Within Chinese cosmology, all of creation is born from the marriage of two polar principles, Yin and Yang. Earth and Heaven, winter and summer, night and day, cold and hot, wet and dry, inner and outer, body and mind. Harmony of this union means health, good weather, and good fortune, while disharmony leads to disease, disaster, and bad luck. The strategy of Chinese medicine is to restore harmony.
Each Human being is seen as a world in miniature, a garden in which doctor and patient together strive to cultivate health. Every person has a unique terrain to be mapped, a resilient yet sensitive ecology to be maintained. Like a gardener uses irrigation a compost to grow robust plants, the doctor uses acupuncture, herbs, and food to recover and sustain health.
Practitioners assess a person’s health by feeling the pulsations at each wrist and by observing the color and form of the face, tongue, and body. This information is interpreted an the context of a patient’s present and past complaints, work and living habits, physical environment, family health history, and emotional life.
The goal of treatment is to adjust and harmonize Yin and Yang- wet and dry, cold and heat, inner and outer, body and mind. This is achieved by regulating the Qi, Moisture, and Blood in the Organ Networks: Weak organs are fortified, congested channels are opened, excess is dispersed, tightness is softened, agitation is calmed, heat is cooled, cold is warmed, dryness is moistened, and dampness is drained.
Treatment may incorporate acupuncture, herbal remedies, diet, exercise, and massage. Duration of treatment depends on the nature of the complaint, its severity, and how long it has been present. Acupuncture is scheduled as often as three time a week or as little as twice a month. Response varies. Some need only a few sessions while other need sustained care to reverse entrenched patterns established over time. As symptoms improve, fewer visits are required, individual progress being the yardstick.