DEFINITIONS AND EXPLANATIONS

Acupressure

Acupressure is a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) technique based on the same ideas as acupuncture. Acupressure involves placing physical pressure by hand, elbow, or with the aid of various devices on different acupuncture points on the surface of the body. Traditional Chinese Medicine does not usually operate within a scientific paradigm but some practitioners make efforts to bring practices into an evidence-based medicine framework. There is no scientific consensus over whether or not evidence supports the efficacy of acupressure beyond a placebo. Reviews of existing clinical trials have been conducted by the Cochrane Collaboration and Bandolier according to the protocols of evidence-based medicine; for most conditions they have concluded a lack of effectiveness or lack of well-conducted clinical trials. There is no physically verifiable anatomical or histological basis for the existence of acupoints.

Medical Qi Gong

Qigong is an aspect of Chinese medicine involving the coordination of different breathing patterns with various physical postures and motions of the body. Qigong is mostly taught for health maintenance purposes, but there are also some who teach it as a therapeutic intervention. Various forms of traditional qigong are also widely taught in conjunction with Chinese martial arts, and are especially prevalent in the advanced training of what are known as the Neijia (Chinese: ??; pinyin: nèi jia; Wade-Giles: nei4 chia1), or internal martial arts where the object is the full mobilization and proper coordination and direction of the energies of the body as they are applied to some target.

There are currently more than 3,300 different styles and schools of qigong.[citation needed] Qigong relies on the traditional Chinese belief that the body has something that might be described as an "energy field" generated and maintained by the natural respiration of the body, known as qi (this is analogous to Prana and Pranayama in Yoga). Qi means breath or gas in Chinese, and, by extension, the energy produced by breathing that keeps us alive; gong means work applied to a discipline or the resultant level of technique. Qigong is then "breath work" or the art of managing one's breathing in order to achieve and maintain good health, and (especially in the martial arts) to enhance the energy mobilization and stamina of the body in coordination with the physical process of respiration.

Tai Chi and Qi Gong Classes

Tai Chi Chuan, T'ai Chi Ch'üan or Taijiquan commonly known as Tai Chi, T'ai Chi, or Taiji, is an internal Chinese martial art. There are different styles of T'ai Chi Ch'uan, but most modern schools can trace their development to the system originally taught by the Chen family to the Yang family starting in 1820. It is often promoted and practiced as a martial arts therapy for the purposes of health and longevity. (Some recent medical studies support its effectiveness.) T'ai Chi Ch'uan is considered a soft style martial art, an art applied with as much deep relaxation or "softness" in the musculature as possible, to distinguish its theory and application from that of the hard martial art styles which use a degree of tension in the muscles.

Variations of T'ai Chi Ch'uan's basic training forms are well known as the slow motion routines that groups of people practice every morning in parks across China and other parts of the world. Traditional T'ai Chi training is intended to teach awareness of one's own balance and what affects it, awareness of the same in others, an appreciation of the practical value in one's ability to moderate extremes of behavior and attitude at both mental and physical levels, and how this applies to effective self-defense principles.

Tui Na (Chinese Medical Therapy)

Tui na is a form of Chinese manipulative therapy often used in conjunction with acupuncture, moxibustion, fire cupping, Chinese herbalism, tai chi and qigong.

Tui na is a hands-on-body treatment using acupressure that is a modality of Chinese medicine whose purpose is to bring the body into balance. The principles being balanced are the eight principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (qv because TCM was codified by the PRC out of many ancient traditions.) The practitioner may brush, knead, roll/press and rub the areas between each of the joints (known as the eight gates) to open the body's defensive (wei) chi and get the energy moving in both the meridians and the muscles. The practitioner can then use range of motion,traction, massage, with the stimulation of acupressure points and to treat both acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions, as well as many non-musculoskeletal conditions. Tui na is an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and is taught in TCM schools as part of formal training in Oriental medicine. Many East Asian martial arts schools also teach tui na to their advanced students for the treatment and management of injury and pain due to training. As with many other traditional Chinese medical practices, there are several different schools with greater or lesser differences in their approach to the discipline. It is related also to Chinese massage.

