Traditional Chinese Medicine: It’s about More than Just Acupuncture
You may have experienced an acupuncture session and know about the many healing benefits it can have for cancer protection (if you haven’t yet, I urge you to give it a try!). But did you know that acupuncture is only a small part of the “healing lexicon” that is called Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)? Here are some other lesser-known modalities that may also be beneficial to you on your healing path.
Traditional Chinese Medicine: The Basic Premise
How do you fit close to 3,000 years of knowledge into two paragraphs? Well, we can start by saying that although the foundations of this ancient tradition are Chinese, TCM has definitely been added to over the centuries by other cultures throughout Asia. For example, Japanese acupuncture uses gently-placed needles that run along energy lines in the body, but those lines (or meridians) are slightly different from those of Chinese acupuncture.
All variations of TCM rely on the concept of energy flow (“Qi” or “Chi”) through the various meridians (major energy flows) and their tributaries within the body. When energy is flowing in a stable way, health happens. When energy is blocked (or when it is flowing in an imbalanced way), disease occurs. Blockages and other imbalances in energy flow can be caused by a variety of factors. Some of these factors are the same as what allopathic medicine would consider—levels of stress, toxic exposure, pathogens, circulatory and metabolic issues, for example. Factors that Chinese Medicine considers but conventional doctors do not include seasons of the year, the elements in nature, the emotions, and the concept of “Qi” flows themselves.
Four TCM Modalities You Might Not Know About
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there were over 5.5 million people in the United States who experienced Traditional Chinese Medicine in some way between 1997 and 2007, and those were just the numbers given for those who used acupuncture or who practiced Tai Chi or Qi Gong! Here are just four of the many TCM modalities that may have been off your radar until now:
- Moxibustion: Moxibustion is a TCM modality that uses heat to invigorate the flow of Qi in the body and eliminate toxins. In most
cases, an acupuncturist will use a dried variety of the Chinese herb mugwort (Artemesia argyi or Artemisia vulgaris) in the
shape of a thick incense stick which is burned very near the surface of the skin, usually along acupuncture points, until the area reddens
and Qi flow is balanced. Moxibustion is used in dozens of cases of imbalance, but many people use moxibustion for digestive issues and to improve
immunity in general.
- Healing Mushrooms: Certain varieties of therapeutic Asian mushrooms may be particularly important if you are on a healing journey from cancer. Recent and on-going studies have shown, for example, that Turkey Tail mushroom, originally from Japan, contains properties that can destroy breast cancer and colorectal cancer stem cells in laboratory studies. Clinical trials are currently underway on human breast cancer patients as well. Reishi (Chinese: língzhī; Japanese: reishi; Vietnamese: linh chi), Shiitake, and Maitake, found in several different Asian countries, have also proven to have anti-cancer properties.
- Tai Chi/Qi Gong: Tai Chi and Qi Gong are both movement practices that can be considered as martial arts but are also strongly within Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi Gong means “life energy work.” It is an ancient practice of slow movements and static positions that are designed to cultivate Qi and get it moving in the right way. Qi Gong was first mentioned in the “Huang Di Nei Jing” medical text (i.e. the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon) over 2,000 years ago. A study published in the Annals of Oncology in 2010 concluded that “Qi Gong can improve cancer patients’ overall quality of life and mood status and reduce specific side-effects of treatment. It may also produce physical benefits in the long term through reduced inflammation.”
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): EFT, or “Tapping,” is a fairly new phenomenon. It was first introduced by Gary Craig in the mid-nineties. For that reason, most wouldn’t even really connect it with ancient TCM. EFT definitely has its roots in this tradition, however. EFT is sometimes called “emotional acupuncture” since it helps to release emotional blockages by gently tapping on key points along the TCM meridians while repeating verbal phrases. Several studies over the years have verified the effectiveness of EFT for reducing anxiety and depression, addressing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and even reducing pain in both adults and children. Some doctors recommend EFT to aid in deep healing from cancer.
Tai Chi is perhaps better known than Qi Gong in the West. Its movements are also slow, but slightly faster than those of Qi Gong. There is also a noticeable connection between Tai Chi and self defense, but the ultimate goal is the same—to cultivate and move Qi for health. Research has shown that regular Tai Chi practice can lower blood pressure, prevent heart attack, improve balance and lead to weight loss, especially in the elderly. According to the MD Anderson Cancer Center website, recent studies have indicated that “tai chi enhances the immune system and relieves pain, anxiety and stress in cancer patients.”
These days, we are so fortunate to have access to amazing healing modalities from all over the world. Traditional Chinese Medicine’s practices and principles are the foundation for so many of the natural healing modalities we use today. Give one of the lesser-known ones mentioned above a try. It can only benefit your health in general, as well as your healthy breast path!
Dr. Veronique Desaulniers (“Dr. V”) is a best-selling author and founder of breastcancerconqueror.com . She specializes in Chiropractic, Bio-Energetics, Meridian Stress Analysis, Homeopathy and Digital Thermography. After 30 years in active practice, she decided to “retire” and devote her time to sharing her personal, non-toxic Breast Cancer healing journey with others. Her years of experience and research have culminated in “The 7 Essentials™ “, a step-by-step coaching program that unravels the mystery of healing the body. Her website and personal healing journey have touched the lives of thousands of women around the globe.
 Oh B, Butow P, Mullan B, et al. Impact of Medical Qigong on quality of life, fatigue, mood and inflammation in cancer patients: a randomized controlled trial. Ann Oncol. 2010 Mar; 21(3): 608–614. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2826100/