The roots of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) go as far back as 5th century BC. TCM is based on the philosophy that all processes within the body and mind are interrelated and intimately connected with the physical and metaphysical environment. According to TCM, all the inner patterns are governed by a vital energy called Qi, which navigates throughout the body in channels called Meridians. The 12 Standard Meridians correspond to specific organs, nourishing them and governing the patterns of their function.There are also Extraordinary Meridians that do not correspond to any organs as seen by Western medicine.
The patterns of flow of Qi are analyzed by the doctor of TCM much like the circulation of blood or the neurological functioning of the body is assessed by the Western medical doctor. When Qi is free and abundant, the body and mind are in harmony and, therefore, in a healthy state. Disease ensues when Qi is depleted or if its flow is blocked. In TCM, health is more than the absence of disease- it is a state of balance and harmony which leads to complete well-being.
TCM is comprised of many branches of which acupuncture is the most familiar and widespread. Other methods of treatment include herbology, dietetics, physical therapy, and special exercises (such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong). Acupuncture is the direct manipulation of Qi using very thin needles inserted into acu-points, which are special locations along the meridians that are known to focus and direct the Qi in a specific way.
Acupuncture, along with other methods of TCM, is used in state hospitals and emergency rooms in China and in Europe along with conventional Western medical procedures. It is noteworthy that the rates of death due to heart attacks and heart disease are much lower in China than in United States. Rates of surgical intervention for many diseases are lower in China as well. TCM is used to treat most diseases that Western medicine deals with. Recent studies also suggest that TCM is more effective than Western medicine in the treatment of such diseases as Sickle Cell Anemia, Parkinson's Disease and Multiple Sclerosis