Showing posts with label Traditional Chinese medicine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Traditional Chinese medicine. Show all posts

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Back to the Plants: CHINESE MEDICINE and Herbal Remedies

In Chinese medicine everything has a place and a structure in order to help with healing.  All of these are natural approaches to bringing holistic health in an individual.  One of the concepts that Chinese medicine uses in relation to this is herbal remedies.  By combining a variety of elements, there is the ability for the herbs to help in healing everything.

The Pen ts'ao, 1249 C.E. Printed with woodbloc...
The Pen ts'ao, 1249 C.E. Printed with woodblock, this illustrated book discusses Chinese herbal medicine.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The basis behind herbal remedies is to combine a series of herbs in order to bring about the desired effect.  Usually, there will be a formula of four herbs used in combination with each other.  This is done in order to treat secondary illnesses that may have been affected by the primary illness.  It also helps to balance and strengthen the body while it is healing.

When Chinese medicine begins to divide the various herbal remedies, they will do so by a hierarchy.  At the top of this hierarchy is the emperor herb.  This will be used to cure the major illness that is taking place.  Underneath this is the ‘ministers’ of the herbal remedy.  This is used to treat any secondary illnesses that are taking place.  After this, herbal ‘assistants’ will be used to support the other two herbs.  The last set of herbs will be the messenger herbs, which will tell the primary and secondary herbs where to go and how much of an effect to take on the body.

The herbal remedies that are placed together after this will be divided by the specific symptoms that are being seen.  Like all other parts of Chinese medicine, these will first be found through the five elements and how they relate to the body.  For example, some herbs will be spicy in order to relate to areas of the body that need this extra element to begin better flow of Qi.

The last part of herbal medicine from ancient Chinese remedies is to determine the type of energy that is needed by a person.  This is found by diagnosis and examining the Qi that is in a person.  After this, a specific mixture of these four hierarchies will be mixed together in order to help change the energy flow that is in someone.

By examining the Qi and finding respective remedies through herbs, one is able to find the best solutions using a holistic method.  This allows one to benefit from the use of Chinese medicine and herbs in order to fight off an illness or block of energy in their system.  



Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Effectiveness Of ACUPUNCTURE

Acupuncture chart from the Ming Dynasty: The P...
Acupuncture chart from the Ming Dynasty: The Pericardium Meridian of Hand-Jueyin
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Whenever you are feeling pain and discomfort, you'd usually reach for your painkillers for relief. While they do relieve the pain, they also bring along side effects that comes with taking foreign chemicals into your body. As much as modern medicine has developed drugs that can relieve pain right off the bat, do you really think that the quick fixes you've been taking are actually good for your body? Why not try something safer and more effective like acupuncture.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture has surged in popularity for the last few decades as brought on by the recent health trend. Mostly known as a traditonal Chinese medical technique, acupuncture is seen as a homeopathic method of treatment. While alternative medicine does raise a lot of eyebrows for the scientifically-inclined, it does merit attention before being dismissed as a quack cure.

Basic Procedure

Basically, needles are inserted into the skin, each corresponding to one of the numerous pressure points located throughout the body. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, by inserting a needle into the pressure point, an acupuncturist can manipulate the flow of chi or life force, thus relieving pain and gradually treating the patient. While most would say that the whole chi thing is a bunch of nonsense, science has suggested that with the needles inserted, the body's natural painkillers called endorphins are released, thus helping with pain relief.

Instruments

Modern acupuncturists nowadays use disposable fine stainless steel needles that are 0.007 to 0.020 inches in diameter which are sterilized with either ethylene oxide or by autoclave. Since they are way finer than hypodermic syringe needles, being poked by these needles are relatively painless. The upper third of the needle is covered with either a thicker bronze wire or plastic to make the needle sturdier and easier to handle. The length of the needle and how far they are inserted is all up to the acupuncturist and his practised style of acupuncture.

Example Of Treatment

If a patient has a headache, he/she is diagnosed and is treated by stimulating the sensitive points located at the webs between the thumbs and palms. In acupuncture theory, these points are connected to the face and head and can be used for treatment of headaches and other ailments involved. Needles are then carefully inserted into the skin until the patient feels a twinge, which is usually accompanied by a slight involuntary twitching of the area. During this treatment, a number of things may occur.

