TCM acupuncture

1. The origin of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a unique empirical medicine developed through thousands of years of clinical practice in China. Ancient Chinese doctors applied their philosophical understanding to comprehend the functioning of the human body, the nature of diseases, and the prognosis of illnesses. They also used Eastern philosophies to summarize and organize their clinical experiences.


To preserve their knowledge, ancient acupuncturists recorded their experiences in books, which are now used to safely and effectively utilize their precious knowledge. Acupuncture has evolved through a repeated cycle of “practice to theory to practice.”


2. Regulation of Acupuncture 

Practicing acupuncture can bring beneficial or harmful effects to a patient. A practitioner can positively impact a patient’s health if the diagnosis is accurate and the needling technique is appropriate.


The British Columbia (BC) government began regulating this profession in 2000 through the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists (CTCMA) to safeguard public health.


The CTCMA adopted the TCM framework from China, so its educational guidelines are closely aligned with China’s. As a result, BC’s TCM professional quality is among the top-ranked in Canada.


3. Uniqueness of acupuncture 

TCM understands a disease from four aspects named by syndrome (zheng, 证). 


These four aspects are a) causes of disease, b) the general manifestation of “hot (heat)” or “cold,” c) which region/area in the body is affected, and d) the state of the body’s overall resistance.


The CTCMA requires all BC acupuncturists to be able to diagnose a disease’s syndrome and treat it accordingly.


4.  TCM VS acupuncture

There are three primary modalities within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM): Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture, and tuina (a Chinese style of massage). Other practices include qi gong (a form of meditation) and Tai Ji Chuan (a type of martial art).

While TCM is a comprehensive term that encompasses various practices and modalities, acupuncture and herbal medicine are two specific treatment modalities within TCM. TCM covers topics such as physiology, pathology, etiology, treatment principles, and preventive strategies.

Ancient Chinese physicians drew upon traditional philosophies such as qi, yin yang, and the five elements to explain their clinical experiences. Over time, they developed a vast body of knowledge and practices that comprise the extensive framework of TCM.


5.  Earlist acupuncture book

While acupuncture needles have been found dating back to the Neolithic Age, the theoretical and practical establishment of TCM acupuncture is usually attributed to the publication of the book Zhen Jiu Jia Yi Jing by Dr. Huangfu Mi in 282 AD. This book is considered to be the earliest complete acupuncture text and covers a wide range of topics related to acupuncture and TCM.


6. Meridian and collateral theory

The meridian and collateral theory is a unique aspect of TCM acupuncture, which is not found in Western medicine. According to this theory, the body has a network of channels or meridians that connect different parts of the body and transport Qi (vital energy) and blood.


Acupuncture points are located along these channels, and stimulating them can help regulate the flow of Qi and blood and restore balance to the body. While the meridian and collateral theory may not have a direct equivalent in Western medicine, there is some evidence that acupuncture can affect the nervous system and release neurotransmitters and hormones that have therapeutic effects.


7. Guidance by TCM diagnosis 

In addition to choosing acupoints based on the syndrome, acupuncturists also consider other factors such as the patient’s age, constitution, and overall health status. TCM diagnosis includes an examination of the tongue, pulse, and other physical symptoms, as well as asking about the patient’s medical history and lifestyle. The acupuncturist will use all of this information to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses the underlying causes of the patient’s symptoms.


8. Therapeutic mechanisms

TCM acupuncture is believed to regulate the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary body functions such as heart rate, digestion, and respiration. By balancing the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system, acupuncture can help with various conditions, such as anxiety, insomnia, and digestive disorders. Moreover, acupuncture can also enhance the immune system’s function by increasing the production of white blood cells and boosting the body’s defence mechanism against infections and diseases.


9. Safety

It is important to note that acupuncture should not be used as a substitute for conventional medical treatment for serious or life-threatening conditions. Acupuncture should be used as a complementary therapy along with appropriate medical care. It is also important to consult a licensed acupuncturist before receiving treatment to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for the individual’s condition.




Internal links: 


Acupoints selection

Acupuncture for amenorrhea

Acupuncture for dysmenorrhea

Zhen Jiu Jia Yi Jing