Here’s what you need to know about Traditional Chinese Medicine

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Imagine a medicine that is based upon real physiology derived through anatomical study, lasting over 3000 years, methodically thought out by the best minds of every generation, and proven to work in hundreds of millions of case studies. This is the story of Chinese Medicine.

Today it is one of the largest medical systems in the world, servicing the medical and health care needs of millions of people worldwide. In the United States, Chinese Medicine is mostly known as just acupuncture, but this is not accurate.  Chinese Medicine is a complete medical system, which diagnoses and treats systemic diseases using herbs, acupuncture, nutrition and exercise.

Acupuncture is just the “physical therapy” side of Chinese Medicine and is mostly used for pain relief. The largest treatment modality of this medicine, by far, is herbal therapy, with over 4000 herbs in the Chinese pharmacopoeia. A typical herbal formula contains approximately 6 to 30+ herbs. These herbs are used together in concert to produce a stronger, more balanced effect than using one herb alone.

I have been practicing this medicine for over 20 years, and occasionally a patient will ask me if the herbs are safe. In other cases, a patient’s medical doctor may have told them not to take herbs because they are somehow dangerous or uncontrolled. This concern, although understandable, is unfounded and quite humorous.

In the last 15 years there are very few documented cases of people dying from ingesting a Chinese herb. One herb that was blamed for one of these deaths was Ma Huang, and the person in question was not a patient of a Chinese Medical practitioner. He was, in fact, a baseball player trying to lose weight. He purchased some weight loss pills from a weight loss marketer, ingested way too much of the concoction, and his heart stopped. The pill he was taking contained several compounds and only one ingredient was a Chinese herb.  Amazingly, his loss of life was blamed on Ma Huang and the herb was abruptly banned from being sold in the United States.

In contrast, approximately 80,000 to 120,000 people die in the United States each year from the correct and incorrect use of pharmaceutical drugs.  These numbers are published each year in a number of medical journals and testify to the fact that western pharmaceutical medicine is VERY DANGEROUS. I think you can understand why I am incredulous when a western doctor suggests that Chinese herbs are somehow dangerous. The facts do not support this point of view and illustrate the immense lack of knowledge about Chinese Medicine in general.

The only concern I have is with the herbs that are being sold from Mainland China. Chinese distributors often routinely mix pharmaceutical drugs with the herbs and do not list the drugs on the bottle’s label. Consequently, I do not buy herbs from China. I only buy herbs from Taiwan. Taiwan is scrupulous in its labeling and quality control. The herbs I buy are pharmaceutical grade, are FDA approved, and are tested meticulously in both Taiwan and the USA for purity and potency.  

Acupuncture, as I said earlier, is really the “physical therapy” side of Chinese Medicine. It is used mostly for pain relief and is the inspiration for hundreds of studies around the world, which have proven its effectiveness in eradicating pain. The National Institute of Health has labeled acupuncture effective in treating a number of ailments. NIH announced last year that acupuncture is one of the best methods of pain relief available. Because of these studies, many insurance companies have approved acupuncture for their clients. In fact, any Washington State based health insurance company selling insurance benefits in our state are required to include acupuncture benefits. All your major carriers have some form of coverage for acupuncture. This is great because it gives a patient an introduction into the wonders of Chinese Medicine with very little expense.

Acupuncture can treat both acute and chronic pain. Acupuncture re-awakens the body’s own pain relieving abilities and the results can be truly miraculous. Acupuncture provides the perfect assistance to your body because it addresses the problem at its source, which is in the peripheral and central nervous systems.

In our clinic we have a folder containing hundreds of testimonials from patients who have seen their chronic pain evaporate and in most cases, not come back. The acupuncture technique we use is so effective that the majority of patients experience substantial pain relief within their first treatment. It typically takes a series of visits for the initial results to hold, but for a patient who has been suffering for many years with chronic pain, and to have it resolved within a matter of months, can be truly life changing.

Our clinic offers inexpensive evaluations with no strings attached. If you have suffered for a long time and are dissatisfied with what you have done to try to treat your problems so far, please give us a call.  We will be happy to give you an honest evaluation of whether or not we think we can help you. Sometimes we can and sometimes we cannot. If a patient does not positively respond within four initial treatments, then the method will probably not work for that problem. Consequently, we will not waste your time and money in endless visits with very little results.


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