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What is Chinese Medicine?

The practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) began at the very early stages of human history approximately 3,000 years ago. The core philosophy of TCM acknowledges the significance of a person’s lifestyle, mind, body, emotions and spirit in identifying the underlying cause of a health problem. Once the root cause is understood, various techniques are used to reverse patterns of imbalance and prevent future relapse. Chinese Medicine is also known as Oriental Medicine or Asian Medicine.

Is Chinese Medicine/Acupuncture a Religion?

TCM and the practice of acupuncture are not tied to a particular religion or belief system. Many of the theories fundamental to TCM have no counterpart in Western medicine and therefore sound foreign and unfamiliar. Once such notion is qi (‘chee’) defined as our vital life force or energy. These concepts were born out of an ancient culture to explain natural phenomena that humans experience, regardless of culture, ethnicity, or belief systems. Chinese Medicine is now used all over the world by practitioners of all races, nationalities, religions and genders. It has evolved and adapted as it blends with the cultural and medical understandings of different communities.

How Does it Work?

Underlying the practice of Chinese Medicine is a unique view of the world and the human body that is based on the ancient Chinese perception that everything in the universe is interconnected. What happens to one part of the body affects every other part of the body. The systems and components of the body are not viewed separately, but as parts of a unified energetic system. The qi (energy) moves through channels called meridians and is responsible for this interconnection. Unimpeded energy flow promotes and maintains health, while any stagnation of qi can lead to disease. In addition, qi has two aspects. There are Yin and Yang energies in the body that need to be in balance for there to be good health.

Chinese Medicine practitioners use a variety of therapies in an effort to balance the qi, yin, and yang. The most commonly used are herbal medicine and acupuncture. Other TCM therapies include:

o Herbal Medicine– medicinal use of plant’s seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark, or flowers

o Food Therapy- customized dietary plans

o Electro-acupuncture- mild electric stimulation

o Moxibustion– heat therapy

o Cupping– suction therapy

o Chinese Therapeutic Massage (Tuina and Gua Sha)

o Gua Sha (‘Gwaa Shaw’): gentle scraping therapy

o Tui Na (‘Twee Naw’): massage along meridians

o Chi Nei Tsang (‘Chee Nate Song’): abdominal massage


Acupuncture is itself a complete medical system that is used as a means of treating and preventing diseases through the application of needles to specific points on the body. These points are often on the pathways (meridians) along which the body’s energy (qi) flows. Each point corresponds with a distinct healing action. The needles inserted at these specific points are intended to strengthen qi, disperse excess qi or remove blockages, in turn reducing symptoms, improving vitality and aiding the body to heal itself naturally.
Sessions usually last about an hour. Most conditions will respond within 6 treatments. For more chronic conditions, acupuncture is typically recommended on a weekly basis until symptoms begin to change. For prevention, many people choose to come in at the change of seasons for a treatment or two or they come during a time of vulnerability such as winter or a stressful period.

What Can Acupuncture Treat?

Acupuncture can treat many types of diseases and disorders, in particular:

Allergies Fibromyalgia Quit Smoking
Anxiety Herniated Disc Rheumatoid arthritis
Arthritis Hormone balancing Sciatica
Asthma IBD / IBS Sports Injuries
Auto Injuries Impotence Stress
Autoimmune diseases Induction of labor Stroke / Hemiplegia
Breech Baby Infertility Tendinitis
Bursitis Menopause Syndrome TMJ
Chemotherapy Side Effects Migraine Headaches Ulcer
Depression Morning Sickness Uterine Fibroids
Diarrhea Palpitation Uterine Prolapse
Facial Paralysis Poor Blood Circulation Weight Control

Is Acupuncture Painful?

Many of our patients are surprised to discover that acupuncture involves little or no pain. Often patients describe their treatment as relaxing and fall asleep during a treatment. Unlike needles used in for injections, the ultra-thin filaments used in acupuncture are extremely fine (about twice the width of a single hair).

Where do I go?

Merge Medical Center offers Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture in the Charleston area to provide alternatives to conventional approaches. We use an integrated medicine model that combines aspects of conventional western medicine with holistic medicine, homeopathy, and functional medicine.