Chinese medicine originated in China more than 2,000 years ago. At its essence, Chinese medicine seeks to unite the energies of the body with the environment surrounding it. Though it is an “ancient” medicine, it is relevant and much needed for today’s health issues.
Today, most Chinese medicine practitioners are trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM was created when Mao Zedong, the founder of the People’s Republic of China, gathered the remaining Chinese medical practitioners, who were taught through apprenticeship, and ordered them to create a compendium of treatments for disease that could be taught in a university setting. While this was an important element in spreading Chinese medicine with the Western world, it has also lead to the symptom style treatments that can be found today. While the TCM approach works for a majority of the population, there are limitations when it comes to complicated symptom pictures and rare disease diagnoses. This is where Classical Chinese Medicine comes in.
Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM) differs from TCM because students are taught directly from the classical texts, which the modern TCM textbooks are based on. CCM practitioners are taught to uncover and treat the underlying cause of disease rather than the cut-and-paste style of treating based on disease presentation. Each person is unique. Two people complaining of a common cold may have completely different causes for their condition. This means that they should be treated as individuals with different acupuncture points and herbs depending on the underlying cause.
Within Chinese medicine, there are many different schools of thought and an equal number of treatment styles. Like NDs, no two acupuncturists will treat the same way. Acupuncturists are influenced by their school, teachers, mentors and any additional training they pursue.
If your past Chinese medicine experiences have been less than ideal or have not shown much improvement, I highly recommend that you shop around until you find the practitioner and acupuncture style that resonates with you.