The Value of Chinese Medicine


acupuncture-needlesAS A PRACTITIONER, my first discovery of the value of Chinese medicine was a paradigm shift. I was able to put the name of “qi” (“chi,” or life force energy) to something I had been aware of for a long time. The mechanistic view of the body had never made sense. All people, including myself, feel an intuition about others, a sense of who they are. There is no mechanical model that can account for this.

The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) view imparts that life is fluid rather than static, so the physical, mental and emotional aspects of who we are are not separate. Because of this, all aspects and experiences of illness can be quantified and accounted for in this system. After I was introduced to qi, the whole knowledge of the human body opened up, as a healing tool and as a translator for the Spirit.

There is high integrity within Chinese medicine and its thousands of years of experience. This value is from extensive use and extensive observation for what works over time. The experiences have been recorded and preserved in great volumes of reference. TCM has survived under social and political changes throughout the world, demonstrating the inherent value of the information. Since it does not depend on technology, it can be used over time with only a few adjustments for modern use.

TCM can be adjusted to treat sensitive patients. A TCM assessment takes into account the patient’s constitution. It is symptom based, so each illness treated depends on the person instead of the disease. This also leads to the importance of the well-being of the client over the course of the treatment. The disease is not attacked, so therefore, neither is the client. This approach to medicine found in the East is a unique philosophical view.

TCM is complete medicine with: unique diagnostic tools, such as noting the pulse and tongue; unique diagnosis, with organ channels addressed; and unique healing tools, which include cups, needles and herbs. Since it is a whole medical system by itself, no other medicine is necessary for day-to-day health.

Chinese medicine is natural medicine. It is congruent with the biological and energetic systems of the body. It does not, philosophically, consider the human to be separate from the natural, and therefore, it addresses the true functioning of a human. The philosophy also is able to extend to all aspects of life.

Aside from acknowledging qi, a client can give herself medicine through food. TCM offers a wealth of knowledge for a dietary system that complements the other aspects of the medicine. The time of year, time of day and environment the client sleeps in are all considered in the diagnosis. I think this puts the patient more at ease, taking the subjective experience readily into analysis for diagnosis. If a client says that the joint pain is worse when it rains, for example, that is important information for the diagnosis. Since the experiences of the client are important, the client gets more personal attention than in a modern medical visit. Simply being able to tell someone who understands her ailment relieves stress. This may be the first step towards recovery.

As a practitioner, practicing Chinese medicine has allowed me independence. I wanted to help people as a career, but never liked working for anyone. I am able to make my own choices about how to treat and how much time to spend pursuing the information. I can add new information at any time to my practice. I could spend a lifetime learning new things about TCM, and that keeps me interested and fascinated.

Since I believe that learning is the goal of life, I can fulfill the needs of my soul while performing valuable services. I know that I will look back on this as a life well spent.

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Tammy Gerber
Tammy Gerber studied meditation and energy work in Portland, Oregon, and has been practicing both since 1998. She earned a Master's degree at the American Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in Roseville. She is a Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate of Chinese Herbology. She practices at The Wellness Circle in Lino Lakes.


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