How TCM Views Illness
TCM views the mind, body and spirit as a single entity. Thus, a condition can not be treated unless all three entities are addressed. This holistic approach is derived from the fundamental belief, which emphasizes balance and harmony.
In Chinese Traditional Medicine (TCM) a person’s life force is know as Qi, which flows through the body and establishes a balance between the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical. If the balance of the flow of Qi between these components is upset then disease and illness can arise.
TCM employs a system of diagnosis, therapy and herbs to restore the body’s balance by boosting the immune system in an attempt to fight off pathogens. A TCM treatment usually includes a combination of medicinal herbs, nutritional therapies, physical treatments such as acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, or massage, and therapeutic exercises such as Tai Chi and Chi Gong.
Why Illness Occurs
When the flow of energy in the body is unblocked, a person is healthy. Illnesses often occurs when the equilibrium of the Five Elements in the body, are disrupted, whichl gives rise to an irregularity in the body’s physiological functions.
In TCM, there are three main factors that cause illness:
- The external factor (caused by the environment or climate changes)
- The internal factor (such as emotional changes)
- The miscellaneous factor (such as lifestyle or personal habits)
An illness can be in a constant state of change. Hence, treatments can also be altered according to how the illness progresses. TCM believes that the pathology of how some illnesses progress is due to poor organ functions, which requires steps to restore the organ as soon as possible.
Chinese Herbal Formulas to Treat Illness
Principles of treatment behind the use of herbs in TC are guided by the theories in Chinese herbal pharmacology.
- Chinese herbs are divided into 4 main types according to their properties: cool, cold, hot and warm. For instance, herbs with warm or hot properties can be used to treat illnesses that are classified as cool or cold in nature, and vice versa.
- Chinese herbs are also classified into 5 types of tastes based on their different features and effects: sour, bitter, sweet, pungent and salty. Chinese herbs that are bitter have a cooling property and can be used in cases of accumulated body heat due to lack of adequate rest, while pungent-tasting Chinese herbs have dispersing effects and can be used to treat the flu.
- Another feature of herbs is that they are attributed to different meridians to treat different problems and illnesses efficiently.
- Lastly, Chinese herbs also have both “ascending” and “descending” effects. These are used to guide the movements of the flow of Qi and blood in the body.
Shen Tong Zhu Yu Wan for General Pain
TCM and natural herbal formulas have been used for centuries to treat all forms of chronic pain including head aches and low back pain. Shen Tong Zhu Yu Wan is a common Chinese herbal formula prescribed for relief of General Pain and used as an alternative to Anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen and naproxen which block the enzymes that trigger both swelling and pain. However, NSAIDs are associated with several side effects. The frequency of side effects varies among NSAIDs. The most common side effects are nausea,vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, decreased appetite, rash, dizziness,headache, and drowsiness. The most serious side effects are kidney failure (primarily with chronic use), liver failure, ulcers and prolonged bleeding after an injury or surgery.
As with any medication it is important to first consult with your health practitioner before starting any treatment. Since TCM treats every individual differently you may be better suited for one formula over another. If you have any questions regarding your condition and would like advice from a licensed practitioner you can always complete our free online consultation form and Alina would be happy to advise the best formula for your individual condition.