Records show that traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is more than 2,000 years old, although there exist other written records that date back to 3,500 years earlier (Maclean and Shane 1999) and archaeological evidence that suggests it began at least 5,000 years ago. Although called traditional, it actually went through a series of changes and adaptations to various influences, such as politics, economics, science, technology and social and cultural alterations, to a point that Western medicine almost replaced it (Maclean and Shane), particularly with the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911. It was restored and regained popularity only by the middle 50s and, henceforth, has continued to serve and benefit the Chinese people, as well as the rest of the world today.
Traditional Chinese Medicine. TCM is founded on the qi, the natural life force or energy that constitutes everything and everyone in the universe.(Xi Yi Tang) - man, animals, plants and even the elements. Condensed qi is matter and refined qi is spirit. Qi is produced in the body when food combines with the air that is inhaled. The purpose of TCM is to introduce, restore, balance or correct the presence of this life force in the body. TCM teaches that the deficiency, blocking or loss of qi accounts for fatigue, disease, poor physical or mental health and death (Xi Yi Tang). Qi should circulate throughout the body through its channels or meridians in order to be in perfect health.
TCM also focuses on the balance between opposites in the universe, such as day and night, the sun and the moon, light and darkness, male and female. The Taoist symbols of yang and yin express this balance. A disturbance to that balance, whether external or internal, results in disease or some discomfort, if it occurs in the human body. TCM teaches that these external causes or factors are the six evils, i.e., the wind, cold, fire, damp, summer heat and dryness; and that the internal causes or factors are the seven effects, i.e., joy, anger, anxiety, thought, sorrow, fear and fright. Sometimes, it considers that disease comes from miscellaneous causes, such as injury, fatigue, exercise and the physical constitution or make-up (Xi Ying Tang). But TCM maintains that every disease arises from any one of these causes or effects (Singler 1998) and that disease can also cause a particular emotional state. Practitioners claim that TCM can handle and correct even severe emotional and mental troubled states, such as alcoholism, manic depression, schizophrenia, eating disorders and other conditions which Western medicine finds difficult to handle (Singler).One more difference it has from Western or conventional medicine is that TCM evaluates and treats the entire person, not just the local bodily complaint, because its objective is the fullness and unity of the person's body, mind and spirit.
Singler points to the five chief human emotions, feelings or thought conditions which give rise to disease and diseased conditions in specific areas of the body. These are 1. fear and shock that disturb the kidney and bladder meridians; 2. worry or over-contemplation affecting the stomach and spleen meridians; 3. sadness or grief, affecting the lungs and large intestine meridians; 4. anger, frustration or depression, affecting the liver and gall bladder meridians; and 5. over-excitement, affecting the heart and small intestine meridians (Singler). What makes TCM unique, what has made it survive is its uniqueness as an alternative to conventional, synthetic Western medicine or treatment, especially of stress and other mental disorders and problems. Unless its counterparts, it has no side effects, non-addicting, inexpensive and treats all the accompanying signs and symptoms as effectively as the root cause/s. (Singler). TCM makes use of natural treatment methods such as acupuncture, herbs or diet, massage, qi exercise, minerals and animal products. (Maclean and Shane).
A alcoholism. This is the unregulated or compulsive and excessive physical and psychological or mental dependence on alcoholic drinks that disturbs or damages a person's life or the lives of those around him. The person loses control over the habit, which adversely affects his health, job or business and relationships. No root cause or causes have been isolated as to this disorder, except "a genetic predisposition, which is activated by social and environmental stressors." (Allina 2002). When chronic and taken to extreme, alcoholism injures the immune system, jeopardizes the immune system, produces serious nervous, mental and physical behavioral disorders and can also lead to cirrhosis and delirium tremens.
