A visit with health practitioners at a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) clinic begins with questions—lots of questions.
The practitioner then carefully examines your tongue and notes your pulse, not just in terms of beats per minute but also whether it shows qualities such as “wiry” or “floating.” You’re told you have “kidney deficiency” but are reassured that the actual organs are not diseased. Perhaps you are given instructions in such gentle Chinese exercises as tai chi. Or you might receive acupuncture, which could involve sticking fine needles into your ankle and leg.
Finally, you’re given a list of herbs that you take to an herbal formulary. On one side shelves hold row upon row of glass jars containing dried stems and leaves; on the other side sit similar rows of plastic bottles filled with powders. The herbalist behind the counter places material from the jars in a bag with instructions on how to brew them into a decoction. If you don’t have the time to do that you might receive the powdered herbs instead.
Though experiences such as these still seem a little exotic to most Americans, more Westerners are coming to Chinese medicine to reap its benefits, says Yun Li, MD, LAc, Dipl Ac & Chinese Herbal Medicine (NCCAOM), Oriental sciences chair at the New York College of Health Professions in Syosset (www.nycollege.edu). The differences between Chinese medicine and its Western counterpart start with how each views the body.
Article by: Lisa James