What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), also commonly referred to as Oriental Medicine, is a comprehensive and ancient medical system developed over many centuries in China and regularly employed there as part of the standard medical system. TCM includes many different therapies, including acupuncture, which is an ancient form of medicine that specifically involves the insertion of extremely thin metallic needles into the body at various points – known as acupuncture points or acupoints – of which there are hundreds. The acupuncture needle metaphorically acts as a key to open up a blockage, which may be physical or energetic (e.g. stress, sadness) in nature. Other therapies also comprise the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and these include herbal medicine, Tui Na (therapeutic massage), cupping and Gua Sha (massage-related therapies using implements), nutrition, Tai Qi Chuan and Qi Gong (movement- and energy-based therapies), and moxibustion (the external application of the herb known as mugwort). The primary goal in TCM is to release blockages to help the body restore balance and thus health.