Chinese medicine includes use of herbal therapies, acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, tuina (a form of massage), diet and lifestyle counseling, and therapeutic medication and exercise including Tai Chi and Qi Gong. Methods used to diagnose conditions in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) include evaluation of the tongue and pulse to provide clues as to the patient’s condition and diagnosis. These serve as barometers to the internal environment of an individual. Diagnoses in Chinese medicine are referred to by the organ system affected, and the element that is imbalanced in that organ (for example, Liver Qi Stagnation).
Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin, sterile needles into different points along the meridians of the body specific to the patient’s diagnosis. The purpose of these needles is to redirect or rebalance the flow of qi through the body. Moxibustion involves the burning of herbs producing a warming effect with the intention of stimulating circulation through the points and inducing a smoother flow of blood and qi. Cupping involves creating a partial vacuum inside glass cups, which are then applied to the skin to relieve areas of congestion, often referred to as stagnation in TCM.