Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a multi-faceted medical system. With origins based in ancient Taoist philosophy, TCM views a person as an interconnected energy system in which mind and body are unified, each balancing and influencing the other. Optimal health is attained when these elements work in harmony.
TCM practitioners employ multiple modalities to regulate the body and promote well-being. These modalities work synergistically to heal, balance, strengthen the immune system and improve vitality. As Chinese medicine grows increasingly popular around the world, more and more people are using TCM modalities to remedy a variety of health issues.
Acupuncture and herbal medicine are two of the most well-known therapies in TCM. Each of these therapeutic methods is a piece of a much larger puzzle — the TCM system — that works most effectively when multiple pieces are combined. Used together, acupuncture and high-quality herbal supplements support each other’s effects to maximize physical, mental and emotional health.
Qi: A Fundamental Principle of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Many of the key concepts in Traditional Chinese Medicine have no true counterparts in Western medicine. One of these concepts is qi, an energy force that flows through the body along pathways called meridians and performs various functions to maintain health. TCM practitioners believe imbalances, blockages or weakness in the flow of qi cause illness and that correcting the flow restores the body to balance.
In an ideal state of health, qi flows freely and there is internal harmony within the body. Acupuncture and herbal supplements are used to attain this goal.
Acupuncture is the practice of inserting precision needles into specific points of the body. In the traditional Eastern theory of medicine, the primary goal of acupuncture is to encourage a natural state of balance by activating the flow of qi through the meridians and clearing obstructions. Each insertion point has a different effect on the qi that passes through it. While everyone experiences acupuncture differently, many people report feeling more relaxed, focused, centered, grounded and even blissful after a treatment session. Acupuncture often is accompanied by other TCM modalities to enhance its benefits.
Understanding Herbal Medicine
Herbs have been used in China for thousands of years to treat many acute and chronic conditions. Chinese herbs are available as single herbs or in formulas containing a combination of herbs. These herbal supplements can be taken in a variety of formats, including granules, capsules, tablets, tea bags, tinctures and topical products. Each herb has unique characteristics that, when combined, have a complementary therapeutic effect. Like acupuncture, Chinese herbs are thought to address unhealthy body patterns and restore energy balances.
How Herbal Supplements and Acupuncture Work Together
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal remedies are both used to promote the tremendous natural healing capacity of the human body, mind and spirit. Regular acupuncture treatments keep qi flowing in a smooth and balanced way through the body. Chinese herbs can be used to deliver a stronger, most focused intervention that is targeted at specific organs, systems or concerns. To make Chinese medicine most effective, many practitioners use Chinese herbs and acupuncture in tandem.
Below are 6 benefits of integrating these two practices to cultivate good health.
#1 Holistic Treatment
Many modern medical practices focus on treating symptoms while neglecting their root causes. The goal of Traditional Chinese Medicine is to treat the whole person — that means body, mind and spirit. Acupuncture and herbal medicine seek to correct the internal imbalances causing ailments, rather than treating only the manifestation of symptoms. Taking a multi-modality approach allows TCM practitioners to treat the human body as a whole and address more concerns simultaneously.
#2 An All-Natural Approach
The TCM system uses natural remedies to help the body heal itself. It may be a good option for people who do not find relief through Western medicine or people who hope to minimize pharmaceutical intervention. Using high-quality herbal supplements together with an acupuncture regimen may stimulate the body’s natural healing properties without the undesirable side effects that can be associated with pharmaceutical therapies.
#3 Versatile Applications
Acupuncture and herbal medicine work cooperatively to address a wide range of conditions and concerns. In TCM, a combination of acupuncture and herbal treatments may help with pain, insomnia, inflammation, digestive disorders, chronic headaches, anxiety, depression, stress, arthritis, infertility, impotence, premenstrual syndrome, painful menstruation, menopausal symptoms, circulatory issues, immune function and more. By combining modalities, practitioners have more opportunities to treat internal imbalances.
#4 Complement Western Medicine for Comprehensive Wellness
In many cases, acupuncture and Chinese herbs can safely be combined with prescription drugs and other Western medical treatments. Generally speaking, Western medicine can be beneficial for treating symptoms and acute illness, while Eastern medicine can be good for treating chronic illness, the root causes of dysfunction and general health. Because these systems use different paradigms to diagnose and treat health issues, they can complement each other and provide better outcomes in some circumstances. Consult with a licensed practitioner or herbalist before beginning TCM treatments to ensure they will not negatively affect any other therapies you’re using.
#5 Individualized Treatments
TCM practitioners take a personalized approach for every patient. Acupuncture treatments are uniquely designed for each patient and their specific health challenges. Likewise, herbal regimens are formulated for the individual based on their unique body condition and symptoms. Practitioners begin by conducting a comprehensive consultation to determine individual need and create a customized treatment plan combining modalities. Treatments may later be adjusted as the patient’s pattern develops or changes. The high degree of flexibility and personalization is one of the most unique and elegant aspects of TCM.
#6 Take Your Treatment Home
Acupuncture should be performed by a professional with proper training and credentials. A course of treatment usually requires multiple office visits to address your concerns. You may also be advised to return for occasional follow-up treatments to maintain balance. Adding herbs to your routine is like taking your acupuncturist home with you. You don’t need a practitioner to perform treatments on you each day to make progress. Herbs allow you to be an active participant in your treatment and build upon the momentum started by the acupuncture.
Finding Health and Balance With Traditional Chinese Medicine
If you are interested in exploring the benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine, it’s important to consult with a TCM practitioner. A qualified herbalist can recommend a personalized regimen of KPC’s herbal supplements that can support your acupuncture treatments and help you address your specific needs. Your acupuncturist or TCM practitioner should have an up-to-date license in your state. You can check their status online or contact us at 949-398-8158 for assistance. Our team would be happy to recommend a practitioner who carries KPC products near you.