In today's world, we're bombarded daily with every kind of health advice, ranging from miracle diets to cutting-edge surgeries. More and more people take pharmaceuticals to solve their problems, and for many people, the drug side effects cause more harm than their original health problem. Many of these medications are later yanked off the shelves shortly after their introduction because they cause serious harm to the body.
Our society often uses the strongest methods possible to treat relatively minor problems, sometimes even resorting to surgery and powerful pharmaceuticals when neither is necessary. Such strategies have created problems like antibiotic-resistant staph infections and "super-bugs." It's like trying to resolve every disagreement by dragging out the nuclear weapons. You can always increase the strength of a treatment, but you can never undo a surgery. When trying to heal oneself, one should ask, "What is the least-invasive way that I can fix my problem?"
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a time-proven answer to today's health care dilemmas. This ancient method of healing has been developed and perfected over 2000 years. What makes acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine different from other methods? First (and least understood in the West), we use a unique method of diagnosis that assesses the individual's unique health needs. Second, we design strategies of individualized treatment to permanently change people's health. And last, we design a prevention system to maximize health and keep the problem from returning again.
Chinese medical diagnosis pinpoints the imbalances in people's bodies that cause their health problems. All of the information gathered during the intake process is used to figure out exactly what is out of balance in someone's body, and what is causing that imbalance.
For example, if a patient has headaches, there are eight or ten types of imbalances that might be causing that person's headache. This is the exact reason that two people with a headache may respond very differently to Western headache medications. We don't get headaches from an aspirin deficiency, so why do we take aspirin when we get headaches? It makes more sense to isolate and address the root cause to make the problem go away for good. A good acupuncturist will diagnose this cause and design a treatment that will restore balance.
So what does it mean to have an imbalance? The answer to this question is slightly complicated. Our bodies exist as a complex network of systems: blood circulation, body fluids, lymph, organ functions, hormones, emotions, etc. Chinese medical diagnostic methods consider every system of the body and how they interrelate and balance each other.
In a body with perfect health, all bodily systems have achieved optimum balance. In a sick or injured body, these systems and organ functions continue to spiral more and more out of balance. Many people report that, once they got sick, they acquired other, seemingly unrelated health problems. A properly-trained acupuncturist will find the relationship between these imbalances to resolve the problem with an accurate treatment strategy.
Part two of this article will describe the methods which Chinese medicine uses to help balance the body and its cost effectiveness.