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  • Writer's pictureShelly Hoekstra

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a whole medical system, with its origins dating back thousands of years. It is one of the oldest known medical models on the planet and this practice has become more prevalent in the United States over recent years. TCM strives to restore the balance of our body’s qi (life force energy), via the organ systems and meridian pathways by means of various modalities. TCM is used to predict, prevent, and treat acute, chronic, and critical illnesses such as cancer.

TCM Core Principles

  • Yin-Yang postulates that everything exists in an interrelationship with forces that are complementary yet opposite in energy. This principle is foundational in the diagnosis and treatment of illness.

  • Our bodies have an innate ability for self-healing.

  • We are impacted by the environments in which we live, and we are deeply connected to nature.

  • We are interconnected as whole beings.

  • Prevention is imperative so listen to what your body is telling you.


The modalities of TCM include herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage (Tuina), Qigong and Tai Chi, dietary therapy/nutrition, cupping therapy, and moxibustion.

Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicine utilizes the therapeutic properties of plants and plant extracts to create healing within the body. A combination of herbal remedies may be blended together to address the organ system identified to be out of balance for an individual.

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This modality utilizes fine needles inserted into the skin along the meridian pathways at very specific points. Once the needles have been inserted, a client rests with the needles in place for approximately 20-30 minutes. This releases any blocks that have been created (via stress, traumatic experiences, unhealthy absorption of pesticides and other toxins) allowing for the natural flow of energy to be restored. Although some may be put off by the idea of the use of needles for treatment, those who have experienced it typically find it quite relaxing. Acupuncture is now covered by some health insurance companies in the States.

Qigong & Tai Chi

Both practices consist of meditative movements, slow gentle, rhythmic movements that enhance the flow of qi. These movements promote the restoration of wellness on all levels, mind, body, and soul, and can include a focus on our breath and the stilling of the mind.

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Dietary Therapy/Nutrition

TCM nutrition consists of the five tastes: sweet, sour, spicy, salty, and bitter (cooling and warming). To create balance, diets are completely individualized according to each person’s constitution.

Massage (Tuina)

Tuina is a manipulative body therapy that combines massage and acupressure. This practice stimulates the flow of energy in the meridians and the muscles, removing any blockages along the pathways.

Cupping Therapy

This practice utilizes the placement of spherical cups on the body. Flame may be used, or an electrical or manual procedure to create a suction of the cups while they are resting on the body. The pressure builds within the cups creating a vacuum on the skin. It is believed that this process improves blood flow and can help to eliminate toxins from the body.


This modality utilizes the therapeutic properties of dried mugwort known as moxa, by burning the substance on or near the skin along our meridians and acupuncture points. This process enhances the flow of qi.


In the United States, Traditional Chinese Medicine may only include two or three modalities depending on the practitioner. Education also varies among those in practice. Although these modalities have been used for thousands of years, very little research has been done, and they are only now beginning to be examined more thoroughly. Despite the lack of research, TCM is gaining momentum in its use, recognition, and recommendation due to the anecdotal benefits reported over the centuries.


Phone: (413) 569-8048


© 2021 Shelly Hoekstra, Life Coach & Alternative Healing

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