Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been evolving over the past 2,000 years, and is very much a phenomenon in the United States.
TCM builds on the idea that to achieve overall wellness, a connection of mind and body must be established. The combined energy of a person’s qi (vital life force), other complementary forces called yin (passive) and yang (active), and the TCM-specific five elements–fire, water, earth, wood, and water–can deliver on-point treatment for a great number of issues, the practitioners believe.
It’s now common to see many a beauty influencer gushing over Gua Sha, which is a time-honored face muscle manipulation device used to bolster skin’s firmness and delay aging. Gua Sha’s application isn’t solely restricted to the face, as the scraping method is also used across the body to address chronic pain.
You may have also heard of “cupping” which is used as part of TCM. The method focuses on the release of the stagnation of blood and lymph, thereby improving the qi flow, which, in turn, treats many respiratory diseases, such as the common cold, pneumonia, and bronchitis.
However, it is only natural to speculate whether these treatment options really do work wonders. To understand this, we must first learn what TCM is all about.
What is TCM?
TCM, like Indian Ayurveda, is one of the oldest forms of healthcare, which is centered around natural treatments like acupuncture, herbal remedies, dietary advice, and exercise (tai chi). It is a holistic approach to healing by establishing mind-body harmony. Oftentimes, people steer clear of such old methods, doubting their merits to deliver effective and long-term results, but here are 25 good reasons why such views about TCM are baseless:
1. TCM could solve many organ-related issues
“Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treats a number of issues and approaches treating ailments from a holistic perspective. A variety of symptoms are treatable such as pain, IBS, colitis, infertility, neuropathy, arthritis, insomnia, stress, and depression. TCM can treat chronic and/or acute problems as well,” Simone Wan, founder of new Traditional Chinese Medicine brand IN:TotalWellness, told Forbes.
2. It outweighs the risk factors of western medication
“Both women and men of all ages visit me in my clinic. I’ve seen infants for colic and people in their 90s for pain. Western medicine plays a huge role in people’s health care. Sometimes a client would visit me to avoid using Western medicine as many pharmaceutical medicines come with risky side effects,” said Wan.
3. It gives effective cancer protection
According to a study published in The Journal of Traditional & Complementary Medicine, TCM has a rich antioxidant profile that lowers oxidative stress and inflammation, thus protecting cells, tissues, and organs against cancer.
4. TCM is majorly non-invasive
TCM encompasses herbal medicines and some mind-body practices. Even though several procedures would require stimulation of muscles or oral consumption of herbs, only acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles through the skin and many strategic points in the body.
5. TCM is gaining recognition on the global stage
Heeding the years-long campaign by TSM advocates, the World Health Assembly, the governing body of the WHO, gave its nod to integrate the therapy into mainstream healthcare. Many medical communities called out the move, citing the toxicity of certain Chinese herbs. But there is a growing body of evidence that TCM has found a place on the global stage as a trusted clinical practice, as many opened up about benefiting from a broad range of conditions.
6. You are allowed to remain fully clothed during the procedure
While many may not like the idea of stripping down for a stranger during massage practices. TCM, during Tui Na (traditional Chinese massage therapy), doesn’t require you to be naked.
7. The health benefits of Tai Chi (shadowboxing)
Tai Chi or shadowboxing is a gentle form of exercise that is an integral part of the TCM method. Aptly described as the “meditation in motion,” it gives you both mindfulness and myriad other health benefits.
8. TCM is deemed safe for even those with crucial heart or lung conditions
Research over the years has built a compelling case for TCM as the safest way to treat many medical problems, including stroke, heart disease, and even psychological disparities.
9. TCM has a robust market size
TCM now boasts of a market size that reached past the 18 million mark in 2021, which proves more and more people are joining the growing network.
10. TCM has a different approach to health altogether
TCM practitioners believe that emotions and physical health are intrinsically connected and they, therefore, aim to regulate a person’s emotional reactions to treat the overall health.
