Prevention in Chinese medicine

While in general modern people think of healthcare and medicine as something for when you are unwell, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a medicine that holds “prevention is better than cure and health promotion is the best method for prolonging one’s own life”.

TCM views health as the balanced condition of a person’s mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free from illness, stress, injury or pain.

So in TCM, health is ‘life in balance’. This is demonstrated in the Daoist concept of yin and yang, represented by the tai ji or yin yang symbol.

Can TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) be used as preventative medicine?

Explaining the TCM value of health promotion and disease prevention methods is like comparing the human body to a car engine – it has specific functions that require regular maintenance, care and attention. In the TCM view, vital energy (Qi) flows throughout the body and when it gets blocked or becomes stagnant, health issues can arise.

Receiving regular, or semi-regular TCM treatments and following TCM principles helps provide the necessary support the body needs to stay at optimum operating levels. This also aims to address any issues before they become a bigger problem.

Causes of ill health / disease

According to TCM theory, disease can be caused by a combination of:

  • imperfect lifestyle habits
  • mental, physical and emotional stresses
  • invasion of pathogenic influences
  • weak constitutions
  • trauma
  • over-exertion
  • excessive sexual activity
  • poor-quality diet
  • parasites and poisons
  • medical complications.

Identifying warning signs

The body’s ability to respond to these disturbances relies on a balanced and healthy capacity. If a person suffers any amount of these disorders over time, eventually it will lead to a disturbance or imbalance of Qi, which compromise the body-mind-spirit of the person and leaves them open to disease.

However the body’s warning system is to exhibit symptoms which signal that it has somehow fallen out of balance. These start as vague discomforts and intermittent low-level symptoms, such as:

  • trouble sleeping
  • headaches
  • muscle aches, tightness or joint pain
  • digestive complaints
  • anxiety and reduced emotional coping
  • fatigue or low energy.

These symptoms may increase in intensity and eventually become an identifiable illness if ignored.

Health promotion and disease prevention methods

In TCM, good health is quite similar to what your mother has been telling you for as long as you can remember! Harmony and balance in every aspect of life is the key to health.

Where the body’s balance is showing signs of being disturbed, the main goal of TCM is to restore balance by influencing the many forms of the body’s Qi using direct and indirect methods reflecting TCM theories, including:

  • Acupuncture / acupressure/ cupping/ massage / moxa
  • Chinese herbal remedies
  • Lifestyle and habit changes that address excesses or deficiencies
  • Moderate exercise (individualised) – e.g. Qigong, Tai Chi, gentle exercise, stretching, gym work, swimming
  • Balancing work, family, friends and relaxation
  • Identifying overwhelming stresses and making positive changes to decrease them
  • Balanced diet, including specific recommendations to resolve deficiencies, or reduce problematic foods
  • Interventions such as meditation, mindfulness, and lifestyle moderation.

If identified and treated early, imbalances are much more easily restored than long-standing issues. Please contact our clinic for more information, treatments and Chinese herbal medicines in Geelong.