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Benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture That Are Unknown or Often Overlooked

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Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture aren’t archaic unheard of treatments anymore. Most folks have heard about them and millions of people in the United States have actually tried them out. However, what most aren’t always aware of are the key benefits these therapies can give.

1. Compared to Western Allopathic Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine has more specific diagnoses for common ailments. This can be ideally exemplified when one thinks about catching a cold.

Haven’t you noticed that each person catches a cold in his/her own way?

Almost all people catch colds. There are actually several types of colds in TCM and they are all different. You can, for example have a “Wind Heat”, “Wind Cold”, or even “Lung Heat” type of cold. To TCM practitioners, they appear different and are addressed in different ways. You utilize a different acupuncture therapy and prescribe a different herbal formula when treating each of the ten or twenty types of colds. TCM and acupuncture use a much more precise diagnosis and a much more precise treatment.

One of the things teachers dread is catching cold but since they work every day with several young people who are quite prone to cold infections, it is important for them to strengthen their immune system. One patient of mine who is a teacher tells me that she can’t afford to be sick. And so, when there is an epidemic of the flu or cold at school, she always takes preventative measures. Nevertheless, she still gets sick from time to time. She discovered that the best remedy for a flu or cold is to get acupuncture along with Chinese herbal medicine.

She seemed curious as to why I don’t prescribe to her the same herbal remedy each time she got sick. I told her that in TCM, there are various types of colds and because of that the practitioner needs to match both the herbal remedy and acupuncture to the patient’s manifested symptoms. Administering a treatment to a patient suffering from a “Wind Cold” a treatment designed for “Wind Heat” will not treat the problem; it can, in fact, even make it worse. This is analogous to the situation in standard Western Medicine when a physician addresses bacterial infection using a treatment meant for a viral infection. There wouldn’t be any likely result and actually may even cause stomach problems in the patient.

I was happy to know that even when my patient did get sick, she got better much quicker than her colleagues. The following is her testimonial:

“One of the amazing things about Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture is that I always get better faster than all of my colleagues who are using Western medicine treatments. Plus, after I have recovered, I actually feel stronger than before.”

2. TCM is a Holistic Therapy: It considers the whole person as well as the things happening in that person’s life.

I remembered a patient of who complained of an excruciating back pain. However, his medical exams and testing revealed nothing to back up his complain. After consulting with me, it became apparent that his job situation was the real problem. Recently, his employer cut back his work hours substantially and so he was very worried as to how he would pay his bills. Addressing his job problem and what his next steps will be were his main concerns. Besides acupuncture treatment for his back pain, I coached him around about a certain plan of action that would help solve his job situation.

The body uses pain to tell you that you need to pay attention to something happening in or on your body, whether it’s arthritis, a physical injury, or some other issues.

I can recall a certain patient who suffered from severe arthritis. He was a professional athlete now retired. He suffered from arthritis of the legs and hips. The pain was so severe that he could barely walk. I questioned him about his diet, because I had a suspicion that maybe something in his diet was actually causing him the kind of arthritis he had. I asked him if he ate a lot of dairy products or if he consumed alcohol, or ate a lot of sugar. It turned out he actually drank a moderate amount of alcohol. He asked me if cutting back on alcohol will ease his problem. I told him, “Actually, yes, I would like you to see if drinking less alcohol can help ease your pain.” So he substantially reduced his intake of alcohol, and after a while, he noticed that as he reduced his drinking even more, the more the swelling and pain in his hips and legs lessened. He was a really good patient because he had the desire to make the changes; he was remarkable in the sense that he was able to see the connection between his behavior and what would happen if he persisted on it. Ultimately, his decision was to change and reduce his drinking on an ongoing basis in order to improve his ability to walk and to relieve the pain.

3. Chinese herbal formulas are often more effective and safer than Western allopathic medications. One patient of mine working in the high tech industry suffered from severe stress. I noticed that she frequently experiences urinary tract infections. She would suffer secondary infection when she used antibiotics to address her symptoms because besides killing the pathogens causing the UTI, the antibiotics also destroyed the good bacteria in her gut. She got well much faster and never got a secondary infection when I treated her with Chinese herbal antibiotics and acupuncture.

TCM is indeed a powerful healing system because it takes into account the entire person and what’s happening in that person’s life. For common conditions, a lot of the diagnoses and recommendations TCM offers are more specific than those that Western Medicine offers. Even diagnoses and therapies for health issues not recognized by Western Medicine, TCM includes. More often than not, the non-pharmaceutical options that Chinese herbal remedies offer is much more effective than allopathic pharmaceutical therapies.

4. My patients are usually happy to find out that certain Chinese diagnoses exist that accurately describe their problems that are not offered by other forms of medicine.

I had an extremely health conscious female patient who visited an older sister in another state. When she returned home she was suffering from a highly unusual and very severe cough. She told me that visiting her sister was always a trying experience for her and her last visit was no different. She was puzzled by her cough because every time she coughed she felt that there was something stuck in her throat, but somehow she was unable to get it to go down her throat or cough it out. I told her that her problem was nothing new to me. I opened my textbook to the page that described a condition known as “plum pit throat” and told her that that’s exactly the condition she’s suffering from. She found it amazing to know that Chinese medicine had actually a name to describe her specific problem. I treated her with a specific herbal remedy and an acupuncture treatment, and sure enough, it worked.

Ni Nan Gilbert is a licensed acupuncturist in Bellmore, NY with certification in Chinese Herbology and over 16 years experience in traditional Chinese medicine.

Written by Valerie

February 21st, 2017 at 2:35 pm

Posted in Acupuncture