With human existence came the existence of illness and disease. And just like humans today, mankind tried to cure this illnesses and diseases. Before there was even written language, before civilizations were created, there were attempts at medical procedures and practices, according to the Association for Traditional Studies.
The History of Chinese Medicine
China was one of the first civilizations created, with proof of the roots to their written language dating back to seven thousand years ago. Early records show that they they were performing their own type of acupuncture, stone needle acupuncture, with needles made out of stones. About five thousand years ago, a leader emerged, called the Yellow Emperor. Under his leadership, a formal language was developed, silk was being woven into clothing, and the Yellow Emperor, a doctor named Qi Bo, started researching medicine and acupuncture with his trusted advisors.
During the Shang dynasty people would use animal bones and tortoise shells as “oracle bones”. They would write questions on these bones and shell and heat them, the cracks in the bones would be read by the shaman and an answer would be revealed. Many of these oracle bones would references medical issues, such as headaches, abdominal ailments, and other illnesses. During this time period, it was believed that people would become ill for upsetting an ancestor or because evil entered the body. These oracle bones were used to talk to the ancestors, according to Sacred Lotus Chinese Medicine.
But why does all this matter? Traditional Chinese, or Oriental, Medicine was one of the first recorded medicines that is still practiced today. At Integrative Health, we offer acupuncture and Oriental Medicine to our members.
Oriental Medicine in America
Acupuncture is the most popular treatment from Oriental Medicine used in America. But it hasn’t always been that way. Acupuncture was not fully accepted in America, causing Chinese immigrants to practice it “underground”. According to the Institute of Clinical Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, acupuncture was not truly introduced until 1971, after President Nixon visited China and got an acupuncture treatments, which was reported in the New York Times.
Since then, millions of Americans have turned to Oriental Medicine to help alleviate pain, help with illnesses, and improve their overall health. Oriental Medicine is a lot more than just acupuncture, but even acupuncture involves more than you think.
The different techniques used in acupuncture, which according to Northwestern Health Sciences University are taught by experienced practitioners, are:
- Traditional acupuncture which uses ultra-fine needles to pinpoint certain areas of the body.
- Vacuum pressure, also known as cupping, which uses a glass or bamboo cup as a suction to help with blood circulation, you probably saw this used with Olympic athletes in the past games.
- Therapeutic application of heat, also known as moxibustion. This is a heat therapy the uses the mugwort plant.
- Tui na, which is a type of Chinese massage.
- Electrical current, also call electroacupuncture, which uses a fine microcurrent technology.
- Tai ji, this is a chinese exercise system.
Many of these are main parts of Oriental Medicine and are practices by acupuncturists. But what else does Oriental Medicine consist of?
Things to Know About Oriental Medicine
First of all, NHSU also mentions that Oriental Medicine is centered around the philosophy that “life is sustained by the constant flow of energy called qi (pronounced “chee”). The qi of the body and the qi of nature are connected and must stay in harmony with one another. When they fall out of harmony, illness and disease occur.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is meant to help restore this by strengthening the body’s qi. The Institute of Clinical Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine also talks about the philosophy of this medical practice, and discuss the Five Elements, which are earth, fire, metal, water, and wood. By using these elements you can show people how everything is connected. In this description of Oriental Medicine, they say “Oriental Medicine helps us to see that all the different things in our world are really just parts of the same whole.”
Besides acupuncture and the techniques mentioned above, one of the major practices that comes from Oriental Medicine is herbal medicine. And according to the National University of Health Sciences, there are five major branches of Oriental Medicine.
- Chinese herbal medicine
- Oriental nutrition and dietary therapy
- Tui na (oriental bodywork)
- Tai chi and qi gong
The qi of a patient is what determines treatments. An imbalance, weakness, or excess of qi can affect the body in many different ways and cause disease. By using a wide variety of these therapies, a patient’s qi can be restored to help them heal.
These Oriental Medicine practices can effectively treat mental and emotional disorders, neurological disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, and respiratory disorders to name a few. More and more people have turned to these practices to help them with issues they face daily.
In our next blog, we will look closer at the Oriental Medicine practices listed above, giving you all the information you need about the benefits, procedures, and diseases that can be treated using Oriental Medicine.
If you think Oriental Medicine could help with your health problems, learn more in our next blog and contact us with any questions you may have. Becoming a member with Integrated Health could give you access to Oriental Medicine. Learn more now!