We use the term “alternative medicine” as a point of contrast from what we in the United States have grown accustomed to as medicine in the last 100 years or so. When you go to a conventional doctor, you will often be given an agent that will have a direct affect on the symptoms you are experiencing. This way of practicing medicine definitely has its strengths and weaknesses. Traditional Chinese Medicine, on the other hand, tries to see the person as a whole integrated organism and works on achieving harmony of the entire system not only within itself, but as the person fits within the environment. Chinese Medicine is a rather broad term encompassing several methods of healing used throughout Chinese history. It is one of the oldest forms of medicine still being used today. It has been show effective in spite of rigorous scrutiny during the Cultural Revolution in China because it is a safe and efficient means of providing healthcare.
Here are some of the services we offer at the Denton Alternative Medicine Center:
The origins of acupuncture go back thousands of years and its practice has been continually evolving. It arose out of various Chinese philosophies born out of careful observations of nature and man. The theoretical nature of acupuncture is eloquently simple, yet infinitely complex. The most fundamental philosophical theory, Yin and Yang, is at the heart of Chinese Medicine and acupuncture. In short, Yang is the descriptive quality of all things outgoing, moving, active, intangible, light, and positive. Yin, on the other hand, is the descriptive quality of all things in-going, still, passive, substantial, dark, and negative.
The ancient Chinese meticulously observed these qualities in all of nature. They applied them to agriculture, astronomy, politics, religion, and medicine. With this simple yet deep concept, they were able to accurately describe several phenomena that traditional Western science has only begin to uncover. In acupuncture, a healthy person is a reasonable balance of these two forces. Due to poor lifestyle habits, negative mental states, or external factors, this balance often becomes disrupted.
In acupuncture, the body is seen as an organic microcosm of its environment. Like the macrocosm of the environment, the human body is regulated by the Yin and Yang forces. In modern Ecology we see a delicate interplay of symbiotic relationships between all life on Earth. Acupuncture shares this same view of the human body. Each system affects and needs the other for the optimum health of the whole.
Once this balance is thrown off, hair-thin needles are painlessly inserted at various points on the body where there is an excess, or deficiency, of Yin or Yang aspects. By inserting the needles at specific areas, we are essentially saying to the body, “Hey, there is a problem here that needs your attention.” The ultimate goal of acupuncture is to awaken the body’s natural self-healing/balancing mechanisms and correct any imbalance in the body’s “ecosystem”.
Modern research shows that the insertion of needles elicits an immune response much like the traditional theories of acupuncture describe. Overall, an exact mechanism for why acupuncture works has yet to be completely understood but there are a wealth of modern studies that show its efficacy. Among the many aspects of acupuncture study we have, we know that acupuncture can release/inhibit inflammatory mediators, trigger hormone release necessary for the body’s homeostasis, and act directly on the muscular-neural network.
Acupuncture is an effective, painless, and cost effective alternative to conventional medicine with relatively few side-effects. A common question from new patients is whether or not it is painful. The needles used in acupuncture are very thin and most of the time are not even felt. For those averse or fearful of needles, many systems of acupuncture today, use a non-insertion approach and are entirely pain free.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
As with acupuncture, the use of herbal medicine in China has been proven for thousands of years. Herbs are categorized by flavor and temperature, both which have an effect on function. There are literally thousands of substances used for healing purpose throughout the history of Chinese medicine. However today, only around 500 are in current use.
Currently used herbs include various plant parts, animal substances, and minerals. Organic substances have many strengths compared with synthetic substances. Being from organic material, Chinese herbal medicinals have the unique characteristic of existing within the environment and having evolved within this ecological system. They can offer a more complete and safer alternative to synthetic substances.
Like acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine is used to bring the body into a more balanced state. Each property of the herb reflects its Yin and Yang nature and selected accordingly. Because each herb can have very unique Yin/Yang qualities they can be vastly different. This is where the true strength of Chinese Herbal Medicine lies. Because of the vastly different characteristics of each herb, and the endless number of combinations of one or more herbs, herbal medicine has the ability to be completely tailored to a specific person. Even more extraordinary is that the use of herbal medicines has the ability to change as a person’s body constitution changes during the course of treatment.
Asian Bodywork Therapy
Asian Bodywork Therapy is a broad term encompassing several different systems of hands-on healing methods from Asian traditions. These can include Thai Massage, Shiatsu, and Acupressure, to name a few. The principal modality used at the Denton Alternative Medicine Center is Tuina (pronounced Twee-Nah).
Tuina is one of the oldest forms of Asian Bodywork originating in China. It uses various hand techniques on the body to loosen muscles, stretch stiff joints, and stimulate smooth blood/energy flow throughout the body; much like a massage. Although there are many similarities between Tuina and Western-style massage, Tuina is different in that it is a comprehensive system of joint stretches, acupressure meridian stimulation, and massage-like techniques.
Although it was noticeable in its use in by recent Olympic athletes, cupping therapy has a long history throughout many different cultures. It has become a staple of Traditional Chinese Medicine modalities. “Cupping” involves using cups to create suction on various parts of the body. By creating suction, blood flow to an area can be increased, bringing helpful nutrients to a diseased area, creating a decompression tissue release (like a reverse massage), and normalizing the functions of the body. It is very commonly used for pain and stiffness. Cupping can function as a part of any acupuncture or Asian Bodywork Therapy treatment or a stand-alone treatment. It can also be used for facial rejuvenation and cellulite reduction.
Reiki is a form of energy medicine. The term Reiki is a Japanese term meaning universal energy. You could think of a Reiki treatment as a form of guided meditation in which the patient lies still while the practitioner focuses this universal energy into the patient from the crown of their head and throughout the body of the patient. Reiki can be performed both hands-on or at distance from the patient. Reiki can also be used with other treatment modalities.
Because the modern person lives in an excessively high-stress sympathetic-dominant (fight or flight) state, Reiki is very helpful for relaxing the body and mind and bringing the person into a parasympathetic (rest and digest) state. This shift alters the entire body chemistry over time, helping to create a more receptive state for better physical and mental health. Reiki is being incorporated into hospitals and many nursing and medical school programs.
A strong and fit body that is also calm and relaxed, is essential to your mind and body wellness. We both sponsor the Denton Ving Tsun Club and offer regular Tai Chi classes. Both Ving Tsun Kung Fu and Tai Chi are forms of Chinese martial arts emphasizing softness, structure, and learning to move your body in the most natural way, in balance with the principals of Yin/Yang. Our mind/body programs are great additions to your treatments from the Denton Alternative Medicine Center!
For more info on these programs you can visit the Denton Ving Tsun club website here.