What is Traditional Chinese Medicine


Everything you need to know about Traditional Chinese Medicine

Ever wondered “What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?” or “How can a Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner help me?” Look no further! This Getting Started Guide is a great place to start.

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If you are looking to treat physical pains without pills or surgery, recover from illness more quickly, regulate hormones naturally, increase overall wellness, or manage stress or anxiety, Traditional Chinese Medicine may be for you!

Acupuncture is just one aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Other aspects of TCM include administering Chinese herbal remedies, moxabustion, cupping, gua sha, and acupressure. TCM practitioners are highly skilled and highly trained licensed professionals. Acupuncture, the most well known TCM practice, involves the placing of very thin needles throughout the body at certain strategic points. These acupuncture points connect pathways in the body that regulate energetic flow (Qi), that is responsible for overall health. Practices that often accompany Acupuncture often include Cupping, Acupressure, and Gua Sha.

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Jacqueline Gabardy -Traditional Chinese Medicine
Emma Destrube - Traditional Chinese Medicine
Snohomish Brown-Traditional Chinese Medicine
Wendy Foxworth-Traditional Chinese Medicine


Ancient practice for modern life

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine is an ancient Chinese practice, dating back approximately 3,000 years ago. In the past few decades acupuncture has become incorporated into Integrative Medicine and allopathic medicine in the West. While there is still research to be done, there is general consensus among scientists that acupuncture is an effective treatment to reduce chronic pain and ease anxiety. Traditionally Qi, or life force energy, is regulated by acupuncture. However, modern medicine attributes the effectiveness of acupuncture to the bodies natural response to a sending blood flow and energetic attention towards a low-level threat (introduction of a needle into the body). The result is increased blood flow and relaxation of nearby muscles.

The National Institute of Health, a research leg of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is currently supporting research on the effects of acupuncture on reducing pain that accompanies chemotherapy, and hot flashes associated with menopause.

Sources: NCBIMayo ClinicHopkins MedicineNational Institute of Health


What our expert practitioners have to say


Snohomish Brown
Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner

Snohomish Brown- Traditional Chinese Medicine

WellSEt: WHAT SHould A Client EXPECT FROM A Traditional Chinese Medicine SessioN?

BROWN: Each practitioner is different and some may be better trained or more effective with certain modalities or techniques than others. You may find that you get along better with a practitioner who understands you well and you feel more comfortable sharing and opening up to them. This is the kind of relationship that will serve you best. Proper diagnosis is key to ensuring effective treatment, so you can expect to answer many questions regarding your health when you arrive for your session, especially in situations of prolonged or complicated illness. If you are going to receive needles for the first time, it’s normal to feel a little anxious about it, but for most people, the needles are comfortable enough that they feel a profound sense of relaxation and some even doze off for a bit. Often patients will experience a little “high” or get “buzzed” from the feeling of acupuncture needles doing their work to assist the body in healing itself. A therapeutic response to the needles will generally include subtle sensations such as a dull achy feeling. Movement, tingling along the channel, or a sensation of fullness or slight pressure is also normal. These sensations are called “Qi Arrival” and often indicate a positive outcome from treatment. It is important that the needles are not uncomfortable or they will need to be adjusted or removed completely. Be sure to communicate to your practitioner if one or more of the needles still bothers you after the initial insertion. You might feel a slight pinch at first, but coordinating the insertion with a forceful exhale on your part can ensure that any discomfort is easily mitigated. Some practitioners are in the habit of leaving patients alone with inserted needles. I try to avoid this practice as it can cause undue anxiety, especially if you need to scratch an itchy nose or happen to move a limb with needles in it and it results in hurting you. It is therefore vital that you find a relaxing position so that you may comfortably stay still during your treatment, otherwise, your practitioner should be able to assist you if you need it.

WellSEt: How can Traditional Chinese Medicine medicine help heal the mind and body?

BROWN: There are many ways that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can help heal the mind and body. When considering the wide range of treatment modalities within TCM, besides acupuncture and herbal medicines, TCM also incorporates many other techniques to heal both mind and body. Manual therapies like acupressure or tuina are similar to physical therapy. These modalities also include Guasha, which involves scraping the skin to restore blood flow to stagnate tissue, and cupping: which is also known as myofascia decompression. Moxibustion is a useful technique that involves heating the channel with a piece of charcoal made of special herbs, mugwort, and ginger usually. This technique is helpful to resolve conditions made worse by cold temperatures. More subtle techniques also exist for treating mental-emotional difficulties such as listening and talking about those troubles. Ben Shen TCM Psychotherapy is very similar to other forms of talk therapy in that regard. Meditation, Qi Gong, and Tai Chi, as well as other movement and breathing exercises, are also profoundly effective to calm and train the mind. Regardless of your health conditions or complaints, there are several ways that TCM can offer relief from pain, organ dysfunction, or mental emotional trouble. Your practitioner will know which techniques are most effective to treat your particular problem, but you may also have preferences that you may communicate to your practitioner to enhance your experience.

Ahnee Min
Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner

Ahnee Min - Traditional Chinese Medicine

WellSEt: How can you expect to feel after a Traditional Chinese Medicine session?

MIN: After an acupuncture session, you should feel relaxed and calm. Many people feel as if someone pushed a reset button on their mind and body. Even people who are afraid of needles can find a way to relax. There could be a little tenderness at the site of insertion of the points for acupuncture, but overall most people feel super relaxed. We encourage people to take it easy after the treatment and not do anything too extraneous, to reap the benefits of that relaxed state. It is during these times of parasympathetic response that the body can use its energy to re-shift focus and tend to areas of illness, using the body’s innate ability to heal naturally.

WellSEt: How can Traditional Chinese Medicine medicine help heal the mind and body?

MIN: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) focuses on restoring balance in the body using a variety of therapies like: acupuncture, herbal medicine, cupping, and mind-body therapies (ie. Tai qi or Qi gong). It treats the whole person, not just symptoms of disease, and addresses the root cause of the illness. In TCM theory, disease is caused by external or environmental factors as well as lifestyle habits, nutrition; and internal factors like emotions. Treatment, therefore, is based on the interconnectedness of all of these factors and that mental well-being is a critical pillar in supporting physical well-being. When we are out of balance: i.e, lack of sleep, too much stress, excessive eating, lack of exercise, dealing with our emotions, it can put undue strain on the body and make us more susceptible to getting sick. Furthermore, because TCM recognizes the deep connection between the heart, mind, and body, by restoring balance among all 3, it allows the body to return to homeostasis and to heal naturally.

Conditions that Traditional Chinese Medicine can help ease:

Immunity, Stress, Anxiety, Headaches, Circulation, Liver Health, Chronic Pain, Fertility