What is TCM?

What is TCM 1Traditional Chinese Medicine (otherwise known as TCM) is one of the oldest holistic systems of healing in the world. It is based on classical Chinese medical texts and has been in use for thousands of years.

TCM provides effective treatment for a wide range of health disorders and puts great emphasis on the prevention of illness and a holistic approach to understanding disease.  It believes good health relies on the restoration and maintenance of harmony and balance to the body.  

TCM is based on diagnosing and treating the root cause of any condition or disease, as well as alleviating the symptoms.  As no two patients are alike, neither is their treatment.

TCM Treatments & Therapies

TCM Diagnosis

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The main methods used by TCM to prevent or treat disease, maintain the body’s energy levels and regulate vital organs are:


Tuina Massage

Cupping Therapy

Ear Candling

Infra Red Heat Therapy

Herbal Medicine

Stones and leaf

A snapshot of the conditions which are successfully treated by TCM include:

Addictions, allergies, anti-ageing, arthritis, blood pressure, sciatica, cardiovascular conditions,cystitis, digestive problems, gynaecological and obstetric disorders, menopause, hair loss, headaches and migraines, fatigue, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), liver and kidney conditions, musculoskeletal disorders, phobias, respiratory conditions, skin and eye conditions, stopping smoking, stress and weight loss.


TCM Diagnosis

Yin Yang

Clinical diagnosis and treatment in TCM revolves around the following principles:

Diagnosis 2

Four Techniques of Diagnosis:

Asking: medical history, specifics of the pain or problem

Inspection: examining the tongue, facial and eye colour, emotional state

Smell and Hearing: body and mouth odour, breath, noise from chest

Touch: pulse diagnosis and palpation (pressing body to understand location and severity of problem)


Theory of Yin and Yang: Yin and Yang symbolise harmony and balance.  TCM believes all disease is caused by an imbalance of Yin and Yang.  All treatment is focused on restoring balance by treating the root cause of the problem.

Qi: The free flow of Qi (vital energy) throughout the body is essential for good health.  It regulates spiritual, emotional, mental and physical balance.  Whenever there is a blockage of Qi, injury or disease exists.

Five Element Theory: Five Element Theory is used to interpret the relationship between the human body and the five elements of the natural environment: wood, fire, earth, metal and water.



Treatments 12Acupuncture is the practice of inserting needles into various points of the body to relieve pain and treat a broad range of conditions.  It is a safe, effective, natural form of health care whose origins in China can be traced back for two thousand years.

TCM believes that disease comes from an imbalance that blocks the flow of Qi, the “vital energy” which regulates your health and flows around the body.  If the flow of Qi becomes blocked, the body fails to maintain harmony, balance and order.

Blockages to Qi can result from stress, overwork, poor diet, life style factors, disease, weather and environmental conditions.  A TCM doctor will look carefully for these signs of health and dysfunction, paying particular attention to symptoms, medical history, general constitution and the pulse and tongue.

Acupuncture removes blockages in the flow of Qi and restores and maintains health.  It has the following benefits:

  • Provides drug-free pain relief
  • Effectively treats a wide range of acute and chronic ailments
  • Treats the underlying cause of disease and illness as well as the symptoms
  • Provides an holistic approach to the treatment of disease and illness, linking body, mind and emotions
  • Assists in the prevention of disease and illness as well as the maintenance of general well being

The World Health Organisation recognizes that Acupuncture forms a helpful part of treatment for many illnesses, including:

addiction (e.g. smoking), asthma, bronchitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, constipation, diarrhoea, facial tics, fibromyalgia, headaches, irregular menstrual cycles, polycystic ovarian syndrome, lower back pain, menopausal symptoms, menstrual cramps, osteoarthritis, sinusitis, IBS, stroke rehabilitation, tendonitis, tennis elbow and urinary problems such as incontinence.

Depending on the condition being treated, Acupuncture is frequently combined with other Chinese Medicine treatments such as Tuina Massage and Herbal Tea.


Tuina Massage

Tuina 1Tuina is an ancient form of Chinese medical massage and literally means “to push and pull”.  It forms one of the three main branches of TCM together with Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine.  It is a physical therapy which uses massage techniques and manipulation to stimulate acupuncture points to correct imbalances of the body.

Tuina promotes the body’s own natural healing processes and restores Qi and Yin and Yang balance to the body.  It can prevent disease and can treat many disorders including:

                          • Soft tissue injuries
                          • Neck, shoulder and back pain
                          • Arthritis, rheumatic pain
                          • Muscular aches and pains
                          • Tiredness, lack of energy, insomnia
                          • Stress or emotional problems
                          • Weight loss and anti-ageing

Although it is a powerful treatment in terms of re-adjusting the functions of the body Tuina has no adverse side effects.   It is often used in combination with Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine.


Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Everybody contains toxins.

More specifically, toxins are stored in fat tissue.  Lymph detox treatments facilitate your body in gently releasing these toxins without any debilitating symptoms.  This is a very gentle detox to the entire system.  The benefits of lymphatic detox treatments are numerous and varied because each person describes such a deeply individual and personal experience.

Manual lymph drainage massage is a form of very light massage that encourages lymph flow in the body.

The effects of Manual Lymph drainage massage are numerous and include general benefits to the nervous and muscular systems.  It is a great addition to other detox measures as it encourages fluid flow in the connective tissues.

The lymphatic system

The lymphatic system is composed of lymph vessels, lymph nodes, and organs.  Part of the body’s defense system, the lymph nodes remove microorganisms and other foreign substances.  They act as a filtration system that keeps particulate matter, such as bacteria, from entering the bloodstream.

