Traditional Chinese Medicine


Acupuncture is considered one of the cornerstones of Chinese medicine. The archeological record of this form of therapy dates back nearly 5000 years, with finds of large flat stones that were used for heat therapy and small sharp stone to prick the skin. Things have come a long way since then; today’s needles are made from surgical steel and are hair-thin. In fact, three or more acupuncture needles can be inserted into the barrel of needles commonly used for injections.

The sites at which the needles are inserted are located all over the body, but many of the most powerful points are located on the arms below the elbow and the legs below the knee. Most acupuncture points are located along the course of meridians that have been likened to rivers of energy that irrigate the body.

There are a subset of other practices, both ancient and modern, that fall under the scope of ‘acupuncture’ therapy. These include cupping, sound therapy, electro-acupuncture and moxibustion.

At our clinic we use only high quality, pre-sterilized and disposable needles.

Herbal Medicine:

Herbal medicine is the other cornerstone of Chinese medicine. The practice of Chinese herbal medicine is considerably different than the European and North American traditions. Herbs are rarely prescribed singly, rather they are grouped into formulas containing between 5 and 15 ingredients. Some of these formulas have been in use for more than two thousand years – talk about long-term clinical trials! The advantage of this approach is that the constituents of the formula create a balance that moderates any harsh properties of individual herbs, and enables the treatment of the constellation of symptoms that a person presents with.

There has been much concern about the safety of products imported from China, as well as the use of endangered plant and animal species in Chinese medicine. In our practice we use carefully sourced, professsional grade products. We use no endangered plant or animal species.

Diet Therapy:

The distinction between what is considered a herb versus a food is an arbitrary one. Many foods have a potent enough medicinal effect to be used as herbs, some of the more common include ginger, garlic, mint, yams, and turmeric.

Fundamental Precepts of Oriental Medicine

The concepts and point of view of Oriental medicine are quite different from those of the Western world. To understand a little better it helps to look at some of the underlying precepts of Oriental medicine.

‘Treat the Person, Not the Disease’

In Oriental medicine it is said that we treat the person not the disease. Two of the implications of this way of practicing are that it leads to a truly holistic form of medicine, and secondly, there is near freedom from side-effects.

  1. Truly ‘Holistic’

The gaze of oriental medicine expands outward from a sign or symptom to encompass the whole body. In fact signs and symptoms cannot be understood in isolation; they are interpreted in the context of the organism as a whole. Thus, information about all aspects of the body are woven together to create a picture of the state of balance of the person. From this point of view relationships are more important than causality. This approach provides a framework to look beyond the physical body and understand how imbalance fits into the overall picture of a person’s life

  1. Freedom from Side-effects

Because we consider the whole person, rather than just the imbalances they may be experiencing, treatment is necessarily tailored to the individual. This includes care with acupuncture and herbs as well as diet and lifestyle recommendations. All aspects of care customized to the person so there is little chance of side-effects.

‘Doctor as Gardener’ vs ‘Doctor as Mechanic’

In the view of Oriental medicine the practitioner would be conceived of as being like a gardener. In the West there seems to be the tendency to think of those in the medical profession as mechanics: we seek care when there is a problem and things are not running smooth, we want a quick explanation and an even quicker remedy so that we can continue to drive as we always have. A human being defies such simple conceptions. It is estimated that at any given moment there are six trillion reactions taking place in the body. Further more, all of these reactions and processes are coordinated with one another. Faced with this level of complexity it is clear that if the human mind were in charge of all this the body could not live for more than a few seconds.

Perhaps the realization of this truth lead Voltaire to comment that the role of the physician is to “…amuse the patient while nature cures the disease.” A doctor doesn’t heal a person anymore than a gardener makes a garden grow. The role of the gardener is to be an ally to the garden; to encourage conditions that allow the garden to flourish, remove some weeds, and keep the paths clear. In the same way, the doctor sets the stage and makes conditions ripe for healing to take place.

Conditions Treated by Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture is recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to be effective treatment of:

  • Addiction – Alcohol,
  • Drugs, Smoking
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Carpal Tunnel Synd.
  • Chronic Fatigue Synd.
  • Colitis
  • Common Cold
  • Constipation
  • Dental pain
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Digestive Trouble
  • Dizziness
  • Dysentery
  • Emotional Problems
  • Eye Problems Facial Palsy/Tics
  • Fatigue
  • Fertility
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gingivitis
  • Headache
  • Hiccough
  • Incontinence
  • Indigestion
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Low Back Pain
  • Menopause
  • Menstrual Irregularities
  • Migraine
  • Morning Sickness
  • Nausea
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pain
  • P.M.S. Seasonal Affective
  • Disorder (SAD)
  • Reproductive Problems
  • Rhinitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Sinusitis
  • Sleep Disturbance
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Sore throat
  • Stress
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Tonsillitis
  • Tooth Pain
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia
  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Vomiting
  • Wrist Pain


This list is by no means exhaustive!  Oriental medicine can be beneficial for many more conditions, especially those that are chronic and degenerative.


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