There are different interpretations of what Chinese medicine is. There are those who see it as an alternative medicine, especially when associated with acupuncture. China and Taiwan look to traditional Chinese medicine as an important part of their healthcare system. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) was coined in the 1950s as a term to collectively refer to what was exported as “Chinese medicine”.
Today traditional Chinese medicine means that which entails the Chinese theories, diagnosis and treatment of individuals using traditional Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage and Qigong. Sometimes it is called Oriental medicine or East Asian medicine.
Most who practice TCM believe that the human body is in constant interaction with the environment. Those that practice TCM can diagnose, understand and treat illness and even prevent it by means of ascertaining disharmony in an individual.
TCM has a theory based on several philosophical believes including the Yin-Yang theory, the Five Elements, the Meridian system, the Zang Fu Organ theory and a few others. These theories or concepts are collectively used to come up with a diagnosis.
It is important when utilizing Chinese herbs that you do so under the guidance of a health professional. You will have questions regarding the preparation, dosage, interactions, when to change formulas, what to do if other symptoms would occur that you may not have expected.
Also learn how long to follow the herbal therapy. All of these questions are best answered by someone how really understands Chinese medicine. Knowing about Chinese medicine is more than just reading an article or book. It takes years of studying to understand not only the book knowledge, but the inner understanding about balance and other Chinese theories.
Formulas are herbal combinations that are specifically designed for an individual based on symptoms, interview and inspection. Formulas are not mass-produced but done one at a time for a specific individual. Formulas are not available in stores or on the Internet. Those practicing Chinese medicine will prescribe a formula that the patient can take to a herbal shop in order to have the formula prepared.
It is recommended that you find a local practitioner to aid you in consultations and treatments instead of traveling great distances to have one consultation with a Chinese practice of notoriety.
Chinese medicine is not an exact science. Treatment varies and has many factors including herbs to be used, dosage, the duration of the treatment and any additional treatment such as acupuncture.
Chinese medicine like many clinics for Western medicine has a way for low-income patients to receive care. Colleges of traditional Chinese medicine offer discounted services because students are there to learn from experience treating patients. Other practitioners often times will offer low cost or sliding scale fees to assist those with lower income to pay for traditional Chinese medicinal care.
Going the distance for care in China:
There are those who desire Chinese medicine and are willing to receive it from those actually practicing in China. There are many obstacles such as the language barrier, travel arrangements, the availability of hotel rooms and the ability of Chinese hospitals to accommodate foreign patients. Certain clinics in China are set up to treat specific diseases and may offer to provide foreign patients with long distance consultations where the patient sends the clinic his/her medical information and the clinic will design and ship the proper herbs for a fee.