Health The role of Chinese Medicine in the Modern World

Kim Kardishan has had it. Gwenyth Paltow uses it for back pain and menstrual cramps. Sandra Bullock says it to keep her young. Jenifer Aniston uses it to assist weight loss. So why is a fashioned piece of surgical steel placed strategically in certain parts of the human body making waves in our day and age?

I’m talking about acupuncture of course. An ancient part of the Chinese Medicine toolkit. And why are more than 10 million people in the US receiving this humble treatment yearly? Its rise in popularity, particularly in the West, can be attributed in part to its effectiveness for pain relief and in part to the fact that scientific studies have begun to prove its efficacy.

This is especially true in Oncology, where early studies have shown a reduction in pain, nausea and vomiting in those using Chinese Medicine in conjunction with chemotherapy.

Other studies show acupunctures amazing ability to boost immune function, by stimulating NK cells and lymphocyte activity. I can personally attest using Chinese Medicine and acupuncture as the first line of defence if I am struck with a cold or flu.

And interestingly enough is Chinese Medicine’s growth in the fertility arena. You only need to look at the number of women choosing to use acupuncture to improve their fertility chances on different internet groups, and the number of acupuncture IVF fertility specialist out there, to know that it is a real growth industry.

What is different about Chinese Medicine?

Sometimes we need to leave a paradigm behind to shed light on a problem. To answer that question, we need to dig deep and be prepared to go beyond the limiting beliefs of the physical human body and to a place that deals exclusively with energy.

The traditional western frame of mind operates from the physical body, or it biochemical constituents. Even drugs are analysed by its biochemical effect on the body. This is not to say that it is wrong, but merely the slant that it has.

Chinese medicine looks at the human body from an energetic basis. It may surprise you to know that quantum science is showing us how true this may be. We live in an energetic soup of electrons, protons and neutrons that are in constant interaction. Most interestingly, there is a guiding intelligence which co-ordinates these interactions.

Our bodies consist of different organ systems, such as the Lungs and the Liver, which are intelligent energy systems themselves that play a role within the whole. Like different components of a car need to operate correctly for the engine to run smoothly, so too is the human body.

Each organ system has a role to play. For instance, the Lungs in Chinese medicine are the interface between the external and internal world and is an integral part of the creation of Qi, or life force. Good Qi is synonymous with life force and vigour. Poor Qi results in disease and pain.

Qi flows along meridian lines in the body, and acupuncture points can be found on these meridians. When there is a disruption to the creation and smooth flow of Qi in the body, pain and disease occurs.

The aim of a Chinese Medicine practitioner is to balance the Qi of the human body, constantly tuning and refining. Through techniques such as questioning the client, feeling the pulse and looking at the tongue, a skilled practitioner can identify where the Qi pathogenic, and can thus use acupuncture or herbal medicine to remedy the situation.

Are simple needles good for so many problems?

If you consider that all of life is energy, then at the underlying level, all problems must be fixed at the energetic level. Acupuncture is the conduit for adjusting imbalances in energy. This is why acupuncture is used for all sorts of conditions from pain to fertility, to energy, skin and mood conditions.

This is not to discount the validity of any other modality or medicine, but merely to show why this age-old healing system is so valid in today’s world, as it was 3000 years ago.

A Word About Immunity

The Western world is heavily invested in the paradigm of the Germ theory, brought to fame by Louis Pasteur. Countless lives have been saved through increased sanitation and sterilization as a result.

Interestingly Chinese medicine believes that germs are everywhere. Always has been and always will be. The Chinese medical approach focuses more on building strong Qi and life force to deal with invaders. When pathogens do enter, Chinese medicine uses different techniques to purge the pathogens out.

There are acupuncture points that actually do this! Also, based on how far the pathogen has entered the body, different formulas are prescribed. An ancient text called the Shang Han Lun (Treatise on Cold Damage), details formulas to guide herbs to the affected level of a pathogen within the body. Even though 2 people may have the same pathogen, it will develop differently and enter different levels based on their constitution, and their defensive Qi.

This is why the same disease can affect people in so many ways. Have you ever met someone that never got sick? Or have you a friend that always has digestive issues? It’s all energy ultimately.

In Conclusion

I am reminded of an ancient Indian parable, where a group of blind men gathered around an elephant. Not knowing what it was, they tried to describe what they perceived to each other. The first man who was touching the trunk said it was like a snake, the man standing next to the leg, said it was like a tree trunk, and the man at the rear, touching the tail said it was like a fan. All being correct, I see health and medicine in the same way. Chinese medicine is another slant on the health enigma offering a totally different perspective about what health is and how it can be treated. That is why it has gained popularity in our modern world and is even considered an Allied Health therapy in Australia and other countries. This means that there has been sufficient research for it to be considered primary health due to its efficacy at treating certain conditions. It would appear that Chinese medicine is as enduring now as it has been in the past. It certainly has withstood the test of time.

Our member's Pure Alchemy in Cronulla offer Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. Visit their member profile here if you'd like to know more.