Stimulating the lymphatic system through manual lymphatic drainage will activate all of the above functions as well as encourage fluid circulation and cell regeneration.  Both actions promote detoxification, facilitate healing and support the immune system.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage benefits are numerous and include:

  • Clearing areas of congestion such as swollen ankles, puffy eyes and swollen legs
  • Promotion of scar tissue healing, torn ligaments and sprains
  • Post-operative healing
  • Swelling relief following plastic surgery
  • Treatment of lymphedema and other conditions arising from venous insufficiency
  • Improving chronic conditions such as sinusitis, arthritis, acne and other skin conditions
  • Deep relaxation


Cupping Therapy

Cupping 1Cupping is one of the most ancient healing techniques used in TCM.  It is a method of applying acupressure by creating a vacuum on the client’s skin.  It can be used as a treatment in itself or in addition to Acupuncture.

Cupping involves placing inverted glass cups over acupuncture points to create a vacuum.  The vacuum is created by first heating the inside of the cups, which are immediately applied to the affected area.

TCM believes that stagnation of the blood and blockages in the flow of Qi are at the root of all illnesses.  The suction created by Cupping Therapy clears the stagnation and stimulates the flow of Qi.

The benefits of Cupping include:

  • Draining and moving fluids
  • Relieving inflammation
  • Releasing toxins in the body through the skin
  • Drawing the blood supply to the skin which promotes healing

Cupping 4Cupping is effective in treating a broad range of conditions including:

  • The common cold
  • Respiratory illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis
  • Arthritis and rheumatism
  • Back, neck and shoulder pain
  • Muscular spasm
  • IBS and gastro-intestinal problems
  • Fatigue

Mild reddening is common following treatment but it disappears after a few days.


Ear Candling

Ear Candling 5Ear Candling is a safe, simple and non-invasive natural cleansing method used to treat earwax build-up by loosening or drawing out wax and other impurities from the ear canal with warm air and smoke.  It is an ancient TCM therapy that can also alleviate the painful effects of chronic headaches and sinus conditions.

The candle is a long hollow cone.  During ear candling therapy you lie on your side while the smaller end of the cone is inserted into the outer ear canal.  The larger opening of the cone is lit to create a flame.  The heat from the flame softens the wax within the ear, while the suction created by the burning of the oxygen inside the cone draws the ear wax out.

When the candle has burned down to around two inches in length, it is discarded along with its contents – a residue that comprises the wax and other impurities that have been extracted from inside the ear. In addition to removing wax, clients usually find that ear candling therapy relaxes them and improves their general feeling of well being.


Infrared Heat Therapy

Infrared Heat Therapy 3

Infrared Heat Therapy reduces inflammation, relieves pain, speeds the healing of wounds, boosts the immune system, stimulates detoxification, improves micro-circulation and balances metabolism.  There is also evidence that it promotes cell growth, reproduction and repair.

It is used to treat:

  • Joint pain
  • Inflammatory diseases such as arthritis
  • Muscle spasm
  • Neck, shoulder and back pain
  • Injuries such as sprains and strains

Infrared Heat Therapy is applied using a TDP (Thermal Design Power) mineral lamp, an infrared heating device used to accelerate the natural healing process.   Emissions from the lamp are believed to penetrate deeply into the body, increasing microcirculation and delivering more oxygen and nutrients to injured cells while eliminating cellular waste.

TDP lamps are increasingly used in acupuncture clinics in China and throughout the world to support acupuncture treatment.  Treatment is applied by setting the lamp at a distance of approximately twelve inches from the skin.  It deeply heats the area being treated without causing burning and is commonly used on the upper and lower abdomen and back in combination with acupuncture.


Herbal Medicine

Herb ShopChinese Herbal Medicine involves the use of natural plants and minerals.  Each has its own specific characteristics and particular medical use to treat diseases, rectify the hyperactivity or hypoactivity of yin and yang and to help restore the body to its normal physiological functions.

Chinese Herbal Therapy must be given by qualified TCM practitioners.  The practitioner conducts a diagnostic interview, which includes asking questions relating to your health problems, taking your pulse and examining your tongue, before making a prescription.

Herbs come in three different forms:

  • Loose herbs – the plant root, leaf or fruit etc which is decocted (boiled up) to extract the pharmacologically active ingredients
  • Powders – dried preparation of the decoction
  • Pills

Herbal Tea

TCM views herbs as nature’s medicine.  Herbal infusions and teas have been used for thousands of years both as refreshing beverages or medicinally.  This is based on  understanding the signs and symptoms that reflect an imbalance between Yin and Yang and the ways in which Qi may be depleted or blocked.  It is a natural and holistic system.

Herbal Tea 1Herbal Tea is an effective treatment for a broad range of conditions, particularly those that are chronic.  It can be administered to people of all ages, including the elderly, pregnant women and children.

Herbal Tea may also be used to assist with general health maintenance and disease prevention.  By strengthening and enhancing normal body functions, the immune system is boosted and a general sense of well-being is promoted.

Conditions typically treated with Chinese Herbal Tea include:

  • Insomnia and fatigue
  • Loss of appetite and common digestive disorders
  • Constipation and diarrhoea
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Common cold and influenza
  • Chronic headaches/Migraines
  • Skin disorders
  • Fluid retention
  • Anxiety, depression and stress
  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Premenstrual syndrome and painful menstruation
  • Infertility
  • Impotence and prostate disorders
  • Disorders associated with menopause