Chinese medicine is the blanket term for alternative health therapy based on the philosophy that all beings possess a Qi. This Qi (pronounced “chee”) describes an energy that is said to flow throughout the body along pathways called meridians.
Practitioners of Chinese medicine alternative health therapies believe that the balance of the Qi flowing through the body’s meridians creates a sense of well-being. If the pathways by which one’s Qi flows is impeded or unbalanced, this is said to create a feeling of illness in the body.
The alternative health therapy of Chinese medicine has been practiced for thousands of years. A number of factors are thought to be things that may disrupt one’s Qi, including external forces, internal forces, and lifestyle factors.
The weather or the temperature of one’s body can be described as an external factor. Feelings within ourselves, such as our emotions, are examples of internal factors. Lifestyle factors are those that one can create, such as the quality of nutrition or the amount of sleep one can get.
A great deal of the alternative health therapies described by Chinese medicine depends on balance – not just that of Qi, but of yin and yang.
Yin and yang describes opposing forces that are constantly fighting for balance. Restoring good health in one’s body requires balance of both Qi and yin/yang in order to create a healthy mind, body, and spirit.
A number of alternative health therapies can help restore imbalance within one’s self, including acupressure, acupuncture, the use of herbal remedies, and massage (also called “tui na”).
Other practices specific to Chinese medicine include cupping, or the placement of jars of warm air over parts of the body that require a change in temperature in order to restore Qi.
Moxibustions, or the use of warmed moxa plants on areas of the body, also have been used to help restore balance.
The practice of Qi Gong, or monitoring and adjusting lifestyle factors such as exercise or meditation, have also been used to help create balance for those practicing the alternative health therapies of Chinese medicine.