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Traditional Chinese Medicine

What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been helping people alleviate body symptoms for thousands of years. Sometimes called Chinese herbal medicine, it is an accumulation of experiences and observation with nature and has evolved to become the respected therapy it is today. The basis behind Traditional Chinese Medicine is to help prevent disease before it happens, or at least before symptoms progress to something worse.

Traditional Chinese Medicine in Calgary

The Integrative Health Centre offers a full array of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Calgary including acupuncture and herbal medicine, among others. Certified and experienced TCMD, C.H., R.Ac., Dr. Lynda Smith is highly experienced and offers professional and effective treatment of a variety of symptoms. For more information on how she may be able to help you, please book an appointment today.

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

While some people know about Chinese herbs and acupuncture as mainstays of TCM, Traditional Chinese Medicine actually consists of several effective treatments. Besides acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, TCM also consists of diet therapy, moxibustion and tuina. Acupuncture involves using small needles on specific points to invoke a natural bodily response and restore balance of Qi. Chinese herbal medicine is used to help the body heal at a faster rate, while diet therapy supports the healing and helps to maintain it over the long term. Moxibustion is a form of heat therapy where the herb mugwort is burned over an area of the body or acupuncture point with the intention of warming it up and increasing circulation. This can be very beneficial in chronic conditions and in turning the position of a fetus (when used on point UB67). Tuina is a type of Chinese massage that brings about circulation, releases tension and stimulates the immune system. In China, Tuina practitioners also performs Chiropractic adjustments.

History of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Hung-Di Nei-Jing (Yellow Emperor's Cannon of Internal Medicine) is the first book written about Traditional Chinese Medicine and is the oldest known medical textbook in the world (written between 800 BC and 200BC). Many TCM books have been written over the years, but the Hung-Di Nei-Jing still remains as the true foundations of TCM.

Terms Used in Chinese Medicine

Qi, the 5 elements, and Yin/Yang are terms that are commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.


Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) is considered the essential life force of the body. It helps to maintain life activities by moving fluids and blood, helping protect the body from invasion of pathogens, and helping to maintain proper organ function.

The 5 Elements

The 5 Elements are: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. Traditional Chinese Medicine holds that all things in the natural world are derived from these elements. Each organ corresponds with an element, for example: Wood-Liver, Fire-Heart, Earth-Spleen, Metal-Lung, Water-Kidney. When each element or organ can work together and support each other, then problems don't arise and disease can't prevail. As an example, wood is needed to maintain a fire, but too much wood can cause the flame to rise too high and cause destruction like in a forest fire.

Yin & Yang

Yin and yang are a collective concept that represents the need for a balance of complimentary natural forces such as rest and movement, cold and heat, and night and day. It's that continuous cyclic motion that helps to bring bodily balance and keep health restored. An example of how yin and yang would be used to help diagnose an imbalance: any symptom that happens at night such as hot flashes would represent a weakness in yin and too much yang.