“There are four basic foundations of achieving and maintaining good health. These are diet, exercise, adequate rest and relaxation, and a good mental attitude,” writes Bob Flaws, author of over two-dozen books on Chinese medicine.
In traditional Western medicine, everything must be tangible and calculable, which is why some scholars are hesitant to delve into more philosophical, cosmic realms with Chinese alternative medicines and therapies. But in this era, there has been a sudden interest in yoga and Buddhism as an alternate, natural approach to pain relief that has some Western scientists baffled.
Acupuncture treatment: “I would go to a hospital for an emergency, but for pain, there is nothing better than acupuncture,” states Dr. Teri Powers, dean of the Los Angeles Samra University of Oriental Medicine. Some people feel nervous when they think of long filiform needles being plunged into certain “acupuncture points” on the body to relieve pain.
However, many patients compare the feeling of acupuncture to the natural high from exercising. While the needles don’t hurt going in, they say, there is some activity that can be felt around the entry-point, whether it’s Qi energy, as Chinese medicine acupuncture teaches, or the body’s natural endorphins. This may feel strange at first, but most visitors feel better than ever, prompting them to return for more treatments.
Chinese herbology has been used for centuries, with some manuscripts, such as “Recipes for 52 Ailments” dating as far back as 168 BC. The Han, Tang and Ming dynasties all have treatises on Chinese medicine that have become the foundation of modern day traditions.
One of the most popular herbal remedies is echinacea, which sells like crazy during flu season. Another herbal medicine gingko biloba is said to naturally help the memory of elderly people. Other everyday herbs like ginger (reduces nausea), mint (aids digestion) or chamomile (helps sleep) are commonly used.
Some Americans find it hard to believe that activities like massage and yoga are included in traditional Chinese medicine. These practices have been proven to improve circulation and flexibility, while simultaneously reducing stress and providing an overall feeling of well-being.
Yoga has long been touted as the “toning, weight loss secret of the stars.” Now women are using it to stave off baby weight gain and balance emotions during pregnancy. More business men are running down to get Chinese massages on their lunch breaks to find their center too. If for no other reason, Chinese alternative medicine is catching on in America because it simply feels good.