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Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) differs from western medicine in that it focuses on the body's energetic systems (physics), while western medicine focuses on biochemistry and drugs to treat symptoms. TCM also strongly emphasizes the partnership between patient and practitioner, both doing everything they can to affect a positive outcome.


Balance is the basic, underlying theme of Chinese Medicine. Chinese medical philosophy takes into account the concept of opposing forces in life (Yin & Yang): male and female, heat and cold, day and night, exterior and interior, deficiency and excess. The balance of yin and yang is a central goal of treatments with the belief being that health will follow when the body is balanced energetically.

In practice, Chinese Medicine focuses on the balance of the body's energy flow and the movement of that energy. This energy is commonly referred to as Qi (pronounced Chi). Considerable attention is also applied to the movement and balance of blood and other bodily fluids, but Qi is the main focus in Chinese medicine.

Illness occurs when there is a lack of balance or a lack of movement (stagnation) of Qi or energy (chi). Deficiencies or excesses of this Qi (or chi) are diagnosed to determine proper treatment.

Balance between 3 aspects of health-body, mind, and spirit-must be achieved to attain wellness. Whatever affects one aspect affects the other two. Diagnoses and treatment focus on each aspect to achieve sound health and healing. A patient's lifestyle is a key consideration in the application of Chinese medicine. Lifestyle is defined in terms of areas of our lives such as sleep, food, exercise, nourishing activities, work and relationships. For true health to be achieved, these aspects must be relatively balanced.

Common Questions

  • What is a meridian?

    Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the term meridian refers to a pathway in the body in which a small electrical current or energy flows. This pathway travels through different organs and tissues. Meridians are named according to the major organs they flow through (e.g. heart meridian, kidney meridian). A disturbance of the energy flow in one organ along a pathway will alter the energy flow to every tissue/organ along that pathway. For a full list of TCM meridians and tissue they encompass, search the Internet for acupuncture or Traditional Chinese Medicine.

  • How do I find out if I have allergies?

    An allergic reaction is an abnormal reaction of the immune system resulting in many symptoms that can include a rash, hives, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, a runny nose, itchiness and diarrhea. It can also lead to chronic illness.

    To determine if an allergy to a substance (allergen) exists, there are several tests that are recommended. A provocation test injects a potential allergen under the skin to see if a skin reaction (red welt) occurs. A positive test indicates an allergy to that particular substance. Another test combines a person’s blood serum with the potential allergen in a test tube. A cloudy reaction demonstrates an allergic reaction to that substance.

    Finally, muscle testing (ART) may suggest possible allergies or sensitivities by a weakened muscle response, upon the body’s exposure to the substance in question. Determining allergies is important to direct one’s nutrition; to uncover an underlying cause of illness, to assist in detoxification and to direct therapy. Allergy elimination (AET) is a critical therapy in treating chronic illness.

  • Does acupuncture hurt?

    Acupuncture needles are thin and flexible. They are placed at various acupuncture points of the body with the intent to normalize function and energy flow at those points. Most patients don’t feel the placement of the needle at all, while some have varying pain sensations ranging from minimal to moderate. Patients that find it painful are usually toxic and need detoxification prior to a full acupuncture treatment. Those who do find needle placement painful usually report that any initial pain quickly subsides.

  • How do I schedule an initial appointment at Natural Horizons?

    Natural Horizons’ highly trained medical and administrative staff is ready to help you. Simply call us to schedule a convenient time for your initial appointment. Our business hours are:

    Monday – Friday: 8AM until 5PM
    Saturday: 9AM until 12 Noon on most Saturdays

    • Toll Free: (877) 292-1571
    • Fax: (703) 267-6977
    • Email:

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Forms of Treatment

The main forms of Chinese medical treatements include acupuncture, electro-stimulation, moxibustion (an older form of acupuncture), tai chi, nutrition, body work (shiatsu, acupressure), and electromagnetic field therapy.

Acupuncture is the art and science of inserting very thin, small needles into acupuncture points along meridians (energy pathways) in order to balance the flow of Qi, which, in turn, nourishes the body organs that are connected to the meridian system flows. There are 14 main meridians, eight extraordinary meridians, and other less used and less known energy channels. Hundreds of acupuncture points exist all over the body and each point has a purpose and function.

Electro-Stimulation can enhance the meridian or energetic system. This can be especially helpful to treat pain, paralysis, and other stubborn conditions that require a stronger form of stimulation than an acupuncture needle or herb. Electro-acupuncture is administered either directly to the acupuncture point or through an acupuncture needle to literally "boot up" or normalize nerve function.

Moxibustion is an old form of acupuncture. The herb heats up an acupuncture point and delivers warmth to the point and the meridian, which assists the flow of Qi. Today the same is achieved via laser or electrostimulation of the point rather than moxibustion.

Tai Chi is a form of exercise that builds the body's energy (Qi) to strengthen the body, mind and spirit. It is deeply nourishing and a person can do it almost anywhere on one's own. It's the perfect compliment to other forms of Chinese medicine (or any other medicine) and is an excellent form of preventive medicine. It's a great way to achieve/maintain physical and psychic fitness.

Nutrition is an important factor in Chinese Medicine because all food has an energetic quality. Learning to eat in a manner that nourishes your energy and that avoids depleting it is an art and science unto itself. In Chinese Medicine, food is utilized as a medicine.

Shiatsu/Acupressure and other forms of Chinese bodywork are actually forms of acupuncture without needles. The same principles of acupuncture apply, though the application is manually on these acupuncture meridians.

Conditions that Respond to Chinese Medicine

Many conditions can respond dramatically to Chinese medicine including arthritis, asthma, pain, irregular menstruation, headaches and virtually all other pain, neuropathy, insomnia, depression, multiple sclerosis, allergies, menopause, lyme disease, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.

The Way of the Future

Ultimately, the integration of western and Chinese medicine provides the most effective health treatment. As time goes on, more and more western doctors are studying and using Chinese medical techniques to better assess and treat their patients. Likewise, Chinese medical practitioners are beginning to employ the use of some western methods.

Schedule an Appointment

Natural Horizons Wellness Center employs the use of various practitioners and forms of Traditional Chinese Medicine. So, whether you're looking for, or have questions about a specific Chinese medical treatment, contact NHWC at 1-877-292-1571.