Chinese medicine is a coherent medical philosophy, not a cookbook of folklore remedies.

Acupuncture is magical. Both mysterious and mercurial in nature, its effects bubble up from the unseen depths to relieve pain and tension, alleviate emotional suffering, and to stimulate the body’s ability to heal itself.

Western science has yet to provide a comprehensive explanation of how acupuncture “works.” (And in all honesty, it is just getting started with even understanding where to begin to look.)

Between the mystery of the needles and those peculiar herbal concoctions, it is easy to assume that Chinese medicine practitioners have simply been educated in a vast collection of folklore remedies, each applied one to one with various ailments.

Eye of Newt, anyone? (Just kidding…everyone knows that the Chinese herb, Ge Jie, comes from the whole Gecko, right?)

Unfortunately, with all this magic and mystery surrounding it, people remain uneducated about how acupuncture and Chinese herbs are deeply rooted in a fully comprehensive system of medicine that originated in China over 2,000 years ago. This system of medicine includes logical and cohesive perspectives on how the body physiologically works, how pathological conditions develop and present themselves, and how to treat them according to specific principles that result in a highly customized (and effective) approach to each unique person.

It is true that this system reflects a very different perspective than the traditional Western one: a strong emphasis on the cycles and patterns in nature, no division between the body, mind and spirit, and an emphasis on the relationships between structures and functions, transformative processes, holism and balance.

And while this system reflects a worldview that is over 2,000 years old, it still has very effective application to modern problems.

Modern scientist and philosophers sometimes refer to this kind of logic as primitive, which implies that it is not only older but also less elegant and efficient than modern logic. But I propose that this older logic is simply different from modern logic.

It organizes information differently, asks different questions and is useful for solving different kinds of problems.

It allows us to notice different aspects of experience and to play different games with the world.

Lorie Eve Dechar

Chinese medicine helps with environmental influences.

Environmental influences play a significant role in Chinese medicine. Inclement weather, pollutants and allergens, and stressful situations are all aspects of the environment that can affect your health. Conditions that become pathological when it rains, during extreme temperatures in either direction or when you feel angry, frustrated or sad, can all be addressed in relation to these environmental influences. By understanding the effects of these environmental influences, Chinese medicine therapies can be applied to strengthen your resiliency in the face of these influences and make you less susceptible to being reactive by them.

Chinese Medicine treats people, not diseases.

People often ask the question, “Can acupuncture treat [insert disease name here]?” Surprisingly, this is not the most accurate or helpful question to ask because what acupuncture and Chinese medicine really excel at treating are people, not diseases.

At its heart, Chinese medicine diagnoses and treatments target the whole person, not just a single disease process within the person. A Chinese medicine practitioner will look at the pattern of all your symptoms, signs, environmental factors, and health history as a unified picture and then provide therapies to address the imbalances that are present across this entire picture. This approach enables there to be viable natural treatment options for serious and complex conditions, for conditions that have both a physical and an emotional component, or even for conditions that your doctor will tell you there is no treatment for.

And while some conditions do require allopathic care to be kept in check, Chinese medicine can often provide additional support to alleviate side effects of medications or to improve your condition beyond what your medication alone can do.

So if you are a person, more likely than not, Chinese medicine can help you regardless of what disease you have. (Cyborgs, zombies, supernaturals, and other non-person entities should seek the help of their own qualified practitioners.)