Traditional Chinese Medicine and the 4 Pillars of Health
The easiest way to understand Acupuncture is in the context of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM has 4 separate and distinct branches. Each of the 4 healing branches supports the individual, and if any are weak or deficient, support is lacking. Like a stool standing on 4 legs, it only works if they are all complete. A brief description of each follows:
Structure-- The human body is structural in nature. The body is made up of the bones of the spine and extremities, and includes the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Accidents and injuries can cause structural problems to occur, as can or repetition and stress. Chiropractic adjustments correct misalignments of the spine and extremities.
Electrical-- The human body is bio-electrical in nature. Many of the tests used in modern medical diagnosis measure electrical energy in the body. EKGs measure the activity and rhythm of the heart, and EEGs measure the electrical activity the brain. Acupuncture is the treatment used to balance the electrical energies of the body.
Chemical-- The human body is chemical in nature. When the chemistry is out of balance, we see it on blood testing. High liver enzymes or low hemoglobin count are signs of an internal problem. In western medicine drugs would be prescribed, in TCM, plant based medicines or herbs would be used to bring the chemistry back into balance.
Mind/body balance-- This aspect of TCM cannot be measured as easily as the other 3, but is equally important. Feeling at ease, and having peace of mind, having a healthy and happy life would be characteristics of one who has balance in this area. Meditation, prayer, or breathing exercises may be used to calm the mind. Internal exercises such as Qi Gong and Tai Chi have been used for thousands of years in TCM for this purpose.
We will explore each of these in greater detail in future articles.