About Chinese Medicine
History of Chinese Medicine
Archaeological finds of gold and silver acupuncture needles, along with inscriptions describing various ailments, date to 1,000 B.C.E., and stone acupressure implements date to several thousand years earlier. One of the oldest and most influential medical texts is the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic (Huang Di Nei Jing), compiled Warring States period (403-222 B.C.E.). Scholars and physicians have verified that this ancient medical text, the first of its kind, was available to the public no later than 24 AD, and consisted of two volumes. This important two-volume medical text is still quoted in today’s modern Chinese medical texts, and its existence proves that Chinese Medicine was already a well-developed and complex system more than 2,500 years ago.
Chinese Medical Treatments
The practice of Chinese Medicine includes Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Bodywork Techniques (such as Tuina and Acupressure), Dietary Therapy, and other Therapies such as Qi Gong exercises. These therapeutic modalities, practiced safely and effectively throughout Asia for thousands of years, originated in ancient China. Oriental Medicine was introduced to the United States by Asian immigrants, but did not gain widespread acceptance until the years following the establishment of diplomatic relations with China in the early 1970’s. Presently, more than forty states have passed legislation regulating the practice of acupuncture, and there are over 20,000 Licensed Acupuncturists nationwide, most of whom graduated from one of about fifty accredited colleges of Acupuncture located across the U.S.
Recognition and Accreditation
The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) is the national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit Masters-level programs in the Acupuncture and Oriental Medical profession. As the course of study in ACAOM accredited Acupuncture and Oriental Medical programs encompasses far more than the single modality of Acupuncture, the ACAOM, NCCAOM and other organizations have more recently promoted the use of the term Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (A&OM) as the designation for our field in the United States. The ACAOM has created the highest standards for schools that seek accreditation in order to assure the highest quality of professional education in this field. For more information about the ACAOM and standards for colleges of A&OM, visit www.acaom.org.Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is recognized by the World Health Organization and the prestigious National Institute of Health as safe and effective treatment for a number of specific medical conditions, and its acceptance and popularity continues to grow. It is a complex and complete system of medicine with a rich and well-documented history that spans well over three thousand years.
Study of Chinese Medicine
Students who choose to study and eventually practice in the United States today must complete a four-year course of study, comprised of a minimum of 2,625 hours, including at least 660 hours of hands-on clinical training. Most schools teach a base curriculum of traditional Chinese medical theory and practice, with the addition of Japanese, Korean, or other styles. A student must pass a rigorous national examination in order to be recognized by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) as a licensed practitioner of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. There is also a separate, optional Chinese Herbal Medical Certification. Currently, over forty states have passed legislation pertaining to the practice of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and most states (including Florida) require NCCAOM certification as a prerequisite to licensure on the state level. For more information about the NCCAOM and standards for certification in Acupuncture and Oriental medicine, visit www.nccaom.org. For information about the practice of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the state of Florida, visit www.fsoma.com.
Chinese Medicine Theory
Rooted in its native Eastern philosophy, this nature-based medicine maintains a holistic point of view, in which the human being is seen as a microcosm unto itself, interacting with its surroundings. Illness is viewed not as a cause and effect relationship, but as part of a greater pattern of disharmony. The ancient Eastern concepts of Yin-Yang and the Five Phases were formed through natural observation, and both serve as general guides to Oriental medical diagnosis and treatment. Yin and Yang represent two opposite yet complimentary aspects to every object, life form, and phenomenon in the universe. They are viewed in relative terms. Some examples of Yin are nighttime, stillness, the moon, a shy introverted personality and dull achy pain that dissipates when treated with warmth. Some examples of Yang are daytime, action, the sun, a boisterous extroverted personality and pronounced pain with redness and heat which responds favorably with cold. The Five Phases – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water – represent the natural processes and tendencies inherent in all aspects of life, from seasons, to colors, to the basic elements which make up the worlds within and around us. The theories of Yin-Yang and the Five Phases are two of the earliest and most important concepts in all of Eastern thought and philosophy, and they have greatly influenced not only Chinese medicine, but every aspect of Chinese culture. As these concepts are quite broad and non-linear, they tend to be difficult to grasp at first, especially for the Western mind.
The Integral and Holistic Nature of Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture is one modality within a complex system of medicine that proliferated in China, spread throughout Asia and into the West. Chinese medicine has been developing for thousands of years and has evolved as a highly effective art and science of promoting health and well-being. We can view a person as a whole and see all the parts of the whole as being whole within themselves, as well as being interrelated. For example, cells comprise all of our organs, tissues, and ultimately the entire human organism. Cells can be identified as being whole unto themselves. The structures and systems which make up our biology are made of the same basic building blocks, which form increasingly complex structures that interact with each other at levels of relatedness that also increase in complexity. The human organism thus can be seen as a whole that is made up of other interrelated wholes, which create systems that are increasingly complex as higher levels of interrelatedness emerge.
The practice of Chinese medicine holds the ability to see systems through this holistic and integral point of view. This perspective may be applied to any aspect of life, from the human body and mind, to social systems, to the complex and interconnected ecology of our planet.
A family can be considered as a whole, and we can see the individuals that make up a family to be whole and interrelated. As we all know the health and well-being of parents can affect the health and well-being of their children, and vice-versa. There is a saying in Chinese Medicine--"treat the mother to treat the child". When the health and well-being of any individual in a family is addressed, the whole family may benefit, and more harmonious levels of relatedness can emerge. With Chinese medicine, the quality of the inter-relatedness of systems and the functional integrity of a whole may be diagnosed and treated. My use of acupuncture and Oriental medicine helps me to enhance the balanced functioning of systems in my patients, helping them to overcome a broad range of health issues and increase their quality of life. Through thousands of years of clinical practice, acupuncture and Oriental medicine has been proven safe and effective for treating practically any condition. The World Health Organization and the National Institute of Health have concluded that acupuncture is safe and effective for the treatment of several ailments including painful conditions and digestive problems.
The practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine is an art and science of improving the relatedness of systems that make up a whole, thus helping to restore its functional integrity. When there is a higher degree of functional integrity in an individual, there can be a higher quality of relatedness with everyone and everything they encounter, including family and other relationships. Healthy individuals make up healthy families, and healthy families make for healthy communities. Jonathan Chen began his clinical practice of Chinese medicine in 1999 and has been in private practice in Ormond Beach and Daytona, Florida since 2002. His practice gives him the extraordinary opportunity to serve the world through helping individuals.
For those who would like to learn more about these concepts and how they relate to Oriental Medicine, Jon recommends Ted Kaptchuk’s book The Web That Has No Weaver (Congdon And Weed Inc., 1983). Contact Atlantic Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine to learn more about Chinese Medicine in Daytona and Ormond Beach.