- Sensitivity to pain in where needles are inserted.

- A hint of nausea during treatment in case of bad headaches.

- Near-immediate headache relief.

Evolution

As an ancient method, acupuncture has crossed over into the modern age with implementations of technology and recent scientific findings. Electrical stimulation is now a common technique that is combined with acupuncture to produce more effective results. Also, acupuncturists combined this eastern technique with western methods to further enhance the treatment.

Practitioners have eventually realized that leaning towards one school of thought can't propagate progress unless they are willing to move towards the future by looking towards other horizons as well.


Reactions And Research

Not everyone is impressed with acupuncture itself. Most western medical professionals have expressed either doubt or indifference to the oriental method while others have downright driven it down into the earth with criticisms and brutal skepticism. However, recent research shows the efficacy (or lack thereof) of acupuncture, and while more research has to be done, it has been proven to actually positively affect some, but not all, forms of ailments that it claims to cure.

So as the doors open to a new age of acupuncture, give it a try when you feel the need for pain relief and you will not be disappointed. As the Chinese have used it for many centuries, so should we.



Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tying Together the Cycle: Relating the Elements for HOLISTIC HEALING

Representation of the Chinese five elements (w...
Representation of the Chinese five elements (wǔxíng) .
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In order for one to be balanced and healthy in Chinese traditions, all of the elements in their body have to be balanced.  In order to do this, one must first understand how the elements work together to achieve and maintain complete health.  If you are looking towards nature to find a way to heal, then Chinese medicine can help to define what areas you should be looking at.


Not only is the relationship to nature and the body interchangeable, but there are also ways that Chinese medicine uses this relationship in order to help one gain optimal health.  By taking the five elements and linking them together, as well as applying them to how one is able to live, there is the ability for one to understand how to remain balanced and healthy.

After the five elements have been divided and completely understood, they are all put into the proper alignment and place.  This is known as the Shen Cycle, which translates into the Nourishing Cycle.  When one is completely balanced and healthy, they can use the cycle of the elements to help.  It is said, according to these Chinese medicine principles that water nourishes wood, wood fuels fire, fire makes earth, and earth yields metal and metal produces water.

Within this same cycle of nourishing, each of the elements can also destroy each other.  This is known as Ko, or the Regulating Cycle.  When the opposite elements are combined they cancel each other out. Chinese medicine considers both of these cycles to be the natural order of things.  They can then take this natural order to help either balance out an imbalanced element in one’s body, or help to nourish something that is out of order.

Chinese medicine, at its very roots, carries the philosophy and ideal of combining the natural elements of earth with healing.  By cycling together the elements, either through nourishing the elements, or canceling them out, it allows one to keep the natural order in their own life.  It is simply understanding when one’s body is in the specific element and understanding how it should respond.  



Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Short History of HERBS

63-Dioscoride B
63-Dioscoride B (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The world of today is a world of progress, no one doubts about that. We have managed to do in 200 years of continuous industrial revolution, what we couldn’t do in thousands and thousands of tumultuous history. And yet, with all these technological breakdowns and synthetic substances, artificial food, not to mention the reign of King Plastic, some people still find the power and the wisdom to ask themselves how people in the past remained healthy and fit without nutritional supplements, drugs, even antibiotics. Their secret was that that they used what Mother Nature gave them: the plants to cure themselves. Fortunately, this knowledge hasn’t been forgotten; even if they’re not so widely used, plants have found their place in our civilization.
Dioscorides’ Materia Medica, c. 1334 copy in A...
Dioscorides’ Materia Medica, c. 1334 copy in Arabic, describes medicinal features of cumin and dill. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The story begins thousands of years ago, before the recorded history, when man didn’t know how to write or read, but knew how to follow their instincts. They discovered that certain herbs could alleviate their pains, others could make a wound disappear and others could even kill them. In the course of time, societies developed and with them appeared the means to transmit their knowledge other than orally. 

