A typical acupuncture treatment involves the insertion of hair-thin needles into specific points on the body to elicit a healing response. The sterilised and disposable needles are so thin that most people feel nothing more than a slight tingling sensation when they are inserted.
The acupuncture points are mostly located along the meridian through which Qi flows. Acupuncture moves this energy by techniques of ascending, descending, reinforcing, reducing, warming and clearing to create the desired response.
Each treatment lasts approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Heat stimulation and cupping may be used together with the needles in order to boost the efficacy of healing.
Cupping, as its name implies, is the use of glass or bamboo cups that are warmed to create a partial vacuum, so that it can be "stuck" on the skin. In some cases, the cup may be moved while the suction of skin is active. This causes a regional pull of the skin and muscles (known as gliding cupping), which is an attempt to "re-start" the circulation ofQi in the body.
Cupping works on the body's meridian system, to "open up" any stagnant points for a better flow of Qi, and to rejuvenate certain meridians and organs that are not functioning at their optimum. Scientifically, this technique is known to help activate the lymphatic system, promote blood circulation and aid deep tissue repair.
Tuina (therapeutic massage, pronounced "tway nah") is a form of bodywork that is very similar to osteopathy as it ensures that the skeleton is correctly aligned so that the normal functioning of the nerves is not compromised.
Tuina works on the energy channels and points, using the same principles as acupuncture except that the hands and fingers are used instead of needles. Through a combination of massage and acupressure, Tuina applies pressure to acupoints, meridians and groups of muscles or nerves to remove blockages that prevent the free flow of Qi. Many health problems are caused by such blockages, leading to pain, swelling and the build-up of toxins.
In a typical session, a complete patient history -- which includes physical traumas, medications, surgeries and lifestyle habits -- is taken. The therapist may also use Chinese herbs to facilitate quicker healing. Sessions last from 30 minutes to 1 hour, with the number of sessions varying with the problem at hand. The patient will usually feel more relaxed and energised by the treatment.
Chinese body massage is conducted based on the theory of the meridian system, which is considered an effective and comprehensive therapy. It is used alongside herbal medicines and other fundamental TCM treatment methods to relieve pain and tension in the muscles.
The foot is viewed as a mirror image of the body. Foot reflexology is the application of pressure, stretching and retracting movements to the feet and soles to exert effects on the corresponding parts of the body. By applying this specialised technique, it helps to relieve patterns of stress on specific parts of the body.