Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Also commonly referred to as Traditional Asian Medicine, this area of medicine uses Asian herbs, acupuncture, and a range of other techniques to treat illness. With origins dating as far back as 2000 years ago, TCM has an extensive philosophical background that perfectly compliments the naturopathic ideal of recognizing imbalances and bringing them back to equilibrium. The crux of this thought system is the idea that all living things have an inherent energy within them, known as “qi” (pronounced “chi”). Ideally, qi flows in a smooth and steady manner through the body within theoretical pathways called meridians. Disease is said to occur when the flow of qi becomes disrupted or if the body has too much or too little qi in certain areas. These abnormalities are righted through the use of Asian herbs or acupuncture, which involves placing thin needles at points along the meridians. While TCM has a rich history of anecdotal success stories, there are now a large number of medical journals containing research studies which support those earlier findings.
Note on acupuncture: a common concern among patients regarding acupuncture is that the procedure will be painful. Acupuncture needles are very thin, averaging 1/5th of a millimeter in diameter, and thus only occasionally come into contact with pain receptors in the skin. When they do, the sensation is fleeting and is commonly replaced by a feeling of warmth, coolness, mild tingling, pulsation, or relaxation. A typical treatment will last for 30 minutes and is often a very relaxing experience.