As part of our strategic plan to continue to enhance holistic services, Judith Yanacek, President and CEO of New Vitae Wellness and Recovery, attended a professional development session on December 7th entitled, “An Introduction to Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.” The training was sponsored by KidsPeace and presented by Veronica Cavella Peterson, LAc, a licensed acupuncturist.
Ms. Peterson discussed the 5 branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), including: acupuncture, herbal, Tui Na (massage), Qi Gong (energy work) and dietary supports. While the majority of people seek TCM services to reduce pain, there are also special protocols to treat anxiety, depression, Attention Deficit Disorder, Autism Disorders, addictions and other emotional challenges.
The first branch, acupuncture, is the stimulation of a certain points near the surface of the body by the insertion of very fine, sterile, surgical stainless steel filiform needles. Although early records show acupuncture successfully utilized in China as early as 2598 BCE, it was not introduced in Europe until 1671 and was not commonly known in the United States until the early 1980’s. In 1999, the use of acupuncture in war zones, known as Battlefield Acupuncture (BFA) was developed by Dr. Richard C. Niemtzow. The practice of using acupuncture on 5 specific points on the ear yielded such a fast healing response that the United States military and NATO continue to invest millions of dollars in the process. Today, practitioners have more widely recognized the benefits of acupuncture, with two local US News Top Hospitals (the University of Pennsylvania Presbyterian and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) both offering the procedure as a routine service.
Like acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine dates back thousands of years. The Chinese pharmacopeia is comprised of approximately 1,800 herbs, each with healing properties for a variety of ailments. Most herbs are used in combination with each other and are utilized as a supportive therapy to acupuncture and the other branches of TCM.
Tui Na is a form of Chinese massage focusing on the body’s meridians and Acupuncture points. It is an alternative to the use of acupuncture needles, but is similarly effective. Another branch of TCM, Qi Gong, is an ancient Chinese method of promoting good health involving posture, breathing and focus. Tai Chi, popular as a form of exercise, is perhaps one of the best known forms of Qi Gong.
Dietary Therapy is also used to achieve and maintain good health. The practice suggests the use of hot foods to cure physical health problems related to cold temperatures and cold foods to treat too much heat within the body. For example, a fever would be treated with cool foods to restore the body’s balance and support good health.
TCM practices are complementary or can be used as alternatives to Western traditional medicine. The blending of these practices can treat existing health concerns and achieve lasting wellness through integrative medicine. For holistic mental health treatments, contact New Vitae Wellness and Recovery.