March 3, 2024

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Traditional Chinese Medicine 101

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been making serious headway in the western world, two thousand years after it was first recognized in Asia. While still categorized as an alternative to western medicine, it has won over its fair share of critics. Many who have tried traditional Chinese medicine have become staunch advocates of its methods and results. Yet, what exactly is traditional Chinese medicine? If you are new to the topic, then read our introductory guide to TCM.

Not unlike western medicine, TCM has multiple variations and branches. This includes herb formulas, acupuncture, therapy and exercise. While consumers may be required to seek treatments from the various aspects of western medicine, they are typically isolated from each other. In direct contrast, each arm of TCM is viewed as complementary to each other, helping to enhance the overall wellbeing of an individual.

From the perspective of TCM practitioners, all illnesses occur as a result of imbalances of energy within the human body. Commonly referred to as Qi, the energy that flows through your body along its pathways or meridians needs to be in balance. When these meridians experience a blockage or an imbalance, the body falls ill. As such, to reactivate the bodies’ natural repair mechanisms, TCM remedies aim to first restore balance to the body.

A particularly common imbalance occurs when the body either has too much heat or dampness. These two elements have opposite effects on the body. 

Heat is a yang pernicious influence, causing expansion and increased activity. When the body has excess heat, it is prone to irritability and inflammation. An example would be heat in the stomach leading to mouth ulcers. The common cold is also a consequence of heat, though an exposure to wind is also required for the illness to take root.

Dampness naturally causes stagnation in the body, manifesting in phlegm and dizziness. A person spends a prolong period in damp conditions could find themselves experiencing heaviness or swelling. Dampness also causes an alternate form of the common cold, whereby a person feels as if a wet towel is wrapped around their head. Chill, nausea and headache are to be expected.

Where dampness and heat are imbalanced, damp heat develops. Symptoms that emerge from this include sticky foul-smelling stools and dark burning urine. This is a particularly troubling condition and requires rebalancing of the body’s energy. 

TCM prides itself on being a non-invasive treatment, helping to rejuvenate the body’s recovery mechanisms. Once meridians are unblocked and energy is rebalanced, your body’s own natural systems will be free to do the actual heavy lifting of removing the illness from your body. While this approach being less direct may not result in fast results, it allows your body to recover in a less strenuous fashion.

Find out more by visiting a Traditional Chinese Medicine Singapore pharmacy today.