Master Sha is a spiritual healer, transformative leader, teacher, bestselling author and Master of Eastern arts on the benefits of traditional Chinese medicine.
You probably know someone who swears by acupuncture or perhaps you’ve seen evidence of celebrities undergoing cupping. These are just some of the methods used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which has been practiced in China for thousands of years.
But what exactly is it? And why is it so beneficial for millions of people looking for a holistic way to stay well?
Why traditional Chinese medicine balances your qi
TCM is not just a treatment for illness, it can help you stay well and prevent you getting sick in the first place. Think of it as a holistic vision of balance, energy and harmony.
While Western medicine treats each body part separately, as if human beings are machines TCM treats you as a whole, complete being. In Chinese medicine, everything works together to make sure our life force continues to flow.
This lifeforce is also known as ‘qi’. It’s the oneness and life energy that connects all living things. Focus your mind and you can feel it run through your body, connecting you to the universe. It’s in a constant state of ebb and flow, and Chinese medicine is about improving and maintaining the ideal flow of qi.
Yin and yang are the two descriptors of qi, with yin representing the feminine, cold, dark and negative and yan the light, positive, warm and male. As everything in life is a balance of opposites, you need your qi to flow thanks to a level yin and yang. Then you feel well, healthy, whole and positive.
Practical but traditional Chinese medicine
So that’s the theory, but what about the practice? In my years of growing within Chinese medicine, I’ve learned so much. And while my healing practices often mix Western medicine and other arts such as Chinese calligraphy, other healers use them separately.
To achieve balance, according to traditional Chinese medicine, you must seek it between your internal organs and the external elements of fire, wood, metal and water by undergoing treatments, such as:
- Cupping (heated glass jars used to create suction on specific points of the body)
- Meditation in various forms.
- Tai Chi and other concentration and movement exercises.
- Moxibustion (burning dried herbs close to the skin).
- Herbs and plants in the form of capsules, teas and powders.
Acupuncture is one of the most commonly used parts of TCM in Western medicine. It has also been through the most clinical trials and study of any other alternative healing therapy.
Is traditional Chinese medicine safe?
As a TCM practitioner and Master in several Chinese Arts, I believe in the safety of Chinese medicine and many other experts agree. Of course, you need to research your choice of healer, as you would when trying any other form of healing, treatment or medicine.
The most important area of TCM in terms of possible side effects is with its herbal and plant medicines. These can interact with medication and it’s really important to know exactly what you’re taking. Scientific research and studies on traditional Chinese medicine show that:
- Acupuncture is a useful treatment for a range of conditions, including chronic pain and side effects from chemotherapy.
- You’ll find Chinese medicine on offer in many Western wellness clinics to treat all kinds of conditions, from arthritis to insomnia and menopause symptoms.
- Tai Chi can help people suffering from Parkinson’s disease to improve their balance.
- Cupping helps with pain from skin conditions including shingles.
Patients turn to TCM for all kinds of conditions, including mental health to lower stress levels. Often people use it alongside conventional Western medicine, and I think it’s particularly beneficial for people who are suffering from a range of symptoms but can’t find the underlying cause. Other people I would recommend traditional Chinese medicine to include anyone struggling with chemo, people who have tried Western medicine but don’t feel better and anyone who wants to stave off illness by staying well and balanced.
Try traditional Chinese medicine in 2021
TCM is suitable for just about everyone, but I would always urge you to check with your doctor first if you are taking any prescription drugs or are unsure. This is very important if you have a serious chronic condition, such as liver disease or cancer. So many aspects of traditional Chinese medicine can help people suffering from these illnesses, but herbs should be used very carefully and only if you are confident that your practitioner is of the highest standard.
Chinese medicine is a complex and wide-ranging practice and needs fully trained healers to understand how to use it to promote wellbeing. Everything in our universe is about balance and it’s never been more important to understand the link between our mind, body and soul.
If you’re starting 2021 with a health problem or want to find ways to feel more in control of your physical and mental wellness, consider taking up a form of meditation, trying Tai Chi or taking the plunge with acupuncture. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.