TCM & Internal Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has proven effective in treating a vast array of internal medical conditions, whether acute or chronic. When applying TCM’s holistic approach, doctors consider several parameters to characterize the pattern of a disease to fully treat the patient. With a detailed diagnosis, doctors will design a treatment plan based on TCM philosophies, which usually comprises a combination of herbal medicine and acupuncture (and, possibly, complementary therapies
Internal Medicine in TCM covers the treatment of the lungs, liver, spleen, stomach, heart or kidneys,
According to the theory of Chinese Medicine, the lungs are the most delicate organs and the most susceptible to attacks from external pathogens. Strengthening your lungs means setting up your defence system. Invasion of external pathogens can disrupt the flow of the lungs, causing abnormal secretions in the respiratory tract and induce coughing. Hence, it is important to focus on strengthening the lungs for an immunity boost. Types of common respiratory problems : cough due to flu, asthma, allergic rhinitis,sinus congestion.Respiratory conditions were usually treated with a combination of acupuncture and herbs.
In traditional Chinese medical theory, the Spleen is the key organ involved in gastro-intestinal disorders. The four most common patterns seen when gastro-intestinal problems are differentiated are as follows: Spleen Deficiency, which is caused by chronic fatigue or chronic illness; Damp Heat Retention, which is caused by improper diet or environmental factors; Disharmony between the Liver and Spleen, which is caused by emotional disturbance; and Spleen and Kidney Yang Deficiency, which is caused by chronic illness or aging. To treat these imbalances. Types of common gastro intestinal disorders : Irritable bowel syndrome,gastric ulcers, acid reflux,abdominal pain, nausea. Chinese medicine often uses acupuncture, herbal medicine, cupping and even tuina.
According to TCM, the liver is the organ similar to an army general due to its stern character and is responsible for storing of blood and regulation of essential substances.The primary function of the liver is to regulate the movement of ‘qi’ within the body. This regulatory function is essential for the physiological actions of all organ systems, ensuring proper functioning of the body. ‘Qi’ is a unique concept of a circulating life force that sustains all living beings. This is likened to a flow of energy in the body that maintains life.
Stagnant liver ‘qi’ leads to poor circulation of blood and may result in blood stasis within the body. Similarly, if liver ‘qi’ disperses excessively without control, the circulation of blood can go erratic, manifesting symptoms such as hemoptysis and epistaxis. The stagnant ‘qi’ can also obstruct the flow of fluids, forming sputum or water
The liver regulates the outflow of bile to facilitate the digestion process. A stagnant liver ‘qi’ can affect the circulation of ‘qi’ of the spleen, stomach and gall bladder, causing digestion troubles and giving rise to gastrointestinal symptoms such as flatulence, vomiting, belching amongst others. If the secretion of bile gets obstructed instead, there can also be pain at the ribs area, jaundice and a lack of a appetite.
The liver also has a major role to play when it comes to managing emotions. In TCM, there are 7 main emotions, namely joy, anger, worry, thought, sorrow, fear and fright. It is believed that excessive exposure to these emotions can affect their respective organs. An adequate supply of blood and smooth circulation of ‘qi’ are necessary for individuals to manage their emotions properly, which evokes optimistic thinking and good spirits. In today’s fast-paced society, liver ‘qi’ stagnation, in particular, is a common imbalance found in individuals who find difficulties in juggling between work and life. When the liver becomes imbalanced, the flow of qi is disrupted, resulting in a myriad of abnormal emotional activity such as low spirits, palpable anxiety and belching.
Lastly, females depend heavily on the supply and circulation of blood in circumstances such as menstruation, pregnancy, labour and even breastfeeding throughout their life cycle. The regulatory role of the liver ensures that blood is directed to the uterus to support these physiological activities. Notably, it is little wonder for females of menopausal age to face emotional mood swings. Although science attributes the symptoms of menopause largely to hormonal imbalance, TCM believes that stagnation of liver ‘qi’ and deficiency in kidney essence are associated with menopause, resulting in the typical symptoms such as depression, mood swings, changes in menstrual cycle and hot flushes.
Regulates the urinary system, controls the reproductive and nervous systems. The kidney stores ‘Jing’, an essential substance for bone growth, closely associated with life. Dental problems, hair loss, immature hair greying, hearing problems and urinary tract disorders are all signs of disharmony in the kidney system.
The stomach is the main receiver of the food we consume. It is in charge of receiving and breaking down food and liquids for further absorption. If this function is disturbed, disharmonies such as loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting may occur.
The heart regulates the cardiovascular system while maintaining the nervous system’s functions. Qi from a health heart maintains an efficient blood flow in the blood vessels. The heart stores the “spirit”, an individual’s vitality. This ensures optimum mental, cognitive and intellectual abilities.