In complementing the benefits of joining a worldwide organization of reformed and reforming alcoholics, popularly known as Alcoholics Anonymous, the person can benefit from complementary and alternative approaches, such as TCM, in reducing stress, dietary adjustments, change in lifestyle, and appropriate conventional medicine responsive to secondary serious nervous, mental and physical disorders. Acupuncture stimulates acupoints in the ear which will "restore the flow of.. chi (qi)" (Allina) in controlling withdrawal symptoms of alcohol addition and induce relaxation. Biofeedback trains the person to regulate his own biological involuntary or unconscious processes through meditation, visualization, breathing and muscle relaxation. These methods elicit a counter-response to stress and "re-patterns" the stress response. This is considered a significant method or treatment to alcoholism;
Chriropractic medicine aims at the re-alignment of the spinal column (bones, muscles and joints) with the nervous system by manually manipulating the spine. This has proved to be of supportive value to primary treatments of alcoholism (Allina) Guided imagery is a meditative technique through which the alcoholic enables himself to effectively adjust to withdrawal pains and other symptoms by focusing or concentrating on a particular positive image for himself. with the end-view of creating or translating it into physical reality. Herbal medicine can be used as tranquilizers in lieu of synthetic forms in controlling anxiety and restlessness. Examples of such herbs is the St. John's wort which has anti-depressive action. Caution should, however, be observed in the use of these herbs against the possible production of cross-addiction. On the other hand, hypnotic suggestion is utilized with hypnotherapy when the person is deeply relaxed. It is aimed at reinforcing the desire not to drink alcohol by making the suggestion to the person's subconscious mind while under hypnosis. Hypnosis is a powerful behavior-changing tool. Hypnotherapy has been found to be of use in reducing relapse into alcohol;
Another stress-reducing, relaxing method is massage which manipulates the soft tissues in restoring normal health. It "stimulates blood circulation, relaxes tense muscles and aids the movement of lymph fluids which carry toxins out of tissues. This technique does not only relax the body and mind but also induces the release of endorphins, which are bodily produced pain-killers in and from the brain, for overall well-being (Allina). Meditation is a popular practice of calm concentration that gradually eliminates the effects of external stimuli and produces a stress-free state and inner harmony. Alcoholics can benefit from this technique by daily practising it and regaining self-control, proper perspective and sobriety (Allina). Naturopathic medicine is a merging of natural therapies collectively aimed at stimulating and enhancing the body's natural abilities to heal itself. It includes diet change, fasting, botanical medicine, homeopathic medicine, physical medicine, oriental medicine, psychological medicine, hydrotherapy and relaxation techniques (Allina). It is holistic in that the whole person is treated by looking for the real and root cause, rather than just tackling symptoms and signs; the qigong method presents a regimen of "exercise, breathing and meditation" performed simultaneously to induce, promote and optimize health and vigor (Allina). Practitioners attest to the effectiveness of daily performing the regimen in reducing stress and fostering a sense of personal control. Reiki addresses the healing of body and spirit by energizing the body's molecules in restoring total balance and harmony. Like the preceding methods, it underlies the belief that disease is the result of an imbalance in one's qi and is very useful in treating and rehabilitating alcoholics. Similarly, relaxation techniques can also restore that lost sense of peace and stability, minimize tension and help the alcoholic cope with withdrawal symptoms. They can be performed at home and anywhere when rest or relaxation is needed or when sobriety is called for by a situation. Spiritual healing and prayer is part of all the above practices whereby the enhancement of the belief in a higher power imparts a sense of hope, comfort and peace. This basic practice is at foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous and daily performed individually or as a group, but in every case, firm trust in that power greater oneself can control what the alcoholic cannot. The interaction between mind and body and this assent in the higher power that are believed to trigger the working of spiritual factors in effecting recovery from the compulsion. Yoga is also similar. It consists of mental and physical training meant to instill unity between the mind and the body through a posture which releases tension that in turn induces deep relaxation and inner harmony. (Allina). And there too is the healing system called tai chi ch'uan that likewise promotes exercise and meditation to foster a calm…