Tui na has fewer side effects than modern drug-based and chemical-based treatments. It has been used to treat or complement the treatment of many conditions; musculo-skeletal disorders and chronic stress-related disorders of the digestive, respiratory, and reproductive systems.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Herbology is the Chinese art of combining medicinal herbs. Herbology is traditionally one of the more important modalities utilized in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Each herbal medicine prescription is a cocktail of many herbs tailored to the individual patient. One batch of herbs is typically decocted twice over the course of one hour. The practitioner usually designs a remedy using one or two main ingredients that target the illness. Then the practitioner adds many other ingredients to adjust the formula to the patient's yin/yang conditions. Sometimes, ingredients are needed to cancel out toxicity or side-effects of the main ingredients. Some herbs require the use of other ingredients as catalyst or else the brew is ineffective. The latter steps require great experience and knowledge, and make the difference between a good Chinese herbal doctor and an amateur. Unlike western medications, the balance and interaction of all the ingredients are considered more important than the effect of individual ingredients. A key to success in TCM is the treatment of each patient as an individual. See also: Individualism

Chinese herbology often incorporates ingredients from all parts of plants, the leaf, stem, flower, root, and also ingredients from animals and minerals. The use of parts of endangered species (such as seahorses, rhinoceros horns, and tiger bones) has created controversy and resulted in a black market of poachers who hunt restricted animals. Many herbal manufacturers have discontinued the use of any parts from endangered animals.

Cupping

Fire cupping is a method of applying acupressure by creating a vacuum next to the patient's skin. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) it involves placing glass, plastic, or bamboo cups on the skin with a vacuum. The therapy is used to relieve what is called "stagnation" in TCM terms, and is used in the treatment of respiratory diseases such as the common cold, pneumonia, and bronchitis. Cupping is also used to treat back, neck, shoulder, and other musculoskeletal pain. Its advocates claim it has other applications as well. This technique, in varying forms, has also been found in the folk medicine of Vietnam, the Balkans, modern Greece, and Russia, among other places.

Moxibustion Therapy

Moxibustion is an oriental medicine therapy utilizing moxa, or mugwort herb. It plays an important role in the traditional medical systems of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Tibet, and Mongolia. Suppliers usually age the mugwort and grind it up to a fluff; practitioners burn the fluff or process it further into a stick that resembles a (non-smokable) cigar. They can use it indirectly, with acupuncture needles, or sometimes burn it on a patient's skin.

Gua Sah Therapy

Gua Sha is an East Asian medicine technique used to remove blood stagnation that blocks the surface tissues impeding organ and immune function.

Auricular Therapy

Auricular therapy is one of the most important components of traditional Chinese acupuncture. It is a specialized form where the auricle (ear) is used to stimulate various organs and meridians in the body. The ear represents a fetus in the womb but in an inverted position. It is a microcosm of the macrocosm: the ear represents the entire body.

Hot Rock Therapy

Hot Rock Therapies involve the application of water-heated basalt stones of varying sizes to key points on the body, giving a deep massage and creating sensations of comfort and warmth. The direct heat relaxes muscles, allowing manipulation of a greater intensity than with regular massage.

For skeletal-muscular injury and inflammation, frozen, cooling marble stones are used. This creates a type of thermotherapeutic 'vascular gymnastics' in the circulatory system to help the body detoxify and heal. Cold stones are often used for sports injuries and in applications of esthetic natures. The warmer rocks expand the blood vessels, pushing blood and unwanted waste materials through the body. Heat has a sedative effect on the nervous system.

Reflexology

Reflexology, or zone therapy, is the practice of stimulating keturah points on the feet, hands and ears, in order to encourage a beneficial effect on some other parts of the body, or to try to improve general health. Reflexology is most commonly performed on the feet, moving on to the hands and/or ears where physical restraints, such as veruccas or fractures, apply.

Practitioners believe the foot to be divided into a number of reflex zones corresponding to all zones of the energy of the body, and that applying pressure in the form of massage to "tight" or "gritty" areas of a person's foot will stimulate the corresponding part of the energy body and assist the self-healing process. Contrary to some beliefs, reflexology does not seek to diagnose or cure medical conditions - merely imbalances in the energy of the body.