What is Chinese medicine?

What is Chinese medicine?

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Adapt Far Eastern medicine to European needs
Naturopathic therapies have become increasingly important in recent years. What they have in common is their holistic view and their wealth of experience, which has mostly grown over many centuries. They also include Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which has been developing for more than 2,000 years. But what exactly is behind it? Dr. answers the most important questions Christian Schmincke, chief physician of the clinic at the Steigerwald. He treats patients with Chinese medicine as inpatients and celebrates the 20th anniversary of his clinic in 2016.

How does TCM differ from Western healing methods?
For Chinese medicine, the key to therapy is disease development, not symptom suppression. It is also based on a holistic approach. What sets TCM apart from other naturopathic treatments, however, is its own large theory building. Terms like “Yin” and “Yang” or “Qi” seem strange to many at first. They stand for traditional models of thinking that illustrate the interplay of the forces of the external environment with the human body.

What does Qi stand for?
Qi is usually translated as "life energy". One imagines something like a fluid underneath. According to Chinese acupuncture theory, it circulates through certain body paths, the so-called meridians. If this flow is interrupted by blockages, the balance and diseases arise. These disorders can be resolved by acupuncture.

Where does the theory of qi and meridians come from?
The Chinese sketch meridians as a network of lines that spans the entire body. Nobody knows exactly how they came up with the idea of ​​the meridians, because structurally they are not visible. It is believed that in ancient China a meditative self-awareness was trained that made this inner stream accessible. In the course of the practice, pathways emerged that are particularly used today in acupuncture.

But Chinese medicine is more than acupuncture, isn't it?
Right, because needling certain points only makes up a small part. The alternative medicine relies on Chinese medicine therapy for up to 80 percent. In addition, Qi Gong, Tuina massages and nutritional science play a crucial role in the success of therapy.

And what is the basis of Chinese drug therapy?
The history of Chinese herbal medicine probably goes back to the beginning of human culture. Animals are known to prefer certain plants that are beneficial to them in the event of illness. Because of such abilities, herbal medicine has developed in all early human cultures. In addition to theories and models, Chinese herbal medicine is based on such nature observations.

What can drug therapy do in modern clinical pictures?
The entire mental and physical behavior of the patient can change due to the medication, e.g. Sleep, well-being, excretion behavior, performance. Plant components such as roots, bark or tubers have a high potential for action. They awaken and control self-healing powers. Depending on the clinical picture, Chinese medicines support the elimination of inflammation or metabolic toxins, regulate the immune system or strengthen the body's natural cleansing functions.

And in which clinical pictures is TCM particularly successful?
For pain disorders of any kind. We try to understand what is behind the pain. In addition, there are chronic inflammations - such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, asthma, allergies, joint inflammation and immunological diseases such as fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia syndrome -, neurological inflammations such as polyneuropathy and psychosomatic disorders. These include, for example, panic attacks, depressive states, burnout.

How do you recognize a good Chinese medicine doctor?
A well-trained TCM doctor is at home in both medical worlds and checks all diagnostic and therapeutic decisions according to conventional medicine and Chinese criteria. In addition, the following applies: it is not the best doctor who sets the most needles, but the one who looks at the patient individually and takes his time. Good TCM experts take a lot of time for diagnostics. You can use the pulse or tongue tests to detect the finest body signals. In a detailed discussion, they also deal with mental states. Just as important is the correct assessment of vegetative signs, which in themselves have no disease value. These include, for example, cold feet, sweating, restlessness and indigestion. (pm)

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