Traditional Chinese Medicine has been around for centuries, the ancient system of medicine uses medicinal herbs and formulations along with different mind and body practices like tai chi and acupuncture to address various health issues for an all over mind and body protection.
Numerous studies have explored the efficacy of a variety of TCM approaches, and most report promising results. Some of this research suggests that acupuncture can help to reduce symptoms of cancer and many common ailments like fever, constipation, and microbial infections.
Recently Beijing University of Chinese Medicine published a study in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine examining the role of TCM in the maintenance of good health and the prevention of diseases, focusing on how the practice promotes personalized medicine.
In TCM each person is regarded as being unique thus all therapeutic and preventive approaches are tailored to the individual. Precision medicine is an emerging medical paradigm that TCM fits in with, and may point to a new direction for the future of medicine.
TCM focuses on an individual’s holistic body condition which is influenced by a variety of factors, and the theory considers body constitution as the foundation of disease diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. The theory suggests that people are predisposed to developing certain diseases based on their constitution type, thus examining constitution types can lead to effective disease management and enhance the effects of personalized medicine.
Modern techniques have been developed to evaluate the health status of people. The constitution theory reflects the current status and future trends of human health in 4 aspects: individual differences, psychological condition, life processes, and adaptability to natural and social environments. This TCM constitution theory is being applied to China’s public health management which is producing promising outcomes, and the researchers suggest that it may provide a new approach for health maintenance and disease prevention.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is often used as a complementary treatment for many serious conditions, and studies have shown the effectiveness of modern medicine can be boosted when it is used combined with TCM approaches. Randomized controlled trials suggest that herbal formulations often produce synergistic effects with modern drugs to help reduce some symptoms or the severity of the disease itself, such as pain relief and anti-cancer effects popular among cancer patients.
It is worth noting that some studies also suggest that some of the ingredients used in TCM can be mislabeled, and extracts from toxic plants and endangered animals have been found in some herbal remedies rather than the listed ingredients. NCCIH has identified drugs like blood thinners, heavy metals, painkillers, pesticides and sulfite contaminants in some Chinese herbal products. This means that it is important to only get such products for verified and reputable sources.
Healing arts of TCM such as qi gong and tai chi appear to be safe when it comes to the total mind and body practice. However, one needs to be wary of administration and sterile conditions when it comes to acupuncture therapy as improper procedure can lead to complications like infections and injuries to the central nervous system. Reports of adverse affects point to the need to exercise caution on the part of any person seeking TCM based treatments. Those opting to use such complementary approaches are advised to consult with a certified/licensed and trusted natural health practitioner and to only seek treatment for a licensed/certified and trusted TCM practitioner.