HIV Wellness

Chinese Medicine

What Is Chinese Medicine?

Chinese medicine is a complete system of medicine with its own forms of diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and therapies. Chinese medicine views the body as an energetic system in dynamic balance. Qi, which can be translated as energy or life force, flows in a regular pattern through a system of channels — or meridians — to all parts of the body.

When the flow of Qi is unimpeded there is harmony, balance, and good health. When there are Qi blockages, too much or too little Qi, there is an imbalance which can lead to disharmony and disease.

Chinese medicine helps restore the body to balance and works on an energetic level to affect all aspects of a person: mind/body/spirit. The beauty of Chinese medicine is that it can be used to correct imbalances that have become illness and pain, or even correct imbalances prior to the appearance of symptoms, preventing disease.

Chinese medicine treatments address imbalances using food therapy/diet, acupuncture, herbal remedies, Chinese exercise, and meditation along with Western therapies. Chinese medicine is the longest existing continuous medical system practiced in the world, with over 3000 years of history.

Moxa and Bell

A View from the East

Toward understanding Chinese medicine and its ability to improve the treatment of people with HIV infection.

To use Chinese medicine you don’t have to understand its underlying philosophy or principles. You can take the herbs, receive acupuncture and try other therapies much as you would take a pill—Western style—and you will still reap considerable benefits.

But a curious thing happens when you use Chinese medicine: Its transforming power insinuates itself into your unconscious as the treatments strengthen your mind/body/spirit. You find, despite your lack of understanding of how it works or what it can do, that repeated exposure to the basic treatments—herbs, acupuncture, dietary therapy and Qi Gong exercise and meditation—changes you in subtle but far-reaching ways. You become more tuned into your physical and spiritual self. You become aware of the profound impact of your breath on your physical and mental well-being; you begin to sense the flow of Qi —the life force—through your body; you tune into your own mental and physical strengths and imbalances; you learn to rejoice in the interconnectedness of all life experience.

This transformation creates a sense of empowerment that’s particularly important in dealing with a chronic disorder such as HIV disease, which can erode your sense of control over your own body and make you feel estranged from your physical and spiritual self.

Acupuncture Points

Putting yourself within the Eastern frame of mind will help you maximize the effectiveness of Western treatments (and lessen the negative side-effects). You’ll also be better able to manage HIV-associated disorders and diseases, such as sinusitis and chronic diarrhea, which often resist Western treatments. So I hope you’ll take the time to explore a little bit about the inner workings of Chinese medicine. It can bring a great deal of joy and healing into your life.

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