5000 years ago, in Ancient China, people used rhubarb (Rheune palmatum) as a purgative without knowing anything about the actual active substances they contained. Also, they used Ephedra to treat asthma, even though the substance called ephedrine was discovered much later, in 1887 AD. All oriental ancient civilizations had their insights into the fascinating world of botany, as plants were one of the few elements to which they could resort to heal themselves. The famous king Hammurabi of Babylon (18th century BC) recommended mint to cure constipation and other digestive disorders. Mesopotamian doctors considered that the best time to take a herbal medicine was at night or early in the morning, a principle which is confirmed nowadays by modern studies. The Indians had an entire system of rules, prescriptions, remedies and practices, called Ayurveda, many of which involved the use of plants. They also had strict rules about when, by whom and from where the plants should be collected

People in Ancient Egypt knew and used the castor-oil plant, wormwood, saffron and oregano to heal and disinfect wounds; they also put coriander in their tombs so that the spirit will remain healthy in his afterlife. There are written records of their use of garlic (especially for the workmen who built the pyramids), indigo, mint and opium. The Greek and Roman civilizations have made a major contribution to the medical science. Although much of their studies stemmed from other cultures (Mesopotamian, Egyptian), they added precious information and, in time, they became more and more concerned about the diseases and cures as natural and realistic processes, rather than spiritual or magical. Physicians like Hippocrates, Dioscoride and others have recorded their discoveries; their works would enlighten the pre-medieval civilizations for many centuries after their death. Dioscorides wrote De Materia Medica (1st century AD), which contained a list of hundreds of medicinal plants, along with their description and curative qualities.


The Dark Ages met with a lack of any further recorded herbal studies; the knowledge was probably transmitted from generation to generation – parents taught children, monks, even herbalist taught apprentices. However, there lived a great Persian physician by the name of Avicenna (Abu Ali al-Husayn ibn Abd Allah Ibn Sina) who wrote one of the most famous books in the history of medical science: The Canon, which also contained information about how plants should be used and their properties.

In1527, the Swiss thinker Paracelsus demonstrates that only a small part of the plant has an effect upon the human body (1g per 20 kg of plant), which is what we now call active substance. Later on, scientists have developed methods to isolate these substances.

However, the first complete categorization of all known medicinal plants was printed in a book called Theatrum Botanicum by John Parkinson in 1640 AD. In 1649 Nicholas Culpeper pulished A Physical Directory, which is considered one of the best herbal pharmacopoeia manuals still quoted today. 

As chemistry as a science developed, physicians started to use more and more widely synthetic medicines, such as aspirin, which proved to have side effects. Yet all pharmacists and drug producers confirm the fact that, unlike artificially synthesized substances, medicines extracted from plants are more accessible to the metabolism and friendlier with the human body.




Wednesday, April 6, 2016

ACUPUNCTURE - an Old Cure with a New Twist

There are so many different ways that you can take care of your health and many of them can be taken care of naturally.  One method that has been used for thousands of years and originally came from China is that of acupuncture.  Although acupuncture is gaining in popularity in Western cultures, it is still basically misunderstood by many people who have never been through the process.
If you are considering having some treatments done, here are some things that you may want to know before your first visit and what you can expect from your treatment by an acupuncturist.

Old Chinese medical chart on acupuncture meridians
Old Chinese medical chart on acupuncture meridians (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
More than likely, you will have to go through a series of visits whenever you visit the acupuncturist. The first visit may not actually have any treatments involved at all unless the problem that you are trying to deal with is fairly routine.  The doctor will take a lot of time to ask you questions about your personal circumstances, what it is that you're trying to have healed and just generally trying to find out about your overall health.  This will give him an idea of the type of treatment that he will give to you as well as any problems that may need to be taken into consideration.

Many people that are not familiar with acupuncture are very nervous about problems that may come up during the treatment.  Let me put your mind at ease.  Acupuncture is one natural treatment that rarely ever causes any problems for the individual undergoing the treatment.  In fact, the only real problems that occur as a result of acupuncture, typically occur because of the acupuncturist not taking care with the needles that he uses.  As long as they use clean, prepackaged needles and are careful to clean the area where they are inserted, there is little for you to worry about at all.

Acupuncture has been proven to work on a number of different problems that you may be dealing with that range from a wide variety of pain problems to a difficulty in getting pregnant.  Some people even use acupuncture in order to lose weight!  Although it is still not accepted as widely as modern medical practices, it still has a place as far as natural medicine is concerned.  It has also proven to work in many cases by studies done in the scientific community.