Classical Chinese Medicine is a generic term that applies to various styles and traditions of healthcare that has arose in the long history of Chinese medicine.
Given that its early history is rooted in Daoism, Chinese medicine maintains a patient/client-centered approach with the belief that individuals heal themselves and the primary role of the clinician is to facilitate awareness and guide these individuals with the necessary “knowledge” that would lead them into wellness. Tools that convey such “knowledge” include acupuncture, herbs, diet, tui-na (massage therapy), qigong, tai ji quan and other modalities that have been highlighted or unique to the specific schools of Chinese medicine that have emerged over the centuries.
Upon meeting a practitioner of Chinese medicine, a patient may experience a number of diagnostic parameters utilized by the clinician, in addition to whatever brought the individual to the consultation. Common in the therapeutic encounter would be looking at one’s complexion, tongue, skin, posture, overall demeanor and movement; asking questions in reference to the chief complaint, as well as other pertinent information, such as medical history, sleep, appetite and diet, excretions, pain and its characteristics, etc.; discerning any abnormal breathing rhythm, body odor, emotional expression, etc.; and palpating areas of concern and the pulse located on the radial artery at both wrists. These evaluation methods allow the clinician to differentiate the condition and through these techniques, a Chinese medical diagnosis can be deduced or inferred. It is also common for clinicians to interface and integrate their findings with Western medicine.
What makes Classical Chinese Medicine unique as an approach is the emphasis on the holism of the body-mind-spirit continuum with each of these facets having a significant impact on the individual.
More importantly, the clinician attempts to navigate between the signs and symptoms to rectify the features that represent pathology and that which indicate response.
In addition, medical history provides crucial relevance to the clinician, given that Chinese medicine believes one’s illness could be the result of a previous condition that was not fully or appropriately resolved. Thus, it is not unusual to experience healing crises as the afflicted returns back to a state of genuine wellness.
After evolving for over 3000 years, Classical Chinese Medicine contains a wellspring of therapeutic strategies and clinical experience. Its globalization has afforded many countries exposure to an alternative option to health and honors the individual and his/her journey towards healing — with the emphasis that empowerment comes from understanding wellness, rather than illness. Infused with Daoism, Classical Chinese Medicine works with educating the patient/client in different protocols of cultivation that range from dietary concerns, movement therapy, meditation, and even self-analysis (in addition to the traditional use of acupuncture, herbs, and massage). Its goals are to truly work with the body-mind-spirit continuum.
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Master Jeffrey Yuen