11. Cupping is an old method to improve posture
This healing method involves placing cups on the skin to create suction. The pressure, in turn, unlocks vital energies that heal many conditions like poor posture, muscle strain injury, etc. Celebrities from Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Victoria Beckham to Michael Phelps, Ian Kennedy, Steven Adams, and Alexander Naddou, all have tried their hands at integrative therapy and reaped benefits.
“Cupping therapy is one of the most ancient and revered healing techniques,” Dr. Jessica Duncan Propes, Atlanta-based doctor of chiropractic specializing in sports injury management, recovery, and wellness care, told Forbes.
12. Some TCM herbs have aphrodisiac qualities
Some TCM herbs, such as horny goat weed, Bird’s nest, Ginseng, and Goji Berries are known to boost your performance between the sheets. It is known to boost many kidney and liver problems as well.
13. TCM can treat depression
Depression is a multi-genetic syndrome. Antidepressants don’t go a long way in treating the psychological condition, as the body grows resistant to them. Traditional Chinese Medicine has historically been proven to treat depression effectively up till today.
14. TCM dietary therapy corrects organ imbalances
TCM dietary therapy is considered a powerful tool to treat organ imbalances. Through different branches of TCM, namely acupuncture, herbal therapy and Qi Gong (therapeutic movement exercise), optimal healing results can be provided to the body.
15. TCM slows down aging
TCM has profound anti-aging values, and the statement is backed up by many peer-reviewed studies. The naturally active chemicals in the herbs can treat aging-associated disorders.
16. TCM aids digestion
Digestive health works hand in hand with overall benefits, and many TCM herbs like Cinnamon bark, Hawthorn berry can effectively tone down the digestive fire of an irritated stomach and improve overall gut health.
17. TCM improves sleep apnea
Getting a restful snooze through the night may seem like a distant dream for those with a sleeping disorder. Sleep disorders are usually attributed to an irritated stomach and dwindled blood circulation. Consuming a hot cup of chrysanthemum tea before bed cools down the stomach, whilst adding some Goji berries to the tea improves blood circulation.
18. TCM is helpful for dementia patients
Dementia is a brain disease that destroys brain cells and the cognitive abilities of a person, especially among those who have crossed 60 years of age. The most common type of dementia, named Alzheimer’s Disease, can be very well addressed by acupuncture, a study said.
19. TCM is beneficial for young kids
Debunking the myth that TCM is ineffective for young children, a study noted that it prevents a number of illnesses from occurring and after that recurring. There has also been a growing trend of parents trying out TCM to build up immunity in children.
20. TCM improves bone health
The World Health Organization (WHO) noted that osteoporosis is a systematic bone disorder characterized by reduced bone mass and microarchitectural degeneration of osseous cells, which makes them vulnerable to fracture. A study noted that through TCM-related herbal medication, acupuncture, food, and exercise, bone regeneration is possible.
21. TCM treats Candidiasis
Candidiasis is a condition that stems from the overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus called Candida albicans. The major concentration of this fungus is seen in the mouth, vagina, intestines, and other organs. Acupuncture is a potent method to fight off Candida as well as recurring yeast infections and thrush in the mouth.
22. TCM has remedial properties against COVID-19
Last year, a WHO panel recommended the use of traditional Chinese medicines, saying they help treat the symptoms and thereby reduce the risk of progression from mild-to-moderate cases.
23. TCM can cure infertility
Move over painful IVF sessions, as TCM has a bountiful source of attributes that can solve many issues with the reproductive system and restore fertility.
24. TCM helps reduce stress
TCM methods, such as acupuncture and moxibustion, generate relaxing responses and the healing compounds in the herbs manage stress levels, and promote calmness, tranquility, and rest.
25. Acupuncture enhances one’s appearance
Cosmetic acupuncture, alternatively known as facial acupuncture, is also a part of TCM, which improves skin elasticity in the regions like head, face, and neck. As a result, skin health appears plumper and appears healthy from within.