The biggest differentiation between Western Medicine and Eastern (like Traditional Chinese Medicine) is that the latter looks at your body in a very concrete and logical way, while the former focuses on the energy of the whole person.
Much like a mechanic looks at a car, Western doctors go directly to the symptom and treat it. In contrast, a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctor or practitioner doesn’t focus on science and medicine. Instead, they focus on balance, harmony, and energy and treat with remedies that enhance the body’s own ability to heal.
As we investigate one of the top health complaints, chronic pain and inflammation, it’s worth noting that one of the most popular forms of treatment in TCM is acupuncture, and for good reason. According to the National Institute of Health, results from a number of studies suggest acupuncture may help ease types of pain that are often chronic, such as low-back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis/knee pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
I asked our acupuncturist, Dr. Dana Gulati, DAOM, to shed some light on how a TCM doctor addresses pain and inflammation.
In TCM, inflammation is mostly caused by stagnation. Stagnation is when blood, Qi (energy), and bodily fluids slow down and/or stop, causing obstruction in the meridians (the channels in which your body's energy flow). When stagnation occurs, the free flow of energy and blood become “stuck.”
Stagnation can be caused by a number of different factors. Mostly, trauma or injury takes place and proper flow is affected. Certain foods like excess consumption of simple carbohydrates and fried foods tend to cause stagnation as well. Sedentary lifestyle, stress, anxiety and some medications can cause obstruction and lead to stagnation, inflammation and pain.
Acupuncture, herbal medicine, proper nutrition and exercise can help with chronic inflammation and reverse the negative effects of obstruction while reducing pain in the body.
Throughout the entire month of June we will looking at healing pain and inflammation from a holistic perspective and introduce some of the evidence-based ways to manage it outside of Western medicine. Plus, if you suffer from Chronic Low Back pain, you do NOT want to miss our workshop, Love Your Low Back.
This article was written in partnership with Dr. Dana Gulati, DAOM. Join me with Dr. Gulati, Christine Camara, LMT, Holistic Health Practitioner, and Lisa Medley, MA, CMT and other experts in their field for the Pain & Inflammation Facebook Live Series, or sign up for our weekly newsletter to get the recap in your inbox.