Chinese medicine sometimes referred to as TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) or CCM (Classical Chinese Medicine) has a rich history dating back to thousands of years B.C. Based on the philosophies of the Tao and classical Chinese beliefs, these two variations of Chinese medicine differ from each other in that CCM strictly adheres to roots of the ancient Chinese medicine; and TCM is a more accepted form of alternative medicine that has become more “Westernized” in conjunction with modern terms.
Broadly taught throughout China, TCM is also offered through a number of Chinese medicine or acupuncture schools in North America as well. Teaching holistic principles that demonstrate how all things are connected (mind, spirit, and body); future Chinese medicine practitioners learn how to prescribe herbal prescriptions relative to the patient. The belief is to treat the “whole person,” not the disease.
Chinese medicine aims to balance the yin (water and earth) and yang (fire and air) of the body’s life force (Chi or Qi); and is a highly evolved medicine in that it approaches healthcare on the foundation of the meridian system (energy channels of the body). Unlike conventional medicine in the West, Chinese medicine places an emphasis on the body’s elements, and their interrelation with the body’s individual systems.
If you visit a Chinese medicine practitioner, you will discover an entirely different form of diagnostics. In addition to observing a patient’s face, these holistic health practitioners perform a pulse diagnosis (palpation of the radial artery pulse), body palpation, and other unique non-invasive diagnostic measures.
Once a Chinese medicine practitioner has formulated his observations, and has come to a conclusive treatment method, some of the many holistic medicines that he might offer include Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture, holistic nutrition advice, moxibustion, cupping, Tuina (Chinese medical massage), Qigong, or Tai Chi, among others. Some specialized practitioners may administer auriculotherapy (ear acupuncture) as a health treatment.
Licensed Chinese medicine practitioners today have acquired a great deal of education and training. While there are many acupuncture and Oriental medicine schools in North America and abroad, no two curriculums are the same. However, prospective students in the United States have the option to enroll in a variety of Oriental medicine programs including Master of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine (MSTOM), Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM), or Bachelors or Masters in Traditional Oriental medicine and acupuncture, among others.