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Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture are first and foremost a preventive type of medicine. It is lack of information that makes people wait until it is to late to prevent disease. We are not in tune with our own bodies, and we pay dearly for it. I believe that the way Chinese medicine looks at health can help give us a better hold on the prevention aspects of Medicine. Chinese herbal medicine is one of the great herbal systems of the world, with an unbroken tradition going back to the 3rd century BC. Yet throughout its history it has continually developed in response to changing clinical conditions, and has been sustained by research into every aspect of its use. This process continues today with the development of modern medical diagnostic techniques and knowledge.
Because of its systematic approach and clinical effectiveness it has for centuries had a very great influence on the theory and practice of medicine in the East, and more recently has grown rapidly in popularity in the West. It still forms a major part of healthcare provision in China, and is provided in state hospitals alongside western medicine. And it can help you determine if there is a need for medical treatment with acupuncture, herbs, massage or conventional medicine. Chinese medicine is quite complex and can be difficult for some people to comprehend. This is because TCM is based, at least in part, on the Daoist belief that we live in a universe in which everything is interconnected. What happens to one part of the body affects every other part of the body. The mind and body are not viewed separately, but as part of an energetic system. Similarly, organs and organ systems are viewed as interconnected structures that work together to keep the body functioning. Many people often equate the practice of acupuncture with the practice of traditional Chinese medicine. This is not entirely true. While acupuncture is the most often practiced component of traditional Chinese medicine, it is simply that – a component, an important piece of a much larger puzzle. Traditional Chinese medicine encompasses several methods designed to help patients achieve and maintain health. Along with acupuncture, TCM incorporates adjunctive techniques such as acupressure and moxibustion; manipulative and massage techniques such as tuina and gua sha; herbal medicine; diet and lifestyle changes; meditation; and exercise (often in the form of qigong or tai chi). Traditional Chinese medicine should not also be confused with “Oriental medicine.” Whereas traditional Chinese medicine is considered a standardized version of the type of Chinese medicine practice before the Chinese Revolution, Oriental medicine is a catch-all phrase for the styles of acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage and exercise that have been developed and practice not only in Asia, but world-wide. Although the principles of traditional Chinese medicine may be difficult for some to comprehend, there is little doubt of TCM’s effectiveness. Several studies have reported on traditional Chinese medicine’s success in treating a wide range of conditions, from nausea and vomiting to skin disorders, tennis elbow and back pain. Many Western-trained physicians have begun to see the benefits traditional Chinese medicine has to offer patients and now include acupuncture — at least on a limited basis — as part of their practice. More Americans are also using acupuncture, herbal remedies and other components of traditional Chinese medicine than ever before. The reasons for this vary, but the increasing interest in, and use of, TCM is due in large part to its effectiveness, affordability and lack of adverse side-effects compared to Western medicine.
Acupuncture works to “re-program” and restore normal functions by stimulating certain points on the meridians in order to free up the Chi energy
By: Guinanie Almonte
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In the Orient, ginseng has been admired for many thousands of years. Ginseng is considered to be one of the magic herbal supplements, by those who haven chosen to use it on a regular basis. It is claimed that ginseng can do the following: enhance vitality, boost the immune system, increase physical endurance, increase mental alertness and treat fevers, headaches, vomiting and colds. Ginseng is also considered an aphrodisiac. People would be taking ginseng herbal supplements with each meal, if it actually had properties to give all the benefits that many claim.
However, ginseng herbal supplements actually fall short of the claims. On the commercial market, ginseng herbal supplements are taken in capsule form, as a tea, in a liquid form or by consuming the roots of the plant. A 5 gram dose is the usual dosage of ginseng. Most commonly found in Asia, especially China, Japan and South Korea. Ginseng can also be found growing in woody areas from Missouri to Quebec. The active substance in the root, called ginsenosides, has been shown to decrease fatigue and increase endurance when given to mice in a large quantity. In one particular study with humans, a large amount of the supplements was given and only a small improvement in endurance levels was noted for those who had taken the ginseng herbal supplements. The claims that ginseng can raise low blood pressure and help prevent shock after a heart attack was published in “Chinese Herbal Medicine”, by the US National Institute of Health. Scientific evidence is lacking in support of the many claims of the alleged benefits when consuming ginseng. When you purchase ginseng at a store it is very likely that it will have low concentration levels of ginsenosides.
Because of the low levels in the product, you may not actually receive the full benefits of endurance from the herb. In a study that was done in Sweden, studies showed that most commercial ginseng products that are sold only have a trace amount of ginsenosides. The study was published in the Lancet, a British medical journal. Due to the small amount of ginsenosides that was found in these supplements, the study concluded that ginseng would have an insignificant benefit on endurance levels.
Some products, two of which are sold in the United States, “Up Your Gas” and “Siberian Ginseng” had next to no ginseng in their products. Consuming moderate to small amounts of ginseng is not considered harmful, however you have to ask if it is worth the money to be taking a supplement that has no real valuable benefit to yourself.
We can easily be victimized by the hype of a product, even more so by one that has been used for many years, however when there is no scientific proof of the benefits, then perhaps your money would be better spent elsewhere.
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